A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

REPUBLICANS, THE BIBLE AND AVATAR

Headline tonight on Drudge says the Obamacare plan is here to stay and an immigration bill granting amnesty and voting to 30 million illegal aliens is a done deal according to one powerful republican.

Powerful republican is soon going to be an oxymoron.  Republicans are going the way of the Whigs.  I still haven't decided if I'm voting this fall, the Senate seat in Colorado is up for grabs as is the governors office.  Colorado is kind of cool - we recalled two state senators and a third resigned before she could be recalled after the gun law votes.  That is neat.  And it would be neat to replace a democratic governor and senator in the same election - but if we make 30 million illegal aliens voters, it won't matter anymore.  States like AZ, TX, and Florida will instantly become democratic states and if TX and FL are no longer in play, guess what folks, no other election will be in play as far as presidents go.  I honestly don't get it, I understand somewhat making sure kids born in this country, even if their folks snuck in here illegally, citizens; but if we reward illegal behavior  …. oh wait… now I get it!!!

What would you expect out of a bunch of people in Washington who consistently get wealthy with illegal behavior to do but reward others for their illegal behavior?  Now it makes sense.  More criminals, less morality.

I swear, every day it seems like there is one more drop of information that makes me wish God would just stop the music and get it all over with.

Speaking of God, I don't know why so many people live in the prophecy books, something comes over me when reading the wisdom books - maybe I need it - but I love the wisdom books including those not normally included in the FEP versions (fundamentalists evangelical pentecostal).  The rest I just don't get moved, maybe I'm not wise enough for them yet.  Same with the NT, Matthew, John, James, Hebrews, and the Peter, John, Jude letters touch me.

I wish I were smarter because many times reading Paul's letters I get this feeling he is saying something that actually contradicts Jesus' sayings but I can never quite put my finger on any of it.

Watched Wizards this weekend.  I love that old Ralph Bashki movie from the late 70's.


Avatar is the good wizard, one of the twins, and the other is, of course, the evil brother.

Avatar is an interesting word.  I know it's the movie that came out a few years ago which was the sci fi version of Dances with Wolves but I never saw Avatar.  But the word originally was from the Hindu meaning a manifestation of a god in a human body.  It also means someone who lives a specific world view in everything they do.  And with the internet, the avatar is the internet persona someone might take; similar to Barkley Pontree I guess.

With the new company, I thought it was witty to make this picture my icon picture in the company chat rooms - get it - an avatar of Avatar?  No one else got it either, it's an inside joke and I'm the only person in the room.

Anyways, it's a good flick, but much better when you are stoned than straight.  Typical 70's fare, magic versus technology, the evil brother starts taking over the world using propaganda, so it's got an interesting message.   I saw this at an old theatre in Kalamazoo that had statues on the walls of the theatre which can really freak you out when you are buzzed, you keep thinking someone is watching you and glancing at the walls.

At least, I think they were statues, never mind.

Job is going great.  Good reviews and the company lets us sign up for overtime when needed by the company so I got an extra four hours in this week, which was cool.

There can be a new dream,
One for us to hold,
Made with peace and hope
And built upon the old.

No one has the answer
To give away or sell.
Tomorrow holds the secret,
But only time will tell.


This is the theme song in Wizards "Only Time Will Tell"
the singer, are you sitting down, is Susan Anton
No kidding
I can just hear most of you thinking "who the hell is Susan Anton?"

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WHY MUST YOU MAKE EVERYTHING SO COMPLICATED PART II

I have a great ringtone of Alf saying "why must you make everything so complicated" that just cracks me up.  Alf always cracked me up.

And this morning, while spending two hours on the phone prior to starting work, that little ringtone kept playing over and over in my mind.

Comcast, soon to be the monopoly in cable, needs money to purchase senators and congressman so they can buy Time Warner and started with doubling my cable internet bill.  No notice.  Yes, I know, they probably told me last year when I was in those last months caring for my dad, but I didn't remember that it was a one year contract.  What really pissed me off was not being notified my bill was going from 36 bucks a month to 77 bucks a month for 25mbps download speed.

But they were nice about saying touch luck, they did offer me, because of my 15 year history of being a customer, to extend a special one year offer for 7mbps for 66 bucks a month.

As Cary Grant once said, "mighty white of you".

But I didn't say that, I just suggested that offering me 1/4 of the performance for 30 dollars more a month really didn't sound like much of a deal.

So off to Century Link.

