Thursday, November 28, 2019

Spirituality and Media

This week's topic is my suggestion. It is intentionally broad, primariy because I had it in mind to  discuss spirituality and entertainment. I really have no concept of that in India, so I left the topic wide open for Ramana - be sure to visit  his blog, Ramana's Musings.

 While channel surfing the other night I came across one of this year's God shows - Evil, That got me thinking about the number of religious/spirituality themed show, It seems like every year there are one or two new shows offered,  few rarely survive. I found a site called which offered these five shows as the top 5 Christian themed shows of all time.
  1. The Twilight Zone
  2. The Andy Griffith Show
  3. 7th Heaven
  4. Little House on the Prairie
  5. The Waltons
That's an interesting list and not at all what I expected, the author's logic being "Television today is mostly garbage promoting all kinds of sinful activities from pre-marital sex to drunkenness.  Television applauds this type of behavior and, unfortunately, our children are being force-fed an illusion of grandeur.  We as parents and as individuals should reconsider all of the T.V. shows that we watch and ask ourselves, “Is this really beneficial to watch?  Do the cons outweigh the pros?”

Looking  at his list in that light it makes a bit more sense. The stories for the most part feature loving families and every Twilight Zone episode featured a morality tale. It won't surprise anyone that knows me that the only show listed I watched regularly on that list is The Twilight Zone.

I lean more to shows like Supernatural, Dead Like Me (my all time favorite TV show) and the current Evil.

Supernatural: Two brothers - Sam and Dean Winchester - follow their father's footsteps as hunters, fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds, including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth. 

This show has it all. God - coincidentally named Chuck - is a writer and the story of Supernatural is his vision of the world. It's the kind of show that appeals to a person like me - one who refuses to take the rantings and ravings of televangelists seriously.  Any show that includes demons archangels and  has a King of Hell as a primary character is simply looking to give some sense to it all and while they discuss serious morality issues have a bit of fun with the good vs. evil stuff.

Dead Like Me: Dead Like Me is an American comedy-drama television series starring Ellen Muth and Mandy h her lifeas grim reapers who reside and work in Seattle, Washington. Georgia (Muth) is unhappy with her life Wikipedia,
the first scene of the pilot episode introduces an origin-of-death myth where at the dawn of time, god (busy with creation) gave Toad a clay jar containing death which Toad promised to guard. Frog begged Toad to let him hold the jar, something to which Toad finally agreed. An excited Frog juggled the jar and finally dropped it, shattering it on the ground. When it broke open, death got out.When Georgia dies, rather than going to Heaven she joins a team of Reapers tasked with taking souls just before people's tickets are punched.

Evil: Evil is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. A skeptical forensic psychologist allies with a priest and a contractor to investigate purported supernatural incidents. It is in some ways a watered down version of The Exorcist - one of the creepiest movies I have ever seen.

 Clearly these shows are not for everyone but they have proven to be to me at least both thought provoking and entertaining. In their own way they all deal with morality and spirituality. There are also shows that appeal - I think - to the born again crowd. God Friended Me immediately comes to mind. It deals with questions like why things happen, why bad things happen to good people and the like. I watch and enjoy God Friended Me. Per Wikipedia, the series chronicles the life of Miles Finer, an outspoken atheist and podcaster, who is sent a friend request on Facebook by an account named "Go
d". This account suggests new friends to Miles, people in his hometown of 
New York City, who will require assistance.

God, religion, Faith and spirituality are touchy subjects these  days to some. Personally, I think they should be open for discussion at any time. Wherever you fall on the faith/religion topic it is something that has a large place in our society. Like it or not, western society is based on tenets and beliefs of Judaism and Christianity. Whether you like it or not, are a believer or not, that is simply a fact. Unfortunately, our tribal tendencies these days make discussions on the matter more difficult. Anything that helps an individual come to grips with their spirituality is a good thing.

That is it for this week's topic - Ramana and I will be back next week with another topic.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Marriage 2-on-1 Topic 11/22/2019

Ramana's choice for this week's topic - marriage - should prove interesting. Please be sure to visit his blog, Ramana's Musings.

