DON’T LOSE REAL FRIENDS BECAUSE OF THE ELECTION

I have heard so many people say that they are going to or have unfriended people on Facebook as a result of this election. When the venom gets too hard for you to take, wiping out a Facebook friend seems to fulfill one’s feeling for revenge.

The inhuman nature of the 2016 election cycle will probably cause political scientists to rethink how elections are going to be from now on. There will be no Theodore White “Making of the President” for 2016. This is all new in the 24 hour news cycle and the sheer nature of this reality show.

The friends that you have on Facebook are not the kind of friends that I am talking about. I mean your real friends. Those flesh and bone people that you have known for many years, or have become close to in recent years. Those are the people you really know and in some cases love.

It became apparent to me that we will always have conflicts between our friends on many issues. How about war, peace, religion, gay and lesbian rights, economics, personal hygiene. Yes, I once had a terrible argument with a good and great friend about leaving the toilet seat up or down during the night.

He was convinced, as was his wife that leaving the seat down was a courtesy to his wife, so that she would not fall into the toilet when she was using the facility at night. I argued that by leaving the seat down, you would cause a male person to pee on the seat and have it be worse for his wife. I know it sounds weird, but it actually did happen. We still don’t agree, but we are still friends.

The nature of this election has brought our worst characteristics to the fore. In this fray, we have two unusual candidates, a business man with no political experience and a woman who has been associated with government for 30 years. There could be no larger distance between two candidates. That, I believe, is what is underlying all of the horrible rhetoric that emanates from the campaign. It has brought to the fore, some of the worst traits of human beings.

With all of the public displays or anti- whatever, we have been inundated with feelings that we many never have known that we had. It has caused us to redefine what we have in common with our real friends. It’s a tough job, to say the least. Let me caution you not to make hasty decisions about who your real friends are. Don’t discard the people with whom you have enjoyed such a rich and rewarding association. This election will soon come to an end. No matter what happens afterward, your friend will still be your friend. Never forget that.

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TWO THINGS ARE HAPPENING TO ME

There are always a number of different ways of looking at a situation. Although that’s an old bromide, it is certainly true. Look at what’s going on in our country with the current election cycle. With each news cycle, you can click your remote and find various opinions on the same piece of news.

It is with this in mind that I describe to you two things that are happening to me at the same time.

When I was growing up, there was very little public discussion of what could happen to you if you stayed in the sun too long. So it was that I spent lots of beach time without protection of any kind, other than some sun tan lotion. The UV block had not yet been invented.

I also went around playing ball without a hat or any other covering. In later years, I would drive a car with one arm out the window and the other arm attached firmly to the steering wheel. The UV protection on the windshield had not, as yet, been widely used.

On one particular day, in the military, a couple of friends and I went to Savannah, Georgia and wound up on a beach. It was 104 degrees in the shade and I was not wearing a hat. I blistered on my scalp the next few days and within a year or so, I started losing my hair. I know that’s what it was because I can go back three generations on both sides of my family, men or women, with no hair loss.

I now come to the present. When we lived in Harrisburg, PA, I made a couple of yearly trips to the dermatologist to have some of the things on my head burned off. Occasionally, I would have Moh’s surgery to have some more serious things removed. At that time, I had no idea how much further advanced the health care here in South Carolina would be for older people.

I have now seen a rise in the number of procedures. At some points in the Moh’s surgery, I feel like the Frankenstein Monster. All I would need for a Halloween costume would be the two electrodes on both sides of my neck. I must wear a hat all of the time, so that that I do not frighten any small children when I go shopping in the local supermarket

As I continued with all of these procedures, I noticed that, at the same time, I was losing weight. I normally weigh about 183 lbs. I now tip the scales (what a wonderful statement) at about 175. Why is this important? I have now ascribed my weight loss to the surgery that I have been having.

Although each surgery on removes a few grams, it really builds up over time. I certainly would not suggest that this is a weight reduction program, but it certainly is another way of looking at a situation. I will also be happy to step on my bathroom scale, when I remove the copious band aids on my scalp.

