I looked at the world...
That play opened my eyes to how religion fanaticism motivates people.
It was then that I started to question things in a more adult way, a way that made me think on a deeper level.
Over the years that questioning made me realize that the Right Wing Bible tends to focus on the arcane laws written in the Old Testament.
They sprinkle in just a titch of Jesus and jumps straight to the fire and damnation of Revelation.
What gets to me about those who except the literal words of the Bible is that they truly believe the Prophets of the Old Testament spoke English and that the exact sentiment from 3,000 BC is conveyed across the centuries.
I wonder if they even realize that the text was written down after thousands of years of oral interpretation and then translated from the Hebrew to the Greek and the Armenian and then back to Latin and then finally to German and English.
So who exactly is speaking the true word of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ...
It is this certainty in their resolve that gets to me.
How many countless people have used the watered down words of the Bible to subjugate their fellow man, how many millions have been put to death in the name of God.
I guess the thrust of this post is to ask one question, what event or book or play provoked in you a true epiphany, opened your eyes to the way people manipulate others.
It’s a kind of obituaty I wrote when Jimmy Stewart passed away. I wrote it for The Downtown Tab where I was a writer. I thought it would be a nice touch for the holiday season.
There are a lot of people from Indiana, Pennsylvania living here in the Cleveland area. Located about 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, it’s one of those small towns long on heritage but, as it turned out, short on sustainable prosperity. Besides being a charter member of coal country, Indiana, Pennsylvania was also the self-proclaimed Christmas tree capital of the world.
Being the county seat, they had a stoic court-house built with coal money. They even had the obligatory statue on town square in tribute to those who served. It wasn’t a true company town, but damn close. Over the years change had come slowly to Indiana, Pennsylvania, but when the mines started to peter out, it happened quick.
Thanks for your continued support...
Reminds me of that first year or so of my sobriety. I went for the better part of two years without a date. I went from raging drunk to stuttering shy guy in the blink of an eye. I felt lost and terribly alone and the only solace I had was I wasn’t out in the world making a complete ass hole out of myself. That behavior went on most nights when I was drinking professionally.
I bet there are people out there still who say, even after 27 years, stuff like “do you remember when that asshole staggered into our party and tried to…..” You can imagine what I did. Me, well I only have halting, jiggering memories about those last few years of drunken debauchery so I try not to think about it.
Anyway, that wasn’t what I wanted to talk about.
The latest post to my Lung Transplant Blog....
It really isn’t a good idea to call a client about tax matters after taking a vicodin and a dose of codeine based cough medicine.
Even if you take them an hour or so apart.
An old friend and my very first tax client called today with a question about his taxes. It was an easy question, nothing that puzzling so I figured what the heck.
I take the med’s at about the same time every day and, for the most part, I am alone during that portion of the day. I don’t really interact with anyone until the late afternoon or the early evening. So I wasn’t really prepared.
This is the 75th post to my lung transplant blog. Almost 17k hits in a little over a year. When I started out on this journey, I knew that I wanted the people I know from DU to be there right with me.
You will never really know how much the DU community has helped me.
Thank you so very much....
Being a numbers guy, I wanted to look at what that really means for people and the Cost of Living during that same time.
The CBO says that in reality, the real income of people from the bottom 5th of the population saw their income rise 18% in real money since 1979 to 2011.
Now I went to the official Cost of Living stats to see how that worked out, again from the CBO.
I'm taking this to mean that a person making 10,000 in 1979 would now be earning 11,906 in real money.
I took the 18% and spread it out evenly across the 32 years.
Now since the rate of inflation as expressed by the CBO varied but stayed between a range of 0-6.85, we can take that 10k and multiply by the yearly COLA's.
Adjusting for the inflation as measured by the CBO, that 10,000 in 1979 dollars would have the purchasing power of about 24,042 in 2012 dollars.
That amounts to about a 35% increase in the cost of living but only an 18% adjustment.