I have my phone line for 17 bucks plus 12 dollars in government payoffs a month and Century Link could offer me 40mbps for just 30 bucks a month!  Sounds like a deal.  So we start the sign up and oh, wait, can't do that, doesn't bundle with basic phone service.  Well, then unbundle it.

Can't do that.

So what we can do and blah blah blah it went for 30 minutes while he explained if I upgraded my phone to X with all those bells and whistles I don't need that they could package a great deal for Z.  And then, they could turn off all those bells and whistles on the phone line I would be now paying for and don't need so together it will just cost 65 bucks a month for the two.

When did everything become so complicated?

It's like when I bought that little TV just to get news and then had to buy a digital antenna in order to get 5 channels - 3 in Spanish.  After four days I had to return the antenna and TV because they wouldn't work.  Once upon a time, all we had to do was plug a damn TV in and pull up the rabbit ears and we'd get over a dozen channels, today it was a cluster bomb of  complicated things for what use to be easy.

Easy would have been a pricing system that doesn't double the cost of the service with no notice; hell they can monitor everything you do and watch and they can't code a 'if bill increase then write letter else goto X' line in SAP.  Easy would have been just letting me keep what I have for phone and then setting up the internet separate, but no, the system won't let them do that so it all gets complicated.

This is one of the reasons people are so upset these days; this constant reminder of how out of control our lives have become for large unnamed entities, massive data bases that collect information on how many times we wipe our butts but can't make simple adjustments to make our lives simple.

But we can't strike out against this unnamed beast, so we strike out in other ways and leave the unnamed beast in the background of our subconscious.  We just go along, never thinking about it, hoping it all just holds together, keeps working, until we can retire or die.

This is one of the things that make Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance such a great book.  In the first four chapters, the discussion is on this very issue, his friend and the friends wife's fear of technology, whether it be a motorcycle or a dripping faucet.  How they just paid for a BMW bike and assume it will never break down.  And it was written in the late 60's early 70's and how much more profound this explanation is today.

Have you ever read ZAMM?  You should.  If I could only have 1 book, it would be the Bible; but if I could have two, the second would be ZAMM.  I am re reading it again, highlighter in hand, pen to take notes.

The early 70's.  No cable, no internet, analogue phones from one phone company.  If you could have missed Vietnam, it was a good time to be alive.  It was simpler.  Not easy, but simpler.

Some day some old familiar rain will come along and know my name
And then my shelter will be gone and I'll have to move along
But till I do I'll stay awhile and track the hidden country of your smile

Some day the man I used to be will come along and call on me
And then because I'm just a man you'll find my feet are made of sand
But till that time I'll tell you lies and chart the hidden boundrys of your eyes

Some day the world I used to know will come along and let me go
Then I'll be leaving you behind for love is just a state of mind
But till that day I'll be your man and love away your troubles if I can
And till that day I'll be your man and love away your troubles if I can 

Rod McKuen

Saturday, April 19, 2014

TRAMPIN' TO SALVATION SUNDAY

It's Supertramp Day at the household as I clean the kitchen, one bathroom and then make myself comfortable on my day off.  Tomorrow is Salvation Sunday.

That is what I call Easter.  No longer comfortable with all the pagan practices we have on Easter, what the hell were our parents thinking, but I don't like Resurrection Sunday.  When I hear people call it Resurrection Sunday it always comes out as so uppity and superior sounding.

There is not much I know for sure.  In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth, well I am certainly comfortable with that.  But I do have questions about timing and while I love to argue with the scientists on this topic, I also like arguing with the Answers in Genesis crowd because why would God create the Heavens and the Earth and make the earth without form or void then change His mind to make it livable?  And after
Adam and Eve started making time on Earth, how long passed before Eve chomped on that piece of forbidden fruit?  We read it like it happened the next day but for all we know eons could have passed, let's face it, if you are going to live forever, who's going to count birthdays?

Do you really think they have clocks and calendars in Heaven?  "What time is it honey?"
"Oh, it's already half to infinity, dear!"

But when it comes to tomorrow this is a topic I've stamped The End and closed the book on.  Tomorrow is the day the world discovered Jesus has left the building, or the tomb in His case.  The Sunday after Passover in 32 AD though the years may be tiny bit off since some idiot messed up on the calendar counting and Jesus was probably actually born about 4 BC not 1AD.  But I am as confident about tomorrow being the day we found Jesus alive and well as I am about the sun rising tomorrow, no pun intended.  And because of Jesus making His defeat of death, I have a chance of salvation after death, a chance Jesus will step forward and say "welcome, my good and faithful servant".

