Category Archives: Something to ponder

I’m still here – and back with a post worth reading, I believe!

Hello friends! It’s been some time since I’ve posted here on The Takedown, but much has been happening in my life as of late. I have received my certification as an EMT (I may have mentioned that before), I have been volunteering with my local ambulance corps and have also been job searching, which has led me to begin work at a local hospital in December. To anyone who still is hanging around, seeing what may come on The Takedown, to you I say a hearty “Thank you!” and also express my wishes that all has been well with you in the interim.

My post comes today courtesy of my friend Matt. He brought to my attention today how harmful many of the question type posts on Facebook can be. They’re ubiquitous, those posts; they ask everything from your favorite color to your school mascot to where you met your significant other. They’re so numerous, in fact, that a great many people happily answer them without considering something that, until recently, I never considered, myself.

Those same questions are, in many cases, the same types of questions used as verification for security questions. Credit cards, bank accounts, password apps – they all use those same types of questions, more and more.

Suddenly those “harmless Facebook quizzes” don’t seem so harmless, do they?

Do yourself a favor – the next time you’re about to answer a “harmless Facebook post,” stop and consider exactly what information you’re providing – and then DON’T provide it.

God bless, my friends!


“Vulgarity is no substitute for wit”


I could write page after page expounding on this simple, straightforward quote but I’m not going to. Why? Because I don’t believe I need to. The Boot of Truth in today’s post is that I believe that you, the readers, the faithful people who come to this page and read these blog posts have it within you to read that quote and look around you to see the myriad examples that it applies to in so many different places of life; in comedy and otherwise.

I’m fortunate in that I remember a time when comedy was just that – comedy. A time before the Andrew Dice Clays, Kathy Griffins, Amy Schumers, Chelsea Handlers and the seemingly endless march of vile, violent (because violent they are – make no mistake. You can call something “a joke” all you want but violent threats are violent threats, especially when ONLY made against certain people or groups and never against others), hyper-vulgar “comedians” and “comediennes” that we now have marching across our television screens.

I hope you’re fortunate enough to, as well. Friends, be discerning. LISTEN to these people, and others, and remember the quote of this post. It was true when it was said, and it’s true now, and it will be true tomorrow.

Vulgarity IS no substitute for wit. In truth, it’s no substitute for anything.

God bless, my friends.


Some points to ponder for the day…

It seems that today, everyone has a “cause.” If there’s something to get fired up, worked up, upset, angry or otherwise emotional about, someone will find it, fire up their outrage engine and start that bandwagon rolling down the street. However, in a great many cases, there are some VERY GLARING disparities in what they’re claiming and what they’re doing. (Hence why I have the image attached to this post that I do. I believe it expresses that idea well)

Here’s a list of things to ponder. Wouldn’t it something if:

  • Those who agonize over the mistreatment of animals gave the same amount of empathy, sympathy, time and effort to the mistreatment of their fellow men and women?
  • Those who have screaming fits over animals being starved or their homes being destroyed spent the same amount of time ensuring that their fellow men and women were fed and had homes in which to live, instead of on the street?
  • The elites who lecture the rest of us about how terrible we are for not wanting to let undocumented, illegal persons enter our country (whatever that country may be) and further lecture us on how harmless they are opened their gated, walled homes, led by example and welcomed them in with open arms to prove their point?
  • The lawmakers (especially in the US of A) who say that guns are the problem and the cause of violence and who push laws to disarm the general populace led by example and gave up their security details that are armed with – you guessed it – guns?
  • The message on this image was taught, verbatim? (In other words – accountability of actions goes BOTH ways)


