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12/15/2017 10:23 pm  #531

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

What did John choose?

Life is an Orthros.

12/18/2017 8:24 pm  #532

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

John chose to attempt to bully his way in using threats and intimidation.  John was not welcomed into my home.  It became necessary to Take Steps.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/18/2017 8:26 pm  #533

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is an outright depression.

 This is not something I have control over. It happens. It's part of the structure of my brain so it isn't like I can just talk myself out of it. Being aware of it helps a great deal. At least if I can identify an emotion and trace its roots back to nothing then I know I'm dealing with another period of misfiring synapses.

 As a lifestyle, I wouldn't recommend it.

 I've been thinking a great deal about prophets lately. And prophecies in general.

 A prophesy is a statement or series of statements about events which haven't occurred at the time said statement was made but said statement is just vague enough to be completely accurate—centuries after the fact.

 And with a great deal of creative symbolism involved.

 What I find curious about prophecies is that people are so very willing to believe them. This belief seems to be based solely on the accuracy of previous prophecies. Please refer back to “creative symbolism” and “centuries after the fact”.

 Yes, you can look at some of Nostradamus's quatrains and say “That kind of fits this situation”. And it does. But is that what that quatrain said before or after is was translated into English? And when was it translated into English? And how do you know this wasn't written by some guy named Dave in Gloucester?

 You don't really.

 A good prophecy will not say something like “The 3:45 bus to Cleveland will run over your cat on March 10th 2018”. It would say something like “The Gray Beast, in its rage, fell upon its hapless prey.”

 Is that prophecy accurate? Yes. It also describes Hannibal's entire warfare strategy. While this sounds a great deal like hyperbole I assure you it's completely accurate.

 Prophets are a different sort of fish altogether.

 There are two types of prophet. There's the Deific prophet, that is a prophet who has a personal meeting with a god or gods. And the predictive prophet, that is a prophet who tells the future with little or no direct divine involvement.

 Deific prophets share a number of things in common.

 To begin with they never, ever have their divine encounter in the presence of witnesses. In other words, a deity...something with an understanding far beyond that or mortal man, didn't realize that popping in over the most crowded city you can find would be preferable to selecting a single individual who no one is going to believe.

 Next the deity in question usually gives something wrought with divine power to their prophet—which the prophet promptly loses either through the excesses of those around them or through some lack of faith on the part of said prophet. Again, this happens with no witnesses—at least none left alive.

 Finally the deific encounter always occurs after lengthy periods of time spent in either excessively hot weather or at excessively high altitude with little or no food or water. I suppose the best way to meet a god is to get as close to being dead of dehydration or oxygen deprivation.

 I have no strong feelings about prophecies or their prophets one way or the other. I think they're mostly useless because they're no help before whatever they're predicting occurs so what's the point of predicting a future if it takes three hundred years to figure out what the hell they are talking about.

 This is just one of the things rattling around in my head. Practically everything relating to human nature is bubbling to the surface.

 It's difficult, at times, to remember why I'm doing this. This is supposed to be for my benefit. It's supposed to be about me. Not me as a central figure in the entire universe but me as a person on a world filled with people.

 A person who is trying to understand.

 Ask anyone, someone you know or even a complete stranger, to sum up in one sentence how the would could be made a better place. The answers you receive will vary widely but I predict they will all contain the same basic premise.

 That premise being that others have to change in order for things to be better.

 I predict that if someone has no foreknowledge of the reason for the question, none of them will begin with “I could”.

 So sayeth the prophecy of Ben.

 Thanks for listening 

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/18/2017 8:44 pm  #534

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is depressed, as previously noted.

 A couple of people have asked about this and it occurred to me that I didn't report the second encouter with John the Chief Asshole.

 To refresh your memory, the above-named individual showed up at my home at 6:30pm on a Friday night, wandered around my house yapping loudly with a group of people, then insisted on being shown in. He indicated he'd talked to someone at my management company, Elite.

