What New Years Resolutions

New Years resolutions we have made. So what do we go now as they are starting to slip away? Has anyone resolved there resolutions in a manner that accomplishes long term change? Somewhat typical resolutions may be:

1. Eat less sweets

2. Be more polite

3. Exercise more

We mean well when we make our resolutions. We intend to follow each and every resolution. Weeks one, two, and three go by and we are holding our own. We are keeping up with our resolutions. We are making positive difference in our life.

Then life starts to get in the way. Change happens. Change happens whether we want to change or not. Our New Year resolutions are starting to slip. Little by little different areas of focus are entering our life. Our family, friends, and work are starting to demand we pay attention to them too.

Door Number?

New Years Resolution Blues

We are entering the danger zone of New Years Resolutions. All our good intentions and hopes for the coming year are starting to fade. Are we destined to fail once again as our resolutions slowly move to the back burner of our life.

Lucky for you, it does not have to be that way. You can reactivate your fading resolutions by becoming proactive with them. The problem with resolutions is they are often made with no support net in place. Instead of holding to our resolutions, they start falling into the abyss of things ignored.

Which means it is decision time. Do you want to salvage and hold yourself to your resolutions, or do you want to let them fade away? If you want to revive and keep your resolutions alive, help is at hand.

When we resolve to do something, we are serious in the moment. Moments are pieces of time, and new moments arrive faster than we would like sometime. What is missing from our resolutions is structure. We need structure in our resolutions to be successful.

Think of your number one resolution. This resolution certainly sounded good when we made it. Now it feels a little distant, and we feel a little lost. We need a plan. A resolution without a plan is a hard thing to keep alive. Finding alternative structure and removing temptation are keys to success.

Go through your New Years Resolutions and come up with a real plan for each one. How are you going to let them succeed? How will you keep them active and alive? Make it easy to follow your resolution by not having to remember after the fact. Get proactive. Once you get proactive, you will find it easy to make more changes in your life.

Fearful or Fearless Living

Do you find or have you noticed how fear based we live? I mean really. If you have children or remember your childhood, who was always lurking, waiting to get you when you least expected it?

Do you know how many predators are on the Internet waiting to get into your head? Is your credit card, checking, bank account safe? How about your credit score, is someone in this instant stealing your identity?

Does your computer have a virus? Are the locks on your doors good enough? DO you have insurance if everything you own is stolen? How about your life? Can you afford a long hospital stay if you are hurt. Can you afford to have yourself buried?

I refuse to live in a fear based world, and live a fear based life. I am on a one way trip, and if I have to be here, I want to enjoy myself. I want to live a full life. I accept risk is a part of living.
I like people most days. I talk to strangers frequently, even when they do not respond or reply. I talk with homeless people. I occasionally pick up hitchhikers. I don’t pretend to be on my cell phone when someone is walking down the street towards me. I also try not to be stupid.

I like to take walks in different places. Sometimes I take those walks at night down dimly lit streets in strange cities, when I have no idea if I am in a safe part of town or not.

I started hitchhiking when I was eight. I was still hitchhiking at 26 in a foreign country. I walked the streets of a city in Korea alone. I walked in Jerusalem and enjoyed myself. I found myself lost in the wrong part of town in Gary, Indiana. I walked the streets in the bad part of town in South Chicago.

Only once, did I have a gun pointed in my face. I thought I could walk down the barrel of that pistol with my arms spread wide and not touch the sides of the barrel. Guess what? It was my own fault. I was young and stupid, and shot my mouth off to the wrong people. I was in a part of Minneapolis, where gangs were a way of life at that time. I lived in a town of six square miles at the time. I was ignorant.

It was 01:40 in the morning when I clicked on Yahoo. Below are some of the headlines. In one way or another, these headlines are meant to arouse fear in you. If you feel no fear, the headlines want to introduce the possibility of fear. Suggesting you are doing, not doing, know or do not know something you should. Some of the fears are personal, others are national, and some are vague. These are all fear based headlines in one way or another.

