December 14, 2010

'Tis the Season....

Deck us all with Boston Charlie!
Walla Walla Washington and Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Holler dollar cauliflower alleygaroo!
(To be sung with more gusto than tunefulness)

I wish I could take credit for these lyrics, but I can't. The late, great cartoonist Walt Kelley penned this fractured "Deck the Halls" decades ago in his comic strip, "Pogo." The "carol" is much longer, but I've never forgotten this first verse.

What does that have to do with anything? Nothing. I just like its silliness....

I've been thinking lately about our legacy. We have so many problems today: war, a crisis in national leadership, a weakening economy, a poor national self-image, dogs and cats living together...okay, so I borrowed that last from Bill Murray to lighten things up. But if you listen to the news or are a devotee of the Internet, it's all so darn dreary.

I have a T-shirt that asks, "Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?" I bought it as a joke, but really it's an example of the negativism that permeates our society. And we really need to change that. What better time to begin than at Christmas?

After being cut off in traffic by a bozo on a cell phone, perhaps waiting for 20 minutes because the person in front of you has 45 items in the 10-or-less line, or maybe being near-trampled in the wee hours of Black Friday, many of us might not be ready to buy into this peace on earth, goodwill toward men stuff. But we should. People are nicer during Christmastime. More charitable. Really.

Ever see Pay It Forward? It's not exactly the classic Christmas movie in the vein of The Christmas Story or Miracle on 34th Street.
But it's a perfect way to celebrate Christmas (or the "holidays," if you're afraid of the P.C. police). In the film, Trevor McKinney, Haley Joe Osment's character, figures out a system to help folk in need, with the condition they pass it on -- pay it forward. In the film, his legacy is that the idea takes off.

That same thing can happen in real life. Ever hear of A Texas man has started a help-your-neighbor movement by putting dollar bills into envelopes and giving them away. His one request: if you don't need it, maybe add something to it and pass it along to someone who does. Both are wonderful ideas!

However, there are others. What if we, each of us, started being nicer to one another? This doesn't have to be complicated. What if we simply complimented the harried grump at the Post Office, or told the overworked grocery store cashier with the aching feet how much we appreciated what they do? Or let the driver go in front of us at rush hour rather than crowding forward so he and the 15 cars behind him are locked out?

Or what if we shrugged off instead of flipped off the knucklehead who just crossed three lanes without signaling? Ever heard the expression, "no harm, no foul?" It applies in life, too.

I gotta tell ya one more thing, then I'll stop.

Several years ago, The Wife and I were on vacation and went into a local craft beer place for lunch. As we ate, we overheard a subdued conversation at a table nearby. I don't remember what the young cashier was telling her friend. It wasn't my business, anyway. But I do remember the thing going on in her life had her distraught and she was not-very-successfully holding back tears.

I often carry a small, stamped aluminum cross in my pocket to remind me to be good. After the young woman rang up our bill, I quietly said to her, "This helps me. You take it."

And I put the cross in her hand. She looked at it and looked at me and thanked me. Then, we left.

I could have given her a stone, it didn't matter. I don't know how my gesture helped her, or if it did at all. I like to think so. But even if it didn't, the effort, simple as it was, was the important thing. Call it karma, call it vibes, call it God's will, blessings, civility, whatever you want. They say a journey begins with a single step. I believe that a single loving gesture can be a first step to helping others. And it leads to another, and another, and another, each easier than the one before. The destination is a better world.

Regardless of all the crap that weighs us down day after day, our legacy still can be positive. Provided we help each other with little gestures, random acts of kindness. All we need do is watch for and seize the chance to offer them.

We should begin now, at Christmas. After all, 'tis the season. So, "Deck us all with Boston Charlie! Walla Walla, etc."

And just maybe we can dance...happily!

Blessed Christmas!

August 29, 2010

Are You Listening, America?

Until yesterday, I'd only heard of Glenn Beck in the most unflattering terms: a fear- and hate-mongerer and, my favorite, a racist.

Mr. Beck apparently is a commentator of some renown, or perhaps infamy. I try to avoid such media types; hardly ever listen to them. In my experience, they tend to value their own views very highly, and they generally seem to love their own voices. I'm painting with a broad brush here, but somehow they've become totally convinced their utterances are wisdom for the ages, and they're quite willing to share them with us.

