Category Archives: society

Cold and Heartless

I took a lousy yoga class where the instructor laughed at the students. For one pose, she said she will be the only one that will need a towel. From a sitting position, she bent herself forward and touched her head to the towel on the floor. And then she smirked.

Shortly after this class, I read an article on the internet that stated it is a shame some yoga instructors can’t make a living. I am not ashamed that I will never patronize that lousy teacher again.

I take yoga classes from two excellent instructors now. They are motivational, bring the class peaceful meditative moments, and push each participant to pursue each pose to a safe, effective level. They both make a living as yoga teachers since many students sign up and pay for their classes. They also instruct and get paid for teaching others at how to conduct a yoga class.

When still in school, I overheard a young woman speak to an English professor about becoming an English professor herself. This student was surprisingly good in the field of biology as well as English. She was sure that biology was a more sensible future.

The professor told her not to worry since she was one of the best and the best will be able to compete. The student was a class valedictorian, she was highly driven, and skilled. The teacher encouraged her to enter the competitive field in academia if that was her desire. She pursued her love of English literature and did became a professor.

Don’t believe the lie that you can be whatever you want to be. A grade C- student will not rise to the top of a highly competitive field. Instead find another path, desire is not always destiny. Break your heart early before you complete a degree program and still end up with no viable job prospects. No one may want you except the student-loan debt collectors.

Schools and businesses should coordinate the real-world job market with young people and their the dreams. This will be especially important if college is free for all.

Some fields that require no college are begging for workers. Some of these jobs may provide a good income and satisfaction. It doesn’t hurt to research options.

Life is not fair. Yoga instructors must find balance within the job market.

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Flag Waving and Guitar Playing

DAILY PROMPT
I Pledge Allegiance
Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/i-pledge-allegiance/

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Out on the porch, I fly the American flag on the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. I usually forget about Flag Day on June 14th.

A couple of things have changed in patriotism since I was young in the 1960’s. When I was a teen, the anti-establishment segment of American society wore the clothing in the pattern of the American flag, sometimes made out of the actual flag. The more conservative elements of society railed against this flag-draping practice and called them unpatriotic.

Today, the most conservative people wear the flag-inspired clothing in my country. Hats, shirts, pants, socks, even shoes with the red, white, and blue plastered across it. Now this is a sign that you are a true patriot.

At Woodstock in 1969, Jimi Hendrix played The Star Spangled Banner on his crying guitar. This rendition of the patriotic song was labeled as shockingly unpatriotic. The more traditional people found the sad wailing of his guitar as being deeply critical of America.

This last Fourth of July, some guy on a Florida beach played The Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar in a fashion similar to Jimi Hendrix. He gets arrested for disturbing the peace. Then he becomes  the darling for today’s more conservative crowd. The patriotic flag-wearing people of today applaud the music gleaned from the more radical past.

Both the dress code and the musical style have exchanged places on the political scale. In this case, patriotism is in the eye of the beholder.

Woman Evolves

Baby-making tool,

Before Equality’s Crown—

Turn — stem-cell machine.

The Myriad Benefits of Hoarding Junk

DAILY PROMPT
Embrace the Ick
Think of something that truly repulses you. Hold that thought until your skin squirms. Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/embrace-the-ick/


The house was as neat as a pin. Old saying – start over. Let’s say it was zen-like minimalist: sparse, clean, functional. Boring, boring, boring.

Give me a good old hoarder anyday. Ah, the stacks of stuff, the labyrinthine pathways, the decaying paper, plastic, clothing, food stuff, and graveyard of small and large household appliances. What excitement, what purpose!

The hoarder is at the forefront of a strong economy. He buys far more than he can possibly ever use, thereby stimulating us out of recessions. Why buy one shirt when you can buy ten? Especially when you encounter The Sale of a Lifetime. (By the way, these sales happen every other weekend.) If the shoe doesn’t fit, buy it.

The hoarder runs a junkyard business out of her home that could, again, boost the economy. I should say a potential business since she would never actually sell any of her great stuff. Broken coffee pot, it’s there if you can find it. One thousand bobby pins, slightly rusty, got it, right under the kitchen sink. Newspapers* from every day of the year 1966 moldering in the basement.

The hoarder is also the ultimate recycler. We can all learn valuable lessons from him or her. Given enough time, the home becomes a virtual compost heap. The house and its contents will revert back to nature as it decomposes bit by decaying bit.

How many famous dead people alone reside in all those heaps of dust in a hoarder’s home? A little Shakespeare here, a little Gandhi there. A shrine, a veritable shrine. Praise be the hoarding instinct.

*News stories printed in ink on large sheets of paper that were printed each day and distributed daily to homes, businesses, and to a sort of coin-operated vending machine.

Word Crimes

Rosencrantz: What are you playing at?
Guildenstern: Words, words. They’re all we have to go on.
           Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

She chastised me because I used a word. She told me a person cannot be Oriental, since it is degrading. I was out of the loop, I did not know. The preferred word is Asian, a person can be an Asian.