Of the Moment: Brazilian Wax in Crisis: A Report

Make this monster pay a price: Why we needed to hear from Dick Cheney one last time

7 Things the Middle Class Can’t Afford Anymore

Supreme Court Says Ignorance Of The Law Is An Excuse — If You’re A Cop

‘Melting Away,’ Camille Seaman’s photographs of fragile Arctic icebergs

Police: Utah man tried to kidnap child actress

Beers Americans No Longer Drink

What would happen if the Yellowstone supervolcano actually erupted?

What You Need to Watch on Netflix Before It Expires in January

Lost in the Fog with Alzheimer’s

‘The View’s’ Whoopi Goldberg Questions Beverly Johnson Over Bill Cosby Allegedly Attacking Her (Video)

40 Incorrectly Used Words That Can Make You Look Dumb

Russia to Retaliate Against the US Over Sanctions, Troops and Warheads Ready

The Truth About Bananas

The Scary Thing One Couple Did For 365 Days Straight To Save Their Marriage

America: Australia’s Dangerous Ally”

So you lost a shoe

Life is for living and having fun

You may not even realize you live in fear. Think about what you take for granted. Chester the Molester does not live next door to you. Monsters are not under your bed. Strangers are not people to be scared of. Mexicans and other illegals are not living the high life while you struggle to make ends meet. The world is probably not going to end next week.

If you are a Parent raising children in a fear based environment, think about what you are doing to your children, banishing them to a fear based life too.

Santa Clause, and not God rewards good children, and occasionally punishes bad children. Your child’s bedroom floor does not become alive with snakes when the lights go out. Tens of thousands of people died today, and tens of thousands of people will die tomorrow many of hunger, whether your children eat all their food or not.

Sure, horrible things happen to good people. Every day there are reports about bad things happening to good people. People are kidnapped, raped, and killed on a daily basis. You are still here, and you are safe.

People are also doing good things every day, trying to make a difference. Helping those who need food, clothing, or shelter. Reading books to children in the school library. Taking the time to open the door, carry groceries, or help in any number of ways. Every day tens of thousands of people are volunteering, helping where help is needed.

Each of us has one life. We can spend it living in fear, or we can spend it knowing that for the most part, every person we see tomorrow may be a better person than we are.

Living a fear based life keeps you small, doing the least you can do. The only change is change for the worse. Living in reality, and accepting something could happen to you, but probably never will, opens the door to the life you really want to live.

Murdering Black Men

I feel compelled to write about murdering black men. Even is really no point in this conversation, as you have made up your mind, and I have made up mine. The list of black men being murdered over the past decade does not seem to be random at all. Especially when they are killed by policemen.

I saw a dead young boy laying on the street many years ago. According to the news he was fourteen. When the boy’s mother showed up, she fell on her son, sobbing, crying he was a good boy, he was her son and he was not a gang member. My heart went out for the mother. What was truly sad was the boys hat, t-shirt, and do rag hanging out of his back pocket told another story.

He was his mother’s son, and he was a good boy. He was good with his brother and sister. He treated his parents, aunts and uncles with respect. He was also a gang member. He chose to wear his colors at an intersection where two gang boundaries meet.

He was a good boy, he was of the opinion as all young boys that the rules of life did not apply to him, and being killed is something that happens to other people.

A few months before Rodney King was beaten, I had a co-worker with whom I worked closely together a little over two years. One day he said to me that we not only worked together, but we are close friends. I agreed. He then told me, “You know, when we are alone, you don’t have to call me by name, you can call me, Nigger. Don’t call me that when my friends are around though because they won’t understand, and they will want to fight with you.”

I felt like I ran into a brick wall. I was being allowed into some secret society privilege I was unaware existed. That word had not left my mouth since I was about eight, and a black boy a few years older than me told me what a bad word it was, when he heard me use it. I told him I was sorry, and I would not use it again. I kep my word all through the years.

I grew up in a rural area in Minnesota. If racism existed, I was not aware of it. I never heard the words people use to label other people to make them something less. We had three or four black boys in our school over the years. Total population of our school kindergarten to graduation was a less than one-thousand kids. Pretty small by todays standards.

I tried to be friends with these new arrivals, as they were new to our little town and did not have any friends. I was a one boy welcome wagon, I suppose. Two of the boys were friendly and one was not. I never thought much of it. That’s how we are.