I am sure that if we examined all the other factors that have changed since 1979, we would get a better picture about the state of those living in the bottom 5th of the income parameters.
I just wanted to point that out, from a pure numbers approach.
In reality, you could say that the cumulated percent increases of the Cost of Living has far outpaced the growth of income.
Again, I don''t know how they adjusted for inflation, I am just looking at the numbers.
I am sure that there is a correlation between the increase in debt which is what people often turn to in order to maintain their standard of living.
I could be wrong, I could be jumping to conclusions, but the numbers don't really do it justice.
I guess it's a way to look at the disparity across the income levels.
I guess in the long run, the person who made 10k back in 1979 saw his/her income rise to about 11,900 in 1979 dollars.
And that, my friends, is a telling story about the state of America today.
it looks like I am going...
Each year, as more of my life falls away, it's easy to slip into melancholy and dwell on all that is lost.
So much of my life is gone forever and yet there are still such vivid memories of laughter, sorrow, cheer and mourning.
Over the years I have heard so much music. I have always loved music in most any shape, any form.
Music is, as I am sure it is to many millions of people, one of the most important parts of life.
During the Holiday Season I think back on all the Christmas music that I have heard and had the pleasure to perform.
There is nothing quite like performing within a really good choral group and singing parts of the Messiah.
And then there are the songs that make you smile, tug at your heart gently and pull you into moods you just can't control.
There are a few songs over the decades that touched me in a way that has stayed with me, changed me. If anything, they have grown to be a part of me and remind me of all that I have done and all that I have left behind...
The first song that reached into me and made me think was John Lennon's So This is Christmas.
It's a wonderful combination of the mood of the holiday and the compassion he had that far too many others hold only for Christ.
Then there was that song that came out in 1984 that I could never forget.
Do They Know it's Christmas...
That song did so much for me, coming out in the year I found sobriety and peace. I was dead broke and all I had was my music and my books. It was bleak year for me, but I still moved by what these pop stars did for people they did not know. It was one of the hardest times of my life, struggling with the God that intertwined in the AA message. It gave me a way to look at humanity to find my higher power, what was larger than me and yet a part of me...
Then, there is Greg Lakes I Believe in Father Christmas. The combination of yearning and classical music themes that lifts my heart every time I hear it.
All of these songs have become part of what I am. They changed the way I look at the world ever so slightly but still influence how I define myself today.
I imagine it would be like Brooklyn, urban neighborhoods with small yards criss crossed with several main drags that was full of small shops.
We lived close in to Cleveland and so it was easy to jump on a bus or, our version of the subway, the Rapid Transit and go downtown to the huge library, the second hand book stores and all the specialty shops that were too unique to survive in the outer edges of the over all community.
Downtown was close to the sprawling industrial flats which belched out untreated waste into the air and water...
All those particulates drifted down on the city and so I remember how dim and dingy the city was.
I think that is why when I look back on my life in Cleveland there are two distinct periods.
The time when my world was shades of grey and then when my family moved to the plush outer ring suburb that was still producing fruit and vegetables sold in the local markets. It was like I walked into a lush Technicolor world.
I use to think it was because of the Black and White TV but now I realize just how dingy life was but 40 years ago.
I was reminded of this when I thought about where I was when JFK was assassinated. I remember that whole long episode in Black and White. Maybe it was the TV but thinking back, the school I went to was drab, old all ready in the early 60's, the snow was always dingy, the trees were dulled by the onslaught of the air pollution just a few miles away.
As I get older, I try to look back on my life, as I suppose many people do as well, and see where I came from. Especially around Thanksgiving because that Holiday is all about looking back where we came from. And I am not just talking about the Pilgrims. It's our one holiday that is about looking inward, to explore where we are and where we are going.
Having said all that, I just want to wish all of you a good, reflective Thanksgiving, to take a look where we are now as a people, how far we have come and how much, much more we have ahead of us. We are in, as we all can see, a critical point in our history. What I hope and yes prayer for this holiday is that we as a people find the courage to embrace the future and not retreat into a past that was dominated by hatred and parochial interests.
