Friday, April 13, 2007

The Cowardly Closet ~ Late Night Thoughts

In all honesty, I have been following the hypocrisy on both sides of the Imus affair,and had actually started a fairly lengthy essay on my thoughts. I took a break and started reading blogs that I follow each day, when I read today's post at A Spider’s Web in Thornton Park.

I felt as if I had been hit in the stomach with a fist. My sadness gave way to anger and then back to sadness. Spiders blog has been an incredible light in my world. He's just gone through heart surgery, is facing treatment (possible surgery) for cancerous tumors - and now this. All caused by anonymous scum that don't have the guts or "cojones" to come out their own closet to say or do what abhorrent things.

Yes, I deliberately used the phrase "out of the closet." To me, these people that hide behind anonymity are closeted bigots that would probably be completely comfortable hiding behind white sheets and pointed hats - or wearing green shirts with a swastika on the sleeve.

I have re-printed his entire post. Be sure to read it completely - then my statements at the beginning will make sense.

From A Spider's Web In Thornton Park

I had written the first part of this blog on Tuesday Night…

I just got back from a wonderful dinner with some friends tonight and my phone rang. It had been ringing all night long at dinner - but I didn’t answer it because it kept coming up Private Number and I didn’t want to take a call from an unknown person at dinner. So it rang again when I got home. I answered it and no one spoke on the other end… just sounded like a car radio on the line so I hung up. A couple of minutes later it rang again… and this voice said “Brett”… Has the cancer killed you yet? I said “No” and they said, "Damn it God - let the cancer kill him - let the cancer kill him” and they hung up.

Now, I can only assume that this is an individual who read my blog and I KNOW it is not any of my readers - I can only assume that it is the same person who was harassing me last year over my letters to Patty Sheehan. Only my blog buddies and my closest friends know about my illness - so it must be someone who reads or has read my blog.

So, gentle phone caller - sorry to disappoint you, but you did not upset me. I am not a basket case nor am I bothered. Actually, I just feel sorry for you… that something is making you do things like this. Calling me, telling my employer about me, none of that will make me die. I am too strong, too mean and too stubborn to die just because you want me to. Nope, sorry - someone greater than both of us will make that decision.

By the way… have a nice day and just remember - karma is a real bitch…

Then on Wednesday, I get this comment on an old post…
Um, yeah, hi, this is Death. I’m still gunning for Spider. I think the cancer will get him.

Death said this on April 11th, 2007 at 4:40 pm (edit)

Well… it is now Friday and I hate to say it but the gentle caller has won. He found some things on the internet that were totally personal and done on my own time. Long story short, I was terminated from work today because of a personal ad he forwarded to the CEO of my company, the VP of my division, the Chairman of the Board - my VP found it to be “disgusting, immoral, vile and made him sick to his stomach” - so since I could not be terminated for something that was done on my own time from my own home, I was terminated for sending personal e-mails to several friends and my parents from work.

So gentle reader, you win. I surrender; you have what you have wanted since July… I hope you are happy, I hope you sleep well tonight, I hope that you can look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.

I have also decided to put an end to A Spider’s Web in Thornton Park. I have enough going on in my life without having to deal with without having to deal with the nut cases out there on the net. A lot of the information general reader found out had to come from my blog… and I am just tired of thinking 3 times before I post something something. The loss is just too great…

I love you all, I thank you for everything - especially the love you showed me the past month… I will be around - I am sure that Tony and Sorted will keep you posted on my ongoing treatment.

It’s been real, it’s been fun - and it HAS been real fun! I am just sorry it has to end this way at this time - this may be closing the barn door after the cow ran away… but given the past month, I need to focus elsewhere - and not be looking over my shoulder.

I am really going to miss you all - each and every one of you.

And gentle reader, now that you have gotten what you want, maybe you will have the guts to tell me who you are…

~ by Spider on April 13, 2007.

Fear has its use but cowardice has none.
---Mahatma Gandhi

Cowards can never be moral.
---Mahatma Gandhi

The coward threatens when he is safe.
---Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Only cowards insult dying majesty.

Dear Spider ~ You have no idea how much I will miss you!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

You, Too, Can Be A Banker To The Poor ~ An Update

On March 28th I wrote about Kiva, an organization that makes micro loans to ordinary people overseas that needed small loans for their businesses. I had decided that I would do three loans of $25 each. The first loan has been paid out to:

I apologize for the quality of the screen shot - I'll try to get a better one.

Basically, she has had this business for 10 years. She breeds chickens, ducks and turkeys. She needed to buy 10 sheep and 60 chickens.

With a number of other investors she now has received the funds to expand her business.

