Thursday, May 5, 2016

Berned Out


While you know from previous posts that I like Bernie Sanders. I felt the Bern. The problem is, Bernie has berned out. At this point, even with 100 percent of all other states, Bernie couldn't get enough delegates to win the nomination. The Democratic nominee must win 2,383 delegates to secure the nomination, but with only 933 delegates up for grabs in the remaining contests, it is impossible for Sanders to get there just by winning contests against Hillary Clinton. Bernie has racked up 1,444 delegates, but its not enough. His only hope would be to convince super delegates to vote for him, which is highly unlikely.  With Donald Trump now the only Republican left in the race, Bernie needs to step aside and let Hillary consolidate the Democratic base to defeat Trump.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Hillary Clinton, but honestly do we have another choice. From the perspective of Democratic Party unity, Trump's march to the nomination is great news: some Sanders's supporters have made a lot of noise about going "Bernie or bust," but a poll out from CNN on Wednesday found they prefer Clinton to Trump by an 86-to-10 margin. The CNN poll found less reason to believe Republicans would unify around their nominee. In it, only 70 percent of Republicans who backed another candidate said they would support Trump, while 24 percent of them said they wouldn't.

Furthermore, Clinton currently has a 13 point lead in polls against Trump. The Democratic Party cannot be divided, we need to consolidate support. While I'm not a huge Hillary fan, there are many who absolutely hate her and would never vote for her, even against Trump. However, some of them won't vote for Trump either. How many, I'm not sure. People who refuse to vote for Trump or Clinton will either vote for a third party or not vote at all. Both can be dangerous propositions. Hillary has changed a lot since 1992, but Trump is still the blustering buffoon he's always been. So while Hillary is not my ideal choice, I will stand behind her and vote for her, because I truly believe that Trump would be a disaster. Let's hope Trump continues to divide the Republican Party. It will make an easier road to the White House for Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Headaches and America's Headache



Because of lack of sleep Monday night because I was awoken by a headache, I ended up going home from work early yesterday. I wasn't going to write about this headache because I think I write too much about my headaches and depression. I'd hoped that as the depression seems to be easing some and I'm happier (or at least not unhappy) more so than I am sad that my headaches would ease up and get better. Sadly, that hasn't been the case. The good thing is that this cycle of cluster headaches has not been nearly as bad as last years cycle, though this one has lasted longer. Only once (Monday night) have I been woken by a headache. Last year that was happening on a nearly weekly basis. I do think that the depression and the headaches are linked, and I also think that the daily medicine they have me on for cluster headaches has helped lessen their intensity.

And speaking of headaches, what the hell is wrong with Republicans voting for Donald Trump? He is rude, he is crass, and he is a fascist. I feel like I'm in Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s. People are supporting him because of his xenophobic rhetoric and his crassness that makes him appear to be an outsider. Yet, Trump treats this whole thing like a reality show and we all know how much America  loves reality shows. With Ted Cruz out, he's pretty much guaranteed the Republican nomination, which means we have to get behind Hillary no matter what. She is our last hope for a free America.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Q & A


Q
Hannah Sanghee Park, 1986

May I master love, undo its luster
do in the thing that makes us lust? 

May I speed through the body’s sinew 
to marrow? Or is toiling a part of 

the gaining of trust? May I pare and narrow 
your body down, and open it to my 

cupidity’s arrow? May I find my 
response to body’s unanswered call, 

(if the want leaves you wanting, at all)?

&A
Hannah Sanghee Park, 1986

Being a matter
of importance, there

is no mastering
this but to bind you,

thrash and all, to the 
mast. O you won’t reach

irresistible song, 
but the rope will teach

you the body’s give.
Go down to the bone,

then tell me again
there what matters. It

will give you every
-thing you need to know

about what I cannot tell you and then,
just maybe then, could it be enough.