 I informed him no one spoke to me and closed the door. I was not rude, I simply made a statement of fact.

 The following Thursday he's back. He knocks on my door, shoves a flier in my hand, and tells me he's showing the inside of my house the following day.

 Tells me he's doing this.

 I don't know how you feel about it but being treated as if I'm nothing more than a particularly large gold-fish. That is to say, my feelings on the matter of the sanctity of my home are of no concern since I'm renting.

 I beg to differ.

 Anyway, John shows up again on Friday at around 6:45.

 I point out to him that the address on his very pushy and rude flier is for the property connected to this one. I pointed out the residence is a separate and distinct entity. I didn't tell him I'd looked this up and knew for a fact that both are separately assessed and taxed.

 And the addresses are different.

 John chose to begin that conversation with a lie claiming the entire property is all one property. I figured since he intended to lie there was no point in continuing that line of questioning.

 The next question I asked was very simple: Are you my landlord?

 A far question to which John stated I was “nit-picking”. John then proceeded to threaten me with a twenty dollar fine for not letting him in. That was the end of the conversation.

 No one. And I mean NO ONE threatens me in my own home.

 I can't think of a single person, renter or owner, who would put up with such a thing.

 In short, there was no showing. And until that extremely rude, pushy jerk produces some sort of paperwork from my landlord, his representative will not be admitted.

 He, personally, will not be admitted. Not without an apology.

 That doesn't seem like a lot to ask.

 Thanks for listening. 

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/18/2017 10:11 pm  #535

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

12/18/2017 addendum II

 The mood is still the same.

 Not sure what's gotten into my head this evening but the philosophical side of my mind won't STFU.

 As a caseworker, I frequently heard “I was in line behind...” stories. They usually involve someone being incensed over what someone in front of them in line at the grocery store are buying with food stamps.

 It's easy to see the above judgment is flawed in that it's based on practically no information of any kind.

 Every time I hear this I question myself. When do I do the same thing? Am I forming opinions with no information.

 Oh yes. I do this frequently. And it bothers me.

 This is something that, logically, I shouldn't do because it makes no sense at all. How can I make a sweeping generalization based on a thirty-second encounter? Simple. It's rooted in emotion not logic. And decisions undertaken in an emotional state always have to be questioned.

 Mostly because they're usually wrong.

 The trick is to do this before the decision, not after. I'm still working on that part.

 December is usually a bummer.

 It's the time of year when everything is oriented around both having a family and being able to bring joy and peace to your family by spending so much money you won't be out of debt until next year when you can do it all over again.

 The ambient emotional pressure is excessive.

 Anyone with even the most remote sense of empathy can see how utterly miserable most people are because they are failing to live up to an expectation that really hasn't been defined. People are loudly proclaiming happiness has a dollar limit and others believe them.

 Hell, I did too.

 It was quite a chore stepping back from it all and really looking at what I was doing and why. The what was obvious—making myself miserable in order to make someone else happy. Which seemed to be exactly what everyone else was doing.

 The why?

 Why is because there's always something bigger. Something brighter. Something shinier. Something better. I found myself wanting what I didn't have instead of wanting what I did have.

 Which makes no sense at all.

 But advertisers like to whip people into a frenzy and implying they might be less than perfect parents/spouses/siblings/children...etc because they're cheapskates is a very powerful motivator.

 It's just motivating for all the wrong reasons.

 It's okay to want to make your loved ones happy.

 It's not okay for someone else to tell you how.

 Thanks for listening

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/19/2017 8:52 am  #536

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is irritated.

 It's very, very difficult to get a dental appointment in the VA healthcare system. The VA, like most providers, view dentistry as something that really isn't all that important.

 Subsequently there are very few people doing the work and lots of people waiting to see them.

 It took three months to get this morning's appointment. It was at 8:15am. At 7:50am I was parked on Interstate 83. I mean literally parked. I only had to make it as far as the PA Turnpike exit and still failed.

