Tag Archives: modern life

Beastmaster 65

“Welcome to the Ultimate Skills competition!”
“Thanks, Keith! We’re here with the finest old fat people with skills to maneuver this bone-cracking, back-pulling, mind-blowing course that sooner or later everyone is going to have to master!”
“Just like regular Beastmaster, there are 3 courses. Christine? I bet you want to know what they are!”
“Of course, Keith! And we have 8 competitors ready for the 1st elimination. Only 6 of those 8 get to the next level.”
“The first course is going to focus on maneuverability. To get to the Mouth of the Beast, the competitor has to walk up a 100-foot ramp. It’s at a 6% grade and only 3 feet wide. But to complicate this, there are knee-knockers placed every 20-25 feet. These 12-inch barriers are the bane of anyone who’s had to walk around a house that has pets or grandchildren.”
“That’s right! My shins hurt already!”
“But when you get to the top of the ramp, you have to come down 50 stairs without a hand railing!”
“What makes this so hard?”
“The stairs are not the standard 10-12 inch tread, these stairs are only 6 inches wide.”
“We may see some spills there!”
“After they descend the stairs, they go into the belly of the beast. The room is completely black and has obstacles throughout. We’re talking head-bangers, shin-scrapers, random poles, squishy toys, and a false door!”
“How could anyone get across that?”
“They have a standard flashlight.”
“Oh?”
“Yes, it blinks on and off at inconvenient times and the beam will only faintly show 2 feet ahead of the contestant.”
“How will we see the action?”
“Infrared cameras.”
“If they’re not suicidal when they come out of this challenge, they go to the fork pick-up.”
“What’s that, Keith?”
“The Infamous Fork Pick Up! 9 forks are placed in and under and behind various objects in the room. The contestants are being told there are 10, but they get 2 points per fork, and it’s a timed exercise. If you stay in the room for too long, you get 0 points. The person with the most points wins.”
“So, OCD people looking for the non-existent 10th fork might time-out and lose all their points?!
“Yes! But that’s not all! Now they enter the colon of death!”
“It sounds awful!”
“The contestants have to sit in a wheelchair and wheel it up a snakeline 200 feet with a 10% rise and 15 turns.”

“Breaking news, Keith. One of the contestants took a look at the first obstacle, complained of pain in his arm and then grabbed his chest. 2 feet out of camera range, he ran to his van and took off. 2 more of the candidates took their canes to the set designer. George will be in the hospital for another 2-3 days. 2 more of them just wandered off the set. The last 3 were mumbling something about their prostates and have been in the bathroom for the past 26 minutes. There’s been no word if they’re coming out.”

“Well, Christine…Age and treachery…”

 

 

My Pizza’s Late

Grrr. Argh!

Late? No, NEVER CAME!

But, I’m worried.

9/10/2010

My friend, Chris, is a pizza delivery guy. He also works part-time at the same company I do. I see him weekly. He’s a sweetheart. He didn’t show up for training today. He very rarely misses training.

Our RVP announced that Chris has died.

Some dumb kids lured him into a vacant apartment and stabbed him and robbed him. He died on the sidewalk. Chris was the kind of person that had someone asked him for the $50, he would have given it to them. He wasn’t a very big guy…5’4 or less. Most delivery personnel are trained that if someone wants to rob you, just give them the money.

When my fast food restaurant was robbed, the robber ran out with the whole change machine! It was late, so it was mostly empty. The machine is attached to the wall electronically so when the cash register (which is bolted to the counter–yes he tried to take that first) determines the coinage that needs to be distributed to the customer, the coin machine automatically issues the change. There is a tray with a handle that allows you to fill it and empty it. He could have just taken the tray, but no… We didn’t tackle him in the parking lot. In fact, the guy working the cash register ran after him and asked if he wanted fries with his order. He got away with less than $20 of change and a $2300 machine that he couldn’t use. In addition, he didn’t figure out how to take the tray out of the machine and destroyed it to get the quarters.

I’m pretty sure that if they’d just asked Chris for the money, he wouldn’t have fought them. Instead, they stabbed him twice and left him to die, all alone.

6/12/2020

Last night I ordered a pizza because I had students until 6:00, and a meeting that went from 6:00-8:00. During the break in the Zoom meeting, I ordered $50-worth of pizza and pop. This was 7:00 pm, and I expected it about 8:00 when my meetings would be over.  8:15 came and went and the tracking service said the pizza order had been received, but not made yet. ?? That never happens. I called them about 8:30. The manager asked if I had ordered the pizza and I said yes, and the time on the receipt was 6:58. (Managers can look up order histories by time and by order.) She apologized and said she would send an extra pizza. About 8:45, my tracker switched from “received” to cooked to delivering. YAY! 9:55, I called them again wondering where my pizza was. “We’re closed!” the lady that answered the phone said, and then almost hung up. I blurted out “I still haven’t got my pizza!” “Oh, I’ll call her and see where she is.” Then she hung up. I went to bed at about 11:30.

I don’t want to be a Karen, but I am calling the store today to see if my delivery person is ok.

