1halffull's Blog

Unbelievably stupid
July 31, 2009, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Britney Spears, Matt Lauer, Michael Jackson, NBC Today Show, News

Often, in the morning while I’m getting ready for work, we turn on one of the morning shows to see what’s going on in the abcLogoworld.  After years of viewing ABC, we finally honed in on the NBC Today Show.  We liked that in the first half hour you got a wide range of actual news from across the globe before they switched to a lighter fare in the second half hour.  Those were the days when the entire program was just two hours long.

Over the course of time, much has changed about our regularly scheduled morning program.  Instead of the likes of John Chancellor, Tom Brokaw or Jane Pauley, all who were actual journalists, we now have Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera who did herself no favor by joining the crew.  In his credits, listed on NBC, Lauer is labeled a ‘news reader’, not a journalist.  His curriculum vitae is about as impressive as that of Michael Jackson were he to have sought a position as a pre-school teacher.nbc_logo

Each morning, after the hosts greet the audience, they headline what we’ll be told in the next 24 minutes.  Every morning this week, the second or third headline was about Michael Jackson, the disposition of his kids, pending legal proceedings against his physician, his mother, his kid’s mother.  I don’t know about you, but this is NOT big news for me.  Neither was the daily report of the current activities of one Britney Spears for the six weeks they made her one of the top three headlines each day.

Yes, you’re right, I could turn it off.  And I did about three days into the whole three ring circus. But why should I have to?  Why do we have to put up with such pandering?  Why can’t we try to effect a change for what’s being shoveled into our morning cereal bowls?

cbs_new_logoMy point is this:  Don’t we have greater issues at hand that we should be concerned about, reporting accurately about, other than what happens after Michael Jackson dies or how many pairs of underwear Britnry Spears has (or doesn’t have as the case may be)?   How is it that the networks, who want us to think of their reporting as legitimate, have allowed their programming to become trash TV?  I know that college sophomores write most of what’s shown as network comedy, but when did they sneak into the local newsrooms?

Have we dumbed ourselves down so much that this is the drivel we are willing to accept in place of good, solid reporting of the facts about real issues in our country?  Are our lives so devoid of personal fulfillment that we require a daily shot of the fox_logodisgusting to make us feel better about ourselves?  Are we so afraid to hear the truth that we’ll listen to anything else just to escape it?  Or have we just become a peeping Tom society with a voyeuristic need to grope through the muck of the tragedies of other people’s lives?  Gross.

People, wake up!  Turning off the TV set doesn’t change a thing.  Write a letter, send an email, somehow find a way to communicate with the networks and news channels about what you really want to see and hear on TV.  That’s the only way they’ll know that you’re not just some toothless drone who never blinks when you see and hear stupid stuff coming across the airwaves.

Of course, if all you want to do is turn off your TV set, go ahead.  Maybe the Neilson ratings will get your message and pass it along.


Let’s Call It A Day
July 28, 2009, 1:21 am
Filed under: Humor, Jobs, Magician, Work

There are some days that you are absolutely doomed to be the loser in no matter how hard you try.  What’s that old saying?  Some days you’re the dog; some days you’re the fire hydrant.

For example, if you wake up four hours before you really should be waking up, and then you can’t go back to sleep, you should be smart enough to recognize that it probably won’t get better from here, especially if it’s a Monday.

I prefer to wake up about 6:45, take my shower, put my lunch together then head out the door about 7:30.  This puts me at work by about 7:55 where I hopefully go to my office with the intent of sitting down, booting up my computer and reading my email.

Mornings that I wake up at 4:30, that’s not what happens.  On these mornings, I land at work about 7:10 – why not?  I have nothing better to do, including sleeping -, open my office, notice my phone is blinking with unanswered messages and proceed to lock myself out as I fly down one hall after the other putting out fires.  Suddenly 11 o’clock comes along and I’m finally getting my first cup of coffee and landing in my chair for the first time of the morning.  From there it’s all down the slippery slope over lunch and on to playing musical employees/volunteers with the three-too-many people who have shown up to help out that day when I have no jobs left for them to do.

You’d think in a place as big as ours, it wouldn’t be tough to find work for everyone.  You’re right, it shouldn’t be.  I can find lots of boring things to do, but people only want to do those things for just so long then they want something interesting to do.  This difficulty is compounded by the summer students who work with us five days a week.  They become the priority in terms of giving them work to do, which is why the rest are left with the boring tasks.

Another thing that happens on my job is that we can go the entire week without one extra project coming our way.  Then Thursday dawns.  Not only does it dawn, but it winds its way down till about 3:30 when we get the regular weekly phone call from one particular department – ‘Hey, I’ve got an 800 piece mailing here and I need it to go out tomorrow morning!”  Uh, do you know it’s one hour till quitting time?  Do you realize all the volunteers have gone home for the day?  Why do you wait every single week until 3:30 on Thursday to give us a project?

