Tag Archives: pessimism

We Are All Gonna Die

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I hope you listened to Joe.  Not just the first part, then got bored and disgusted and turned on Fox News.  I hope you listened all the way to the end and heard the hopeful things he says there.  He is a very good video essayist who uses real science to reason with you about questions that are really about life and death.  One way we may be going to die as a species is through climate change and global warming.  The dire predictions we get from climate scientists, whom nobody seems to take seriously, are becoming increasingly alarming.  If we are too stuck in our own little kingdoms and don’t look the castle windows at the weather outside, we are not only going to have our parades rained on, it will be acid rain, and the parade marchers will get boiled on the hoof as they march.

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Those of us who put too much faith in the Trump Train, burning its beautiful clean coal, are going down to the bottom when we get to the canyon bridge and the train roars off the tracks.  Just ask Paul Manafort after his trial ends, or Jeff Sessions after Trump fires him to make racist sausages out of him to serve at an I-Love-Putin Picnic, what the ride has been like on the Trump Tongue Express.

But, of course, the Pumpkinhead in Chief is not the only reason we have no money and no jobs and are going to be roasted to death in a polluted world.  There is also the little matter of Trillions of Dollars in Debt that was racked up to make the rich richer and people like me foot the bill.

I know you may be suspicious of an interview conducted on RT which is an arm of Russian propaganda in the USA.  But I should point out, if you like Trump, you like Russia already, and both of these journalists, Chris Hedges and David Cay Johnston, are not afraid to tell the unvarnished truth.  That means the mainstream media is uncomfortable about putting them on the air, and those who want to stir up trouble find it easiest to do that by simply allowing access to researched facts and basic truths we are reluctant to hear.

If you don’t believe in the predictions offered by science, it is bound to be because of one of two different things.  Either you see the science and follow how the results of computer models become overwhelmingly dire, disgusting you with a total lack of optimistic outcomes, or you reject science in favor of the oil companies’ rose-colored fairy-tale outlooks where unicorns will consume CO2 clouds and fart out benevolent rainbows.  From where I stand now, broke and old and ill, it doesn’t matter much to me.  In the short time frames we are looking at for global-warming Armageddon, I will undoubtedly reach the end of my natural life.  I probably won’t be around for the horrific-suffering part of how this all is going to end.

I know if you haven’t turned away from this heat-death-of-the-planet idea already, you are probably pretty depressed by this point in the essay.  I know I am.  It does not bode well for my children and any future grandchildren.  But I will leave you with the reminder that we are human beings.  And human beings are complex and able to solve large complex problems.  We put men on the moon.  (Or we did the even harder job of faking it and not letting the secret be discovered for fifty years, complete with space-travel debris on the moon that you can take photographs of from earth with a really good telescope.)  So, just maybe this massive terrifyingly horrible problem can yet be solved in the nick of time.  I do believe in the good that can be found in mankind.  But I also see the corruption and evil.  So hopefully Mark Twain’s final hope for mankind, that this time when God drowns us, there will be no Ark, will be thwarted.  Believe me, I have no wish to die a horrible death.  But I am a pessimist after all.

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Filed under angry rant, battling depression, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, horror writing, Liberal ideas, pessimism

Truthfully…

Truthfully… for a fiction writer, a humorist, a former school teacher of junior-high-aged kids, telling the truth is hard.  But in this post I intend to try it, and I will see if I can stand the castor-oil flavor of it on my tongue.

