Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene

On August 18th, I posted a status on my Facebook wall and also tweeted, “A bird hit my head right when I was opening the door. Tons of birds are flying erratically. I'm predicting an earthquake.” A few days later, what happens? I was quite impressed with my intuitiveness, however I did get a lot of requests for the lotto numbers. Now we’re gearing up for Hurricane Irene, and this is the first time in a decade we have had a storm this large. The news said that NYC would be underwater - meaning 6-12 ft approximately and suggesting ground floor residents to either evacuate in some areas or move to a higher level. What really gets me about both the small earthquake and now the upcoming hurricane are the west coasters. They plastered posts all over calling the east coast “big babies” and telling everyone we haven’t seen anything yet. Can you imagine if Indian Point's nuclear reactors melt down? "Oh c'mon NY, you're a buncha babies! Look at the Fukushima meltdown!" The news may be sensationalizing the hurricane, but it is a serious threat & people who don't live in NY are *again* making fun of our concern. It reminds me of when people in the west coast would even go so far to downgrade the tragedy of 9/11, as though it wasn’t a huge deal. That’s not a blanket statement - I say “some”, only because certain people I knew made it out to be just like an everyday occurrence. Other than the underlining tension that I have noticed between the west coast and east coast, I find they also resent us for not being “as green” as they are. We’re New York. We live in smog. We breathe toxic waste every single day of our lives. NJ is our neighbor. Nuff’ said. But for them to make that broad remark that all of us aren’t concerned about our environment is just plain irritating to me.

Back to Irene... My biggest concern is the lengthy power outage we’re probably, or most definitely going to experience. We live in a house which has its own well and septic system, so if the power goes out, we have no running water and won’t be able to flush our toilets. We have a few tubs to fill and we bought fifteen gallons of drinking water and canned foods. The grocery store was packed with nervous nellies scrambling around grabbing the last cans of whatever off the shelves. If you stop and just notice some of the people’s behaviors while going to the stores, you can see a little panic in their eyes, because they’re seeing the crowds scrambling around too, which generates more fear - even if it’s a “just in case” type of shopping. It’s cause for alarm. Some people were agitated and others wanted to chitchat about Irene while I just wanted to get the hell out of there and go home to pack up the patio furniture and throw it in the garage. Some of my friends that live around the coastal areas - the dangerous parts that are on voluntary evacuations want to stay till the last minute because they don’t trust the weathermen. All said that they’ve cried wolf one too many times, but what about that one time when it really is something to be concerned about? Remember when stubborn residents wouldn’t leave their homes in New Orleans and were all found on their roofs waving white cloths around for help?

I’m hoping for the best and that everyone is safe wherever they are. For my east coasters, remember to prepare for extended power outages. Buy plenty of batteries for your radios (if you don’t have a radio --buy one!) I know “radio” to our younger generation sounds so ‘1980’, but you really have to prepare for the worst case scenario. Stock up on plenty of water, flashlights, candles, first aid kits, easy to prepare foods, canned foods and even some health/protein drinks for easy storage. I bought a huge case of Ensure just in case it is that bad. Gas up your cars & have at least $100 bucks in your pocket. If you live in flooding zones, make sure that you have your cell phones and any electronics in a ziplock bag so it won’t get wet, in case you have to leave. Charge all your phones, iPods, laptops and other devices so you’ll have them to use while the storm is brewing. Remember, if the cell phone towers go out and we cannot dial out - you can still use text messaging. I found this out from the news this morning. Make sure you text your family and friends that you’re okay. Take photos of any damages to your home. And my personal safety advice - stay away from rooms that are located near a large tree, even if you live more inland. Park your cars away from trees if you can as well. I haven’t seen anyone give that advice to anyone other than the basics of hurricane safety tips. Stay safe everyone & ignore those pesky west coasters!

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

For Sale: One Pesky Ghost. Inquire Within.

Since last year, there have been renovations done to our place as well as our own little tweaks here and there since March. It’s been nonstop but the place panned out nicely. We’re finally able to we thought. I was advised not to tell anybody about this, but since it’s not only myself who witnesses these ‘happenings’ in this house, I have to voice it out there. Lately, the house feels “interrupted”. I know, wtf are you talking about, right? Well, I chucked it up to a lot of other things that it could have been, but not anymore. It’s too much. Being that my wife and I are Christians, we don’t like to communicate with any other spiritual source other than God Himself, but there is someone here trying to get our attention-----desperately. Again, I’m grateful I’m not the only one who hears and sees what’s going on. It makes me comfortable describing these stories detail by detail.