For more information visit

Even Shorter Flashes ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Only a slight detour from defining moments and epiphanies.

The other day I had written about flash fiction...using the least number of words possible. A friend pointed me toward some other stories - for instance ~ Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words:

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

and is said to have called it his best work. So a number of writers from various genres decided to see how close to six words they could make their works.

Arthur C. Clarke wrote:

"God said, 'Cancel Program GENESIS.'
The universe ceased to exist."

Here are some other concise masterpieces.

Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.
-- William Shatner

Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?
-- Eileen Gunn

Automobile warranty expires. So does engine.
-- Stan Lee

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
-- Margaret Atwood

I’m your future, child. Don’t cry.
-- Stephen Baxter

1940: Young Hitler! Such a cantor!
-- Michael Moorcock

Lie detector eyeglasses perfected: Civilization collapses.
-- Richard Powers

The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
-- Orson Scott Card

We went solar; sun went nova.
-- Ken MacLeod

Easy. Just touch the match to
-- Ursula K. Le Guin

Epitaph: He shouldn't have fed it.
-- Brian Herbert

Heaven falls. Details at eleven.
-- Robert Jordan

Lost, then found. Too bad.
-- Graeme Gibson

Bang postponed. Not Big enough. Reboot.
-- David Brin

Metrosexuals notwithstanding, quiche still lacks something.
-- David Brin

Ships fire; princess weeps, between stars.
-- Charles Stross

Finally, he had no more words.
-- Gregory Maguire

He read his obituary with confusion.
-- Steven Meretzky

Dorothy: : "Screw it, I'll stay here."
-- Steven Meretzky

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An Elegant Timewaster ~

Thanks to the folks at durnMoose blog I have been wasting a lot of time perfecting my computer skills with this delightful game.

I have to admit I thought getting the "treasure" would be quite a bit easier than it has turned out to be.

The object is to make squares of matching symbols -- the larger the squares the better.

So -- Enjoy the game!!! Click --->here<--- to play . . .

Go Into The Light ~ Early Morning Thoughts

When people aren't engaging my interest, I get some of my best thinking done on the bus (also in the shower, but that's for a later post). I'm not sure why, but while traveling along the streets and areas I know quite well, I can let my mind run down all sorts of interesting "pig" trails and byways. Today I was looking back over events of the last four weeks, the last week and the last 24 hours. It was then I realized that I was really looking at what I wanted to call "defining moments."

Sometimes the phrase is used politically or socially, but I realized I was looking at it from a very personal point of view. Some of the moments have passed, but I also realized I was going to be dealing with defining moments yet to come. This allowed my mind to move toward another term that can be part of defining moments: epiphany.

Epiphany (feeling), a realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something or someone
or to be more dictionary about it ~
e·piph·a·ny ĭ-pĭf'ə-nē)n.
1. Epiphany

3. A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something.
4. A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization:

"I experienced an epiphany, a spiritual flash that would change the way I viewed myself"
--Frank Maier

Creativity is an instant -- a moment when our lives are defined. It's the moment we touch each other's lives. And our response to that tiny passing event doesn't change just us. It changes the world we live in at the same time.
--John Lienhard
The Engines of Our Ingenuity

If only there were a longer time between epiphany and epitaph
--David Glaser

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
-- John Milton

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
--Charles Darwin

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.
--Jim Horning

In a moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.
--Theodore Roosevelt

Part of discovering who you are and what you are capable of requires you to reflect upon some of the key moments from your past. We all have experienced "defining moments." Those moments that define who you are and what you stand for. Those moments that help you create clarity about your life purpose and your life values. Sometimes those moments are in response to life's challenges. It's when you rise to the occasion. It's when you become the person you always wanted to be.
--Mark Susnow

We are a way for the cosmos to know itself”
--Carl Sagan

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
--Oscar Wilde

See I’m a dreamer, man, and when I was a cook I’d always work with people who weren’t dreamers. Like, I was cooking at this restaurant and I put a hot dog on the grill and my kitchen manager came over, and he said, “Mitch, put the hot dog up here, in the right hand corner of the grill, so in case you get a whole bunch of orders at once you have all this space available.” See that’s how I knew he wasn’t a dreamer, ’cause the day I give up my dreams is the day I have strategic grill locations. A dreamer has a philosophy: the entire grill is hot!
--Mitch Hedberg

Monday, April 9, 2007

When You Least Expect It (2) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

Continuing on from last night's post ~

Surprised With Joy -
(apologies or thank you to C. S. Lewis)-continued-

Last night I wrote about how I asked Toby after several meetings if we were dating. As I said, I was horrified as soon as the question came out of me. I didn't need to worry. He looked at me and without hesitation said: "We keep making arrangements to meet and neither of us cancel or skip them, so yes - I'd say we are dating." Of course, the fact that he winked at me and slightly stuck out his tongue - only underscored the seriousness of the conversation.