(As you probably can tell, they're not all in the media. We all know one or two people whose views, in their own minds, are priceless.)
The Wife doesn't appreciate such commentators knowing just how to push my buttons. For some reason, she gets irritated when I talk back to the radio or moon the TV. So, I generally try to avoid such "pundits."

Nevertheless, yesterday I tuned in to C-Span's coverage of the "Restoring Honor" to America rally, mostly to see what the buzz was about. Depending on who did the counting, the gathering at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, drew fewer than 100,000 to about 500,000 in support of turning the nation back to God.

Beck's organization billed the rally as apolitical and non-confrontational. As far as I could tell, it was. However, since yesterday was on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, the rally apparently chafed several self-styled national black leaders and their apologists in the media. The most-esteemed Rev. Al Sharpton organized his own march nearby to "truly observe" (my quotation marks) the speech anniversary.

Sharpton and others, not all black, predicted the rally would be little more than an evil, hate-filled gathering of politically conservative racists. I don't know where they got their crystal balls, but I hope they were under warranty. The rally was just as Beck's organization had billed it: an effort to challenge the average U.S. citizen to get his/her own heart right and turn back to civility, honor, service, and God. The critics who prematurally trashed the rally charged that its timing was an attempt to "hijack" the civil rights movement.

When I heard that, I would have laughed my butt off -- except that they were serious. As Beck has put it, the movement no more "belongs" to one group of Americans than Abe Lincoln belongs to another. Apparently, King's niece, Dr. Alveda King, agrees. As the head of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and founder of King for America, she spoke at the rally.

During the gathering, Beck honored several people of differing color for their selflessness, their charity and their commitment to service. And I don't recall any mention, negative or otherwise, of other organizations, gatherings or rallies. According to reports today, the day after the event, though that wasn't quite true for other gatherings.

I don't know what Glenn Beck has done in the past to create such animosity, and I don't much care. I am a staunch believer in free speech, even for those who spout what I consider tripe. I don't know if I am a fan of this guy or not. His faith and his commitment to it seem genuine enough.

What I do know is that yesterday, Beck urged you, me, the average U.S. citizen, to look beyond color, wealth, stature and return ourselves to honor. Do what God wants us to do, serve our brothers and sisters. Reestablish in each of our lives the values we have ignored or cast aside. Then, we can value our brothers and sisters.

Then, we can get together and fix was is broken in this nation of ours.

Beck, yesterday, hit a home run. God bless him! Let's see what happens now. Maybe, just maybe, this'll be the start of something really important to our nation. Maybe it won't. If not, well...

Maybe I'll just dance....

August 28, 2010

Here's Your Transparent Government....

This is the guy who argued against a proposal in the Senate that every senator agree to read the bill BEFORE he/she voted on it. Now you know why....

I've been watching and listening and reading...and incidents like this are still a mystery to me!

Why won't our elected officials wake up? Are they all that stupid, or does the circus that is our nation's capital make them that way? Or worse yet, do they take us all for fools?

The only explanation I can see is that we keep electing the extremely arrogant. Only someone like that, it seems, could hide the vacuousness that pops out only after they're office?

Take the good senator from Montana, Max Baucus, in the clip above. Can you believe this guy? If you strip all the stumbling and backpedaling and fumbling around from his reply, what you get is, "No!" He didn't read the bill. What's more, he acted surprised that the lady who raised the question had the brass to even ask!

I believe even someone with the I.Q. of a potato would have the brains to ask his staff of "experts" to prepare a one-to-three-page summary of the law's contents. I'll bet even yet he doesn't know what's in it!

Now, I know, it may seem as if I am sharpshooting Mr. Baucus, especially if you're a yellow-dog Democrat, an Obama disciple, or perhaps even a Montanan. But I assure you, I have nothing against the good senator, except that he is a career politician. He's just a convenient example.

And you know what? You don't have to be on one side of the Obamacare question or the other to be, to borrow from Elmer Fudd, "vewwy, vewwy afwaid!" Baucus is far from the only shameless, even arrogant, ignoramus in Washington. For years, even decades, the Hallowed Halls of Congress has been infested with them. And that makes me vewwy, vewwy afwaid.

I'd bet my ol' dog Spot that Baucus ain't the only congressman who doesn't know the contents of legislation he/she supports. And that turkey about how impossible it is to personally read each and every bill that comes across one of 'em's desk just doesn't fly. For what do those folk think we send them to D.C? To play with their faces? 

