Tired

I’m tired, my friends, and I imagine you are too.

  • I’m tired of being told that more than 3,200 deaths by guns, including 44 mass shootings in less than 28 days is simply the ‘price of freedom’. Freedom to … WHAT?  Get shot to death at the grocery store?  To have our children killed in school?  If that’s the price of freedom, you can keep the damned freedom!
  • I’m tired of the altogether too frequent killing of people by the police … the very people we are supposed to be able to trust to protect life. The relatively few police who take the lives of primarily Black people who have done little or no wrong, have given police officers everywhere a bad name and frankly, if I see a cop in a store, I turn the other way, hoping he doesn’t even notice me.  If I see one behind me at a traffic light, my heart stops and I try so hard to look innocent that I probably look guilty!
  • I’m tired of being called a ‘Marxist’ because I believe in human rights, believe that nobody should amass huge amounts of wealth while others go to bed hungry at night, or live on the streets in cardboard boxes.
  • I’m tired of spending more than half of my monthly Social Security stipend on medications that are essential to keep me from dying, while seeing the profits of the pharma companies that manufacture those drugs skyrocket.
  • I’m tired of listening to Republican politicians threatening to cut that very same Social Security that a) I paid into all my life, and b) is not enough to support me if I lived on my own! This is a threat against the very survival of those of us over a certain age, so apparently those politicians have decided that our lives no longer add value to the world.
  • I’m tired of conspiracy theories, especially those lies told by politicians who know the truth, but find it more expeditious to their own ends to push the lies.  And I’m tired of the ignorance in the general public that allows so many everyday people to believe those lies.
  • I’m tired of companies that raise their prices for one of a variety of excuses – supply chain issues, staffing shortages, increased production costs – and then at the end of the year show a huge increase in their profits.
  • I’m tired of the bigotry that is on the rise in this country. Anti-LGBTQ sentiment, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny … all are increasing at significant levels, thanks in part to religious ‘leaders’ who have zero tolerance for any that don’t fit their pat little images, and in part due to politicians like Ron DeSantis and others who promote the idea that ‘other’ is bad, ‘other’ is to be shunned.
  • I’m tired of a free press that keeps shoving the former guy down our throats. By now, he should have faded into obscurity to the point that if we saw a picture of him, we’d say, “Oh yeah … I remember that fat slob … what was his name again?”  But no, we have to see his picture and read every word that comes out of his lying mouth on a daily basis.
  • I’m tired, most of all, of Republican politicians in Congress who are bastards. Sorry, Keith, but that fits them to a ‘T’.  They take our hard-earned tax dollars to the tune of $174,000 and more every year, and then fail miserably to do the job for which we paid them.  They don’t legislate, they retaliate.  They don’t build, they destroy.  They don’t govern, they campaign.  Before the current 118th Congress was even seated, they were already plotting their next election campaigns.  I’m tired of our government being so divided by party that ‘party’ is the only thing that matters, not people.
  • I’m tired of feeling helpless to change any of the things I’m tired of. I’m tired of being ashamed of this country I’ve lived in for almost 72 years now, tired of wishing I were almost anywhere but here.  My vote is my voice, but it is a very small voice, made even smaller with such tactics as gerrymandering that dilute my voice.

I could probably think of more, but … I’m tired of writing for tonight, so I think I’ll go read for a while now.

More Questions Than Answers

This man, Tyre Nichols …

… is dead.  He died at the hands of police officers who used excessive force at a routine traffic stop on January 7th.

All five of the officers were charged on seven counts yesterday:  one count of second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault while acting in concert.

My initial thought was that here we go again, white cops killing an unarmed Black man.  And then … I saw the picture of the five officers and … my jaw dropped.

Clockwise from top left: Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, and Desmond Mills Jr.Credit…Memphis Police Department, via Associated Press

I’m not proud of the fact that I automatically jumped to a conclusion about the colour of the officers’ skin … what does that say about my own prejudices?  A topic I shall need to ponder on in a bit.

