Archive for November, 2012

“It has always seemed strange to me… the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. “~ John Steinbeck

Well, I suppose I wouldn’t be thorough if I only picked on Mega Millions and not picked on Power Ball.

The half billion drawing has already happened. For those people that I’ve read on Facebook about their plans to retire, get laid, go on a permanent vacation, or a huge Christmas shopping spree have already followed up with their disgust that they will be returning back to their place of work in the morning.

When odds are 1 in 175,000,000 — what did they honestly expect? Odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 5,000. And I don’t think there’s anyone out there lucky enough to have been struck by lightning 35 times in their life and be able to defeat those odds to win the Power Ball as well.

But since I already went off on a tangent about the lottery back in late March, this blog post is more about the foolery of people and their brainy ideas on Facebook to “SHARE” the winnings….. IF their numbers won. 

Pretty much its already sketchy because the numbers HAVE to win.

Have you seen this??????

If you are on Facebook, you probably have seen either some television or radio station offering to share the big prize if you “LIKE” and/or “SHARE” that particular post. It was the same way in March with Mega Millions.

This particular post that was floating around was from a local FOX television station from someplace. When I looked at it, you had to “LIKE” and “SHARE” before the drawing. It had an insane amount of people going for it. And even after the drawing, the number of “LIKES” and “SHARES” totaled almost 500,000.

The jackpot was just over $500 million. But hypothetically speaking if you were to take the lump sum to make sure that you can control the amount coming, after all of the taxes and what not, you’re only going to collect about $242.5 million.

So $242.5 million divided up by 500,000 people (and probably growing still) that is approximately $485 per person. And that’s IF they are successful in winning ALL numbers and they are honest about it by contacting everyone who participating in their scheme to seek out their mailing addresses.

Those who were too lazy to go out and buy their own lotto ticket and going in like a vampire on this idea, if they were legitimately contacted by the television or radio station, receive less than $500. And most likely would come in the form of  either a certified check or money order. 

Of course with the odds the way that they are, the more lottery tickets are purchased the better the odds are that someone is going to win. However on the other side of the coin the less likely that you will win.

Then I did see a lot of people asking on Facebook if  someone that they knew had won. But the obvious way of finding out whether or not a “friend” of yours on Facebook has actually won the entire Power Ball jackpot is that they will almost immediately disable their Facebook account mysteriously and disappear for about a year or two.

Or you can just wait to read about it in some online news article in the morning to find out as well. Most likely it will be like the Mega Millions in March, some group of people pooled their money and now they will be sharing their winnings.

Whether you played or not, I hope that you at least bought your OWN lottery tickets. Dambreaker and its Nation are seriously tired of seeing our own brains from rolling our eyes so much.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~ Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Earlier this evening was the annual presentation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the animated tale of The Grinch who dares to attempt to stop Christmas from coming.

This has been aired every year in between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas for as long as I can remember. And I began to wonder this evening more about the history of this beloved animated Christmas special. So I did some researching.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a children’s story by Dr. Seuss written in rhymed verse with illustrations by the author. It was published as a book by Random House in 1957, and at approximately the same time in an issue of Redbook. The book criticizes the commercialization of Christmas.

The animated special however is a 26 minute holiday special that is narrated by Boris Karloff who is famous for acting in many horror films in the 1930’s.  It was first debuted on the 18th of December in 1966 on CBS. One full week before Christmas Day.

There are some misconceptions that the song “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is sung by Boris Karloff. That is untrue. The person who did the vocals to the very famous tune is Thurl Ravenscroft who was an American voice actor and singer   until his death in 2005.

The fact that Boris Karloff was the narrator had eluded me personally up until about a decade ago. And I thought that it was really cool. Even though I probably had seen it in the credits for many, many years.

A musical onstage version of the story was produced and performed in 1998 and had a very short time on Broadway as well in 2008.

Of course, I would be at fault for not mentioning the film by the same name, starring Jim Carry as The Grinch in 2000. However, I am really not a fan of the motion picture version than I am of the animated Christmas special.

So there you have it, a little holiday trivia for you.

“It feels like I am choking on my own air, or as if I am drowning.”

The month of November has been brutal for me. With the exception of the quick trip to Houston, it comes across to me that I am surrounded by a giant wall of flames that takes the air right out of my very lungs.

