Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Present Left Under the Tree

It was four days after Christmas and the present was still under the tree.  The question wasn't why it was there but rather what to do with it.  It's funny, I can still remember the shape of the package but I can't remember the color of it nor what was even in it.  It was there one day and gone the next.  I don't even know what happened to it.  I do know there was no joy in opening it nor watching someone open it.  The gift that I speak of was for my Grandma Clara who died on 12/20/1991, twenty years ago this past Christmas.  That present left under the tree is a grim reminder of how precious life is and how brutal  but necessary moving on is.  Merry Christmas Grandma, someday I will bring you a new present.--Your loving grandson

Monday, December 26, 2011

Occupy My Brain

Not too long ago, I had ask my facebook friends for some blog ideas.  The following is my attempt to blog about those ideas.

Death of Kim Jong-il (Kevin Fradelos)

The death of the North Korean leader occurred on December 17th, 2011.    He had received power after his father died in 1994.  Under his rule President Bush referred to North Korea as part of the Axis of Evil. Now power has been passed to his son Kim Jong-un.  I can't say that I know a lot about North Korea. I wish I did know more because our next war may be there. We have "fought" one war there before.  Rather than fight to win, we fought as peace-keepers.  A mistake we would repeat a couple of times.
Has or will Kim-il's death change anything?  I doubt it.  I'm sure he trained his son how to rule with terror, take away human rights and keep his people in poverty and hunger.  I pray our troops do not get sent to that hell hole.

Person of the Year (Kelly Beckett Ellis)

At first, I balked at this one.  I thought choosing one would be difficult and it was.  There was so many people I could choose and the one that I did choose won't be popular.  But it's my blog  and I don't care. 

I'm choosing Tim Tebow as my person of the year.  Before you start booing and throwing things at the screen let me explain.  1)Tim Tebow is proud of who he is.  He's is a Christian and not afraid of letting you know.  Some people find it off-putting.  I find it refreshing.  2)  He has answered every question asked of him.  He has smiled through every negative thing said about the way he plays football.  3)  I don't care if he is a NFL quarterback or not.  The kid is a helluva football player but even better person.
I know choosing a sports player as a "person of the year" seems kind of cheap.  I see Tim Tebow as someone who transcends sports.  Right or wrong, kids choose sports figures as role models.  Even as a die hard Raiders fan, I would hope my kids would choose Tim Tebow over someone like, oh I don't know, say Albert Pujols.

A Look back at 2011 (Brett Minor)

When I look back at 2011, I think about the different movements around the world.  Everyday Joes are tired of the same ole crap.  Voices are being heard and with cell phones, Internet and YouTube, they are being heard farther and faster than ever before.  I think it's great but we have to remember not to believe everything we see or hear.  There are always at least two sides to every story.  We have to gather information from all sides and make intelligent decisions on what to believe as fact or not.

***Bonus*** (Kelly Beckett Ellis)

It seems to me that battery companies could do a better job in using ohmic measurements to make batteries last longer.  Using the ohmic measurements while studing their effects on batteries while in different devices could help create more efficient batteries and in turn help make a greener Earth.  And that is my blog on my "Words With Friends" word "Ohmic".                   :-P

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Andy and the Holiday Dinner

Andy was the seventh born of eight children.  He lived at home with his mother and younger sister.  Holidays were very special to him, as all of his siblings would often come home to celebrate.  Since many of his siblings were quite older than him, he had nieces and nephews that were around his same age.  One year, Andy made the holiday dinner unforgettable.

It all started with his family coming together.  Each bringing their inclusion for the holiday dinner.  Hugs and kisses were exchanged and pictures were taken.  All made for a happy day.   That was until it was time to eat.  It was all there: ham, deviled eggs, baked beans, and an endless row of pies.  Andy's eyes couldn't believe and the delicious goodies that awaited his partaking.  And then it happened.