Meanwhile, I don’t know much about the incident, but I have questions.  Why were five officers involved in a single traffic stop?  I’ve been stopped before, but never by more than one or two officers.  It is said that they pulled him over in suspicion of reckless driving, there was a skirmish, the police used pepper spray, and Mr. Nichols left the vehicle and ran.  The officers caught up with him and beat him so severely that he died three days later.  What caused five supposedly well-trained police officers to severely beat a man … any man? There is video … presumably body-cam footage … that will be released sometime after 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Why the delay, you ask?  Because of the near certainty that once the public sees what has been said to be horrifying, shocking video, protests are expected, so the timing is critical … Friday night, when most people have left work and are home, safe & sound for the weekend.  Not only Memphis, but the entire nation seems to be braced for a huge public backlash.  Officials are telling people that it’s fine to exercise their right to protest, but to please do so peacefully.  Everyone from Nichols’ own mother to President Biden is calling for peaceful protest …

“As Americans grieve, the Department of Justice conducts its investigation, and state authorities continue their work, I join Tyre’s family in calling for peaceful protest. Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable.  Violence is destructive and against the law.  It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.”

In the coming weeks, questions will be answered in this most puzzling, tragic case.  Meanwhile, I hope that protests are peaceful, but I won’t be surprised if they are not.  People seem not to have learned that you cannot fight violence with violence.  I hope people will remember what Dr. Martin Luther King said …

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars … Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

♫ Get Off Of My Cloud ♫

I’ve only posted this one once, in August 2019.  It’s more … loud … than my usual fare, but tonight I’m angry, I’m hurt, I’m in the mood for loud and raucous … I want people off of my damned cloud!  I want mass shootings stopped, I want guns all destroyed, I want war banned, I want … I want … I want peace.  I want radicals, bigots, and greedy, arrogant people off my damned cloud.


I’ve been doing music posts long enough that you all know by now this song is not my normal style.  I only vaguely remember loving the Rolling Stones, but I don’t think it was their music that was the draw as much as it was Keith Richards’ … er … um … cuteness?  Hey, gimme a break … I was 14 years old and just discovering that boys were good for something other than playing football & baseball with!

At any rate … moving along …

This song, released in 1965, was the Stones’ follow up to their #1 hit, Satisfaction.  According to co-writer Keith Richards …

“‘Get Off My Cloud’ was basically a response to people knocking on our door asking us for the follow up to ‘Satisfaction,’ which was such an enormous hit worldwide. This, to us, was mind-blowing. I mean not only was it a #1 record but, boom! We thought, ‘At last. We can sit back and maybe think about events.’ Suddenly there’s the knock at the door and of course what came out of that was ‘Get Off Of My Cloud.’ Because within three weeks, in those days hey, they want another single. And we weren’t quite ready for that. So it was our response to the knock at the door: Get off of my cloud. And I’m surprised that it did so well. I mean it has a certain charm but I really remember it as a knee-jerk reaction. And it came out better than I thought.”

And from the other co-writer, Mick Jagger …

“That was Keith’s melody and my lyrics. It’s a stop-bugging-me, post-teenage-alienation song. The grown-up world was a very ordered society in the ’60s, and I was coming out of it. America was even more ordered than anywhere else. I found it was a very restrictive society in thought and behavior and dress.”

The song has energy … I’ll say that about it.  Today, it wouldn’t be a favourite of mine.  And yet … as I was tidying the kitchen this evening, it just popped into my head.  And so …

Get Off Of My Cloud
The Rolling Stones

I live in an apartment on the ninety-ninth floor of my block
And I sit at home looking out the window
Imagining the world has stopped
Then in flies a guy who’s all dressed up just like a Union Jack
And says, “I’ve won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack”

I says, “hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby”

The telephone is ringing
I say, “hi, it’s me, who is there on the line?”
A voice says, “hi, hello, how are you?”
“Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine”
He says, “it’s three a.m., there’s too much noise
Don’t you people ever want to go to bed?
Just ’cause you feel so good
Do you have to drive me out of my head?”