The Merriam Webster online dictionary contains this interesting statement on marriage "The definition of the word marriage—or, more accurately, the understanding of what the institution of marriage properly consists of—continues to be highly controversial. This is not an issue to be resolved by dictionaries. Ultimately, the controversy involves cultural traditions, religious beliefs, legal rulings, and ideas about fairness and basic human rights. The principal point of dispute has to do with marriage between two people of the same sex, often referred to as same-sex marriage or gay marriage. Same-sex marriages are now recognized by law in a growing number of countries and were legally validated throughout the U.S. by the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. In many other parts of the world, marriage continues to be allowed only between men and women. The definition of marriage shown here is intentionally broad enough to encompass the different types of marriage that are currently recognized in varying cultures, places, religions, and systems of law."

So if Merriam Webster is hesitant to tackle the subject isn't it beyond the scope of a simple little blog like this? Nope. Not to me anyway.

Marriage is what you believe and want it to be or what your cultural mores cause it to be. That makes the last sentence in the above statement the most important - The definition of marriage shown here is intentionally broad enough to encompass the different types of marriage that are currently recognized in varying cultures, places, religions, and systems of law.

For me it was the "traditional" wedding in a cute little church but non- traditional in that Lynn and I were not members of the church nor the religious affiliation of the church. We met with the pastor and were quite upfront - we thought it was nice and we wanted to be married there. We were both lapsed aka Jack Mormons- he had no problem with that. So we thought all was settled until we gave the organist our musical selections. We chose Camelot music - sans the movie vocals - and the woman was apolectic.
 The last  2 ere a couple of the song selections we made that nearly sent the old lady off and running. We also chose a different processional -
 I cannot remember the recessional tune we chose - it may have been the schmaltzy We've Only Just Begun but I think it might have been somewhat bouncier.

Over the next few years I actually recorded music for several friends weddings, and the most popular recessional was from Rocky - Gonna Fly Now

That little ditty could clear out a packed church in no time. I remember one in LA that included a reception at a disco and folks literally flew to the place. That was a fun one.

Of course the rest of the marriage is exactly what you make of it. Choose whatever legal tradtions that matter to you - Lynn and I managed 42 years by  eventually slaying whatever dragons appeared and having enough respect for the marriage and each other to work things out. It certainly wasn't always easy but we survived. Our kids always like the fact that they only had one set of parents - I guess it made filling out forms easier.

That is my quick take on marriage - be bound by whatever mores and rules  are important to you Make the wedding day a celebration everyone can  enjoy and most of  all, Don't let it be forgot that once there was a spot for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot. 

I'll see y'all next week for the next 2-on-one blog.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

What is a Real Friend 2-on-1`Nov 15,2019

This week's topic was my suggestion. You might say I had an epiphany of sorts when I reconnected with an  old friend/girlfriend after about 50 years, KT. We met back in those halcyon days fresh out of high school and starting to find our way in the world  - we both worked at Sears. We met when she spent a day working in my department - the Bedding and Bath Shop. She was also a nursing student at Chabot, where I was taking classes and playing football.

I have often mentioned how shy I was and in fact in many ways still am. In my life I can count three times when my shyness evaporated around the opposite sex and KT is one of those three, the other two being Lyn from HS and my late wife Lynn. One common thread between each of those three and me is that we were great friends as well as couples.

Those were interesting and often trying times because - you see - high school does not prepare you for the real world. You get to figure that out by yourself with the assistance of your friends and some times family. So, for the next three years or so we wandered down the yellow brick road, never quite finding our way. I had met Lynn and so for a time I was dating a pair of extraordinary young ladies. KT and I were in the process of no longer being a couple but still being friends - in someways closer than ever.

After Lynn and I were married KT and I drifted apart - I stopped working at Sears and she was running full steam ahead in her nursing career and was married herself.

At one point I emailed her via Classmates and we exchanged emails and then again went about our lives, knowing that things were apparently fine.

