Time for another update (journaling in late September)

Can’t complain much these days. All has been going pretty well lately. Other than my car eventually needing some expensive repairs, life is pretty good.

Been saving up so that I can finally pay the IRS their blood money. Oh joy. Extensions make life easier in that department.

Have been working out regularly lately, typically 4 times a week at the gym and most of those days with my trainer. Was sore as a mofo the other day in my hip flexors/inner thigh area, so probably wandered around town looking like I just dismounted a horse. Ah well. It happens. Comes with the territory. Slightly injured my left elbow a week or more ago and so have been trying to let that heal up and focus on other muscle groups in the meantime. Didn’t do as much cardio this week; maybe next week I’ll feel a bit more motivated. Also got in some yoga after one workout with my trainer this week, so that was nice.

As mentioned on here previously, I put back on about 20 lbs. since the winter due to getting lazy for a while there (though it was a milder winter by Midwestern standards, winter conditions still make hitting the gym a PITA). So I got back up to a whopping 174 lbs., unfortunately, and my weight has stubbornly hovered in that range, particularly after I quit drinking alcohol and began craving other carbs as substitutes for all that beer my body felt deprived of. So…that’s been an irritating development. But it’s kicked me back into gear in terms of working out more and trying to watch what I eat a bit (at least some days). I’ve managed to drop back down to 170 lbs. (once again) and hopefully this time can keep the trend heading downward instead of yoyo-ing as has been the case for the last few months. I blame sunflower seeds and birthday bon-bons for some of this stagnation and have notified my former partner that I am no longer open to receiving big boxes of chocolates on future holidays. Can’t do it. Keeps my butt too big. Heh

Part of its muscle gain though too. Can’t discount that. My arms are looking better defined once again, which is wonderful. Just love seeing definition there, though the overall layer of fluff tends to obscure it. Was down to 152 lbs. last summer and miss that. But I was working out a lot more vigorously back then when my trainer’s own gym was still open. Oh well. We adapt. The new gym he’s now working at is a comfortable atmosphere, so I’m growing more bold there now too. Just gotta waltz in and act like I belong there and not let the super-muscular guys intimidate me. Not that it’s their fault — just that one can get self-conscious in their presence. Get to feeling like a dweeb playing with my little dumbbells in the corner sometimes.  lol  But c’est la vie. There’s a wide array of people at this gym, of all ages and skill levels, so there’s really no reason for any of us to feel out of place. And I love how much cheaper membership is there.

Wednesday I stopped by the local shooting range and signed the necessary waiver and watched the video required prior to gaining access. All of that is now taken care of so I am ready to finally officially start training with my handgun. Yay! They have a really great lady’s night special on Wednesdays that I look forward to taking advantage of, as well as 2-for-1 pricing on Fridays. american_smilie  That will go a long way in making that hobby more affordable. The place looked nice and the staff were friendly and helpful, so soon I will give it a go. This has been a goal in the back of my mind for a long time that I finally can take part in and check off of my list of things to do.  I consider it a reward of sorts for knocking off the drinking habit: allowing myself to go shooting at the range and exploring further weapons training. Really proud of myself for making this transition so that I can responsibly improve my marksmanship (wouldn’t allow myself to do much of that back before, and for good reason IMO). So yeah. Yay!  Good times.  biggrin_green  Already own ear and eye protection and ammunition and a carrying case for my firearm, so I’m ready to go.

Also been considering eventually purchasing a semi-auto to accompany my revolver, but that’s a ways off into the future. Have car repairs to worry about before then. Might even have to buy a different car since this one has such high miles that it’s really not worth dumping too much money into. And that might mean taking on car payments once again.  Oy.

