Not Cease from Exploration...a blog by Steve Albert

Monday, October 31, 2011

PA House Redistricting: Should We Care?

As reported HERE and lots of other places.

Here's my comment to a posting by Liz Randol that I pretty much sums up my thoughts on this subject:



I don't mean to sound flippant, but seriously, who cares?  Is this yet another example of politics that means  something to politicians, but basically not the rest of us?

What's more, I have a strange feeling that the Democrats (of which I am one...) would be equally guilty of redistricting magic if they were in control.

Time...and smarter folks than I (like Liz Randol) will tell.  I'm just a pension guy.

NEPArtisan Posting: Welcome to the Thunderdome Herman

You can read my latest contribution to NEPArtisan HERE.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Charlie Bible Buck Hatchko

Local Atheist and general all around good guy (you can follow him HERE) Justin Vacula noted on Facebook that...

"Just putting the following out there...if the upcoming election in Luzerne County happens to be delayed or modified in some way because "Charlie Bible Buck Hatchko" is listed as a candidate on the ballot, don't blame me for complaining, but rather blame the persons who allowed this to go on the ballot. Thanks!"

As I think about this, it's pretty clear that Mr Hatchko is trying to alter his name in order to appeal for votes.  Fair enough.  What if others tried to do the same?  We could end up with combinations like...

Heinz "Jews Control the Media" Von Erich
Appealing to the neo-NAZI vote.


Walter "Abortion is Murder" Jones
Appealing to the Right to Life vote.


Bob "Scary Brown Horde" Smith
Appealing to Lou Barletta's supporters.


Fred "Popery" Carroll
Appealing to the anti-Catholic vote.


Lisa "Trick or Trout" Anderson
Appealing to the Dyslexic vote.


Larry "Uptight White Guy" Alden
Appealing to Rick Santorum's supporters.


Lisa "Black Helicopter" Rimes
Appealing to conspiracy nuts everywhere.


Tim "Freedom to Crap Anywhere" Simmons
Appealing to Occupy Wall Street supporters.


Charlie "Pretend it's Still 1954" Peters
Appealing to Rush Limbaugh's listeners.


Luther "I don't Care if Scranton is Actually Larger" Searfoss
Appealing to Wilke-Barre voters.


Steve "Who are You" Allen
Appealing to the dementia vote.


Lester "Doherty Caused my Psoriasis" Windstead
Appearing to supporters of Scranton City Council President Janet Evans


Steve "Lame-Assed Posting" Albert
Appealing to...well...no one.

Al Pacino on homophobia

“I don’t understand the hatred and fear of gays and bisexuals and lesbians…it’s a concept I honestly cannot grasp. To me, it’s not who you love…a man, a woman, what have you…it’s the fact that you love. That is all that truly matters.”


~ Al Pacino


(via Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook)




Al Pacino is the man.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Road Apples, #114

Blogging (in general)...I go through these phases where I write in manic quantities, both here and in other places.  Then the pendulum swings back and I struggle a bit to put any thoughts, cohesive or otherwise, into words.  It's been more of the latter lately, although I'm at a loss to explain why.  Part of it has to do with work these days, as some changes that evolved over the past month or so have put more responsiblity (and more urgency) on my plate, which ultimately just sucks some of the "vita" out of me.  Part of is the fact that I genuinely have far less personal angst in my life.  Well maybe I have the same amount of angst, but I'm just better able to handle it all.

Speaking of Work...and Vacation...I read where Andy Palumbo is crying over burning off his last vacation days (link HERE), which isn't something I've had a problem with for years.  Just yesterday I scheduled time off through the balance of the year and when the dust settled I still have 10.5 vacation days left to carry-over into 2012.  Now for the record I did take two weeks of vacation this year (New Hampshire and Maine), so it's not as if I don't take some time throughout the year.  I suspect this is one of the benefits of working at the same place for so long, namely the 33 vacation days I earn per year (which increased by about a third when I added in carry-over from 2010 to 2011).  I will use one or two of the 10.5 days before the end of the year, as I'm sure youngest daughter will want to be picked up from college and/or I may just need an extra mental health day here or there.  Oh, and I am taking time off around Thanksgiving and Christmas (which I usually don't do).

