Category Archives: life

Wow! Where does the time go? :) A thought for today on choice vs. “making”

Hello again, and thank you to those who have stayed around to see when The Takedown would once again have a post put to it. Things have been a bit crazy on this end as I have been looking for work after getting my EMT certification, as well as dealing with some personal issues and life in general; but on the whole I won’t complain because I still have a home to live in, a family, and not the least of which, I woke up this morning!

My post today deals with something that we commonly do as people; namely blaming others for “making” us feel/act a certain way. I do it, I’m fairly sure anyone reading this does it – it’s a facet of our being human. It’s also something that is, at its base, untrue. Now before I go on, let me make one thing clear – I do not believe, and I believe it has been shown, that you cannot help your initial reaction to something. We don’t have that precise of a control over our emotions. You can, however, choose how you continue to respond to what was said or done, and that is where the distinction truly lies.

People don’t “make” us angry. We choose to be angry at what they’ve done, or what they’ve said, or how they’ve acted. They don’t “make” us anything, when it comes down to it. The responsibility for our choices, our ongoing feelings, and our reactions and responses to what happens around us lies with the one who looks back at us out of the mirror every day – US. (Or in my case, ME, since I don’t see any of you when I look in the mirror!)

There’s a popular post on Facebook that says “Clients don’t come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” The statement is attributed to Richard Branson. It’s nice, it’s simple, but it’s not true. It all comes down to the choices each one of us make, every day. If the reason you treat people “well” or “take care of clients” is because your company treats YOU well, may I respectfully submit that there’s a problem? (Consider my work as an EMT – if I only treated my patients well because whomever I worked for/volunteered with treated ME well, I would think there’d be a REAL problem, and right quick, too!)

I prefer this thought, myself – and I believe it’s much more realistic (although I would substitute the word “nice” with “kind,” because “nice” is a social construct – but I digress:

Kindness and Peace

It’s something to think about.

God bless today, my friends!

 

An item of remembrance, and one of rage that should motivate us all

As the title suggests, this is going to be a two-fer, today. As one item is a note of remembrance, I’ll start with that.

On June 9, 2017, we bid farewell to a man who I believe can properly be called an icon; Adam West. Whether you know him from the Batman series from the 60’s, or his MANY roles and voice work in television and movies since then, the man truly took his popularity and embraced it, parlaying what originally was seen as typecasting into a rollicking career in the years that followed. (Everything from the Mayor of Quahog, Rhode Island, in Family Guy to the part of a superhero called The Gray Ghost in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series) Rest well, Mr. West. You will be missed, and thank you for the memories and laughter you gave us over the years.

Now on to the second point. I had the great misfortune to read a news article detailing charges being brought against a mother for having left her two toddlers in a closed, locked car for a number of hours while she spent time with her 16 year old “male friend.” The children, unfortunately, died but what is worse, even than that, is that  people in the apartment knew DAMNED WELL WHAT WAS HAPPENING and even went so far as to repeatedly tell the mother she should do something because they could HEAR the children crying, and yet did nothing further than that. Yes, you read that right. From the accounts thus far, no one called the police, no one smashed out a window on the car, no one did anything further than keep encouraging the mother to actually take care of her children.

The children were in the car, overnight, for a total of FIFTEEN HOURS.

No one did anything to help those children. No one.

Friends, if this story doesn’t leave you shaking with rage, I honestly don’t know what to say. Sad enough that these two children died from such neglect, but to think that the people around knew what was going on but did nothing to help simply boggles my mind.

If you take nothing else away from this, please – I beg of you – take this with you. Determine, right now, this moment, to not be a bystander. If you’ve never considered it before, let this article shake you out of that mindset and make you realize that there is real, tangible evil in this world. Determine that you will not stand for it – you will not simply turn your head and say, “Nope. Not my problem. I’m not getting involved.”

I leave you with this quote from Yehuda Bauer, which I have quoted before. It was made in reference to the Holocaust, but applies whenever any of us encounter a situation in which we have to make a choice to do something, or turn away and do nothing:

“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”

15 hours of suffering. Two children dead at the end of it. Was the mother to blame? The courts will determine that.