6/12/2020 10:45 AM Update 1

I called them and told the manager what happened. He said my pizza HAD been delivered. I told him to check his receipts. I did not sign for a pizza last night. He said he’d have to check with his workers. ?? I have been a manager, I check the paperwork first, then I ask my workers. This was not the same manager that was on last night. This one was a man, the one last night was a woman. If you cannot find the appropriate paperwork, the customer gets the benefit of the doubt. You cannot do a he said-she said with customers. I guess I have to pay cash from now on. No more ordering online. Or, how about no more buying pizza?

6/12/2020 1:05 PM Update 2

Called again, and manager is going to send the order at 5:00 tonight. Offered to give me my money back, but I said I’d rather have the pizza. He was happy to comply. We’ll see.

6/12/2020 4:56 PM Update 3

I GOT MY PIZZAS!  Yay!

The Plot Sickens

Whatever happened to basic human decency? Neighbors caring for neighbors? People helping out in causes bigger than themselves?

News flash! Oh wait, we don’t trust the news. Instagram flash! Oh drat. Check the source. Minions bearing a large “Illumination” sign. That’s the ticket… HUMAN DECENCY IS NOT BASIC! If good behavior wasn’t unusual, would it be news?

So now we have people stuck in their houses with their families. At the 2-month mark, we’ve discovered that many people don’t even LIKE their families. They don’t like being cooped up with them, working from home with distractions, schooling them at home, entertaining them at home! But we don’t want to get sick. However, there comes a point where the need to escape becomes more urgent than the need for safety. We can’t just go bowling. What would get people out on the street that would make plausible sense? OOOH! Protest marching! We used to do that in the 60s. What can we protest? Um. Something involving freedom? Sure! “You can’t make us wear masks! You can’t make us stay home!” That doesn’t get enough people into the street. TADAAA! We have an injustice we can protest. We have global support! The French in Paris are supporting this cause of cops versus black people in Minnesota. Now let me ask you. If you knew that the French police were targeting a group of people for trumped-up charges and murdering innocents, would you protest in the streets? I wouldn’t. What is this protest supposed to accomplish? Being Shamed by the French, albeit embarrassing, is not something to be taken seriously.

So now we have a legit reason for leaving the house and congregating in large crowds of people we don’t know, some of whom might have contracted the virus and are asymptomatic. Are you ready for Round Two in the pandemic?

Now there are more potential carriers in public. You don’t know that the people that you deal with don’t know who of their friends were in that protest. They don’t know that someone that was negative for corona yesterday is positive today. But we all enjoyed that little vacation from isolation, didn’t we. Open up the country! Re-open the businesses! Open the bars and restaurants and movie theaters! It’s safe now! Is it? Are you ready for another 2-4 months stuck with your crazy family?

If you want to destroy a society, you break down the family unit. (What better way to do that than to make them stay at home with them for 6 months?!) We’ve already made the word “family” ambiguous. This is a good thing! It has allowed people to be in “family groups” that are outside the norm and family ties are still fairly strong. We can have 2 moms or 2 dads, or 2 sets of parents including the step-parents in addition to the nuclear family. And with the advent of basement kids, the family is now including live-in grandparents, much like what life was before the nuclear families we grew up with.

The problem we’re facing is legislative definitions of families, and agencies that determine if the home is suitable for families can split families apart instead. We’re also facing domestic abuse on a much larger scale than was previously thought. This is a morale problem, not a moral problem. Hope and optimism are taking hits every day. Unemployment and underemployment take parents out of the house in order to make enough money to survive on. Children are getting socially trained by people who are paid to be surrogate parents. They may not care as much about the children’s development as the parents would. Our religious groups are by default considered houses of propaganda and ridiculed as narrow-minded and inflexible. Without spiritual training, how can we best discuss and adopt a perspective on good personal behavior and personal relationships? Yes, it can be done without religion, but when you think about it, where better to practice than a place where everyone is an active example of the best behavior and attitude?

Then there’s the effect of the SmartPhone on the public. The advent of instant communication without filters is breaking down civility. You have seen the rants and the short sound bytes and memes that announce a person’s entire philosophy. Who could communicate a belief system in 7-10 words? And yet… Well, if this is the default communication, how do families relate to each other? We are less and less able to use colorful, descriptive language and our deep thinking is much more shallow. Have you ever read anything by Mark Twain?

“Each of you, for himself or herself, by himself or herself, and on his or her own responsibility, must speak. It is a solemn and weighty responsibility and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government or politician. Each must decide for himself or herself alone what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man, to decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor. It is traitorous both against yourself and your country.
Let men label you as they may, if you alone of all the nation decide one way, and that way be the right way by your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country, hold up your head for you have nothing to be ashamed of.
It doesn’t matter what the press says. It doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. It doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. Republics are founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe in. no matter the odds or consequences.
When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move. Your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth and tell the whole world:
“No, you move.”
― Mark Twain

The signs of excessive indulgence in this destructive pastime are easily detectable. They are these: A disposition to eat, to drink, to smoke, to meet together convivially, to laugh, to joke, and tell indelicate stories— and mainly, a yearning to paint pictures.
― Mark Twain

Look at that vocabulary! Can you see pictures in your mind as you listen to these words? We now seek for the shortest, most ineloquent utterances to describe the most banal of events. “Ya, that’s daft.” But in that pursuit, we often sacrifice a deeper meaning to situations and that can cause a problem that repeats itself until someone DOES assign a deeper meaning to the event.