My mother and her sister worked as maids at a hotel for a few years during my grade school life. She and my aunt would talk with other adults about odd things they found in the rooms that should not have been there.

It was a pretty divided conversation. In white mens rooms they would sometimes find beer or booze in the toilet tanks. They clinked as they cleaned and flushed the toilets. In the rooms of black men when making the beds, they occasionally found a knife or pistol placed between the mattresses. The discovered knives and guns were frequent and scared them. When people checked out, they usually left the beer or liquor out for the maids.

They never found a left behind knife or pistol. I was naive as I mentioned, and did not understand that there was/is a difference in the thinking of black men and white men. Which brings me back to murdering black men.

In some circles brain viruses are thought to be present in the population. Brain viruses seem to be ideas that are accepted as the norm, and certain people start believing them, accepting them as fact. I am sure you and I have been subject to brain viruses from time to time. Brain viruses are hard to shake off, as it means stepping out from the herd.

Here in Albuquerque we have a murder by police rate so high the federal government has stepped in to investigate. In some cases the police have been found in the wrong, especially when it comes to dealing with someone who is mentally deficient. They have gone overboard in their response.

We also have cases where policemen have been murdered with their guns still in their holsters. If they were reaching to pull their guns to defend themselves they never made it. It’s tough being a police officer, I would not want to do their job and wonder if ever time they respond, this will be the time they will be forced to make a life or death decision. You know they won’t decide to let themselves be killed.

I do not walk down the middle of the street, blatantly ignoring local law, and disrespecting people driving. At least I do not do things like this intentionally.

Behavior like this serves no purpose. It would put me in in harms way. I have no need to talk back to the police, challenge their authority, or make them question their safety.

During the execution of their duty, for the most part Police officers have been more than civil, and respectful to me. For the two times when I felt I was being singled out, and treated with less than equal respect, I have let it go until the next day.

I did not feel the middle of a police encounter was the time to make an issue of the situation. As already the encounter was too serious for the occasion. The next day however, I have contacted, the mayor, chief of police, and the commander in charge of the area where the incident occurred, expressing my feelings and concerns about how I was treated.

I never felt the need to challenge an officer’s authority when he/she stopped me, saw a need to be belligerent, or otherwise complicate the situation. Taking those actions would only make things worse for me, and certainly more physically dangerous.

Maybe the way I act when challenged by police is a brain virus too. Maybe it is common sense, and my will to survive, directing the way I act. All I know is the man confronting me has a gun, and if he were to feel he needs to shoot me because I present a real or imagined threat to his/her safety and well being, I will not be around to tell my side of the story if I am shot.

There are bad police who are looking to shoot someone, no one denies this. There are also right and wrong ways to conduct yourself when confronted by police. Escalating the situation with poor choices is not protecting your person from bodily harm.

It may be simplistic, but if you want to be a tough guy, join the Marines, and ask to be sent to the middle east. There are a number of tough guys waiting for you and they are more than happy to dance with you.

When I have been stopped by the police anywhere across the country, I listen to their direction and try to follow it as closely as I am able. Only once have I had a police pistol pointed at my direction. The police were looking for a car involved in a shooting and robbery that looked just like mine. Once it was understood a mistake had been made, the police officer did not apologize. Thankfully he calmed down when he realized I wasn’t the person(s) he was looking for. No harm, no foul. Glad I am not him.

If you do find yourself with a policeman’s weapon aimed at you, drop your pride and emotions, and listen very carefully. You can take up whatever wrongs done to you later, or tomorrow when you are out of your situation.

When you run with a rough crowd, expect rough play. If you want to be a gangster do not expect people, except maybe your family to like you. If you feel the police are out to get you, you may be right. Be smart. Do not give anyone a reason to make a mistake that costs you your life.

Ebola: You, Me, and the CDC part 2

Americans are over reacting to Ebola according to a report on CBS evening news October 18.

“Public health professor Andrew Noymer studies infectious diseases at University of California, Irvine. He says people do not need to be afraid of Ebola in the U.S.

“I would say the panic is harder to contain than the spread of the disease itself,” he said. “People are focusing on that it’s a scary disease from far away, and they see scary images of people caring for sick people with protective gear, and it looks frightening.””

