POST-PONED

 

They say everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Well, I’m doing something about it — due to having to deal with problems arising from torrential rains here last Sunday, I’m postponing my next scheduled post from April 20 to April 25 because I’ve not had time to even think about what I want to write about. I can’t promise “double the pleasure” on April 25 to make up for going AWOL on April 20, but hopefully Mother Nature will provide a flood of inspiration to make up for causing a flood of aggravation the past four days. 😦

MISS MOLLY SPECIAL

Today is the birthday of a VERY SPECIAL MISS in the lives of mister & missus muse ….and, a very SPECIAL BIRTHDAY as well, for it’s Molly’s sixteenth. Yes, by golly, Miss Molly turns sweet sixteen today, and if I do say so, no sweeter girl has ever turned sixteen — and I do say so, because she has been part of our lives each and every one of those years. But little did we know this would be the case on June 5, 2000, when our next-door neighbor brought her into the world.

We had just moved into the neighborhood nine months before Miss Molly arrived. Not long thereafter, during a get-together at our house, Molly’s parents asked us a question. Our answer would turn out to lead to enriching the rest of our lives: they asked us if we would take care of Molly on weekdays while they were at work. Although retired, we had plenty to keep us busy….but we said yes, and the rest is her story. Before we knew it, she became the ‘grandchild’ we didn’t have, just as close and dear to us as if she were our own.

Those first pre-school years remain particularly cherishable (if that’s a new word, there’s no extra charge) as she grew from babyhood and toddlerhood into the little girl I played games (and yes, dolls) with for hours. What an old softy she made of me! On 3/17/04 we began keeping track of her height (3’5″ tall) on a basement wall; the last of many such lines on that wall is dated 3/16/15 (5’4″) — a mark, you might symbolically infer, of how she continued to grow on us as the years slipped by.

After she started school, she and her older brother were with us for only a few hours after school each day during the school year, but in summer, it was back to full-time grandparenting, including outings to parks, miniature golf, and other venues. Now, all of a sudden, her brother is on active duty in the military, she is taking driving lessons, and I’m a veteran of sizing up Happy 16th Birthday cards, seeking just the right one. Time flies when you’re having fun. 🙂

I would show pix of Miss Molly but, considering I haven’t told her I was writing this post, that’s not in the cards without her OK. So I hope that instead of a picture being worth a thousand words, in this instance only 421 words will be worth a picture….or perhaps (with love) just four words:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISS MOLLY!

NO PROBLEM?

What is your reaction (if any) when you see someone say to a military man, “Thank you for your service.” You probably don’t think of it in terms of how “fashionable” it is, but I don’t recall it being said with such ubiquity (if at all) a decade ago. Certainly no one ever thanked me for my service in the early 1960s and, if they had, it would’ve made me feel awkward….not so much because I was drafted and served during a period “between wars” (a stranger seeing me in uniform wouldn’t know that), but because even if I had been in combat, why should I be thanked for surviving a situation which I had no choice being put in?

These thoughts were brought to the forefront for me by a New York Times article last week by Matt Richtel in which he related being told “No problem” after thanking a veteran for his service….but the vet’s expression/reaction said there was a problem. It seems that not all vets appreciate what one on them calls the “thank you for your service phenomenon.” For them, “the thanks come across as shallow, disconnected, a reflective offering from people who, while meaning well, have no clue what soldiers did over there….and who never would have gone themselves or sent their own sons and daughters.”

“To these vets, thanking soldiers for their service symbolizes the ease of sending a volunteer army to wage war at great distance — physically, spiritually, economically. It raises questions of the meaning of patriotism, shared purpose and, pointedly, what you’re supposed to say to those who put their lives on the line and are uncomfortable about being thanked for it.”

I suppose that’s why I can’t help being a bit cynical when I see politicians saying “Thank you for your service” to a man or woman in uniform. Unless you’ve walked the walk (like, for example, former Vietnamese POW, Senator John McCain), what authority does one have to talk the talk? Wouldn’t it seem less smarmy if a political office holder (who humbly wants to thank a vet) said something like, “If I may speak on behalf of the people of my state/district, I want to thank you for your service.”