Beavis and Butthead...reappeared on MTV yesterday.  For 30 minutes I laughed myself into a stupor.  Mike Judge creates terrific parodies, be it Office Space or the world's dumbest teenagers.  If you don't like Beavis and Butthead because it glorifies stupid behavior then I'd say that you miss the point...namely that it pokes fun at stupid behavior.  "Beavis was crying, hehehehehe."

Europe Pledges a Trillion in Bailout Money...who here in the US cares?  Will the GOP Presidential candidates even mention this?  Of course not!  There is an element of United States society that still thinks it is 1915 and what happens "over there" can't impact us "here".  Reality check:  nothing could be further from the truth.  Whether we like to admit it our not, we have a world economy.  Greek debt, for example, may be held by some American financial institutions; what's more, I'm sure that American financial institutions have a large financial stake in the other holders of Greek debt.  It's like a small Arkansas town...everyone is related.

Occupy Wall Street...Is Rush Limbaugh still claiming that the Occupy Wall Street people are defecating over everything?  

The Research Begins:  iPad vs. Android Tablet...I'm not going to do anything until early next year, but I am salivating at the thought of having another tech toy.  I'm open to any opinions on the subject, be they pro-Android or from Apple fan-boys.  If I go Android then I'd be tempted to buy the Sony S1.  Do I need a tablet?  Not really, but there is a certain element of needing to stay on top of technology that helps in my career...which sounds good, even if it is mostly horse manure.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interesting Article

Failure:  The Adult Baby

I read this article yesterday and found it very interesting, in a very sad sort of way.  I'll let the author tell the story, but the bottom line is that I think on many levels our mental health professionals are failing us in this country.  Whether it's...

...over-work on the part of mental health professionals
...the easy fix of medication
...a desire to not judge

...it all amounts to the same thing: we seem to be less mentally healthy as a society, despite advances in science a desire to be "compassionate".

To the latter point, I do think that sometimes we are compassionate in the wrong ways.  As noted in the article, we allow someone to die a very slow death because that's easier than telling them a difficult truth.  In the end, that's actually not all that compassionate.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The 1%?

I confess to following some of the Occupy Wall Street protest stories.  Some I find very amusing, such as the "coverage" by right-wing talk radio, who would have you believe that the protesters are defecating over everything.  Others I just shrug off as part of the now all-too-typical polarization of American society.  Mostly though, I do find it interesting.

By my own reckoning the 99% probably represent about 3% actually, about the same percentage that last voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 (citation HERE). That's not a knock...it's more like reality check.  In fact, while I hate to admit it, the Tea Baggers probably represent a larger percentage of the American public.  The Wall Street protesters should take some solace in the knowledge that fighting for what you think is right is a very good thing, very much in keeping with the best of American history.  I'd say the same for the Tea Baggers, but some of the not-so-subtle racism expressed during many Tea Bagger rallies really turned me off to their "cause"...many of the tenants of which I actually do agree with by the way.  Want to immediately turn me off to a cause?  Then be a racist swine.

Now when I was thinking about writing this note I had contemplated talking about some of the protester's demands, but I've decided against that for one simple reason:  I've not seen any single cohesive set of demands.  Yes, there has been whispers of "eliminating college debt" (for example), which is actually just too silly for much in the way of serious commentary.  I do agree that a college education costs far too much, but it does have value...and that is worth paying for no matter what you think (outside of love, the best things in life aren't always free).  There are also some elements of union frustration in the protests, for which I have only a limited amount of patience at any given moment (but that is another topic for another time).