 Naturally, there were dozens of people at the accident site. Most were standing around talking. None were directing traffic. An alternate route turned into the same joke mostly because people who had no idea where they were going were following other people who were just as lost.

 This meant a lot of parking on the secondary roads too.

 So, in summary. I have to wait months to see a dental provider which is a round trip of over one hundred miles, drove a total of seventy-five miles, and still failed to see a dentist.

 I actually watched someone come to a complete stop on the interstate in the left hand lane because a police car was passing. The police car, of course, ended up stuck because some fool came to a complete stop in the left lane.

 It seems to me that every time I encounter the general public the average intelligence level has plummeted. Either people are paying no attention to their surroundings or they are so dense that split-second decisions take a minute or two.

 Which is fine in your living room but a very bad thing when you're moving a ton and a half of machinery at seventy-five miles per hour.

 The result is a parking lot.

 So I'm cranky and staying that way for the foreseeable future.

 My rescheduled appointment is in three months.

 Thanks for listening.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/19/2017 9:20 am  #537

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

12/19/2017 addendum

 The mood is back to depressed.

 I'll take that over cranky. I might be dismal but I'm not being abrasive so I can work with it.

 I've been spending a great deal of time lately pacing at any given hour of the day or night and holding extended conversations with myself.

 This is not to be confused or construed as the same behavior as those folks who have special friends only they can see and hear. I am, literally, taking up the debate for however many sides the subject I'm pondering has.

 Pros, cons, and everything in between. I argue them all. That's how I think. That's how I break things down. I'm my own biggest critic. I keep asking myself things that I used to avoid asking like “...And then what?”

 I'm going to do this thing...and then what?

 Consequences are the result of actions. Usually actions I've taken myself. If I find myself on the receiving end of an unpleasant consequence, I can usually trace it back to myself as being the prime mover.

 The advantage to knowing this is that I pick at a concept, consider possible outcomes, then plan accordingly. When I was on active duty, I was always very good in emergencies because I'd already considered the possibility a few dozen times and had an established pattern I place to deal with it.

 Yes, I would actually commit a significant amount of thought to ways people might try to kill me and/or things that might go horribly wrong and usually end in some kind of explosion.

 I thought that was just good sense.

 I've been told it's just obsessive behavior.

 Okay, I'll take obsessive over being blow to bits any day.

 There will very likely be more.

 Thanks for listening.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/24/2017 11:10 am  #538

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is nostalgic.

 I picked up a couple of bags of cookie mix at the store earlier last week. I picked chocolate chip and peanut butter. I did the chocolate chip one's yesterday evening. They're a little on the large size. Another sense of scale issue.

 But I know how to bake.

 I was one of those weird boys. Nothing at all like my brothers. I disliked watching sports and had an even more intense dislike of playing them in any way. I mean, come on! Chasing a ball around? Where's that get fun??

 Deep breath.

 Okay, so I didn't like sports. I hated getting dirty. I liked running and swimming and playing just like every other boy. I was different from every other boy because I thought the microscope I got for my eighth birthday was just the second coolest present I'd ever gotten.

 It was the first coolest present at the time but it was bumped by a toy helicopter that I could actually fly two years later.

 I was also the kind of boy that wanted to help his mother when she was cooking, baking, or otherwise employing some sort of kitchen related talent. Initially, my reason was because I got to use these great big knives to chop things up. And the chopping itself was very precise and, therefore, interesting.

 But then I got interested in how things change when they're being prepared and cooked.

 How does a powder turn into a solid? How do you make bread rise? Why? How to make cakes and pie crusts and roasts and stews and how to grill things to perfection...the patterns were endless. Fascinating.

 I wanted to learn to cook and bake and such things are not things that are done by little boys.

 Little boys are supposed to be filthy, covered in bruises and scabs, and if you could fit in a broken bone then you were the real All-American Boy. Yippee.