What’s in a word? It helps us communicate and limits our communication at the same time. It can be artificial, complex and ever-changing. There is heaven and hell in those words. Take pleasure in its playfulness and beauty. Find frustration when communication fails.

In Latin, orient simply means east. That was the origin of the word and the end of it became insulting. Evidently people from Asia don’t call themselves Oriental, and it’s best to call people the name that they prefer. I learned that calling a person Oriental is an antiquated term that calls to mind a time when Western peoples viewed Asians in a subordinate way.

So Asian or Asian-American is preferred. And so is African-American. Say Native-American instead of American Indian. An Indian is actually an Asian. We end up chasing our tails.

This whole idea of hyphenating Americans is a bit odd to me since hyphenation carries its own inherent flaws.

The word America is named after Amerigo Vespucci. An Italian explorer, Amerigo stumbled upon what is now part of Brazil. An early mapmaker decided to name this part of the world America after this Amerigo guy and plunked that label onto his map. Soon other mapmakers started to label the lands north of Brazil as America also. So by chance, the continents were called North and South America.

So where does this leave hyphenated Americans? You give up the words like Oriental and Black in exchange for the name of a dead-white man that poked his nose into an indigenous population beyond his own borders. I don’t see a vast improvement. Other words such as black, white, red, and yellow also fail to accurately describe human beings.

The West creates more word crimes than anyone else. Through a modern political lens, Western civilization has a name, and that name is evil. The word and the land America may find itself in jeopardy.

Native-Americans crossed into the the Americas about 25,000 years ago; relative newcomers to this land since humans first appeared on the planet about 160,000 years ago in East Africa.

In more realistic terms, we are all East Africans that have wandered far across the globe. A politically correct analysis: We torment the rest of the animal and plant kingdoms, and tamper with the climate and the earth’s crust. All of humanity is the real evil in this world view. Paradise was lost when humans entered the scene.

The world and the words in it are not perfect and never will be. Can’t we just relax and enjoy our discourse and disagreements without a call to self-flagellation? Do the best we can, do no purposeful harm, and move on. That’s all we have to go on. Go peacefully.

Worth a Hill of Beans

For about four or five minutes now the teacher spoke of lofty ideals and grand humanitarian goals.

World peace. End to war and hunger. Equality and fairness. Trust one another. Diversity appreciation. Stop prejudice. A fair legal system.

Then he suddenly stopped and looked at the whole class. He said, “Let’s not fool ourselves, in the end all we really care about is our next can of beans.”

It was an abrupt turnabout. Pragmatism wins over platitudes.

My cousin graduated from high school and expected to get a good-paying job at an auto factory, the same way that his father and grandfather did. By the time he was looking for work, those jobs were gone. He meandered around doing odd jobs that never panned out to full-time careers. He ended up getting killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a drug deal in Detroit.

The economy is global, no longer can autoworkers in Detroit say buy only American-made cars. If your neighbor works for a Nissan plant, why shouldn’t he buy a car from the company that pays him a living wage? A low-skill, high paying manufacturing job is nearly extinct, so grab what you can.

America was on top for too long. Now it is time for her to suffer. Most of the world root for our suffering and demise. Americans must get used to a lower standard of living. The politicians should stop spouting lies. More jobs may never come. The global economy levels off the playing field and those on top will slide ever farther down.

So much for the average worker. Don’t forget to fleece the rich bastards. The Wall Street bankers, CEOs, sports figures, and those in the entertainment industry for starters.

Though I do admire the skills of Alan Mulally and how he managed Ford and other businesses so well that jobs were preserved and the companies prospered. Kim Kardashian makes money off her big butt. I’m sick of people admiring her more than effective leaders in the business world that are only demonized.

But I forget, capitalism is evil.

Now how to take away the money from the very rich around the world? Any ideas? Put a cap on all income? Raid bank accounts? Open up mansions to house the people? Oprah tell us what to do. You can start with throwing your cans of beans into the pile.

 

 

 

 

Racism and the White Woman

A Kenyan-born professor taught an African Studies class I took at an American college. One time he mentioned that the American Slave trade forever skewed the relationship between Europeans and Africans. The relationship was healthy between them before the horrible trade began and should have remained so. But the growing market for slaves in the Americas altered the dynamics.

This was an offhand comment and the professor didn’t dwell on it, nor make it a political point. It was a basic observation and lament. Many years later, this one comment remains vivid in my mind.

Africans traded worldwide as equal economic partners with other countries and continents. Advanced civilizations flourished on the African soil. The Library of Alexandria in Egypt was once the largest and grandest in the Mediterranean world. Slave did not define an African.

And yet here we are. Racism is central to the American fabric according to some groups. Even if racism is diminishing, it is not gone.

Africa has a rich history. Racism was the result and not the cause of slavery. Slave traders dehumanized Africans so that they could treat this one race as if they were property. Slavery obscures the historical Africa.

The real story of Africa is not victimhood. A sense of healing in the future might begin if we can revisit the past.