So where does this leave us?  Well by my optics I think we have the Wall Street protesters on the hard left, the Tea Baggers on the hard right, and the vast majority of us in the middle.  I'll confess that my sympathies probably lean ever so slightly on the side of the protesters, but not by much.  In fact I enjoy my capitalist existence.  I am proud of the fact that I've been able to move from very modest beginnings in my youth to professional position now that affords me the ability to do stuff I enjoy, like writing this spew. That kind of success doesn't happen in a vacuum...it happens because we have a society that has the ability to encourage it.  To the extent that we may need to re-orient our society so that this can happen for more folks...well...that's something I can support.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shaken, but not stirred

One of the many gifts I have been given in 2011 (and I actually have been given many gifts this year...) has been this whole adult asthma thing.  A side effect of that has been, I think, a tendency for colds to stay longer.  This has been the case for me for the past two weeks.  I don't think I've ever had a respiratory thing that lasted this long.  I know, "call the doctor", but as long as things slowly but surely seem to be getting better I'm going to avoid that, if for no other reason than the fact that there is not a lot the good Doctor McKenna can do for me anyway.

Ironic, huh?  A guy who is has never even tried bad for the lungs stuff like smoking now has asthma.  Somewhere someone is laughing about that one.

Anyway, I will confess to the fact that, earlier this week, this whole thing was getting me down.  I was tired of feeling sick, tired of feeling all doped up but not really better.  Insert invitation to pity party here.  Fortunately that passed, in large part to the discovery of the 10mg dose of Phenylephrine.  Now I just seem to have the linger effects of the cold, stubbornly holding on like Rick Santorum in the GOP primary.  Here's to hoping that both fade, and soon.

I really need to blog more...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm not a joiner but I'm alright

Over the years I've been asked to participate in various social activities.  I've gotten Facebook event invitations.  I even had a therapist suggest that I should be more socially engaged.  Throughout it all I usually & respectfully decline.  Why?

Well before delving into the pop psychology of it all, first and foremost I am always grateful whenever anyone thinks to invite me to their party, event, etc.  Sometimes, on rare occasion, I even accept and show up.  It takes some effort though, and I find that for the most part I'll go out of respect to the person who invited me.

Last December, for example, I attended a post-wedding party for my friend Leigh.  For me it was the perfect storm of stress:  I really didn't know anyone at the party (outside of Leigh and her husband) and it was something of a trek to get there, but I still went out of respect.  Leigh has been a good friend for a number of years, and I was genuinely glad for her on this occasion.  What's more, the wedding cake was awesome.

I could add the two blog-fest events as other examples of my discomfort in social situations.  Now I did have a good excuse for not attending the last blog-fest, as I had just dropped my youngest daughter off at school.  However, as the brilliant Ms Rivers stated to me after the fact, "you really didn't want to go, did you?", to which I copped a reluctant "yeah, you're right".  She was right, and although I would know a few people there (Gort, Tom Borthwick, and others) and I genuinely enjoy some of the conversations that come with these kinds of events, I never the less feel this reluctance to put myself out there in a crowd.

Work-related social events are probably the worst of this sort of activity for me.  In part it's because, I suspect, the fact that I have a "work" persona that I'd like to think is different than my "personal" persona. The melding of the two is incredibly difficult for me, even in small doses.  Now I never hesitate when I need to talk to groups of people, as this is an important part of my job.  Never the less I was very tense when, at the beginning of a recent meeting, we were all told (as part of a ice-breaker activity) to share something with the group that we no one knew about us.  What did I share?  That I had my own URL (that would be THIS site).  I could feel the tension though as I thought of what to say.

Pop psychology.

So what is the "why" to all of this?

Well on one hand, I suspect the quick-n-easy answer has something to do with self-image.  Maybe I lack a positive self-image and this is manifest by fear of being exposed for all my supposed flaws in social situations.  For the record, I'd give this one only a so-so nod of acceptance.  Yes, I don't always think that I have what I would call a healthy self-image, but I don't think it is debilitating either.  What's more, at least professionally I think I have a fairly healthy self-image.  The dirty little (not so) secret is that I have been successful professionally, and in fact I've already gone further in my career than I ever thought I would when I started out in the workforce a quarter of a century ago.  So while there may be some element of poor self-image in this pop psychology mix, it's only a minor ingredient, if at all.