I says, “hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby, yeah”

I was sick and tired, fed up with this
And decided to take a drive downtown
It was so very quiet and peaceful
There was nobody, not a soul around
I laid myself out, I was so tired
And I started to dream
In the morning the parking tickets were just
Like a flag stuck on my window screen

I says, “hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby”

“Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, hey, you

Songwriters: Keith Richards / Mick Jagger
Get Off Of My Cloud lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc

Reflections

As I take a quick glance through the news, here are just a few of the stories I see …

  • Bill would ban use of certain personal pronouns in ND. The bill has since been rejected, but it would have allowed fines of up to $1,500 for a trans person referring to themselves or others with gender pronouns different from the ones they were assigned at birth.
  • Indiana GOP Introduces Two “Don’t Say Gay” Bills. These bills would prohibit all Indiana schools and their third-party vendors from providing any instruction in kindergarten through third grades with the intent to “study, explore, or inform” students about six topics: gender fluidity, gender roles, gender stereotypes, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
  • Illinois Judge Blocks Ban On Sales Of Assault Weapons. An Illinois state judge temporarily blocked the state’s assault weapons ban, signed into law on January 10th, that would prohibit the sale and distribution of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and parts that convert handguns into assault weapons.
  • FL Defends Ban On African-American History Course. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempts to justify his ban on the teaching of African-American history.
  • TX Youth Pastor Arrested In Mass Sex Trafficking Bust. Self-explanatory
  • AZ Senate Advances Anti-Trans Pronouns School Bill. More of the same.
  • WI Catholic School Teacher Gets 6 Years For Child Sex. Self-explanatory

And there’s more, but you get the picture.  More and more with each passing week, I wonder what kind of world we are living in.  How did we get to this point where guns are more highly valued than humans, where skin colour and gender identity matter more than intelligence or compassion, where sexual abuse by those in the most trusted positions is now the norm?

America, the land of opportunity, land of freedom, a nation that opens its arms to refugees in need of a new homeland.  The country where, as I was often told when I was a child, you can be anything you want if you work hard.  A land of justice and equality.  I have trouble equating that land to the one I see today.  Was that ever the reality, or was it always a myth?

As children, my generation were told so many lies … we were taught that the first European settlers made nice with the Indigenous People, when the fact is those settlers committed genocide against them.  And today?  There is a growing movement to hide the facts from the days of slavery, and later Jim Crow, where in one sense Black people were still enslaved.  We manufacture lethal weapons by the thousands, even ones made especially for children.  We teach our children to hate, and label it ‘Christianity.’ We hide the reality that not everyone is exactly the same. We build walls to keep people out, rather than bridges to welcome them.

Lee Greenwood famously sang a song, Proud to be an American.  Once upon a time, I would have agreed, but not today.

Artificial Intelligence? No Thanks

Question for you:  Why do you write a blog?  No, it’s not a trick question … you’ll understand in just a minute.

To answer my own question, I write my posts mainly because I think I have something to say.  Others might disagree with that, but that’s okay … enough people read my posts to make me want to keep writing.  We all, I think, have something to say that is important to some people, and that’s what all writing, whether fiction or fact, a novel or a blog, is about.  It comes from our minds and our hearts, we write our thoughts and views, and what we write is unique to us.  A blog is a lot of work … research, writing, editing, responding to comments … but it is rewarding in its own way.  We learn from each other and ‘meet’ new people, make new friends, share ideas.

Akismet does an excellent job of filtering ‘spam’ comments out, only occasionally sending a legitimate comment to the ‘spam’ folder or letting an illegitimate one through.  I don’t get a lot of ‘spammy’ comments these days, maybe 2 or 3 a day, but I always review the spam folder at least once a day before permanently deleting them.  Below is the one I found in my spam folder this morning …

Hello, jilldennison.com I hope you are doing well with managing your website

And I Know How much it is time-consuming to write a good blog post for your website but Did you know you can automate your website with a robot?

You can write a blog post automatically without writing a single paragraph. For example, let’s say you want to write a blog about Art.

In the software write ( write me content about The best Art ideas for 2023)

Done, the robot gives you an entire blog post, and it is plagiarism-freeAnd you can try it here for free: [link deleted] I hope you enjoy it, have a nice day.