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  • The simple truth is, I rarely tell the unvarnished truth.  And I firmly believe I am not alone in this.
  • Yesterday I battled pirates.  (While this is not literally true, it is metaphorically true.)  They were the scurvy scum o’ the Bank-o’-Merricka Pirates who are suing me for over ten thousand dollars despite my efforts of the last two years to settle 40 thousand dollars worth of credit card debt.
  • I hired a lawyer, but in spite of what he told me, I expect to lose the lawsuit and be wiped out financially.  I also believe Donald Trump will win as President.
  • I am a pessimist.  And it helps me through life.  I am always prepared for the worst, and I can only be surprised by happy and pleasant surprises.
  • My son in the Marines has developed an interest in survivalist gear and chaos-contingency plans.  We are now apparently preparing for the coming zombie apocalypse.
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  • I like to draw nudes.  I have drawn them from real-life models who were paid for their participation.  But no bad things happened.  It was all done with professional integrity even though I am an amateur artist.  Chaperones were a part of every session.
  • In high school I identified as a Republican like my father.  In college I became a Democrat (Thanks, Richard Nixon) and voted for Jimmy Carter.  I argued with my father for eight years of Ronald Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush.
  • My father has now voted for Barack Obama twice and will vote for Hillary this fall if he is still able.  We spent most of our conversations this summer exchanging “Can you believe its?” about Donald Trump.
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  • I have been collecting pictures of sunrises for three years now.  I stole the idea from my childhood friend who now lives in Florida and takes beautiful ocean sunrise pictures over the Atlantic.  But I do it because I know I don’t have many more sunrises to go.  I have six incurable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and COPD.  I could go “BOOM! …dead” at any given moment.  I believe in savoring it while I have it.
  • I was sexually assaulted when I was ten years old.  I can only tell you this particular truth because the man who assaulted me and inflicted physical and emotional pain on me is now dead.  It is liberating to be able to say that.  But I regret forty years’ worth of treating it is a terrible secret that I could never tell anyone.
  • Telling that last truth made me cry.  Now you know why telling the truth is not easy.
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  • I really do love and admire all things having to do with Disney.  And when I was young, I really did want to find a picture of Annette naked.  There was no internet back then.  That quest helped me learn to draw the human form.  I know how bad that sounds… but, hey, I was a normal boy in many ways.  And I don’t draw her naked any more.
  • Finally, I have to say… in all honesty… I don’t know for sure that everything I have told you today is absolutely true.  Truth is a perception, even an opinion.  And I may be wrong about the facts as I know them.  The human mind works in mysterious ways.  I sometimes think I may simply be bedbug crazy.
  • (P.S.) Bedbugs are insects with very limited intelligence.  They cannot, in fact, be crazy or insane.  Their little brains are not complicated enough for that.  But it is a metaphor, and metaphors can be more truthful than literal statements.

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Filed under commentary, Disney, drawing, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, healing, humor, mental health, nudes, Paffooney, pen and ink paffoonies, pessimism, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Amazing Days

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One never knows how things are going to turn out.  My car, which was nearly paid off, gets destroyed by a passing motorist as it was parked in front of my house.  I endured two weeks of driving the rented Chibi Clown Car from Enterprise, I endured a financial set-back for an accident that was completely not my fault, but it resulted in being able to buy an updated version of the same make and model from Enterprise, lowering my monthly car payments and now owning a car that is superior to the one I lost.  Of course, I got a letter in the mail yesterday from a bank that is denying me credit for buying a car.  Every wave is followed by a trough and then another wave.  That is just how life works.

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I pitched a no-hitter yesterday in EA Sports Baseball ’04 on my X-box.   Of course this game and game machine are more than 12 years old, so I have had time to practice, a lot!  And the game is still set on rookie level.  But, what the heck, I deserve a little bit of easy victory now and then.

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My writing goals took a few shots in the last two months.  My publisher has experienced a financial hardship and slow-down before my novel actually gets into print.  My novel sales for Catch a Falling Star have tanked and I have the publicist from that publisher calling me, asking me to invest lots of money in a new publicity campaign.  Like I want to invest $4,000 in a campaign that may only yield another 16 dollars in a year’s time.  But I found a much cheaper way to get reviewed and promoted by Serious Reading ( http://seriousreading.com/ ).   They promise the same or better results for $3,950 less.  And I also learned from my publisher that they are making a come-back.  So, it is even possible that I can get further novels published through PDMI.

I remain a pessimist.  I will never be disappointed by unrealistic expectations.  I anticipate nothing but disaster and misfortune.  But as long as the house is still standing and Armaggedon is not happening as fast as the Jehovah’s Witnesses anticipate, there are still good things to be found and to have happen.  And since I wasn’t expecting any good things, they are all pleasant surprises.