On the other hand, Myers-Briggs tells me that I am a dyed-in-the-wool introvert.  Among other things, I've learned that I don't get a lot of energy from being around others.  My energy...and my best work...comes from more individual interactions.  Yes, I can "do" social situations, but it probably takes more of an energy toll on me than it does for someone who is very extroverted.  Interestingly enough, I really do enjoy facilitating in front of groups of people, but I also realize that it takes a lot out of me.

In the final analysis, pop psychology can explain some things at a point of time, but the stark reality of life is that very few things stand still (least of all in our heads).  I am, in fact, evolving.  That's as instructive a point as I can make about myself, and I'm sure that it is equally true for most others as well.  As humans we are given this almost miraculous ability for introspection.  We can question who and what we are, and we can, if we feel the need, change.  I know real, substantial change doesn't come via fiat, and sometimes that change never comes at all.  Never the less it's comforting just to know that we can evolve.  As for me, well I'm certainly okay with questioning my discomfort with some social situations, but I'm not all that interested in drastically changing.  I basically like who I am.  I am, it seems, alright.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mind, Body & Doing The Job

Last week I had responsibilities at work to carry out that, let's just say, represent the worst of the "stuff" I ever have to do professionally.  I think anticipation leading up to this work increased my overall stress level so much that I ended up getting physically sick...in this case a fairly decent head cold that is only now abating.  I don't mention that for want of sympathy, as I deserve none in this particular case.  My stress over doing my job pales in comparison to the stress others are under, and besides, when you want to have a certain kind of job you have to take all that goes with it, both good and horrendous.

My point in the above paragraph?  Well I have two fold purpose in mind for this particular rant.

Point One:  As I grow older, I am becoming increasingly aware that how you feel...that is emotionally, attitude-wise, outlook in life...plays a part in now you feel physically.  Not related to what I noted in the first paragraph, but part of my job entails doing adult-learning related work.  There have been times on occasion when I genuinely don't feel good, suffering from the kind of maladies that strike all of us from time to time.  You know what though?  For some reason I'm always able to hold it together for that portion of time when I am in front of others.  Yeah, there may be the errant sneeze or cough, but by and large my energy level is high, I'm physically moving around a lot, and I am actively engaged in the learning process.  Before and after the event I may be the physical equivalent of jello, but when I'm on it's all systems active.  Mind over matter if you will.

Point Two:  I do have sympathy for those engaged in the Wall Street occupation movement*, but I'm not completely sold on everything that is being spouted. I get the distinct impression that some folks...particularly those who are younger...feel there is a "right" to a good job, high pay, a pension, etc.  Simply put, there is no such right, and this is a GOOD thing.  Why?  What we have to enjoy today isn't the result of an entitled citizenry!  No, it's the result of people working their asses off in pursuit of more.  They wanted more, and they realized that the only true way to have more in life is to work hard and strive to achieve.  Life hands us adversity, and we choose how to react to it.  We can....

  1. Choose to whine, cry and complain that we are entitled to stuff and point fingers of envy at those who seem to "have" OR
  2. Choose to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back in the game.

Maybe my perspective is somewhat different than that of the average 20-something these days.  By way of background, I grew relatively poor.  My three brother and I lived with our mother in a housing project.  Mom worked nights to support us so that she could be there for us during the day.  We didn't have a lot, but my mother constantly impressed upon her sons the need to get an education and showed us by example that all work was noble.  Fast forward to now and I did get an education and I have a very good job that enables me to do some good things, such as help my children pay for their college educations.  What I have now career wise is the product of some luck (being at the right place at the right time), but by and large it is the product of almost persistent hard work and determination.  Yeah, there were times when I thought I "should have been promoted" or something like that, but they were fleeting, as I would inevitably come to my senses and remember that the best things in life aren't given to you...they are earned.

The common thread to both points above is simple:  how you feel matters, and by and large you control how you feel.  Yes, we are guaranteed the right to pursue happiness, but there is no actual right to be happy.  Oh, and sometimes happiness takes a mighty long time to achieve.  The world isn't a video game there rarely is there actually instant gratification.  Real gratification comes from a life well lived.


