Five Long Years

The fall of Western civilization can be charted by the declining number of book readers.

Yesterday was National Book Lovers Day, and on social media it came in like a lamb and went out with a whimper. On twitter, it never made Trending status in the many hours I was on which says a great deal about where everyone’s heads are these days. As expected, facebook and the mainstream media ignored it completely. Why? The answer is a simple one.

Readers a.k.a. thinking people, are dangerous to the rising regime.

“Book Lovers Day is celebrated on August 9 every year. This is an unofficial holiday observed to encourage bibliophiles celebrate reading and literature. People are advised to put away their smartphones and every possible technological distraction and pick up a book to read.” Wikipedia

I did my bit by contributing a half dozen tweets which were repeated on my facebook page that, not surprisingly, ranged from serious to amusing. Most saw no engagement. Yes some genuine book lovers tweeted, as well as some booksellers, but this was an opportunity missed by almost every author, publisher, educator, and library I know and about a million others I don’t.

We all talk a good game when discussing the importance of reading in America, but when it comes to actively doing something collectively about the problem, we fall flat.

Changing how we parent, educate, treat the environment, allow ourselves to be governed. . . all have become political, and this is why intelligent people no longer participate in these discussions. The prevailing rampant stupidity in politics has silenced the majority who need to speak out and be heard.

I thought book people would be different.

I know many are introverted. I also know they are smart. Why is it they do not realize their apathy endangers their beloved books. Here’s how the world works, kids:

If you are not fighting for it, they will take it away.

 

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Bureaucrazy

The only business that has never seen a downturn is government.

Public servants my ass!

Government employees are a special kind of crazy—similar to academics—in that they are completely incapable of functioning in the real world.

You need only look at a ditch digging project where the white and blue hats outnumber the yellow hats—the only ones with tools—to see how far removed from reality they have become. Collectively, one blue hat, two white hats, and three yellow hats are costing the taxpayers about $350.00 per hour as they stand around talking while looking at the ditch.

two man holding white paper

Productivity and efficiency mean nothing to these people.

None are motivated to work hard or to get the job finished as fast and cost effectively as possible. Their jobs are secure for as long as they want them, and a significant pension awaits when they have had enough. In addition to their generous top-of-scale salaries, they and their families enjoy complete short and long-term disability insurance, medical, drug, and dental plans. . . all paid for by the taxpayers.

The blue and white hats decide to have lunch to discuss the hole in the ground further so they jump into three separate government vehicles which they pay nothing for, and they expense their two-hour $120.00 bistro “business lunch” back to the taxpayer. In a bizarre rationalization, they consider themselves to be taxpayers because they pay taxes, so they feel entitled to such expenses. To them, it is as though they are paying for their own lunch. With only an hour or so left in their workday, they all head home early to beat traffic.

Meanwhile in the real world. . .

Somewhere out there right now is a young guy with a family to support, driving a ten year-old pickup truck which he bought; paid to licence; pays insurance on; pays to maintain; pays to put fuel in, and who also bought the pick and shovels in the back with his own money.

yellow pick up truck on grey concrete road

He is digging a hole too.

He estimates one hard day of ditch-digging should get the job done. His hands will be blistered and his back will be sore come lunchtime when he gets to eat his brown-bagged mid-day meal, lovingly made by his wife from last night’s dinner leftovers. On completion, the customer, which he had to find by making calls and sending emails each night after work, will pay him $200.00 for a day’s work. He will set aside 30% for income tax; 11% for business taxes, and 20% to keep his business operating. He and his family will attempt to live and build a secure future on the remaining $78.00. He worries about how long he can keep up this pace. Last month’s dental bill for the kids wiped out their savings. Regular dental checkups for himself had to be shelved in favour of keeping up with his workers compensation insurance payments.

He has been called the backbone of America.