 What was funny about all of this is I truly had no idea I was being ridiculed for being inquisitive, creative, and eager to learn. Such a thing made no sense so it didn't even show up on my radar. No pattern, no relevance.

 I remember my brother Jon calling me names and teasing me without mercy because I became interested in an old Easy Bake oven I found in our attic. I cleaned it up and found a light bulb for it. Jon stopped teasing when I started turning out pies. I saved trimmings from my mother's pies, filled them with jelly, and baked them.

 Yes, I shared with him. That's just the way I am.

 The fascination with the Easy Bake oven was not with the fact that I could bake cakes and pies with it. It was the fact that it worked at all. How does an “oven” made of tin and plastic with no heating element bake anything?

 The answer, of course, was that what was going in the oven ended up an inch away from a 100 watt light bulb. Such a light bulb literally gets hot enough to fry an egg...or bake a cake. Until that point in my life, it never occurred to me that a light bulb produces heat.

 Things like this would just keep unfolding until I was so distracted that anything involving the words “rough” and/or “tumble” just weren't in my lexicon.

 And I didn't mind this at all. Although everyone around me insisted otherwise, I never once felt as if I was missing out on anything.

 There were a remarkable number of small joys in what was an otherwise terrifying childhood. Sometimes I have to remind myself that the good memories are just as fresh and powerful as the bad ones.

 So today, it's random nostalgia.

 I'm good with that too.

 Thanks for listening.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/27/2017 9:08 am  #539

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is erratic.

 Various thoughts on various subjects.

 One percent of the people in the world control some unbalanced amount of the world's wealth. I don't know if this is accurate and don't much care. The general consensus is that this is unfair and the wealth should be redistributed.

 I never liked the term “Redistribution of wealth”. It sounds far too much like taking something from someone and giving it to someone else for no reason other than people being uncomfortable with something they'd been getting along with for centuries.

 This is another of those areas where we're thinking of solving a problem by addressing a symptom, not the actual problem. Th e problem is not who has the wealth, the problem is the wealth. We decide what has value and we value all the wrong things.

 It's kind of obvious.


 What ever helps you find some peace. Except everyone seems to think the path to peace lies in everyone else believing the same things they do. Religion is about the belief that this isn't all we are. This is a very personal thing. It's your perspective on what happens to you after death.

 If your personal beliefs can only be realized through the actions of others you will never be at peace.

 This is also obvious. 


 The American political system is broken. There are far too many bills being written by people who hold no office, never have, and never will. These bills are then voted into law by elected officials who are dependent on the organizations writing them for money to continue holding office.

 While that statement is a gross simplification it is completely accurate.

 So wealth factors in again. Without it, politicians lose support. With it, they can obtain great power. So the problem isn't corruption in our political system, it's that our political system is completely driven by wealth. Again, greatly valuing all the wrong things.

 This obvious.

 World peace.

 World peace is possible. All you have to do is remove every human from the planet. Creatures that spend a significant amount of time and wealth coming up with new and better ways to kill more and more people in the name of security will never be at peace.

 Some often quoted fool once said “An armed society is a polite society”. Incorrect. An armed society is a fearful society. Would you want your children going to school knowing that every one they encounter could end their lives in an eye-blink?

 That's not politeness. That's fear. And people exposed to significant amounts of fear over long periods of time eventually become violent. And this is what we are. A society rushing toward self-destruction. The odd part is that everyone with any kind of world view knows this.

 This is obvious.


 Not thrilled with them in concept but I'm also not foolish enough to believe that pretending something isn't there will actually make it go away. Would I prefer a world without deadly weapons? Yes, who wouldn't? But there is little possibility of this happening. None, in fact.

 Possession of guns, while based on a distorted view of the Second Amendment, are so deeply rooted in the American psyche and are a built-in aspect of our society that removing them completely is no longer possible.

 We are the most heavily armed society on this planet. Is everyone polite?

