Thursday, May 29, 2008

little cicero bids farewell

When I first started the bloggy thing, I ran into a site that belonged to a rather precocious high school kid who's primary focus was of a philosophical nature.
He's been thought provoking and fun at the same time, willing to take on various difficult subjects and use the debate to either fine tune his own thoughts, or to change them altogether based on the arguments of others.

He came to really discuss issues, and learn, instead of parroting talking points. This trait is rare in social/political debate. To find it in someone as young as he, was even rarer.

This was two years ago, more or less. It was through my contacts with Mark that I've been blessed with many more contacts. As it is, about 3/4 of my regular blog circle I can attribute to his blog, either directly, or through second and third times removed.

He's in college now, and is taking a new direction in life. Soon, I hope, he gets back to blogging again.

Thanks, Mark!
It's been a pleasure.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Like Talking To A Rock

After sifting through 1,328 boxes of my sister's 'stuff', which sits in my formerly two-car garage, I discover a few folders containing, among other things, one ancient Prudential life insurance policy, and a 401k statement from a previous job.
On the surface, it looks like enough to cover costs, and maybe a little bit, mid three-figures, to spare.

Calling Prudential, I discover the beneficiary is my long deceased grandmother. In order to collect, I have to send original death certificates($$), no photocopies, from Mary and Grandma, a newspaper article or some other statement verifying accidental death($), a notarized($) statement from next-of-kin, fill out no less than five pages of forms... and get this...
wait 40 days from date of death before these things can be submitted for processing.

Truly, I understand the necessity of death certificates and notarized statements, all of which cost money to procure, but the 40 days?
What the hell for?
As much as I might want my sister's death to be a bad dream I'll soon awake from, and maybe on 'Day 39' she'll end up knocking on my door again, the reality is far from it.
Mary is gone, and she's not coming back.
I would really like to get this stuff settled and done with so I can get to dealing with my own business: dealing with my own sense of loss. Some time to mourn to myself after I've 'been strong' for everybody else.

There's no reason to wait 40 days and extend the bullshit any longer. I've got people to reimburse, more things to pay for, and I really would like to bring this to a close.
And Prudential isn't offering much help.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Or Maybe They Want To Do Him,Too?

I've been reading and hearing many times lately about the fissure taking place within the feminist movement concerning Hillary's campaign, and how some femmes are pissed off at other femmes for not supporting her enough, or worse yet, accusations of gender treason hurled at those who openly support the vaginally-deficient Obama.
Seeing a cat-fight such as this, to put it plainly, warms my little black heart.

At first glance,these two are really not that far apart on any issues. Both are socialists who's main goal is to move the nation closer to the collectivist dreams of Karl Marx than the liberty ideals set forth in the nation's founding documents. But even NARAL has come out in favor of Obama, tilted in his direction, I'm sure, not just by his all-out support in favor of killing any baby in the womb, at any time, for any reason(a sacramental act by NARAL standards), but by his willingness to have them killed even after they are born (I think it was called the No Child Left Alive Act). Great guy, this Obama is, ain't he? At least he's consistent.

Hillary, to her misfortune, has never had the chance to cast a vote on this most extreme act of compassion, and therefore loses the NARAL nags' support.
(C'est la vie, Bitch.)

But there's even more reason than this for true defenders of the weaker sex to support Obama over Hillary. It's all based upon Hillary's much proclaimed, but never itemized, years of experience defending and fighting for women.
Anybody (who wants to) can remember the Clinton years, both in Arkansas and in the White House. With Bill catting around with any willing 'bimbo' (Hillary's word), combined with the numerous accusations of of rape, sexual assault, and chauvinistic boorishness (remember him saying he would 'do' the Andean mummy girl?).

All those years of experience were spent largely defending his sexual predations, making excuses for his 'mistakes', trashing the girls who became public, destroying the lives of those who stood up for themselves, and using threats and intimidation (dead pets,slashed tires, anonymous phone calls, IRS audits, to name a few) against any women who dared to speak.
The self-proclaimed defender of women was anything but that.

I realize, of course, that I'm likely giving the angelic shrews of NARAL and NOW way too much credit. They also turned their backs on Bill's victims, defended him heartily on the talking head shows and in print columns,(I recall one femme who's name escapes me, proclaiming her own desire to 'do' Bill personally) then threw all their weight behind Hillary's political career (til now) with full knowledge of just who/what she was in regards to protecting and defending real world women against real world sexual predators.

I think that they prefer Obama just because he gives a better speech.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's not like me to expose so much of my personal struggles on this blog. As you now know, the death of my sis, and it's own bundle of angst, hits me hard. Though it's difficult to say what long term effects may eventually come of it, I have been handed a few philosophical revelations I have yet to sort out.
That said, in the future I may expound on those.

Fair warning: I'm no philosopher. And I don't intend to play one in Blog Life, either. So if some of my ramblings, should I ever get to rambling them, come off as silly, stupid, or profound, it would be purely the 'monkey and a typewriter' thing. Not asking for anybody to 'go easy' on me. Just that it all be taken worth a grain of salt.