And then more comes along that seems to push me into the deep end to where there is no escape. I am at the point of breaking.

I find myself being the one that is having difficulty looking at the brighter and positive side of life as we know it. Even though I have in the past posted relentlessly about forgetting about your negatives and focusing on the positives.

I will say that my own demeanor has improved a little bit, and in keeping true to my previous posts, that I am fully aware that there’s nowhere else to go but up from here. And that time will soon come on its own.

This does help and make me smile in regards to the “early Christmas” season.

Perhaps its what they have been calling the “holiday blues” because in the United States, we have begun our “holiday season” which is full of Christmas cheer and joy. It always happens the day right after Thanksgiving Day.

And in my own opinion, I think that is nuts. Considering that there’s still a week left of the month of November left.

However that is just something that annoys me personally. Not to mention the debate and discussion over whether or not to wish someone a Merry Christmas or greet them with Happy Holidays.

And sadly, that’s not the bulk of my distress.

The snowball effect came when there was talks between my sledge hockey team and the team from Houston.

Houston is doing what they can right now to make sure that they are going to the next sledge hockey tournament in 2013 which is being held in Philadelphia. Houston calculated that it would cost about $2,000 per player to go. And they’ve narrowed it down to ten players from their organization to go.

I think that Houston has more opportunity for sponsorship and successful donations. And I say that its great for their organization. On the other hand, the Austin Blades do not have the same kind of support or donations or funds as Houston does. So our team must work so much harder.

Houston started talking with my team about the possibility, but when someone asked about cost and how it was going to be done, Houston said that any player would be paid for by their own organization.

It makes complete sense to me. But for the Austin Blades, there’s not enough funds in the organization to even send one player.

I knew that would be the case when both teams returned home from the last tournament in Dallas last April. I knew that my team wouldn’t ever have the funds to make such a journey. And that is why I created in part, the donation site on gofundme.com.

All I have been able to have donated is $260 and it has seemed to come to a crashing stop. Basically, my donation site was “live” about the same time the shooting took place in Aurora, Colorado. So donations have been understandably going towards the victims of that tragedy. Then other tragedies happened. And with Hurricane Sandy still fresh on everyone’s minds on the East Coast, donations are going to them.

Add that with a tough economy, and that’s basically all I have been able to receive is $260.

Then I knew that with the Thanksgiving Day holiday coming that it was going to be a difficult four day weekend for me. As a bachelor with no transportation to speak of, being stuck indoors gets to be a drag. And because of the feeling that one gets, instead of it being really early Sunday morning, the 25th, it feels more like the beginning of Saturday part IV.

On Thanksgiving Day it felt like a Saturday. Even on Friday it felt like a Saturday. The usual whip and wear was nowhere to be found.

I did have a Thanksgiving meal that I could attend. It was held at the complex where I live. They have one for people like myself with nowhere to go for the holiday weekend. I was glad to be a part of it on Wednesday. However, that joy was short lived as the afternoon progressed, the activities here went right into Food Pantry Distribution.

How many times do I gotta complain about this??? “My time of the month” is what I call it.

I had about an hour in between both the meal and then the beginning of Food Pantry, but when I thought I had showed up just a few minutes before, staff had already started without me.

Then I was informed by the social worker that I could take off for that one time. That I didn’t have to help out with Food Pantry distribution, if I did not want to.  So I decided that if the social worker was going to do my job for me that one time, then I was going to just stay and hang out and socialize with others.

That’s when I started to catch a lot of hell and grief.

The social worker was doing the job that I volunteered to do over a year ago, but in her own way. She was not doing it the way that I do it. And that’s fine, it was working. But ohhhhhhhhhh noooooooooo…. neighbors got to be pissy about it all and insist that I take over the social worker and do what they considered is my job.

Many of them were just angry because there was not enough donations to go around to hand out turkeys as they have been used to in the past. Again, the economy and all. But they just need to get over it.

I totally understand that I cannot please ALL of the people here. But good grief!! Going up my butt because you still are not getting your way, is beyond ridiculous!

So then about 30 minutes later, I did jump in and relieved all staff members that were involved and things were back as they used to be.