If we then disrupt the family with so little time together; if we allow our children to grow up without our good example; if we don’t foster good relations and better character and don’t seek people of character; if we don’t communicate except by electronic means; then the family as a unit will start to disintegrate. We now have accomplished step 2 in undermining our society.

We aren’t being attacked by a foreign country or inundated by evil forces. We’re doing this to ourselves. Stay tuned to another episode!

 

Whippersnappers…

When I was young…

You saw Forrest Gump, didn’t you? You remember when he was confronting the Black Panthers? It was pretty much like that.

We were all mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore. How could you relegate someone to the back of the bus because they weren’t the right color? What difference did it make what color they were when it came to school? I was a teenager, so I knew the answers to everything. The only blacks I ever saw were on the campus of the university, and they kept to themselves. You hardly ever saw them downtown. Why? Because our town had a very unfortunate reputation.

There was a lynching in the 30s. Apparently, a black man raped a white school teacher. He was being held in the jail and the Sherriff didn’t want to release him to the mob, but they beat him up and dragged the prisoner out of the jail and tied him to the back end of a truck or car or something, and dragged him down the cobblestone streets. It was killing him too quickly, so instead, they tied him to the top of the schoolhouse and burned the schoolhouse down.

All the news on TV was just plain scary. There were these guys with the big afros yelling and threatening people, and then there were the riots at the Chicago Democratic convention in 1968. All whites were “the man” and wanted to put down and destroy the black communities. All the blacks were lawless animals with no more common sense than a gorilla. Neither side trusted the other. Look up the Chicago 7. Bobby Seale was one of the founders of the Black Panther Party. He and 6 others (all white) were part of the anti-war, civil rights protests. Mayor Daley imposed a curfew for people UNDER age 21, cut off traffic, and stopped the sale of weapons and ammunition.

The next day, they had deployed 10,500 police, 6700 National Guard, and over 5000 soldiers from the 1st armored and 5th infantry divisions were ordered into the city by President Johnson.  “The general in charge declared that no one was allowed to have gatherings in the riot areas and authorized the use of tear gas. Mayor Richard J. Daley gave police the authority “to shoot to kill any arsonist or anyone with a Molotov cocktail in his hand … and … to shoot to maim or cripple anyone looting any stores in our city,” quoted the Chicago Tribune.  Do you see the similarities between the reactions online and the ones they employed in Chicago? And because it was in the middle of the Viet Nam war, the press had discovered it had enormous power over the policies and protocols of the government. Had the press not been present at the riots, we might not have known much about them. But they were there and we saw the police beating on people with batons, and tear gas, and wounded civilians, and looting and arson. The truth was out on display. There was no way to deny what was going on.

We were scared of those angry black people, and we were shocked and embarrassed and furious at the police, and distrustful of the government, and helpless. The Chicago riots happened the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King. The unrest and protests were centered mainly on college campuses around the nation. Since my folks worked at the University, they were on the front lines. But in 1968, my dad was studying for his doctorate at Columbia University in New York City. He got a street-level view of what was happening. The press in NY was out to get the best stories, even if they had to create them. When there was a protest outside of Columbia, the press showed up and people were just standing around. One of the members of the press suggested that someone throw a brick or a bottle and push each other around so they could get pictures. So they did. Then the press packed up and left and the protesters went back to just standing around. This was not what happened in Chicago, or Watts or Harlem.

When my dad got back in 1969, in addition to Viet Nam protests and Civil Rights protests, there was a huge spike in drugs on campuses as well. Heroin, Cocaine, LSD, Pot, and various uppers and downers were widespread and in heavy use. During the riots, you could hear explosions followed by giggling. Some of the rioters would experience bad trips and set off another series of violent acts and panic. Most white people in my home town basically stayed home, and the black students hid. When I started college in 1973, the race relations were very much improved among students on the campus, but not in the communities. When “Roots” came out, since I didn’t have my own TV, I went to the student lounge to watch. 30 people in the room, and I was the only white person. I couldn’t miss any of it and I became less and less noticed. I was like furniture. But who talks to furniture? I made no friends in those gatherings.

The comics, Richard Pryor, Flip Wilson, Red Fox, and Bill Cosby were becoming mainstream, and newer black comics were starting to become more commonplace. My dad even had a few records by Bill Cosby. Bill never did the race jokes, but the others did, especially Richard Pryor. He made the white people in the clubs where he did stand-up very nervous, but when he was on television, the white people at home felt safe and could let a part of his message sink in. But blacks were still fighting for the same considerations that we took for granted. Many of the whites were saying that the laws were passed, so now discrimination was over. It wasn’t.

I think the race situation seemed strange to me because we were musicians. Which musicians did you think of when you played jazz? Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Oscar Pederson, Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Sammy Davis, Jr. This is what we listened to at home. Dizzy Gillispie and that wild trumpet of his was not a black man playing trumpet, he was a man playing a wild trumpet. Why? Because we never WATCHED them perform, we just heard them. I knew Dizzy played a weird trumpet because my dad described the trumpet to me. In fact, until I saw Al Hirt’s picture, I thought he was probably black because he played Dixieland jazz, and that was in New Orleans. It wasn’t until I saw Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald on TV that I knew they were black, and it didn’t seem weird at all that they were a different color. My mom described race to me with apples. She said, “Here taste this. What is it?” “It’s an apple.” “But what color apple?” “I can’t tell, it’s peeled.” “So it doesn’t matter what color it is?” “Nah, it’s still an apple.” “Well, there ya go.”