My first inclination was simply to send it into the virtual trashbin, for I enjoy writing my own posts, sharing my own views, thoughts and ideas.  Why on earth would I want a computer to do the thinking for me???  But then, I thought it might be fun just to try it out.  Note that in no way will I use this to write my posts – when the day comes that I’m too lazy or witless to write my own posts, I’ll sign off and that will be the end of Filosofa’s Word!  But, I did think it would be fun to try, just to see what this “artificial intelligence” thing came up with.  And so, I chose a simple topic:  The gun problem in the United States.  In just under 20 seconds, this is what it came up with …

The Growing Gun Crisis in the United States

Gun violence has become an increasingly pressing issue in the United States, with gun-related deaths and injuries on the rise. From mass shootings to everyday violence, guns have been used to cause immense harm to individuals and communities across the country. But why is this happening? Let’s explore what is causing the gun crisis in America and how we can work towards a solution.

Where Are Guns Coming From?

The U.S. has some of the most lax gun laws in the world, making it easier for guns to be obtained than in other countries. In fact, there are an estimated 393 million civilian firearms in circulation in America—almost one gun per person! This means that even those with criminal records or mental health issues have access to guns, leading to an increase in gun-related crimes and deaths.

What’s Being Done To Address It?

Fortunately, groups like Everytown for Gun Safety are working hard to pass legislation that would make it more difficult for people who should not have access to guns from obtaining them. These organizations advocate for policies such as universal background checks, extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs), and red flag laws that would prevent those at high risk of gun violence from getting their hands on firearms. So far, they’ve had success—39 states now have a form of ERPO law on the books!

Gun violence is an epidemic in our country that needs immediate attention—and we all play a role in addressing it. By supporting initiatives like universal background checks and ERPOs, we can help reduce gun-related deaths and injuries by ensuring that only those who should have access to firearms actually get them. It may seem daunting but together we can make a difference—a difference that could save lives! Let’s join forces and create a safer future for everyone!

Okay, well … on the one hand, I was amazed by the accuracy of the information, as well as the coherency and error-free grammar and spelling, although it was rather generic and didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know.  But, it lacks that personal touch, it lacks the passion with which a human would write.  It is not something I’ll be using hereafter, especially in light of the fact that to go beyond the ‘free trial’ would cost $490 per year!!!  But mostly, I would feel like a cheat, and I wouldn’t have the personal satisfaction I get when I write what I think is a good post.  If I were going to let a computer do my thinking and writing for me … why bother?

♫ Come And Get It ♫ (Redux)

Okay friends … it’s official!  I, Jill Dennison, aka Filosofa, have lost my bloody mind!!!  A few nights ago after I played a song by the group Badfinger, our friend Clive mentioned two other songs by them, “Day After Day”, and this one, “Come And Get It”.  I told him I didn’t know if I had ever heard “Day After Day”, but that I did somewhat remember “Come And Get It”.  So, I went in search of both, found that I knew them both well from way back when, and decided to play first one, then the other here on Filosofa’s Word.  Well guess what?  That song I said I didn’t think I had heard before is one that I played here less than two years ago, in February 2021.  And this one … “Come And Get It”?  I played this one in July 2020!  I do not remember playing either of them!  Therefore, I have concluded that I am suffering irreversible brain damage, likely from all the times I’ve smacked myself upside the head as I am doing tonight!


Paul McCartney wrote this for the 1969 movie The Magic Christian, starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr.  McCartney recorded the demo of this, and he played all the instruments himself. This was done prior to a Beatles recording session at Abbey Road studios. Paul’s demo sounds exactly like Badfinger’s recording, which he produced. In The Beatles Anthology book, Paul mentions that Badfinger wanted to do the song more in their own style, but he insisted they do it the same as on his demo. He told them that he knew this would be a hit song as long as they played it just as he had.  And it was a hit, reaching #4 in the UK and Canada, and #7 in the U.S.

This was Badfinger’s first hit single. They were the first group to sign with Apple Records, which is The Beatles’ label.  The band’s future wasn’t too rosy, though.  Badfinger had a few other hits in the early ’70s, but in 1974 Warner Brothers Records, which signed them when Apple folded, sued the band and kept them from recording. One member of the group, Pete Ham, killed himself a year later, and another, Tom Evans, committed suicide in 1983.

