Attempting Poetry #1: The House At The End Of The Street

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I walk to the house
at the end of the street
Dark muddy ruts weave a path
I follow them towards the door
The cold damp Winter air
carries acrid scent of decaying leaves
and burnt wood
into my lungs

Approaching the house
its windows frame of darkness
and Burst of wind masks
any possible sounds of life within

Stepping closer
the curtains dance
through windows without glass
then stop
as the breeze retreats back into the nearby woods

The house doesn’t seem as welcoming as before
and my walk less peaceful

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Top 10 Things I Learned While Vacationing In Disney/ Universal Studios

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10) Florida traffic laws require drivers to be engaged in, at least, three (3) non-driving activities that include, but aren’t limited to: eating, drinking, operating two cell phones, smoking, dancing, trapshooting, playing Marco Polo, and filling out tax forms. Anyone actually paying attention to driving will face steep fines.

9) Tourist apparently enjoy passing gas in line at amusement parks.

8) Not all Ten dollar hamburgers are created equal.

7) The song, “It’s A Small World” is still just as annoying after the first verse.

6) Butter Beer, at the Harry Potter section, is delicious.

5) Starbucks coffee tastes just as bad in Florida, as it does it Pennsylvania. Luckily, Dunkin Donuts coffee was available.

4) Nearly half of my memories of these parks involves me waiting in a line.

3) This is a must-see destination for anyone interested in pursuing misanthropy as a hobbie.

2) The light sabres will not actually defend one against anything.

1) Disappointingly, Interactive wands from Harry Potter are not designed to clean hotel rooms, convince pay toll tellers that you’ve already paid, or make ride lines any shorter. And, once you get home, are unable to help you unpack or do laundry.

Holy S##t! Am I A Curmudgeon?!?

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Looking over my last few posts makes me wonder if I am a curmudgeon. Am I that old guy who rants about “why can’t it be like the good old days?” Am I forcing other elevator patrons to see my old surgical scars?! No?!?   But he is ranting about health care, television commercials, the end of the world! Oh, don’t forget about the 1980s music references. No worries. I will back off for the serious stuff for a bit. Maybe throw in another Top 10 list, movie review (I love horror films), or I was thinking of possibly doing a writing prompt to dabble more in creative writing.

Oh, wait. I can’t be a curmudgeon. I don’t use park benches and my nose, ear, and eyebrow hair is still neatly trimmed. False alarm!  I will now return you to your regular blog programming.

Kanye West: The Human WTF?

Kanye West Drops New Album, Says He’s $53 Million In Debt

Kanye West Rants Against Taylor Swift, Brags He’s 50% More Influential Than (take your pick)

Another article about being 50% more influential than Stanley Kubrick, Pablo Picasso, Pablo Escobar, and Apostle Paul – in a backstage SNL rant. I’d like to see the research data and draw my own conclusion, please.

Becomes An Internet Meme Because Of His Knack Of Interrupting People To Insult Them

Kanye Asks Mark Zuckerberg For $1 Billion Dollars To Fund His “Ideas”

It’s remarkable that so much ego can be squeezed into one person. Kanye, fiction is a genre of books; not a lifestyle. Please stop. Please.

Author note: the omission of a graphic for this post is purely intentional.

Setting Unrealistic (Medical) Expectations

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Laser Spine Institute Commercial

Being in the medical field, I take care of wide range of patients….including those with joint and spinal problems.  Pain not only can make doing everyday tasks difficult; it can also be difficult to manage.  Sometimes, pain management is finding the right combination of the type of pain medicine, physical therapy, and even other non-invasive procedures.  Surgery can be an option, but it shouldn’t be the first choice.  Doctors are required to present patients with information about what the surgical procedure is, what the possible benefits are, what the risks are, and what to expect afterwards.  There is ALWAYS a risk with surgery.  It can happen for any number of reasons, including allergic reactions or extrapyramidal responses to medicine, comorbidities with the patient, or any complication during the procedure.  Every person is different; therefore, their response to the medicines, treatment, and surgery can be different, as well. Here is where I begin to have a problem with commercials with the Laser Spine Institute.  It presents all of the benefit with none of the risk. Setting expectations really high….unrealistically high, in my opinion.

