Live Streaming?

 

I gotta say, you dudes just crack me up when you stare at your cellphone, even while standing at the urinal in the men’s room.

Really, my man? You really can’t break away long enough to simply take a leak? What are you watching, a how-to video?

Frankly, I’m surprised you found the urinal. You could very well be peeing on the bathroom wall and have no idea. Or even found one where someone’s already standing, and right now, you’re ruining his new pants which DIDN’T COME CHEAP, PAL!

Besides, this looks like a dangerous practice to me. What if you drop that phone?

Myself, I think I would just leave it there and go buy a new one.

Maybe you have more confidence in your grip than I do. (On the phone, I mean.)

Look, guys, I know it’s a boring chore but, come on, we’ve done it for centuries without needing the entertainment of a phone. Just pause whatever you’re doing on there and take care of business, for Pete’s sake. It’s safer, not to mention, less stressful. For me, that is.

 

Which makes me wonder something else…

Do you fellas even put that phone down long enough for sex?

I mean, we’re talking roughly the same amount of time, right?

 

The United States

The State of the Union, brilliantly set to verse…

Post-Tragic Life

Anxiety inducing news, everywhere you turn
Old men lighting fires, watch the word burn
I’m beginning to think the people won’t learn
As long as there’s crumbs, we’re dying to earn

The news is real, but it’s twisted to lies
Often repeated, epic in size
By smiling faces in clever disguise
Hoping for change, but nobody tries

Scared, and stressed? There’s a pill for that
Or just buy our product, be happy and fat
But fat isn’t happy, now what do you do
Not to worry, there’s a pill for that too

Scapegoat a race, it’s been done before
Weren’t we against that, in the last world war?
So if not for freedom, what do we fight for?
Just so the rich, can have even more

Children in cages, scared and alone
Taken from the desperate, fleeing their homes
Legal points of entry, blocked by Border SS
Forcing illegal crossings…

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The Last Straw

 

A favorite movie from my youth was one called Billy Jack, the story of a half-white, half-Native American (um, Indian in those days), former Green Beret who, shall we say, has some anger management issues.

In one scene, Billy arrives in town to find some of his friends being bullied by some locals in a diner. After surveying the damage, he offers his heartfelt confession to the chief bully, Bernard, that he really, really tries to keep his temper in check. But when he sees these acts of cruelty inflicted on his friends, and I quote:

”I just go ber-serk!!!

Then he starts some serious butt-kicking.

That’s about where I find myself now.

 

I’ve witnessed a lot of events in our country, and our world, in the last year and a half, facilitated by people in Washington, DC, that have strained my limits of tolerance.

I’ve seen some completely boneheaded, irreconcilably stupid, downright reckless acts committed in the name of Making America Great Again.

And I have, for the most part, held my tongue about it, mainly because I thought the people behind these actions, along with the people who support the people behind these actions, care not one little bit about what I may think.

But, when I see picture after picture of immigrant children – children! – locked up in cages like a bunch of dangerous criminals, having been separated from their parents….

When I hear the President blame Democrats for this whole debacle, when any idiot knows that Democrats are the minority party in Congress, so they essentially have no power to enact or change anything…

And when I hear the Attorney General of the United States have the gall to cite the Holy Bible to justify these cruel and barbarous acts, and the Press Secretary (among others) then defend that Scriptural perversion…

Well, now I just have to speak up, because the next stop is berserk.

 

This is beyond outrageous. It’s beyond shameful. It’s beyond disgraceful. It reveals a country that has given up its decency, compassion, and humanity, in exchange for fear, prejudice, and hatred.

A country that has heard all the same old lies about immigration so many times as to believe them all, without question.

A country that has revealed to the world its true attitude, in all its wretched ugliness.

I don’t know the answer to the immigration issue. Apparently, nobody does, or it would be solved by now.

But I guarantee, there is nobody – absolutely nobody – who can convince me that this is it.

And I think it’s time for us all to just go berserk.

How You Doin’?

 

 

From the Associated Press, 06/08/2018:

“Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef and citizen of the world who inspired millions to share his delight in food and the bonds it created, was found dead in his hotel room Friday in France while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions. He was 61.

“CNN confirmed the death, saying that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert in the French city of Haut-Rhin. It called his death a suicide.”

 

From the Associated Press, 06/06/2018

“NEW YORK (AP) — The husband and business partner of designer Kate Spade, who died in an apparent suicide, said she suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.”

 

From the Washington Post, 06/08/2018:

“Suicide rates rose in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the individuals had no known mental health condition when they took their own life.”

 

Is there anyone out there who still doesn’t see how serious a problem this is?

We’re dying, folks. By our own hand.

In ever growing numbers.

I find that both terrifying and heartbreaking.

Not to mention, completely unnecessary. This doesn’t need to be happening!

My brothers and sisters, we need to look out for one another. Where are we failing?

Well, I have one possible explanation:

The CDC report pointed out an apparently high number of suicides among people without a known mental health condition, saying: “In the 27 states that use the National Violent Death Reporting System, 54 percent of suicides were by individuals without a known mental illness.”

But Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, added an important asterisk to that statistic, saying that, “When you do a psychological autopsy and go and look carefully at medical records and talk to family members of the victims, 90 percent will have evidence of a mental health condition.” So, many of the suicides were completed by people who were never even diagnosed, and consequently, never got any treatment for their condition.

According to the report, a likely reason for that is, most people aren’t asking for help. Especially, men. 

 

And, listen, I understand the reluctance. Mental illness still has a huge stigma attached to it. Nobody wants to admit there’s a problem, because it comes with a great big Scarlet Letter.

So, rather than be negatively labeled, people will just keep killing themselves.