A week or so ago, on  a whim I searched Facebook and found her. I let a couple of our old Sears pals know, and they immediately sent KT friend requests, one - her old roommate Jan - telling her I had passed on the info. And then a  friend request came to me with a "snippy" note suggesting we be Facebook friends as well. I laughed out loud at that as I could see her eyes twinkling with  mischief as she politely suggested I was being an idiot by not asking.

Since then we have been catching up. She had an interesting, varied career in nursing, was married nearly as long as Lynn and I but had unfortunately lost her husband last year. We both have  had good lives filled with the joy and heartache that comes with life on the third rock from the sun.

What does this have to do with the topic this week? You never know when a real friend will come along and in life there will be milestones, both good and  bad. While some folks may think they can get through life alone my experience has been to the contrary. When you come across an individual that has your back, is honest with you even when you don't want to hear what they are saying and has your interest and well being at heart, be thankful because if that is the case you will never be lonely. You will have a friend. I do not have many real close friends and renewing this one has been an amazingly fun process. So thanks KT - welcome back - my world just got a little brighter and I got a great idea for a new mystery series LOL.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cellphone Addiction

Ramana suggested this week's topic -Cellphone Addiction. Merriam Webster (online) describes addiction as a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted.The question, then, is does cellphone use fall into these categories and the answer is a resounding yes. I'd say that when family members inside the same  house text each other or call each other rather than take a few steps and meet face to face their cellphone use has reached addiction levels.

There is a terrific article on smartphone addiction on I urge you to read here. 
Could cellphone addiction be changing your brain? CNN seems to think so CNN says "Cell phone addiction is a psychological dependence on the use of a cell phone. This addiction type shares many of the same traits as a behavioral addiction like compulsive gambling but is considered an impulse disorder. Those who suffer from cell phone addiction tend to pay an excessive amount of attention to their phones and are unable to control urges to use."

 My daughter is addicted to her smart phone - in fact before cellphones she was addicted to our regular phone.  One ring would get her moving faster than I thought humanly possible to answer the darn thing. She would spend hours talking on it - sadly that behavior extended eventually to certain chemicals as she truly has an addictive personality.

Me? no - I am not addicted. I have a bad habit of not carrying my phone with me and I almost never check voicemail. I relish the point at which the mailbox gets full and no more messages can be left. Cell phone addiction is a psychological dependence on the use of a cell phone. This addiction type shares many of the same traits as a behavioral addiction like compulsive gambling but is considered an impulse disorder. Those who suffer from cell phone addiction tend to pay an excessive amount of attention to their phones and are unable to control urges to use. My blogging partner, Ramana, is trying to get me to use What's App. He can attest to the fact that I have  yet to respond successfully to one of his messages - guess I need to delete and reinstall the dang program.  And no - I am not suggesting Ramana is addicted to his cellphone LOL.

Hawkeye says  "Cell phone addiction is a psychological dependence on the use of a cell phone. This addiction type shares many of the same traits as a behavioral addiction like compulsive gambling but is considered an impulse disorder. Those who suffer from cell phone addiction tend to pay an excessive amount of attention to their phones and are unable to control urges to use. Their article, which can be found here ends with some common sense -
Cellphone addiction is no laughing matter and could often lead to many problems. Sure, there are good ways to utilize them, but it is important not to get carried away. While it seems society has plunged itself deep into the void of technological dependency, we still have the opportunity and the responsibility to end this epidemic before it’s too late."

Hmmm - do ya think 45 is addicted to his cellphone or is his a Twitter addiction. 

So what does the future hold in the battle for humanity being waged by cellphones? I honestly doubt things will get much better/worse - depending on your viewpoint. Until the next great communication technology arrives I expect cellphones to be the order of the day. Do I expect society to collapse (assuming it has not already done so)? Nope - but we should all be aware of the ways in which cellphone use can be abused and prevent that from happening. It is somehow ironic when you consider some of te most paranoid folks on the planet embrace technology that can so readily be used to keep track of us.

I'll close this tome with this brief Ted Talk - out of the mouths of babes.

See ya next week for another 2-on-1 blog.