I found one website that gives patient reviews about the organization. Granted, I am not completely sure of the credibility of the website….or those who present any information about it.  I am not gullible enough to believe that any presence of data on the Internet means it is true. I also found a Bloomberg Business article about lawsuits against Laser Spine Institute, so I would think there may be more credibility with this information. I will leave it up to the reader to check its veracity of its statements.

Speaking of veracity of its statements, I am reminded of a similar “rosy picture” painted by commercials produced by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  I have read articles that say that their success rates are heavily influenced by not taking on patient cases that may have more serious, more aggressive forms of cancer (that may not be as likely to survive).  Quoting a Doctor interviewed for an article from Reuters News Service that Iinked to:

Accepting only selected patients and calculating survival outcomes from only some of them “is a huge bias and gives an enormous advantage to CTCA,” said biostatistician Donald Berry of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

This is more than just a nurse pointing out nonsensical responses to medical crises on Grey’s Anatomy (Don’t get me started!). This is irresponsibility among those whose motives are financially-oriented that patient-driven.

 

 

 

 

You Got Your Religious Peanut Butter In My Political Chocolate

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A recent LinkedIn article appeared in my news feed about a business owner who lead his subordinates in a Christian prayer group before the work day started.  There were approximately a dozen or so comments; all, of which, were reaffirming the event as “exactly what we needed” and “tired of all of the political correctness.” This reminded of a situation that I faced in the workplace – years before – where the owner was stopping by everyone’s desk with a friend of his running for a political office.  The owner’s friend was collecting signatures to be put on the ballot. As they approached my cubicle, I heard the owner say, “Oh, we can’t get his (my) signature, because he’s a (different political party).”  What is the common theme of these scenarios? That any perceived differences can be held against you. While it may not be life-threatening, the difference of ideology and/or faith can lead to a spectrum of problems that can lead to negative outcomes…..and make the relationship adversarial.

I remember a time, many years ago, that religion and politics were completely off-limits. It was a society norm to leave that out of any discussions; just like the topic of salary.  I am not sure why that has changed. Sure, you could have some personal items on your desk; but they were typically the innocuous family members, crafts made by offspring, or other tchotchkes.  Rules already existed to prevent anything in the workplace that cause people to feel uncomfortable, including sexually suggestive items.  It is likely that most jobs, at this point, require employees to sit through presentations that state discrimination against race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other minority issue.  Employee handbooks are legal documents. It is a contractual agreement between employers and employees. You sign off that you understand the content, and agree to follow it – and accept the consequences when the rules are broken.

I think the best solution is to keep politics and religion out of the office. Unless you work for a specific religious organization or political organization, faith and political ideology should not have any role in your work.  Public or private companies should have very specific rules that guides the business, as well as employees about the absence of these issues in the workplace.  Rules already exist to not solicit coworkers with various charities or fundraisers.  Unfortunately, there is a blending that generate lots of problems.  It is also not a case of impinging upon freedom of speech, necessarily

There are consequences for having religion become visible in the office. Any office is usually going to consist of a range of beliefs, which aren’t necessarily in conflict. However, some may feel more compelled to “witness” or proselytize their faith to others.  The other employees that do not share those beliefs are essentially compelled to be there because it is their livelihood, not the voluntary choice to attend a religious organization.  Even though religious faith is generally considered a private issue, yet some take data like the research data that says 77% of Americans are Christians as “might makes right.” Of course, that implies a unity that is not necessarily real – as approximately 50% are Protestant-based beliefs and  roughly 20% are Catholic. While both are considered Christians, they do not share all tenets.  A distinction rarely made in the media, as mentioned in these cases. Atheists and Agnostics are faced with hearing messages they do not necessarily want to hear.  Non-mainstream faiths may be met with even more antagonism.  How does that antagonism play out at the work place? You get bullying.  So, it is clearly bad if it is coworker-oriented. What if it’s your boss/manager/owner? You can find yourself out of a job. It doesn’t matter if you practice Wicca, Islam, Christianity, or are an atheist. The social stigma of not sharing religious affiliation, while overt enough to make the alienation very real; it can be covertly presented as seemingly legitimate appearing issues of tardiness, poor performance, or other legal avenues to terminate employment.