Professor Noymer went on to say he would not be scared to get on a plane knowing someone on the plane had Ebola. I say good for Professor Noymer.

Ebola is something to be scared of if you are a normally adjusted person, with a normal sense of responsibility to those around you. Just because someone says the sky is falling does not mean it is. Just because Ebola is allegedly difficult to contract does not mean you are immune to Ebola.

What is terrifying about Ebola, is if someone contracts Ebola, the most likely people to contract Ebola are the people closest to the infected person. Dying from an infectious disease is one thing, dying from an infectious disease knowing you may have infected your family and friends is something else entirely.

Along the Ebola lines, the three week infection cycle is a little misleading from what I read yesterday. The formally identified infection cycle pertains to about 95 to 96 percent of those infected showing symptoms, not 100 percent of those infected showing symptoms within the time period.

As with any statistic this is an average. Taken beyond the extreme, this means the quarantined nurse on the cruise ship, and some of the passengers they have come into contact with one the cruise ship could be on the extreme end, and not show any symptoms of Ebola for a period thought to be up to forty days.

Ebola is not something we need accept as a part of life. Ebola does not need to be in the United States. It doesn’t matter if you live in town a sixteen people in the middle of Montana if an epidemic of Ebola breaks out in America.

As Andy Grove was quoted as saying, “Just because you are paranoid, doesn’t mean they are not out to get you.”

Ebola: You, Me, and the CDC

I am very dissatisfied with the way potential Ebola is being handled at our borders, and in our hospitals. Tuesday CDC director Tom Frieden was quoted as saying.

In hindsight — CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said on Tuesday — the nation’s health protection agency should have stepped in and taken control when the country’s first Ebola case emerged in Dallas.

Not to over react, but if Mr. Frieden was relieved of his position, I would feel the right message was being sent to our officials, both elected and appointed.

Ebola I am certain, may produce an outbreak that will rival the bubonic plague if the world does not get deadly serious about the threat it presents. This is not the flu influenza of the early 1900’s when houses were quarantined and neighborhoods placed off limits.

In 2014, people often work, shop, eat, and visit malls, sports activities, and so on. They travel around the country.They do not live in a four block radius of notification that has been used in Dallas. The CDC is out of touch with the real world, and you and I need to get their attention.

If they are sick, like with Ebola, if they are like me, I would lie to everyone to be able to fly into the United States. Questioning people entering the US about their previous whereabouts is the same as putting on a condom after sex – It is pretty useless.

The White House and the Center for Disease Control are good places to start.

 

Murder by Slender Man?

As of this writing, two twelve year old Wisconsin girls tried to murder a third girl by stabbing her multiple times. As of today, Slender Man is being blamed for the attack.

The injured girl is alive, barely, and my heart and prayers go out to her and her family. This must be ripping the family apart. You send your child out to play, and then the door bell rings.

I’m not sure I put any stock to this idea, but it came floating through my thoughts as I read about the two twelve year old Waukesha girls, and their Slender Man induced attempted murder. As it played out in my head, it seemed remotely possible. This is my attempt to make what I read fit into what may have happened. It in no way dulls the horror.

Voices in our heads, we all have them. These voices can be dangerous, driving us over the edge of sanity and reason. Even more dangerous for Children who do not know what to do with their voices.  Children who do not know voices are abnormal? Adults deal better with voices in their heads because they learned tell them to, “Shut up!” Most adults know how manage those background noise voices, generally by ignoring them.

Children, who hear voices in their heads are not so fortunate. They may not even know the voices should be ignored. Maybe some Children do not know to not allow voices in their heads to have any meaning? There are always exceptions of children who never thought to ask an adult about the voices in their heads.

Children, among other things, are strong story and lore keepers. Believers in almost all stories they hear and tell. Any child knows where the most evil house in their neighborhood is. Any child can also recite a long list of most feared monsters and creatures that roam around by day and by night. Any child can tell you about important child things.

Children spend large amounts of their time thinking about really scary things. Remember the things that used to scare you as a child, and how you believed it all? Maybe you still do? As a child we all told stories of very scary things, and we believed most of them.

