Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Role of the Governed

Literature, history books, various news outlets and my life are my only opportunities for understanding the lives of the people. "We the people . . . " The role people have to play in their government will definitely change depending on the form of the government.

A true democracy works wonderfully well when there aren't a million people wanting a million different things. Everyone has a vote that counts. Everyone is required to make a choice. Every choice is required to be made by everyone. All laws are made by everyone.

A republic is based on representatives of some kind. These representatives represent the people. Providing a service to the individual, the representative votes for everything. The role of the people is limited based on how the representatives are chosen. If the representatives are appointed for the people, there is little the people have to do with their government. This form of government can be a very fair one or a corrupt one, depending on how it is implemented.

Monarchies, Dictatorships, Theocracies, etc. Many versions of various kinds of government, each with varying degrees of "people" involvement.

Our government is a democratic-republic. We vote for representatives who are then sent to the capitol to represent our needs. Still, the representative is expected to decide certain policies without direction from the "people". We can be more or less involved in our government to suit our individual needs. Pretty simple, really. Well, is it?

"We the people" are willing to step on the liberties of others who do not believe the same as we do.

"We the people" simply do not care. Most of us don't.

"We the people" are more interested in obtaining security at the cost of liberty.

"We the people" are willing to give the government more power and allow more interference in our lives because we do not care enough to take care of it ourselves.

"We the people" want others to give up their liberties and give up their possessions so we can have more.

"We the people" care more about ways to manipulate the system and still look good to others than we do about making real change.

"We the people" look upon self-sufficient people and entities with greed and envy.

I do not like the things I see in our society. I hear about the evils of corporations from our leaders in government and calls to increase their taxes. What? Many, many people depend on corporations for their livelihood. Whether that livelihood is gained through employment or investments, taxing the corporation will damage people.

I continue to hear about those evil people who make more than $250,000.00 annually. They must have done something wrong to have gained more than their share of the money so we must tax them at extreme rates. Do people who earn over 250,000 dollars spend their money? I bet they do. So if you take that from them, are they going to be able to spend it? Nope. Who does that help? Look, it isn't about that anyway. Fairness. Equal taxation. These seem foreign to "the people".

Global warming. There is a concept science has "proven" to be caused by the actions of humans. OK, I'll buy it. We are causing global warming. I hear about purchasing "credits" that let "the people" live their lives the way they want and still feel good about how much they are affecting global warming. What kind of hypocrisy is that? Preach the evils of living in certain ways, consuming what you feel you would like and purchasing your way out of a sore conscience. If you truly believe the human experience is causing global warming, change your life. Do not burden others with your excesses.

Apathy. The fall of Rome was founded on apathy. The fall of any great civilization is based at least in part on apathy. So, should we do anything about it? I don't care.

OK, I care. The only way for us to be the best is to care enough to do the right thing. "We the people" do not care. Generally, our lives have become too complicated to care about doing anything besides those activities that have a direct and immediate affect on us and those for whom we care. Sad, really. A self-centered attitude breeds selfishness. Simple and obvious. How do we change? Make time to do things for others. Yes, it comes down to a seven letter word. Service. Serving the needs of others helps us keep our perspective where it belongs - outward.

In Bloomington, Illinois a man complains about an unrated foreign movie he rented from the public library. He said is was soft porn and should not be part of the library's collection. Whether that is true or not, I don't know. Based on this man's complaint, the library board decided to remove it from their DVD selection. I do not wish to suggest the library should have everything available nor do I wish to suggest there should be no limits. I wonder, though. Upon whose morals do we rely when we are deciding upon the limits of our liberties?

The constitution is only going to protect "we the people" as long as "we the people" are willing to do the right thing. It is not the government's job to take care of us. It is not the government's job to provide for the poor. It is not the government's job to provide health care or decide who must purchase what. It is not the government's job to tell me what to say. It is not the government's job to tell the radio talking head what to say either. It is not the government's position to do much of anything in my life.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

There needs to be a limit to what the government can do. Conversely, if "we the people" do not step up to the responsibilities endowed upon all men, the government will and the limits of the government will start to be loosened.