And yet, every Friday, we send the project to the mail room, completed.  Yes, we are miracle workers, thank you very much.

When Friday comes, I’m really ready to not only call it a day but call it a week – sometimes a week and a half.

The water is fine
July 25, 2009, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Nostalgia

Last night, we ate at a restaurant overlooking the Ohio River.  They started to seat us inside where the lights were bright, the noise echoing.  I asked for an outside table so they seated us on the deck where we could watch the city turn from bustling daylight to twinkling evening.  The river flowed by quietly, glittering under the sliver of moon, reflecting the twinkling lights along its banks.

For me, there is no better time than time spent by a body of water, any water.  Whether it’s the lagoon near my mother in law’s home or one of the oceans on either coast, the water never ceases to sooth and calm me.  I respond to it as though it knows me, like we’re very old friends. 

It laps the land as though begging to come out then pulls back, teasing those on shore with its antics.  The waters have a life of their own, sometimes placid, other times roaring across the landscape, taking everything in its path.  Kind of like me.  Sometimes I’m quiet and calm and other times I want to rid myself of everything in my path.

It is my deepest desire to live in a place where I view the water from my home, everyday, be it lake, river, ocean or even a pond.  It may not cure my range of emotions, but it just might help renew my ability to live in peace.   Therein would lie the blessing.

Another bad idea….
July 22, 2009, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Ford, Government, Healthcare, Taxes

I’ll be brief.

Why do we need the government butting into everything and everyone’s business?

I objected to the government bail out of both GM and banking institutions who participated in nefarious activities that shouldford_logo have caused their demise.  If they wanted to bail out someone, they should have bailed out the individuals who were affected by the stupidity of those institutions and let the institutions go ahead and die.  As an aside to this, if you’ve noticed, Ford didn’t show up at the Capitol Building asking for money.  Nor are they taking on overseas partners.  YEA Ford!

Now, Pres. Obama wants to do something, anything with healthcare.  One yahoo I heard yakking said that one plan would force all Americans to get health insurance by fining us $1,000 for not having it!  Okay, so let’s think about this:  a person making $6.25 an hour without benefits probably can’t afford to purchase health insurance for, say $400 per month.  How will they pay this $1,000 fine?  Hmmmm….a bit of faulty thinking (as usual) on the part of someone.

More faulty thinking involves President Obama, along with 500+ congressmen and senators behaving as though there is physician%20symbolmoney to spend on this stuff, before or after the bail outs.  As a taxpayer, I’m pretty tapped out.  Thanks to the economy, I’m not just supporting myself, I’m also supporting a member of my family plus a boatload of members of numerous other families who are collecting unemployment and have managed to get on the state-funded health insurance policies.  I don’t have any more money to give for taxes to cover universal healthcare.

Maybe a better solution would be for pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies to bring their prices down to truly affordable.  Thirty days of pills shouldn’t cost $300 should it?  That’s $10 a pill if you take one a day.

Since we pay exorbitant rates to insurance companies, maybe they should up the amounts that they will actually pay medical_symbol_storyhospitals for procedures to at least the amount that will cover actual costs!  When I worked at the doctor’s office, the cost for an uncomplicated pregnancy was $2,300.  Care Source and the other state owned Medicaid insurances paid the doctors $1,400, a $900 shortfall.  I believe they pay hospitals at a 40% rate.  How do they expect the hospitals to continue, especially those who have a very high indigent population?  They can never make that up no matter how good everyone else’s insurance is.

Back in the 60’s, you went to the doctor and you paid him cash at a very reasonable rate for the visit.  Some doctors even took chickens as payment.  A hospital visit didn’t cause you to refinance your house.  We didn’t have health insurance then.  We didn’t need it. Government had nothing to do with it.

Is there a moral to this story?

The nostalgia of love
July 21, 2009, 12:35 am
Filed under: Death, Friends, Love, Memories, Nostalgia, Parents

This past week has been filled with nostalgia for me.  It came from a strange place – Back Yard Bible Clubs, or more accurately, the kids who participated in our church’s Backyard Bible Clubs.

The theme was ‘God Always Wins’.  The homes the clubs were held in were just typical houses where some kids lived.  Those kids invited their friends and some friends of friends.  All told there were about 60 kids attending each day.

The clubs made an impression on many of the kids.  One little boy, Rhys (pronounced Reese) talked his dad into delaying the summer parental visitation with him so he could continue to come to the club.  He even gave up his camping trip with his dad so that he wouldn’t miss a day.

I wasn’t there daily to witness what went on, but  I was there on Saturday night.  All the kids gathered with some of their parents at our church for the carnival wrap up event.  We served food and then everyone got together for an awards presentation to all kids for the good things they’d done and experienced during the week.

What turned me nostalgic was their singing.  It wasn’t just singing.  adam-godIt was an expression of joy.  They were singing about and singing to, Jesus.  They were exuberant as they sang, hands, arms and bodies experiencing the music through the motions they’d learned during the week.  All their voices joined as one happy chorus to the God who always wins!