What else? Been learning about the ketogenic diet lately. Not sure if I’m interested in going that far, but I definitely see the benefits in reducing my carb intake. Recently listened to the audiobook The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung and appreciated it. Would recommend it to others! Also discovered several YT channels that offer HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts, which are reminiscent of the types of workouts we used to do in classes at my trainer’s former gym. Had a lot of success with that form of cardio before and look forward to trying it out again. Though I’m sure my downstairs neighbor won’t be too thrilled by what sounds like a water buffalo romping around overhead.  Ha!  Ah well. He’ll get over it. Will try to time my in-home workouts around his baby’s nap-time if needed. Will be good for me, especially once winter hits for those days I don’t feel like driving through snow and ice to get to the gym and then having to change out my snow-boots once there. Too easy to blow off going to the gym under those circumstances.

Feels good to remain active. Actually been in better spirits for a while now. Even my Grandma commented on that. She’s sooooo glad that I quit drinking. It’s now been 14.5 weeks. So that’s cool. Once I began working out again more regularly back over a couple of years ago my mood began to improve, and now it’s improving even more. SO nice not waking up with a headache and feeling ran over right out the gate. So nice saving all that money and no longer having to worry about DUIs/OWIs. Nice also to have more free time on my hands to do other things and in a functional manner. Like doing my nails (not worth attempting while buzzed or drunk). Been less grumpy overall, and it’s become really obvious over the last few weeks. Notice myself laughing more. And that also has contributed to getting along better with my former partner (as I refer to him on here since I don’t know what else to call him anymore). I haven’t felt as sensitive about the stuff he might say or as reactive, which is good. If he annoys me, I manage to laugh it off (at least more often) instead of getting hot-headed or feeling insulted or whatever else. That’s worth its weight in gold: improved relations with my people. And when I don’t get snippy or over-reactive, he then is less prone to do so as well, and contentment becomes possible. Obviously he still drinks a good bit and he did have that bad night back in July where he decided to be an asshole for no particularly good reason, resulting in us taking a few weeks apart. Since then he’s come back with a better attitude, and so I’ve decided to let bygones be bygones and to just roll on. Upward and onward. Bad days happen. Less drama = less stress = less opportunities to create further drama. Glad to see us in a better cycle for a change. Reminds me of what we originally enjoyed about one another’s company. He seems to be in much better spirits as a result too. Says he has no desire to tempt me back into drinking again, that he’s proud of me for recognizing how volatile it makes me and for letting it go. I agree.

Though, he did make a comment this week about how eventually he expects me to be able to handle drinking moderately. Told him I don’t really want to, that I think I’m better off leaving it alone in going forward. That’s maybe not what he wants to hear, but he’ll learn to accept it over time. Not all of us are cut out for continuing the drinking lifestyle. Lots of downsides to it, and increasingly so as time rolls on. We discussed the matter and he expressed feeling badly about being a bad influence on me over the years we’ve known one another, but I told him that I don’t regret meeting him and likely would’ve taken drinking too far even without his presence in my life. Was mourning the illness and then death of a family member and didn’t handle it well. Besides, I’m grateful to be where I am now, so whatever had to come before to teach me important lessons was likely necessary to create this outcome in the end. So I can’t really regret what all has transpired. Just glad to be moving forward.

Am also glad to be less of an emotional drain on my best guyfriend since he’s the one I talk to on the phone the most. Lord knows I’ve probably stressed him the hell out over the last few years with all my crying and struggling with my lifestyle. But he’s remained by my side as a solid friend regardless. Gotta love that guy. Wouldn’t know what to do without him in my life. Looking forward to going out with him to a movie and dinner on Sunday.

The book I’m currently listening to is Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Owned a print copy for many years (courtesy of my Dad) and never got around to reading it, so decided to order the audio version instead so as to have it read to me while I go about my day. Am enjoying it. Much more interesting than I originally thought it would be.

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Karen Straughan’s afterthoughts on Chris Cantwell and white nationalism

All of her points made there sound reasonable to me.

Eighteen years later (the Columbine school shooting and its aftermath)

Reflecting back on an event from April 20th, 1999:

Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters who committed the Columbine High School massacre, years later granted an interview with 20/20:

The other shooter’s name was Eric Harris. Son of a retired U.S. Air Force pilot father and a homemaking mother.

Both families appeared middle-class and stable, not what one might expect to generate hooligans of that magnitude.