About This Poem 

"This is a two-part poem, the 'Q' of a 'Q-and-A.' The speaker is urgent, urging this line of inquiry to get to the heart of the matter. 'And-A' will answer in the way all matters of the heart are answered: with patience." - Hannah Sanghee Park

Hannah Sanghee Park is the author of "The Same-Different," which won the 2014 Walt Whitman Award and is forthcoming from Louisiana University Press in 2015. She attends the Writing for Screen & Television Program at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts and lives in Los Angeles.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Date Night



Yesterday, I watched An Affair to Remember. It is one of my favorite movies. I almost got through the whole thing without crying, but when Cary Grant’s character says, “If it had to happen to one of us, why did it have to be you?” I completely lost it. The ending when they got together again has always affected me, but that particular line hasn’t ever affected me that way. The difference is that I have said the same thing over and over for the past five months. I still miss my friend that I lost, and I doubt I will ever get over it, but I am doing better and better each day. I still miss him though.

To make myself feel better, I decided to have a date night with myself. Have you ever done that? I got dressed nicely, made a nice dinner (chicken piccata), and sat down to watch some movies and a glass of wine.  I haven’t had a date night with myself in a long time. Since I am not dating anyone, why not have a date with myself.I got the idea from a book I read years ago called Finding the Boyfriend Within by Brad Gooch. Sometimes, we just need a date, even if it’s only with ourselves.

I also watched Pitch Perfect 2. If you haven’t seen it, don’t.  I loved the first Pitch Perfect. The fact is, my friend had sent it to me when I was at a low point and very depressed to help cheer me up, and it had worked. I had hoped that Pitch Perfect 2 might have the same effect, even though he had told me that it wasn’t as good. The second one was just not as funny as they first and I just didn’t enjoy it very much, though I did watch the whole thing.

Then I watched a movie that I had been wanting to see: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I know that it didn't get great reviews either but how can you go wrong with Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer. Both are very good looking and worth watching even if the movie was crap. Luckily, I enjoyed the movie quite a lot. I’ve always enjoyed spy movies.


Of course, it was Sunday night, so that meant that it was time for Game of Thrones. I do love that show. It was a good end to a date night with myself.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Take Life As It Comes


All this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate one does not know. Everything that confronts them is vanity, since the same fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to those who sacrifice and those who do not sacrifice. As are the good, so are the sinners; those who swear are like those who shun an oath. This is an evil in all that happens under the sun, that the same fate comes to everyone. Moreover, the hearts of all are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But whoever is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no more reward, and even the memory of them is lost. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished; never again will they have any share in all that happens under the sun.Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them.
Ecclesiastes 9:1-12

We have to take life as it comes to us. Sometimes, life is good; other times, life is bad. Whether a person is good or bad, we aren’t judged here on earth. We often feel as if nothing is going right in our lives.  One negative thing after another happens. I personally get depressed and often I cannot see the positives that are in amongst the negatives. Life seems too burdensome and happiness too elusive. But the truth is, everyone has their own problems. We have to look on the bright side of life.

Life is sometimes challenging; sometimes frustrating.  But wisdom lies in giving our troubles to God. He can and will help. Adversity and hardships are an inevitable part of your life. God knows this and we know that we cannot escape them. So take everything that comes your way with patience and dignity. Never give in to  misery, but instead pray to God. Do not take your life so seriously as to miss your happiness. Happiness is always around us. We just need to trust in God to show us that happiness.

Happiness is a feeling of sheer joy; the state of contentment. We all have our own perception of happiness. For some, it is material things that we think makes us happy. Everlasting happiness does not have anything to do with material possessions. Real happiness does not lie in big achievements. It lies in small things that touch your heart.

Happiness can neither be demanded nor earned. It is a conscious choice that we make. We create our own happiness when we commit ourself to live a meaningful life doing things that we want to do. Our attitude determines how happy we will be. If we take everything was it comes with a smile and accept the good and bad of life, we will derive happiness in whatever you do.

Take life as it comes. Learn to enjoy the finer moments in life. Be willing to accept the intricacies with grace and consider them an opportunity to prove your worth. If you succeed in winning, you will rejoice; if you fail, you will be happy at least you dared to try. This will improve your self-confidence and boost your self-esteem. Also, you will end up getting richer and wiser in experience.