After it was all said and done, the social worker made a comment about how she did not envy what I do in order to help with Food Pantry distribution. And that she believed that I was in need of a raise. But because I am not getting paid, I do not know how in the world “a raise” could be given.

The whole day just choked me and didn’t let go because I would have to face the fact that I would have a four day weekend practically by myself. And socializing with many friends and colleagues would not be possible because they were going to be busy with their own Thanksgiving Day celebrations with their own family and friends.

And even later in the evening, I caught hell from neighbors as they sprouted off about how I allowed staff to “control” me and take over what my duties are with Food Pantry. If I was getting paid, then it would be another story. But since I am not, then they need to learn to shut their mouths.

My helper got sick on Wednesday when I finally returned home from Food Pantry Distribution. She called Friday to say that she was in the hospital. I don’t know what her status will be for Monday. And that is a worry because I have inspections on Tuesday. If she is unable to come on Monday, then I have so much to do to cover for her and its not going to be easy at all.

So I am really hoping that some good cheer will come along real soon. With the last week of November, let’s hope that December brings something merry & bright.

 

“Black Friday= broke Saturday.”~Unknown

I am always happy when the situation arises when I can use a certain vocabulary that I am fond of.

Avarice would be the word I can use for this blog post.

The insanity of Black Friday is something that I can never seem to wrap my brain around and understand.

But what is it?

Black Friday is a term that is used to describe the commerce industry that the Friday after Thanksgiving, begins the holiday shopping season and the fact that most businesses make such a profit on that specific day that they end up “in the black” as they say rather than losing profit which would be the term “in the red” which is never good.

It has nothing to do with what society deems “black” whenever something negative happens. In business, being in the black is always a great thing.

Stores often now open their doors the day after Thanksgiving as early as 5:00 AM.  Many offering savings, discounts, and deals that are so great and low that they draw such huge crowds. And as of recently, business online offer the same kinds of deals. So that people do not have to go out into the crowds and weather.

However, it hasn’t been all tinsel and cupcakes during Black Friday.

http://www.ranker.com/list/13-most-brutal-black-friday-injuries-and-deaths/john-barryman

Isn’t that awful?

That is just one of the MANY reasons why I never go out on Black Friday. But most importantly, I enjoy my ability to sleep. If I do not have to, I am not going to get up that early just to go shopping. I mean after all, store inventory is only so big and there are so many people out that chances actually good that whatever I am looking to buy, by the time I get inside the stores, its gone.

No way. I would rather focus on gluttony and eat leftovers rather than avarice with a chance that I would never get what I am wanting in the first place. You got to pick your poison. And that’s what I would choose.

 

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”~ Havelock Ellis

As many millions of people in the United States are doing their last minute preparations for Thanksgiving Day, I noted the actual date in which this holiday has fallen this year. The actual numbered day of the month of November.

In 2012, Thanksgiving Day in the United States will be the 22nd of November.

This day is a bit more significant for me and my family other than just it being Thanksgiving Day.

All the way back in 1984, Thanksgiving Day also landed on the 22nd of November. So then why is it so significant?

That was the exact date that year when my family had moved from Sherwood, Arkansas to Winfield, Kansas. My family had been packing for what seemed like forever and I as a child still had to attend school until the Thanksgiving break.

From the time that I had made the announcement in my class that my family was in fact going to move, until the very last day of school being in session before the holiday break, I was treated much like a crowned prince. Extra special favors came from the teacher and from the school itself.

I was rather excited about the move, because I was about to be in a brand new place that I had never been before. The idea in my infant mind was thrilling. But the feeling was not shared by all of my siblings. So it was a mixed bag of emotions for the family.

Of course my short life up until that point was aware that the usual feast of turkey, dressing, and dessert was to be on that day. And I began to wonder if it was cancelled. At least for my family.

That very early morning the family would wake and then we all went out to eat for breakfast. Something that we didn’t do that often. Not breakfast. And then when we got back, it was time for my parents to pick up the last of our things and get into the family vehicle, and begin to drive several hundred miles to our new home.

I remember that a moving van had taken a majority of our things ahead of time, so there wasn’t really much to pack up that morning.

The neighbors came out to say their final farewells. Even the neighborhood kids that me and my younger brother had played with all of our lives were nervous, sad, and didn’t really know what to say other than good-bye. Apparently my family had made quite an impression on everyone.

