Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!


If I were to compare today’s headlines with headlines from a year ago today I suspect I’d find that the more things change the more they stay the same:

I’d find examples everywhere of man’s inhumanity to man. Bombings. Shootings. Violence. Cruelty. Everywhere.

I’d find headlines about football in this country. Bowl games. The professional playoffs on the horizon. American football of course. Which gives rise to scornful references to the football treasured in every other country on the planet – the beautiful game. A perfect example of American Exceptionalism. We’re the best. No one has ever been as wonderful as we are.

Wait – I hear echoes of the same sentiment. In Rome as their empire was declining. In Greece as their empire was declining. Among the Ottomans, as their empire was declining. From the Soviets and the Nazis, before their empires ever really ascended. We had a wonderful moment in history. A moment to be admired and honored. But we’ve turned it into a God-given right to extol ourselves and diminish others. God chose us, so we must deserve it.

Headlines from politicians – telling us ‘I am the one who will make this country great again.’ Oops. ‘I done mean to say we’re not great. Don’t misunderstand me. I mean our leaders are taking us in the wrong direction. If we don’t stop them before it’s too late they’ll defy the will of God and we’ll lose our rightful place as #1.’

Headlines about people having a hard time. They’ve lost their job. They’ve lost their home. Their health is failing. They’ve lost faith in their government. They’ve lost faith in their community. They’ve even lost faith in themselves. Things are getting worse, not better, they say.

Will it be different a year from now? Will the headlines be different? What do you think?

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Good, Bad & Ugly!

Good: In two days it’ll be the Winter Solstice. The sun heads the other way. Yes!

Good: No jail time for Barry B. Pursuing him was a waste of time and money from the beginning.

Good: The bums, addicts and seekers of new places to pitch their tents are mostly gone from public spaces. The people who really had something to protest left long ago.

Good: Gingrich and Romney are going after each other. Keep at it, boys.

Good: Tebow and God didn’t pull another miracle, so the Broncos got beat.

Why Am I Not Surprised:

Iraq is wasting no time in starting to fall apart.

Assad continues to kill his people.

The military and civilian leaders in Pakistan are on a collision course.

The Republicans in Congress want to stop the government again.

People are dying on the streets in Egypt and Yemen and Bahrain.

Boats overloaded with refugees are sinking in Asia.

Many Russians are mad at Putin.

Will be missed:

Christopher Hitchens

Vaclav Havel

Warren Hellman

Won’t be missed:

Kim Jong-Il

Total Enjoyment:

Watching the Magicians from Barcelona bewitch Santos

It Would Be Nice, But:

I don’t think the Niners can beat the Steelers tonight.

Friday, December 09, 2011


The picture put out by the Iranians purporting to show the American drone spy plane that crashed in Iran looks like a mock-up from a 50’s science fiction movie. No sign it crashed to earth from 50,000 feet. The best part of this story is the U.S. response on the first day of the story: “Gee, we don’t know how this could happen. The poor drone must have lost its way. It was supposed to be flying over Afghanistan.” Yeah, lost its way and ended up 140 miles into Iran.

Now these Republicans have me confused. With the rise of Newt and the continued blah of Romney I don’t know what to think or who to root for. Who would I rather see run against Obama? Which of these guys would be easier to beat? And if by chance one should be elected who would make the best/worst President? My gut tells me Gingrich would be easier to beat. About what it would be like with one of these guys in the White House – I can’t confront it right now.

Good news: San Francisco now has more dogs than children.

If they give Barry Bonds jail time when he is sentenced next week it will be because of who he is, not what he did. I’m for probation and community service. Making him stay at home for some months would be useless and ridiculous. This whole process has been a waste of time and taxpayer money. Reminds me of the Martha Stewart nonsense.

Shame on Obama for caving to the anti-abortion crowd and overruling the FDA, which wanted to make morning-after pills available to girls under 17 without a prescription. This wasn’t an HHS decision. It was a White House decision. It’s about politics, not medicine or morality. I don’t like it, but why am I not surprised?

Sorry to see Pujols go to the Angels. It’s about L.A. and Florida trying to buy a championship. Worked out really well for the Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees last year, right boys? As for the Giants – I’m satisfied with who’s come in and who’s gone out. With the new guys plus a healthy Posey and Sanchez, we should field a much stronger team this season.

Have a nice day!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Message #17 - Count Your Blessings!

If I ask how you’re doing I’m likely to get an automatic “Great, how are you?” followed by a string of complaints. What’s going right is buried under a ton of petty problems. Stop it. Take time to Count Your Blessings!

Think about it. What has your attention is ‘stuff.’

She didn’t even call to say she’d be late.

The car needs to be fixed.

My boss doesn’t appreciate what I do.

I didn’t sleep well.

He didn’t even wish me happy birthday.

Stuff. You’re squandering your time and energy on relatively minor stuff. Yes, some of this stuff might be important. And yes, you may need to deal with it. But when you let this stuff keep you from seeing and appreciating what is wonderful in your life you are cheating yourself.

The calendar has days set aside for us to appreciate many things. We’re reminded to appreciate our secretary, our mother, our father, veterans, our country, famous dead people and if you’re Catholic a whole gang of saints. But there is no day set aside for you to appreciate your blessings. You’re on your own.

This is like learning a new skill. You’ll need some practice. An example is the air you breathe. While it is always there you are not aware of it, so it recedes into the background and is invisible. Only when you consciously think about breathing does air become a factor in your life. If your air supply were to be cut off you’d think about it real fast.

Another example is the things you see every day. Every day you probably walk or drive by some buildings or sights or people that would get your attention if you were seeing them for the first time. But if you’re seeing them for the hundredth time you don’t even see them. Snap out of it. Pay attention. Be conscious.

What is sure to get your attention is the stuff I talked about. They’re in your face and in your way pretty much every hour of every day. But your blessings? You take them for granted. Not only are they unappreciated, you don’t even think about them. So first you need to practice thinking about them.

Make a list. A Blessings List. You’ll be amazed at how much you have to be thankful for. Find a way to keep your list in your consciousness. If you don’t, your blessings will quickly become invisible again.

Practice every day. Don’t wait until Sunday morning when you go to church or Saturday in your synagogue or Friday in your mosque. Your blessings are 24/7. They don’t show up at a certain time once a week. So appreciate them more often than that.

You may find you want to be thankful for a different blessing every day. That’s OK, but if you do that be sure to change the order frequently so you don’t fall into an unthinking routine. There’s no right way to practice. Again, whatever works for you is what works.

Your goal should be to move beyond practicing. When appreciating all that you have to be thankful for is with you always you’re no longer a novice. You’re a master who now has the gift of knowing how to Count Your Blessings!