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Friday, October 21, 2016

Politics, Politicians, and Prevaricators...say what?

Here I go again (to paraphrase RR,) "Morningbrain" has struck, and sleep is no longer an option.  Writing seems to work, though.  Problem is, by the time it works, it’s usually too late to return to sleep.  No matter, at least I feel the papers left by the process may, occasionally, have some value, if to no one but myself.

Facebook can be a waste of time.  Then, again, so is television, but, at this point in life, I’m not willing to totally give up either.  Politics has resulted in strange photo-fellows, it seems, and the picture of Trump alongside of Hillary is rife on both screens: Which  brings to mind the phrase, “I don’t know how to love him,” (followed by) “He’s a man, he’s just a man…and I’ve known so many men before, in so very, many ways, he’s just one more,” and while the first part definitely does not apply to this pairing, the second does, especially when you consider they are both genuine “superstars” in their own right, even though neither could appropriately be compared with the “Superstar” the quotation originally applied to.  (Can the election come soon enough?)

Which brings to mind a Facebook “friend” who I choose to call “Chad.”  Chad is an ornery sort,  one who majors in negativity.  He reminds me of a stanza from a Limelighter’s album:

            “The whole world is festering with unhappy souls:
              The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles;
              The Poles hate the Yugoslavs; South Africans hate the Dutch;
              And I don’t like anybody very much!”

He hates Hillary, and professes to not like Trump much either (but of the two, Trump is his stated choice, and if you disagree with that, YOU’RE a “DA.”  (And, for those who might seek clarification, as “Fred G. Sanford” might once have said, “And the ‘D’ is for ‘Dumb,’ dummy!”  Hope that gets the point across, ‘cause Ah ain’t a’clarifyin’ “Chad” any further.)

We are two days beyond the third, and final (thank God,) “debate”  of this pitiful political season.  Truth of the matter is, I knew “debate,” and this, my friend, was no “debate.” (Apologies are in order, I’m sure.)  Four years from now, hopefully, our talking heads will see the need to settle on the term “debacle” to define the process with an added degree of clarity.  Debaters everywhere need to rise up and see that this is done to preserve the sanctity of their time honored process. 

What went on the last three times we have seen a “Presidential Candidates Debate” would have been much more interesting, and just as informative, if the Candidates’ Podia had been placed about one foot apart from each other.  That would have given us a real spittin’ contest, with real spit, I’m sure.  At least we the audience would have had something to smile about if this had been the case.

Now, I have just enough time to make myself a cuppa and get back to my other tube for the six o’clock news.  Whatta way to go!  And to all of you, won’t you please have yourself a “Good Morning,” unless, of course, you’ve already decided not so to do.

(And, of course, that last was for you, “Chad.”)


Anyone else have any suggestions?  Comments are allowed.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Addiction: Can anyone help?

Truth of the matter is, only one person can help an addict; the addict hemself  (i.e., herself or himself, etc.)  And, by the time that drug of choice has gained the upper hand in the addict’s life, permanent changes in the brain and liver chemistries will have occurred, making the attainment of a life of sobriety much more difficult than just the making of a mental choice.  It is, at that point in time, too late for the addict to simply make a decision and stick with it:  It is a problem of living with an addicted body long enough for the body’s continual need for the addicting substance to subside to the point where that constant physical craving no longer stands in the way of the addict’s decision.  This is why medically supervised withdrawal is suggested (if at all possible,) and it is why the tendency to relapse remains strong even after the body has rid itself of the drug.

What we were taught about that “weak-willed” alcoholic—or drug addict, for that matter—just is not the case.  Anyone who has tried to get an addict in their family to give up that addiction will attest to this truth.  No, “weak-willed” has nothing to do with it at all.  By the time the “experimenter” turns into the “user” and the “user” turns into the “addict,” the body and brain have teamed up to conspire against any flights of reason that may from time to time rail against the results of the disease. 

If you have an addict in your family, the best thing you might do for them is ask them to read two articles. 

First is a commentary from “Nora’s blog, “Addiction is a disease of free will” in one of the National Institute of Health’s web sites: 

Second is a personal description of addiction found in this writer’s blog: “My AA Story” something I wrote in response to a fellow AA’s request that I give “my story” to his group:  http://stephenvgeddes.blogspot.com/2015/02/my-aa-story.html.

Should your addict have that “moment of clarity” and give consideration to a life away from drugs and/or alcohol, you might first help hem find a detox facility.  In Aiken, SC, that facility is Aurora Pavilion, https://www.aikenregional.com/community-outreach/aurora-pavilion-behavioral-health-services, a division of the Aiken Regional Medical System.  Alternatively,  the Veteran’s Administration, Augusta Health, or possibly Augusta’s University Hospital may have similar, reasonably close, facilities. 

