Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Once is enough

I learned a lesson when I was in eighth grade.  A classmate lost her father, suddenly, to a heart attack.  She and I were friends, and her parents and my mother were friends.  His death was an enormous shock.   Feeling it the right thing to do, I expressed my most sincere condolences.  Two weeks later, as I was leaving the orthodontists office, my friend, Jane walked in as I walked out.  Along with her came her mother, looking like Jackie O in a black trench coat, black hair and huge black sunglasses.  I didn't know what to say or do, so I offered my condolences again.

And she ripped me an asshole.

"Cookie, you have already done that and you shouldn't have done it again," she snapped.  This was followed with a lot of hateful things that lashed out, at me, that had nothing to do with me.  I was just the 13 year old who made a mistake while trying to do what he thought was a good deed, but cut open her grief like a freshly jagged wound.

Not knowing what to do, I left.  walked home, scared and scarred.

Lesson learned - never repeat a condolence.

Second lesson learned was Jane's mother called to tell my mother what I had said and how she laid into me.  She was sorry.

Lesson learned - losing someone you dearly love hurts so bad that it makes you do things that are outside of personality.  Forgive them.

Third lesson learned was from my mother who sat me down and explained that while my intentions were good, that once is fine, "Then it becomes about the living."  She told me that being sorry was OK, but what people needed to know was that if they needed anything, to do it for them.

"That says I care about you without bringing the hurt back up, OK?"

These are lessons I have carried forward.  I still see and talk to Jane - we've been friends for 49 years.  And I show her I can by being there for her, especially when the anniversary of her father's death roles around.

So when my brother died, and unable to be comforted by other members of the family, I tried to be considerate of others and their expressions of caring.

And then there was Twila.

Twila is the mother of one of our neighbors.  Twila is a talker.  She will talk the bark off a tree.  She means well, but her yap keeps going and going.  She means well, but she's a talker.

And it just so happened that Neighbor and his wife went on a second honeymoon this past week, leaving Twila and her husband "Rollie" with the three girls.

So I learned about my brother being in cardiac ICU on Wednesday, the day Twila and Rollie were on their own for the first time.  And there was some pleasant chit chat.  Then Audra, the nanny came out and she and I chat when I walk the dog.  Because I know Twila is a talker, when Twila went inside I whispered to Audra what had happened to brother.   Audra called me up about ten minutes later and said "Twila knows - she has ears like satellite dishes."


Next time I took the dogs for a walk Twila nailed me and the agony of it all enveloped her like a form fitting girdle.

"Oh, how horrible about your brother being on life support, and blah, blah, blah..."  And unending twenty minutes of her writhing in the misery of his situation."

So I hid.  And then brother died.

And the next thing you know, Twila was at the door wanting to know how my brother was doing, and I said "He's gone."  And then we had all sorts of commiserating on death.

On and on, Twila was in fine form.  I would have told her to piss off, but we are friends with neighbor and wife and frankly, I was just numb.

That was on Thursday.   On Friday it was a repeat of the day before, with Twila enveloped on the shroud of woe.  She asked when the memorial service would be and I replied next week.  After that I didn't leave the house.  I didn't feel like it.  And I just didn't want another encounter.

Saturday was our block party for the neighborhood and we hosted the port o pot on our driveway.

I was watching the set up and speaking with another neighbor telling her about Twila and her preoccupation with lingering death talk when said neighbor said "Is she short and round as she is tall?  Blue gray hair?  Because I think she is waddling this way."

Sure as the sun sets in the west here came Twila, lawn chairs in hand.  And verily she had her homing instinct on me.

I said hello and out of her mouth came "I wanted to come over and ask about your brother," she turned to Amy, the neighbor I was speaking to, and said "you've heard his horrible news, I am sure."

After three days of prying, three days of endless chatter, multiple sympathy cards, and plaintiff looks as if she was going take me to her bosom so I could cry the tears she had yet to see me shed.  I snapped.

"Well, no change.  Still dead."

Twila looked at me and without missing a beat said "I know that, honey. Such a tragedy, blah, blah, blah..."

Later Amy sheilded me when Twila looked like she was making another beeline for me, only to cut half a cake for her dessert.

"Did you realize that she hasn't offered to do anything for you, she just wants to obsess about death. I think she needs one of them Harlequin Romance novels refocus her attentions.  Poor dear, probably doesn't get a moments rest driving those three girls to three different soccer league games in an afternoon."

Twila is staying another week, and I am flying on a plane, first class to Brother's funeral.  When I come back, Twila will return to her "rancher house" with her husband, on the eastern shore.  I booked a flight that gets in at midnight - a safe time, I hope, to avoid her she she choose to continue haunting me.

Monday, September 26, 2016

And then there were two.

Readers of the blog know that Cookie has always walked a tightrope with "the family".  I came from a fractured household that shattered and was carefully reassembled into family many times over many years.