Sadly, this hypothetical taxpayer’s back only lasted into his forties. He called up the government-run workers compensation department for help when doctors said he could not return to his job. The bureaucracy seized the opportunity to kick him when he was down. To them, with every denial and penny-pinching move they were saving the government money while simultaneously justifying their own continued employment within the bureaucracy. They do not acknowledge who pays the government they work for. ‘Claimants are the enemy. We are not accountable to the taxpaying general public.’

These bureaucrats had the audacity to question HIS integrity.

They are oblivious to the hypocrisy which is all around them. They even went so far as to accuse him of being a scammer before finally sending $680.00 each month.

Pull your heads out of your asses America.

This level of inequity is not sustainable.

Now twitter is doing it.

As if the mother Zucker wasn’t bad enough with obvious societal conditioning techniques built into his flakebook algorithm, now twitter is showing its hand. They too have had their user privacy issues, but twitter was always a place where you didn’t feel as controlled and manipulated. You could reach out to people the world over, and if you added them to a list, you could see everything they posted. If they were not English speaking, you could click the translate button to see what was on the minds of people in Europe, Asia, the Middle East. . . to gain a more honest global perspective than what we are offered in American media.

That ended today!

Twitter has been ramming the “New Twitter” down our throats for a while, but we had the option to revert to “Legacy Twitter” which many users did. It wasn’t an option today, and the Translate Tweet function was gone in addition to some other user niceties.

‘We can’t have American minds being contaminated by other countries.’

They are closing up the box with us in it.

This final straw will hasten my departure from anti-social media. They just keep taking away all that was good about these platforms and replacing them with more ads and user data collection. I don’t need to stick around to watch the death of social media, I’m just glad to see it go.

When Will We Get It?

Most days I root for humanity . . . some days I root for space rocks.

If you enjoy reading about patriarchy and the puppet masters, you are in the right place.

In my storied online “career” (?), I was a good, not so little, author who played nice in the early years. I “friended” and/or followed approximately 10,000 people, sites, and pages because that was what we were told was necessary to promote our books and build a platform to launch us. However, as I delved deeper into the publishing world, I found out it was all a sham to keep us busy, and, most importantly of all, to keep us blowing money. Now, after five years and spending months cleaning out my social media accounts, I have about 300 interesting “friends” and follow about 300 others.

Some of the people I axed were butt-hurt.

If they were true supporters, they were given my reasons, but most were people who never engaged in all the years I kept them around. This idea of “friending” or “following” just to have impressive numbers is laughable, and anything but social.

My new antisocial media program is simple.

If I am ever to make enough time to write seriously again, social media has to go—except twitter—I love my twitter in the mornings over coffee, and I can “misbehave” there. I have a new ‘boobies and books’ theme I am thoroughly enjoying. Do I care some will be offended? F-ck no. Do I care about the imagined publisher or agent passing on me because I don’t conform? Hells no. It’s just bullshit “they” feed newbies. The right agent or publisher will get me, or I will self-publish again, but in a much smaller way.

Here is the plan for this summer:

  1. Create and blog out memes daily, if possible.
  2. Power tweet on Fridays.
  3. Facebook on Saturdays.

In a perfect world, this system should:

  1. Drive up website traffic.
  2. Give me more monetized hours each day.
  3. Let me work on my tan.

Have a great summer.

My current attitude towards facebook and other pointless endeavors summed up in a single photo.

untitled0

I love Iron Man and many of the other Marvel films.

The appeal is obvious—aside from wishing we were genius billionaire philanthropists—there are times when we wish we could take matters into our own hands; to be a lone gun-slinger, dispensing our own brand of justice or seeking retribution. Alas, until “civilization” slides a little farther into the abyss, or we have nothing left to lose, we must  settle for watching others wreak vengeance in film and video games; living vicariously through them. But oh how we wish sometimes. . .

A Holiday Message

My present fron Kat

Times are tough.

There is a great deal of uncertainty at the very least, if not fear or outright paranoia in our world at the moment.

Please try to reign in these thoughts–especially over the holidays.

