Today is the last day of March in the year of our Lord 2016. That means it has been five years since I had my pulmonary edema/heart attack/kidney failure. I had one foot through the veil. Nothing like a close encounter with the Grim Reaper! It makes you appreciate all the things you have, even if think only have a little. I think my last post explains how much I really had to lose.
One of the results of my near-death experience was that I quit smoking altogether. Cold turkey! No messing around! Although it has been five years since I spent two weeks in the hospital, it has not been five years since I gave up smoking altogether. In the last month or so, I have gone back to smoking my pipe occasionally. That is the backsliding I am referring to in the title to this post.
I know I will get a fair amount of criticism for my apparent weakness of character, at least from some of the fundamentalists on the Internet. So be it! I am almost 69 years old and I am fully aware of the consequences that I face for going back to smoking. I believe the consequences of smoking my pipe occasionally will be minimal. Certainly nothing like the consequences of going back to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, which I did for about 50 years. I know my doctor will give me all kinds of crap, if he finds out, as will my cardiologist. But, it is my decision and no one else’s. I accept the consequences. That is what a real adult does. Make a decision and live with your decision and its consequences. Don’t go blaming God, Satan, the tobacco company, the Marlboro man or anyone else. If you choose to smoke, like I did to some extent still do, it is no one fault but your own.
Continue reading Backsliding Away
Yes, I know I have been missing in action for well over a month.. The reason for my absence is that I have been too busy having fun. I hope you all do not grudge me having fun. So, what specifically have I been doing that has been so much fun?
Right around Thanksgiving I got my computer working again after quite a while of it being out of commission. It turns out that there was nothing wrong with my hard drive other than it needed a good cleaning. The computer repair person got it nice and clean for me and then installed a fresh copy of Windows 10. He also installed a new graphics card, one that allows me to use a 47 inch flatscreen high definition television as my computer monitor. Using that with a lower resolution enlarges things so much that I can read most text while wearing only a pair of over-the-counter reading glasses. With the very large monitor I am able to once again play my favorite computer games by myself, without having someone do much of the mechanical stuff like I have had to in recent times. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last month – playing on my computer for hours and hours at a time… We even got it set up now where Michael and I can do multiplayer on one of my favorite games: Neverwinter Nights!
Continue reading It’s About Time!
Ripple used to be a cheap wine that hippies drank when they were smoking doll way back when. It’s not the Ripple I’m talking about. The Ripple I want to talk about today is the song by the group that is considered the iconic San Francisco acid rock band: the Grateful Dead. I am been a Dead fan since 1969 or so. I remember seeing the band at the Kinetic Playground in Chicago July 4, 1970 where they came on stage at about midnight and played till nearly 7 AM. That was quite a Fourth of July party!
My favorite Dead album is American Beauty. One of the songs on that album is called Ripple. The music for that song was written by Jerry Garcia, the lead guitarist for the Dead. The lyrics, which is what I want to focus on here. were written by the lyricist for the Dead, Robert Hunter. In my considered opinion, Hunter, along with Jim Morrison of The Doors and Keith Reid and Bob Dylan were the poets laureate of my generation. A hundred years from now they will be teaching these guys in American literature classes, or in the case of Reid, English literature classes. I am not going to print out the entire lyrics of Ripple here. If you are interested in reading the lyrics, click here. And if you want to listen to the song, you can click here.
To me, this song expresses the hippie philosophy of life better than anything else I have ever heard or read or see. According to the song, life is a road that we travel alone. The road of life is unique to the individual. Others can serve as guides, and as the song says “if you fall, you fall alone.” Continue reading Ripple
That is the title of the song by the Bellamy Brothers from back in the 80s, I think. I’m really not sure and I really don’t care enough look it up. Anyway, an old hippie is what I an. I guess I’d been one for quite some time since in the song he is only 35 help a lot older than the days. Some of the stuff they talk about in the song I never did: hard drugs and going to Vietnam for my senior trip. I went to Washington instead and protested the war in Vietnam.
Yes, I do get into country music, at least some of it. I particularly like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, Chris Christopherson, and Kate Williams Senior as well as my all time favorite, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I also like acid rock, good ol’ 1950 rock, the British invasion, especially Procol Harum and Pink Floyd. I also like jazz, classical, even some Broadway show tunes. Like most hippies, I like all kinds of music and have quite a long time.
One thing about being an old hippie that does bother me is that there are a lot of people out there that are misinformed as to what hippies really were. I blame the media for that, and especially the people who didn’t like the things the hippies were into, like rock music. These people, and I am including a whole lot of musician’s, became pseudo-hippies because they thought it would help them make money. One of the things about being a hippie is that you’re not particularly materialistic. You realize that there are a lot of things in the world way more important than how much money you have, what car you drive, how well you dress, how big and fancy of a house you have. In fact, there were times in my younger days as a hippie where I didn’t even have a house to live in, or apartment. I crashed with friends or I slept on the back porch of an abandoned apartment building, waking up with a silver .45 staring me in the face in a police badge. That was 1968 when I first got to Chicago. That was almost 50 years ago and I still remember that as it were yesterday. Continue reading An Old Hippie
Those of you who know me very well, and there are a few of you, know that I have a very low opinion of the medical/health care professions. This low opinion is the result of many years of having to deal with their stupidity and ineptitude. I know at least one of you is going to be very insulted by this. All I can say is oh well! So what’s the latest reason for me to hate doctors?