Before we moved in, we were in the house ripping up carpets and removing the tacks. I twas a tedious and long job. Mad turned around and asked, “Why are you laughing?” Keep in mind I’m all the way across the living room from her. “I’m not laughing,” I said, thinking she was just fatigued. “I heard someone giggle in my ear.” After we removed the carpet to expose the hard wood floors, we had a gentleman come in to sand and polyurethane the floors. As he was working in the studio/office, the fire alarm started going off. We told him to temporarily take out the battery. Then he went to do the living room and the fire alarm went off in there as well. No big deal - old alarms - new batteries - must be a glitch sort of thing. Debunked. Any time a handyman came in to repair something, their power tools that were charged drain instantly. This happened a few times. No big deal. Just crappy equipment?

There are tall London-like street lamps outside. We were told they’ve been broken for years now. As I was washing the dishes, staring outside, I said, “I wish those lights worked.” Voila - they turned on. Coincidence? Who knows. But any time I really need this light to be on, it goes on. Otherwise, the lamp is always off. You’re probably saying, “No big deal - an electrical problem.” I’m lying down on the couch the other night watching a movie with Madelene, when I feel someone tap me four times --hard. Nobody there. The next morning, I’m working in my living room because we’re still getting the office prepared. I’m the only one in the house and I hear someone say very lightly, “Deb?” It sounded as though the lady didn’t want to disturb me, but she really needed to ask me something. I stopped dead in my tracks. The next day, Madelene and I were on the hammock relaxing when a woman, probably late 70's or 80's peeks out of the screen door. I didn't say anything, hoping Mad would. And she did. "Who was that?" I then knew if I was going crazy, so was she.

Two nights ago, I had really bad insomnia so I went out into the office to do a few things. Not too long after, I hear someone changing a radio tuner frantically with that a.m. squeal. It then tuned into 30’s music and the volume kept going up and up until I was like, “Mad, what the hell are you watching?” But, it wasn’t coming from the bedroom. It was coming from the downstairs living room. I snuck downstairs very slowly, listening to this circus-like music from the 30’s and as I got closer, the volume went down. The radio was not on. As I went to go back to sleep, someone was walking from my kitchen area into the living room. We heard the footsteps loud and clear because there is one part of the floor that really creaks. It sounded like a person carrying in dishes. We heard the person put down whatever they had onto the kitchen counter. Then it was silent. I sat straight up in my bed and turned the lights on. As I sat there, I noticed a black shadowy figure that flew against the wall and out into the corner.

Yesterday, as I was preparing dinner for Madelene, I noticed a wooden spoon missing that my grandmother would use religiously which we kept on the wall. Mad didn’t touch it and I know I didn’t touch it either. We found it moments later. It was placed nice and neatly in the pile of spoons in the drawer of the island in the kitchen. I then went to go sit outside on the deck for a few minutes waiting for our food to cook, and I hear a huge bang. I came back inside and on the kitchen counter was my 10 lb bottle of decorative olive oil, garlic and chili peppers tipped over. It wasn’t near a window and nobody was in the kitchen. I then got very frustrated because my nervous system is shot. I said out loud, “What is it??? Go away!” And for the most part, it did...for now. I have a couple of ghost hunting groups that are anxious to get into the house to check it out. I’m really hoping they can debunk whatever it is, but from the looks of it, my attention is desperately needed. It won’t let me sleep. As soon as I sleep, either something goes “bang” or someone taps me and sometimes, the sounds of footsteps are enough to keep my eyes open all night long. I have so many more stories but you get the gist.

I know I’m already off my rocker, but what do you think? Have you ever experienced anything like this? Do you believe in this stuff? And if you have experienced it, what did you do? I have a friend suggesting that I talk to it, but I don’t believe it’s a good thing to talk to outside spirits only because any demonic entity can ‘hack’ into your conversation or pretend to be who you want it to be - like a past relative or friend. They can play on your vulnerabilities and make you think you’re talking to someone you love. Instead, I’ve been praying to God that whoever this may be has peace and that they see the light. Or maybe I just need a good electrician in here...or a shrink.