There were mother and father, two people who should never have gotten together.  There are two half brothers, from my father's first marriage, and the aura of their mother, who died from a disease that took her too soon from her sons.  There is the ghost of my half sister that my mother bore with her first husband who died shortly after birth.  There are also the step mothers and step father, various step siblings including the one placed for adoption as a babe, and then who attended elementary school without know who her birth mother was, or that my father was married to her. And of course the various aunt, uncles and people who we would told were aunts and uncles, but were just friends.  And three sets of grandparents.  

But the core family was my father, my mother and the two half brothers.

My father died first.  That freed me from years of emotional blackmail and abuse.

My mother died.  That freed me from the anchor that had been my identity.

And on Wednesday, one of my half brothers died.  It weighs me down with sadness.

And it was the half brother who I idolized and was closest to.  In the picture at the headline of this blog, he is the one in the back, leisurely posed.  The picture is from his Bar Mitzvah 50 years ago.

He was only 63 when his heart and organs let him down.

So now, there are only two of us who remember the things that were our family.  The house we lived in Shaker the first time that our father and my mother tried to make a go of it.  And the house that our father and my mother bought after their first divorce and tried to make a go of it in.  The few good times.  And the many bad ones.

Later this week I will fly to California for the service.  And then I will fly home to try and construct a new reality where he no longer calls and I can no longer call him.

To honor brother, be nice to someone.  Hold a door open. Smile at someone. Get your eyes examined.  Do something to take care of your heart.  Hug your children.  That was him in a nutshell.

This is going to take some getting used to.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Politics: Naderism and throwing away your vote in November

It seems that people have a short political memory about third party candidates and why voting for this is like throwing your vote away.

It's called, Naderism.  I coined that term - you like it?

Here is why.  Ralph Nader's egotistical tilting at the White House in 2000 made it possible for George W. Bush to get elected to the Presidency.  But in interview after interview, Nader to this day insists that what he and his voters did in 2000 had positive and lasting impact on the American political scene.  Naderism.  Sure did.  And not in a good way.

And the problem with Naderism.

I don't need to review what happened to this country during the presidency of George W. Bush as the titular head of the government, and Dick Cheney, the soulless, clueless hyper Conservative who launched a war for his person gain.

And the Rule of Dick Cheney is exactly what we got when voters ignored facts and started self righteously tilting towards Quixotic presidential campaign of Ralph Nader who ran under the Green Party banner.

And now, with even more at stake, this is happening again as millions of self delusional hipsters and millennials begin to tilt, once again, toward the mirage of "Nadersim".

These voters 1) Fail to study history, because they know everything, and 2) they also don't know that "those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it."  And if Donald Trump is elected, we've got something worse on our hands for minorities in this nation.

The arguements for not voting from Hillary Clinton to defeat the evil that is Donald Trump go something like this:

"I will not be bullied into voting for Hillary because of my dislike for Trump."

"Jill Stein has very real solutions for creating positive change..."

"Well if William Weld can get behind Gary Johnson and the Libertarians, then so can I..."

Here's the problem with that type of self aggrandizement with your vote.  If you vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, your vote will mean nothing, as in N-O-T-H-I-N-G come  November 9, 2016.  

True dat.  Don't believe me?  What did Green Party candidates get from the 2000 election?

Nothing.  That's what.

Come the day after the election, the only thing you will be credited with is handing the nation over to Donald Trump and his side show of political freaks.

Your votes will never lead to political change.

They will not open the minds of anyone.

They will not send a message to Washington.

They will never result in reform.

Like Don Quixote tilting at Windmills will never vanquish the evil in the world, your votes for a third party presidential candidate will never result in the type of change that you seek, or those little lies that Ralph Nader tells himself that his campaign changed anything. Naderism.

Here's why:

Third Party Candidates and their supporters gain nothing for their efforts in the United States for one very good reason, and that reason is that they only consider a third party candidate in Presidential Election Years, period.

You, as a voter for a third party candidate have done NOTHING to build a strong party network in the off years.  You have done NOTHING to get your third party candidates on any state or local ballots.  You have done NOTHING in the way of fund raising.  You have done NOTHING with grassroots organizations during the three years when there isn't a Presidential election.

In other words, you have done NOTHING.  But you sure are certain of that third party vote in the upcoming presidential election.  Yes you are!  Because you want to send a message to Washington that the system can be changed.

But here is your next problem.  You have done NOTHING to get anyone elected to the House or to the Senate to hear your vote.  And guess what.  Democrats and Republicans in Congress DO HEAR THEIR PARTY VOTERS!  Never thought of that.  Did you, Smugly?

And here is your other problem - you can't change Congress until you change the way seats are redistricted every ten years because you have no voice in your State level politics.  Why?  Because those bodies change every two years and you are only involved every fourth year, and that's only to support the Presidential candidate from said third party was nominated in a Ramada Inn in Boise.

YOU CANNOT EFFECT CHANGE IF YOU DON"T GET INVOLVED IN POLITICS - its that simple.   And if you are not working to get your third party politicians elected on the state and local level, you have no leverage to get them elected to Congress.  And without anyone in Congress to do the heavy lifting, your vote will mean NOTHING in this November's presidential election.  