I can say, absolutely, that the ones who KNEW what was happening and yet did nothing, carry guilt as well, as surely as if they’d locked the car and left those children there.

God go with you today, my friends. Please – DON’T be a bystander.

 

YOU ARE IMPORTANT. BELIEVE IT!

Today’s post is a serious one. It stems from having read of two recent suicides in the news, and the thoughts that came to me after reading of them. As many of you who have been readers of The Takedown know, I have lost friends to suicide and it has had a great impact on who I am and what I believe. The sticky post – the first post anyone sees when they come to this blog, in fact – is a post of encouragement to one who may be feeling alone. It’s that important. I’ll open the blog with one of my all-time favorite quotes from the original series of Star Trek. In the scene, the Captain is expressing doubts about his course of action and Leonard “Bones” McCoy, says the following:

“In this galaxy, there’s a mathematical probability of three million Earth-type planets. And in all of the universe, three million million galaxies like this. And in all of that… and perhaps more, only one of each of us. [pause] Don’t destroy the one named Kirk.” (Italics and bold added by me)

It’s a powerful statement. Think of it and refer to it as I continue. I mentioned suicides in the opening of the blog but before I begin, let me make a couple of things clear. It is not my intent to, in any way shape or form judge the person or the action, and I won’t tolerate comments that do. I know I’ve been there and have had those thoughts but, by God’s grace never went through with it.  I can’t imagine what must finally be the breaking point that causes a person to take that final, fatal step. I just know that all too often, it happens, and all too often, I don’t believe it needs to.

The first being that of a student in Texas named Thomas Klocke. Amid allegations that he had harassed a gay student, after apparently being denied due process in the most egregious fashion, and faced with what he perceived as the end of his career and/or ability to continue his education, he took his own life. He was set to graduate, had no prior mental health issues or problems on campus – and now is dead.

The second is the death of Aaron Hernandez, convicted of murder and serving a life sentence without parole. Whatever we may think of him or his crime, whatever we may believe or not about the rumors of why he did it, one inescapable fact remains. Something drove him to such despair that he ended his own life.

Friends – it’s as simple as this, and something that we all need to hear and be reminded of. YOU ARE IMPORTANT. YOU ARE THE ONLY “YOU” THERE IS. There is only one thing in this world worth giving your life for – and you can find it in John 15:13 (“Greater love has no one than this; than someone lay down his life for his friends.”) There’s nothing – NO THING – on this planet worth your life unless it is the life of another person. No job, no relationship, no amount of money, no anything is more important than remembering that you are the only you there is. You are important because you ARE. Because you EXIST.  You can’t know what effect you have had or can have in the future. Have you made mistakes? Welcome to the club. Have you screwed up relationships? Join the human race. Committed crimes? Done bad things? Welcome to being human. It doesn’t define who you are, or what you can be. 

Thomas Klocke’s career wasn’t worth his life. What an example, an inspiration he could have been had he stayed and fought – stood his ground and refused to be silenced.

Whatever remorse or secrets or anything else that Aaron Hernandez may have felt or may have had weren’t worth HIS life.

Take the above quote – the one from Star Trek – and insert YOUR name instead of Kirk’s. “Dont destroy the one named…” 

Remember that you are important!

God bless, my friends!

 

A PSA today because here at The Takedown, you’re cared about.

Whatever you may think about the news site itself, I saw this article today and thought it worth passing along. Even though the article specifically says “..the Mommy Juice,” take it from someone who had an uncle who died a literal wino; this can apply to ANY gender.

The link to the article follows below:

http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/04/07/7-signs-youre-hitting-mommy-juice-too-hard.html

Friends, let me say this as I close out this article. If this article spoke to you, please do yourself and those you love a favor, even if you don’t think you need to. Get it checked out and get some help. YOU CAN DO IT. 

If you know someone who is an alcoholic, or whom you may suspect is one, do everything you can to try and help them get the help they need. You can’t make them get it, of course, but you can do all you can to help and support them, and show them you care.

Please note that “caring” does not mean “don’t say anything,” “cover for them,” “make excuses for them,” “allow myself to be abused because of their dependency,” or “help them deny they have a problem.”