It was the first "adult" play I saw without the urgings of an Adult.
My step brother, who played one of the Players in the 1971 production at Chagrin Valley Little Theater, talked me into coming for the run of the show.
The actors were so old, about 20-30, and they treated us like kings, explaining stuff and just getting a kick out of two 13 year olds hanging around.
Brad didn't have any speaking parts but he was ordered to "Alfred, stop picking your nose..."
After that, I fell in love with the drama of drama...
I only tried out for one play in High School and didn’t make the cut, but I did get to play Old Man Warner in the other allegorical play, The Lottery in the Drama class I chose as an elective my senior year in High School.
Looking back I wish I would have taken the time to learn how to act, to jump into the theater just for “The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd...”
It’s funny how we make choices, why we do the things we do.
I still act completely on impulse on occasion, see my highly regrettable and misguided thread from yesterday, even though I am at the half point of my sixth decade on earth.
I did embrace the political theater and perhaps that was my chance for the stage. I loved giving speeches, meeting people, interacting with voters.
It’s tough, real tough to reach out your hand to a stranger and try to convince someone to vote for you, to trust you with the public good. Going door to door is fraught with drama, especially if you are in an area with republicans who register democrat so they can vote in primary
I recommend that people from the OWS movement and from DU to run for office. It’s the most frustrating thing you will ever do, but when it is all said and done, you will have an experience that will last a lifetime.’
It’s the best way to change things, to be engaged. The people who are out there representing all of us on the front lines of this political upheaval deserve all the credit for reawakening the spirit of engagement that is so dangerous to the status quo.
I wish I was younger, healthier. I did participate in several anti-war demonstrations during that frightening jingoism stirred up by Cheney and his partners in mayhem. But even though millions took to the street, the media completely ignored the tens of millions who opposed that adventure.
Anyway, the absurd nature of R&G reminds me of the drama of politics. Especially now as the GOP continue an absurdist and mostly pointless exercise in politic theater.
I just thought I would share that with you all…
of our countries infrastructure.
When is the GOP going to wake up, how many people need to die in order to open up their eyes...
Investing in Infrastructure is an investment in the future economic status of this country.
They are traitors, plain and simple.
My Brother is a partner in a medium sized CPA Firm.
None of them are close to being in the top 1%.
All of them went to school for years, studied for years and work the kind of hours that has caused divorces.
I have one client, a medical doctor, who comes close to the 1% and he is one of the most liberal guys I know. He once was amazed that he wasn't paying more in taxes.
I read somewhere that if you aren't in the top 1% it's your own fault.
All of these people have worked hard, sacrificed for their profession and yet they are still not included in the top 1%.
While all of these people help other people, it is mainly those who tinker around the edge of finance, having the ability to make millions by moving stocks around and around and around again, in other words offering nothing constructive to the cause, that are overwhelmingly in the top 1%.
It just so happens that it is also those same "finance" geniuses who killed the economy for the rest of us.
I just wanted to put that out there.
no matter what the age, sex or race, they all say the same thing.
What does that tell you about the intellectual level of those on the right?
They are all combative, all say the same thing, always directed the conversation back to fit the message of the day.
Intellectual laziness or total contempt for their audience in the way that they don't trust them to formulate their own opinions is what I see.
And I think this frustrates those of us on the intellectual left.
We want those on the left to be like those on the right, but do we really want our folks to be parroting some left wing Rovian character determining talking for the intellectual left.
For instance, today on MSNBC, they are talking about Solynda being an example of government intervening in the market place but I would answer what the hell is happening with the oil business getting massive tax write offs to write off all their costs of developing an oil field before one hole is drilled...
In 2009, the oil industry paid not one cent in federal tax. Why? Because they had preferential tax treatment. Whether you get your money up front or on the back side, it's all money from the fed.
The money these national media figures are paid is higher by far than the people they are reaching, the cast of people they have as experts more than likely have incredibly high salaries and the people they interview are usually people drawn from a small pool of "experts" or "opinion makers" that is easily assessable to the news people.