Here’s the thing: after the assassination of MLK in 1968 and the riots and protests, 9 years later, the blacks still had to fight for equal treatment. And here we are, over 50 years later and WE’RE STILL FACING THE SAME PROBLEMS! The riots don’t change the right things, the legislation doesn’t change the right things, the protests and the social media and the news don’t change the right things. What does? Only if the hearts change do people change. Only when we open our minds with our hearts will people be treated alike, because the heart is blind.

The Plot thickens!

If you wanted to undermine a society, what types of things would you have to curtail?

First of all, you’d have to disrupt communication. That doesn’t mean closing news stations and banning magazines and newspapers. That would be too obvious. But if the news doesn’t agree across the board, then you have several different VERSIONS of the news. We’re not talking editorializing as part of the news, we’re talking presenting completely differing facts.

You introduce a plague that disrupts communication by shifting the main method from verbal face-to-face to virtual. The phone is not a major means of discussion, it’s social media, and that provides anonymity. Why rant into a phone or on a Zoom platform when you can hit all your 1000s of followers on social media at once? Anonymity provides courage for some people to express things they would never say in a physical venue. There is no “sarcasm” button when you’re posting something. That’s the outbound communication.

Inbound communication, where we get our information, is relegated to outside news sources. When the pandemic hit, we knew about it in China. We took no action specifically to combat an epidemic that would affect our country. We never actually got facts, we got opinions of the facts. We needed to curtail exposure to the dread disease so we had to self isolate. If everyone had done that immediately, the threat would have extinguished itself within about 4 weeks. But it didn’t happen. Because the symptoms don’t show up until 4 days after you have contracted the disease, and is contagious before symptoms show up, you don’t know to whom the disease has been spread. So, are you sick? You don’t know. If you get it, there’s a 10-15% chance you could die from it.

How did we respond? We bought every single roll of toilet paper in every store.

“You need masks,” so all the masks disappeared off the shelves.

“You need hand sanitizer,” so all of THAT disappeared off the shelves.

“You need to stay home,”

“What? Then how do I get masks and hand sanitizer and toilet paper? I have to leave the house because I have an essential job! I work at a fast-food restaurant. I stock the shelves with toilet paper. I’m the janitor at the hospital. Life will grind to a halt if I don’t deliver products with my truck!” And they’re all correct. WE CANNOT stop everything for a month. But we have greatly curtailed the people going to work and shifted the work environment from a cube farm to a house. We have closed restaurants so people are buying more groceries and cooking at home. We have closed all the entertainment venues and canceled graduations and sports events.

This was the first chink in the armor. We didn’t know which “facts” to believe about the virus. We had no definitive action to take. We didn’t have an acknowledged expert to give us direction. We were adrift and having to cobble together something that would work. All of the misinformation and missed information made these workarounds temporary at best. We distrusted the news, we distrusted the experts because they gave us conflicting information. We distrusted our government. We increased the distrust we already had in the disparity between classes. We had now reached the first level of confusion and loss of confidence in everything we had previously trusted. We’ve accomplished the objective of isolating the citizens from each other.

What is the second step? Increase violence to further isolate the population.

Let’s take the George Floyd incident. If both had been white, or both had been black, would it have made the news?  It might have. It was the murder of a subdued subject by a cop. No, more than that… It was the murder of a subdued subject by a cop, on camera, with other cops and bystanders that should have intervened. Did you know that both the victim and the cop knew each other? That they worked together? If you take the uniforms out of the equation, do you end up with a completely different outcome? The guy with the uniform, gun, and badge obviously has institutional power over the civilian. The victim had no choice but to submit to the person in the uniform and allow himself to be cuffed. This is obviously a huge disadvantage! The point of getting a person into the facedown position with the knee to the upper back (Not the neck you doofus!) is to position the man’s hands to be cuffed. It doesn’t take that long to cuff a person. After the person is cuffed, it is very difficult for him to resist arrest. Why, then, was the victim held in this position for over 5 minutes? over 3 minutes? Why was he held on the ground at all if the man was already cuffed when he went down? This was a personal assault and one of the people just happened to be a cop.

What happens when the assault and subsequent murder hit the news? We don’t trust the institution of the police who are supposed to protect and serve. We don’t trust people who are a different race than we are because they’re obviously violent. There are statistics at the Bureau of Justice that can give you insight into this behavior. We don’t trust the news because it’s not just facts, it’s a political agenda driven by money and power.

When you disrupt communication and cause distrust in what was once considered the most trustworthy of institutions, both the news and the police, you upset people’s support network. Who can they trust now? Just the conspiracy theorists on  FaceBook? Cousin Bob’s wife’s hairdresser’s best friend’s neighbor knows the true story behind events. Why not just take the short cut and ask Kevin Bacon directly? You have effectively isolated the whole population.