(*) There is an element of the Wall Street occupation movement that I do very much "get" , and that has to do with egregiously excessive executive compensation.  No executive, no matter what they do, is worth hundreds of times the wages of an average worker.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dr CO Marthins wants to know my religion

It's comforting in a weird sort of way that...like the changing of the seasons, like the coming of the holiday season, like the inexorability of Scranton's city government to function...there are still laughably bad Internet scams still out there.

From my Hotmail account, I give you Dr CO Marthins...




FROM THE DESK OF DR.CO MARTHINS
The Head of File and Auditing Department,
BANK OF AFRICA (B.O.A)
Ouagadougou Burkina-Faso (West Africa)
REMITTANCE OF US$25,300 million
CONFIDENTIAL IS THE CASE. VERY URGENT ATTENTION
This message might meet you in utmost surprise, however, it's just my Urgent need for foreign partner that made me to contact you for this transaction I am a banker by profession from Burkina Faso in West Africa and currently holding the post of director Auditing and accounting unit of the bank.
I have the opportunity of transferring the left over Funds ($25.300 million) of one of my bank clients who died Along with his entire family in a plane crash.
Hence, I am inviting you for a business deal where this money can be shared between us in the ratio of 50/40 while 10% will be mapped out for expenses. I will like to inform you that this transaction is 100% risk free, WHILE further details of the transfer will be forwarded to you as soon as I receive your return mail. And also promise me that you will not disappoint me when this fund hits your account.
Meanwhile the World Bank Group has mandated the BANK OF AFRICA Burkina Faso to release this unclaimed fund immediately when the next of kin is discovered with due application.
This payment will be effected through Swift Telegraphic Transfer in conjunction with the support of the World Bank.
Your Urgent response is needed for immediate transfer of this fund IN TO YOURRECEIVING BANK ACCOUNT.
(FILL THIS FORM BELLOW PLEASE AND RESEND IT TO ME).
1) Your Full Name.............................
2) Your Age....................................
3) Marital Statuses............................
4) A copy of your photo identity
5) Your Cell Phone Number......................
6) Your Country................................
7) Your Occupation.............................
8)  Sex....................................
9) Your Religion...............................
Please keep this proposal as a top secret and delete if you are not interested.
Regards,
Dr.co Marthins
Bank Of Africa, Burkina Faso-West Africa.

Runaway Train

One of my favorite songs...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

10 Clues that "The Office" Really Doesn't Take Place In Scranton

In no particular order, for no particular reason:

  1. It's clearly way too flat to actually be Scranton.
  2. No office chatter about the loons that spoke at the last city council meeting.
  3. No reference to a location being "up da line" or "down da line".
  4. The men always tuck their shirts in (this is a dead give-away).
  5. It would actually be nearly impossible to drive your car into the real Lake Scranton (and if you did, I think the EPA would end up getting involved).
  6. No office political loud-mouth parroting what he just heard Rush Limbaugh say.
  7. Angela clearly isn't Catholic.
  8. People in this area drink their booze in the woods, a beer garden or at home, not on Lake Wallenpaupack
  9. Mose would be in a group home instead on working on the beet farm.
  10. If it really was filmed in Scranton, malcontents in Wilkes-Boro would be complaining about it (and would not doubt try and get their Congressman to have the location changed to somewhere in Wilkes-Boro, you know, like Nannicoke or Plimmit).

Friday, October 7, 2011

A simple solution to Bank of America's new $5 debit card fee

Bank of America will start charging debit card holders a $5 monthly fee, as reported in many sources (including HERE).  This has gotten a lot of press, and I heard a story about a BofA customer bringing a petition with 100,000+ customer signatures in opposition to the fee.  I also hear that Wall Street protesters citing this as an other example of corporate greed and general badness on the part of the banking industry.

Now I know that it is easy to get caught up in all of the rhetoric.  Point taken.  However, I do think that many who complain about the fee forget one very simple reality of this situation:  you don't have to do business with Bank of America.

That's right:  if you don't like the fee then you can simply bank with another institution.