But The Luggage Tag Says (5)

On the 27th I wrote about ~ "Fantasy travel: A very weak color, which leads away from the bright color of reality."

"I've written before about my non-relationship relationship with ZZ. This is probably the most personal of the false expectations trap. Not only did I have false expectations,. . . " but I was convinced that I could turn everything into reality - by sheer force of will if necessary.

"I was so sure that everything was going to turn out as I expected and desired, I literally decorated my luggage of life with various tags - the one of fantasy travel being quite prominent. And for an incredible number of years, I clung tightly to that tag - believing that ZZ would change, that our entire lives would change. And it never happened. But, of course, I had invested to much into the false itinerary, I became overwhelmed by the idea of making it a reality and making the journey fit what I felt it should be. And long the journey, I lost myself. I fell into several major traps because my expectations were not grounded for flight school as they should have been."

In the book "The Wizard of Oz" - the citizens wore glasses that created the delightful colors of the city. The emerald color was a fantasy. Without the glasses that everyone entering the city was required to wear it was a dull gray almost lifeless set of buildings.

Which is in a sense looking at the world through rose-colored-glasses.

"Some unfortunate people never take their rose-colored glasses off, but everyone wears these spectacles occasionally. This attitude of cheerful optimism, of seeing everything in an attractive, pleasant light, has always been with us, while the expression itself goes back to at least 1861, when it is first recorded in 'Tom Brown at Oxford': 'Oxford was a sort of Utopia to the Captain.He continued to behold towers, and quadrangles, and chapels, through rose-colored glasses."
--From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins"
by Robert Hendrickson
(Facts on File, New York, 1997)

Some of those around me have expressed concern about Toby which is more an expression of concern about me. And I can accept that. After all, I've written about things in the luggage cars behind me where I've been wearing colored glasses or decided that what wasn't going to be - would be. And believe me, there are other stories that I will share as time goes on. However:

Little Did I Know -

That there would such interesting differences this time around. I seem to have misplaced most of the emerald/rose colored glasses. Perhaps I've misplaced them somewhere around - but it's giving me quite a different outlook on what's going on around me. Toby seems to have some faults. (as if I don't?) And there are a couple of them that are quite serious. One of the most major faults he is overcoming, and as long as he's willing to work on it - I am going to be able to help. I can not change anyone, but I can help support someone in the process of changing. And how do I know he wants to make that change?

Shortly after the dating discussion, he said that he wanted to "mark" me as being part of his life. I will admit that the first image that flashed through my mind was from the movie from several years ago where someone lived near wolves and just as they did - he "marked" his territory. (So never going to happen!) Thankfully, Toby doesn't take long pauses when he talks, so the image didn't have long to stay around. He handed me something to wear. Something simple - but with meaning to him. I thought for a bit, and agreed. It was not a couple of days later that he had a serious setback with something he was overcoming.

Several things (once I seriously thought about it) impressed me. The first thing that impressed me was the honesty to tell me. The second one - he wanted to meet to talk about what had happened. There was no attempt to cover-up, and he wanted a discussion to openly share. I agreed, but was not wearing what he'd given me. I explained to him, that wearing it was a commitment to where we were in the dating situation and the commitment had to go both ways. After two very serious talks, I started wearing it again. And he put together support options.

I seem to have misplaced my "fixer" mentality. I didn't immediately try and make everything right, proper and lose any "oil" in the process. I also made a decision that I was going to "wait and see" how this played out before either getting back into what was going on or dropping the entire package with little or no chance of redelivery.

I'm basically relaxed in what's going on with "us." (I have a little trouble typing that word right now - but that no doubt will change.) I'm not looking at picket fences nor am I waiting for the "other-shoe-to-drop." Things are very much in the "now" and not "what could/would be." Which for this traveler could be considered quite a feat. (I think a few of the baggage cars have been removed from my train.)

I seem to have lost my expectation "maps" of territories that haven't been explored yet. Certainly I'm not stating that I've turned off my mind and am simply floating down the river of whatever is happening. However, I'm much more willing to allow things to happen in their own natural rhythm instead of becoming a Koyto Drummer and demanding my expectations to be met on my timetable.

And little did I know, I agree even more with the quote Nodrin King (from A Flat With A View) shared with me:

"Happiness is not something that someone else, like a lover, can give to us. We have to achieve it for ourselves. And the only way to do so is by developing our character and capacity as human beings; by fully maximizing our potential ... What is important now is to work hard at developing yourselves into truly wonderful human beings. Ultimately, the relationships you form are a reflection of your own state of life."