Contrary to what many of them come to believe, sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, plus exotic "fact-finding" junkets on John Q's dime, is NOT in their job descriptions. Knowing what's what, and what that might bring, IS their job! Are they doing it? Obviously, not well enough, if at all.

Our Founding Fathers wanted no part of government run by professional politicians. They envisioned a nation, literally, "by" and "of the People." Made up of common citizens elected by their peers who would gather at regular intervals, conduct the country's business; then, go home.

Many of this nation's founders, George Washington among them, believed professional officeholders (read "politicians") would bring about a ruling class. So, what do we have today?

We have sons and daughters of senators and congressmen, even state governors and others, all but inheriting public office from a parent. We have public officials who know nothing about working in a real, everyday job; who know nothing about earning a wage, making a mortgage payment, financing a car or paying for a child's college -- and doing it all WITHOUT help from special perks.

We have done this to ourselves! We the People are to blame for the incompetence. We the People put them into office based on how glib they are, how photogenic they are and based on promises they make. Promises, if we stop to think, we KNOW won't be kept! We the People put into our nation's top positions individuals such as these with whom I would not want my children to be friends.

And that, my brothers and sisters, is a vewwy, vewwy sad state of affaiws, indeed. May we begin changing that come November!

Or, maybe, we'll all just dance....

July 4, 2010

An Important Day!

Stop celebrating the Fourth of July!

It's just another generic holiday. You know, an extra day off and a chance to party and set off fireworks that're illegal in more places than not. Celebrating the Fourth is like wishing someone "happy holidays" or "seasons greetings" instead of "merry Christmas." It has no meaning.

I'll bet a lot of folk don't even know why we observe the Fourth.

So, let's just throw out the date-name; don't use it any more. Let's call the holiday what it is: Independence Day! That, at least, says something! It reminds us that we're a free and independent people, not under the dominion of any other nation, confederation, kingdom, empire or political entity. And I believe we need that reminder more today than ever before.

You see, this may be the most dangerous time in our history. We have foreign enemies, some downright evil. We have serious internal difficulties. We have corruption among our leaders. And some would argue we have rampant incompetence at every level of government. They're all serious problems, granted. But as long as we the people remember why this nation was founded and what our Constitution really means to us, we'll be okay.

And that's what concerns me. I don't believe we the people remember, often don't even care. We keep electing the same self-aggrandizing leaders who are more worried about extending their time in office and leaving rich than in doing anything that actually might benefit the nation. We're so concerned with protecting an individual's ethnicity that we aren't passing democratic principles and traditions -- and responsibilities -- to our children. We're so focused on transferring wealth from the haves to the have-nots that we don't even consider the consequences of such actions.

So, we have a much more serious, more insidious, problem. It doesn't arise from our political, economic or ideological enemies. It's from us, we Americans. It's our apathy, our hopelessness, our lethargy, our irresponsibility, our lack of integrity, our immorality, even our lack of backbone.

We're reluctant to voice our opinions; to stand up for our beliefs. If by some miracle, we actually do speak up, we confront them and push our views up our opponents' noses and point our fingers pistol-like in a shrill blame game. It's such a wonderful example we're setting for those following us.

We want Uncle Sam to attend to our every desire. And if we don't get what we think we're entitled to, it's because we're victims of racism...or sexism...or homophobia, or whatever. Nothing unpleasant that happens to us may be even remotely due to something we may have done. (Yes, friends, that was sarcasm.)

Have we not learned anything from history? Apparently not. We don't seem to remember how lack of incentive melted the USSR's utopian promise into a stagnant, lifeless puddle? That's what redistributing the wealth can do.

Rather than resent some executive making "too big a salary," maybe we should aspire to achieving our own "too big a salary." If the guy is acting unethically or illegally, the law or God will get 'im. I, for one, don't feel I need to take his earnings for myself just because he has a big pile and I don't.

 I don't believe our Founding Fathers saw government's role as the income police, a babysitter or adjudicator of every detail of private citizen business and life. I certainly don't think they saw the government as the Emily Post of political correctness. If Jefferson, Adams, Paine, Wythe, Morris (framers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States) or Washington -- assuming they could wade through it -- came alive and read today's federal law, they'd probably laugh themselves back to death.