But you can’t keep a good mob down. No, they showed up in droves to protest their masks and the self-quarantines and of course, the COVID 19 cases shot up proportionately. Then they showed up in droves to protest

  1. actions of someone who didn’t represent the cops in their town
  2. the general attributions of a whole class of people (all cops are racist and all blacks are criminals)
  3. being locked up in their houses and not knowing whether to leave with a gun or a mask or both

Riots in Omaha, San Antonio, and all across the country, ended up destroying businesses and causing injuries or death and did not promote a change in behavior for the parties they were purporting to support. Did it panic people? Yes. Did it get people off the street? Law-abiding, passive, fearful people stayed home. Incensed, mad, frustrated people went out to protest this injustice. Where was I? Safe at home posting angry comments. I know my actions will not change the behavior of those responsible for this injustice, but I also know breaking windows and attacking bystanders won’t either. The protesters weren’t out to burn down the cities, there were instigators onsite. Looters and anarchists were there to cause damage unrelated to the protests. So they hid in plain sight among the protesters and did what they do: destroy and obscure the purpose of the protest. And of course, since we cannot discern between well-crafted narrative and true events, the facts are obscured and we only get a version of the truth. Sooo, with incomplete information and a skewed sense of what is true and what isn’t, the bottom line is that we will have MORE violence and MORE cases of the virus. The problem isn’t getting solved, it is getting inflamed.

The more I write, the more insidious this sounds. I may have to continue this tomorrow!

BLM

How many of you have black friends? How many of you are black? This is why I love blogs. You have no idea what color the person is by their writing. Unless they include a picture on their profile page it doesn’t really matter does it! Here, we’re all equal. All of our thoughts and words matter.

I have black friends, so I’m not a racist. I meet every one of my friends, regardless of color with smiles and hugs or a hardy handshake. I’m happy to see them and interact with them. I don’t care what color they are.

We’ve all felt like this. We’ve all heard people say this.

Here’s the thing: my friends that are black I have met in a controlled environment. I was in school with them. I go to church with them. I work with them. They’re clients of mine or students of mine. I control the environment. I get to know them on a personal one-on-one basis. I don’t see my black friends as representatives of a whole race. I see them as individuals that I know and like. They do everything they can to keep things easy between us. I never thought they were having to compromise to keep our friendship. I assumed they acted the same way with their other friends. I had an occasion to see them with their friends at church. They act completely differently! I was surprised.

What compromises do they make? What kind of adjustments do they have to employ to make me feel comfortable? They make an effort to speak in a way that I don’t have to translate. Let me give you an example.

My friend Jon was a Math major taking Music Appreciation classes. I was a music major taking Calculus and we were in the same class. When the teacher got carried away and I couldn’t keep up, I’d raise my hand and say, “Music Major!  Translate please!” Jon thought it was funny and approached me and asked for my help in his Music Appreciation class. We would meet in the music library and listen to and analyze the music for his assignment. While we were talking, we had no problem communicating. One day, his friends saw us in the library and came in to visit. He switched his language to something that sounded like it came from an alien planet! He slurred his words and used terms and some vocabulary I had never heard before. He changed pitch, he changed the rate of speed, he changed his references and his gestures. When his friends left, he switched back to my language. I was flabbergasted! He was, in a sense, bilingual.

I grew up in a college town. Kids came up from Kansas City to this school, and though they were in the minority, they were music majors they were in the band my dad directed. I got to know them when I hung out after concerts and football games. So when I found myself on a floor at Illinois State where the black women’s sorority met, it felt weird that they were using some of the same words my Kansas City acquaintances used, and sounded like white people using them. I had to open my door to check to see if they really were black. Picture Maggie Smith saying, “You go girl.” Picture Helen Mirren, her hands on her hips and head tilted, yelling, “Say What?” It was comical. They were from Chicago! Now I think, after talking to a couple of them that if any of the slang they used was spoken by the Kansas City kids I knew, they’d sound equally bizarre.

Why do we have to have separate languages? Every culture has its “tells.”

In no other culture did people refer to their slaves as anything other than servants. They were still people. In the US, they were considered machinery. They weren’t even endowed with sentience. If they developed sentience and asked to be treated well, or tried to escape, they were captured and “fixed!” If a person wanted to survive this situation, they had to stay subservient and “insentient.” They were to remain uneducated to protect themselves from abuse. No one would treat an animal like these people were treated.

Then they were given freedom! and the VOTE!!! Why would you give rights to machinery? By now this approach to these former slaves was ingrained. This whole race was considered living machinery. They weren’t real people! To survive, they had to adopt unthreatening language and behaviors. Don’t speak intelligent English because that makes white people nervous. The machines might get angry and retaliate for abuses.

See? This is mental abuse. There’s this woman in this crime show who is continually belittled because her house isn’t clean, the food she cooks is awful, and she’s clearly stupid. Her children even say that. They’re mad that she doesn’t attend their events. When asked, the woman says she couldn’t come because she might inadvertently embarrass them. She kills her husband. Admits to it. Cleans up the blood on the floor so that there wouldn’t be a mess when the police came to arrest her. She knows her house is a mess. One of the hangars in her husband’s closet is 1/4″ too close to the next hangar and it throws the rest of the closet off. There’s too much pepper on the macaroni and cheese. It’s a wonder her family doesn’t starve. She knows she’s stupid. She knows that she’s ugly, and wears old, patched clothes because you don’t dress up a pig. And yet, she kills her husband.