And that is third party voting this nation has never effected any change.

Except in one way.

With Hillary Clinton the White House you at least have a chance to spend the next four years working - and that's what it is, working - to get your third party candidates funded and ready for local and state elections.  And then you can go for the Congress.  And then you have a shot at getting people elected to the House and Senate in 2022, 2024, 2026, etc.

And then maybe, if you are lucky, you might have a chance at having a viable candidate who can take on the big guys in 2028.

No pain, no gain.  You want change, get off your lazy asses and do the work.

But right now, in November 2016, voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is the lazy choice.  It means that come November 9th, the only thing that you can puff up your chest over is by saying "I didn't vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton."

And then what?

What was your win?

What did you get for that vote?

Who is going to hear your voice?

The answer is nothing.  Because when you vote for a third party candidate that belongs to a party that has no political capital, you get what you put into it: nothing but Naderism.

Change doesn't happen when your candidate gets 2% of all the votes cast.

And Naderism has done anything for this country in sixteen years.

And it sure as hell won't get you anything in the next four.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

No comments needed. Just think about this and share it with an angry Trump Supporter

Violence and stupidity are not traits that Cookie embraces.


The idea that people are offended over the "Basket of Deplorables" comment tells me not only only heard what they wanted to hear, and then applied that to themselves tell me that many Trump supporters really do have a bad sense of self esteem.

How so?

People who know themselves, and know themselves well know exactly what they believe and why.

People who lack self esteem, and are easily swayed by the opinions of others don't feel good enough about themselves, their decisions and their beliefs.  They feel inferior.  They feel judged when they do something.  They fear success because it is easier to belly ache about their lots in life.  And they deal with that insecurity by stirring the pot, by starting fights and by believing anything that validates their feelings that someone, someplace is keeping them from what they think they deserve.

That last sentence is key.  There are a whole lot of voters out there who feel that they were promised the American dream.  Instead of focusing on Education, personal betterment and aspirations, they focused on getting what their parents had.  And guess what.  All that got shipped overseas.  So instead of sitting down, figuring out what they can do, they sit back and belly ache and they blame someone, anyone, that they can.

And then comes Donald Trump.  A bonehead born with a silver spoon in his mouth who believes that he is the greatest thing since greatest things were invented.  And he speaks to these people in a way that helps them find a target for their own sense of self worthlessness.

And its dangerous because these morons feel empowered to bad behavior because of Trump.  They are so blinded by his stupidity that they can't see their own.  They lack logic. They have no use for education. But they are ready not to get to work, but to blame a group, a person, a race, a religion for anything because it makes them feel empowered.

Truth is if they are chicken shit afraid to look at themselves in the mirror and fix their lives, then they are willing to be led anywhere.

Think about that.

Unless we do something to defeat their idol, this is just the tip of the oncoming iceberg.

Think about that.

Now consider what we need to do to win this election fair and square.

Its called getting out the vote for Hillary.

This election is about good and evil.

And good must win over evil.  Its that simple.  I'm with Hillary.  You?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Funny, you never see the two of them together

Dos Equis has announced that french actor Augustin Legrand has been chosen to play the Most Interesting Man on Earth, replacing Jonathan Goldsmith who originated the role.

On the right is U.S. Swimmer Michael Phelps, who bares a strange resemblance to Legrand.

Actually, its more than a passing resemblance.  Legrand, who was born in 1975 and is ten years older than Phelps could be his older brother.

And you never see these two in the same place at the same time, do you.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Monitoring Cookie: Going BIG

Well, its been six years of looking at a teeny, tiny squashed bug trapped between my LED panel and the front screen of the HP monitor that I had, and Cookie decided it was time for a change up.  Actually, there is that AND I have been working on a cataloging project that required me to have four programs open at once and the clicking back and forth was getting on my nerves.

So I asked my friends, what would you do?  And the chorus was to GO BIG or don't go at all.

So we went monitor shopping.


The old monitor was 25", but the new ones are really BIG.  One was four feet wide, curved, two sets of stands to keep it up.  And nine hundred dollars!  That 25" inch screen set me back around $325 in 2010.  But now a 25" inch monitor is under $150.

Actually, when we went shopping my husband said that we had 22" monitors.  So I chose a prudent 25" one.  Didn't want to jump to much at once.  When we got home and unpacked it I was like "Hey...its the same size!"

And he was like "Nah, can't be."

And I was like "Yeah."

And he was like "Let me see that," and what do you know.  He was wrong, I was right.

So back to the store.  Monitors are something Cookie has to see.

And so I picked up a 27" monitor and it is HEAVEN.  Not too big, not too small.  1/4" border all around and 1/4" tick.  Remember the old CRT monitors?  A 19" one was a whopping 18" thick.

The husband also got a win out of this.  I gave him my old screen and then bought him a dual video card.  So not he can work with all his spread sheets, and music, and market tickers all going at once.

Yee Hah!