Our Founding Fathers did see, though, that Independence Day, July 4, was to be a very, very significant date in this nation's history. So, we must forever remember why we observe it and call it what it is:

Independence Day!

...Or maybe one day we won't be able to dance!

May 17, 2010

Now Comes the Fun Part!

Three weeks ago today, our Only Daughter got married. It's taken this long for everything to sink in.

I thought I would have this big emotional upheaval, but it didn't happen. Sure, I was emotional at the wedding, but nothing like what I anticipated. The night before, it'd hit me that Only Daughter really was tying the knot -- and just walking her down the aisle during the rehearsal had been enough to break me down. I'd teared up and started sniffling and blowing my nose. Apparently, it'd been obvious enough that other members of the wedding party (including the pastor) had asked me repeatedly if I was going to be okay.

I was. You see, by the actual wedding day, I'd had a good talk with Myself, and we'd concluded that this was right. We'd realized that while I'd been looking the other way, Only Daughter had grown up, bought her own house and surreptitiously become a lovely young woman -- physically, mentally and spiritually -- right under my very nose. She'd become responsible, and now she was ready for the next stage of her life.

New Son-in-Law had been just as stealthy. One minute he'd been this grubby little boy that in her much younger days Only Daughter had described mostly with, "Eeeeeewww!" The next minute, he'd become this budding teenager who I was certain was set on the ruination of My Little Girl. Then, suddenly, with no warning, he'd transformed into this smart, hard-working, upstanding young man who actually had absorbed his parents' life lessons. Again, right under my very nose!

Myself had reminded me of all this, and I now knew their marriage would be right.

The wedding came off beautifully. Son-in-Law was handsome and self-assured in his wedding tuxedo (though I bet if truth be known, he was trembling like Jello inside). Daughter was bee-YOO-tee-ful, as I expected -- and true to her genes, she was the one who blubbered during the ceremony (though only a little). Mama of the Bride was positively beaming, as I'm sure was Mama of the Groom. Daddy of the Bride, me, I'm proud to say was composed, as was Daddy of the Groom. My eyes misted only once or twice, and just briefly. (During the walk down the aisle, however, I did have a little trouble when my grin nearly split my face in two.)

So now, all the trepidations and internal conflicts this Daddy of the Bride had are quieted. Mama of the Bride and I are very proud of Only Daughter, and equally proud of New Son-in-Law.

Marriage takes work to succeed, but it's so very worth it! We know Only Daughter and New Son-in-Law will have trials along the way, but nothing that their perseverance and love cannot overcome. And with God's help and with the support of their now-extended family, their life will be good.

And when all of life's stuff becomes too much to carry, well, they can alway set it aside for awhile and hold one another....

And then they can just dance!

April 20, 2010

My Daughter's Wedding

My onliest daughter is getting married in four days.

The past eight-or-nine months have been a gradually increasing whirlwind of choosing colors, registering at this place or that, and organizing the who, what, where and when of the big event. Mr. VISA must be riverdancing for joy every time he sees a receipt for another pair of shoes or more flowers tossed onto the already mountain of purchases avalanching from the McBeady household.

And it all culminates in a 20 or 30-minute service this Saturday. So far, my father-of-the-bride strategy of laying low, avoiding eye contact and keeping moving has worked. (I notice Groom has adopted it, as well, though not with the panache my 30-plus years of marriage and fatherhood have granted me. "Ahh, but patience, Glasshopper. Your time rill come.") Mama of the Bride and Daughter have taken care of most things, and I have only been involved those few times I've been ambushed. I.e., Bride's Mama:

"Hope you enjoyed the steak tonight, Honey. By the way, doyoulikethepuceorthechartreusheelsbetter? Oh, and canyoubeadearandpickup16foldingtablesfromtheweddingrentalplaceonyourwayhome? Please, Sweetie?"

Me: "Huh? Wha? Um, I...I guess so...."

Those were rare instances, I must say, and mostly I managed to avoid being pulled into in that dreaded, dark world of "W-E-D-D-I-N-G P-L-L-A-A-A-N-N-N-N-I-N-G." But now, fate has caught up with me. I find myself faced with having to make the dreaded (with echo) "F-A-T-H-E-R O-F T-H-E B-R-R-I-I-I-D-E S-S-P-E-E-E-E-E-C-H-H!"