 I'm all for responsible gun ownership. The problem is the responsible part. People will complain loudly about their right to a deadly weapon but utterly fail to accept the responsibility of owning one.

 Being able to take a life is not a fashion statement. It's not a political statement. It's not a demonstration. It's not a toy. Yet deadly weapons are used in this manner every moment of every day. I much dislike the idea of some of the people I've met in my lifetime having the ability to end either their own lives or someone elses.

 Yet they could if they want to.

 And, once again, we're trying to solve the problem by making it much, much larger. The problem isn't the gun. The problem isn't the number of guns. The problem is the person holding the gun. Why does that person feel they need to carry a deadly weapon in the first place? Is anyone trying to figure out why everyone is afraid?

 Not really.

 This is obvious. 

 Do I believe television is turning us into a nation of idiots?


 This is obvious. 

  I've lived in a number of different places on this planet. Every society is different. I've toured castles, lived in buildings that were centuries old, spent time talking with a goat-herd in Jordan who lived with his family in what was a large lean-to.

 I've witnessed rescue workers trying to pry an infant, clearly dead, out of its mother's arms. I've shaken hands with a president and with a prince. I've spent time with people in all stations in life in dozens of places all over the world.

 I've been to countries we call enemies. I've been to countries we call allies. I've witnessed counties becoming first one, then the other, then the first again.

 And every one of those countries had one thing in common.

 All those people. Those little people who are legion. No matter what they did for a living. No matter how much they had or how much needed. They all just want to not be afraid. They want to get through the day. They want to have a life. Raise families. Maybe leave something behind.

 And this is the biggest problem of all.

 If this is all anyone wants, then why are we headed for self-destruction? If no one really wants to evaporate in a cloud of nuclear fire, or be gassed, or shot down, or blown up...if no one wants these things, then who decided these things will be?

 All of those people I just mentioned. The Us. The We. We The People. We're responsible for all of this. Yet we're convinced we aren't part of the problem and believe there is no solution.

 We have an amazing talent to see evil everywhere but in a mirror.

 We can either change what we can control or we can let it end in fire.

 It's our own choice. It always has been.

This is obvious.

 Thanks for listening. 

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

12/30/2017 8:06 pm  #540

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is relaxed.

 I'm learning to let go of things.

 It's not as easy as it sounds. An established pattern is not something that can just be ignored, or removed, or have everything routed around it. Each pattern is connected to everything around it on thousands of levels.

 That's not something you just undo.

 But I've been in treatment for a significant number of years, I've finally cut loose what was crushing my spirit, and I've finally just said “okay, that's how things are”. It's all still there, it's just not as relevant anymore.

 I left home when I was seventeen.

 What followed was fifteen years of bouncing around from state to state, country to country, meeting new and interesting people and, in some cases, attempting to kill them. That was just the job. But I enjoyed my time just the same.

 I had a lot of very mistaken notions when I went out into the world.

 I believed we'd always been the good guys. I believed history was just as I was told it was. I believed in everything I was told because there was never any evidence to the contrary.

 This was not a good way to be.

 Going places where people have a very different version of our history was an eye opening experience...or eye watering depending on your viewpoint. After about a decade of bouncing around I finally learned the only truth.

 There really is one truth to all things.

 That truth is that truth is whatever the winners say it is. That's the one truth.

 If I say the sun revolves around the earth and you insist it's the other way around and I apply an instrument normally used for working materials much harder than your testicles then you'll likely agree that you might have been mistaken.

 Ask Galileo.

 Or Sir Thomas Moore. Who really should have just said “I recant my Catholicism”. I think his god would have understood an urgent need to keep his internal organs...well, internal.

 So, the truth is that there is no truth because the truth is whatever happens to fit our version of reality at the time.

 Once I understood this it was much easier to just ease into things.

 The truth is I've been lied to. And if I allowed it, I'd still be lied to.

 But I'm not the only one being lied to.

 Thanks for listening.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

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