10 years ago I had cataract surgery on both eyes. I went from being severely nearsighted to being severely farsighted. I have also had an astigmatism for a very long time. My last pair of glasses before I had my cataract surgery corrected for the astigmatism and also for the double vision I suffer from.
After the surgery, I had a pair of bifocals made up that were basically clear glass on the top and fairly powerful reading glasses on the bottom. Problem is, those glasses did not correct for the astigmatism or the double vision. I mentioned this to my ophthalmologist, who told me there was nothing they could do for me, that there was no way to correct for these problems. I suffered under this misinformation for the last 10 years. Because of this misinformation, I have not been able to read a book or a website, type on my own, or even read the program guide on my satellite TV channels.It turns out that there ARE corrective lenses for my problems. In fact, the glasses I had before my surgery corrected for both, as I mentioned. No wonder I’m pissed!
This bull manure is just the latest in a long series of episodes of stupidity, ignorance, or what ever you wish to call it by doctors who are so full of themselves and think they are infallible when in fact all they are is arrogant and conceited. Given the kind of money these people expect to get paid for their services, you would think they would make a better effort to be more attentive to the needs of their patients and not worry so much about their schedules or their wallets. Lord knows, most of them have very stuffed wallets. After all, being a doctor is very “lucrative.” That is the term that a doctor I happen to know used to explain why he took a position from which he recently retired.
By the way, although I tend to hate doctors, I absolutely love nurses, male or female. I owe the nurses in the emergency room and the ICU at the local hospital my life, at this point.
Before I get to the post on on socialism, I want to mention that I am celebrating a personal anniversary today, March 20th. It was four years ago today that I quit smoking. The reason I quit smoking is because I ended up in the emergency room in the and intensive care unit at the local hospital early in the morning of March 20th 2012. I had suffered a pulmonary edema and a heart attack. The fact that I’m still here, still kicking, and still crazy, as well as smoke free, surprises me more than it surprises anybody else that I know, including you guys! Happy anniversary to me!
In the time that I’ve been away (see facebook for reasons) I’ve had time to give this series a lot of thought. Talking about some things in my past may not be all that edifying or even relevant to anything anymore, so I am going to ignore those areas. Some things that I -am- going to talk about may offend some people from my past. Unfortunately, that’s unavoidable, and hopefully they will understand and forgive me for any negativity.
When I was growing up, I was pretty much both a religious and political fundamentalist. It was not until I got away from home that I started really thinking for myself. To a certain extent, that is true of most people growing up. We are the products of our immediate social and cultural environment. In some ways, I was lucky that my mother died while I was a senior in High School. It was her death that actually set me free, although it has taken a lot of time to realize that. Much of my life has been spent trying to fill the emotional hole that her death left in me. It was not until I met Elizabeth in 1990 that I found someone who could fill said hole. Also, much of my life has been spent searching for, for the lack of a better way to express it, my own personal sense of truth. [I suggest you read my article “What is Truth” on my christianheresiology site to understand what I’m trying to say here] Truth is not objective; truth is relative to one’s position on the space-time continuum. It’s like the old Indian fable of the blind men and the elephant, what you see and what you know depends on where you are and what part of the elephant you perceive.
My search for truth has led me all over the place, but these meanderings have always followed the same two rivers. Religion, and politics, in the broadest sense of both cases. The failed marriages, the many different jobs, the multiple career paths are all nothing more than bends in those rivers. With an occasional waterfall or two.
What I have learned over the years of my meanderings is that we create who we are and often recreate who we are. I know I’ve gone through several manifestations of who I am in the 65 years of my life. I can honestly say that I am extremely happy and at peace with who I am. That person is so far removed from the person I was growing up that I seriously doubt most of my High School friends would really have any idea of who I am unless they have read my Facebook page or my blogs. In the next few posts, I will talk about my meanderings from fundamentalism to… Well, I’ll let you decide what you want to call where I am.
Today is the one year anniversary of my heart attack and pulmonary edema. It is also the one-year anniversary of my quitting smoking after some fifty years. I look at every day since March 20th 2012 as my “playing with house money.” For all intents and purposes, I should’ve died and probably “deserved” to die. Thanks to the love and strength of will of my wife and children, I am still here and hope to stay for a long time. This date will be more important to me my own birthday.
My youngest son is a member of the local Boy Scout troop. He joined earlier in the year and this is his first year doing fundraising for his troop, so his old man is helping him out by asking all of you to support the very worthy efforts of the Boy Scouts by going here and looking at all the wonderful gourmet popcorn that Michael and his fellow scouts have available.
You will need to enter this order key TEZAYXF so that Michael gets credit for the sale and the money goes to the proper troop.
Your popcorn will be shipped directly to your home. You will, of course, need a credit card or a debit card to order.
Michael and I both thank you for your support!
I‘ve decided to name th other blog The Threshing Floor and make its primary focus my disucssions of Christian orthodoxy. You might want to read the lastest article on that blog – the link is in the right side bar.
I’ve given a .lot of thought to what I have been doing with my blogs, and, quite frankly, I am not really happy with the current situation So, until I get ahandle on what I really wa t to do with each of them, I am instituting the following changes: Continue reading A Change in Plans [Updated]