Some will claim "Steve, all the bank will start doing it eventually", but like most generalizations, this one isn't entirely true.  Yes, I suspect that many banks will impose similar fees, especially large, multi-state banks.  I am reasonably confident though that the fee will not become an industry standard, at least not across all segments of the banking business.  So what are your choices?

  • Small, Community Banks - I've read where some industry analysts predict that many small community banks will not impose the fee.  
  • Credit Union - Almost everyone these days can join a credit union.  Read HERE.

So enough already with the whining and victimology.

As a side note, I suspect that BofA is imposing this fee precisely because they want to thin their customer ranks of those clients with relatively small account balances.  That is certainly the bank's right, but it is certainly our right to not do business with BofA.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Legacy of Steve Jobs

I do not own a single Apple product.  I have purchased them over the years as presents for my daughters (iPods & helped with the purchase of an iPhone or two), but I have never found them appealing for two main reasons:

  1. I think the designs (hardware & software) tend to be over-simplified.  I like having lots of options and choices to make with the technology I use.  For example I hate the whole "automatic sync with iTunes" thing that iPods make you do; I want to make the choices of what is on my music player; I don't want anything to happen automatically. 
  2. I think most of their products are over-priced.  The one exception I can think of is the 16gb iPad, which at $499 seems to be moderately priced relative to the competition.
The above noted, you can't help but admire the fact that Apple puts so much emphasis on design and product experience.  Compare this Microsoft's products, which tend to have clunky, sometimes non-intuitive designs.  Yes, it makes all the sense in the world to click on the "start" button to stop the computer.  Oh, and let's not forget the ever-feared "blue screen of death"...


...which we all tend to face from time to time.  Yes, I think there is something of a stark contrast between Apple and Microsoft...well more appropriately Apple and the rest of the technology world.  I suspect that this is the legacy of Steve Jobs.

Speaking of legacy, what better way to end this post than with the words of Steve Jobs.

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."
– Stanford commencement speech 2005


Well spoken.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rest In Peace Steve Jobs

You can't have to be an Apple fan to appreciate just what Steve Jobs did for technology in general over the past twenty years.

Rest in Peace Steve Jobs

Somehow I don't think there will ever be anyone quite like him.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Your parents lied to you: monsters are real.

I read about this in both the local (Scranton Times) and national (CBS, Reuters, and others) news.

7 Year Old Child Tortured in Scranton

As a parent I utterly disgusted.  I am a loss for words.  I want to just find this child and protect him...protect him from the monsters that were disguised as his "parents".

For the child, I hope that his life has begun anew.

For the "parents", well, I hope that one day they realize just what they have done...and that this realization tortures and consumes them for the rest of their lives.

Who Is Harry Nilsson? (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)


As I may have mentioned a week or so ago, I purchased a DVD on the life of Harry Nilsson, which I finally got around to watching Sunday night.

My overall impression?  If you are a fan of Harry, or of the music of the late 60's/early 70's, then I'd suggest you check this out.  The DVD is long for someone who actually had a relatively short career in the spotlight, but it held my attention for all of two hours it played.  I do confess to pausing at about the one hour mark for some popcorn though.

The basic story of Harry Nilsson is really rather compelling.  Here is a guy who was enormously talented.  He played multiple instruments, wrote terrific songs, and had one of the most incredible singing voices of all time, bar none.  Want some evidence?


Interestingly enough, Without You is a song that Harry didn't write (it was actually written by a member of the band Badfinger).  Regardless, I think this is something of a signature piece for him, along with Everybody's Talking.  I don't know of another current musical "artist" that can sing like Harry; hell 90% of what you hear in modern popular music is acoustically altered using auto-tune or some of other computer magic.

As for the man, this is something incredibly tragic about someone born with so much talent...that works so hard to get noticed and becomes successful at their craft...and then becomes intent on destroying that which made him so successful.  Yet later in life Harry seemed to become grounded and by all appearances died while personally very happy, surrounded by his family.