Come And Get It
Badfinger

If you want it, here it is, come and get it
Mm mm mm mm, make your mind up fast
If you want it, any time, I can give it

But you’d better hurry ’cause it may not last
Did I hear you say that there must be a catch?
Will you walk away from a fool and his money?

If you want it, here it is, come and get it
But you’d better hurry ’cause it’s goin’ fast
If you want it, here it is, come and get it
Mm mm mm mm, make your mind up fast

If you want it, any time, I can give it
But you’d better hurry ’cause it may not last

Did I hear you say that there must be a catch?
Will you walk away from a fool and his money?
Sonny!

If you want it, here it is, come and get it
But you’d better hurry ’cause it’s goin’ fast
You’d better hurry ’cause it’s goin’ fast

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Fool and his money
Sonny!

If you want it, here it is, come and get it
But you’d better hurry ’cause it’s goin’ fast
You’d better hurry ’cause it’s goin’ fast
You’d better hurry ’cause it’s goin’ fast.

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Paul James Mccartney
Come And Get It – Re-Recording lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Thoughts On Human Adaptability … And Hearing!

For Christmas, my daughter bought me a set of hearing aids.  Now, I was born with defective ears, and when I was very young, I think around 8 years old, I tried hearing aids … this was back in the late 1950s when hearing aids meant a box strapped to the chest with wires leading from the box to big, bulky pieces in both ears.  Well, long story short, they didn’t work out for me and the audiologist said that my particular hearing problem could not be resolved with hearing aids.  As I aged, the problem grew worse and today I am about 95% deaf.  But, with the improvements in the hearing aid technology in recent years, my daughter thought it was worth a shot.  Her order was delayed, so it was a late Christmas present, arriving just before New Year’s, and a complete surprise to me, for while we had talked about it, I had no idea she had actually ordered them.

With eager anticipation combined with a bit of trepidation, I tried them on … and … WOW!!!  I never knew our front door squeaked!  I didn’t know that a toilet flushing made noise!  Had no idea that my keyboard was so LOUD!  I can hear the kitties cry!  I can hear Natasha clearing her throat and Chris snuffling!  One day I was in the kitchen rinsing off some dishes when I heard voices behind me, even caught some of the words, so I swung around, for I thought I was alone in the house!  It was the neighbor kids walking through my backyard on their way home from school!  I heard them through closed windows and a wall!!!

Needless to say, I am a happy camper!  Yes, there are a few negatives, like sometimes there’s just too much noise between the television (if Chris is home), three people typing on keyboards, the cats scratching in the litterbox, the furnace running, the washing machine spinning, etc. And my own voice sounds overly loud and somewhat mechanical. But the positives far outweigh the negatives. Last night, I noticed something different.  For the first several days, I marveled constantly about the things I could hear that I had never heard before, but last night when I took the hearing aids out for the night, it was the silence I noticed.  I did not hear the water running, did not hear the furnace nor the cats.  I think this means that I have gotten so used to wearing the hearing aids, to hearing sounds, that silence is no longer my norm, but rather the aberration.

Which brings me to my point, in case you were wondering if I had one.  We become conditioned.  In this case, I spent nearly 72 years being unable to hear, depending on lip reading, closed captioning, and otherwise just nodding my head and smiling, but it took me just over a week to become conditioned to hearing everyday sounds, and then silence became the anomaly.  Here in the U.S., we have become conditioned or inured to gun violence, to bigotry and racism, to corrupt politicians, to wealthy corporations enjoying the fruits of our labour, to the poor and homeless living hand-to-mouth.  If asked to think about those things, we do and we are horrified, but on a day-to-day basis, we simply don’t think about them because they have become the ‘norm’ just as surely as my hearing running water is now the norm.  Every day there is a new horror and we learn to skim the news and simply turn a blind eye, get on with our own lives.

Humans are adaptable creatures … throughout history humans have evolved, have adjusted to meet the circumstances of the changing world.  In most ways that is a good thing, a necessary thing for our survival as a species.  But when it enables us to simply accept the unacceptable, perhaps it is not such a good thing.  When our senses become dulled to the horrors of children being killed in schools, of police killing Black people at a higher rate than white people, of politicians favouring the wealthy over the rest of us, of homeless people living on the streets, then our adaptation to the new norms puts us on a path set to destroy the very things that make us ‘human’ by definition.