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Friday, August 19, 2011

A Reason Why You Should Live With Someone Before Marrying Them

Many parents advise their children to wait to get married and then live with their spouses. It’s “moral” in some cultures and preferable to many. Those old fashioned values are endearing and well, very unrealistic. Living with someone after marriage is the same as buying a car before test driving it. Then as I grew older, and by the time I really wanted to be with someone, my mother would say, “Live with them first!” She would say this especially if she did not like the person I was interested in. She wanted me to see the ‘real’ person I was in love with. She wanted me to see their messy life - (in all aspects). I’m glad she said that because I really did come to find out the one person I fell in love with years ago was a total slob at home. Though I didn’t live with her, I was there 24/7. I would come home before she did and find piles and piles of dirty dishes in the sink. My OCD flared up like an atomic bomb. All I kept thinking was how many rats and cockroaches were hiding behind the cabinets, lurking, stalking me, waiting for their next grilled cheese fix. When my girlfriend came home, she found me scrubbing and washing her dishes. “Why are you doing that? You don’t have to do that, Deb!” I just looked at her and said, “Yes, I do.” Then I thought about all the dishes piled up and asked her, “What did you make last night?” And she nonchalantly said, “Oh that was grilled cheese from last week, and that pot over there was from a sauce I made last Wednesday.” Just horrifying.

Another grim time that I recall is when I went to her house early with one of our mutual friends. We were all going to go out to dinner together. When I opened the door, there were dirty underwear scattered right on the living room floor, blouses left hanging off the beautiful sofas and a trail of socks, shoes and whatever she threw along the way in the corridor heading into her bedroom. “I’m so sorry about this, can you sit out on the patio for just a few minutes?” I asked, hoping my friend didn’t think this was my mess. In fact, my friend knows how much of a clean freak I am. Thankfully it was a beautiful summer evening. I went in and cleaned up the best I could and then went into the bathroom to discover another disgusting mess. The toilet wasn’t flushed, tissues were all over the floor missing the trash can and her makeup was scattered around the sink with bits of powder from her blush everywhere. Wet towels were thrown in the corner, leaving it smelling like wet dog and clumps of hair had built a dam around the drain, preventing water from going down. I had to get the big guns for this and threw everything in the washing machine and cleaned up with a bleach substance. It was a forensic crime scene. I then shuffled into the kitchen to discover another disaster which I had to clean up. Who leaves food out? Throw it out if you’re not going to eat it! Gross. It was at that moment when I heard my mother’s words, “Live with her first!” And she was so right. I was so disgusted by the way she lived that I was 50% out of the relationship at that point, when in fact, before I discovered her way of living, I was 99.9% in. I made every excuse not to be with her after that day and our relationship dwindled little by little, leaving ‘other’ problems to be the reasoning for our breakup. I felt as though she was 'dirty' herself.

So Deb’s advice for the day is-- live with them first! It’s advice I will never forget. I am so glad that I'm married to someone as freaked out about bugs, dirt and germs as I am. We have the same core values and cleanliness which I thank the Gods for. Even watching that show, Hoarders: Buried Alive makes me so itchy. How can people live in such messy environments? When I walk into someone’s home and it’s a complete mess, I automatically think they don’t respect their home or themselves, and perhaps they’re severely depressed. There are times when I go through a depression and my home isn’t so clean and tidy. So I understand the occasional mess once in a while - but to live like that 24/7? That’s an emotional problem that needs to be addressed. I’m glad my mother always reiterated the ‘move in before you marry’ bit, because I would have had a lot more on my plate than I do today. Oh I feel a huge cliche coming on... Everything happens for a reason.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Money, Love and Death: Life of a Celebrity

When you stop and think about all the famous people out there, do you ever feel bad for them or do you simply just covet their lifestyle? I’ve never believed money or fame would ever make anyone happy, at least not in the long run, but I do believe love and health (mental and physical) plays a key role in overall happiness. Think about not being able to just go and grab a cup of coffee without the paparazzi up your ass. Think about how difficult it would be to trust anyone - friends, family, acquaintances, etc. Think about all the betrayal, more so when you’re a celebrity. Think about the jealousy of those who want what you have. Think about the haters who slander you and drag your name through the mud, making you feel like absolute shit while you smile at the cameras saying, “It’s all good. I’m okay.” And really, you’re not okay. You’re lonely, and the one person you may want to be with is probably miles and miles away from you for work-related reasons. It’s a hard road. Finances come up, which then trickle into your love life, which then ultimately affects your health. Is this always the case? No. But the majority of celebrities who take their own lives have raised the statistics of how being a celebrity isn’t always the best thing in life.