Sorry, I don't like the "if I die tomorrow I'm going to heaven, ask me how" crowd.  When I die, I'm going to be judged and found guilty and humbly hope and pray Jesus steps forward and doesn't say "I knew thee not".

Kind of a sad week, Holly Deyo shut down her daily updates on www.standeyo.com  I feel like I've lost an old friend or something.

Funniest line I read about the standoff in Nevada was from Ann Barnhardt who said, "the Paiute Indians have been unavailable for comment".  I love a witty smart ass line that goes over most people's heads.  I like the fact that some of the western states are getting together now and going to try to take back all the declared 'federal land' in their states that were taken away with not so much as due process of any kind.  Let's face it folks, the whole private property thing is under attack and I've been warning you don't be surprised to find out one day soon that some chinese family really owns the note on your home and wants to live there now.

More tomorrow.  Hope I can hold my real and imaginary readers only posting on weekends.  And please, if you ever call support, do you think you could manage to turn off the television and tell the spouse and kids to shut up before you make the call instead of yelling at them repeatedly throughout the call?  Duh!

Reminds me of why I never married.

 Did you get all you want?
did you see the whole show?
so where's all the fun
that we used to know?
as the memories fade
way out of view
i'd love those old days
to come back to you


I've been waiting so long
i'm not feeling so strong
Did you say what you mean?
did you mean what you say?
about this new scene
is it really that way?
but the blindness goes on
you say it's not so
but what do you know?


Supertramp


Sunday, April 6, 2014

TARIFFS TO SAVE THE AMERICAN DREAM?

Spent some time this weekend reading about tariffs and the history of tariffs in this county.  Up to the early 20th century, tariffs on foreign made products being sold in the US was the primary source of tax income for our government.  But, 'the people' felt tariffs were unfair, keeping less expensive products from the shelves while the owners of corporations became richer and richer with their protected products and prices.

So Wilson put an end to tariffs and put the burden of tax revenue on the backs of the people with income taxes.  Gee, thanks great grandpa, the rich are still getting richer because now all our jobs are overseas.

The point of this is twofold; first, just because I have a job now, I don't want to forget the 10's of millions of other americans who have had the carpet pulled from beneath their feet and saw their dreams crash and burn.  I was them and I'm one paycheck away from being one of them again.  But secondly, in spite of all the media headlines, our economy is not better, the middle class is still being crushed out of existence, and the wealthy elites are getting richer and richer and something has to be changed and changed soon before this country goes up in smoke.

One article I read last week was the number of office supply stores, grocery stores, clothing stores, etc that are shutting down tens of thousands of retail stores across this nation; a world with no Borders is about to be joined by JC Penny's.

I remember as a little tyke my mom taking my sister and I to Evergreen Park Mall.  It was one of the first 'malls' in the chicago area, and while I loved the store where you could get carmel corn, hmmm, the taste and smell, but even as a 10 year old there was something that bothered me.  Why weren't we shopping at Klein's Department Store in Blue Island mom?  And Evergreen Park had a movie theatre with something like FOUR screens of movies to choose from which I thought was a great idea until my mom and sister dragged me into one of them to see Funny Girl and folks there is not enough carmel corn and pop in the world to make a young boy not be psychologically damaged from sitting through that gawd awful movie.  That is the ONLY BS movie I've ever seen and it will be the only BS movie I've ever seen if I live another 100 years and if I do I will never forget how bad that movie was.

The Lyric on Western Avenue, on the other hand, showed great Saturday scary pictures like Christopher Lee Dracula marathons which just wipe Funny Girl off the floor any day of the week.  Let's face it, any 10 year old boy who preferred Funny Girl to Dracula probably ended up owning a bed and breakfast or Hot Tub Club in Sausalito.

Oh, what was I talking about, oh yea, tariffs.

The funny thing about the US ending tariffs was 'the people' thinking tariffs were screwing them and helping the owners of big companies and now over 100 years later those owners of big business are cleaning up on the fact they can make products overseas with literally slave labor rather than pay an American a good wage and the American people kept buying all that inexpensive crap made overseas until we ended up with a country with no company making chips, TV's, stereos, computers, appliances, or anything else.