A couple of their friends agreed to an interview in 2000:

Sue Klebold speaking out about suicidal tendencies and living in the aftermath of her son’s crime on TEDMED (Feb. 2017):

Can’t say that I share her faith in psychiatric drugs to remedy this malady considering how often it’s born out of a sense of nihilism and existential reckoning. Altering brain chemistry alone can’t infuse someone’s life with meaning or erase our personal problems. And occasionally the main problem is bigger than that, as with psychopathy. Furthermore, drugs prescribed to treat depression can actually worsen it. As in inducing a condition called Tardive Dysphoria where prolonged antidepressant use leads to chronic depression. Or the drugs themselves may simply stop proving effective over time. Not to mention all the other unwanted side effects. Then there’s the problem with increased aggressiveness and suicidality in youths prescribed these drugs, despite many years of active targeting and marketing of these drugs toward young age groups, which is inevitably ushering in new class action lawsuits against Big Pharma companies. Also read somewhere about how antidepressant drugs marketed today have no better clinical success rate than placebos for many, if not most, people.

Stuff to keep in mind and to research more in-depth for oneself. It’s become too easy of an answer to keep pushing drugs and “mental health services” on youths experiencing social and interpersonal problems as well as depressing symptoms and anxiety, and how much good is it really doing? Why should it even be necessary for so many people in general nowadays to be labeled according to psychiatric standards and prescribed a drug? Why is modern life proving that difficult to cope with for this many people across the West? Sounds like an existential issue at bottom, not one that can be medicated away.

Anyway… Continuing on with Kacey Johnson, survivor of the Columbine shooting, speaking up now as a mother herself:

Journaling on a Friday night in mid-August (on my friend’s mortality, plus an update)

So it’s been 8.5 weeks since committing to stop drinking. That’s really good, and I’m proud of myself on this. Demonstrating my will power to choose to do better, for all those out there who, for whatever reasons, like to downplay the significance of will power. Can’t claim to comprehend what those folks are talking about there, seeing as how we’re always presented with options and even people with a whole lot working against them that one might imagine would never succeed have proven they could rise on the right occasion. When they made up their mind to do so and backed it with determined effort. I take inspiration from such people.

Yesterday happened to be my mother’s birthday. Decided to send her a text today, to which she replied saying she’d received flowers from the man she’s dating now. We haven’t interacted via text in several months prior to this exchange, per our norm. Yesterday also marked the day I decided to give up smoking herb for a solid couple of weeks. Hadn’t been partaking in it much since quitting drinking, but I still worry about replacing one crutch for another. So I simply decided to take a hiatus from that as well. Will be good for me. Might bore me into going to bed earlier and actually working out more than twice a week.

Hadn’t been inside a bar in about 2 weeks until today (where I ordered iced tea, of course). There I ran into a female friend and her ex-husband (those two remain close friends), having not seem either of them in months and him specifically since long before his last heart attack back in May. Might’ve been before Christmas since he and I last spoke. So I asked questions and he shared what all he’s been going through with that, plus he filled me in on details about his last heart attack 12 years ago as well as his mini-stroke 11 years ago. Also, he had underwent having a pacemaker put in back in March, which is what likely saved his life during this latest heart attack. Though when he collapsed he managed to fall and hit his head hard, resulting in a concussion that caused periodic bouts of dizziness for a month or more. They say he might live another couple of years at the rate he’s going. He’s now 61 years old, thankful to have healthcare coverage, currently living off the remains of his 401k while waiting for acceptance on disability coverage, with plans to file for early retirement next year so as to collect social security benefits. He had always worked up until the events of this spring, but now he’s unable to fulfill the duties of his job.

He spoke of the medications they have him on and their side effects, the doctors visits and body scans, and the insomnia he’s now plagued with. But what really struck a chord with me was when he talked about their young grandson and how he’s spending as much time as he can with him and letting him know how much he loves him. Says he can’t take anything for granted anymore. I got pretty misty-eyed listening to that portion of his story.