When Children listen to the voices in their head, monsters and mayhem become alive in their world. They exist, and they are active in Children’s imaginations. They attack and harrass children through their thoughts. Most Children can set them aside, but maybe one of these two children could not.

It’s not much of a stretch of imagination to think that what happened between the three twelve year old Girls. Two girls who attempted to murder one of their own. Slender Man wanted them to do it. Maybe even insisted to one of them that they do it. Threatened at least one of them with what would happen if they did not murder.

To children Slender Man is the real deal. Same as the monsters that scared you as a child. Slender Man was invented only a few years ago if you are an adult. If you are around the age of twelve, Slender Man has been watching you your whole life.

If you are a twelve year old with an over active imagination, and voices in your head, Slender Man is one scary monster. Scary enough that Slender Man is telling you things, and you believe him. Talking over your thoughts and making you listen to him instead.

Making you so scared, you lose your own idea of right and wrong. Slender Man scares you bad enough that you are willing to do anything to be protected from or by Slender Man.

Without Slender Man, or another monster hiding in your thoughts, and you are around twelve, you may start to become a little odd. You may find yourself doing odd things, like excessive hand washing, hurting animals, or having a version of reality that no one else seems to have. You become a little paranoid, maybe even a lot paranoid.

Of course your family may cover up for you. Perhaps they pretend not to notice. If you are lucky, you maintain enough control inside your head, your issue does not become known, and you can grow up almost normal, with a touch of strange.

If you are not able be in control of your thoughts, outside help will be sought, hopefully sooner than later. If you are completely unable to control the voices and thoughts in your head, something like Slender Man is ready and willing to take charge, and tell you what to do.

I think this type of behavior in twelve year old girls is very rare. Maybe it was the perfect storm released by a previous head injury? Maybe it is a result of something else gone wrong. Maybe it’s all a fabricated story, thought up for self preservation. Maybe those two girls were bored, and thought murder would be fun.

Please Save Me From Small Minded Thinking

People with ongoing limited thinking are really painful for me to listen too. I find it hard to imagine there is still so much backwards thinking going on. This one really pushed some buttons for me. In a conversation I was part of, there was discussion about obituaries’ in small town newspaper.

The talk turned then turned to marriages in the paper. Here we go…. A comment was made about now that gay people are allowed to be legally married, a large number of Texas license plates are being seen in two small border towns towns since legislation was recently passed in the state allowing gay marriages.

One person stated they are surprised by the number of him/him and her/her marriages that are showing up in the paper.

This was followed by a comment with agreement on how wrong it is for those people to be allowed to be legally married. Of course I had to ask why it is wrong to allow two people that love each other and want to be a married couple to be legally married?

Why of course, I was told, the bible says it is wrong was the reply. It’s right there in Leviticus. This was followed by agreement of most present with a fairly close quote of the actual verse.

Wow, one line in the whole of the bible that doesn’t need apply any more as it is a part of the old testament and the old covenant? Not to mention of asked to quote to or three other verses from other parts of the bible, they would struggle. But they know this one well.

Well, I was told, two county clerks quit their jobs over this. It conflicts with their religion, was said in a tone that it was a horrible thing they had to quit their jobs because of gay people wanting to be legally married. Following was a quiet murmuring of agreement. After all it conflicted with their religion(?).

The book of Leviticus has over two-hundred laws in it, some of which we all break weekly without even thinking about it. We violate or break several of the laws in Leviticus every day, by eating pork, catfish, lobster, shrimp, clams, and oysters. Drinking strong alcohol by young people also is a no no. Not sacrificing the proper animals in response to named events are deal breakers in Leviticus.

Besides the fact that these laws were created and followed by a wandering desert people whose lives have little in common with todays’ world, some of these laws are founded on fact. Eating infected under cooked pork, and eating seafood without scales can kill you. Alcohol destroys more than brain cells so it is not good for younger people. On the other hand no one sacrifices animals any more, along with many other of the two-hundred plus laws we choose not to follow in Leviticus.

These prohibitions are what comes to mind immediately. Obviously, for some people, these laws are ignored, except for the one line law about men/men and woman/woman relationships. Unless the law fits their lifestyle, that is different.