THAT’S why the stigma has to be eliminated. That’s why we need to discuss mental illness as easily as we do cancer, or heart disease, or any other physical malady. It’s an illness, and it can and should be treated. People with mental illness aren’t crazy; they’re sick, and they need help.

And here’s the important part: If you know them, they need you to ask them if they need help.

I know that’s tough but, many times, they’re simply waiting for someone to ask them; they just won’t come out and say it.

Look, I’m no doctor. I’m no psychiatrist. I do have an illness. It’s called clinical depression, and I sure enough need help for it. And I’m getting it. Because I deal with those thoughts that visit me sometimes, and tell me just go ahead and check out, because you’re hopeless, you sorry, no good SOB.

But then, I realize: after posting information on this blog about what some of the warning signs are in someone who may be suicidal (08/31/2017), where to go to get help (08/31/2017), and how to help someone who is suicidal (09/13/2017), and after offering personal encouragement (09/23/2017 and several other dates), it would all ring pretty hollow if I just went and killed myself, wouldn’t it? I’d be the world’s biggest fraud. (Well, second biggest; you longtime readers know who I think has a lock on first place.)

But, back to my point: We all need to learn to be more observant of the behavior of those around us and, if we notice something that’s off with somebody, ask if he or she is okay. That’s not nosy, that’s caring.

And, you never know. It could be the difference between someone getting help, or ending it all. The stakes are that high.

Please, folks, let’s get out of ourselves and our cellphones a little more, and check in on our family, our friends, our colleagues. They may be waiting for us to ask.

But for how much longer?

By the way, how are you?

 

Our Sweet Girls

 

 

Ten years ago this month, we brought these two adorable bundles of joy home from the animal shelter:

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Cute, right?

We don’t know their exact date of birth, but they were estimated to have arrived late March/early April. These two sisters. Lizzy and Izzy, as we so cleverly named them.

They looked so much alike, we put a drop of white-out on Izzy’s head, so we could tell who was who. (Not even noticing that Lizzy, as she does today, had more white hair in her little ears.)

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We’d only planned to adopt one cat, but when we learned these two were sisters…well, we just couldn’t break them up, you know?

And, like any two sisters, they have their own individual personalities, along with their times of getting along and not getting along.

Mostly, thank goodness, they get along.

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And they have given us so much joy in these ten years. We can’t imagine life without them.

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I wrote part of this while sitting on the couch with my feet propped up and Izzy lying comfortably between my legs. Life is good.

Izzy is definitely Daddy’s Girl. She runs to greet me when I get home from work, accompanied by her audio stream of “Meow”, which she can say about a hundred different ways. She’s probably the most eloquent “meower” I’ve ever met. I don’t know what all those meows mean, but I think they all have the same basic subtext: “Give me ATTENTION!”

Although she may be Daddy’s Girl, Izzy is Mama’s Sleeping Buddy. She’ll come get in bed with us at night and, though she may visit Dad for awhile, she eventually gravitates to Mom and lies down next to her, because she knows Mom will cover her in a blanket, so she can stay good and warm while she sleeps. Only thing is, if you ask Mom, she’ll say Izzy takes up too much space in the bed. She’s sweet, but she’s a bedhog.

And, in the morning, brother, that girl is ready to eat! (Izzy, I mean, not Mom. Well, maybe, Mom, too.) You had best get her some breakfast right away. Fortunately, she’s not picky; pretty much anything you set in front of her will do. But you will hear from her until she gets it.

Izzy always wants to be where we are: in bed with us at night, on the couch with us while we watch TV…whatever you’ve heard about cats being antisocial, she ain’t that.

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One thing about the couch, though: she gets up on top and lays there while she whips us in the head with her swishing tail. Gets a little annoying. Well, not when she does it to my wife, just me.

Then there’s Lizzy, Mama’s Baby. Our quiet girl. Relatively speaking, anyway. She has gotten a lot more vocal than she used to be, we’ve noticed. Used to just be a cute little peep now and then, but she’s, um, found her voice now.

She’s slightly bigger than Izzy, so we call Lizzy our “full-figured kitty.” Like I said before, she’s still got the white hair in her ears. And whiskers that go nearly to the floor. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

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Lizzy’s much choosier than Izzy about where you may pet her. Izzy’s basically an “anywhere, anytime” gal, but Lizzy prefers Mom’s closet. Sometimes Dad’s. No, I’m serious. I guess she wants privacy; she wants to feel like there’s no other cat but her in our world. They can both get pretty jealous of our attention.

And Lizzy never passes up an opportunity. When she hears one of us get up from the couch, that’s her cue to come from wherever she is in the house to the living room, where she will shamelessly try to guilt someone into taking her to the closet for some well-deserved petting. Shameless, I tell you!

Oh, and Lizzy and Izzy both love weekends; Mom and Dad are home, instead of at work all day, so they have more time to pet those kitties!! And these girls will take full advantage of that. Hey, can you blame them?

Well obviously, I could just go on about these two. They’re our precious babies, and we love them so much. We’re happy they are in our lives, and we sure hope they are a while longer.

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One last thing: Studies have shown the benefits for people with depression and anxiety of having a pet, and I can definitely vouch for the wonderful “kitty therapy” I’ve received from our girls. You listen to the blissful purring of a cat sometime, and tell me it doesn’t just make your heart melt.

Or, if it doesn’t, don’t tell me. I’d rather not know.

Do yourself a huge favor: Go to your local animal shelter and find somebody (cat, dog, whatever you choose) that’s so anxious to give you all the unconditional love he or she has to give. I guarantee, you’ll gain a new best friend.

Here, kitty, kitty, kitty…

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