One reason I chose this passage for today is because today is May 1 and May is Masturbation Month. A lot of religions believe that masturbation is a sin, so I asked a minister friend of mine what he thought about what people called onanism. To refresh you memory, Onan is a minor biblical person in the Book of Genesis chapter 38, who was the second son of Judah. Like his older brother, Er, Onan was killed by God. Onan's death was retribution for being "evil in the sight of the Lord" through being unwilling to father a child by his widowed sister-in-law. He accomplished this with coitus interruptus, or finishing sex with masturbation. In other words, he spilled his seed on the ground and was struck down by God. 

Early Christian writers have sometimes focused on the spilling seed, and the sexual act being used for non-procreational purposes. Since masturbation is one way to accomplish a sexual act with no procreational purpose, then it was considered a sin. Anyway, when I asked my minister friend about this, he quoted to me, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might” Of course, he was making a joke, but Onan was punished for the sin of disobedience to God, not masturbation. So as you celebrate Masturbation Month, remember, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might.” Have a wonderful month of celebration.

I had originally planned for this post to be about masturbation and how we are taught to be ashamed of it, when in actuality, it is a natural process of life. While women may masturbate less than men, masturbation does have many health benefits to men. It keeps our prostates healthy among other benefits. While that had been the plan of this post, I looked closer at the words surrounding Ecclesiastes 9:10 and realized that there is a greater message there about happiness. I know there are many people like me who suffer from depression and that happiness is often hard to find, but God will help us find our happiness if we just let Him.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Moment of Zen: Morning...



Morning coffee, morning kiss, and morning wood. I not a morning person but these three things in combination could make me one.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ideally...



John Archibald is a columnist for The Birmingham News/al.com. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the paper, and all the time at al.com. If you are not familiar with al.com, it is the best source for news about Alabama. Unlike the television stations and newspapers who all have a particular political bent (mostly religious, conservative, and Republican), you can always count on al.com to tell the truth. They don't print a story unless they can back it up with evidence, not something that can be said for most television news people. John Archibald is one of my favorites and I want to share two of his latest columns. The first is a fantasy that never was nor ever will be, but it's a nice fantasy, one that would make the south a true paradise that it should be (minus the heat, although sweet iced tea does slightly compensate for that). The second is Archibald doing what he does best, telling it like it is. He's good with calling out hypocrisy, some thing that too often the news media forgets to do. Though he is talking about Alabama politics, he might as well be talking about politics anywhere. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

 I want my South back

I want my South back.

You know the place. It recognized the past, but didn't wallow around in it. My South could laugh at itself, because it knew deep down it had it made. It had food to make you drool and music to make you feel, and it had the prettiest of people. It blushed at compliments and shook off insult, because the quirks other folks ridiculed were the wrinkles that gave it character.

And characters.

It was proud, but it was not afraid. It was welcoming, and it was – I swear it's true – gentle.

I miss that place. But then, maybe it never really existed at all, outside my head and my hopes. Maybe it was just an aspiration and an ideal, passed along by Southerners who knew this place and its people were nothing more or less than the sum of their scars. Where they came from shaped who they were, but did not dictate where they'd go.

That South was real to me. And I want it back.

I'm talking about my South, the way Morgan Freeman would say it or Harper Lee would write it, with pain up front and promise on the back end. I'm talking about the South the way we wanted it to be, the way some of us believe it can still be.

Not the Confederacy, or George Wallace. Not even Lynyrd Skynyrd, though the band will play on my soundtrack. I want the Southern Pride, but also that Southern Promise.

My South is not a place that blames everyone and everything for the unfairness of it all. It's not one that pines for a day that probably never was and never should have been.  My South could not watch unaffected as old people suffer, or stand by as children go without.

It was never a place so insecure that it barred its doors, never so offended by the ways of others that it wished them suffering. It saw needs and filled them. It saw hurt and eased it.