Sometimes, the truest form of compassion is the ability to show tough love when God knows you’d rather take an easier way. It won’t be easy – but it will be worth it.

God bless, my friends.

 

Labels, “identifying” and the danger of both

So, in case any of you missed it, Barry Manilow (a singer who was most famous, as memory serves, back in the 70’s/80’s) has suddenly found it necessary to come out and admit he is gay.

The man is 73. Seems a bit late for whatever it was you thought you’d be doing in your admission, Barry, but I digress.

I saw a comment on the story (or non-story, if you feel as I do, simply because I don’t care who someone chooses to give their affections to, so long as it’s not an adult and a child) which said, simply, “Barry Manilow has come out as gay. Am I supposed to be surprised?” 

My reaction was much more direct and pithy. “So what?”

Friends, The Boot of Truth is that by “identifying” as gay, all Mr. Manilow has done is pigeonhole himself. He’s affixed a label to himself that, to a great many people, says “I have value because of this.” We see it a great deal. You constantly see labels affixed to descriptions of people. Michael Sam wasn’t an NFL player, he was “an openly-gay NFL player.” You see descriptions like, “the noted black/Hispanic/female” added to a person’s job or name, as though that somehow makes them better, more qualified or somehow a special person because of it. Oddly enough, these same groups are the ones who have so many members who so loudly proclaim that they “just want equality” or “just want to be accepted.”

You don’t obtain equality by labeling yourself. That gets you separation, especially when it’s so glaringly obvious that it doesn’t go both ways. (Black Music Awards? Women’s History Month? Don’t hold your breath waiting for the opposite) Your quality comes  because you are. You have it because you exist, and you’re a human being. No label gives that to you. Labels only serve to keep us separated. They allow the “us vs. them” mentality to stay alive and well and keep us fighting with one another. No matter how “good” or for what “good” purpose these labels are used, they are still labels and they still separate us.

Barry Manilow, like Michael Sam and countless others, have that quality. What a shame that either they or others felt that they needed an additional qualifier, an additional title to somehow make them “more” special.

They didn’t – because they already were, just like each of us are.

Just like YOU are.

Remember that the next time some of the PC Thought Police come along and tell you what’s “proper” to say or how to say it and insist you use their labels.  In other words:

“Beware of anyone who describes a human being as something other than human being.”
― George Monbiot

God bless, my friends.

 

 

There are more kinds of glasses than “Rose Colored”

Most of us, I am fairly sure, have heard the expression that deals with wearing “rose-colored glasses.” In essence, the expression deals not with optimism or those people who are optimistic, but with excessive or unrealistic optimism. (Kind of like the difference between giving people the benefit of the doubt and the old joke about seeing the priest/pastor/rabbi coming out of the brothel and someone saying, “Ahh, one of the poor ladies must be dying.”) The comic that follows this one originally came from a collection that was created to show the shortcomings of modern “feminism.” However, when I read it, I realized that the same image could be used to illustrate something much more profound, if you will; namely the joy-sapping burden that so many carry with them every day that causes them to be perpetually angry and unhappy with how they perceive (operative word – perceive) the world. I’ll post the comic below, then follow up with my comments on it.

SQUzkps.jpg

As I read it, I realized that you could take that same comic and insert any of the outrage du jour “causes” that are around today, and have them apply just as well.

  • Racism? To the person who chooses to see racism in everything, it would have things like: “White guys enjoying what they got on the backs of black people” (Guy with the phone); “Why is the darker colored guy the only one working?” (Guy putting up the poster)
  • LGBT Activism? For those activists, it would be things like: “Denying her true feelings to ‘fit in'” (Woman with baby); “Straight couples obviously ignoring the gay man and excluding him” (the couple, talking, with the third guy sitting alone, looking at his phone)
  • Extreme, judgemental “religious-ness” (and I’m a professing Christian, so believe me, I’ve seen it.)? To the person who sees everything in terms of morals and self-righteous judgement of others, it would have things like: “Obviously either a whore or gave up on her marriage” (Woman with baby); “Shameful the way they’re flirting and trying to hook up in public” (man and woman talking on bench); “Disgusting poster, and that man putting it up so others can ogle it;” (man hanging poster)

And on, and on, and on…..