And off we went. We all were unsure of what was to happen. The fact of my mother just being diagnosed with cancer less than a year before, it swiftly turned to this bright future of exploring new things to a nervous watch on my mother to see how she would handle the all day ride with her illness.

My father had said in the vehicle that we actually would have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with a family there in Kansas. And they were expecting us to arrive in the evening. But for those of you who have children know that their attention spans don’t grasp such things.

I recall stopping somewhere in the northeastern part of Oklahoma for lunch. And because it was Thanksgiving Day, NOTHING was open!!! No fast food, no diners, nothing. Just a few gas stations along the highway. But that was only if you were lucky. Convenience stores and gas stations were nothing back then like they are today.

Lunch however that day would be at a truck stop. But exactly where, I no longer remember. I do recall almost vividly a hand written sign inside of the truck stop that said “NO CHILDREN ALLOWED AT BAR” and that scared the crap out of me.

The truck stop had a buffet style restaurant inside and I was thinking that the “bar” in question was a food bar, but I was incorrect. There was actually a watering hole directly attached to the side of the restaurant.

There was also a sign that said “EAT ALL OF WHAT YOU TAKE, PLEASE” and to me, that meant even less. I recall that it would terrify my young mind shortly after when I had asked my parents if I could have more food and they both warned me strictly about eating everything and leaving nothing to waste. Well, that second plate of food did go to waste because I had become full. I was scared to death of what they were going to do to me for not eating anything. The fear inside of my childish mind consumed me to the point that once I had admitted that I was full, my eyes were full of tears until the point where we paid for our lunch and got back out on the highway.

Eventually, we arrived at our new location after dark. It was pretty late that I remember. So we had a traditional Thanksgiving feast and then when that was done, my entire family pretty much went to bed.

Once we walked into the house of our holiday host, I began to think about my best friend who lived across the street and how there would be no more neighborhood kickball matches in the street or in someone’s front or backyard.

I began to think of all the other boys in girls in my class that I had left. Particularly one that I thought was cute named Summer.

I began to think suddenly after that of all the girls that were in the neighborhood, city and other places that I was sweet on and would give hugs and kisses. Knowing that I would never do it again. And how I wanted to be able to hug and kiss them more and more.

Yes even then, girls were not an alien thought to my boyhood mind.

But our host family was kind and even though it was so late when we arrived, they had held off THEIR holiday meal until we had arrived.

All of this happening Thanksgiving Day of 1984. Soon for my family, we would remember the anniversary of that date for many years to come. Until we had moved again in 1989. Less than two full years after my mother had died. And less than a full year from when my father had re-married. Those months were like a blur because so much had happened so quickly.

But the move in 1989 did not occur on Thanksgiving Day. But rather we moved after the end of the school year in May. Memorial Day to be exact. I started to think that there was a pattern that if my family was ever to move from one location of the country to the next or even across the state that we would always do so on some holiday. That train of thought however disappeared once I started high school.

The whole purpose of Thanksgiving Day is not lost on me. I have plenty to give thanks for. Especially in the last decade and a half of my life. As an adult, I can appreciate a lot more things in life that I know I’ve been fortunate to experience. As a boy, I probably wouldn’t think the same.

The Thanksgiving holiday in the United States is always the fourth Thursday in November. But it does not always happen on the 22nd of the month. It did back in 1984 and it does in 2012.  So I made the connection this week when thinking about what I am actually thankful for this year.

 

“Let’s have a toast for the douchebags, Let’s have a toast for the assholes, Let’s have a toast for the scumbags, every one of them that I know.” ~ Kanye West

This photograph quickly surfaced all over Facebook this evening. It has been posted time and time again like a repetitious wildfire. Of course many people are up in arms about it with about as much publicly expressed rage as I felt deep within privately.

And this completely disgraceful and disrespectful action was only meant to be a joke???? NOBODY IS LAUGHING!!!

The person shown in the photograph has gone into self-defense mode, stating that they are a self-proclaimed douchebag.

Mission accomplished.

Arlington National Cemetery isn’t just some random final resting grounds for those who have passed on. But rather this place, this national landmark is watched over by American soldiers. How she was NOT caught doing it at the time is beyond me. But then again, I do not have any information that she didn’t receive any discipline for it.