Oh, there was always hate and pain and righteous wrong in the real South, in a land built on man's inhumanity to man. But centuries of sins brought together a magical blend of cultures that made us something better than our parts. Our Eden was already perfumed with clover and honeysuckle, and together we added barbecue and collard greens. You can smell it today.

It's a place where you can laugh long and joke about anything. Except mama. It's a place where being a gentleman has nothing to do with a seersucker suit, where it's OK to disagree about politics or policy or even football, but it's never an excuse to be rude.

Maybe it's true that my South only existed in my head. Perhaps it was just a romantic notion, as misguided as those who look back at the good old days and see only good. But my South is not just the past. It is the hope for a better future.

In my South we are one people in one amazing place. Proud of who we are and proud of where we have been. And in my South we are proud of the changes we have made. We look at each other and see ... each other. We know pain, but we believe in promise.

Because we know we can be more, and better, and kinder, and fairer. We can be more giving and more forgiving than the world would ever imagine. And we can do all that better together.

In my South.

Alabama double standard: Politicians judge you, but not themselves

For a bunch so holier-than-thou, the Montgomery gang sure has become forgiving.

Of each other, I mean.

Oh, they'll judge you and me on our politics and national origin, our race and gender and religion and values. They'll poke around in your bedroom to see who's there – and who's not. They'll throw you in jail just to look tough on crime. And – oh yeah – they'll disqualify you as their brother or sister if you don't interpret your Bible the same as them.

But let a few fall off their high horses and the pillars of piety start to crumble.

Personal responsibility gives way to tolerance, of all things. Alabama values become fluid. All of a sudden – quick as a lawmaker can say OH MY GOD, WHAT IF THAT WAS ME – mercy and compassion debut in the Capital City.

Because self-preservation trumps accountability.

I swear Rep. Mac McCutcheon is like the lifeguard in this cesspool. Anywhere there's a politician drowning in a deep end of his own doing, there's McCutcheon to drag him to safety.

He was there for Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard. Soon as Hubbard was popped on 23 felonies for using his office for personal gain, McCutcheon came to assure us "Mike Hubbard is our Speaker and our friend."

Now he's there for Gov. Robert Bentley, with an amendment to a resolution that will derail attempts to impeach the governor. Because forgiveness and compassion are important.

This from a guy who once sponsored a bill making it illegal for ex-cons to homebrew beer.

And if McCutcheon's the lifeguard, Rep. Jack Williams is the pool boy. He rushes to anyone who fouls the water and apologizes for the mess.

He talks so much about forgiveness these days you forget he used to talk of "accountability" and "responsibility." When some Republicans questioned whether a guy facing 23 ethics charges really should be speaker, Williams lamented "the politics of personal destruction."

Not the personal destruction of crime. Or scandal. Or governing with a hand out and an expectation of special treatment. The "personal destruction" he criticized came from people demanding better.

This is where we are. With a group of so-called leaders who want to blow up the whole system because they can't keep their noses clean. That's why Williams last year sponsored a bill that would gut the ethics law and allow indicted politicians to beg for money to use in their own defense funds. It is why the Ethics Commission – which would rather give a politician a road map around the law than to hold him to it – now says it's OK for Rep. Randy Davis to take a job from a company with political interest.

Alabama politicians always find a way to take

If you can give a legislator a job with a wink and a nod, campaign finance and ethics reform means exactly squat. These wolves have huffed and puffed and blown our hope for honest government to hell.

The Speaker will go to trial. It looks like the governor has fouled his pool in legal and personal ways. The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is again facing complaints from the Judicial Inquiry Commission.

And our government is as crippled as our trust.

If you don't think so, just look at what Hubbard has done to budgets of the state's district attorneys and the attorney general – whose office is prosecuting Hubbard. Look at what he does to routine bills prosecutors want to see passed.

This session he diverted several of those bills -- which had absolutely nothing to do with himself or the armed services  –  to the Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee. To die.

That committee, by the way, is chaired by Rep. Barry Moore. Who was charged with perjury – and acquitted – by the AG's office.

They don't want oversight. They don't want accountability for themselves. And they don't want the law to apply to them.

Just remember it, the next time they judge you.