Mortality. The hardest part seems to be knowing that your days are numbered. His father and grandfather both suffered heart attacks and died relatively young, so he’s not counting on outliving them by much. Not that I can blame him there. He has to reckon with this to the best of his ability based on the information he’s being confronted with.

He’s a good man. Very sweet and caring. A good provider and overseer for his family, despite the divorce. Told me that he’s always adored me as well, and the feeling is mutual. A part of me does love that man, just because he has a good spirit. He will be missed, but like he said, we shouldn’t mourn him when he’s gone, we should celebrate life and living.

Wish I could make it to his eclipse party later this month, but I’ll be busy working like always. Will think of him when that eclipse does darken the sky midday on August 21st, knowing how excited he is to experience it during his lifetime (said it’d been 99 years since the last one that was viewable from coast to coast). He does love to watch the heavens for activity. In fact, he and his ex-wife were the first ones to point out to me the space station moving past overhead a couple years ago. I’d probably have never noticed otherwise.

Does make me a little sad to see him still drinking despite his heart condition. He said he knows he probably should quit, but he’d also like to enjoy what time he has left and drinking is a big part of their lifestyles. I didn’t say much to any of that since it’s none of my business. Just worry for him is all, but I don’t need to state that out loud to him. It’s his life, and who knows what the future holds. Conventional wisdom doesn’t prove correct in every individual case, so sometimes you just gotta let the dice roll.

Their family has been through a great deal this year, from his failing health to their son’s apartment burning down due to an electrical fire, etc. She said their son is taking his father’s health problems pretty hard. I imagine. It’s a sad situation. But nothing can be done about it. Death is unavoidable.

Something else this man said that troubled me: he’s not worried about dying so much as who’s going to have to be the one to find his body. He’s worried for his family members being put through that trauma. Yeah, that’s heart-wrenching to deeply consider, knowing all of them and imagining how hard it would hit them inside. All I could do was just pat his leg on that since there aren’t words to comfort somebody wrestling with such thoughts. Then he broke into a bit of a joke about dying on his riding lawn mower. He’s a truly sweet-spirited person who thinks about everybody else first. Couldn’t change his nature if he tried.

We told one another to not be strangers, and I do hope to see him again sooner rather than later. Told my female friend goodbye and I left. That’s all the heaviness I could sit with in that hour.

I didn’t mean to walk away, but it felt like I needed to once all had been said that needed to be said for one day. I miss him a little bit already. Only met the man a couple years ago but he’s one of those sweet souls who leaves a positive mark whether he means to or not. We got along right off the bat, which is saying something since I’m not known for being compatible with just anybody and everybody. Told his ex-wife, my friend, that she can call me whenever she wants to talk and that I’ll be here for them. And I mean it. That family was really good to me when I met them by random chance a couple years back during a particularly bad depression spell. They befriended me and have remained kind toward me, even when I wound up pulling away over the last year so as to tend to my own matters. Now is a good time to reconnect and to find ways to help out as needed. I do need to make an effort at that, to not let it slide as if there’s always enough time. Time runs out. People grow old. Health declines. The only thing that really matters in this world are our people, however we might define that. Our relationships are what matter most. Everything else just winds up fading away without a second thought.

We just kept hugging each other. Communion in its truest form. He didn’t seem scared about all of this, but I know he’s afraid of leaving people who love and depend on him. But he’s likely still got time, maybe another year or two or more. Never know. But I know I need to step up as a friend and be around more instead of retreating to my home. And I’m going to. Been wanting to for a long while and now it feels very necessary.

What I really ought to do is make them dinner or snacks to take over sometimes. And we really ought to do game nights again like we used to. Those were always fun. Make a few more good memories while time permits.

Spoke to my former partner on the phone tonight and told him about all of that. He’s met them a handful of times in the past. Then I cooked spaghetti with a side of steamed green beans for dinner. Worked out earlier in the day with my gym trainer. Have an early morning tomorrow, so for the rest of the night I intend to relax.