Yet, another part of the problem is that other countries and areas put tariffs on all of our stuff we still make in the US.  Did you know the EU has tariffs on US goods?  So do most of the countries in Asia.  They even have tariffs on any 'green goods' made in the USA.  So basically, if Japan or Germany or China builds a car and wants to sell it in the USA we say "sure!"  If we make a car and want to sell it in Japan or Germany or China they say sure and slap a huge tariff on the car so that it costs twice as much as it should.

So the definition of free trade we've been playing with for 40 years is other countries subsidize their companies or markets, negotiate contracts so when they sell their stuff here for less than market costs we say fine, but our companies are slapped with tariffs so our products are not competitive - unless we build them in those countries.

You beginning to see the problem?

Our tax burden on anyone working is outrageous.  From income taxes to property taxes to federal state and local taxes to surcharges and fees plus my fear of a coming tax on the use of commas and even if you are just making it on 30k a year you are paying 1/3 of your income in taxes, fees, and surcharges.  However, if you are running a big company, you can take minimal pay and get stock or even better yearly purchases of large amounts of the new living benefits life insurance policies which allows with draws on the policy with no taxes.  That is how the rich are paid these days folks.  Hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars put into living benefits life insurance policies and annuities, money not taxable and when removed the money is not taxable.

We've been sold out and we continue to be sold out.  Wouldn't a candidate who came forward and said "I will eliminate all taxes fees and surcharges on the services you buy, eliminate the income tax on all income below 100k, and institute mirrored tariffs on any country that tariffs our products as well as put tariffs on any US company listed on a US stock exchange who makes their products overseas!"

Once again, fixing a system only makes sense when a system if fixable.  After a long period of time with a history of bad patches and fixes, the best thing to do is bring in a wrecking ball and start from scratch - though there are exceptions.

I remember back in college in the late 70's early 80's Michigan passed the ERA amendment which I voted for because I thought it was about baseball.  But those late night college student discussions make me realize that the day we have a constitutional convention is the day America dies.  Well, last month Michigan became the 34th state house to vote for a constitutional convention, which means if you think it's gotten bad over the last 30 years, you ain't seen nothing yet.  Good bye second amendment, part of the first, surely private property is going the way of the dodo, and who knows what else.

It really is time for some Americans living in the NE, the rust belt, and the left coast to pack it up and move to the middle of the country, west of the Mississippi, south of Mason Dixon, and west to the Cascades and start stacking up conservative christian constitutionalists in a large middle section of the country and then make a legal claim that when the new constitution was written it broke the contract between the government and the states and now 30 states are breaking off to form their own country where the original constitution will be in affect immediately, including all the other amendments added except the income tax and giving women the right to vote.

Okay, maybe not the last one.

 Where is this place that we have found
Nobody knows where we are bound
I long to hear, I need to see
Cos I've shed tears too many for me

But I'm never going to lose your precious gift
It will always be that way
Cos I know I'm going to find my own peace of mind
Someday...

On the wind soaring free
Spread your wings
I'm beginning to see
Out of mind far from view
Beyond the reach of a nightmare come true


Moody Blue - been a Moody Blues weekend don't you know

Saturday, April 5, 2014

THE TIME TO THINK AND SAYING THANKS

Well, the new job is going well, was on the phones all week and my calls were monitored and graded and except for always forgetting one thing I did well.  Had a conversation with the manager on Thursday and he said not hearing from them is a good sign so I felt better.

Life made me paranoid and while I'm not the type that needs his hand held or constant pats on the back, I don't trust things I can't know that are going on, so it makes me insecure; not in myself but in the world.

And on Friday I realized that the chat room with the trainees and senior mentors was an absolute fracking goldmine of questions and answers so before shutting down on Friday I made a copy of a weeks worth of chats and downloaded them to my laptop so I could go thru and create a really great book of solutions to use in calls.

And as the week went by, there were events that made me want to blog but then I really don't like spending the evenings sitting in front of a computer, nor on the phone.  I remember from my past there are two things about telephone support; you never want to talk on the phone when you aren't working - which isn't a big problem for me because I tend to keep my cell phone off most of the time; I find if you leave it on it tends to ring - and the other more dangerous thing is when you spend 40 hours a week telling people how to solve their problems it can bleed into the rest of your life and you start finding yourself telling everyone you talk to how to solve their problems.

But the one thing I miss is all the time I use to have to think - just think about things; stories, problems, issues, theology, etc.  I am not going to let this blog become nothing but some nut commenting on world events or rambling paranoid end of the world rants, if that is all it is, I'll just stop writing.  I want to think about things, bounce and toss things in my head until I come up with something.  But lately finding time to ponder the mysteries of life is difficult.  You can't just think about things for an hour here and hour there, it takes hours and hours some times, well, at least for me it does, to think things through.