However in my strongest personal convictions and beliefs, I believe that something like this should be criminal as well as punishable.

A true mockery towards those soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and laid down their lives so that the rest of us can live our lives in the freedoms that we have today. And there she is, giving the middle finger to them all and apparently pretending to shout because the sign is request that there be silence to show respect for those fallen soldiers.

She’s also defended this horrible action by stating that she’s also been photographed smoking near a NO SMOKING sign. Which is just…. a stupid action.

There are several OTHER public places in which state that there must be silence maintained, such as public libraries or other places of business, or schools. She could have posed as if she was screaming inside of a library. It most likely would have been received better to have been funny than this. This is just poor judgement.

What I am finding fascinating on Facebook is that these posts are including the URL to this woman’s personal Facebook profile. I am guessing that for those who are extremely disturbed and offended will most likely send messages that will tear her a new one. I’m going to theorize that she’ll be swamped by it all and eventually run off into the hills and close down her profile for a time.

But its honestly too late, that photograph is circulating on the Internet. It is going to be there forever.

I will admit that my first reaction was to have the desire to give her a neck hug. But after a few different versions of the post that were being displayed, knowing that the URL is included, I decided to allow the masses of the public to go for it, because they are going to do and say whatever they are wanting to anyway.

God help her!

I’m just disgusted by the extreme lack of respect for the dead, particularly for those who served and died for their country.

So there’s your Douchebag Award, ladies & gentlemen. Pray that I will not have to issue another one for a long, long time.

http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=32934&cpage=1

 

“Don’t blame the marketing department. The buck stops with the chief executive.”~ John D. Rockefeller

So hockey wasn’t as great and wonderful as it has been in times past. Which excuse would you love to hear?

The fact that I went out to eat for lunch on the other side of town when I knew that once I got home I would have to hurry to get ready and therefore didn’t have time to go through my usual music rituals to get mentally prepared and fired up?

Or the fact that I actually put my bandana in the laundry earlier in the week and washed it instead of keeping it unwashed throughout the season?

Perhaps the fact that I was rushed and didn’t get much time to warm up before getting to work and being the last person on the ice when I have been one of the leaders of getting on the ice first and encouraging others to be ready and prepared once ice is clear of the Zamboni?

Or the fact that a few shots that I made were not called as “goals” when they should have been?

All of which with the exception of the last one, would be a part of rituals of hockey superstitions. If you’ve seen the advertisements on television of different sports superstitions, you know that one says that its not considered a “superstition” until the moment that it doesn’t work.

Sure, excuse after excuse after excuse I could make. But that is only passing the buck and I am not taking much responsibility for my own actions. And that is the true factor of the poorer performance this evening. And for the last one, I cannot control those in charge.

I didn’t play up to my own expectations or abilities and that’s where it went downhill. Nothing else!!

As a team leader, I do have my responsibilities. And my performance factor is actually expected to be at a certain level. The truth of the matter is that I did not play up to that level at all. And thus, it was a bad performance.

But its not the end of the world.

I think that all of us have something that we do or say that could be considered superstition… at least by definition. We can mask it and call it a ritual or habit or whatever we want. But I think that for those outside of our personal boxes would be able to see the forest through the trees and understand that what we do or say in this situations, are our own personal superstitions. And we believe that it works for us. So then what happens? Rinse and repeat– as much as possible.

But when we fail to take responsibility for our words and actions, we commonly find an excuse to blame. I mean after all, it wasn’t OUR fault… right??

WRONG! It was a fault because we did not meet up to our abilities and therefore we put another notch in the proverbial belt of FAIL.

I think that a lot of people would agree with me that our own performances in life would get better if we just own up to our mistakes and not worry about the blame of others. I think it causes personal growth and we are able to learn our lessons of what NOT to do again in the future to the best of our own personal abilities and control. Then we wouldn’t HAVE to pass the buck.

In a not-so-perfect world where all you see is the blame being placed on others, its difficult to just take up our own problems and mistakes and say that it was our fault. But I also am a firm believer that with a lot of practice with it, we can drop the idea of passing the buck and grow in our lives if only we take up responsibility.

After all, everyone of us will have to live with the aftermath of our decisions and choices.