I think you get the point I’m trying to make. You may be saying, “Ok, then what’s the point? Where’s the encouragement? Where’s the Boot of Truth?” It’s right here. In each and every one of the examples given, the viewpoint taken is not only unrealistic, but it’s a choice. You can just as easily choose to NOT see the world that way as you can choose TO see it that way. IS there racism in the world? Of course there is. Unfortunate as it is, it’s a part of humanity, and it’s one that deserves to be fought. Does that mean that everything that happens to one group of people is a RESULT of racism? No, it does not. IS there misogyny in the world, and are there women who are treated unfairly? You’re damned RIGHT there is. (It’s a pity that so many of the self-proclaimed feminists are so vocal about how “horrible” it is here in the USA, and yet so dead silent on how women are treated in Muslim countries, and others, but that’s another post.) Does that make men universally evil, universally the enemy, and every bad thing that happens to a woman the result of misogyny? No, it does not. In each of those examples, an extreme stance has been taken – one that makes everything that happens a result of whatever it is you say you’re “fighting against.” It literally consumes you and alters your perception of the world and the people around you.

Friends, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There ARE legitimate causes in this world. There are legitimate injustices and evils to fight against. Each of us has a limited time on this earth, and we need to be careful and cautious about what “cause” we choose to give our time to. We also need to keep one of Nietzsche’s most famous statements in the forefront of our minds while we do:

“He who fights monsters should see to it that he, himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

Whatever cause you fight for – whatever evils you stand against – don’t let that make you see them everywhere you look. Don’t become that extremist. Don’t let yourself be swept along by those who want to hijack a good, valid cause, and turn it into a hammer while anyone who doesn’t agree with them is turned into a nail.

Have the courage to stand and say “No. The ends don’t justify the means, and this is going too far.”

God bless, my friends!

 

Something to give us a good laugh

I usually write things that can be pretty serious, here on the Takedown, and I make no apologies for that. Life is a serious thing, and all too often we get our “advice” or input or whatever you want to call it in the form of infomercials, motivational posters or the likes of Dr. Oz or Oprah Winfrey; in other words from sources that are either (a) useless, (b) trite, or (c) so totally removed from what the average person deals with that it’s laughable.

To that end, I saw this and decided to post it in the hopes that it would give my readers as hearty of a laugh as it did me. The image comes courtesy of my good friend Hambo over at The PIGazette (that stands for The Politically Incorrect Gazette, for those who may not know) and in the “fair warning” department, I’ll say this. If you are easily offended/outraged or have little to no sense of humor, do me a favor and don’t read it – or at the very least, read what comes after it when you’re done huffing and puffing. (And also, I’m presuming that the person holding the sign is a woman, and the caption supports the idea but in truth, I honestly cannot tell and so it could as easily be a man who is White Knighting for the militant feminist movement or women in general. You’ll have to make your own call on that one.) 

chastity belt

On a more serious note, it illustrates to me a couple of VERY good points that modern ‘feminism’ seems to miss:

  • The freedom to do what you want is just that – the freedom to do what you want. Unless those ladies in the Hooters shirts had a gun put to their heads or were illegally coerced into doing that job, they chose to do it, and do it willingly. They had a right to do so; the same right that Miss “Women are Not Decoration” seems to want for herself in order to hold up the sign. It goes both ways.
  • There’s a difference between feminism, which I believe in, and militant feminism, in which I do not. Militant feminism is exemplified by the woman holding the sign. She looks angry, she looks miserable, she’s dressed like she just rolled out of bed, and it’s not unreasonable to presume she was there protesting Hooters. That brings me back to point #1 and causes me to ask “This is helping the equality of women how?” In your own way, you’re demeaning them and trying to remove their choice as much as you claim men are/have/still are.
  • Consider the difference in impact had it been a well dressed, elegant looking woman (or even a scantily clad woman, I suppose) who held a sign that said something like “Like what you see? I am a successful business owner/a mother/a wife, and I have X Y or Z degree. Women are not just for decoration.”  BAM! Great message, well presented and it gets the point across.