I miss that, though no one pays me to do that and I'm enjoying paychecks.  The dog likes them too, I don't sit staring at him wondering how to cook a dog anymore.

My new shift starts late morning to early evening, which is cool.  I can get up and workout in the morning before work and stay up until midnight, which is my natural clock.  I might join a gym, company will cover about 75% of the monthly cost and I found a good one downtown that has a good weight room, a really hard to use step machine - not those wuzzie elliptical things, and also has cross training stuff like kettles, rings, and stuff.  Sitting on my butt 40 hours a week, I will need to daily hit the legs and back in the gym - got to keep those legs in good shape and the intestines moving, don't you know.

And on a special note, I don't know if I've ever thanked many of you, regular readers of my blog for the past year, two years, etc.  It actually means a lot to me to have regular readers who comment and care, strangers who probably know me better than many friends and still hang around and keep coming back.  The blog, unlike the old Barkley blog, doesn't seem to get all those fake hits, and it's consistently getting about 1000 hits a month, which is nice especially now that I don't post as consistently.

So thank you.

 Where did I find all these words
Something inside of me is burning
There's life in other worlds
Maybe they'll come to earth
Helping man to find a way

One day I hope we'll be in perfect harmony
A planet with one mind
Then I could tell you
All the things inside my head

I'm going to sing my song
And sing it all day long
A song that never ends
How can I tell you, all the things inside my head.


Moody Blues

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

TRICK OR TREATS AND RUNNING BUFFALO

So, I am at the store the other day and had a coupon for a discount on Kashi crackers and suddenly saw the PF Cookies.  Man, I use to love those PF cookies with mac nuts and white chocolate, so I bought a bag of the ten really big cookies.

Uh, there are only 8 now in the bag and they look to be about 25% smaller than they use to be.  Faster cheaper better for business has now become smaller fewer and more expensive for the consumer.

Just this past weekend I spied a story that scientists, well, some scientists, were speculating that Yellowstone might be a dying volcano.  I guess we can't have that now can we!  So today stories breaking everywhere that the earthquake this weekend is Yellowstone waking up, why we got video of buffalo running for their lives, which if I recall, didn't help them much in the 1800's.

So now everyone is scared of Yellowstone again.  Whew.  What would we do without being scared to death over something we have no control over.  Plus, it takes our eyes away from our megalomaniac in chief's attempts to start WWIII but just can't make up his mind between China or Russia to kick in the shin so we can eliminate 75% of the countries population.

Well, except the elite.  They will hide till the war is over, then come back, the country will open the border with Mexico to get the lawns mowed, the cars washed, and the dishes cleared off the table, and everyone will be happy.

Which is why I am rooting for Yellowstone.

Mankind is so totally fornicating up the world, little men with scores to settle from some childhood trauma, and the one thing that will stop these idiots in Europe, Russia, Asia and the US from viscously killing billions is a nice super volcano like Yellowstone going full metal jacket on the planet.

I use to worry about being too close to Yellowstone, now I'm afraid I'm not close enough to die in the first 24 hours.  It will be a painful death, but nothing like what it will be for survivors.

For you see, if Yellowstone goes, so goes the majority of farmland in the US and Canada, which pretty much provides 90% of feed, grain, dairy, meat, and all those other things most people think come in a box or bag.  So if you survive, you are going to starve.

Unless you are lucky and freeze to death first because when all that dirt and gas get up in the atmosphere, it will spread around the planet, covering the earth in a layer of dust, blocking the sun, Al Gore's dream of global warming, well, if you bet on an ice age you win, sort of.

And, apparently, the unluckiest of all will be those trying to escape Yellowstone while driving a Chevy Colbalt.

What you could end up with is a planet wide extinction level event and all those elitie types who think they can get to those underground cities are not going to be able to travel by air, at least in the US, and within a week or ten days anywhere in the northern hemisphere, so they will get to die with the rest of us, though better dressed.

But hopefully, PFarms gets the nasty message I sent them about cheating me out about 4 1/2 cookies.

 I'm in the middle of nowhere
Near the end of the line
But there's a border to somewhere waiting
And there's a tankful of time
Oh give me just another moment
To see the light of the day
And take me to another land
Where I don't have to stay
And I'm gonna need somebody
To make me feel like you do
And I will receive somebody
With open arms, open eyes
Open up the sky and let the planet
That I love shine through