Perhaps that kind of “meaning well” would help make it less of a problem….if not “No problem.”

 

 

 

THIS IS ALL ABOUT ME

Actually, this post is not about ME (as in “me, myself and I”) — it’s about ME, as in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

Why this post, and why today? The reason is simple: August 8 is SEVERE ME AWARENESS DAY; my adult youngest daughter has severe ME, and she has asked that I use the occasion to call attention to the subject for her. Purpose? To spread knowledge of this affliction, because most people aren’t familiar with ME.

That’s not a pun — it’s a debilitating and (thus far) incurable disease which has left her unable to support herself or live unassisted for over 20 years. As if that’s not ill-fated enough….well, I’ll let these links do the explaining:

http://www.25megroup.org/campaigning_Severe_ME_Day.html

http://documentingme.net/2014/01/31/me-vs-cfs-theyre-not-the-same/

They say it’s the thought that counts. If so, think of someone you love, with this disease. Then think of your loved one’s condition not being taken seriously by the medical establishment because “it’s all in your head” — as if any normal human being would choose to see his or her life’s desires and talents laid waste, in order to get out of working for a living and having a full, rewarding life.

What are they thinking?

 

 

PROMISES, PROMISES

The following is from a recent letter to the editor of the local newspaper. It appears as published, except for the omission of one short paragraph which is relatively extraneous, and of the name of the old established, large company which employed the retiree :

I am a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, and I retired from [company name] in 1994 for a small pension plus health benefits.
We fought for those benefits for years. [Company] took away my health benefits in January, saying they could not afford it anymore.
The retired CEO of 10 years received $9 million plus a million shares of stock. The new CEO starts at $747,000 per year and 1.1 million shares of stock, in addition to a big bonus.
As a veteran and devoted employee of the company for 40 years, I deserve my promised benefits.

The moral (if that’s the right word) of the story? Any loyal employee who thinks this kind of stuff only happens on Wall Street had better think again, not put too much stock in corporate promises, and sock away a few million spare dollars just in case you don’t work your way up to CEO before you retire.

 

 

  

LAWYERS, LAWSUITS AND BEER

Many an alcoholic would go on the wagon if he could only find one with a bar.  –Evan Esar

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently came out with its list of the Top Ten Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2013:

http://www.facesoflawsuitabuse.org/

Of these, my favorite is the beer lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boise, in which five inmates at the Idaho State Correctional Institution sued a number of brewers and wine makers for $1 billion in damages, claiming that alcohol led to their crimes and they weren’t warned that beer and wine can be addictive. In addition to monetary damages, the inmates demanded that Miller Brewing Company, Anheuser-Busch, E. and J. Gallo Winery and the other defendants put warning labels on their products informing consumers that they (presumably the products, not the consumers) are habit forming and addictive.

Naturally, this has stirred up a vat full of righteous reaction from indignant guardians of the sacrosanct, who feel that there is no place in our judicial system for so-called frivilous lawsuits such as this. From where I shit — er, sit — I beg to dishagree…disagree. I shay let ’em sue, and furthermore, bartender, I hereby appoint you judge to make chertain the defendants get a fair trial before you find ’em guilty and shentence them to shupply free beer and wine for life to all lifers, as well as temporary inmates.

Now, I can already hear objections that if you think prisons are overcrowded now, just think of all the law-abiding booze swillers out there who will want to be in there, swilling free beer to their heart’s alcoholic content.  Admittedly, this will result in a major increase in the crime rate with continuous repeat offenders, but prisons will be much less costly to maintain, with few or no guards, and the only bars will be of the non-steel variety….and with self-serve, even bartenders could be dispensed with.

Oops — that last part was a schlip of the tongue. Bartenders are indispenshable. Forget everything I shaid. I already have.