  • Those who claim that they want “fairness,” “equality,” “freedom of speech” and that they value “discussion” and “opposing viewpoints” actually did so, instead of only valuing those discussions, etc., that supported their own?
  • That people – men OR women, because it does go both ways, and both genders do it – that present themselves as freewheeling, “just want to hook up, party, and have sex with whomever I please” types would stop being so surprised when people actually treat them that way? (You could just as easily substitute ‘arrogant,’ ‘rude,’ ‘tough as nails,’ ‘bitchy,’ and a host of other things in there)
  • That people who claim to be “down with the struggle,” actually WERE, instead of using it as a way to sell more of their music/films? (I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to believe that a multimillionaire on a stage understands the plight of people struggling for food day to day in a poverty ridden area somewhere)
  • That groups such as “Black Lives Matter” and people like Al Sharpton were as quick to decry the staggering incidents of black-on-black violence that occur EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. in cities across the US and the world as they are to decry violence when (a) it’s a white and a black person, (b) the cameras are rolling, (c) or both? FBI – 2010  FBI 2011  Deaths from Police vs other causes
  • That these same groups and people would be the first to stand and decry the disproportionate numbers of black babies being aborted as opposed to those of other races, if black lives really DO matter? Or incidents such as the murder of Tyshawn Lee, a 9 year old black boy lured into an alley and killed by a black man who sought gang-related vengeance against his father?

The list could go on and on, but I think the point has been made. Friends, we are bombarded every single day by those who seek to fire us up about SOMETHING. I’ll close with this. You only have one life. You have limited resources and limited time in which to act.

Choose carefully. Do your research. Get both sides, and think for yourself. Just because someone is famous, or yells loudly doesn’t mean they have any more knowledge than you do.

And the same goes for me, and this blog. Read what I’ve posted, take what you find useful, and discard what you don’t.

God bless, my friends.


President elects, spins and detachment from reality

Anyone who is a reader of The Takedown knows that as a general rule, I do not post politically themed posts here. There are a plethora of Right, Left, Center and Lunatic Fringe websites out there from which anyone can get their fill of that stuff, 24/7. However, with the election now over here in the US of A and the absolutely astronomical levels of insanity, spin and the like happening, I decided it was time. I hope this comes as a breath of fresh air and sanity in the midst of what’s currently happening.

The Boot of Truth? Donald Trump is going to be the next President. Another Boot? He won’t be the President because of misogyny, racism, or any other -ism, -phobia or other overused catch phrase that has been thrown about by teary eyed fear mongers, elitists or pampered celebrities in the MSM. (That’s Main Stream Media, for those not up on their acronyms)

The level of double standard on display here is staggering. “Donald Trump was only elected because of misogyny!” the cry goes. “Sexism prevented a woman from becoming President!” This coming from people whose supporters actively encouraged people to vote for her because she was a woman. She had a vagina. That made her a worthwhile candidate.

That’s not sexism in its most blatant form?

“Donald Trump was elected,” the cry also goes, “because of racism against the current President. It’s a backlash because he’s black.” He also has been in office for 8 years, and no other black people were running, so that is preposterous on its face. Racism against whom? Hillary is as white as Trump is.

Donald Trump was raked over the coals for comments made some 11 years ago. “That should disqualify him,” the hue and cry went up. “He’s a sexist! He’s a woman abuser!”

  • Madonna graphically offered oral sex to anyone who voted for Hillary
  • Lena Dunham, who regularly seems to enjoy taking her clothes off on HBO and admitted to sexually abusing her sister when the sister was a child, supported Hillary
  • Jay-Z went on a vitriolic, racist tirade as part of his “performance” when supporting Hillary, and his wife, Beyonce, a person known to disparage the police and dress in clothes that even streetwalkers shun while graphically and sexually gyrating on stage, also supported her
  • Katy Perry, Sarah Silverman, and a host of other foul mouthed “comediennes,” also supported her while crudely denouncing those who didn’t do the same

Yeah. Pardon me if I don’t get my outrage engine fired up on your behalf JUST yet.

Donald Trump was elected for one main reason – because the rank and file Americans finally began to open their eyes and see the levels of corruption, cronyism and elitism in the Obamas, the Clintons, and the people like them. They tired of being insulted, belittled and put down just because they didn’t worship at the altar of Obama, or conveniently ignore everything that Hillary has done because, well, vagina! Makes it all better! He spoke TO them, not AT them. He spoke to them about the things important to them, and spoke to them about the things that concerned them. It was, as one person said, an election of culture vs culture. People woke up and realized that they didn’t need the entertainers, politicians and “stars” who regularly treated them like imbeciles – and they voted against them. Much as I dislike Michael Moore, I have to give him props for one thing – he called it dead on when he said this was the biggest “F-U” to the people in power, ever.

And it’s about time.

I hope and pray, going forward, that we all work together to truly make America that shining city on a hill, and make it great again, rather than the same old, same old.