And lastly - the poem I posted the other night, will perhaps make even more sense now ...

I will stand where I have not stood before.
I will live in a way I have not lived before.

The way may not be always clear,
direct or
completely visible -

However -
I will stand where I have not stood before.
I will live in a way I have not lived before.

It will always amaze me how things happen when I least expect them.

--dating carrots by Martha Mickles Mickels, Dating.htm

Sunday, April 8, 2007

When You Least Expect It (1) ~ Early Morning Thoughts

This post has had a number of titles over the last three days. The Luggage Tag Says - (4), Surprised With Joy or even Little Did I Know ... in other words, this has been a very difficult post to put into words (in a good way) - let alone title. Over a month ago, I introduced a person I called Toby (not his name or initial). It was in the post titled Surprised But Not By Joy. I had talked about a deep rooted cynicism I discovered concerning people and was working on getting weeded out of my personal garden.

A several weeks ago, we met Toby again at the same place - and I had a delightful time chatting and getting to know him even better. It was then I realized that D&D were having some serious problems with this. It was that night that D decided to drop the comment to me that I "had more patience that he did what 'those' kind of people." He had put Toby in a very specific category and therefore was not to be trusted or even conversed with beyond minor pleasantries. And there is a HUGE difference between being a cynic and being cautious.

A cynic is a man who,
when he smells flowers,
looks around for a coffin.
--H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Toby and I met for coffee the next day - and embarked on a series of conversations/meetings that were honest, truthful and enlightening.

The Luggage Tag Says - (4)

I had started the series on removing false luggage tags on life's journey and thought it was almost complete for the time being, when I discovered this tag hidden behind the bright red yarn ball on the handle of my luggage so I can spot it in the midst of others at the airport. I had talked about the false luggage tag of expecting every answer to be according to my expectations.

THIS luggage tag,however, is the tag of expecting every answer to be according to OTHER people's expectations - sometimes at the expense of my own. And for a "fixer" personality such as I have been dealing with, that can be a real trap. The fixer tends to pour a LOT of personal oil over other people's troubled waters, to the point their car can run out of oil - and burn out. This doesn't mean I shouldn't listen and evaluate others people's opinions when necessary. It does mean that I can't base my personal life expectations on the expectations of other people. Before it comes up, I'm not talking about a job where obviously the expectations are going to be based on other people. After all, a job - as a very interesting consultant once said - requires that you rent your behavior for a period of time, based on the expectations of others.

Of course, D&D were merely (in their minds) trying to be protective, attentive, etc.. Based on further comments and conversations that were had - they also had a mindset that was not going to change (easily), and were expecting me to follow in that. They have been unable to share in the fact that within the last week I have been:

Surprised With Joy -
(apologies or thank you to C. S. Lewis)

Toby and I went for lunch and a movie. Trying to find the small Greek restaurant that I knew exactly where it was - proved that I didn't know where it was. We eventually found it - after quite a search on foot. When we sat down, I was struck by the fact we both had been laughing about the situation and enjoying our surroundings. We even took time to stop at an enormous waterfall fountain that is a Houston landmark. We took a great deal of time over lunch and put off the movie until the next day. On my way home I was still chuckling over the excursion to the wilds of "getting lost" in the general vicinity, and was also struck by the ease of the conversation and sharing that occurred.

We met for an early light dinner the next day, and as we were going into the theater - I turned to Toby asked, "Are we dating?" I was horrified that sentence had come out of my mouth. There had been nothing on either side that obviously indicated such a thought was correct. But, being the terminal romantic that I am - (remember, we're the ones that pat the sandwich after we make them)- my life is colored by many small things as well as the huge brick walls that I occasionally run headlong into.

What is a small thing? As I've mentioned before, I have very bad knees and am working toward getting them operated on and repaired. I was struck by the fact that at curbs - without being asked - Toby would pause and wait for me to step down offering his shoulder as balance. A little thing. We visited a couple of friends today, and they had one of those lovely, delightful overstuffed LOW leather couches that even people with great legs have some trouble getting up from. Without a word, or even a glance - there was an arm right in my peripheral vision to hold onto and get up. A little thing. "Oh well," someone might say - "He's just being polite, kind or helpful." To which I reply: "And your point?" The fact is - I've never had any of my friends over the last several years do that.

February 17th I posted about "who are you looking for" not what are you looking for - but who. I included some short descriptions of incidents that in my mind helped me with the "who."

The dramatist in me realizes that I have not given Toby's answer to my question along with several other questions people might have. This is, however, a good time for an intermission.
--More Tomorrow