I intend to present this to Dr.Smith, my dermatologist as a way of making patients more comfortable with the surgeries.

NO, THERE WILL NOT BE ANY VIOLENCE?

I just read a piece that said that there will be no violence if Donald Trump loses the election. Over 80 % of Republicans and Democrats just want the election to be over. I am not sure that the writer understands that leaves a bunch of people who are not going to be satisfied with the results. From my personal experience, there are always people who feel the need to create chaos.

In one of my previous incarnations, I was ordered by my school superintendent to help with the integration of a local elementary school. This was in the north. Being a young man with very little experience in how to handle screaming crowds, I dutifully ushered both white and black kids onto the bus. The crowd was loud and curseworthy. They pretty much called me every name in the book. Then they began to throw stones. At that time, I was smart enough to run into my car and drive away.

I could never imagine a bunch of parents of elementary school students acting in that manner. In another incident, I was standing below a stop sign in a predominantly black community. I was talking to a friend about that evening’s basketball game. I heard kind of a pop and then a clang. Someone had shot a hole in the stop sign above my head.

There really is no predicting what would happen when a group of “poll observers” go into someone else’s community and stop people from voting or threaten them with calling the police. After the election, there are no holds barred. The small number of people, who are threatened by the results of the election, may not feel like “most people.” They have been led to believe that this whole election has been “rigged.” With that kind of mindset, they feel it is incumbent upon them to start the revolution.

I hope that you remember the 1960’s and the riots that ensued  during the fight for civil rights, the death of Martin Luther King Jr., the killing of civilians and other causes to riot. I believe that this is the same kind of thing.

Maybe, those who would riot are preparing their actions right now. I am not sure how they will create havoc, but I must think that it will be a large march on Washington, D.C. a la Coxey’s Army or damage to certain communities or individual homes.

Having lived in rural areas for many years, I understand their frustration with the status quo, as they see it. Not only do they believe that the government is giving them the shaft, but they resent all of the people who are benefiting by it. In some sense, they really are getting the shaft. However, they do not see that the local folks who kind of run things in rural areas are partly to blame.

For those blue collar workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the internationalization of economies, or as they believe NAFTA, the future looks bleak for them and their families. Yes, unemployment is down and for the first time in many years, wages have actually increased (even counting inflation). However, those people are not interested in statistics. They see their country going down a path that portends a bleak future for people like them.

Therefore, in their minds, there is no other recourse beyond the presidency of Donald Trump. His appeal to their views of a broken economy, an onslaught of immigrants who will take their jobs, a change in our country’s values, with the loss of the American dream, frustrates them. They will believe in a “rigged election,” even if there is a landslide.

In truth, we really have not paid attention to the rural folks and the blue collar workers. I have seen it for myself. It is part of our family’s experience with both of those groups. We must learn to speak to these people in a language that they understand. We must go back to school and attend to the needs of all of the people, not just those who speak in complex sentences.

MUSLIMS MAY NOT APPLY

If that statement sounds familiar, it has been the credo of much of the history of immigrant groups in our country. The recent anti-Muslim feeling by many supporters of one of our presidential candidates, has resurrected much of what was thought of immigrant groups since the founding of the United States.

The current anti-Muslim feeling has been exacerbated by events in the Middle East and by the tragedy of 9/11. In searching for solutions to these kinds of problems, an enemy is needed to satisfy the vengeful feelings of a portion of our population.

The hatred for recent immigrants has a long and tarnished history that encircles every ethnic group that has come here in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. I guess if we went back to the 17th century, we could probably point to the discrimination based on religious differences within the colonies. Although the Constitution tried to create a more harmonious country, even the original document had discrimination based on race.

News clippings from the late 1800’s, when impoverished Italians came to this country were described as “sub-humans.” They were feared because they came from a country where radicalism, socialism and anarchism were part and parcel of everyday political life. Their religion also played a role in their discrimination. Catholicism was not viewed positively by the founding Protestant groups.