One day, "We the people" are going to say to our comrades, "where are we going and why are we in this basket?" We will not have to worry too much about it because the road will have been paved and paid for by our tax dollars, or rather borrowed from the taxes our children will pay.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thmazing's Thutopia: Thmazing tells you how to vote on Props 20 and 27 - part 2

Thmazing's Thutopia: Thmazing tells you how to vote on Props 20 and 27 - Part 2

So, yesterday, I talked a little about proposition 20 and the flaws it contains. I can't properly consider a proposition without fully understanding what the fine details are. Yes, on the surface there's reason to believe that proposition 20 should become law. However, as I suggested yesterday there's serious problems contained in this legislation. No matter how good the idea, the fine details need to also stand muster. There's got to be fewer flaws than the good done by the law.

Today, I would consider more deeply the opposing initiative, proposition 27. The authors of proposition 27 are Daniel Lowenstein and election law attorney Fred Woocher. It is an alternative to proposition 20, which establishes reform that truly merits the consideration of thoughtful Californians. It should not be dismissed outright without thought. Here's what proposition 27 (FAIR - Financial Accountability In Redistricting) would do:
  • Return control of redistricting to a democratically elected body that is accountable to the people, which can also be fired by the people.
  • Reduce the cost of redistricting. This is important at a time when California is spending far more money than it is taking in. FAIR establishes an unbreakable cap on taxpayer dollars that would be spent on this political game of musical chairs. FAIR will offer a "likely decrease in state redistricting costs totaling several million dollars over 10 years." 
  • Mandate that all districts of the same type be precisely equal in population - no variations in districts means there will be no "rotten boroughs". 
  • Reduce the number of cities and counties that are split between districts. 
  • Strengthen effective community representation. 
  • Return to the people the right to referendum, to vote no on a congressional redistricting statute. 
  • Unlike proposition 20, there will be no income test for admittance to a district. FAIR requires all redistricting proposals to strictly conform to the mandates of the Voting rights Act. This will ensure fair representation for all people.
Let's make it so redistricting is done right by people who will be held accountable for their actions. If you do not like your representative, do what it takes to fix the problem the right way. Get enough like-minded people to vote against him. Turning to tricky solutions like proposition 20 isn't the right way to fix what is wrong with California.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thmazing's Thutopia: Thmazing tells you how to vote on Props 20 and 27

Thmazing's Thutopia: Thmazing tells you how to vote on Props 20 and 27

It's true there's something enticing about removing some of the politics out of redistricting California. It's true it seems to be the right thing to do. Still, can we really depend on this solution? What do we know about Proposition 20?

Proposition 20 would give power over redistricting of California's congressional districts to a panel of 14 randomly selected volunteers. They are required by law to have no experience in government or real-life redistricting. Also, the selection process is something only a tax accountant could love. Seriously. Anonymous tax accountants play a big role in the selection. Proposition 20 mandates that all California political districts be segrerated by income level. Yes, each district is to include only people of the same income as well as employment opportunities and other living standards. The words used in the legislation are "similar living standards . . . similar work opportunities."

Why? What purpose could there be to mandate the separation of people by income level into different districts? Through this scheme, the law would force San Francisco's high-end Nob Hill area (the Mark Hopkins Hotel, the Fairmont Hotel) to be in the same congressional district as the equally high-end Marina district (beautiful homes overlooking the scenic Golden Gate Bridge, vistas of San Francisco Bay) but neither of these neighborhoods could be in the same district as the high-unemployment ghetto of Hunters Point. Why is this so? All of these neighborhoods are currently in the district of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and all three areas contain Pelosi enthusiasts. What good comes from slicing out the primarily African American area of Hunters Point out of Peloxi's district? How does that imrpove life in the ghetto or on Nob Hill or in California. Does it stop our state from going broke? Does it eliminate the California debt?

You know what it sound like to me? It sounds like a throwback to an awfull, bygone era, "Jim Crow." Most voters today remember that time only because of what was written in history books. Others seem to have forgotten. Districting by race, by class, by lifestyle or by wealth just is not acceptable. Californians should understand these code words. The days of "country club members only" districts or of "poor people only" districts are over aren't they? This is only one reason Proposition 20 should be defeated.

So, what would happen if proposition passes? Redistricting will jeopardize the seniority of California's House members — Republican and Democrat alike. Billions of federal dollars will flow away from California to states like Texas or New York. Those states' senior congressmen will be protected by state legislatures desperate for federal dollars. You know there's a reason the League of women Voters recommends voting against Proposition 20.
Personally, I don't care as much about the loss of senior representation. It's about the level at which this legislation was written. What are the alterior motives behind the legislation? Don't vote for something because of what the stated intent is without looking at the legislation, you know the small type. You wouldn't buy a car without due research. You wouldn't sign any contract without looking it over. This is just as important.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Seek Ye Earnestly, You May Find Happiness Along the Way.