 The decision had been made.  The ADULTS would eat first.  Andy could not believe his ears.  He would have to wait until the adults finished before he could eat.  "No, no, no," Andy thought to himself. "This will not do."  He began to make his case of why the younger people should eat first but it fell upon deaf ears.  Soon his rebellion became a nuisance and the elders had heard enough.  A new decision was made.  No the "kids" would not eat first.  The "kids" would now have to wait outside until it was their turn to eat.  The "grown-ups" herded the younger ones like cattle and forced them out the back door, which was about four feet from the feast.  Andy couldn't believe it.  He was getting kicked out of his own house by people who didn't live there.

Andy peered though the glass of the back door.  He could see everyone filling their plates until their plate held mountains of food.  He started to knock on the door but knocks went unanswered.  He began to bang on the door but a few dirty looks were all that he received.  Andy resorted to pounding on the door.  One, two, three pounds were enough.  The third pound had finally gotten their attention.  The third pound  shattered the glass of the back door, covering the feast with pieces of all sizes.  Not one dish was spared from the fallout.  Silence and shock overtook the whole family.

The adults then blamed Andy for ruining the holiday dinner but Andy saw it as their fault.  They had ruined the day by turning the happiness into sadness by their greed.  Despite the disaster that sat before them, a new decision had to be made.  What were they going to eat now? 

An extra ham that had been left in the refrigerator was placed in the oven.  Andy was sent to the neighbor's house to ask for a loaf of bread.  Ham sandwiches and humble pie were all that was served that day as dish after dish of delicious food was thrown away.  Andy had indeed made this a unforgettable holiday and after a lot of thought, a new decision was made.  From now on, kids would eat first.

Based on a true story.  Thanks for everything, Dad. (aka Andy)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

F-Bombs and N-Words

"Cuss words just let 'em know, ------- ----, God ---- --- ---, Cuss word just don't quit ------- you ------ ------ -----,"  a verse from Too Short's  "Cuss words".  Sometimes I wonder if TV and radio execs think that we are so dumb that we can't figure out what word they just changed to protect us.  A lot of time, it's just plain silly what they change it to or edit out.  If the above song was played on the radio, there would be a lot of bleeps or a lot of silence.  Either way I would be very annoyed at that.  Sometimes they take it way too far.  Take for example this line from Green Day's "American Idiot" "maybe I'm the ------ America, I'm not part of a redneck agenda."  Uhhh the bleep or whatever they call the edit of silence, ruined the line.  What kind of America?  The line is  "maybe I'm the faggot America, I'm not part of a redneck agenda."  the word edited out isn't there to be a gay slur, it's there to prove a point.  If the executives did some research they would know that Green Day is very pro gay rights and even had Pansy Division, an openly gay punk band, be their opening act on several occasions.  Changing the lines is like putting a loin cloth over Michelangelo's "David".  You can cover it up, but you know it's there.

The other day.Me and my boy, Eron, were quoting lines form the movie "House Party"   It's probably the funniest movie made in the 1990's.  One line he mentioned from the TV edit is absolutely absurd.  It goes like this "I guess we would smell like sissies, to a bunch of jerks.'  Ughh.  The real line,... well you'll just have to watch the movie.  Anyway, back to the executives.  What purpose does it serve to change the line of a song or a movie?  Are they afraid that they are going to offend someone with a word like "asshole."  Really?  'Cause last time I checked we all have one.  Writing this, I had to check on "Carlin's 7 Dirty Words."  Yup, they're dirty all right and I pretty sure I have used them all at some point in my life.  So, yeah, you're not going to offend me by letting a shit or piss slip out.  By the way and off topic, but it is kind of funny when I watch Gordon Ramsey on BBC.  Almost everything that gets bleeped out here, plays over there.

I am an advocate for vocabulary.  I would like for people to be able to explain things to me without ----- this and ----- that.  How can one word used as a noun, adjective, verb, and adverb all in one sentence.  And yet, after all of the swearing I still don't know exactly what his or her problem is.  Use real words and try to sound intelligent.  It will get you much farther than a cussing fit that makes you look like a dumb inbred hick.

Now, on to radio edited Rap music. "Straight outta Compton, it's a crazy brother named Ice Cube From the stupid- dope gang with an attitude."  Ummmm.  No.  Come on fellas. Really?  Gansta rap was born from inner city anger and we get "stupid- dope gang with and attitude"?   It's actually "From the gang called Niggaz With Attitudes"  That is the name of the group.  Why are they protecting us for the harshness of their words?  Give it to me straight and let me choose how I'm going to do it.  Once again we are censoring an art form.  Yes, you may not like it and you can choose not to listen.  But give me that choice.