Oh and by the way – all you entertainers who said you’d leave if Trump was elected? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I can guarantee you that you will not, for the most part, be missed. We both know you won’t leave, though. You don’t have the courage to back your convictions because the Almighty Dollar is much more important.

Huh. I guess now we know why they support the political parties they do, don’t we?

God bless, my friends. May He truly inspire us to let the healing begin.


“Fat is Fabulous?” … Enabling vs. Tough Love vs. “Shaming”

This one may get me in trouble.  I concede that. Hopefully people will read this completely, to the end, and not just assume what I’m going to say and switch off. If you choose to, well, hopefully you’ll come back.

A few things I am NOT going to say:

  1. Fat people (or “morbidly obese,” to use the medical term) are all lazy, shiftless, good for nothing’s who care nothing for themselves and are too lazy to stop shoving food in their face. That’s a broad brush statement, and, in some cases is simply not true. I am well aware that there are legitimate disabilities, physical and genetic challenges, as well as side effects from medications and other issues that can make weight gain almost inevitable, and weight loss VERY difficult.  (The flip side of that is that, far too often, that is used as an excuse for being morbidly obese when such conditions do not exist, but I digress)
  2. Fat people deserve to be made fun of, shamed, put down, and otherwise ostracized in public, and at every chance. NO. There are only two groups of people that I believe deserve to have the above things done to them; pedophiles and rapists. (At the risk of sounding belligerent, if that makes me a bad person, I don’t know what to tell you. I’d rather you think me a “bad” person than a dishonest one.) Other than that, I don’t engage in or support the idea that by shaming people, we’ll make them better. There are far too many studies to list that say the exact opposite, especially as concerns people who are already obese. Feel free to do a search for “Does shaming work?” and draw your own conclusions. I never claimed to be the voice of God, after all.
  3. Fat is anything over your BMI. BMI has been shown to be misleading, outdated and in some cases, even dangerous. There are too many factors to being healthy then can be shown in a simple “height vs. weight ratio.” (In point of fact, my own cardiologist told me that should I ever reach MY BMI, he’d be concerned for me because I’d most likely look like a scarecrow) There’s a difference between “plus size” and “obese.” I don’t define healthy (nor do many, actually) by the airbrushed bikini model, or the Barbie doll.
  4. Being fat is o.k., healthy, and if you say anything different, you’re a bigoted, narrow minded hater and you just can’t stand to let people live their own lives.

Like most, you were probably with me until we hit number 4. Number 4 may enter the realm of “Ouch! Wait a second” because it requires two things that seem to be in short supply in our society today  – the ability to show tough love, and the ability to not engage in enabling. Too many people believe that “unconditional love” means you accept every single thing about a person, good and bad, and never, ever say anything about the bad because, if you do, well, you don’t love them unconditionally.

Well, no. That’s not true. It’s not true from a social standpoint, nor from a moral standpoint, nor even from a psychological standpoint. As the image associated with today’s post says, “Unconditional love doesn’t mean you have to unconditionally accept bad behaviors.” The hard reality of life is that being obese is not healthy. It’s not good for your body. It leads to increased chances of far too many health problems for me to list here. Feel free to check them out yourselves:

So what’s the Boot of Truth? The Boot is this – I am not, for a moment, suggesting that we stop every obese person on the street and start lighting into them about the harm they are doing themselves, or the ticking time bomb that is going to go off in our health care system as all these obesity related health issues come to pass. Not at all. People STILL have to choose the life they live. I am, however, saying that we can take a stand against the Social Justice Warriors who try and spread the lie that if you don’t agree that “Fat is Normal, Harmless and Beautiful,” you’re some kind of bigot by refuting it with facts and refusing to go along with it. Shaming someone is not the same thing as telling the truth, any more than quoting crime statistics makes you a racist because in some areas of the country, more blacks are killed by other blacks than they are by other races or ethnic groups. I AM saying that if you have loved ones or friends who are seriously overweight, love them enough to say something. (In the case of friends, I would also add the caveat that it depends on the level of friendship and trust you have with them. Not all friendships are the same, or of the same depth.) That tired old trope about the husband sleeping on the couch because he spoke about his wife’s weight may be good in a TV sitcom, but will it be as funny if someday, you’re looking down at her in a funeral home because she died of a weight related illness? Wives, would it be worth it if it’s your husband who died FAR too early of a massive heart attack/stroke because he was overweight and “Oh well, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings” or even worse, “It’s not my place to judge.” Would it be worth it were it a friend whom you loved dearly but to whom you never said anything, for the same reasons?

