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"It Costs a Lot to Live This Simple"

For years I struggled to join my friends in pursuit of the best of everything. A boat, two cars, and to build my own house. Steaks on the grill every other day. Travel abroad, reap the rewards of very hard work, and a good paying job.

I wanted a TV in every room, a central sound system, a hot tub, and a pool. I wanted so much to reach the top and maintain a life of things and activities. Concerts, frequent flyer miles, and cruises with friends. I wanted... I wanted, and wanted, and wanted.

I won't lie, it felt good to get things that I always wanted. It still does. I was happy to get new cars and spend money. Happy to stay at nice motels and eat at nice places. Yet, the more I had, the more I wanted. Finally acquiring one thing made me yearn for the next. I was addicted to the acquisition of things. Yet, neither the things, nor the acquisition of them satisfied me.

Through the course of searching for more. I made a lot of bad and unfortunate decisions. I lost my wife, my cars, my home, and my money. (Lots of variables, lots of reasons.)

I had to start totally fresh and anew. From the ground up, as it were.

I live a much simpler life now. Different hopes and goals. I'm happy to live within my meager means and with limited physical abilities.

I have a comfortable apartment, with one TV. I wear last years clothes if they're still good. I've become a good cook from eating at home. I sincerely don't want for much.

I've learned to be happy. But, don't let anyone fool you. It costs a lot to live this simple. How much did it cost me? Everything I had.


"Encouraged to be Respectable"

Have you noticed that our society has completely flip-flopped its priorities? People seemingly rewarded for bad behavior, all the while good and decent folks get pummeled the second they err in the slightest.

Our society, in fact, encourages ill repute. All one needs to do to review the reality of which I speak, is attend an open court session. You don't have to be there long to realize that drug charges, assault, and domestic abuses get fined and/or slapped on the wrist, while less serious offenses...driving on expired tags, failure to appear, and such things, receive jail time. Theoretically, jailing someone for being too poor to renew their tags, or forgetting a court date, while allowing a drug dealer to walk.

I know, from first hand experience, what I'm speaking of. I have sat in a courtroom where I was guilty of missing a court date for a traffic ticket. (I should add that I missed the date because I was sick with the flu and mixed up my dates. There are no excuses for missing a court date, it seems.) The punishment? Huge fines, and jail. While sitting there, I personally watched people I knew, get released with a slap on the wrist for drug charges. Meanwhile I paid hundreds of dollars to keep from going to jail, and was placed on probation until the balance was paid. Probation included, for me, $50 every two weeks in probation costs, suspended drivers license until probation was over, and a payment plan that I was unable to keep up with, based on my limited income. The judge set an amount before hearing anything from me, and was unmovable on the amount set, regardless of how much money I had or did not have.

An acquaintance that I knew through a friend was a convicted and admitted drug dealer on a repeat offense. He walked with fines, only. I was convicted of a traffic violation and almost went to jail.

I'd very much like to say that this was just bad luck and an isolated incident, but that is simply not true. Pick up a newspaper tonight, or most any night and read. Watch a news broadcast or two. The justice system has some merit, and I'm grateful for our country, its laws and law enforcement. However, to have a system that makes any sense, that serves the purpose that it was intended for, we have to do something about the injustice of our justice.

To punish someone for failing to comply with the law, is not unreasonable. However, the punishment should always fit the crime. Our reaction to a broken law should not be encouraging bad people and discouraging the good people.



Okay people, I have a question for you. When I say the word discrimination, what comes to your mind? If you're like most folks, you'll immediately think of the wrongs done, or being done to those races in the world other than Caucasian.

My first words here can be considered a disclaimer, for this article. I am in no way speaking against any race, or belief. I am offended more-so than most anyone I know when it comes to bigotry and prejudice. I am very annoyed at ignorance and fear shown towards someone simply because of their different race or belief.

What this article is based on is informed personal experience and injustices that I, myself, have witnessed.

I want some answers. I want to know why a two income family, with no children can take in a boarder 27 years of age and that boarder can collect $200 in food stamps.

Another situation, another two income family with no children, can take in a boarder. The other boarder also has an income of just over $800 per month. She still qualifies for over $100 a month in food stamps.