If you are able to read this on-line, it most likely means you can afford devices and services which connect you to this on-line world. This also implies that your immediate security needs of shelter, food, and clothing have also been met. Be grateful for what you have as there are a great many others who are not as fortunate and who will not be able to read this.

The holidays are a time for giving–our way of expressing love, caring and thanks to people we know.

Even strangers tend to treat us a little better at this time of year. They might smile as they hold a door for us when we have both of our hands full of shopping bags. Our preoccupation with finishing the damnable shopping, so that we can jump back into the hustle and bustle of the season, might make us overlook this tiny kind gesture. Seize the moment to look them in the eye and say thank you and wish them a happy holiday. It might be the only present they receive this year.

The holiday season puts increased demands on our time because of all the commitments we make to family and friends. This causes us to be stressed and possibly irritable. We need to remember that we are fortunate to have those friends and family members with us, as many others may not.

Some people will not be able to travel to see their friends and family this year. They may feel very alone. They can change that by volunteering their time to a cause they believe in. Many worthwhile causes do not close during the holidays and spending time with the other volunteers will almost certainly turn into new friendships.

We pick up the holiday spirit by being compassionate. Give some canned goods to the food bank, give some blankets to a shelter or contribute to your local toy drive. The smallest things make a difference in this world. We often forget this. We do not have to solve global warming to improve the planet; the kid who receives your toy this year might be destined to do that–if they are not emotionally scarred by Santa missing their home. This is how we are all connected.

Goodness spreads like a virus through all walks of life, across all religions, and it does not see the color of someones skin or their gender. By spreading that which we know to be good, we spread hope. The hope we create can alter the path of another.

This almost certainly will be my last blog post for a while.

I wish to extend my gratitude to all of you who follow me on social media. To you, and everyone you care about, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

E. A.

 

What Is Abuse?

Have you been or are you currently a victim of abuse?

This is a tough topic.

We will explore the grey areas and the results might surprise many of us that BELIEVE that we are in a non-abusive relationship.

I have witnessed or counselled people on almost every aspect and type of abuse without ever realizing the nuances of abuse- never truly connecting all the dots for myself.

Did you ever wonder what happens when the cheerleader marries the football player? This post was inspired by a friend that confessed to me that she has been living in fear and has been the recipient of brutal physical attacks over the last twenty years. It sickened me to hear this. I told her that this is not how anyone should live and encouraged her to contact several different agencies and groups for assistance. She was EMBARRASSED to let others know of her situation. I could not fathom how someone could risk serious person injury or even death because of ego.

I found a wonderful brochure in a waiting room that everyone should read. It is simply entitled “ARE YOU COOL?” (Yes, the title appealed to my ego and I think that I am very cool.) The brochure was reprinted by the YWCA and copies can be ordered through METRAC. Inside was a quiz that went as follows: (I included my own answers from all my previous relationship experiences as I was not in a relationship when I took this quiz.)

Relationship Quiz

In a relationship, have you ever experienced:

  1. physical violence?

YES ____ or NO ____

(I had to answer YES even though she was drunk.)

 

  1. threats that your partner will leave you if you don’t do what he/she asks?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. being kept away from your family and friends?

YES ____ or NO ____

(NO.)

 

  1. not being able to look at or speak to other males/females?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. having to justify your whereabouts?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. your partner using guilt trips to get his/her own way?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. not being able to go out without your partner?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. any put-downs about your physical appearance?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

 

  1. your partner never being satisfied with you?

YES ____ or NO ____

(NO; that I am aware of.)

 

  1. fear or intimidation by your partner?

YES ____ or NO ____

(NO.)

 

  1. being treated badly or humiliated in front of your friends or family?

YES ____ or NO ____

(Again I was forced to answer YES.)

If you answered YES to one or more questions, you may be in an unhealthy relationship.