HERE’S A HOT NEWS FLASH – IT’S NOT JUDGING SOMEONE TO LOVE THEM ENOUGH TO POINT OUT WHEN THEY ARE HURTING THEMSELVES. I, personally, have buried far too many people who, had they had someone who cared enough to speak to them (and to be fair, they had chosen to listen), may have lived longer. Not saying something and allowing someone to continue with self-destructive behaviors or harmful behaviors, whatever they may be, isn’t love. It’s enabling. (Do a search for Compassion vs. Enabling. It’s eye opening, believe me)

As much as I find the web page “Rational Wiki” to be distasteful in many respects, I agree with these statements, with which I’ll close:

“Studies have shown that actually shaming obese people really will do nothing to encourage them to lose weight, and will probably make matters worse by provoking comfort eating and other negative psychological effects. The problem comes when HAES (Health At Every Size) advocates interpret genuine, well-intentioned offers of support from medical practitioners or family members as “shaming”, refuse to recognize their obesity as a problem or refuse to even recognize their obesity exists or can (or should) be defined as existing.

There is also nothing intrinsically wrong with self-acceptance, but balanced self-reflection and self-criticism is also an important component of normal psychological well being — “I hate all of myself entirely and I am awful” and “I unconditionally love everything about myself and I am perfect” are almost as unhealthy as each other, while HAES would have one believe that the latter is the right approach, ignoring the more sensible middle ground of reasonable self-critique. Similarly, an obsession with weight and calorie intake to the exclusion of all else is extremely unhealthy (indeed, that is more or less the definition of an eating disorder) but that isn’t what anyone (least of all a doctor) would rationally advocate or is advocating, and it certainly doesn’t mean that completely ignoring calorie intake or weight is a good idea. The real solution is to do what humans are meant to do; eat a sensible, balanced diet rich in vegetables and complex carbohydrates and low on (not entirely without) sugars and simple/refined carbohydrates and processed foods.”

Thank God I have a wife who cares enough to watch out for me, and I for her. Can you say the same, if not about a wife or husband, then about a friend? Do YOU care enough about them, or they about you, to be able to speak to you in love and compassion, or do they have to enable you, or you them, in order to show they “really” care about you?

Think about it.

God bless today, my friends.

A post for today, courtesy of a friend

The following image was sent to me by a good friend by the name of Tyler, a young man who I am privileged to know, and who knows of my fondness for the original and best, Superman. (Either that or he’s making a jab at my age, but I digress!) The image follows:

Superman 1950s

The image comes from 1949 and was originally black and white, but is, from what I gather, an authentic image and was distributed to bring up a very good point, especially at that time; genuine discrimination is a blight on humanity, whatever the reason claimed for it.

The poster is very much a product of the times; a reminder of the difference that separates the USA from groups like the Axis or the Japanese, whom we had just finished fighting in WW 2, or the Communists of the time – the fact that America was a melting pot and people did have the ability to come here and worship and live as they pleased, but that in the end, we were all American. Were we perfect? Good Lord, no. Were we still a damned sight better than what people in other countries faced if they didn’t follow the accepted laws/rules? Yeah, I’d say so.

(Want a really entertaining exercise? Look this poster up on the net and see all the ‘intellectuals’ truly missing the forest for the trees by dissecting the poster and turning into either a current events or world history argument. ‘Where are the black kids?’ ‘Oh, the Oriental kid is smaller – obviously that’s a way of showing that they were seen as inferior.’ It’s enough to make you either cry or shake your head, laughing. I alternate between both, personally.)

Many have jumped on this as an example of a “diversity” poster. I disagree. “Diversity” has, in my experience, become a blanket term, perverted from its original meaning to mean “anything anyone does, says or believes is OK and if you say differently, you’re an intolerant bigot, no matter if you treat them differently or not. You’re a bigot JUST because you don’t agree with them.”