So, I've only just begun to give it a thought or two. I've been looking online for suggestions on the perfect Father-of-the-bride speech-slash-toast. I've concluded it doesn't exist.

Why? Because, no matter who you are, you still are the Bride's Daddy. She's about to wed the one man on earth who rivals Jesus in the perfection department, ever. But she is still Daddy's Little Girl. That nagging certainty buried deep in our little pea brains that says Groom is NOT GOOD ENOUGH for her will screw up our Father-of-the-Bride speech!

Nevertheless, I think I can do it! Especially if I am reinforced just a bit with the taste of the brewski....

Here's the plan: I'll welcome everyone to the joyous occasion, just as all the advisories recommend. I'll thank everyone involved in making Daughter and Groom's wedding celebration so special, just as they say you should. I'll make loving remarks and tell gently amusing anecdotes about the newlyweds. I'll welcome Groom to the family, tell him how very blessed he is and promise to love him and his bride and pray for them. I'll urge them to get on with some grandkids (I'm not gettin' any younger, you know.).

I'll probably throw in a few other comments here and there, as well, although I have yet to decide what they'll be. I'll thank Groom's parents for raising such a fine young man I'll be proud to call son-in-law, and I'll tell them how happy I am that we're now all family. I'll thank Mama of the Bride for hanging in when times were tough so that together we were able to raise such a fantastic daughter. Then, I'll toast their health, their happiness, their faith and their love.

I know I can do this; not because of the little taste of brewski. It'll be because I'll be wiping my eyes, sniffling and blowing my nose and trying to hold back the tears. Regardless, I'll be blubbering royally, there won't be a dry eye in the place, and no one will understand a single word I'm saying. So, no one will know when I screw up!

What a plan! It's undoubtedly foolproof! However, in the unlikely chance something does go wrong...

Maybe we can just dance....

March 13, 2010

A Dad's Advice, Good or Bad, Part 1

My Children and my Children soon-to-be, this is my gift to you. I pray it blesses you as much as it has me in writing it.

In the past 12 months, all four of you (both couples) have made significant decisions and gotten engaged to wonderful partners. As a dad/dad-inlaw-to-be, I offer you the benefit of some of my experience. Sorta words of wisdom that, if you follow, will enrich your marital lives. Given your independent spirits, however, I figure you probably won't, but that's all right. Everyone must make his/her own mistakes. I'm confident you'll overcome yours.

Passing to you what I've learned serves two purposes for me. It's the chance to examine exactly what I really have learned, if anything, in the 35 years YourMotherMyLove and I have been married. Additionally, it makes me feel I've maybe added to your future happiness. Some of these things, I've practiced; some, I haven't as much as I should have.

YourMotherMyLove may have other views on some of this, and some of it you may already know. But that doesn't make it less valid. I do wish someone had offered me similar advice when I was young. As I counseled you, Son and Daughter, numerous times through the years, take the good parts of this advice and use them, and throw away the rest. Keep in mind, too, that "anything free is worth exactly what you pay for it." That goes for advice. So, here goes. Indulge me.

In no particular order, these are 20 things I want to tell you before you recite your vows:

1. If you have doubts or misgivings re your upcoming nuptials, now is the time to sort 'em out with your soon-to-be-lifelong partners. It's okay to be nervous. But if you're terrified, something may not be right. Remember, until the "I do," the "I'm not sure" is okay.

2. Marriage is forever. If you think, "Well, if it doesn't work, I can always get a divorce," You will be the main reason for your ultimate heartache and misery.

3. Unless you're living in a cardboard box on skid row, money is not a valid reason to put off starting a family. For such a life-altering decision, certainly you need to use the good sense God gave you. Unless you discover a way to make unlimited energy from toejam and bellybutton lint, however, odds are against you ever being rich. So, if you want children, have them. If you wait for the perfect time moneywise, kids never will happen.

4. Speaking of money.... It's true that the buck is the main cause of many, many husband/wife fights. I suggest you and your intended begin talking yesterday about how you handle the family finances. No single approach is the best. YourMotherMyLove and I share a single checkbook; all our accounts are joint; we have no secrets. However, every couple is different. You all must find what works for you.