There are many things that we must adapt to in order to survive in this world, but when gun violence becomes the acceptable norm, when each set of elected politicians is just a little more corrupt than the last, when people are shunned and abused because of the colour of their skin, their religion or sexual orientation, those are things that we should never accept as the “new normal”.  If we allow them to, then future generations, our grandchildren and and their children, will pay for our apathy. If we want the world to be a better place, then we have to change it and we cannot change it if we are willing to simply accept what is wrong.

♫ Eve of Destruction ♫ (Redux)

Interestingly, I played this one on January 6th, 2021, the day the U.S. Capitol and our Congress were attacked by armed insurrectionists attempting to overthrow a free and fair election on behalf of a madman.  Today … there is another form of insurrection taking place within that same building.  Yes, I know I’ve played this one many times, even as recently as last June, but … today, it fits, okay?

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.
No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan, 1965
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Hello 2023!

What follows is a repeat of my 2016 New Year post … a time when Obama was still president and we were all certain that television buffoon couldn’t possibly become the next president, though we wished he would just sit down and shut up.  I considered writing a new post this year to ring in the new year, to opine on the current status quo, but I think the 2016 post says just about what I would say today, so … why re-invent the wheel?  Anyway, I’ve got cooking to do for tonight’s New Year’s Eve bash (just the 3 of us and a quiet night at home, but still a special family time.)  So with that, I wish you all a safe and happy New Year!


I do not quite understand why it is, but most of us welcome in the new year with great hope for the next 365 days, almost as if we believe that the slate we were using for the past 365 days was wiped clean at the exact moment the ball hit bottom in Times Square, and we are now starting afresh with new hopes, new dreams, a clean slate on which to write a new story, a better one.  Okay, okay … I am not going to be a the one to dash those dreams, those ethereal images that you are seeing with such joy.  Life will see to that soon enough, probably when you awaken in the morning and turn on the news, pick up the morning newspaper, or boot up the computer.

Do you make resolutions at New Year’s?  I do not, so I am always curious about people who do.  Oh sure, I hope that I can do better at certain things than I have in the past, but that is pretty much a daily hope of mine.  Do people who do make resolutions start thinking about their resolutions a week in advance?  A month?  I once had a friend who made his resolution on the morning of January 1st … same resolution every year … when he awakened with a massive hangover and resolved then and there to quit drinking, effective immediately.  His resolution usually lasted for about 12 hours.  Have you ever made a resolution and actually kept it throughout the year?  I don’t think I personally know anybody whose resolution was anything other than a dim memory by January 31st, so I am curious if some people who do make resolutions actually do manage to keep to them.

I do not make resolutions, but I think about, based on the past year, what the year 2016 might bring.  It would be lovely, and I am sure some say this is their hope for the new year, to think that within the next twelve months we will see peace and prosperity around the world, an end to wars in the Middle East, an end to racism and bigotry in our own nation, more love and tolerance, less hatred toward our fellow man, and an end to the highly annoying facebook memes that attempt to compress complex socio-political issues into a single sentence.  Who wouldn’t love to see an end to ISIS, Boko Haram, al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations?  These are dreams we could all share, even if we are divided on who should be the next president of the U.S.  But sadly, just like the person who buys a lottery ticket and goes to bed dreaming of a new home, a new car, and telling his boss “I quit”, when we look back a year from now, I am pretty sure those problems will still exist, others will have joined them, and people will still be … well, human.

