Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The one about happyness*

It is a long-established and widely-held belief that, during sexual congress (lowercase c), each participant is responsible for his or her climax. If this is so easy to believe, I wonder why so many people think it only applies during sex. I think we've all heard someone say, (and ironically, I hope someone has said it to you) "you've made me so happy," but did you know that you cannot make someone happy? If that were true, couldn't you force someone to be happy? No, that's ridiculous. Ask yourself: Does my happiness depend on someone else? Does someone else's happiness depend on me? The French novelist, Honoré de Balzac asked, "But does not happiness come from the soul within?"

'Tis the season for gifts and giving, but it's also the season for resolutions and renewal. If you're unhappy because you didn't get a PS3 for Christmas, please also realize that you're not going to be happy until you get a PS4 and then a PS5. It's a vicious cycle and obviously our culture encourages it and our economy depends on it to a certain degree. But the fact remains that these things will not make you happy. Only you can do that. I have friends who make next to nothing, and yet they have to have the latest iPods and other toys. One friend spent the last 2 years 'pimping his ride' and now that he's "done" he wants to sell it and get something better. Not because he enjoys modding his car (although I'm sure that's part of it) but because his current car is two years old and isn't the latest & greatest. My car turned 8 last month. It has less than 65k miles on it and is mostly stock. Although it still looks pretty good, I know every ding and rock-chip. I'm tempted to trade it in and get a pristine new car, but with a new car comes a new car note. In a few years I'd just want another new car so, since I know that a new car wouldn't make me happy, I do without. I wonder what my friend(s) think about me and my "old" car.

I know this is all a bit disconnected but I wanted to communicate the futility of seeking happiness in the physical realm, whether it is animal, vegetable, or mineral. I wish you all the very happiest of holidays. May you choose to find happiness in all that you already have. May you live as long as you want, yet never want as long as you live.

*I haven't seen the movie yet and, despite at least one bad review, I want to.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another one about politics

[Sorry folks, gotta get this off my chest. By way of disclaimer, I admit that I generally lean to the right on economic issues and a bit to the left on social issues. I maintain that I am free to pick and choose my opinion on issues independently of either organized party.]

However... Two recent television interviews of Democratic politicians have really bothered me.

The first was incoming majority leader, senator Harry Reid on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. When asked about his Congressional colleague, senator Tim Johnson who recently suffered a stroke and underwent brain surgery, Reid gave a disappointingly typical politician's response. Is the senator conscious? "I'm not a doctor." Apparently consciousness is a medical diagnosis, so I will refrain from indicating whether I think Reid himself is conscious.

Later, when asked about a potential compromise amendment being discussed by Democratic colleague, senator Barak Obama, Reid wisely said he would withhold judgement until he knew the specifics of the plan. Fair enough. When asked, "in principle," would he support a compromise? Reid continued to dodge the issue, indicating to me that he has no principles.

The second interview that bothered me was the Daily Show with Jon Stewart interview of Democratic presidential candidate, Governor Tom Vilsack. Discussing the current state of Iraq and plans for the future, Vilsack described it as "a culture of dependency" where Iraqis believe it is America's responsibility to protect them indefinitely but that we should implement a program to get them self-sufficient. Where have we heard the phrase "culture of dependency" before? Could it be the Republican mantra for describing welfare? Aren't Republicans always saying we need to cut back these programs and teach Americans to be self-sufficient? (Hint: yes) And Republicans are wrong for saying that? (Hint: yes) But Democrats are allowed to ask Iraqis to be self-sufficient? (Hint: apparently so) How did Stewart let Vilsack get away with that? Rather than accuse Stewart of being left-leaning or biased, I'll simply suggest that he dropped the ball.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Tiny adventure in the Big Apple

I expected the guy from Dateline NBC to jump out from behind the door when we arrived at Beth's home. You see, I met a girl online (she told me she was legal!) and flew halfway across the country to meet her. Of course, the day before I was to fly was when the big winter front passed through town and dumped 27 feet of snow [note to self: find internet reference to corroborate this] on the midwest. Fortunately the weather was nice at home, but high winds in the Tristate area delayed my flight by about 2 hours. Somewhere over the last few years I became a nervous traveller. Strike that, I'm a nervous person to begin with. The delays at the airport only added to my anxiety. Fortunately I feel completely at ease with Beth and was soon my normal (don't laugh!) self.

Rather than give a play-by-play of my vacation, which you can soon read over on Beth's blog, I'll leave you with a few quick notes:

1) New York City is a tough town, exactly as it is portrayed on television and on film. To be safe, I treated it as one would do on the first day at a prison and shanked the biggest, meanest looking dude on the subway. Nobody fucked with me after that.

2) Holy CRAP it gets cold there! I live in Texas where lows in the 60s are described as "frigid" and people drive like there's ice on the road. Thursday morning it was so cold (1 degree-F) that Beth and I had to cut open a bum and crawl inside for warmth. And you thought they smelled bad on the outside.

3) I saw countless, priceless works of art in some truly staggering museums. I saw the Statue of Liberty up close and touched the storied halls on Ellis Island. I strolled through Central Park, saw the NYC Ballet, and ate at the Russian Tea Room. Some of those memories are already fading. What I remember most were gloved hands with intertwined fingers, shared bites from each other's plates to the tune of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, laughter, and kisses.

Please see the pictures, via the link to your right (my left) in the album, NYC- December 2006.