Following detox (usually a five day medically assisted treatment period,) a good second step would be a two week to one month stay at a rehab facility.  I took this second step twice (actually, three times.)  The first time was at a place called St. Simons by the Sea on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  The second time was at the Veterans Administration facility in Augusta, Georgia.  I would recommend either to your addict, if hem qualifies.  Had I known, I might have skipped the 5 day local detox and gone directly to the VA or St. Simons facility.  Both places also are more than able to provide the medically assisted detox if they have the beds when your addict becomes ready and willing.

Should this second step be out of reach (it often is quite expensive,)  a daily dose of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous is, at a minimum, what I would recommend.  If you can, though, augment this with a weekly trip to a qualified psychologist.  Your addict needs all the help hem can get.

My third time was a bit more demanding.  Being an addict, I had finished my most current year in AA by picking up one more “blue chip,” AA’s way of saying “congratulations on having a year (or another year) in sobriety.”  I was in my current “first year away from my drug of choice” following my most recent relapse (relapse is a fact of life for addicts, you see,) and, several weeks later, when some friends came to visit for Thanksgiving, I had the thought:  “It will be different this time.”   Well, that’s the same thought I’d had prior to several previous relapses, but did I “remember” this?  Nooooooo!

Thanksgiving day, following an evening of drinking with our friends, I awoke to blue lights in the street in front of my house.  No more need be said here, though:  It’s in that second reference, the one to “My AA Story” in “blogspot.com” (above.)  Was it different, though?  Yes....  Quite.

In any case, I think I finally figured it out.  If you have an addict in your family, my hopes are that he or she (my “hem”) figures it out, too.

And the sooner, the better.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Politics, politics, don’t we all love politics.

My wife is, on occasion, an active Facebooker.  She also is currently being barraged (as are we all) by the current crop of political wannabes and “their” PAC’s and she has developed (as have we all) a certain amount of opinion from the experience.  Not too very long ago she decided she is not a “Republican,” nor is she a “Democrat.”  Nor is she (as am I) an “Independent.”  It seems she has done a good bit of reading about the “Libertarians,” probably due to my Cousin Joe’s posts, and that, so she says, fits her to a Tee. 

Fine.  Who knows, with the current selectees-apparent of the two “major” “parties, I could find myself on board with her too. 

By current “selectees,” I am counting on the opinions of the two so-called “leading” candidates, i.e., T. rump for the Reps and Hillary (Good Wife) for the Dems.  I guess one might ask why I have negative feelings about both these sterling candidates.  Well, no particular reasons—other than, perhaps, the following:

Let’s start with GW Hillary.  In spite of her long list of political qualifications, some of which the Reps may point out as being as much a negative as a positive for her, I just can’t understand why, in a country of 300 million people, anyone would think we would need not one, but two “Clinton” Presidencies.  The first “Clinton” Presidency will best be remembered by the phrase “I did not have sex with that woman!”  Now, the current Clinton candidacy  gives us: "I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email."  Why, oh why, would anyone want to bring that kind of “stuff” back to our oval office?  Who do you suppose might be invited to inspect the underside of our Presidential desk the next time we might invite a “Clinton” to occupy it?  Is there not a single person in the 200,000,000 (a WAG) or so eligible Americans who might be able to do as good a job as she?  I suspect there is at least one other—maybe a few thousand—who might do as good a job.  Maybe even T. rump (then maybe not.)  The Reps agreed we did not need another “Bush.”  What is taking the Dems so long to come to a similar decision?  We need a President—not a “Good Wife.”

Now—as to T. rump—you may have noticed how I have taken the liberty of slightly modifying The Donald’s last name to fit my own nefarious purposes.  In his own way, he is sort of a Tyrannosaurus, is he not?  He tried to eat a couple of lovely Ms’s early in the campaign, alienating quite a few of their sisters.  He tried to eat one of our two closest neighbors, wanting them to build a fence (“and they will pay for it.”)  He’s trying to eat quite a few of us when he singled out a religion for his Islamiphobic purposes, un-American though that may be.  The only question is: Who or what will he be setting his sights on next?  Is this presidential behavior?  Well, while it might be appropriate for the “Boss,” it is not and never will be “Presidential” behavior.  (My thoughts, “T. rump, ‘you’re fired!’”)

Candidates:  Zero for two so far.  How about those “Libertarians?”  My choice would have been Dr. Joseph G. Buchman.    Since, for some reason they selected a guy who’s already been dismissed by the voting public once, I’ll have to do some serious thinking here.  Dr. Buchman’s recommendation will probably carry the day, in this case, mainly because I happen to know just a bit about him (the good Ph.D.,) and he is one good judge of character.   And, as for that “Boss” business, if you want an interesting take on it, one you might have heard before, but one that seems to apply, you might go to: http://stephenvgeddes.blogspot.com/2012/12/oldie-but-goodie-what-it-takes-to-be.html .