5. Daughters, no matter how close you and your husbands-to-be are, emotions are usually not one of a man's strengths. Telling him "You should have known" is not really fair. The majority of men lack that talent; we can only guess at what you're thinking. "You should have known" from your lips becomes "You should have read my mind" in his ears. Daughters, be specific with your man -- and be assured that, no matter what, he loves you more than anything.

6. Sons, your wives-to-be are beautiful, intelligent and loving. Cherish them for those virtues. Like most women, they think/act from their hearts first. Detached logic generally is not a consideration. So, be patient when what you think is common-sense reason doesn't take, and you don't understand why. Value your wife for her differences. Give her time, and know that she loves you with her whole being, no matter what.

7. Talk about things. I realize not each of you is comfortable sitting down and discussing problems or concerns. However, good communication is a vital aspect of any relationship. So, all of you, work at it; don't be afraid to talk to your spouses at any time about anything, both positive and negative. The temporary discomfort a discussion may cause you is infinitely better than what no discussion may cause. And, believe me, it'll get easier the more you talk.

8. Do not leave feelings unexpressed and suppressed. They can blow up like a hand grenade and cause just as much pain. If any one of you screws up, neither you nor your spouse can be forgiven, or forgive, when you don't know what you've done.

9. Jealousy, true jealousy, the green-eyed monster kind, is an insidious emotion. It may start out as cute, endearing and a bit charming, maybe even seen as manifestation of your spouse's intense and "true" love. It quickly can go south, though, and become suspicious and destructive. One partner's unjustified insecurity in the other's love can morph into possessiveness, mistrust and hatefulness. Don't fall into this trap.  If either you or your future mates lean toward jealous, you might want to start talking about it.
To be continued...

A Dad's Advice, Good or Bad, Part 2

Here, Kids, as they say, is the rrrest of the story:

10. An admiring glance at the opposite sex is not the same as  having an affair. Now, now if your spouse fawns over a hot member of the opposite sex and ignores you at a party, say, that's different. But don't anticipate it. Just lovingly deal with it if it arises. There are some awfully nice ways to ensure your spouse only has eyes for you. Use your imagination, and find them.

11. I have a card hanging on my office wall that says, "Unless it's fatal, it's no big deal." We could avoid a lot of needless unpleasantness if YourMotherMyLove and I always kept that in mind. Dirty socks on the living room floor or pantyhose on the shower rod are nothing compared to a spouses' health, for example. My advice to you is, don't sweat the small stuff.

12. I'll be blunt. Sex is very important in a marital relationship, both for the husband and the wife, though perhaps from different perspectives. Guys tend to be on the wham-bam-snore side of the ledger, while gals appreciate a more leisurely approach. We all know that. Less generally known is how differently guys and gals tend to view such intimacy. Again, talk to each other about your expectations.

I've read that men believe the physical sex act is evidence of their mates' love for them. On the other hand, I've read women are more likely to see view everyday interactions in their marital relationship as evidence of their husbands' love. I imagine both are at least partly true. So, Sons and Daughters, I urge you to consider your spouse's perspective and make adjustments in your, shall I say, "instinctual" tendencies re your sexual relationship.

13. As a corollary to that, guys often feel they must "perform" in bed. So, they put pressure on themselves. When that happens, sometimes certain things don't happen, if you catch my drift. Performance anxiety is self-centered, Guys. What happens, happens. It isn't the end of the world. Focus on her. You'll both benefit.

14. I believe too many couples today mistake hormone-driven lust for love. After the first rush of desire abates, whether it's six months or 20 years, modern couples often "fall out of love." As that tide of desire ebbs (sounds like a romance novel), I urge you all to make an effort to keep your romance alive. I've not done as good a job on that as I might have, but we've managed to keep our love warm. Maybe it's not as hot and nasty as it once was, but it's as hot and nasty once as it ever was.

15. When the sex runs its course -- it may never, but it might -- your best friend, soulmate, confidant and loving partner in life still will be by your side. Remember that, an, treasure him/her now in the small things.

16. Like love, conflict is a component of marriage. Two of you have seen YourMotherMyLove and I disagree pretty loudly over the years. Early on, we'd decided hiding or suppressing marital conflict was unhealthy. You'll surely experience similar conflicts in your marriages. My advice? Don't let your stubbornness and pride get in the way of your love. Don't be afraid to lose an argument once in a while. Don't think shutting up is defeat. (This, I need to work on!) Respect one another.