For those of you who don’t believe there is any persecution…ok, that’s a strong word. How about alienation or ostracism; pick any of the following labels (above) and announce that you belong to that group to your coworkers, classmates, and family. See what kind of reaction you get. Make note of how your relationship may change with them, and whether or not you feel that you’re under more scrutiny than before.

Side note: I am not going to pretend that this issue is one-sided. I am also aware that there are global issues at play here. Religious persecution, especially in less democratic countries, can include killing those who either practice a different faith or no faith at all. Examples can be found herehere, and the historical examples of the Holocaust. This is the extension to the extreme; a trajectory of where the hate can lead.  If we add killing others for ideological reasons, there are far too many to list. Google things like The Sino War (1937) where the Japanese Army marched on the Chinese city of Nanking, the Katyn massacre in Poland (1940), the Killing Fields of Cambodia/Pol Pot (late 1970s), and much more, unfortunately.  I am not linking to these very extreme examples, because they are graphic and disturbing.

As my recent theme of apocalypse were to occur, I have a feeling that humans may fall back into dangerous, lethal habits. Go back even farther in history and the pattern continues. The Middle Ages, not only had their share of the hate; they even had instruments to help them express that hate.

 

The Media Figures (pun intended) Out Women Can Have Curves…..Almost

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Author Note: This is an academic discussion about womens’ issues.  Yes, I am male. Yes, I appreciate women. But I am a husband, and most importantly, father…including a pre-teen daughter.  There continues to be a major disconnect between societal norms between what the media presents us and the reality we experience in our lives.  This issue is more that just a talking point. The attempt to keep up with the unrealistic and arbitrary societal expectation generates incredible amounts of emotional damage. I am speaking up.

I have been on the planet for quite some time. I have been aware of the female form for several decades. Apparently, so have scientists, evolutionary theorists, and Playboy Magazine editors. I also know that models used to advertise consumer goods do not share the concept of the “ideal hip-to-waist ratio” and- by comparison – are anorexic. The malnourished supermodel standard war continues, but a recent battle victory has occurred.  Sports Illustrated Magazine has selected three models for their 2016 swimsuit issue, which includes Ashley Graham.  The significance being Ashley has one of the nation’s most common, yet unrecognized resources: curves. This isn’t necessarily a pivotal moment in the history, but a step towards normalizing normality.

Google on your own to see how the “ideal female figure” has changed, even by decade. Note: the 1960s and 1980s appreciated curves, but the 1970s (See: the model named ‘Twiggy’) were much like the “heroin chic ” phase that occurred in the 1990s.

 

Top 10 Reasons To Look Forward To The Apocalypse

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10) Camping fans will be able to extend their skills into daily life. Every day is camping day.

9) Student loans?!? What student loans?!?

8) Robocalls can’t happen if the phones don’t work. Leading to #7…..

7) Texting while driving….along with driving won’t be possible.

6) Solitaire means having an actual card deck.

5) 24 hour news channels will revert back to the local rumor mill….with no loss in reporting accuracy.

4) Neck ties and ironing will likely fall out of favor.

3) Not only will your alarm clock not go off, you probably won’t be going to work anymore.

2) People will have to manufacture their own drama, rather than rely on Facebook anymore.

1)The Kardasshians will be trying to keep up with us.

Exploring The Apocalypse: Transportation

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Getting around will be infinitely more difficult without an infrastructure, of course. We could potentially be left to rely on non-mechanical means to get around.  For those of us who hold down jobs that involve travel or long commutes will be staying local. Working for a living may become simply trying to survive. That still seems to be a large price to pay to not have to go to work, though.

We may still have the highway and road system, but cars could become obsolete rather quickly. Horses will not be available, and non-mechanical options will take time to make it to the public usage. As traditional funding and workers will not be available, it will likely become a piecemeal of whatever resources are available for a particular area. Lack of a power grid will complicate this issue even more.

Travel will be drastically limited. Family and friends that live far away will no longer be as accessible, either by travel or even communication (again, if the power grid were to go down). I can’t imagine the emotional impact of that issue, alone. While I do not have extensive proof, the end times are gonna suck.

-D