It reminded me of another time, 42 years ago.  My mom died in March; I was 16.  I’d met this girl, Becky, in my science class.  We’d become friends between September and that fateful March.  I’d never been to her home; never met her family.

One day, after I’d gotten home from school, Becky came to our door.  She brought her mom, Glenda, with her.  At first I thought it a bit odd but quickly got over that.  I already liked Becky and it wasn’t hard to like Glenda.  She was warm and caring; they both cared about me and wanted to express love to this girl who was bereft.

It wasn’t long until I was a regular hanging around their house.  Becky’s dad was a minister at the local Baptist church.  They invited me to come and I did go a couple times; I belonged to the Christian church already.  Becky talked to me sometimes about this relationship she had with Jesus.  She wasn’t pushy, just talked in conversation.

That summer Becky invited me to go with her to church camp.

I’d gone to ‘my’ Camp Christian every summer.  It was funny because my mom had told my dad after the previous year’s camp that I couldn’t go back there.  Something they said or did wasn’t to her liking.  My dad didn’t forget it, though, so when I asked to go back there, he refused.  But when I asked to go with Becky, he didn’t see why I shouldn’t go, so I did.

It was a great week.  We had a lot of fun with lots of other kids, playing sports, doing crafts, having morning devotions, swimming, just acting like kids.  The preacher that spoke to us at the evening service was amazing.  I’d never heard anyone like him.  He drew a big mural, illustrating his message, then awarded it to some lucky kid at the end of the message.  No, I didn’t get a mural.

On Thursday, Becky talked to me again about having a relationship with Jesus.  I remember telling her that I just wasn’t ready for that yet.  Little did I know.

That night, I sat with another girl from our church during the preacher’s message.  As usual, it was awesome; it really touched me.  When he offered the opportunity to come forward, I wasn’t going to go.  But my friend asked me to go with her; she wanted to go but was afraid to go by herself.

I felt drawn and I got up and walked her to the altar.  The moment I got there, I knew it was me that Jesus was calling, me He wanted to have a relationship with.  I said a big ‘YES’ to Him right then and there.  Becky came and prayed with me and we hugged like crazy!  I felt Jesus with me as I hadn’t experienced before.  I didn’t feel alone anymore.

That night was the best night of my life.

I have not lived a perfect life; I am far from a perfect person.  When I fall down, God is there to pick me up, give me a second chance.  Through the hard times, through the valleys, He has never left me alone.  When I am in the dark, He leads me home.  When there is a need, my kids are sick, there’s a worry about something, I only have to ask Him for help.  I know that He hears and answers every prayer.  He answered Becky’s prayer for me; I believe He’ll answer my prayer for you.

July 17, 2009, 7:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Eludes me.

I can’t find it.0804101042121eyes_wide_t

Can’t buy it.

Can’t steal it.

Can’t start it.

Can’t count my way to it.

Can’t even get the devil to put me to it by praying.

I give up.

I’m awake.

No sleep.

Automatic Bragging Rights? Or Not?
July 17, 2009, 2:31 am
Filed under: Bragging, Kids, Love, Memories, Parents

Here’s a question for you:  Do parents have a right to brag about and take pride in their children’s accomplishments?

From the kid’s point of view, maybe not.  After all, it’s the kid who is doing all the great things, not the parent.  Why does a parent think they should get to talk about it, show off and make a big deal even, about what their kid has done?  The parent should get a life and create something of their own to brag about, right?

Okay, so maybe parents are just plain lame.  However, as a parent, I have to say I don’t really think so.

Here’s my POV:  As parents, we spend a lot of time on and with our kids over the years.  It feels to us like we invest an awful lot of ourselves into their raising.  These kids don’t come out with a care manual in their little hands.  We do the best we can with what we know; we hope we don’t screw things up too badly for the poor unsuspecting little one.  We want, even need, reassurance.  Unlike getting a good grade on a test, which is instantly gratifying, there is no grading system that shows us how we’re doing along the way with this parent thing.

As a parent you’re constantly second guessing yourself; even after the kid is grown and out of the house, you’re constantly remembering and reviewing all the stuff you did and didn’t do that makes you pretty sure you were an idiot, to say the least and the worst parent ever, to say the most.

When your kid messes up, you blame yourself.    You’re sure it’s proof positive that you’re a loser!  You didn’t see they were hurting and help them.  You stopped paying attention for just a moment and down they went.  You beat yourself up royally and you rarely forgive yourself for what somehow slipped by you.

For some parents, the success of their kids is a form of redemption.  It becomes that good grade, the thing that says, in spite of me, they were able to do this good thing.  Regardless of how much I screwed up, they’re pulling through.  It makes us so happy that we want to brag, sing the song of praise, let people know – in spite of me, they’re making it!

Sometimes, we also hope it means that we just might have done something right.