Look at Russell Armstrong, the husband of Taylor Armstrong from The Housewives of Beverly Hills. He committed suicide. His marriage was in complete ruins, publicized on television and he was $12 million dollars in debt. The LA Times had a report about this and quoted William Ratner saying, "’The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I think, was [Russell's] downfall. The TV show put a lot of pressure on him to produce financially. You're on a show with a couple like the Maloofs, who are verifiable billionaires, and you're not,’ said friend William Ratner, referring to "Housewives" personality Adrienne Maloof, whose family owns the Sacramento Kings and their home arena as well as Las Vegas' Palms casino resort.” What worries me most of all about all of these reality shows is the emphasis on money and financial status’. What if one of the cast members starts to lose their wealth? You have a few things to deal with: embarrassment, guilt from lying about your wealth and the fear of losing your wealth or being found out. What about putting your marriage or love life in the limelight? Don’t you think it’s going to have a huge impact on the intimacy part of it? Maybe not in some cases, but if you’re going through financial trouble, it’s going to seep through the camera lenses.

“You have it all!” “You’re so great!” “I wanna be just like you!” All of the positive remarks floating around and the one thing left in your mind is: “I have to produce. I have to live up to my name. I can’t let them down.” And it’s hard. And, it’s lonely. And you also have to prove the haters wrong, not only to clear your name, but to clear your conscience. Now I’m just speaking in general about any celebrity, but look at how many stars have committed suicide, overdosed or tried taking their own lives? All may be different scenarios - but doing heroin or any other hardcore drug is a cry for help. Charlie Sheen has been quite the public train wreck and many others were, like Ana Nicole Smith, who eventually landed herself 6 feet under with the rest of the unfortunate crew, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, and the list goes on. All either committed suicide or overdosed on something. They could not handle life. And why haven’t any of their “friends” and family come to their rescue? Maybe some have, but it wasn’t enough. These awesome celebrities lost their lives due to the loneliness that increased each and every day. Such a shame.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Rude Customer Gets Blasted by Deb

Yesterday afternoon, while my wife and I were out at the sushi bar grabbing lunch, a group of girls sat down over at a table behind the bar. The establishment has been there for years and is known for their good reputation for good quality food, but their service is a little shaky only due to the language barrier. No big deal. They simply give you a sheet you fill out for your order and voila, it’s fulfilled! Through the years of going to the same place, I have only had one bad experience with them, on a Tuesday evening ordering sushi takeout. It was flash-frozen, so the fish was soggy and wet - not ‘bad’, but not appetizing. As we were enjoying our lunch, I heard one of the girls say to the waiter, “Umm, I told you I was allergic to this.” He said, “So sorry - I’ll take it back for you and replace it with something else.” The girl kept on, “But I asked you if the crab meat in the California roll was real, and you said no. I’m allergic to crab meat!” The waiter again apologized for the misunderstanding and explained that the crab meat is real, and that they don’t serve substitute fish as a replacement. But, she kept on, “So why did you give this to me knowing I’m allergic to crab?” When I heard the third apology, I said to our sushi chef loud enough for the entire restaurant (which is no bigger than 500 sq feet), “If someone allergic to shellfish orders a California roll, they should be smart enough to avoid anything that is known to have crab in it.” He nodded and smiled. I have no idea if he understood me but he knew I was standing up for them. The other waiters at the end of the bar translated it for him. He nodded and laughed even harder, and then gave us free sushi slices.