The Boot of Truth, even in this? Freedom of choice is freedom of choice. As Penn Jillette said, “You don’t have a legal right to not be offended, but you have a moral right to avoid things that will offend you.” 

Sounds like this lady should have listened to that advice and exercised her rights.

And I’m not even TOUCHING the “chastity belt” comment. You go after that one on your OWN. images

God bless, my friends!

 

What real courage is – and what it isn’t

This has happened before – I had a long, involved post all ready to go that dealt with courage, and what real courage was, and wasn’t – and then I was brought up short by encountering an article like the one I am going to link here. (The main focus isn’t on Colin K, but instead on another) Friends, I tell you true – read it. I guarantee you will never be the same again. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Trust me.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/439479/colin-kaepernicks-national-anthem-protest-was-cowardly

What an incredible story, and an incredible man, for a man he WAS. In every sense of the word, Henry Johnson was everything that the Colin Kapernicks, Beyonces, Hollywood Elites and countless others who scream about how “unjust” the very country that has made them multi-millionaires many times over are not, and in all likelihood never will be. It becomes even more pointed a lesson when you now read that Mr. Kaepernick has graciously decided to stand for the National Anthem this upcoming season. Why? Surely it’s not because he’s a free agent and has become poisonous to any and all who might consider picking him up. Oh no. Per his own words, it’s because he doesn’t want to “detract from the positive change that he believes has been created.” Now, while only God can know his true motives, it has been noted that it does seem fairly suspect that his timing just happens to come right now.

Lest you think I’m just on an anti-Kaepernick rant, follow along with me for a second, and you’ll see the point I’m going to make. In the book The Virtues of Captain America, the author is illustrating the trait of perseverance and says the following:

“Holding certain moral values and acting on them doesn’t mean much if a person doesn’t stand up for them through thick and thin. People may do the right thing, maybe even often, but if they do it only when it’s easy or convenient, it speaks little of their devotion to their ideals. The true test of a person’s character is how regularly he or she exhibits ethical behavior and under what pressures he or she continues to do so.” 

Now let’s assume for a moment that the general consensus about Mr. Kaepernick’s motives is so (and, truthfully, haven’t we seen that a lot, in a lot of different areas and from different people? They hold to their principles until; until they might lose their job, until they might lose their position, until it might cost them sales/money), and he has decided to no longer kneel for the Anthem because he’s concerned about it affecting his career.

Ask yourself: Is that courage? Is that conviction, and adherence to his ideals?

Is it, really? Or is it, instead, what the world calls “courage” – the type that is so because it agrees with some current political or social trend? The kind that’s disposable, once it no longer serves a purpose?

I would say no, it’s not, and I believe that 99% of you would, as well.

Friends, it’s a simple rule of existence – courage, REAL courage, costs. It’s not a thing that you “put on” when it’s expedient or convenient, or to score political points or social standing, and then “take off” when it looks like you might catch some heat. It’s something you do. It’s something you live. It is, as Sir Winston Churchill said when speaking of the battle against the Nazis, “Victory – victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be.” It means standing, even when you stand alone, even when all you own and have worked for may be threatened – because what you are standing for is RIGHT. (Note I said RIGHT – not “socially acceptable,” not “PC,” not “whatever the currently manufactured source of outrage happens to be”)

Cap nailed it, I believe, when he said the following:

doent-matter-what-the-press-says-doesnt-matter-what-the-politicians-for-mobs-say-america-quote

I’m with you, Cap! 

And Mr. Johnson, for your service – thank you. I pray that when you stepped into Eternity, you were welcomed into peace and rest.

God bless, my friends. BE COURAGEOUS TODAY!

 

“And the children shall lead – ” and this one DID!

Sometimes you come across a story in the news that ISN’T one of gloom, doom, hate and anger; a story like this one. The link here is from Breitbart, but I have verified the story on other news sources as well. This one made my day, and may it make yours as well!

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/02/23/seven-year-old-left-line-for-red-sox-autographs-to-ask-army-reserve-for-one/

Young lady, all I can say is WELL DONE.  To her parents, I say, WELL DONE!

To the U.S. Army Reservist, and to ALL of our veterans and active duty personnel, I say – THANK YOU!

What more needs to be said?

God bless today, my friends!