Filosofa is not a cynic, contrary to what you may think.  I am actually known in my circle of friends as quite the optimist … annoyingly to some.  But I am a pragmatist, a realist, and as such I do not live in a world of dreams.  One of the readers of this blog commented yesterday that we need to say to ourselves, “okay, the world is a mess … now how do we fix it?”  I like that attitude. So, while I do not make resolutions, I do have hopes.  Unlike hopes for world peace, an end to all war, etc., my hopes are that people will start asking themselves “what can I do to make the world a little bit better?”  And then start looking for answers.  The answers are all around you, if you just realize what the question is.  Many years ago, my answer to this question was, and still is, to treat everybody as human beings.  These days, I try to make a difference by writing, in hopes that I might be able to make just one person think about things that matter.  Most of us, realistically, are not in a position to bring about world peace.  We cannot all be Mother Teresa or Gandhi.  We cannot all be leaders of nations.  But we can make small differences within our own small spheres of influence, in our community, in our neighborhood.  We can volunteer one day a month at a homeless shelter or food pantry, we can help a neighbor who is struggling, we can donate unwanted clothing or food items to the poor.  We can find ways to fight violence without resorting to more violence.  We can talk a little bit nicer to people, say “good morning” and “thank you so much” to the young person who bags our groceries.  Think that doesn’t make a difference?  Think again.

So my hope for the new year is that we all try very hard to find the small things that we can do to help people we come into contact with every day.  No, it will not end the conflict in Syria, it will not eradicate Iran’s enriched uranium supply, and it will not remove Donald Trump from the presidential race, but a lot of little deeds add up to making the world just a little bit better.  You can be part of the problem or you can be part of the solution … your choice.

In closing, I wish each and every one of you a year of peace within your own family and circle of friends, good health and that you be able to meet all of your needs.  Happy New Year!

♫ Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – Redux ♫

I don’t play many Christmas songs, but I do play a few of the secular sort, and as we are in the final week before the holiday, I will try to play a few Christmas songs for the rest of the week!  This is one I’ve played a few times, but not for the past three years, and it always brings some chuckles, especially in light of my personal connection to the song.

Natasha circa 18 mos 2

Baby Goose

My granddaughter Natasha, aka Miss Goose, was just over a year old, having been born on 28 November 1994.  I worked long hours and missed most of her waking time, so when I was home, I made the most of the time I had to bond with her.  She loved music and loved animation, so I searched for things on the computer that might attract her attention.  That Christmas season she fell in love with a Christmas-themed song … of all things … Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.  At only 13 months old, she hadn’t yet the art of verbal communication as we know it, but every time that song played, she started bouncing, clapping, and giggling uncontrollably!  I swear she understood those lyrics!

Granted, this is an utterly dorky song, and has been referred to as “the song that only gets worse with age”, but as the song has fond memories for me, and has a humorous bent, I share it with you this Christmas seasom, some 27 years later (Miss Goose is now 28 years old … where did the years go???).  And I thank Miss Goose for, despite loving a song about the demise of Grandma, being the light of my life for all these years.

This was written by Randy Brooks and recorded by the then husband-and-wife duo of Elmo Shropshire and Patsy Trigg, although Patsy does not sing or play an instrument on this song. It was released in 1979 in the San Francisco area where they lived, and each year more and more radio stations picked up on this holiday novelty classic, and by 1984 the song hit the national chart. Unfortunately, a year later Elmo and Patsy divorced.

This was made into a TV special of the same name in 2000. After Grandma disappears on Christmas Eve, it’s up to her grandson to find out what happened to her, prove Santa is real, and keep an evil family member from claiming her stuff.

There are two versions to this song … well, actually several … but I offer both the cartoon version and the … um … drunken grandma version …

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Elmo & Patsy

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe
She’d been drinking too much eggnog
And we begged her not to go
But she forgot her medication
And she staggered out the door into the snow
When we found her Christmas morning
At the scene of the attack
She had hoof-prints on her forehead
And incriminating Claus marks on her back

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe

Now we’re all so proud of grandpa
He’s been taking this so well
See him in there watching football
Drinking beer and playing cards with cousin Mel
It’s not Christmas without Grandma
All the family’s dressed in black
And we just can’t help but wonder
Should we open up her gifts
Or send them back (send them back)

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe

Now the goose is on the table
And the pudding made of fig
And the blue and silver candles
That would just have matched the hair on grandma’s wig
I’ve warned all my friends and neighbors
Better watch out for yourselves
They should never give a license
To a man who drives a sleigh
And plays with elves

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe

Singin’ grandpa
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
You can say there’s no such thing as Santa
But as for me and grandpa we believe
Merry Christmas

Songwriters: Randy Brooks
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer lyrics © BMG Rights Management