It’s a good reminder to all of us that respect for the beliefs and ideas of others is an American principle and virtue – but it is also a two way street. No one group is more or less deserving of respect than another. If you don’t bash Muslims, you don’t bash Christians, Jews or anyone else. If it’s not o.k. for whites to storm platforms and shout down speakers, then it’s not o.k. for blacks, Hispanics or anyone else to do it. If the LGBT movement wants others to be accepting of their beliefs, they need to be accepting of the beliefs of others as well, even if that belief is not accepting of their practices.

As a side note: an inherent part of the poster’s message deals with genuine actions that are discriminatory, i.e., treating others differently because of who they are or what they believe. Disagreeing with them and yet treating them the same as everyone else is not the same thing and never will be.

It means no group gets the right to demonize others just because they don’t believe as you do.

It’s a two way street. Un-American comments and sentiments are Un-American comments and sentiments, no matter who uses them or why.

Respect is a two-way street.

Thanks for reminding us of that, Superman.

Tyler, thanks for sending this to me, my friend!

God bless today!

A point to ponder, for today – but perhaps not the one you think!

Remember when I said I’d start listing products and their descriptions as far as preparedness is concerned? Yes, I do too – it just seems that I keep running across other things that, to me, are worthwhile subjects on which to post. I haven’t forgotten, honest! Keep coming back.

The image for today’s post, in case you can’t see it, says the following: “I’m only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.” Now, if you’re like me (and I’ll gladly tell on myself), you probably had the same reaction I did; namely one of “YEAH! Take THAT, you thin skinned beggars! If you get offended, that’s not MY problem!” Hopefully, as you continue reading, you’ll also come to the second part of that line of thinking, as I have, as well.

This saying, at first blush, seems like a cure for our hypersensitive, easily and almost constantly “You’ve offended me!” culture. At this point, I know I am weary to death of the seemingly endless list of things that people get offended over, hurt by, and seek to make others apologize for. It seems that being truthful now equals being mean. Being honest now equals being cruel. If you really love and accept others, you’ll never, EVER say anything about ANYTHING they do, because you’ll just accept them the way they are. This statement  puts the onus right back where it belongs – on the listener, for whether they are offended or not. Great, right? Well, not so fast. We, as the speaker, still do have responsibilities in what we say, and how it can affect what others hear and understand. The first part of that statement is true. Consider the classic sitcom situation in which the wife asks the husband if a dress looks good on her. Setting aside for a moment the fact that, because it’s a sitcom there’s no “good” answer because it’s a comedic setup, consider these two answers:

  1. “No, I really have to say that I don’t think that looks good on you. It doesn’t compliment you/your figure, I don’t care for the color/design”
  2. “Are you kidding? That hideous thing looks like you went to Omar the Blind Tent Maker to have it made. I’ve never seen something so ugly.”

Both answers, essentially, say the same thing; the person doesn’t like the way the dress looks. One answer, however, is tactfully honest and expresses the opinion without a lot of loaded emotion/emotional terms, while the other is brutally (even cruelly or obnoxiously) honest, and loaded with emotionally charged terms.

O.K., so what’s the Boot of Truth? How does this apply, or conversely, NOT apply? Well, let’s look at that. In the example given, the speaker is responsible for what they say. They are responsible for the content of what they say, and for making sure that it is given in a manner that is appropriate to the situation. (Sometimes, a hard truth needs to be said, and said plainly. There may not be time for tact, nor may it be appropriate. In some professional situations, or situations between persons, tact can be misconstrued as cringing, or as being subordinate.) I would go so far as to say that this is true in all situations; the speaker is responsible for what they say and how they say it – a lesson that I am still learning, and re-learning. No pedestals here! However, the second part of the statement may or may not be true.

In the case of the first answer, if the person posing the question then becomes offended and angry, I believe that the person answering has no responsibility for that; nothing to apologize for. Some people, unfortunately, want to ask questions but don’t want honest answers. Others will choose to be upset no matter what. Still others don’t want answers at all – they only want you to stroke their egos.

In the case of the second answer, however, there can be little doubt in my mind that not only would the speaker be responsible for giving offense to the person asking, but very probably should not be surprised if they rather suddenly get something heavy upside the head! Some people, unfortunately (and here I hang my head, remembering those days in my life) take a perverse pleasure in simply beating down other people and being harsh with them, for many different reasons. They hardly can say “Pfft. Not MY fault you got offended” with any honesty when they do so. Believe me, I tried. It didn’t work, and I wish I’d seen it sooner.