It quieted down, until moments later, the same girl was complaining about how disrespectful it was to not put forks and knives out on the table, assuming the customer knows how to use chopsticks. My blood pressure started rising because at this point, she was really irritating me. I had to calm myself, but my knee jerk reaction took over. I turned around in my seat and said, “There’s a diner right down the road you may want to go to. They serve forks and knives there.” The girl gave me such a terrified look, because the three girls she brought in with her were laughing uncontrollably into their cloth napkins. I continued on, “You may not get cloth napkins either, but they have great burgers and fries.” She turned back around in silence and not a word was said after that. The waiter again explained what I said to the rude girl to the chef and they started chuckling amongst themselves. Moments after our huge sushi dinner came a free dessert: fried ice cream. And just think, I went to this place looking for a healthy ‘clean’ food, and now I feel my arteries screaming bloody murder. And of course, we thanked them & tipped both the sushi chef and the waiter for their service.

What makes people act so rudely to waiters and waitresses? And on top of that, how can you be so rude to someone who is trying to learn the English language? You’re in their restaurant - it’s a different culture - ADAPT. If you can’t adapt to different cultures, then simply go to a diner. She’d be in big trouble if she had to travel to Japan or Korea. God forbid she asked for a fork. And with all due respect, my wife used to ask for a fork, but never complained about it nor expected to receive one. She learned to use chopsticks eventually. That’s like going to a Chinese restaurant and telling them it’s disrespectful not to have Ketchup on the table. It reminded me of this one friend of mine who thought she was entitled to the world. She would go into a restaurant with us and treat the wait staff like total shit. We would cringe and try to hide our faces. She explained, “If you’re out paying for a dinner, you have to demand good service.” But doesn’t it work both ways? I’ve worked in the restaurant business before and let me tell you, I've seen disgusting things happen when a customer was rude to the wait staff. My point is, respect is a two way street and if you’re dining in a non-American based establishment, have fun learning their culture. Stop being so damn nasty or just go to a diner.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Disrespect Comes in All Colors

Last night while hanging out talking with my dad, he was telling me something that had taken place at the grocery store earlier that day. Keep in mind that my dad is a very extreme “Archie Bunker” type. Although his talk is louder than his bite, I sometimes cringe when I hear certain things fly out of his mouth. Without giving you every detailed adjective he used to describe the people on the checkout line, I will just give the story to you censored the best I can... While a young attractive white female, maybe in her early 20’s (probably 40’s knowing my father’s eyes) was paying for her groceries, a black gentleman (perhaps not a gentleman), was harassing her, trying to get her phone number, asking her out, touching her groceries to try and help her bag, as she begged him not to. He persisted, and in return, the girl said she was not interested in dating him. He said, “Let me walk you out,” and the girl said, “No, I don’t want you walking me out and I don’t want you to take me out to dinner.” He kept trying to bag her food and she said, “Please sir, stop touching my stuff and let me go.” The cashier knew she was struggling to get away from this guy, but he remained quiet. My dad didn’t say or do anything only because he was very tired and weak due to battling his illness for so long, but in his own words he said, “I wanted to bash my effin’ cane right on his muthaf*ckin’ head - that dirty rat!” (Dirty rat took place of what was really said, which I refuse to write. And yes it was racial.) The cashier was wise, because he kept the man there for "price checks" and gave the girl time to get in her car and get as far away as possible.

After my dad told me this story, he asked me why black men wanted to harass white women so much. I understood his question, but in my opinion, and in my experience, this doesn’t have anything at all to do with race - it has everything to do with not taking ‘no’ for an answer. I then told him a story that happened to me a few months back. I was watching a band play at our local bar. It was one of the first warm nights of the season and everyone was out having a good time. When I went up to the bar to grab the bartender’s attention, I was greeted by a white male, probably in his early 30’s, average, eh wouldn’t look twice kinda guy. He was tough looking only because he had his Harley gear on since he drove up on his bike with his friends. He asked if he could buy me a drink. I thanked him and said, “No thank you, I got this. I appreciate it though.” He then asked me where I was from, what I do, what’s my name, ‘do I come here often’, yada yada yada. The bar was extremely crowded and it seemed like forever until the bartender even noticed me. The guy kept on. Since he really wasn’t getting much of a response from me other than a cold shoulder and most of my back, he started getting more aggressive. A very large black man next to me was eavesdropping the entire time. He glanced over at me and said, “This guy gives you any problems I’mma bust his ass.” And he wasn’t kidding. In fact, I had to turn around and tell the guy, “See this ring? I’m married. My husband is waiting for me over there (pointed to my gay male friend) and I have five kids at home. I am not interested.” Hoping that would drive him far far away, he said, “I’m married too. Let’s meet somewhere.” I was absolutely floored!