Writers and artist, you can help as well.  I wonder what Eminem was thinking when we wrote "Will Smith don't got to cuss in his raps to sell records,  well I do so ---- him and ---- you too."  Uh? Okay.  So, you have to cuss?  There are no other words to use ?  There is a dictionary of words that you can attempt to use.  How about a thesaurus?  You're going to dis someone because they choose to write a different way?  Come on Marshall, let's play nice.

The whole vocabulary issue can be blamed on the school system.  Our schools teach kids to do well on standardized test but don't teach kids how to think.  So they learn from what they hear on TV and music. Both of which will not give a poetic image of a woman's face glistening in the candle light, her eyes ever so soft, as her and her lover's lips gently come together, as knees buckle and tiny hairsrise on the back of their necks as hearts race from the passion felt between them .  Nope we get stripper poles and direct uninteresting body part slang words and what they are going to savagely do with those parts.
In summary, I have never heard someone use the word "fargin" in my life.  Don't treat me like an idiot and put in a TV edited movie.  I can read lips pretty well.   And awkward silences should be saved for ill timed words in open conversations with mixed parties.  Writers, use poetic words to provoke thought and images.  You don't have to be so blunt and vulgar.  With all of that said, a well placed cuss word can bring a good laugh but be smart about it. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Snooty Bitch

"Snooty Bitch" was the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the words,"I don't read blogs."   Huh?  "I don't read blogs," what the hell does that mean? Yeah, I know she doesn't read blogs.  But why?  It's not the first time I have heard something of that nature. 

I guess for starters the word "Blog" isn't a very pretty word.  Sounds a lot like blah.  I know some of you are already thinking it, "Shane your's is a blah blah blah blahg."  Ha ha very funny.  Regardless, I do take my writing seriously.  Now where was I?  Oh yeah.  Blog.  I wonder who created the word.

If the aforementioned person was handed a magazine and she read an "article," would she be okay with that?  Blogs seem to get a bad name.  I suppose it's because there is really no definition of what a blog is.  There is a button at the top of this page that says "next blog."  Try clicking on it.  Be prepared.  There are some good blogs but there are some bad ones.  There are a lot of family blogs out there.  I can see why someone wouldn't want to read those unless you know the people.  There are a lot of Christian themed blogs as well.  I've found that some are uplifting while others are just downers.  I guess how good the blog is depends on the blogger. I find Brett Minor's blog very entertaining.  You can go to his blog by clicking on it on the left side of the page.  However, there are some that I find hard to read.  It's probably because I don't know the person.  If the first blog post of mine that you read was " The Return of Bitchy Shane" I could see why you might not want to read my blog again.   Who wants to read somebody bitch all time?  But as you know that's not what my blog is. 

In the end, blogs are hard to define but it is easier to say "this is my blog" rather that to say "these are my articles."   There are some talented people out there.  I suggest you seek them out and become a follower of their blog or start your own blog and make it how you want it.  Becoming a follower, shows the blogger that  you support what they are doing.  By the way, you can become a "friend of my brain" on left side of the page. 

And to the Snooty Bitch, don't be so snooty.  We bloggers are just writers looking for a home.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Middle Class: Pissed On or Pissed Off

I am writing this with the assumption that I am middle class.  I guess I really don't know.  The membership card hasn't arrived yet.  I am really tired of politics.  All you hear about is the rich and the poor.  The majority of us are in the middle.  If politics was a game of tennis, we would be the net, catching all the crap the other two hit. My wife and I work hard to provide for our family.  But lately I have been asking,"Why?"  It seems that people that don't work seem to get by better that me.  Free food, free health care, housing assistance, utility assistance, daycare assistance, school assistance, shall I go on...  and then they have more expensive cars, clothes, furniture, etc.  Am I jealous? No.  I'm happy with what I have but I'm tired of struggling. 