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Filed under autobiography, battling depression, fairies, humor, Paffooney, pessimism

New Dawns for 2016

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You may recall that one of my obsessive-compulsive collection-addictions is pictures of the dawn sky over eastern Carrollton and Dallas.  So far I have only taken two.  Through Sunday I was still sleeping late with no children to drop off at school.  Just so the numbers match, here is number two;

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So, why not three, you say?  Today is Wednesday after all?  Well, I can’t take a picture of the sunrise when it is overcast and threatening cold rain.  We may have our share of clouds on the horizon this year, with El Nino raging to the West and the jet stream dipping down to Mexico to deliver freezing Arctic blasts thanks to climate change.  Does that mean I expect bad things to be coming my way?  Of course I do.  I am old.  I have six incurable diseases, and I have survived cancer once already.  I am closer now to the day I will die than I have ever been in my life.  And now Donald Trump has the technical possibility of being elected President of the United States.  Who says Jehovah God and the Greek goddess of History don’t have bizarre senses of humor?

But despite the ill omens and the badness I anticipate, life is still good and will not be repressed.  I intend to live for all I am worth.  Have I not earned it, being a public school teacher for 31 years?  Have I not earned it by raising three wonderful kids, one of whom serves this country as a US Marine?  Have I not earned it by picking up dog poop in the park four times a day, and sometimes more off the carpet in the house for the last four years?  I believe in savoring what we have been granted, and using the gifts and abilities given to me by God.  That is why I am still blogging every day for the fourteenth month in a row.  And, miracle of miracles, I am not talking to the wind with no one really listening any more.  When I was blogging on Xanga from 2005 to 2007, I only had one or two followers that even read my stuff… and they didn’t tune in every day.  Some of you have started doing more than just looking at the pictures.  I have evidence in the comments that some of you read my posts all the way to the end.  I thought I was the only blogger that did that.  And I had 276 views last week.  349 the week before.  9651 people viewed my blog in 2015.   I have 87 views in just the three days of this week so far.  I can no longer claim to be the best-written blog that nobody ever reads.  I have to compete now with the other writers who write good stuff.  Ooh… I am doomed.  But I intend to enjoy it.  I have at least one novel in the works to be published.  I have another one already published that should be available at least on Amazon until well after I have curled up my toes and went for a final bye-bye.  Bad things are sure to happen.  But for now, the sun is still coming up every morning in my little world.

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Filed under humor, pessimism, photo paffoonies, Uncategorized

Dealing With Defeat

1524767_844076682310284_1270398505442522859_nYep, it had to happen.   The St. Louis Cardinals won a hundred games this season.  They overcame monstrous levels of injury and adversity.  They won without their best pitcher.  They won despite injuries to their All-star catcher and All-star left fielder.  And they were riding high going into the playoffs.

But the Cubs were riding higher.  The Cubs were the third best team in baseball this year, but they swept into the playoffs on a winning streak.  Hotter than hot, they beat the Pirates in the Wild-Card playoff.    The Pirates were the second best team in baseball this year.  And the Cardinals won the first playoff game 4 to 0.  Naturally the Cubs would take out the Cardinals in the next three straight games.  They’ve already beaten the best teams in baseball this year.

So, to get even, I will root for the Cubs to win the World Series.  That’ll fix them.  They NEVER win when I’m rooting for them.  They will go up against either the stinky Dodgers or the ursine Mets.  I will cheer for them, and their need to always let me down will be greater than their need to win the World Series.  The Cubs curse will go on.

Life has been like that for me.  I told you in my recent post about bad omens that doom was looming again.  So, I will struggle forward, continue to fail, and try to laugh it off.  I’m not taking it personal.  It is only my life.

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A Sense of Wonder

Flower val memeI have told you repeatedly (if you are foolish enough to read more of my blog than is probably healthy for normal people) that I am a pessimist.  Like Benjamin Franklin, I believe it is best to always prepare for the worst that can happen and actually expect it.  With current gun laws in this nation, and the way corrupt politicians and businessmen continue to profit off the suffering of the rest of us, and people’s basic selfishness and cruelty to others in word, thought, and deed, we rarely get a glimpse of anything but the worst of human nature.  We are never disappointed when we expect the worst to happen.  And yet, since I am never taken by surprise by bad things, only by unexpected good things, all that is surprising is wonderful and made up of very good things.  Human beings are capable of amazing goodness and works of wonder, not in spite of their many failings, but because of them.  The miracle of life is how the lowly worm turns into a beautiful butterfly.  How the tiny brown seed becomes the brightly colored blossom in a vast field of other flowers.