When I got back to my friends, he kept staring at me the entire time. My buff black guy at the bar was watching too. When I was leaving, the guy got up to follow me...and so did my big friend. He guarded the door after I left and said to him, “Where you goin’ punk?” After that, I didn’t hear anything else that went on. But thankfully, I was protected by a gentleman. When I explained what happened to my father in this case, he nodded his head and said, “Yeah, I guess you’re right Deb.” His racial slurs simmered down and it looked like he opened his eyes to the fact that disrespect comes in all colors, shapes and sizes.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

What Shapes a Murderer's Mind?

Have you ever sat there watching the news wondering what makes people do the things they do? What makes a mother want to kill her child? What makes a full grown adult want to kill an 8 year old boy? And most of all, what makes anyone want to kill --period? I’ve had this discussion with many friends and relatives. You really have to wonder what goes on inside the mind of a killer. I can see if it was self defense or perhaps, a home invasion where somebody got killed - things of that nature. I can even understand yet not comprehend, the reasonings behind crimes of passion, where a lover finds his or her spouse in bed with someone else and flips out. It’s a moment of pure insanity. There are so many other reasons for people killing, like a disgruntled employee, constant bullying that ends up in a revengeful pool of blood, and sadly, suicide. All of these things are unfortunate sides of human nature. A person, depending on their biological make up, mental stability or lack thereof, can do just about anything you would or wouldn’t expect. I’m sure you’ve seen newscasters interview neighbors of a murderer, “Oh he was such a sweet man, I would have never guessed he’d do such a heinous crime.” Then you have the many scenarios where most of the crimes are usually done by someone who once knew them.
There is one thing I cannot wrap my head around: dismembering body parts. Why??? For some, it’s a morbid and sick fascination. For others, it’s means of hiding the evidence when the idiot has a huge swamp down the road. Grossed out yet? But think about the person who is dismembering a body... How can they sit there doing their crime without vomiting or passing out? How can they live themselves? How can they even bear the thought or even stand through the horrific ‘job’? There have been forensic studies on the mind of a killer. The ones who are like Jeffrey Dahmer or Levi Aron have usually witnessed a father figure in their life hunting or taking apart an animal in means of food for their family. This is totally different than murder of a human being, but think about a child and what a child sees while witnessing someone they look up to, dismembering a deer, a lamb and a cow in some Jewish cultures. A close friend of mine has a son who’s always interested in what his dad is doing. Ever since he was 5 years old, the father would take him out hunting all the time and then back in the garage to drain the blood and dismember the animal. Now that the boy is almost 12, he gets to shoot the gun, kill the animal and now he’s dismembering the animal all by himself. I highly disagree with this, but there’s nothing I can say or do, nor do I want to. The boy is adorable, but he’s introverted and bullied in school because his mannerisms are slightly feminine. See where this is going? It sets up an atmosphere of resentment, ‘know how’ and possible disaster.

We can blame crime and violence on video games and violent movies, but when does it come to the point when reality is just too much for a child to view in terms of shaping his or her future? If the “violence” is real, does it make it “okay”? If it’s fictional, ie: video games/movies - does that make it less threatening? What shapes a murderer's mind?

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Twitter's Trending Topic: #wtfwasyouthinking

When I first started writing, I had a lot to learn. I still do. There were many twists I had to get around, like the proper uses of "their", "they’re" and "there". My biggest flaw, to which sometimes I still notice I do, is when I use a sentence that includes a plural format, for instance: “There’s pennies on the table”, when it should be, “There ‘are’ pennies on the table.” I blame it on how I talk, because normally, I would say, “There’s pennies on the table.” And sadly, that’s the truth coming straight out of this New Yawka’s mouth. I even have someone go over my writing just in case my New York way of talking gets a bit too loose. And that’s another one: “loose”, “lose”. Gah! One of my worst pet peeves now. Whenever I see someone make this mistake, I cringe. Then again, I remember in the past someone else pointing this mistake out to me as well. You might even see a few typos and incorrect sentence structures - so let me know - in private please. To be honest, when I read an article or blog that has a few of these kinds of typos, I don’t really mind because if they’re (they are) a good writer in general and a good story teller, the writer has my attention anyway. I remember someone saying that in order to be a good writer, you also have to be an avid reader, or somewhat close at least. For instance, I’m a guitarist. If I don’t watch and listen to someone else play, my inspiration goes down the tubes and I never learn anything new. I believe there is a lot of truth in that.