Alice came to a fork in the road. “Which road do I take?” she asked.

“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.

“I don't know,” Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn't matter.”

– Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland
I’m no longer a twenty-something or even a thirty-something. I guess that means I’m getting old, though I shouldn’t like to accept such a horrible possibility. I’m certain it’s far better than the alternative – death. It wasn’t too long ago that I’d hardly admit being “middle aged”. Middle-aged isn’t but a heartbeat away from old no matter your perspective.

Consider how different life seems as we look at it from different stages in life. A young man, full of hope, is driven if not blinded by ambition. He seeks out a certain life, fully intent on capturing happiness as if it is a possession. He thinks there’s a rainbow and the pot of gold is just as real. All he has to do is follow that rainbow and he’ll find it. Later, when half of life’s cards have been dealt, that surety isn’t quite so strong. Still, there is ambition but the strength to follow that ambition isn’t quite as resilient. The rainbow isn’t quite as vibrant and the surety of a pot of gold isn’t nearly as unwavering. Finally, an old man looks back on what has been, ambition long consumed in the pursuit of that happiness, he breathes in that undeniable gulp of satisfaction of what has been a very fulfilling life. No, there was no real rainbow with a pot of gold sitting there for the taking. Conversely, happiness was not something to be possessed; neither could it be purchased even for the price in the ransom of a pot of gold. His happiness was found, as the old man knows, through deliberate and passionate pursuit.

What do you want to do with your life? Where do you want to be? Why aren't you happy? What will make you happy? So many questions that are seemingly unimportant lead to answers that build a foundation upon which our life's highway is created. We cannot be happy if we live without ambition, wondering aimlessly. Many people flounder in their lives never really doing anything. If we do not have an understanding of what we're after, we will never gain more than what simply gets in our way as we wander through life.

Incredibly, it is too late when many realize that it was all for naught. The onset of what we have termed to be mid-life crisis comes when we realize our wanderings have been haphazard, leading us far from what really brings us joy or what really matters.

Instead of accepting what will eventually become of us, we will find greater joy in determining the correct path to follow. We cannot know what that path is until we know where it is we want to end up. Introspection and deep, significant planning is only part of the process. Maintaining a grasp on that reality, stopping and taking inventory, repositioning ourselves relevant to our desire and pressing forward with full purpose - these are what we must do if we are going to gain access to the better part.

“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.” – Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Arbitrary Nature of a Sign

Late one night, a man gets a call from a close friend, who says, “I finally did it: I bought the Ferrari. I am going to drive it for the first time tonight, and I wondered if you would like to ride shotgun.”

“Of course, I would.”

So the man waits by his window until he sees the new sportscar pull up at his curb. He grabs a sweater, then runs and hops in the passenger seat. It is a cool summer evening when the two of them begin racing through the residential neighborhood and then to one of the major arteries in town. The speed limit is 45, but they are doing 75 and feeling rather comfortable with that until a light a block ahead turns red. The driver hits the gas and speeds through the red light at 90. His friend screams, begging the driver to stop, but he keeps going and makes it through the intersection safely.

The passenger turns to him and asks, “What are you doing!?”

“It's okay; my brother drives like this all the time.”

They proceed, when another light turns red ahead of them. Again, the driver floors it, and the car passes through the intersection at 100 mph. Now the passenger is truly terrified, so much so that he nearly ruins the apholstery. And he screams in his fear, "What are you trying to do, get us killed?"

“Hey,” the driver replies, perfectly calm, “it's okay; my brother drives like this all the time.”

Again, a red light ahead: the driver accelerates. About a half-block from the intersection, the light turns green, and the passenger breathes a sigh of relief, but the driver hits the brake hard -- so hard, in fact, that the car fishtails, then turns sideways, rocking back and forth on the lip of the intersection.

“Now what?” asks the confused passenger.

“My brother might be coming.”
We can all see the same sign but read its meaning very differently. Our own perspectives color or distort the meaning of what we see. In fact, many times we will never know the truth because our perspectives distort so much that it is impossible to see it as it actually is.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Put Your Right Foot In!