17. The preceding said, "For better or for worse" only goes so far when it comes to marital violence. Striking, abusing or afflicting your mate in any way must not be ignored. If it ever occurs, get help! It is unjustifiable and a symptom of deeper, dark problem. None of you must tolerate it -- ever!

18. YourMotherMyLove and I believe marriage is for life. We know love is caring for someone else more than for yourself. Honestly, I don't think anyone can do that 24/7, because we're all selfish creatures. I know I can't, but it's what I strive for. I can say truthfully that I've never once -- not once -- wished that I had not married YourMotherMyLove. No regrets. I wish you the same.

19. I'm sure you know marriage is not all hearts and flowers. Trite but true, marriage is hard work. Your mate is your love, whom you chose. Treasure him/her, and be positive. Spouses are human and make mistakes. But expect their best, and they'll seldom disappoint. After all, they love you!

20. Finally but most importantly, raising a family today is a daunting job. Waiting until children are "old enough" to bring God (or religion, spirituality or whatever you want to call it) into their lives is a dangerous gamble. YourMotherMyLove and I believe all children question their spiritual beliefs, raised in a spiritual home or not. Waiting until they can "decide for themselves" to introduce them to God may deprive them of a strong moral foundation. Please don't lock God in your marriage closet. (That's today's sermon....)

You know we wouldn't trade anything for you kids. You, Son and Daughter, are our dearest treasures. Son- and Daughter-inlaw-to-be, now your are, as well. By the same token, I wouldn't take all the money on earth for one fewer day with YourMotherMyLove. Does that make our marriage successful? I think so. I pray that in yours, the four of you are as blessed.

...Then, maybe we all can dance!

February 20, 2010

So Pronounceth Sir Elton

According to Parade Magazine, Elton John believes Jesus was a homosexual.

That's too ridiculous an assertion to even comment on. Suffice it to say Ol' Elton has gone full circle: from just another unknown struggling musician to a talented and widely respected pop star, to an "outed" non-heterosexual rocker, to an aging caricature rehashing an old hit to trade on the death of a well-loved princess, to a crazy old twit trying to recapture his fame.

You go, Elton Sweetie. Say whatever you want. You're irrelevant. Nobody's listening.

But maybe you can just dance....

January 30, 2010

Sleep Well, Your Leaders Are On Guard

This'll be relatively short and, relatively short.

I read something today that REEEALLY Ps me O. U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah has written a letter urging President Obama to get involved in the momentous debate over a NCAA Div. 1 national football playoff system. Can you think of anything more assinine than that? (That was a rhetorical question. Of course you can. Politicians do stupider things than that on a daily basis. But, I digress....)

Do these United States really need Congress and the administration burning their time arguing a national playoff? I mean, c'mon! It's not as if they don't have anything more important to occupy themselves with. Can you say, "Economy? Taxes? National debt? Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran? Energy? Environment?" And closer to home, "Haiti?"

You remember, don't you, how the president all but promised during his campaign that he would do something about a football playoff once elected? And then, this evening, I read a short, breathlessly reported item about how he donned the earphones and did a short stint as a radio analyist at the Duke-Georgetown game earlier today (or was it last night, if that matters?).

That reassured me. With everything with which our nation is dealing right now, it's quite comforting to know just where our national chief executive's priorities lie.

Something just struck me: Sen. Hatch is a 33-year-Republican-veteran of the congressional wars. Maybe he's not as half-baked as I initially thought. Maybe he slyly brought the playoff debate to Obama's attention to distract him! Maybe the good senator thinks that If our president is wrestling with deep philosophical questions such as the need for a football playoff, then he's distracted from cramming a national health-care program down our throats, or redistributing our citizens' wealth, or nationalizing industry or any of those other things that is dangerously turning the U.S. toward socialism! Maybe that' it! Maybe Hatch is being Machiavellian! Maybe he's actually being a wily statesman! Maybe he....

Wait...NAAWWWW, that ain't it.

He is, after all, a politician. There are, of course, exceptions, but in my view, most of today's politicians don't have that many brain cells.

Ahh, well...maybe one day the Good Lord will send us a truly brilliant leader who has a firm moral foundation and his/her priorities in order, and that person will lead us into the meat of this century, and the USA will again earn respect and actually better our world.

Until then, we can always dance....