There seems to be trend in part of our society that totally demolishes the English language altogether, for sake of being “cool” or not being so goddamn anglo. The ‘proper’ use of the English language is seen as nerdy and well...white. This morning, I logged into my Twitter account to find “#wtfwasyouthinking” as a trending topic. In my mind, all I could see was some hoodrat with his baggy jeans down to his knees with his tighty whities showing. Kudos to those who tweeted to correct these punks. “What the f*** was you thinking” sounds like an uneducated moron. It’s worse than “You ‘is’ so beautiful.” Or even “You right” - leaving out the middle guy, whose (or who's?) name happens to be “are”. I’m not an English teacher, but I cringe cringe cringe every time I see somebody write it out on ‘paper’ -- but oddly enough, if I hear it being spoken in moderate amounts, I’m not at all bothered. Strange, right? I can understand this because in the past, I used to write much different than the way I spoke in person. I wanted to use fifty cent words and be a little more proper. It just wasn’t me. I wanted to write the way I talked. I refrain from my ‘ultra loose’ socializing lingo for sake of losing (not loosing) a few readers, but what you see is basically what you get.

Which brings me to why I believe some people annihilate the English language. This may be the one paragraph I may regret writing, so bear with me. This is not meant to offend. I’m just trying to figure out a reason for its madness. Many southerners and as well as urban cultures and black people have adopted this method of speaking. Even my own family has given the English language a whole new meaning...

In Wikipedia, you can read the entire explanation which is pretty interesting. What may be ‘proper’ for white people may not be proper for others only because white people were the ones who created the English language. For instance, “He been working” as opposed to, “He has been working.” Either letters are left out or simply replaced with an improper word. Let’s even take this a step further. My father. He has completely demolished the English language as well. His thick Italian/New York accent and lack of proper usage is your stereotypical Brooklynite. Anyone would know where he’s from right when he opens his mouth, ie: “Yous need to know sumptin. Dat’ watchyamacallit was out in ya mudda’s garden again and ate all da’ flouwez’. Whaddya’ gonna do when dat goddamn sonnovabitch’ eats da’ tomatez’? Fuggedaboudit!” My mother isn’t as bad, but she’ll say “windiz” instead of "windows". She’ll occasionally use my grandmother’s English and say, “berl the water” instead of “boil the water”. So in my overall personal opinion, it all comes down to what you were brought up on. Your environment has everything to do with it. I recall a summer I spent with my cousins over in Staten Island. There wasn’t one proper usage of the English language whatsoever, and when I returned home, I started tawkin’ like dis & askin’ for cawfee and really botching up that beautiful language that every nationality has seemed to tinker with on its own.

We are a product of our environment whether we like it or not, but we can change it, learn it over again, only if that’s what the person wants to do. I had to because no one woulduv’ read me tawkin’ and writin’ like dis or mispelling “loose” to “lose” or “they’re” for “their” and “you is” opposed to “you are”. You would have stabbed me in the eye with your red pen.

What are your thoughts of someone speaking poorly?
What are your thoughts of someone writing poorly?
What if, one spoke poorly but was able to write beautifully?
What if, one writes poorly, but speaks the language perfectly?

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

God's Karmic Medicine

There are so many stereotypical assumptions about different types of people to where I sometimes have to wonder if they’re forever labeled with this for the rest of their lives. For instance, I’ve heard so many people say, “Gay men are supposed to be hot and muscular.” And if you’re a lesbian, people would assume that you would most likely appear 'edgy', or more on the masculine side, when in fact, there are a million feminine women who are lesbians. I remember a couple of girls pointing at my wife and I while dining at a restaurant in Provincetown, MA. The one girl said to her partner, “Oh they’re probably bisexual.” Why would you even try to guess what orientation we were? “They’re too femme and probably not even gay,” I overheard one of them say. To me, it really doesn’t bother me. Let em’ think what they want, because frankly, it has nothing to do with me - it has everything to do with them. And the reason why I state that is because I have encountered another type of judgmental scenarios just recently.