I hate it when I hear, "Well I'm going to get (fill in the blank) because it's free."  No, it's not free.  Someone has to pay for it.  Our system is so screwed up.  Our government keeps throwing money at taking care of some of it's citizens, while destroying others.  As the middle class shrinks, more hands will be held out looking to be filled and less hands will be doing the filling.  And then where will be?

I believe that there is a certain amount of government responsibility to its citizens, but there has to be a limit. With all of the different agencies, its no wonder people can "live off the government."  The government should help you when your down for a period of time not support you indefinitely.  Now there are special cases that I won't get into.  I am talking about able bodied citizens.

We need to combine all of these agencies under one roof, distribute more economically, and set more effective restrictions.  Cases of need should determined by the following: financial standing; including net worth, drug testing, and a government forced to balance it's budget.  Imagine getting one check and the government tells you, "Based on your household need, here is your help.  Spend it how you like, but remember, this is all you get.  Oh, don't forget, buying material things will increase your net worth and thus lower future government help." 

The rich have one thing right.  It's not their responsibility to support everyone else.  I have blogged about the rich before (Dollars and Sense).  What upsets me about the rich is that our government sets tax laws and the rich do everything they can to get around the tax laws.  It's all legal,  but as I said before: "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."   A new tax system needs to be created.  I am very much for a national sales tax.  You are taxed on what you buy.  It's fair and not class based.  If all of this could be accomplished, a "more perfect union" would be created.  I'm tired of being the tennis net.

To sum it all up:  I'm pissed off about being pissed on.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Disappearance of Megan Maloie--cont

Chapter 1 
Chapter 2

As Deputy Bain drove home he couldn't get this puzzle out of his head.  He was missing pieces and he knew it.  He pulled to the side of the road and reviewed his his notes.  "He got killed in a car wreck", Janie words about Megan's father "Seems kind of cold," Deputy Bain thought out loud to himself.  "Where is his name?", he questioned as he flipped through the notebook.  "I didn't get his name?  What is this amateur night?  He reached for his cell phone and called Janie.  "Janie, Deputy Bain here.  I am sorry to bother you but I didn't get Megan's father's name. "  After what seemed like an eternity, Janie voiced softly responded, " David Flannery. His name was David Flannery.  He died just south of Ottawa, Ontario."  Deputy Bain trying to show sympathy, "I'm sorry that I have to bring these things up.  Was there anything more that you would like to tell me about the accident?" Janie responding rather resentfully, "His wife died too."  There was more silence.  Janie sounding exhausted added, " There's more to Megan's birth but I'm tired.  Please come by tomorrow and I will tell you."  "Sure Ma'am," said Jerry "I will see you tomorrow. Goodnight."   Deputy Bain sat along side of the road for a moment.  Instead of driving home, he went back to his office to research the wreck that killed David Flannery.

The title read "Local Couple Killed in Fiery Crash".  The article went on say that for unknown reasons the car veered off the the highway and crashed into an embankment, bursting into flames killing David and Mary Beth Flannery instantly.  Further investigations could find no mechanical reasons for the sudden veering of the car. It was also ruled that the cause of the crash was not considered suicide.  "Well, no real help there," announced Jerry as he once again spoke to himself.  He was used to being alone.  His marriage didn't work out and lasted only 3 years.  He was devoted  to his job.  Rubbing his eyes, he got up and walked towards the empty cells.  He opened the door on the first and crawled into the cot.  He was very familiar with this cot as he had slept here many times.   Closing his eyes, he hoped tomorrow would bring him the piece of the puzzle that he needed to solve the mystery of  what had happened to Megan Maloie.   

The next morning Deputy Bain drove to Janie Maloie's house.  Upon entering Janie offered him coffee, which he gladly accepted. "Look," Janie started. "I know how it sounds but it wasn't like that at all.  Mary Beth was unable to conceive children.  I answered the ad that they had placed for a surrogate.  Out of 7 candidates, they chose me.  They paid $150,000 plus all expenses including an apartment behind their home to be in-vitroed with David's sperm.  I thought that since they were Canadian that I wouldn't see them after the birth and the I could use the money to go to school.  The one thing that I didn't expect was how close we all would become.  Anyway, the crash occurred during the seventh month.  After the funerals, I stayed in the apartment until a little after Megan's birth.  I moved in with a friend for about a year and then I moved here.  And before you asked; yes I kept the money."