These laws seem to be in fact, not important when in held in comparison to wanting to publicly acknowledge ones status as a married person. Everything written in Leviticus apparently else pales in comparison to gay marriage.

Why do we continue to be asleep. Are we happy being short sighted creatures?  Why do we not judge ourselves as quickly as we judge others? In these situations selective ignorance applies. These people have brain viruses and are a danger to a healthy, rational society.

Less than 100 years ago, women and children had no real rights, and were mostly confined to kitchen and bedrooms. Children were little more than animals, and held less rights than their mothers did. A woman’s opinion mattered little. A child better not be heard having an opinion.

Inter-racial marriage was banned. Being in an inter-racial marriage may have gotten you killed. Alcohol was illegal for a time. Cocaine, opium, and heroin were not illegal, and sold over the counter. Smoking was thought to be healthy. Drinking or otherwise ingesting radioactive substances was seen as a healthy life choice.

Theatres had balconies, and only white people were allowed downstairs. Cafes were white only in the main parts of any city. Water Fountains and Bathrooms were segregated by color. The government knew what was best. People of color rode in the back of the bus.

One of the small towns being discussed where the county clerks quit, less than fifty years ago proudly displayed a sign at each end of its city limits, “If you are Black, don’t let the sun set on you in this town”.

The above paragraphs are but a few examples of where we were one-hundred years ago. Today no-one would question the insanity of what was the law of the land. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.

The thing is, the minds of these people and those that think like them will never be changed, short of some life altering experience. All that can be done is wait for them to die off and hope the next generation will be less archaic in their thinking. In the meantime, let me help you with that log in your eye.

Skin Color and Sports, Looking Back, Living Forward

I watched the movie, 42 today. I remember being a kid and watching Jackie Robinson playing ball. I was too young to know the story behind Jackie Robinson playing ball. All I knew was he was a quiet serious player, and he was darned good.

Jackie Robinson took care of business on the filed. I never heard, or understood the word professional at that age. I never heard the word racism either. All I knew by the time I was old enough to watch baseball was Jackie Robinson was one heck of a palyer, and he seldom spoke.

Growing up in rural Minnesota, I did not know much about baseball and race. In 1962 I knew we had a hot hitter on the Twins roster, named Tony Oliva. Tony Oliva struck fear when he moved to the major league on the Twins roster. Tony Oliva was one of the best batters in the league coming into the league.

Until the end of his first season he was a hot batter. By the end of his first season, Tony Oliva could not get within four feet of home plate. Pitchers would throw the ball at him. I thought as an ignorant to how the world works kid, there was a battle between Tony Oliva, and the Pitchers over who own the plate and the batters box.

When the Civil Rights movement started to make national news, I never made the connection between Civil Rights, Jackie Robinson, and Tony Oliva. I always believed Jackie Robinson was the consummate professional, and Tony Oliva was pressured away from the plate because he was too powerful a batter.

Today, after the movie 42, it becomes clear what the real issues were. Jackie Robinson was a professional, because he had to be. Tony Oliva shied away from the plate not because the pitchers of the day did not want him to hit off of them. They both were the way they were because of the people who did not believe they belonged on a professional baseball field with white players.

Sometimes we forget we are a little planet, with no place to move to. Every generation repeats some of the wrongs previous generations lived under. I know the day is coming when skin color and sexual preference will no longer be an important. I hope we do not lose ground as we walk down the road to get there.

It is up to you now. It is your responsibility to ensure that the path to equality is not lost. The cost has been to high for you and your generation to forget how it used to be, and not strive to make it better. Make yourself proud. When you see a wrong, do what you can to right it. Don’t settle for good enough. Remember too, hate and ignorance do not have boundaries.

Target and My Personal Information

I received an email apology from Target today. This is my reply:

Hello Gregg Steinhafel,

I do not remember ever using a credit or debit card at Target? I certainly did not provide this email address. Since I do not remember doing this, either I have not, or it has been a few months since I did use any plastic as a Target customer. I do not give out this email address.

Why are you hoarding my personal information?

Michael

I am sure Target’s email to me is sincere. What bothers me is why does Target have my information on file in the first place?  Does being a customer give a company the right to collect and hoard my personal information?