The latest audiobook I completed (coincidentally) and really appreciated was Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman. A very worthwhile book. Currently re-listening to A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine.

Sunday afternoon conversation with Grandma (on farming, past race relations, and our changing times)

Just got off the phone with my Grandma. From time to time she gets to tripping down memory lane, telling about her life while growing up out on the farm. Listened to her tell of all they work they had to do back then, from tending to the hogs and plowing the fields, to picking cotton and growing a wide variety of vegetables. Plus caring for the chickens and milking the cow, churning butter, picking figs and peas and butter beans, etc. She told about how for several years her father would recruit black men looking for day labor positions to help pick the cotton and how a black woman named Mrs. Annie helped facilitate it so that all the men would be ready to be picked up on the day of hire and how she’d also oversee when wages were paid out later in the day for the amount of cotton collected, ensuring all was accepted as fair so no disputes could arise later on (and they never did). That would’ve been back in the 1940s-1950s. Grandma reflected on it being a good working relationship between all involved, with her father viewed as a fair man in that respect who paid well and treated people decently. And his wife was known as a good cook who was generous about feeding people. And the black folks in that area (a poor county by most standards and still to this day) were happy for the work, showing up on time as requested, content with the wages offered in an era before minimums became enforced. She spoke of people sharing their crops with one another and helping each other out as needed on one another’s farms.

Not that she always had nice things to say about her father. But he was by all accounts a sober man and a hard worker, and he treated people with friendliness and direct firmness so that they knew what he expected from them. That being back in the time when people had many kids so as to have low-cost laborers for their farms. My grandma was one of 6 kids, all girls except for one brother. I only knew my great-grandfather past the age of 70, he later living with my grandparents until he died at age 98. But during those years he was so old and worn out by life that I never had much of a relationship with him.

Grandma spoke about her mom and how her mom’s mom had died early on, leaving her mom to be raised by her aunt mostly. Apparently that woman wasn’t too nice of a person. Said her mom worked hard all her life. That being the running theme among nearly everybody worth mentioning in my lineage. Workhorses is what I’ve always referred to them as. The kind of people who wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if left idle. They find work to do since that’s all they know. Funny how things changed so abruptly for us younger generations who know nothing of that sort of lifestyle and can only listen to these old stories with wonder at how they managed all of that year after year, incapable of relating to their daily struggle to earn a living.

Sounded like a lot of drudgery, like the kind of life my contemporaries and I cannot relate to. We rely on a grocery store to provide everything we need today, whereas in Grandma’s time the only items they purchased at the store were flour, salt, black pepper, and occasionally lard (when a freshly slaughtered hog wasn’t available). She speaks of the wells on the property and how beef couldn’t be preserved as long as pork meat in the smokehouse. She tells of her mother sewing clothes for herself and the kids, though they sometimes went to the store to purchase church attire. And she tells of how they’d sweat in those churches, that being years before the advent of air conditioning. I don’t doubt that unto itself would prove to be hell in the Mississippi summer heat.

Hard to imagine life back then. While not so long ago, it might as well be centuries ago. So I keep asking her questions and pondering on the stories she shares. I asked her about race relations in her time, and she says it wasn’t like how it’s become these days, that people worked together then more than now because they all had hard lives. Amazing the difference a few decades and the emergence of material conveniences has made. Nowadays it’s as if some people are trying to rewrite history, pitting one race against another and pretending as though they’ve never been anything other than enemies who’ve never been able to see eye to eye. It’s a shame really that it’s come to this since many of us are rooted for generations in that same red clay soil, under the same blistering sun and its humid heat, contending with the same climate and conditions in trying to eek out an existence. Those were my ancestors just as they were some of yours too. And looking further back to pre-abolitionist days, I’ve read of the first indentured servant with my Papa’s last name to land on the east coast only to die during his servitude. Our histories aren’t as wholly separate as some like to pretend these days.

It’s as if we’re all becoming detached and divorced from history to where we’re prone to repeat generic stories passed down from those pushing an agenda, nevermind the truths of our actual lineages. That saddens me because it’s like watching something real get swept away as if it no longer matters. As if the new narrative trumps the truth. And with that, we can no longer appreciate what bonds we did possess in common, including a shared culture, for better or worse.