(Along with all of this, remember that there are, unfortunately, those who will choose – that’s the operative word – choose to be offended, no matter what. Whatever the reason is, those people are better off avoided. There are enough stresses and problems in life without having to constantly coddle and hand-hold people who, no matter what, how something is said or why, will take the road of being upset, angry, offended by it. That’s not what we’re talking about in this case. The responsibility does, indeed, lie with them – not with you.)

I’ll close with these two statements, taken from a podcast found here that deals with the topic of “Tact vs. Dishonesty.” I hope you’ll find it as enlightening as I have. The statements follow, below.

“Honesty should not be an excuse to be cruel, and kindness should not be an excuse to be dishonest.”

“Separate the content of your communication from the form and make sure that the content is honest, and that the form of the communication is appropriate for the situation.”

God bless, today, my friends!


“The Riot Act” – and an update!

Hey all! My apologies for the delay in the posts I mentioned, but we have been dealing with our own situation on this end in the form of our furnace deciding to suddenly stop working! Thankfully, we were prepared in that we had alternate heat sources available, and were able to tough it out until repairs could be made. Thankfully it has been fixed and all is well (and warm!) again on this end. In the “look at the bright side” department, as I said to my sons and wife, “Well, at least it didn’t happen in the dead of winter!”

Having gone back over my posts here on the Takedown, I feel confident in starting up my posts on preparedness as of Monday, so I hope you’ll keep coming back to check them out. In the meantime, have you ever had someone “read you The Riot Act?” Have you ever read it to someone else? I used that phrase in an email to my son’s school last night and was prompted to look up exactly where the phrase came from. I had once, long ago, but it had been a while. Here’s what I found, and I now share with you.

After this, the next time you “read someone The Riot Act,” you’ll know what it is you’re doing!

Here’s another link, and this one has a bonus of actually having an image OF The Riot Act! It’s a full sized version of the image I used on the post. Enjoy!

God bless today, my friends!

In honor of Superman (the real one, I guess you’d say)

**The image used can be seen at full size, here. Unfortunately I had to resize it to fit on the blog post.- The Doctor 

I was doing some reading and I saw this today. It really made me think. Written by Grant Morrison who, I presume, is a recent author/writer of some of the newer Superman comics, it puts some ideas forth that I had not thought of, but can definitely agree with and identify with. I believe that there is some definite encouragement here in the form of this sentiment – underneath, we’re ALL ‘Superman’ if we want to be and choose to be. He’s the pinnacle of what it means to CHOOSE to do good with the abilities you have, whatever they may be, instead of taking the easier way and looking out only for yourself or using the circumstances of your life as a reason to cause pain to others. 

I draw this contrast because there seems to be almost a mania with the character of Batman these days, but as I have expressed before, Batman may ultimately do “good” in some form, but he himself is as dark and in many ways as twisted as the criminals he fights. (I keep going back to The Real Ghostbusters – “When Good adopts the ways of Evil, it becomes Evil.”) That, to me, is the inherent difference between Superman and the current incarnations of The Batman, and why I prefer one over the other. Batman is the opposite; he’s what happens when you let the circumstances of your life decide who you are, now and forever, and make you dark and angry instead of trying to rise above them. No matter what spin is put on it, Batman is, in his current incarnations, a sick man who never let go of his parents’ death and lives on the pain it caused him.

I don’t see that as a particularly encouraging role model. Do you?

All that aside, I hope you find the quote, below, as encouraging as I did, and it lifts your spirits today.

God bless you today, my friends!

“In the end, I saw Superman not as a superhero or even a science fiction character, but as a story of Everyman. We’re all Superman in our own adventures. We have our own Fortresses of Solitude we retreat to, with our own special collections of valued stuff, our own super–pets, our own “Bottle Cities” that we feel guilty for neglecting. We have our own peers and rivals and bizarre emotional or moral tangles to deal with.