Some benefits this site offers is the opportunity to unload some of the pain and frustration (so as to make room for more), a chance to speak to myself in my own voice, to organise my feelings into thoughts,thoughts into words, the words provide affirmation, affirmation being a pillar I can lean on.
I'm not one of those "I emote, therefore I am" personality types, so just bear with me as I go through this for a (hopefully short) while.

I know that those of you who've come to know me by now don't really expect to see this Oxygen Network type stuff, but at the moment, it's about all I have.
And most importantly, for me, I have to let it out.

Today, I finally got to the impound yard to see the truck, and most importantly, to clear out whatever personal affects Mary had in there.
Since a death was involved, standard practice to to hold the vehicle in a secured yard pending full mechanical evaluation/investigation as to causes of the incident.
It's taken this long, nearly two weeks, until an officer was available to escort me. On an hour's notice, I hit the highway and drove the 60+ miles to meet with him.
I know it sounds stupid, and I feel stupid because of it, but I wasn't as prepared as I thought I was.
Severe head trauma. I knew that.
Crushed skull. I knew that.
Putting two and two together should have told me as much, but I wasn't prepared for all the residue everywhere, on everything I touched.
I didn't freak out or anything. I just slouched there in the cab and cried for few minutes.
Now I can't get the image of my sis, slumped there, in all of that, out of my head.
And what hurts is the fact that I wasn't there for her, to comfort or cradle her at that moment when she needed me the most.

I just keep reminding myself that it was quick. She most likely didn't feel a thing. And didn't need me anyway because she was already not there.
And I'll keep it to myself, and tell Mom and Dad nothing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My sister and I have had several conversations over the past few years. She was suffering from a host of illnesses, physical and emotional, both real and imagined.
About four years ago,having never married nor had kids, she designated me her official 'next of kin' over-riding our parents (signed and notarized), in the event that anything ever happened to her.

I didn't really expect anything to happen to her in the foreseeable future. At the same time, I could never visualize her still being around when we would both be in our seventies. She lived five minutes at a time, never settling in one spot, never planning, nor prepared, for the next setback. And every couple of years would seek refuge on my sofa, or spare bedroom, for months at a time while waiting for the world to stop spinning. The last few years, it was as if I was raising another teenage daughter who hadn't yet found her maturity. I had become Big Brother to the elder sister who used to protect me from bullies,monsters, and dragons when I was a kid.

It's hard to hold the reins on a forty-something free spirit, but I did the best I could. Though I always expected we would say our goodbyes on one of our deathbeds, I take comfort in the knowledge that her death was immediate and painless, and that her final moments were filled with giggles and laughter, in the presence of a friend (he survived the crash with just a few cuts and bruises) she herself had taken in just as I had taken her in so many times before (and was due for another visit any time now).
But that was Mary.
If she had anything, she would share it. And when she had nothing, she would borrow it to share. She loved doing charity, and if not materially, then in spirit. When she wasn't riding her Harley (seems there's a charity run every month or so), she was doing something with needlepoint,paints or ink pens and giving those away to whoever happened by. Death did not end her giving, as she designated certain parts to be donated to help others.
She jealously guarded her power tools and her Tinker Bell collection. She was every kid's favorite 'Aunt Mary'; best friend to every friend; the life of any party; and the best sister a guy could ever have.

As I eulogised my sister, and looked out over the crowd of attendees: from educated professionals to economic losers; some 200 people from all walks of life, (even high school friends she hasn't seen in years, but still traveled, some up to 2,000 miles, to be there), I realized just how significant an ordinarily insignificant life can be.
It's not who we are that matters as much as who we touch. And we only feel loss because first we felt love.

I've spent much of the time since her death locked in emotional combat with our mother. Mary wanted certain things done a certain way. I even managed to hire a bagpiper.
Mom has other ideas. It hasn't been easy making decisions and preparations, and then playing the mind trick with Mom so that she thinks it's actually her decisions being implemented. Mostly, I've succeeded. But new issues crop up every day.
As it stands now, Mom is refusing to speak to me after I went and cleared out my sister's place without her. Tried to explain to her that everybody has something they would rather their parents not discover,and that I vowed to protect her privacy, and that is just the way it's going be.
This is my last chance to do Mary right. There aren't any do-overs on this one. No starting over. No turning back. I buried her with every dignity, and I'm not about to blemish her now. No. Her secrets will remain. And Mom will just have to live with that.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Words Fail Me

The outpouring from you all brings me a great comfort. It is quite the trial at the moment, but I'm getting better at it.

I've managed to wrap up the arrangements today, and got funding secured. Morticians don't work free, but I found if you ratchet up the anger, and throw in some well placed sobs with an occasional dash of venomous ridicule, and still hold your ground, they will relent.
He's learned just how unamusing the cost for memorial cards can be.