This is a great, all be it very sad at times, story.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Road Apples, #113

Hotel Sterling...If I wasn't completely devoid of motivation I'd make my way down to Wilkes-Boro to take some pictures of the decaying-before-our-very-eyes Hotel Sterling.  There is something incredibly fascinating but yet sad about a grand old building that has fallen down into such disrepair.  Think about it:  a building is a "thing" on one level, but on another it represents so very much on another.  How many loves were found, marriages celebrated, campaigns began, campaigns ended and just lives changed at a place like the Hotel Sterling?  It is something of an old cliche (sorry, I don't have the accent mark), but if only the walls could talk in places such as this.

Holy Family Church...Speaking of places with history, the church where I received most of the Catholic Sacraments is being slowly dismantled.  Andy Palumbo is doing a great service for me (and others I suspect) by taking pictures of this sad event.  When I was a little person receiving first Communion the place looked so very large; now that it is being dismantled it seems to be so very much smaller.

TrashAThon...For a few minutes this afternoon I was alternating between Mod Wives and Jersey Shore as my background TV noise.  The very best that New Jersey/New York has to offer I suppose.  I'd be critical of both shows, but what's the point?  They both apparently do well in the ratings, so someone is making money off it all.  

Rick Perry...There is a story in the National Enquirer that connects Rick Perry in some manner with the KKK.  Now hardcore Republicans will whine that "it's just the National Enquirer", but how many of those folks were reveling when John Edwards was getting skewed in those same pages?  The National Enquirer may publish its share of trash, but they also get it right every once in a while.  Anyway, the story is well beyond the U.S. tabloids, as it has gotten coverage also by the U.K.'s Daily Mail.  You can link to the story HERE.

REM...The band REM recently announced their retirement, and while I will not going to claim that I am the biggest fan of their music, I will note that they have had a hell of a run. Some of my favorite REM songs include The One I Love, Stand, Pop Song 89, Fall On Me, It's The End of the World As We Know It, Losing My Religion and others.  The music was great, but even more impressive was the fact that, in an industry full of assorted wankers, stoners and degenerates, they carried themselves well over the years.  They are also incredibly talented musicians. Here's to Athens greatest contribution to popular music...



You just don't see talent like this in popular music very often these days.

NBA Season...It looks like the battle of "millionaires vs multi-millionaires", also known as the NBA owners vs NBA players union, will result in some kind of season cancellation.  How many people care?  Personally I find the concept of a labor union representing individuals who on average make over $5 million (reference HERE) to be ever so slightly surreal, especially when you consider that most top talent in the league have individual agents representing them as well. The folks entertain others for a living for Pete's sake!  In the "contribution to society" department they may rank slightly above circus clowns.

Don't get me started on the public financing of athletic facilities.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Divorce is too easy these days..."

"Divorce is too easy these days..."  is what someone posted on the Facebook group page "Your know ur from Scranton, Pa".  I wanted to post a reply in that thread, but then I remembered that I have the whole entire blog thing going.

Anyway, had I been so motivated to post in that discussion, I would have told the individual making that statement that:

They obviously have never been through a divorce.

or

If they have been through a divorce, it must have been far different than what most folks experience.

Divorce is NOT easy, not now and I suspect not "back then" either.  In fact, I would go so far as to describe it as being an almost perfect storm of suck...

...it is chock full of the worst possible emotions (anger, sadness, jealousy, regret, and I could go on)
...if you have children, no matter what the age(s) are, it is disruptive to their lives
...lawyers are almost almost always involved (things that involve lawyers are almost always bad news)
...it costs money no matter how you do it (sometimes a lot of money)
...it puts your life in limbo for an extended period of time
...it consumes enormous amounts of your time
...it exposes you personally and financially

The above is just for run of the mill divorces.  Lest we forget that also sometimes divorces result from...

...substance abuse
...physical abuse
...emotional abuse

...and other assorted really horrible things.

Now if you are reading this and you are in a happy marriage then you certainly have my congratulations.  You truly are living the dream.

If you are reading this and you went through an easy, painless divorce, then I'd say you have been one of the fortunate few.

If you are reading this and are going through (or have gone though) a difficult divorce, then you truly have my sympathy.

The past wasn't always better.  The good old days weren't always so good.  And what appears to be "easy" to some can be in fact very difficult for others.

Carpe diem folks.