Jerry sat and listened.  This wasn't the story that he had expected and he felt a little embarrassed as to his presumptions.  As he finished his coffee, he asked, "How did their families feel about the idea of surrogacy?"  Janie responded, "Both sides were overjoyed.  Especially David's mother.  She was a little overbearing.  I always got the felling that she thought less of Mary Beth because of her condition."  Deputy Bain leaned forward and ask, "What do you mean?"   Janie thought for a moment and then responded. " Well, I don't know.  It's kind of like she wanted David to have a child... like to carry on the bloodline or something.  I don't think she cared who the mother was and since it wasn't Mary Beth, she had no use for her."  "Interesting," Deputy Bain thought to himself.  "Janie thanks for your time," he said as he got up to leave.  As he reached the door, Janie said, "Please bring her home."  "I will." Jerry responded.  It was the fourth day.  He knew the trail was getting cold. The deputy went back to his office.  He wanted to review everything he had with Sheriff Wallace.  He wondered if he have enough pieces to solve the puzzle.

Chapter 3
to be continued

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Doggie Styles

I am sure the title of this blog can bring certain thoughts to mind such as: sexual positioning, maybe a new rap artist or even a salon or clothing line for canines.  But today, I'm talking about pets.

When most people hear me talk about animals, they think I am an animals hater.  I'm not. I actually love animals. When I was a kid I wanted to be a Veterinarian.  But due to my lack of interest in science, that dream quickly ended.   No, I don't hate animals but I have opinions regarding them that may confuse you. 

Here is a brief list.

Number 1: Animals belong outside
There are no clean pets.  Every pet makes some kind of mess:  Birds-gotta clean their cage and they throw seeds everywhere;  Fish-gotta clean their bowl or it stinks the joint up; Cats- two words "Litter Box" etc.  The  biggest problem with inside pets is that we allow them to get away with stuff that we don't allow our kids to get away with.  For example, when is the last time your kid peed on the couch, puked on the floor, chewed up a shoe and nothing was done to correct them but with our pets, all is forgiven.

Number 2:  Animals dont' love
People often treat their animals better than kids.  I have heard people say how terrible their kids are and turn around and say how wonderful their pet is.  Huh?  What makes a pet great?  He doesn't bark or bite; she licks your face; maybe shows you "love."  My take is that most animals are selfish.  The "love" they show is because they want something, like the Hamburger in my hand.  I'd wag my tail for you too if I was depending on you to get fed.  I do believe that they have a sense of wanting to belong and in turn don't like to be left alone.  I think people like the idea having control over animals.  They don't talk back, when you yell at them they cower down and they are happy to see you.  Kids? Eh. Not so much and that disappoints parents,

Number 3:  Animals are not a attire
No live animal should be used for fashion.

Number 4:  Animals die
How much money is spent on vet bills or insurance for pets.  I know sometimes they have to go and that's fine.  But to spend $6000 on a 12 year old dog because they have cancer is, to me, obscene.  Sorry.  I know Sparky is part of the family but that money could go along way for more important things in this life.  Sometimes it's as if we value animal life more than human life.

Number 5:  Other Bitches

Sharing animal custody- Please!!  Just go get another dog that looks just like the one you had, give him the same name and you'll never miss him.

Clothing for animals-  They have fur, or scales, or feathers.  Don't waste money on pet fashion.

Do not drive with animals on your person.  They can sit in the back seat.  It won't kill them but the wreck they might cause could as well as you and the other driver.

Do not bring them into public buildings.  If they can't stay in the car, then leave them at home.

Lastly, my yard, public parks and sidewalks are not public toilets.  Clean up after your pet.  Letting him out the front door to squat wherever he pleases is not acceptable civilized way of life.

I often hear about the over population of dogs and cats and that they have to be euthanized.  My thought has always been to send them to countries that eat these animals.  Most people are grossed out by that thought but what is the difference between eating a pig and a dog or a rabbit and a cat.  I have not eaten either one but if our society had accepted this cuisine long ago we might be saying "Mmm mmm taste like Cocker."