As a result of the Great Famine in Ireland in the 1840’s, immigrants came to the east coast of the United States in droves. It wasn’t too long as the Irish came to the cities, that they were seen as a threat to the status quo. Riots took place in Philadelphia. Catholic churches and schools were burned. Anti-immigration forces battled with Irish immigrants. Threats were made that St. Patrick’s Cathedral, originally on Mott St. in New York City was to be set fire to. Heavily armed Irish immigrants protected the church and nothing happened.

Jews, who came in small numbers from Germany, in the early part of the 19th century, were not seen as threats. However, when Eastern European Jews came in large numbers to New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia, they suffered the same kind of ignominy as did the Irish and Italians. There were businesses that would not hire then. Signs sometimes read, “No Jews, Negroes or dogs” may apply. Anti-Semitism still is extant in our country today. Hate groups spend a great deal of effort to demean Jews and tell the same old lies about world domination. Certainly, the Holocaust is the prime example of discrimination on a large scale.

Chinese immigrants were used by the railroads to lay track across the country. They were not treated as human beings. Their appearance in differing parts of the country kept them from being a part of local communities. Their Asian ways were not accepted as mainstream and therefore they remained as “other.”

The most obvious parallels with today’s situation are what happened to Japanese-Americans. You probably recall during World War II they were seen as a threat to the security of the country. Their ethnicity stamped them as people who would not defend our country, but those who would be a fifth column and try and do away with the United States. As the war progressed, they were interned in camps in the western part of the United States. They also performed valuable military service in defeating our enemies in Europe.

The story of African Americans is well documented. The Civil War created an even more difficult problem in the South. The nature of what happened during Reconstruction is a sordid part of our history. In some places, the African American was seen as a threat. There have been many called to; “Send them back to where they came from.”

Apropos of that statement, the creating of the Know Nothing Party mirrors our current situation. As immigrants arrived in the United States, there was constant agitation by such groups as; The American Republican Party, The Nativist Party, Order of the United Americans, the Star Spangled Banner. As the 1850’s approached they began to be known as the “Know Nothing Party,” because they refused to tell others about who their leaders were or what they were doing.

They became the American Party in 1849 and pledged to stop immigration, make a requirement that to be a citizen and be able to vote, they would have to be residents for 25 years.

Abraham Lincoln once said that if the Know Nothings took power we would have to amend the Declaration of Independence to exclude Negroes, foreigners and Catholics.

The plight of the Mariel boat people comes to mind. In 1980 Castro allowed anyone who wanted to emigrate to show up in Mariel Cuba and has long as they had a way of getting to Florida and had someone waiting for them, they could leave. 125, 000 Cubans did come here and provided skilled labor for the areas around Miami and in Florida. The people Castrol sent from prisons and mental institutions were only a very small part of the boat people and were identified as they arrived.

All of this is so familiar these days. It is déjà vu. We seem to be recreating the Know Nothing Party. Fortunately, the majority of the country, as it was then, was appalled by the nativists. That is comforting today.

 

DEPRESSION OR NOT DEPRESSION

Somehow the notion of clinical depression has entered into our vocabulary with a set of clashing symbols and a lot of misunderstanding. The DSM 5 book of psychological explanations has just changed a number of issues related to depression. There are now a number of differing levels of depression. Their dictionary explanations are grist for the psychologist and not for the lay person.

I have had a number of bouts of depression that have caused me some problems. After a heart surgery, after a knee surgery and some intermittent sessions that seem to last a day or two. When I come out of these times, I wonder what the heck made me feel the way I do. I do not take any psychotropic drugs. I have seen a few psychologists who have cleared me as an almost normal person. The post-surgery events appear to be a normal function of the operations. They leave you rather quickly and then you go about your business.

The intermittent times seem to come out of nowhere. The other day, some positive information about my son set me off. The rational part of my brain was questioning my downturn, while the depressive side of my brain just went off the rails. This happens every few months or so and recedes as secretly as it arrives.