Now imagine that on a large scale. You’re treated like a machine. You aren’t allowed a good education. You aren’t allowed to socialize with anyone who’s not on the property. You develop survival behaviors to avoid the abuse and the compensating behaviors that keep you sane and ward off punishment. It becomes ingrained in your behavior.

On the other side, you know these black people ARE people. You’ve never had slaves. They speak like uneducated poor people. You Know you are superior to them because you don’t have a poor-person culture like they do. (All of them.) They tend to act out against getting treated like poor uneducated people, which makes no sense since they are poor uneducated people. Except for Bill Cosby and Diahann Carroll, no black people can think or act in a civilized manner. You don’t socialize with them, you don’t want them in your business, and you couldn’t imagine them in your church or neighborhood. Smart, well-educated black people tend to make you nervous. Everyone fears sentient machinery. That’s one reason why when Azimov created robots in his stories, he had the 3 laws:

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws

He was allowing people to be comfortable with the machinery that served them. It gave them the inability to harm their masters. You could be as abusive as you wanted–mentally or physically. It would allow you to do this as long as the abuse didn’t threaten its existence. But it is still the attitude of white people that black people are essentially sentient machinery–flesh and blood robots. In other words, they are Robots without The 3 laws.

You see this in the comments on some of the events. “Do what the cops tell you! Don’t resist! Don’t reach for your cell or your wallet. Don’t talk back if you don’t want to get dropped!” See? “It’s YOUR fault that if you are black they will shoot you if you do the wrong thing. Don’t you dare protest your treatment! You’re probably guilty of something so be compliant!” They don’t shoot white punks that insult police and fight them and struggle and resist arrest. But if you’re black, they will restrain you with a knee to the neck because you’re inherently an evil machine that has broken the first and second laws. And if you defend yourself they won’t recognize the third law–you do NOT have the right to protect yourself.

So see? If you’re white, you can have black friends and still be racist. Your black friends are the exception rather than the rule. If you’re black, you can have white friends and still be racist. If you have to change your language and behavior so drastically to maintain the relationship, you are making your white friends the exception.

Differences Exist! You cannot look at a person who’s a different color than you and not see the color. But here’s the most important thing: You must not assume certain characteristics based on the color of a person’s skin. Skin color doesn’t give you any information other than the place of origin for ancestors long past memory. It tells you nothing of the character or the education level or the ambitions or the dreams of anyone.

We CANNOT get to the point of saying “All Lives Matter” until we stop associating skin color with a whole set of behaviors. You have to see people as people before you can treat them equally. No adjectives. No white people, black people, brown people, yellow people, red people, tall people, short people, slim people, fat people. Just PEOPLE. So we start with Black Lives Matter until they do.

ADHD or Autistic

Isn’t it strange that every little kid in elementary school is on drugs to BECOME autistic? No, the teachers don’t want to teach autistic kids. That would be really hard! But if the 5-year-old can’t sit at his desk and quietly do his school work for 6 hours a day, he needs drugs. If your kid is daydreaming, we need to get him on drugs. If he’s laser-focused and suddenly starts rocking back and forth and jumps when someone touches him, he needs drugs.

All the genius detectives out there are slightly autistic or OCD or Sociopaths. If there are as many genius villains out there, YOU WILL NEVER CATCH THEM! They’re all smarter than you are! And yet…since we don’t want ADHD kids or Autistic kids in school, we try to drug the ADHD kids to focus more and the Autistic kids to focus less. They’re the anomalies. But remember how I once said that there is no normal? Where do you draw the line? Well, in the Normal Curve, 68.27% of people should be considered normal, about 14% are above normal and below normal, and the tiniest sliver (2%) are genius-level and way below normal. Kids are expected to act autistic and not be autistic, and Autistic kids have to learn to act ADHD to keep from being ostracized by “normal” people.

According to APA (American Psychiatric Association) the number of kids who are ADHD is in the 5% range, but the CDC puts it at 11%. The number of geniuses is about 1-2%, but they don’t know for sure because geniuses are ostracized and bullied and ignored by teachers because nobody knows what to do with them. There should be about 6 million geniuses in the US. How many do we know about?

I have had to work with a variety of students…from painfully shy and withdrawn to bouncing off the walls, from IQs of 60 to IQs of 140, from painfully dull to technicolor imaginations. Everyone learns differently, and yet, I haven’t run into a single person that couldn’t be taught.

I’m teaching 2 brothers. One is 8 and has been taking lessons for 4 years, and his little brother is almost 5 and just starting. The older one has a laser focus but only for a short time. But he didn’t use to be able to finish a song during his lessons. He would stop in the middle and ask me if all the planets were round. He’d stop on the next to the last note of the song and have to tell me what he learned in his history lesson. He plays Beethoven now. The younger one believes that any note that he plays with his thumb is a C. Each note in his book has a weird-looking alien that represents it. The green alien is C, the Blue is B, the Red is F. He remembers all their names but not the names of the notes on the page. He doesn’t focus on position, he focuses on color and facial expressions. Do I teach him using the alien method? No, but he will remember the aliens long after I’ve finished teaching him in 20 years. He will learn auditorially faster than visually. His ability to focus will get better and he will be able to focus for longer periods of time.