“Well DUH!” went through my mind. I learned from these relationships and wrote a book about my misadventures. The mere fact that I have personally experienced EIGHT of a possible ELEVEN did shock me a little though. I am a six foot three inch tall guy that is in good physical condition, weighing in at two-hundred pounds and very capable in a fight, as my early bad boys years proved.

I never thought of myself as a VICTIM until I read this.

On the inside of the brochure is a relationship thermometer that ranges from COOL (blue healthy zone) to WARM (amber warning zone) and finally to HOT (red danger zone). Again I would ask myself if I had ever experienced any of these, but this time I would also ask myself if I had actually DONE any of these.

ARE YOU COOL?

Is your relationship healthy?

Find your relationship on the thermometer…

IN THE BLUE HEALTHY ZONE:

Responsibility- Do you and your partner make decisions and solve problems or conflicts together? (Typically, YES.)

Trust- Do you and your partner respect each other’s feelings, wishes and opinions and do you support each other? (Typically, YES.)

Honesty- Do you and your partner accept responsibility for your actions and talk openly and honestly with each other? (Typically, YES.)

Fairness- Do you and your partner work through conflict so that both of you are satisfied and are you each willing to compromise? (QUESTIONABLE- I believe there is a fundamental problem here. I do not believe that people who compromise can also be satisfied. I wrote at length about the word compromise in my book and how it usually means that one party makes more concessions than the other, or capitulates completely to avoid an escalating conflict.)

No Threats- Do you and your partner talk, act and resolve conflicts in ways that make you both feel comfortable and safe? (Typically, YES.)

Financial Partnership- Do you and your partner share financial decisions and responsibilities? (YES.)

Respect- Do you and your partner respect each other’s feelings, opinions and differences? (Typically YES.)

 

IN THE AMBER WARNING ZONE:

Blame & Denial- Does your partner blame you for making the abuse happen, avoid personal responsibility or deny that there is a problem? (YES, I have had partners with these traits.)

Jealousy- Does your partner check up on you or act jealously or possessively towards you? (YES, I have had this happen to me.)

Control- Does your partner boss you around, give orders, or make all the decisions? (NO, I have not had this happen to me but YES I make my wishes clear when a woman moves into MY place, I expect that it remains my place. However, on the few occasions where we got a place together and were both contributing financially, it became OUR place and had to respect her choices… however bad they may be- especially in the areas of decor and household purchases. If this makes me a control freak, so be it. I like what I like.)

Criticism- Does your partner criticize your appearance, your ideas, your family and your friends, or purposely embarrass you in front of others? (This one is an eye-opener: YES, I have been with critical partners and YES I have been critical of my partner at times. How do you encourage growth and change without criticizing? I had an epiphany here. Perhaps my problem is an unwillingness to accept partners for who they are and whoever they might become- to love their soul and ignore all else. I doubt that I can fix this defect in myself. This may be why I choose to remain unattached.)

Fear- Does your partner have a quick temper, a history of mistreating others, threaten suicide or make you feel afraid? (YES, I once had a partner that threatened suicide but I called her bluff and she did not hurt herself. NO, I do not believe I have used fear as a means of control.)

Force- Does your partner force you to do things that you don’t want to do and make you feel guilty if you disagree? (NO, I have never been forced into anything but YES guilt has been used to manipulate me into doing things I did not want to do. NO, I have never used force against my partner and I consciously avoid using guilt as a weapon to get what I want.)

 

IN THE RED DANGER ZONE:

Physical Abuse- Does your partner slap, push or kick you? (NO.)

Sexual Abuse- Does your partner force you to be involved in sex against your will? (NO.)

Financial Abuse- Does your partner control all the money and how it is spent? (NO.)

Threats & Intimidation- Does your partner threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, pets or scare you with looks, actions or suicidal behaviour? (NO.)

Emotional & Verbal Abuse- Does your partner shout, yell, put you down, call you names or make you feel badly about yourself. (This is interesting. Women have shouted, yelled, put me down, called me names but rarely, if ever, made me feel badly about myself. My self-esteem is not fragile. Arguments will get heated sometimes and YES I have raised my voice out of frustration but to the others I would answer NO.)