When I listen to her it feels like grains of sand being poured into my hands that then trickle down between my fingers and disappear into bottomless space where they might never be retrieved. Going, going, Gone. History made and history abandoned. Life’s work retold but then forgotten. Communal bonds established once upon a time, only to later be denied by future generations who care not about what came before. The past is being disposed of, like an inconvenient truth that defies the new narrative being woven. And I sit here and watch and listen as the conflicting tales pull in opposite directions and tear at the very fabric of (Southern) U.S. culture.

In a few more years all that will remain is the new retelling of racial injustices with no mercy shown to the many decades of the late 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century where progress had been made. That’s deemed obsolete, if not outright denied as a fairy tale, by those who wish to capitalize on a perpetual sense of victimhood. But they ought to see that their retelling of events isn’t accurate, that it leaves so much out, and that unto itself creates a new form of injustice that we’ll all wind up suffering from as a result. But people don’t think like that usually. Instead, they don’t look far enough ahead and like to cherry-pick the past to suit themselves. But what are you trying to suit nowadays? A grievance industry? A monopolization on righteous indignation? A false belief that only one sort of people were ever taken thorough advantage of, or, in reverse, that only one sort of people ever universally escaped hardships? It’s untrue. All might not be equal, nor would I claim that to be the case, but it’s not as unequal as some would have others believe.

So, when people go on these days talking about our roots and bloodlines and heritages, I can’t help but feel like mine has died. Perhaps never to be resurrected except in libelous narratives that attempt to rewrite history in order to bolster divisive modern political pursuits. That’s a damn shame. But I suppose this is just the way life tends to go. What once was tends to be forgotten over time. And what is here today might disappear tomorrow as well. Not sure what good it would do to try to hold onto that other than to keep it in my heart and let it inform my senses in the face of what others now wish to bring about. Not sure there’s anything else that realistically can be done.

“Patreon CEO Jack Conte LIVE: Lauren Southern, IGD, and Free Speech” (plus a look at the Community Guidelines page)

From The Rubin Report:

Hmmm…  Listened to the entire interview, read a good bit in the comment section, and now am perusing Patreon’s Community Guidelines page.

Never having signed up with that site, but was thinking of doing so to support content creators I appreciate. Now definitely having second thoughts.

Their community guidelines are entirely too vague, particularly where it comes to “hate speech,” “bullying,” “harassment,” and “serious attacks on people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or serious medical condition.” A screenshot follows:

ScreenHunter_20 Aug. 05 19.58What the heck does that mean? Looks extremely subjectively determined to me. How could it not be? A “safe space for normal people”? Well, that right there counts me out. No point in signing up if that’s how this is going to be played since I have no idea what qualifies as “normal,” but I’m willing to bet whatever it is will wind up excluding someone like me if that’s to be determined by people who actually take the term “hate speech” seriously.

Can’t say mean things about a person’s religion? What if that religion in question is Islam? Again, I’m willing to bet that religion is most especially protected by the type of folks who’d create guidelines worded in this way.

Here’s another paragraph of interest:

ScreenHunter_21 Aug. 05 20.03All sounds fine there, right? Well, hold on. Weapons? What kinds of weapons specifically? It doesn’t say. Does that mean a channel that broadcasts gun ownership and shooting techniques might not be welcome on Patreon? Certainly looks that way. Which to me sounds like a company that’s not friendly toward the 2nd Amendment, and why would I willingly do business with a company like that? If that weren’t their intention, I figure they’d come across less ambiguous here.