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When I tell others that I believe that people are basically good and that I believe all students can learn, I often get an argument.  Mass shooters like we had last week and wars and terrorists crop up by the multitudes in order to refute my belief.  People who think I am an atheist tell me i’m being a hypocrite to think we should operate our lives around facts and proof and then hold a difficult-to-prove belief like this.  Maybe it is an act of faith… but an act of faith that my theocratic friends call a belief in humanism, which they prefer to see as something from Satan.  Well, I do believe in God.  I just don’t believe in a god who waves a magic wand and intervenes.  I believe that God Jehovah (or possibly Allah or the godhead or whatever you want to name Him) made us like the flower seed, meant to grow and transform, and to be winnowed like grain by the winds and rains of life experience.  Not all flowers blossom.  But more of them do when you water and weed and nurture them.  And what is true for flowers is true for men and women.  What can I say more about human beings to convince you that I am not wrong to be in awe of them… even the weedy ones?  Probably nothing.  If you are not open to such ideas, you haven’t read this far.  But whether you read this far or not, I am fascinated by you, and will always want to know more.  And I am not going to start a new church or something.  I am merely going to continue to watch and to wonder.

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The Happy Pessimist

“I’d rather be a pessimist because then I can only be pleasantly surprised.”

Benjamin Franklin

289513Truthfully, I have always expected the worst out of life.  That expectation has never let me down.  In fact, it has made me a much happier person.  “How is that possible, you dim-witted dolt?” you ask.  Well, just as Franklin said it.  I am never taken unpleasantly by surprised.  In 1983 when I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, skin cancer, I prepared myself to die at 27.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  I not only survived, but it was completely eradicated by surgery.  No chemo-therapy.  No recurrence.  No more cancer worries (beyond assuming each and every mole I had removed after that point in my life was melanoma revisited).  I can now celebrate 32 years of being cancer free.

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Watching politics as a humorous hobby benefits greatly from a pessimistic outlook.  I just assume that Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will win the Presidency in 2016, and I am preparing for that dismal dip into depressing gloom.  If Rodeo Clown Bush the Sequel gets elected, or Scott Walker gets the nod, the more likely scenarios, I will be pleasantly relieved and surprised, even though I will still be expecting the ultimate heat-death of the planet to come from those administrations.  If Marco Rubio gets the nod, better still.  He’s kinda young and stupid, but he’s demonstrated that he does care at least a little bit about the common man, and he doesn’t really want us all to die.  He’s even demonstrated the ability to learn from mistakes.  And if a Democrat wins, especially Bernie Sanders, that will be a repeat of the marvelous surprise we all got in 2008 from the election of Professor Obama, man of the people.  I will be preparing for the world to end after this next election, but there is actually a higher percentage chance of survival and limited suffering.  After all, people, even the mega-polluters in China and India. have recognized the need to try to repair the planet.

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I was honestly, as a pessimist, expecting to be dead before the new school year started in 2015.  So I was pleasantly surprised to be able to start a new collection of morning-dog-walk sunrise pictures.  I am prepared and at peace with the world because I always expect the worst to be happening.  Looking at everything from the dark side is ironically the way to find the light and hope in the new day dawning directly ahead.

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Filed under humor, Paffooney, pessimism

Poorly Explained Bob Transformations

 

 

I haven’t posted yet this week because I was in a blue funk about finances and the general rottenness of life. I have worked incredibly hard as a teacher for thirty years, and all I have to show for it is a mountain of debt and more bills than a flock of flamingos on steroids.  As a writer I have been paid twelve dollars so far for my writing.  Considering the time and effort and expense Imageto get it edited and published and marketed, I’m at about minus six thousand, nine hundred and eighty-eight dollars.  I have to admit, I was not my usual sarcastically cheerful self. I have always been a pessimist for optimistic reasons. By that I mean I always prepare for the worst, so that I end up prepared if the worst happens, and pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t. I find that usually the worst DOES happen, so I am never truly disappointed. I appreciate all the supportive comments from those out there in the blogosphere who actually read anything that I write, but you need not worry about resourceful ol’ Mike. I have already done some things about the problems. I got doctored up to the point that I was no longer missing days of work due to illness.  Cutting down on salary dockings because my six incurable diseases keep me out of the virulent Petri-dish that is the modern classroom has made a big difference.  I was losing $900 a month for the months of March and April. But my wife did summer school and I got some overtime by working an extra week in June, the only benefit I received all year for being ESL lead teacher (a job with lots of extra work attached, but NO extra pay).  Now we are not doomed to lose the house and cars until next Fall. In fact, we were able to pay off the eight-year-old Ford Freestyle, so we won’t lose that at all, or have any more payments on it, and we can live in it this coming winter after we lose the house. Of course, it will probably break down at any moment now that it is paid for. And there is no way on earth that we will be able to pay for gas without selling the kids into slavery. Doom still looms, though further in the future now. See, I planned that well. So, my complaints and self-pity aside, I do have a plan in a typical, practical Mike-manner. Now, all I have to do is avoid getting the bubonic plague and other common diseases from the classroom where I teach, and in typical, pessimistical Mike-manner, I will be completely back on track. That is to say, if I can properly explain the current transformation I am undergoing from Mike-ism to Bob-ism. I was infected by Bob-ism when I went to the Aldrich-Hinckley Reunion this summer up in Lake Cornelia Iowa. My cousin Bob was there, healthy and happy, and living the life of no worries… hakuna matata! So now I shall endeavor to explain this Mike to Bob lycanthropy that I seem to be suffering from.