Finally, a disabled father with sole custody of one child, responsible for hundreds in rent and all of their basic living expenses, qualifies for exactly, $10 a month.

Why? What is up with the system?

I have no problem supporting the opinion that certain people need assistance. What is shocking to me is the broad and discriminatory way that the decision is made who qualifies.

How can an able bodied man with no children, and no bills, receive benefits when a disabled father with a young son cannot? Discrimination..plain and simple. Not necessarily a racial issue, although that is a factor in some cases.

There is a system set up, for the sake of argument, that is fair and reasonable. Then, there is a part of that system that makes room for exceptions. This is where things begin to go awry.

When the system in place allows for, or leaves a loophole for, the caseworker to pick and choose, at his or her leisure, who qualifies and who doesn't, the system breaks down.

To me, this is insane. I could easily understand and stomach a system that makes judgments across the board. Even if it failed, at times. What I struggle with is watching some people prosper in a system, while equally, or even more deserving folks suffer.

Discrimination, should be a four-letter word. Not just because it would be easier to spell, (although that might be nice), but because it is offensive and wrong.

We think of racial discrimination every time someone mentions the, 'D-word'. The truth is, however, that there are many more discriminatory injustices done every day that are just as disturbing and wrong.

If you know people, you can get a job. If you are a woman, you can do this thing. If you're a man, you can do that thing. If you're young, you can do this, and if you're old, that. It's one thing if a jobs physical or technical requirements disqualify someone for employment, but when people become second rate citizens simply because someone's personal preference excludes them, that disgusts and angers me.

Does this article change anything? Probably not, but if it makes you think,  I feel a little bit better.

I have rambled...and, errr..spoken.



Earth Spinning


We share the same

planet people..

Let's work together.

"Terminology is the Key"

Recently had a conversation with someone I know very well, and was reminded of the harsh reality that terminology, not, literal translation, is the key.

I have eluded to my opinions on this before, but I just want to spend a few minutes to explain how I feel.

In every aspect of our lives there are two things that define us. The things we do, and the things we say. The things we do sometimes have underlying explanations or motives, making it imperative to read people and not simply judge by actions alone.

Then there are those pesky words. Words that may be sincere, or not. Complicated, or not. The thing that makes them our defining character comes down to our terminology. I hear what you're saying, and know what I think it means, but I need to know what YOU think it means. My judgment of what you say must be based on what you mean by it. Not the actual, and literal interpretation, alone.

For example, to make my point obvious, 'that person is cool'. Either they have a way about them that is stylish and desirable, or they are not warm. Two, totally different meanings for the same word. Entirely definable by one person. The speaker. It makes no difference what the dictionary says. If someone uses, for example, the word, 'bad', to describe something good. It's all in the speaker.

To carry on this thought, but on a slightly different tangent. If the entire world calls something a common name, for example, the word, 'history', it is accepted and defined as such. Although a person could come along and insist that since, 'history', is everyone's past that it is therefore an incorrect word. It should be called, 'their-story', or, 'our-story'. If the word, 'history', was to be broken down literally, it would be inaccurate at least that part of the time when it is referring to anyone other than a male. Again, terminology is the key.

Let's say someone says, 'its a gloomy day outside'. I know that what they probably mean is that it is overcast, perhaps cool and wet, and is a day that might make a person feel gloomy.

If a person is, 'hot', it's not necessarily a word that speaks of temperature.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". We have heard that phrase our whole lives, and most of us have an understanding of the phrase. Yet, can't quite grasp the terminology issue. If beauty is defined by the beholder, terminology is defined by the speaker.

People speak according to their education, culture, creativity and just plain personal preference. To truly understand a person sometimes requires that we ask them how they meant what they said. By the same token, if you are one of those people who are verbally, grammatically, and terminologically creative don't be surprised if the rest of the world has no idea what you're talking about. Dictionaries are full of definitions and explanations of words and, even those, are confusing sometimes. Don't simply assume that others know and understand your self-created terminology.

Terminology is the key. I truly believe that there would be fewer fights, wars, family conflicts, denominations, political parties, and exclusive groups, if people merely understood and explained each others terminology.