This will boggle your mind and you will keep trying over and over again to see if you can outsmart your right foot, but you can't. It's preprogrammed in your brain!! 
  1. While sitting where you are, at your desk, in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.
  2. Now, while doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction!
So, can you do it? Can you move your foot in a clockwise circle and draw the number six in the air with your right hand? I bet you can't.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nature of Heresy

Consider our divine rights as humans to believe and live according to those beliefs, speaking freely on how we believe. I am left wondering how people who believe differently than I do feel it in their best interest to protest my beliefs. I am well within my rights - constitutional and, according to the Declaration of Independence, divinely acquired - to talk about and live according to those beliefs as long as doing so does not infringe on others' rights to the same.

Further consider that should a man believe certain principles to be divine, asking him to recant or speak contrary to those principles would be infringing on his rights to believe or live according to those beliefs.

I would never presume to suggest that another's beliefs are any less valid than those I hold dear. Although I might consider certain beliefs to be divinely sure - a.k.a. factual - I cannot presume others have come to the same conclusion. I would not think to hold a man to lower esteem for having convictions that are contrary to mine. I only ask for the same consideration not only for myself but for everyone.

If I should consider certain principles to be divinely sure, my actions would be heretic should I chose to recant or apologize for them. I would then be hardly capable of doing so under any outside pressure which was less powerful than my conviction. A dedication to what one considers truth would hardly be worth anything if this was not the case.

No, I should not think to suggest anyone has the right to tell anyone else what to say or how to believe. The freedom to make these decisions certainly is divine in nature so it truly is the heretic who lives contrary to his own beliefs or suggests another should do the same.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let The World Proclaim!

The efforts to make a mark in the world - whether that's just your little place on your street or something a little larger - seem to take up most of our time. We like to think we're something more than a bag of water waddling around from the time we wake until we again slumber. The cycle of a day seems to move monotonous, day after day, year after year... I really like to enjoy those days that actually are a little different. Are we better than what we do? Are we something more than the product of those days?

When I was a boy, I liked to hear about King Arthur. The story of a man who envisioned a world better than what he was given. A man who trusted more than he should. A man who paid the price for his ambition and trust.

In the story of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere gives this advice to Lancelot, the bravest of the Knights of the Round Table: “For I would not have you declare yourself to the world until you have proved your worthiness. Wherefore do not yourself proclaim your name, but wait until the world proclaimeth it.” 

There are times when no one will do your proclaiming for you. Generally, however, patience must prevail over the desire to stand up and boast greatness from the rooftops. The struggle to keep ambition at bay and remain humble seems to be one of constant concern.

Does anyone notice? Is there a point to this grand undertaking? Are we left to muddle through all this without any real reward?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Make No Excuses

Alma counseled his son Corianton,  “And now, my son, I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance.

“O my son, I desire that ye should deny the justice of God no more. Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.” (Alma 42:23-30)

Let our sins harrow us to the point of repentance. That is the message Alma was teaching his son. When we work to hide from our sins or cover them up, we’ll not progress or grow. It is only after recognizing that we have sinned that we can start on the path that returns us to a place closer to our Heavenly Father.

I wonder how much I have hindered myself by making excuses for my shortcomings. How much more is there that I haven’t attained for the excuse that I am but a weak man! It is the basics that I must apply to my life – prayer, study, service, family. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

An Evening Cruising with A Good Friend

Many years ago, I found myself with a dear friend, four one-dollar bills, a car and an evening free of any real distractions. With the grand brain-trust we shared, we decided to spend the money on fuel and drive the night away. I guess it was not even fathomable to use the money on food or entertainment we could take home to either of our parents’ houses. The price of gasoline was not nearly as outrageous then as it is now or the drive would have been blessedly short.

We climbed into my four-door 1968 Toyota Corona, the color of which was a terribly unmanly baby blue, and headed to the gas station where we proceeded to dump all four dollars into the tank. The radio in the car played only the AM stations so we carried with us a portable radio/cassette-tape player for additional entertainment. We called it a Ghetto-blaster but it was not nearly as impressive as all that. Still, our night was set before us and we had a sound track ready to go as well.

I don’t remember what discussions we had or even everywhere we went. It was seriously not at all that exciting as anyone could imagine. I remember a few of our stops. We made it to the hotel where I worked as a night security guard. After that stop we headed south toward the beach and before heading home stopped in a couple other places.