Let me tell you first what it means to be a Mike. Mike is not actually the name that my parents gave me; that was Michael. Mike is not the way I think of myself, because that would be Mickey. Mike is simply a state of mind. It is a practical-as-dirt sort of down-home-country-boy and slightly-redneck-though-not-really-prejudiced state of mind. Mike is a farmhand name. Mike is a practical, no-nonsense, fix-the-tractor-and plow-the-dang-field sort of name. Mike recalls two-fisted Mike Hammer and many other two-fisted Mike-isms from pulp fiction, TV, and other blatantly two-fisted sillinesses. A Mike is a guy in a white t-shirt to show off muscles and almost-muscles. A Mike is a well-named action hero from the comic strips, or a thug from the comic books, and tends to have a crew cut and less brains than any Brian, Al, or Chet. In Dr. Seuss, Mike rides on the back of the ole bike so he can push it up hill. (At least they LIKE their Mike!) Mike also has an impishly playful side as we can see in Mickey (himself) McGuire and even Mickey Mouse. If you tell a Mike, “An asteroid is about to hit the Earth, and we are all gonna die!” he will answer, “Okay, but I’m gonna give it a good punch in the nose first!” (I know an asteroid has no nose, but it is what gets said anyway, because, well… I’m a Mike, that’s all.) So being a Mike is probably not such a bad thing to be, as opposed to being a Gary or a Stan. I could live with it, but I am not completely a Mike. I am developing definite Bob tendencies.

Bob-ism has just got to be explained at this point. Being a Bob is something the world barely tolerates, but desperately needs. Bob is NOT practical. Think of Bob Denver or Bob Keeshan. Bob is not wise. Think of Bob Barker or Bob Dole. You don’t laugh WITH a Bob, you laugh AT him. Bob Newhart never laughs at all, and he is definitely a funny ole Bob. Bob does not give in to hardships. Bob endures. No matter how many times Bob falls on his face, landing in Mary Ann’s coconut cream pie, or loses an election to some dang Democrat, or gets ping-pong balls dropped on his head by Mister Moose, Bob still keeps right on going and doing all sorts of Bob things. Bob is capable of sacrifice. Think of what Bobby Kennedy did for equal rights and to organized crime. And think of the price he paid for doing those things. (Yes, I know we’re talking “Bobby” here. Little Bobby-boy. But Bob is to Bobby as Mike is to Mickey.) There is something admirable about being a Bob, even though there’s also something rather sad about being a Bob. My Mike-muscles are sagging down into Bob-like table muscles now. My Mike-like sarcastic wit is now becoming more of a Bob-like roll of the eyes. People are not laughing WITH me any more, they are laughing AT me. And, Bob-like, I am relishing it. People are always ready to put up their dukes and take a swing at Mike. Just ask Mike Tyson. But a Bob is not nearly so tempting a target. People tend to feel sorry for ole Bob, because, well… after all, he is a Bob. So, from now on… put me down as a Bob. It’s a whole lot easier than trying to “Be like Mike”.

So, now I’m sure you understand my cloying self-pity and recent lack of wit. It has to be as clear to you now as it is to me. The cause of all my troubles has been being a Mike. To solve my problems, I will just be Bob.Image

 

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