I have another student that will sit down to practice 15 min every day, and find that 2 hours have gone by. He’s always surprised that he’s lost time. See? I am glad I have these students on a one on one basis rather than sitting like little dolls on boxes. We don’t want to teach them to be JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER LITTLE KID. Because there is no “normal” type of behavior. We don’t want them medicated to act like “normal” kids because that is impossible. Enjoy them just the way they are. Why? Because that kid you bully may be the next serial killer, and he’s coming after you first.

What do we do now?

How do we go back to being civil with people?

How can we bounce back after such a crisis?

Down the road, will anything we accomplish during this quarantine be significant?

How do you handle the fear?

How do you face this new tomorrow? Where will your energy come from?

Spotlight books

Funny you should ask.

The books we’ve written are rather diverse and so are our authors. There are between nine and 13 of us at any one time. The youngest is 28, the oldest in the 70s. We are housewives, social workers, grandmas, grandpas, single, married, PHDs, Bachelor’s degrees, Black, White, Brown…You get the idea? We shouldn’t even be friends, but here we are writing books together.  Why? Because we all have these same challenges but a huge number of perspectives. Am I fearful because of uncertainty in the leadership and unforeseen circumstances over which I have no control? No, but one of the other authors is. Am I finding it hard to get off my couch after all this turmoil? Yes. But not everyone has that perspective.

  • What will it take for you to get to a point where you don’t feel stressed?
  • What would you read to get your head straight on your circumstances?
  • Where would you look for direction?

Can you identify with at least one of the authors of the books? Probably. If you could figure out how someone like you not only survived but thrived during these interesting times, wouldn’t you at least be curious?

The books are available at the Book Worm in Omaha (the same place Warren Buffett shops) and Amazon.

Spotlight on the Art of:

  • Grace
  • Resilience
  • Significance
  • Fear
  • Generating Energy

I confess: I looked into my crystal ball and KNEW 2 years ago that we’d be in a situation like we now face. Every one of those books has a nugget or 12 of insight that will help you cope.

You can see us at Alternative Book Club

Well that didn’t go as planned

You wake up and think, I haven’t worn that green outfit for a while. I have just the necklace and rings for it. Oh and these shoes! Yup. That’s what I’ll wear to work today.

You get to work and do your on-air make-up and the cameraman says, “Well this ought to be interesting…” The director says nothing. You review the latest data and check the monitors. You run a cursory practice on the motions for your part. The music starts. Camera 1 is showing anchor 1, Camera 2 is on anchor 2, Camera 1 picks up the Sports reporter. Camera 2 shifts to you, and you hear an involuntary snicker from the camera crew.

“It’s five minutes after the hour. In today’s weather, we can expect sunny skies and temperatures hovering around the 70-degree mark. More in our forecast later.”

“In the top of the news…” Anchor 1 describes the horror and the violence on the screen and you un-mike and go to your chair. The director motions you over.

“Ahem, you’re wearing a green dress.”

“? Nice of you to notice.”

“You’re wearing a GREEN dress…”

“? And? *beat, beat* Oh crap!”

“You have anything else?”

“Nope.”

“No scarf? a table cloth toga perhaps?”

“Let me check my purse…Nope”

“Don’t get smart with me.”

“I’m the weather girl, isn’t that impossible?”

“We will be the laughing stock because of this. What are you going to do about this?”

Improvise…

Anchor 2 is talking about cute puppies and school science fairs. She hates her stories. She wants to be Anchor 1. She has a journalism degree, but she’s not pretty enough to sit in the Anchor 1 chair. She hates that Anchor 1 has more hairspray in his hair than she does. She despises him because he can’t pronounce the names of the countries or their leaders without help. She shudders at his condescending smile when he finishes the hard news and passes the baton to her. She finishes her stories and Anchor 1 lets everyone know what’s coming up after the break. She looks at you and she sees what’s going to happen, and starts grinning. Anchor 1 hasn’t picked up on it yet. She motions you to come over and you do.

“You could go viral with this. You could tell the dirtiest jokes you could think of and now they’d be hilarious because you’d be invisible!”

You start to smile. You know exactly what to do.

You go to the snack table and take the fruit tray. You empty the fruit onto plates and carry it surreptitiously to your station. Anchor 2 is trying not to laugh.

“Welcome back,” says Anchor 1 showing his best side and gleaming teeth. “What do we have in store for us over the weekend, Brandy?”

You hold the tray up just under your chin. It looks like you’re a talking head on a platter. “It’s Mandy…and I thought I would give you a heads up about the storm coming in.”

Anchor 2 giggles.

Anchor 1 is confused. He’s not looking at the monitor. The sound man mutes the mikes. “What’s going on?” he says under his breath. Anchor 2 giggles again.