One explanation is that with age, comes a breakdown in some barriers in the brain. I have not been deductive enough to come up with a theory. The definitions don’t seem to do my situation any justice. Events don’t seem to stimulate the onset. It is a queer feeling to be sitting there or doing exercise and suddenly break out in tears.

There are certainly enough negative things in the world to cause me to feel horrible. I think of the children that are getting short changed in rural South Carolina and haven’t got the resources to move ahead in life. Those should stimulate my tears, but they don’t. The only thing that does is to cause me to work harder on their behalf.

The simple explanation for this idiopathic happening is to learn to live with it and try and get some medical explanation. It may well be that most folks my age have the same strange malady. I have not spoken to any of the men my age. Maybe I should ask a few of them if this is a familiar happening in their lives.

Right now, I am writing this blog at the same time that the 3rd Presidential Debate is going on. Funny, that does not make me upset. My strange depression is a mystery. As Sherlock would say, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE ?

For the past seven years and even before, I have written “stuff.” Some of it was technical and educational stuff (like my dissertation). Other stuff was kind of fun things that I had published under a pseudonym (sounds familiar). For the past seven years I have been writing this blog pretty constantly. It has been a great deal of fun and I will continue to do it.

It has been suggested to me (if you believe that I have some wooden shoes for you to buy), that I publish some of the blogs. I am not sure exactly what that means. What exactly do I publish? About five years ago, a good friend self-published the first two years of my blogs. What surprised me about that was the length of the book. It is about 300 pages long and it is single spaced with rather moderately small type. She published five of them. I still have one.

With my new aim in life, I looked up agents who might want to publish my tomes. I found a list on the net and what it is that they actually consider. I have learned some things as I get back responses. One is that memoir and narrational non-fiction are not what I thought they were. I am still trying to figure out what they mean.

Another little factoid is that that most of the agents accept email queries. That seemed rather interesting to me. What is it that you send by email to an agent? Is it a complete book, a chapter of a book, a poem, an illustration from an illustrated novel, or just a description of what you have written? I decided to send the blogsite with a small explanation of what it contains. So far out of about 20 emails that I sent, I have gotten back 4 responses. None of the responses were one word or one sentence long. I was surprised to see that they had taken the time to look at the blog and respond with some understanding of what I have written. Good for them.

At the appropriate time, I will let you know if I get any positive feedback. During the rest of the time, I will monitor the Cubs and Indians going to the World Series, the election and the various other worldly and otherworldly things that appear before me. Did you know that Proxima Centauri actually has a planet?

 

 

 

 

 

SALOOJEE*- BULLYING CIRCA 1952

 

With all the talk about bullying by presidential candidates and bullying in schools, it made me think of the bullying that went on when I was in junior high school. Yes, I do remember having a basketball thrown at my head by Skippy Schlossberg and threats by larger male students that they would do something bad to me for one reason or another.

I did not get pummeled, nor did I take Skippy’s throwing the ball at my head lightly, as I threw it back at his head. I do remember that I had a very bad temper when people did things like that to me. There was, however, a milder form of bullying that went on called Saloojee.

In this “game” one would take a possession from a smaller and younger student and throw it over his head to another person. That would cause the younger and smaller person to run back and forth trying to get his possession back.

If you were smart enough, you faked going one way and went the other. You would then collide with the person who was supposed to do the catching. That would usually end the frolicking. Since junior high school boys have the patience of a flee, the games would usually end pretty quickly.

Saloojee did not end there. It continued somewhat in high school . It was then a bit more serious and would up with people punching each other and chasing each other off school grounds. Funny, sometimes I see Saloojee played at the major league level with some of the players. They might grab a hat or a glove and start tossing it around. In these cases, there would be three or more people playing the game. This time Salugi would end in laughter. Would that be the only bullying event now?

  • consulted the urban dictionary for the correct spelling