At the hotel, a grand tour of this no-name establishment was in order. A single tower of 14 floors (13 really but there are too many superstitious people out there), the tour wasn’t really all that grand or super interesting for my friend I’m sure. We road the elevator to the top floor and found our way to the roof to look over Disneyland and the surrounding areas. Since the design of Disneyland and the civil codes of Anaheim prevented seeing anything outside of the park from the inside, the view into the park from the outside didn’t really reveal anything either. Yep, that view was the less than exciting capstone to an otherwise boring tour.

Before heading back to the car, we stood at the top of one stairwell and sang a few lyrics from a popular song of the day. I don’t remember which it was though I’d like to think we sounded pretty good. The echo that returned to our ears probably helped our illusions of grandeur. The majesty that was our post-pubescent voices was almost assuredly not something others would like to have heard. Looking back on that evening, I hope no one heard us. I also hope we weren’t singing any Spandau Ballet, A-Ha, or The Culture Club. That would be a terrible tragedy. There were a couple lines from a Frankie Goes to Hollywood song that echoed pretty well but I would prefer to imagine that even that wasn’t among our play list standing at the top of the stairs.

We headed south on Harbor Boulevard toward the beach. The Anaheim police made every effort to keep prostitution away from the tourism centers but we stopped and talked with a couple girls who were walking along Harbor. They were hoping for a little more than some conversation but we weren’t buying their goods. I often think back to that day, wondering how girls get so desperate and lost. Interestingly, a few days later while I was working at the hotel, someone left a note on the windshield of my car. It was hard to understand for the spelling and grammatical errors. It said something about remembering our talk and the car.

We actually made it to Pacific Coast Highway, where we turned east toward Newport Beach. I guess we were running low on fuel or there wasn’t anything more memorable than driving in the dark but that’s pretty much all I can recall from that night. Given the chance to run the night through again, I don’t know what I would change. We had the choice to sit in front of a TV and vegetate or do something equally unproductive at home but we decided to waste some fuel and spend the night driving. No more productive in some ways but far more in others.

I wonder if my friend remembers that night. If he does remember, I wonder if he recalls the night differently. I wonder how close to true my memory, or his, really is. By the time we leave this life, all we have are friends, family and memories. It is a blessing, I think.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Embarrassingly Useful

A guy goes to the store with a list of items to buy. Everything is going swimmingly until he gets to the tampons. What guy enjoys buying female hygiene products? I can’t think of any guy who would put that at the top of his most desired purchase. Still, logical thought dictates he isn’t buying it for himself. All worry about that purchase is solely created from inside his tiny little brain. Kotex, on the other hand has other uses that might be considered manly. A Kotex pad in the first aide kit would provide incredible soaking abilities you’ll not find in many other products. I think it would not be bad to place one of these in your kit before your next hunting or camping trip.
There are other ingenious devices and gizmos that provide sincere benefits but aren’t necessarily something we want others to know we have or are thinking of buying. Here’s a list of a few products we’d probably think of using if we could get them while people were looking the other way.

I think if there were a poll, hotdogs would come out pretty high on the list of foods people like to eat. What about those things people like to put on those dogs? Chili, onions and sauerkraut all have a nasty habit of coming back to the party after it is over. Bad breath is one thing for which many products have been marketed successfully. No one is all too worried about going into a convenience store to pick up a pack of gum or mints. Even if it comes down to begging, we don’t normally find it too embarrassing to get that solution. What about the gas, though? If you eat, your body will generate gas. It’s part of the digestive process. Even those people who’ve been successful keeping the rest of the world ignorant of it, have it. A company called The Pond Inc is Marketing a product line known as Subtle Butt Gas Neutralizer. Seriously, someone figured how to use a charcoal filter to neutralize flatulence! How cool is that?!!? Well, would you not want to have the power to fart without the consequence?

Long, lustrous hair is the envy of the bald and not-so-bald worldwide. It is a sign of vibrant youth and vigorous health. Television, movies and novels all use hair to help portray everything people want in their lives. So much of my time is wasted on commercials about hair care and products to make it more shiny, stronger and thicker. Personally, I go with just about any shampoo that doesn’t make my hair fall out and carries a price point I don’t find overwhelming. I’ve spent a lot of time waiting in the hair care isle while others in my family stand perplexed by all the choices available to them.