You float your head over to the national map. But you stoop so you seem lower. Leaving the tray in the same place, you stand up so it looks like your head is flying up into the air. “The temperatures here in the Florida region are going to soar when that low front comes in.” Your hand magically appears in the middle of the country. “But this high front will be coming in soon indicating storms and possibly some twisters.” You do a pirouette that makes your head look like it’s spinning. You move to the middle of the map facing the Pacific. “We have a big storm building up behind the Rockies” (coinciding where your boobs would be if anyone could see them) “and that could impact the Appalachian area in 3-4 days,” you say facing the Atlantic and the corresponding mountains strategically placed. The cameramen are almost crying. Anchor 1 is now staring in disbelief at the monitor. Camera 1 briefly cuts to Anchor 1 for his reaction and catches him with the dumbest look on his face. Back to Camera 2.

Your head looks down. “Meanwhile, down in the gulf…” Howls of laughter from the camera crew. The director has tears in his eyes and though he’s motioning wildly to go to commercial, no one is paying attention. “Warm, moist air is coming into the lower regions of the country bringing some possibilities of earth-shaking activity.” You close your eyes and bounce on your toes. You clear your throat and continue. “So if you hear lots of noise to your south, don’t lose your heads. Back to you!”

Camera 1 on Anchor 1:  Stunned silence

Camera 1 switches to Anchor 2: Her head is buried in her hands as she laughs uncontrollably.

Camera 1 switches to Anchor 1: Still stunned silence

Cut to commercial.

 

 

 

Is it just me?

Monk, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Reid, Dr. Brennan. All crime show detectives. All brilliant.

Penelope Garcia, Abby Sciuto, Felicity Smoak, Skye. All FEMALE Computer hackers. All brilliant.

Now. Find something normal about them.

Do you see? You cannot be brilliant and have a normal social life. You cannot be brilliant and not be a bit autistic or OCD or borderline Schizophrenic. All these common traits in brilliant people on TV and in Movies are exaggerated in order to make normal people feel better about themselves? Whatever for?

Why are we still doing Mad Scientists?

Why can’t brilliant people be charming and suave and debonaire? Why can’t child prodigies have a normal social life?

Ever since Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein’s Monster, the mad scientist has been codified.

  • Every brilliant person is quirky
  • No brilliant person can make friends
  • No brilliant person ever works as hard as the rest of us
  • Every brilliant person is a braggart
  • Every brilliant person has a huge vocabulary and no emotions
  • Every brilliant person is socially awkward
  • Every brilliant person knows they’re the smartest person in the room
  • Every brilliant person listens to nothing but classical music

They are emotionally immature. They are not empathetic. They prefer to be alone.

Now add to that the fact that smart people are mistrusted, avoided, and ridiculed for their entire time in school. Then, to make things worse, the abuse doesn’t stop after school. They are called names, and patronized, and categorized as “other-than-normal”.

I understand why you’re more likely to find an EVIL genius than an ANGELIC genius. The tree in Eden was called the Tree of Knowledge…but it was the knowledge of good and evil and people never add that last part. Wouldn’t you, if you had been treated as an anomaly, as a freak, as some sort of alien all your life, want some sweet revenge? Use technology beyond mortal understanding! Be the master of the ultra-long con! And yet the evil geniuses that became serial killers preyed on women and girls mostly. They didn’t take over the world, did they?

Who did? CEOs, Judges, Senators (?!), Members of the House of Representatives, and the rich (read billionaires, not millionaires). The extremely smart represent 1% of the population. If the population was evenly represented, 1% of the homeless would be extremely smart, 1% of the blue-collar workers, 1% of the athletes…you see? But this is not the case. If it were, then 1% of the CEOs would be at the 130-140 level and that is a shocking 38% instead. 1% of billionaires would be brilliant, and yet 45% of them are. The Senate has 41% brilliant members, and the House–20%. How can this be? They don’t fit into the category of geniuses and brilliant people. Those types are supposed to be geeky, autistic, OCD, quirky people. How could they make friends? How could they possibly get elected? Shouldn’t the people in power be the alpha dogs? The emotionally intelligent, type A personalities with tons of charisma and 1000s of FaceBook friends? They’re not.

I was always told that “A” students work for “C” students. Not in 38% of the cases… If the brightest people only make up 1% of the population, why are there 38 times more CEOs in the 1% than there are supposed to be? We’d have to do some regression analysis, but I’d say that there’s a significant correlation between intelligence and the CEO position. It’s the same for Judges. I challenge you to find a judge or a CEO that acts like Sherlock or Monk or Reid or Brennan. 

Quit putting brilliant people into the “weird” box. Quit assuming that brilliant people have no social skills. Quit bullying them because you know what? When your case comes up in front of THAT judge, you’re going to go down. If you want the best lawyer, you’d better remember if he’s the one you stole lunch money from. When you’re having that heart attack, remember how you treated your surgeon in 6th grade. Remember that Senator or Representative you made fun of in high school may not actually represent YOU. That dorky kid in the business class may become your boss in 10 years. That computer geek may be running your portfolio for your retirement.

The rest of us? The ones with IQs of 95-105? You’re more likely to find a serial killer in the 85-95 range than one in the upper levels, although they do happen. Less than 1% of the serial killers are above 130. So if you make fun of the slow guy in the class, you may find yourself in a dark alley with Tim Curry holding a garrote.

Prince of Darkness (Criminal Minds) | Villains Wiki | Fandom