Sunday, June 19, 2016

Morningbrain, one more time.

Morningbrain, one more time.

God works in mysterious ways, or so it is said, and this morning he has given me thoughts from the day before to keep me from my sleep.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.  What to do?  Write, of course.

Yesterday, I had just finished collecting the various items we thought we needed that were defined on the 3x5 pad on the refrigerator.  I had been in Walmart and was in its parking lot, proceeding to unload my shopping cart into the trunk of my trusted steed, our Mitsubishi, when a man walked up and asked if I had a few dollars I could spare that he could use to buy something to eat.  This has happened before, and I said “sure.” 

Pulling my wallet from my back pocket, opening it to help him with his request, I told him if he had the nerve to ask, I certainly would not say no.  What’s the point?  Well, the credit cards were all there, but there was not a single one, two, five, ten, or twenty there, only that folded up hundred that I may or may not even have noticed at the time.  Sorry, I said, nothing but cards.  The guy wandered off.  I watched him as I finished up my business and sat down before the steering wheel.  Then I remembered the change that was always in the pocket of one of the doors.  Yep, enough there, I thought.  I started the car.  I could still see the man.

What happened next?  Well, perhaps this is where God took over.  The cars in the parking lot did not seem to want to cooperate with my need to drive to where I had last seen the man.  While I waited for a couple of them to move, I saw him walking towards Whiskey Road.  Still time, I thought.  The cars had other ideas.  He walked through some bushes at the edge of the lot.  I drove to the stop light near where he had gone.  Another car, turning right, was in front of me.  Not much traffic, but the car just sat there.  It did turn, after another minute, and I followed.  No man.  No man anywhere.  I put the change back in the door pocket and proceeded to drive home.  He would not get his couple of bucks, and I would have to be satisfied with knowing I had tried.

I’ve often thought I never would have to worry about having to worry about how to get a camel through the eye of a needle.  While my wife and I aren’t exactly rich, neither of us has missed a meal, or gone to bed hungry, (or wondered if we going to find a place to sleep that night, for that matter,) in a long, long time.  Maybe I do need to think about how I might get that camel through the eye of that needle.  “Rich,” like everything else, is relative.  So now I am up at 4:30, typing, instead of sleeping.

Thank you Lord.

Hope your man got some supper.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A little autobiography, perhaps?

May 31, 2016—Morningbrain, again.  I’ve been lying in bed (laying in bed?) (both?) for, I really don’t know, an hour or so, thinking, as I am wont to do from time to time, thinking about that little creation I’ve been working on called my “Autobiographical Trust.”  Finally I got up and made my way to the living room to engage my trusty companion from HP in the hope that I might remember enough of what I’ve just been thinking to come up with something interesting and useful.  First, though, some coffee?

Water’s heating up.  My thoughts are ranging from what to do next with the AT to how and where to include my “Last will and testament” in it.  Guess, in fairness to my wife and kids, the will should come first.  Then, maybe as a co-conspirator, the AT should be written along with copious notes to use in preparing the eventual autobiography that hopefully will follow.  Completion of the AT will enable its commercialization by providing a needed demonstration of the book’s usefulness to those who would consider buying it, as well as to those who I want to give it to, to allow them to get a start on their own works for their children (my grandchildren.)  I wish my dad and mom had written one of these (way too late for that, though.)  Guess I’d better get started before this old body goes the way of all bodies and makes my kids think the same thing about me.  Also guess I’d better clue Jennie in on what we need to be doing--ASAP, at that.

Water’s ready.  How anyone ever starts drinking coffee is a mystery.  Must be a lot of social pressure at work here.  Like the first person to try an oyster, that first coffee drinker must have been some determined SOB.  Still, after all these years, while recognizing the stuff really doesn’t taste all that good, it does smell and taste good. To me, anyway.  Ahhhh!

Now, where was I?  The AT.  I guess I need to do two things.  First, I need to write my AT (and, of course, that needed “Will.”)  Ah, here comes Tobi.  He just realized I’m not coming back to bed.  He’s now joining me in the living room, just not at the keyboard. 

The AT is the key, I suspect, to more than a few things.  First, it will give me something to sell that will be useful to John Q.  JQ is no different from me, even though he thinks he is.  JQ needs this, and writing mine will give him the demonstration he needs to know he needs an AT too.  Thoughts follow:

My AT will begin in Talladega, Alabama, on July 11, 1944.  Fitting, wouldn’t you say, for my “Book about Me?”  (Need to google that to find an author and pub date.)  Mom and Dad will be pretty big on that first page, since I have absolutely no memory of my own birth and first year or two.  Still, what the fledgling family was doing in the waning years of WWII in South Alabama is something that I must discuss.  The trick I will need to discover is what to put in my written comments and what to include as items on the adjoining page for eventual use in crafting the autobiography.  The written comments should be very readable, if obviously incomplete.  The reader will be able to see the adjoining items to know what will be addressed in the book proper, in any case, and the hand-written comments will give hem an idea of what he/she, her/him (the “hem”) will want to leave for hem’s progeny. 