I felt I’d really grasped the concept when I saw him as Everyman, or rather as the dreamself of Everyman. That “S” is the radiant emblem of divinity we reveal when we rip off our stuffy shirts, our social masks, our neuroses, our constructed selves, and become who we truly are. Batman is obviously much cooler, but that’s because he’s a very energetic and adolescent fantasy character: a handsome billionaire playboy in black leather with a butler at this beck and call, better cars and gadgetry than James Bond, a horde of fetish femme fatales baying around his heels and no boss. That guy’s Superman day and night.

Superman grew up baling hay on a farm. He goes to work, for a boss, in an office. He pines after a hard–working gal. Only when he tears off his shirt does that heroic, ideal inner self come to life. That’s actually a much more adult fantasy than the one Batman’s peddling but it also makes Superman a little harder to sell. He’s much more of a working class superhero.

American writers often say they find it difficult to write Superman. They say he’s too powerful; you can’t give him problems. But Superman is a metaphor. For me, Superman has the same problems we do, but on a Paul Bunyan scale. If Superman walks the dog, he walks it around the asteroid belt because it can fly in space. When Superman’s relatives visit, they come from the 31st century and bring some hellish monster conqueror from the future. But it’s still a story about your relatives visiting.”

What happened to humor?

I have, as of late, been thoroughly enjoying video clips of Craig Ferguson cutting up with the late Robin Williams on Ferguson’s late night TV show of years past. They are a treat to me, although I have to confess that too much of the good Mr. Williams (especially when laced with a heavy dose of Mr. Ferguson) tends to make me somewhat manic for the rest of the day! My sons love it – my wife keeps edging toward the phone, smiling. Go figure.

I digress, though.

Today, I came across this clip of Craig Ferguson, and it truly made me sit back and do some thinking. It also gave me the post that you are now reading. Yes, it has some humor interspersed, but the overall message is a very serious one. Here’s the clip:

When he got done, I sat and thought about what he had said and realized that I, like him, agree that many times, the price that is paid in the name of “humor” is simply too high. When we look at the Anna Nicole Simpsons, the Britney Spears, the Lindsay Lohans – these are people who, although they are ultimately responsible for their actions, need help, and need it badly. They aren’t, to me, proper fodder for jokes and comedy routines. It’s like when Family Guy started featuring the old man who was a pedophile (Herbert, I believe his name is) – I remember distinctly telling a friend of mine that at that point, I stopped watching it. They had crossed a line that, to me, you don’t cross. There’s nothing funny about a pedophile, at least not to me. (To be fair, FG had been getting closer to that line for a LONG time, but that was finally the last straw, I guess you would say) When you look at the trainwrecks of lives that we now regularly see and follow on TV, on “reality shows” and the like, somehow they stop being funny when you realize that that’s a real person you’re watching, who is suffering real consequences for their very real actions. Craig Ferguson had, at the time of this video, been 15 years sober. He knew what it was to have been at the bottom, and to have found help and to fight every day to stay sober, and keep his life in order. Although I’ve never been an alcoholic, I know what it is like to lose complete control of your life and have to, essentially, rebuild it and realize just exactly who you are and what you’re doing. He realized that it wasn’t a subject for quick, cheap laughs and I applaud him for it.

Now, why am I saying this? Am a Fascist who wants to censor free speech or ban “that” kind of humor? Hell no. People have the right to choose what they find funny and not. What I am is a person who believes, as apparently Mr. Ferguson does, that sometimes there is a line in humor, and that we need to be cautious of crossing it. When you make humor out of someone destroying their lives, harming themselves or others, and the like, I firmly believe that you’ve forgotten the very real things that you, yourself, have done that have harmed you or others – or if nothing else, have forgotten a simple thing like compassion. Compassion doesn’t mean you excuse the behavior – but it does mean that you don’t join in with the roar of the crowd like a bloody coliseum. Humor doesn’t need to be cruel in order to be humor.

I don’t like what these people are doing to themselves – but I also won’t sit and gleefully watch them drive themselves into the ground. It could just as easily be me, there, being watched by others, if there were circumstances in my life that had been different, and if I had not, by the grace of God, gotten help and had real and true friends and family who helped and supported me. Every day is a battle to make sure that it doesn’t become me.

You know what? It could just as easily be YOU.

If it IS you, remember something he said at the end – there are people who can help. They’re very close to the front of the telephone directory, or a few keystrokes away on the internet. You are not alone. Don’t give up.

God bless today, my friends.