These two girls inside Starbucks who are waiting for their barista to serve them coffees were talking amongst themselves...loudly. One was tall, statuesque and very attractive. The other was cute, short and curvy, perhaps plus size and very attractive as well. I’m describing them so you can get an idea before the story sinks in. The tall thin girl starts talking about one of their mutual friends. I’ll put it in conversation format for you.

Tall girl: “She’s really nice and all but she has a pot belly and she dresses like she’s homeless.”

Short girl: ”Oh, I like the way she dresses and her jeans are no joke - she wears True Religions which are like $250 a pair!”

Tall girl: “They would look nice on her if her belly wasn’t larger than her breasts.”

Short girl: “Oh my God! How can you say that about her? She’s so nice and she really is a very pretty girl.”

Tall girl: “Oh come on - she needs work done to her face and she needs to workout or diet.”

Short girl: “Wow, I can only imagine what you say about me when I’m not around. That’s our good friend you’re talking about.”

See where this is going? Any time I hear someone talk about another person this way, I have to assume they’re very insecure with their own self-image, which is sad because sometimes their only outlet is making other people look bad verbally so that they can feel good about themselves physically. Whether the ‘talker’ is attractive or not, it makes them look extremely ugly once they get into a physical appearance bashfest. The underlining resentment they have for others who possibly get along better socially, yet not seen as “attractive”, is more of a threat. Their own vanity blinds them and once someone outshines their feathers, the verbal attack starts. I truly believe you can't be taught how to have couth, and no amount of money can ever buy somebody class, which is why their only resort, their only tactic is to go after those ‘they think’ are unattractive and possibly a threat to their own social standing.

The worst in my opinion is witnessing certain people who have had a “trying” past, perhaps someone who was heavily into drugs, with no money and no hope for the future, until some 'angel' on this earth pulls them out from underneath their crack rock. It’s great to see someone overcome addiction and live a better life. But what happens when that one person forgets their past completely and starts belittling those who are going through what they did? What happens when that person completely demolishes the “middle class” or lower, since now they have been saved by someone who is richer? What about when they bash those who are having the same drug problem they once had? They get amnesia and start gloating about what a wonderful life “they’ve earned” - or better yet, they have been given. When you forget your past and start downing those who are going through what you did ten years ago, it’s time to proverbially sober up, because God can quickly give you fortune as well as take it away just as fast.

And my final rant... A male friend of mine used to weight 300+ lbs. His health was in jeopardy and he wanted to do something about it. He went in for lap band surgery. He then went down to 170 lbs and he looked fantastic - he looked healthy. Problem is, he used to be funny, witty and so nice to everyone. Sadly, he turned into a total bitch, telling others how to eat well and exercise and judging other people's dietary habits after he took the easy road. He thinks and knows he’s beautiful and uses this to his advantage. He makes fun of heavy people and being that he’s gay, he mocks gay men who are a bit on the heavier side, forgetting where he came from. I then decided to stop even being friends with him because he was so negative all. the. time. This was going back about four years ago or so. I just recently bumped into him, not recognizing him. “Deb! Hey! It’s me!” And I turned around to get a good look at who was calling me, and it was my old friend. He gained all the weight back and then some. He said he was too sick on the lap band and the many visits to the surgeon had them readjusting his band all the time. He couldn't maintain the drastic lifestyle and could no longer tolerate it, therefore gaining the weight back. But, something was different, other than the weight change. He was pleasant, funny and witty again. He wasn’t bashing people as he did when he was thinner. In fact, I think he got a dose of God’s karmic medicine.

“Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than yourself.”~ Plutarch quotes

"One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others." ~Moliere

"Whatever you condemn, you have done yourself." ~Georg Groddeck, The Book of the It, 1950

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ~Carl Jung

“It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one. Only the ignorant and narrow-minded gossip, for they speak of persons instead of things.” ~Lawrence G. Lovasik

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~Mother Teresa

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Growth Spurts

Yesterday, someone shared a quote with me that resonated with me so much. She said, "Just remember, trying to hurt me by bringing up my...