Isolation- Does your partner control where you go and when or keep you from family and friends? (NO.)

The brochure concluded with:

HEALTHY or UNHEALTHY?

Having a partner (boyfriend/girlfriend) can be an exciting and important time in your life. If your relationship with your partner is a HEALTHY one, you and your partner will feel good about yourselves and value each other. However, sometimes relationships can be HURTFUL and have a negative effect on your feelings of self-worth and self-confidence. This can happen if your partner is abusive towards you. If this is the case, you are in an UNHEALTHY relationship. Remember, being on your own is also a healthy way to be. Having a partner is not a necessary part of life. Discovering life for yourself can be exciting and rewarding.

What is abuse?

Abuse is being hit, slapped or pushed around. It can also be invisible and leave no marks. Emotional and verbal abuse can be terrifying and equally dangerous.

Does your relationship include abuse?

You may feel that it’s your fault if things aren’t working out. Sometimes living with abuse seems better than being alone. You may hope that your partner will change and the abuse will stop – chances are, things will get worse! This happens to many people – you are not alone and IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! Remember, all forms of abuse are attempts to control. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE, BE YOURSELF, TAKE CHARGE!

What the pamphlet did not delve into is where abuse comes from.

  • It can be a learned behavioural trait. Being a witness to abuse as a child can lead to being abusive as an adult. To these individuals, abuse has become accepted as being NORMAL.
  • It can come from brain injury and brain chemical imbalance. Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder commonly lead to abuse. In some cases, the treatments work but many patients will quit taking their medications or abuse substances that counteract the effects or the medications. If the abuse begins years into an otherwise normal relationship, the victims often stick it out in the hope that things will somehow return to the way they once were.
  • Jealous possessives are people that are very insecure. They usually have low self-esteem or low self-worth because of the emotional damage they carry with them that could have begun in their childhood with bullying, been imparted into them by the educational system or their family members.
  • Psychopaths have trouble understanding right from wrong. They are usually identified and hopefully treated. There is only a very small percentage of violence from persons with psychological disorders despite what movies and the media tell us. Most people with mental disorders are more likely to be victims than perpetrators.

Settling is the first problem. We make bad relationship decisions based on our self-worth with the romantic, but unrealistic notion that we can change the person we select into our ideal mate. From there it is fear of loss that makes us stay in unhealthy relationships as well as a warped acceptance of the unhealthy relationship as time goes by- eventually, IT JUST BECOMES NORMAL.

Not everyone looks very hard at themselves to try to understand their behaviour. Most people will take the easiest path in life, which often results in them living in an abusive environment and raising children there. This perpetuates abuse generation after generation. It is very sad.

What does it take to remove one’s self from an abusive relationship?

  • BRAVERY- you must believe that a better life can be had despite your insecurities.
  • PATIENCE- you must realize that it probably took some time to get you into this situation and it may take a while to get yourself out of it.
  • HELP- few people just pack a bag, get on a bus and leave forever. Most have to get in touch with family, friends and most importantly… the AUTHORITIES on the subject like police, counsellors, groups and organisations that specialize in this area.
  • HONESTY- You must tell everyone what has been happening to you. It will not be easy and some will wonder why you let things get so bad before doing something about it. Others will just open their doors to you. This honesty will afford you some safety. An abuser that is found out is less likely to do anything that could get them in trouble with the authorities.
  • PLANNING- with the guidance of social workers or other PROFESSIONALS, you will be able to leave for somewhere safer without having to worry about the details of your former home.

 

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life with Women: the long awaited instruction manual.

Talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, genetics- even physics as well as HOW HAPPINESS IS ATTAINABLE.

 

I will spend the next little while trying to understand why I persist in writing about tough subjects.

Hopefully, something funny will be the inspiration for the next one.

Until then remember “Life is what YOU make of it.”

E. A.