There is unwanted hair, too. Razors, hair removal crèmes and other devices that seem to be inquisition rejects abound. I’ve seen coils of wire that just pluck the hair off legs. I’ve seen bloody legs after a bad razor was used. I’ve experienced razor-burn that seemed to take hours to go away. Then there’s the hair in hard to access areas, visible to everyone who would look. Ears and nose should be outwardly bald. This seems to be a universal attitude. If there were a simple way to eliminate this unwanted hair, I’m sure more baldness would be found. I have never heard anyone complain of ear or nose baldness. There are various companies marketing products that help eliminate hair from these small crevices in the head. From specially designed scissors to small electrical devices, there are myriad solutions for every ear or nose. Now, if you could just find the privacy necessary to use them, you could pretend to be afflicted with nose or ear baldness.

A survey suggested 40% have problems swallowing pills. Most of these people are not willing to talk to their doctor about the problem they face when prescriptions require taking a pill whole. If you are one of millions who have trouble swallowing pills, then you know the dreaded feeling of watching the doctor write you out a prescription. What if there was a solution that would work for children and adults alike. A few different solutions are available. One of these is the Oralflo Pill Swallowing Cup. The design of the cup allows you to drink the pill down without the stress or worry usually involved. No more chewing or crushing, just a simple swallow. Another similar product is the Pill Takers Cup.
How do we get by when our problems are so personal? We seek out products that will help. Getting those products without drawing attention to us will sometimes require a little creativity. It is the creative mind that wins every time!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Muffins and Wings

Today, I feel to be something of a curmudgeon – a Fashion-Curmudgeon. I watch various fashion trends come and go. I’ve watched the rise and fall of the waste line, neckline, shorts’ legs and shirtsleeves. I am one of those guys who will sit in a mall and watch people walk by. I notice things and take note of other characteristics. I recognize the fashion trends that seem to work OK for some but really do not for others. I sit and watch, wondering what it is that motivates people to ignore the mirrors hanging above the sinks in their bathrooms, on their closets and in their hallways.

Oh, I am not immune to these things. I am one who is afflicted with the terrible and oh so common dunlaps. You see, my belly done laps over my belt. Though my pants aren’t tight, it seems my body is formed to fit so that my slacks are significantly smaller than my shirt. From the top of my pants to my feet I am one size but from my belt on up I’m quite heavier. The distribution of fat in my body is certainly a sign of bad things but let’s look at the shape what happens at the belt line. There’s got to be something I could do about the statement I make nearly every day by the way I am dressed.

Today’s fashion seems to be one that cuts just about everyone right through in the most unflattering way. Low-rise on some is actually something of a pinching in a very uncomplimentary way on most others. Oh, it’s the in thing to wear your pants halfway through the widest portion of your body! Well, does this fashion make the statement you’re looking for? Are you sure you want to show the world the top of your undergarments? Or worse, to reveal the seam between your left and right buttocks? Are you the one who makes the statement that this fashion does not fit everyone? Can you see that billowing affect above the top of your pants?

The world has compiled different terms to describe the affliction. You know when we squeeze ourselves into these cloths that accentuate our fleshy middles in such a blossoming way. Muffin Tops, Bingo Wings and love handles. Yes, they all describe the phenomenon of overhanging flesh (fat) when it spills over the waistline of pants or skirts in a manner that resembles the top of a muffin spilling over its paper casing.

I want to make the call to people: take a moment when you dress, look in the mirror. Do your clothes really fit? Do you actually look good in the fashion statement you are making? Seriously, there is always an answer to the riddle that helps you look better. No, you may not be wearing the latest fashions designed for the size double zero runway model who can’t eat a hamburger without worrying about gaining an ounce of weight. No she doesn’t have to worry about that ballooning affect that is quite pronounced on the rest of the world.

Take a chance and secure your place in the world without bowing to the pressures to put on those clothes that do not fit you as intended. Seize the moment in clothes that won’t split or split you in ways never intended. Why tug and pull at your clothes all day to keep them in place? Be comfortable with who you are and wear clothes that are designed to accentuate your positives. Wear the right size and right design for your body. Yes, you can be styling without bowing to the fashion fad of the moment.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Have Faith; Fear Not

Faith and fear are mutually exclusive. You cannot have faith and fear and you cannot fear while having faith. They rest on opposing poles and will never be together in the same place.

This is easier to iterate than to implement in life. How many people have professed faith then lived another life! We place greater trust in ourselves or our neighbors than we do our God. We suggest there's more and that He's all powerful yet we let the world dictate our very actions.