They don't report any news that has to be explained, they just get people talking around a narrative the suits the gigantic corporation that allows them to present the views of that corporation to the masses.
These media arms of a gigantic conglomerate of varied companies make a good chunk of their income stream with special interest advertising that is skewed to message that only a few opinion makers can afford.
Tell me where is there any real consistent voice talking about the issues that are of a concern for the middle and lower class?
They condescend to the rest of us by pushing stories like NAtalie Hollywood or what ever her name was.
Those who reap the most benefit from the continuation of our society should be made to pay more...
Almost everything that has been enacted into law over the last 200 years has to do with protecting the property of those who have property.
But even on a more base level, who would be hurt the most if our society fell apart.
Those of us who are ill and need medical attention would obviously be the first to be hurt.
But when you get down to it, how much different would your life be if things went wrong...
That's my real justification for a graduated tax rate.
Our society shields wealth, protects property and is organized around the swift movement of good and services. Who benefits from all of this, those who own stuff.
You have the most to loose so buck up Thurston, pay your share of the bill...
because of, you guessed it, my diminished health situation.
By Christopher Green
I really wanted to go because Joe, although we don’t see each other so much these days, is truly my best friend. He is the guy that if I was in trouble, I would call first. Not only that, his significant other, Diane, has always been in my corner when I needed her. These two have been friends of mine since back in the 80’s. Joe knew me when I was drinking; Diane met me after I stopped.
Now Joe has an artistic flair and Diane is a task master to the nth degree so I knew the combination of the two would produce a well decorated and nicely organized party. No keg in the corner augmented by excruciatingly loud music complete with a cavalier “you’re on your own” kind of party at their home.
The latest post to my Lung Transplant Blog...
A great big thank you to all the people here who have supported my endeavor over the last two years...
It was about two years ago that I started to post from my hospital room which was what inspired me to start the blog a few months later.
That stay in the hospital was scary and knowing that DU was out there for me helped me get through a difficult time in my life.
Of course I ran as a Democrat being that I was also the Treasurer for the County Party here in the Cleveland area...
Even though there was this disconnect between the voting registers and the voting outcomes, I felt that I could ease their minds because I was an accountant. I mistakenly thought that the reason they voted republican was because they wanted fiscal restraint.
Time after time, these precincts that were 55% registered democrat would vote, by large margins, for republicans.
This particular Senate District had a very high concentration of Union folks living there.
I would go to a lot of union halls and give speeches and meet with the leadership. That was all rah rah and hunky dory.
But afterwords, when I would go out to work the crowds I heard a lot of "you're a baby killer I ain't voting for you" or "you're gonna take my guns, I ain't voting for you..."
Every time I heard that from one person at a table I would see other heads nod in agreement.
The FOP and all the other local police fraternity's nine times out of ten go with the GOP because they think they are hard on Crime because liberals are on the side of the criminals...
It was very frustrating.
Then there were all the times I went going door to door and working off a voter file sheet. I only stopped at Independents and Democrat homes.
I was running against the prototype for todays conservatives, openly hated gays and was always quick to vilifying "some people"....
Mostly I got I'm with Gary from independents and the democrats were just polite.
It was hard to convince people to put up a year sign.
Even the local party organization wouldn't openly support me. They gave me token checks, were polite but when I asked for their endorsement, I got the hems and the haws...
There was this one time, after a brutal day of walking through two precincts, that really stuck with me.
I stopped at this house that showed all three people who were registered to vote were democrats.
I knocked on the door and the guy came to the door, looked me up and down and said "I ain't voting for you, you're gonna let niggers move into my neighborhood." He slammed the door in my face after I said "I guess that means your going to vote for the other guy."
I know it's anecdotal, but it was pretty clear that all the people who were registered as democrats only voted democrat when they participated in primaries.
It was very frustrating to see precincts that were 55% or more democrat went for republican over and over again.
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