See, I decided to actually look into Patreon’s guidelines for the first time today BECAUSE of Jack Conte’s behavior during the interview above. His answers didn’t jibe with me in numerous places. One minute they’re talking about that Canadian Southern gal and blocking a boat, the next Conte is comparing her actions to blocking an ambulance. AND THEN, later in the conversation when answering questions by the audience, Conte turned vague again in addressing Black Lives Matter protesters doing precisely what he brought up in the aforementioned example: blocking ambulances. Suddenly he’s back to shucking and jiving, acting like he’s not exactly sure what might violate his website’s terms and conditions, acting as though the guidelines are very technical and specific and must be assessed case by case in accordance. But look at that Community Guidelines page — barely a thing on there is spelled out in sufficient detail. So it can’t help but be a guessing game in figuring out what may or may not be deemed an account-terminating offense on there.

He said they’ll be implementing a new appeals process and warning system later this year. Okay. Surprised something like that wasn’t in place already.

And so much for Patreon being unfriendly to “hate” groups like antifa. Here’s a pro-antifa group still up on the website: https://www.patreon.com/intlantifadefence. Looked around on there and found a couple others too.

WOW! Look what I just found on Patreon: Cynthia (racist as hell — “white people aren’t human“) G: https://www.patreon.com/CynthiaG  How on EARTH has her content NOT violated their terms of service?? Nobody has contacted Patreon to report her nonstop bashing of white people, including defending black people approaching interracial couples to call them out on being together in public? What, what, what??! UGH.

That’s surprising. But Lauren Southern had to go. Of course. That totally makes sense, right?  rolleyes_smilie

This whole thing is starting to look like just another Left-leaning moneymaking enterprise. Not about supporting actual freedom of speech and open exchange of ideas. Yes, it’s great for people to have an alternative to Google’s Adsense since that’s controlled by advertisers, but it would also be good to have an alternative that doesn’t kick people off the platform for non-criminal offenses.

That settles it. Going to continue leaving that site alone and relying on Paypal when I feel like sending folks a few bucks.

Celebrating one mother’s life

That video really impacted me today. It’s from a new channel I just discovered this morning called Ghetto News Network, and it’s of the creator’s mom’s birthday celebration in light of discovering she has cancer. She really sounds like a nice lady, like she helped a lot of people. They look like a bonded family, and thank goodness for that. Can’t ask for much more than that in this life.

Makes me want to call my own Grandma.

We need these positive connections and lasting bonds in order to weather the storms. We need each other, undeniably. No human is capable of living as an island, and it’s amazing the transformative power of good people willing to help us, especially early in life. That’s a true blessing that we’re very lucky to have ever experienced. Strikes me as quite cruel when people are neglected and denied powerful connections and guidance, but the responsibility ultimately lies with us as people. Pain likes to pay forward, but so does charity and good will. It’s very easy to feel alienated in this day and age, to feel lost and unbound. These connections are what make life rich and meaningful, and it’s a real travesty for one to never know what that’s like. Very, very sad when that’s the case and guaranteed to create more problems.

I worry sometimes that the self-sacrificing people who’ve come before and touched our lives might be going extinct. That’s a powerfully disturbing thought, I know. I worry if their spirit might be fostered in future generations and carried forth or if it will wind up relinquished due to us not sufficiently recognizing its importance. That honestly scares me all the way down to the core, pondering what kind of world we’d be living in without their impact and support. My prayer for us today is to try to hold on to what matters most, to be careful about discarding old ways of being before thoroughly understanding their relevance and desirability. Because life can be very long and hard in the absence of a flame of compassion and loving service toward one another. And I stand as a hypocrite in saying that, acknowledging how I segregate off into my own little apartment and more often than not don’t reach out to offer help or consolation to others when I am able.

There are so many lessons to reckon with in this life. So many questions and dilemmas. But, hard as it is to say goodbye to those we love dearly, we truly are blessed to have ever known them, and hopefully we’ll learn from them and pick better paths ourselves. Hopefully.

My heart goes out to that family. May that man’s mother not suffer too much with her illness. This will be a very trying time for all of them, I don’t doubt it, but I appreciate them sharing a glimpse into their lives and what they’re contending with. There are no words to mollify the grief of losing a loving parent figure or reckoning with that inevitability. All we can do is keep them in our hearts and minds and try to do better ourselves. To try not to lose these lessons gleaned.