So, the solution? Well, my mother always says put your money where you mouth is. No, I do not suggest we all need to pay monetarily, though that is part of it. If you fear God more than the world, make the right choices that place God above the rest. Live life as if God were more important. Faith is certainly a verb, more than a belief it is action. Faith should dictate our every move and with faith there is no fear.

With faith, our lives would be more prone to serve others. We'd place the needs of others above our own comfort. With faith, there would be no suffering. Simplistic? I don't think so. We learn from our God unselfishness. Most ills in the world stem from being selfish.

Have Faith; Fear Not.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Illusions of Slumber

The fact that everyone dreams is pretty universal, isn’t it? Still, I try never to read too much into the night visions haunting my sleep. What I remember of my dreams is very foggy most of the time. I know there are more than just the few moments I can still recall after waking up. I also know that little things can set off some of the strangest of illusions. The other night, I was dreaming about a race down a desert hill in something of a cardboard racecar. That alone is quite weird. The race, however, ended abruptly as I veered right into a barrel cactus. I braced for impact and threw my hands forward to keep from doing a face plant directly into the cactus. Boy, did my hand feel those needles. Looking at my right hand, I had three-inch needles slicing through my palm. I knew I needed to get these things out of my hand so I ran off to get medical attention – yeah, I could have just pulled them out myself but I was being wimpy. As I was going, I noticed my hand started to swell. Eventually, the swelling had advanced to the point that my fingers disappeared into this throbbing ball of oozing flesh. That’s when I woke up. My hand was very sore in reality. The elementary thought of cause and effect would bend logic to consider the dream was so real that the pain persisted even until I had waked from my slumber. In fact, I was probably sleeping wrong and had lain on my hand causing the pain. The dream was likely the result of this discomfort.

I think, in most cases, we create what we see while we sleep. Most dreams are based on things we were thinking about sometime in the hours leading up to our nocturnal slumber. Or, as in the case of my soapbox derby debacle, it is a result of a pain we’re feeling at the time of the hallucination.

More recently, I dreamed a very vivid and detailed vision. I share it here not for any other reason beyond how vivid the detail and significant the emotions derived from the experience.

Whether I was late to the party or most other guests were early I could not tell. It seemed the small park was full of people, all I would call friends or close family members. I was particularly surprised to find in attendance friends who I hadn’t seen in many years and many family members who had actually already passed from this world. I thought how special the occasion must be to garner such attendees. Still, I had no understanding of the purpose of this wonderful gathering. The feelings of acceptance and love persisted as I paused to speak with various people. I enjoyed handshakes from some and warm embraces from others. Everyone seemed to be in grand spirits for the occasion.

I did not recognize the park where the party is in full swing. Inside a perimeter set by whitewashed wrought iron filigrees and flourishes, the grounds were well manicured with twisting walkways that run parallel to closely trimmed shrubs. Lush cannot begin to describe the labyrinth made by a wonderful mix of common and exotic foliage. All paths, however, seemed to converge in the middle of the grounds where a beautiful waterfall, pond and gazebo stood. There were three fountains with water fanning in all directions spaced through the pond. With rocky outcroppings and lined with various kinds of ferns, the waterway too was manicured with impeccable grace. I noticed on one wood pillion low to the water's surface, a small turtle warming in the fleeting heat of the afternoon sun. There were myriad colors shimmering under the surface as nishikigoi swam in a hypnotic rhythm.

While I was entranced by the beautifully colored carp I realized my watch had started to fall apart. I scrambled to catch the pieces before I would lose them in the water below. How did they fit all these parts into such a small timepiece? My hands were overflowing with springs, cogs, gears and ornamental finery. I noticed there was just too much for one person to handle and sought help from those around me. Although they looked at me with sympathetic eyes, no one moved to my assistance. As I began to feel overwhelmed, I dropped a couple pieces into the shallows near the gazebo. I needed to retrieve these and bent down to reach them. As I picked up one piece, I would drop one or two others. My situation became desperate. I didn’t want to misplace even one part. I had hope I could still repair what was being lost.

As I turned for help from those who were near me, they seemed to move away from me. The sympathy that first displayed in their eyes was replaced by a cold stare of indifference. It was at this point I felt a sincere loss and the heaviness of despair. I could not give up but there was no chance for me to retain this treasure.

In the midst of this hopeless turmoil, I woke. The clock read 3:30.