After South Alabama, I need to go to Clarksville, Indiana.  Will need to check with Unkle Stu (since Marshall passed, just Unkle will do) to get some timing here.  Also need to see if he can remember where we went after Clarksville.  I’m thinking that was when we went to Richmond, VA, where I remember going behind the lunch counter in the Howard Johnston’s we were staying at and being shooed out by the friendly short-order cook.  Hmmm—it’s getting light outside, and the coffee cup’s empty.  Drinking too fast?  Writing too slow?  No nevermind—open blinds and refill cup.

Birds are getting their start on our feeders.  Guess the wild cats would appreciate a handful of dry food.  Need to fix and set the trap to start taking them to the SPCA for their neutering.  Can’t continue to raise this cat pack much longer.  Two “little greys” already out there.  Whole family is Grey, Mom (a mostly grey calico,) and three “little greys” from last season.  SPCA says they will neuter and return.  OK by me, but I have to do the catching. 

Somewhere about this time I ought to include a passage about “little Stevie” and his recital of “the Night Before Christmas.”   Also should talk about the stone blocks at Grandma Newbanks’ house.  Then on to Orangeburg—Lawrence, “fishing” for sticks, house beside the railroad tracks, Mary Sally, “eggs a la…,” Bro, broken leg, on to Ellis Ave Extension. 

So much for this “Morningbrain” write-up.  Time for AM news, eggs, and getting ready for the day.  Yikes!  What’s that?   Ahhhh…the morning wake-up from AT&T.  6:30 and time to call Jennie at Stash and Christy’s house to be sure her alarm went off too.  (It did.)  All is well in the world.  She’s taking care of the kids while S&C have a minivacation at Edisto (they’ll be back to get the kids on Wednesday, or so.)  Tamam.


      

Saturday, February 6, 2016

ETV and my friend, Carl Brown


I just finished watching a SCETV program about “Idaho’s trial of the century,” a trial of a man named Haley who had been accused of murdering a governor or recent ex-governor (I’m not sure which is right) of Idaho in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.  When I finished watching this program, I thought of an old friend named Carl Brown. 

Carl is an Aiken County farmer of note.  I have seen him on occasion on ETV(?) when questions about farming were being investigated.  Other than that, I have not seen Carl in over 50 years.  Still, I would consider him to be a friend.  We were friends when last we met and nothing has changed between us. 

As a boy and young adult (teenager,) Carl was good looking, fit, and stuck with a smile that never seemed to quit.  His hair was always in place (well, almost always,) precisely parted on one side, and just the right shade of brown to make even a Hollywood starlet forget any thought of hair dye.  He was taller than average, but not so tall as to be seen as a threat by any basketballer.  In short, he could be described with the phrase, “what’s not to like?”

Carl had a personality that was hard to criticize.  If he was ever angry, he kept it to himself.  He could listen without jumping in with an opinion even though he undoubtedly had opinions and would, I suspect, share them if asked.  As a fellow Scout, I’m sure when Carl repeated the Scout Law, he meant it, as did I.  If you know the Scout Law, you know that covers a lot of territory.

My father was an Explorer Advisor to both of us.  Dad liked Carl. 

Recollections, like a two-edged sword, can bring happiness, or regret.  In this case, I’m sure you know which edge is in play.

As to the story that got me thinking—it is a worthwhile tale, true tale at that, of a famous trial that happened in 1907 in Idaho.  The lawyers were preeminent in their day, the judge was without equal, and the jury was fearless.  The verdict may or may not have saved an innocent man from execution.  It was a penultimate example of American justice, though, and will remain so for as long as American justice is considered something of value.

Why did this program make me think of Carl Brown?  Simple—it was the jury.  The seven men on that Idaho jury were described as being Idaho farmers.  They were depicted as being concerned people intent on following the law and in rendering a correct verdict.  Which, according to the program, is what they did, in spite of their having to render a decision that they knew would be unpopular and, in the early twentieth century, not all that far away (especially in Idaho,) from America’s frontier days, one that would possibly put them in personal jeopardy.  Still, they followed the letter of the law and rendered the correct, if unpopular verdict.  

Carl could have been the chairman of that jury—and the result would have been the same.

Stephen V. Geddes, Aiken, SC, February 6, 2016.

Anyone with an interest in watching a really good PBS program (from Idaho PBS) should go to idahoptv.org/trial.  I don’t know how long a program it is, I began watching sometime after it began.  In any case, I suspect I’ll watch it again.  Just checked out the link:  It will give you a good description of the program and give you a chance to buy a DVD—which I just might do.  (It really is that good.)