Government agencies are not so pliable.

Dad got in today. He's a wreck, but not creating any issues for me. He's accepted that I can do this if given the space.

Mom is emotionally invalid on a good day anyway, so she's the biggest challenge as I try to respect the wishes of my sis while others(her) tempt/drag/push toward another direction. I gave her my vow. I intend to follow it through.

Brother is a selfish turd. No help. Maybe I'll make it a double.

Everything is two hours drive away. Traffic is killing me.

Too bad there aren't pre-printed eulogy forms where I can just fill in the blanks. But I guess that would defeat the purpose,huh?

I pray that I never have to bury a child. Can't think of any greater pain.

Again, words do not exist in sufficient numbers to express my gratitude for your prayers, well wishes, and wise words. You've all been so awesome, and have touched me greatly. Yes, it really does matter, and will not be forgotten.

Hopefully, I can soon get back to blogging the mediocrity you've come to expect.
With love and heartfelt thanks,

Thursday, May 08, 2008

This afternoon, the freeway near San Diego, my sister's truck blew a tire.
According to information I've recieved so far, her truck rolled over and flipped several times.
She died at the scene.

I've got a lot sitting in my lap at the moment. I'm always the one everybody leans on. It's been that way since I was an early teen.
Got two hysterical parents at opposite ends of the country, a brother,nephews and nieces, arrangements to take care of.
Duty calls.

All I want to do right now is grab a bottle and find oblivion.

I really don't much care right now.
I feel alone.
Because I am.
Fuck the world.
Fuck it all.

Don't know when I'll be back.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

An Apology For A Lack Of One

I can't take it anymore.
A few bloggers had mentioned in a posts, and responses to posts, that Blacks have a lot to be pissed off about. This may be true, or not, depending on how you want to skew the realities to fit a Group Rights agenda.
Sorry, I'm not playing that game.
I was born in 1964, the same year of the Civil Rights Act of ,you guessed it, 1964, made it illegal to discriminate. Something had to be done in the 1/3 of the country where there was legalized discrimination. Then again,the majority if citizens didn't live in this region anyway, further limiting the scope of such activity.
Things were not as promised, as the Civil Rights Act that outlawed official discrimination was soon interpreted to mean that not only was it OK to discriminate against citizens of the other color,it could also be mandatory. Citizens who were not even around when all the discrimination was taking place for 300 years, had no hand in it, and who never benefited from it.
This discrimination was given official sanction by the SCOTUS in the 1978 Bakke decision.

I come from a different mindset that says we are all individuals first, and government policies should reflect that. Our nation was founded on a set of principles centered around individual rights, not rights according to what group you think you belong to.
Any child born today should have the same protections as any other child born today.

True, this system hasn't always delivered as promised. And not just for Blacks.
When the Irish started coming here in droves, they were legally discriminated against as well, and even considered lower than blacks on the dignity list.
The Native Tribes didn't always fare that well, either.
Italians were discriminated against, and legally paid less than Blacks and Irish to do the same labor on the same job site. (The pay scales would be posted publicly,according to race/ethnicity.)
The Chinese took their turn as well, and I think anybody (who wants to) can meet a Japanese American today who can tell you about the WWII years.
These were all government sanctioned slights against dignity and human worth. But hey, at least Black slave men got the right to vote before wealthy white women. Didn't they?

Blacks who still live in predominately Black communities certainly do have a lot to be angry about. But this anger should not be at Whites, or anybody else, but instead leveled at their fellow blacks who turn their 'hoods into slums,marginalize their politics, kill their children, and make a mockery of their sub-culture. In short, themselves.
Ya still want to be pissed off at slavery? Fine. Take it out on the Black Africans who offered your kind up for sale in the first place. If they weren't for sale, they wouldn't have been bought. No brainer,here.

Patting the angry black man on the head because you think he has the right to throw a public tantrum might make you feel somehow more enlightened than the rest of us white stiffs.
But the fact is, he has more legal protections than any white boy trying to get accepted to college, applying for a government job, or brown-nosing for that promotion at any Fortune 500. And that is fact.

What would you say to the white boys if they decide to riot, or act like uncaged zoo animals within their community?
How to explain to them that somebody less-white who sneaked across the border a few years ago has greater rights than they do?
Will you blame it on some other demographic of self-anointed Brahman class, in another part of the nation removed from them, passing pronouncements of what justice is, in order to meet the vision standards of the Ivy League?

Or will you expect them to act civilly, and just take it, because they are white, after all, and are not entitled to the same civil rights as others.

And how much longer are going to apologize for what you have not done, to those who have no grievances?
And how much longer will you expect others to do the same?

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Public Service

Check your earthquake preparedness I.Q. by taking this short quiz.

Click Here!

Spending darn near my entire life in the heart of earthquake country,and having been through a couple of biggies, I'm surprised, and ashamed, that my score was as low as it was:
70%. Yikes! Not Good.