Be sure to read beyond the first sentence…

Thank God I’m a straight man who is trapped in a male body.

I say that NOT to lord it over the LGBTQIA community.
I say that NOT to boast.
I say that NOT out of pride.

I say that to avoid the wrath of the Religiously Intolerant People of my homeland / of our world.

Religiously Intolerant People has just become my newly coined phrase (seeing how it forms the apt acronym RIP). Apt, because RIP tend to rip to shreds the lives of anyone who does not conform to their provincial notions about femininity, masculinity and sexual behavior.

Yet, even though I am able to conform, I still have to worry about RIP jumping to the wrong conclusions re my lifestyle. I mean, how would the judgmental judge this old man in his mid-sixties, who has never been married / who has never fathered any children? Could they even find it conceivable that a heterosexual, who had never gotten over the heartbreak of unrequited teenage love, had simply given up in his search for Ms. Right?

I know my valid excuse sounds pathetic, but I am living proof that being a lifelong loser in love can happen.

And I do have living proof that the RIP’s ‘tude, as I’ve described it, really does exist.

Many summers ago, my Mom’s friend, M, paid us a midmorning visit. They’d first met in the hospital back in 1951 (when both were recovering from childbirth). While the three of us all sat down at the dining room table to sip on freshly brewed coffee and munch on yummy doughnuts, M, now the doting grandma, got to talking, glowingly, about her grandchildren. It was when she had asked Mom how it felt to have no grandchildren that our chat took a sudden turn for the worse. You see, I made the fatal error of making what I had deemed to be a harmless, ecologically valid remark, “Not to worry, considering our world’s overpopulation problem, who’d even miss the kids I never fathered.” WOW! You should’ve seen the instantaneous fury in her glowering eyes as she turned to face me… to sternly lecture me… to tear into me… “THAT’S NOT HOW GOD HAD INTENDED IT TO BE!” Her implication was that I’ll someday burn up in Hell because I was thumbing my nose at God’s “Be fruitful and multiply” edict… as chronicled in Genesis 1:28.

My point is that even a straight man is not immune from RIP’s harsh judgment and shaming tactics. And if I can experience that resultant sinking feeling that goes all the way down to my DNA, just imagine how much worse the RIP’s outrage intensifies when they rip into a person who does identify with any of the letters of that LGBTQIA acronym! Just imagine how much worse the RIP’s targeted victims feel!

In essence, the RIP’s Unholy War involves their viciously ridiculing, ostracizing, harassing and demeaning anyone who doesn’t buy into the concept of prolific procreation within the framework of traditional marriage. To be clear, it’s NOT my intent to disparage such convention. If it works for you, fine. However, we must also be willing to accept anyone who does not march in lockstep.

Let’s now focus a bit more on my moments ago usage of the word demeaning.

To demean even one human being… especially anyone of a differing gender identity / sexual orientation… demeans us all.

One would think that the Religiously Intolerant People… of all people… would [1] readily agree that our Creator has made us ALL in His own image and [2] realize that to vent their hatred toward anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA is to also spit such hatred right back at the face of God.

 

 

 

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The Ill-Mannered Man ~ A Parable

 

Once upon a time… in the Land of Reality… there lived an ill-mannered man who was oblivious to the obvious… namely… that his overbearing, obnoxious, mean demeanor… the very boorish characteristics, which had impressed his equally boorish boss… were impressing nobody else!

Indeed… such dubious qualities were not even qualities at all. As such, his (so-called) profession’s service to society could only prove to be a disservice. Worse yet, he could not even begin to fathom how he had become his own worst enemy. Beyond a shadow of a doubt… his deplorable behavior was precisely the reason why few, if any, respectable folks ever wanted to do biz with him… why virtually nobody ever wanted to even welcome him into their lives.

He was the classic, textbook example of the peddling shoddy wares, door-to-door, high-pressure salesman. And… whenever he came a knockin’… that’s when the “fit” really hit the “shan”!

Anyone who had made the fatal error of ever opening their doors… even slightly… soon learned… the hard way… that he’d jam in his foot. Even when folks applied sufficient pressure to make him take one step backwards… long enough to moan out his, “OUCH!”… his role as a bad actor was far from over. He’d come back again and Again and AGAIN to camp out on their doorsteps for days, weeks… even months.

While the victimized folks could’ve… indeed should’ve… summoned the constable… well… since it was too easy to simply close their doors’ curtains… well… that’s as far as everything usually went. They figured this pest would eventually go away… after all… nobody could possibly be so dense… so insensitive… as to not realize that NO means NO!

Right?
Wrong!

One day… as a parade just happened to be marching down the street… with the flash of a thick wad of cash… the ill-mannered man managed to spirit away the living-on-a-shoestring, big bass drum player. At that point, both proceeded to shout inward to the tenants… in unison, repetitiously and at the top of their lungs… WE WON’T LEAVE! LET US INSIDE! He even pounded his clenched fist on the door to keep time with the banging away drummer… all of this attaining a decibel level that could’ve raised the dead.

Human nature being what it is… the ill-mannered man’s ill-conceived plot… his orchestrated, socially unacceptable taunts could only make this duo’s presence all the more unwelcome.

Soon the constant, cumulative vibrations began to severely rattle both the tenants’ nerves and their entire domicile… to the point where their heads exploded and their no longer happy home came crashing down. They could not possibly survive. And… not being able to step back in time… even the ill-mannered man met a similar fate.

However… the news wasn’t all bad. The big bass drum player wound up the sole survivor. And in a flash… he did feel remorse over his having ever become a party to such an ugly scene. In the days to come… having learned his lesson well… he even managed to track down and rejoin his marching band… to re-enter the parade of life… to once again… play joyous sounding music to the masses.

And with the ill-mannered man having been hoisted by his own petard… everybody within the Land of Reality lived happily ever after.

 

The morals to our story…

If you’re strapped for cash, don’t be tempted by the fast buck’s lure.

If you’re ill-mannered, don’t ever expect principled, civilized persons to cozy up to you.

 

 

 

 

Everyday Will Be Sunday (Sunday Song Series)

With Passover and Easter both being observed at this time, I figured a spiritual selection would be an apropos addition to our Sunday Song Series… an ongoing mix tape of sorts that we’ve been experiencing for… counting today… 32 weeks.

The dictionary defines Gospel music as…

“A fervent style of black American evangelical religious singing, developed
from spirituals sung in Southern Baptist and Pentecostal churches.”

Dorothy Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes not only live up to those above words but also amply prove that the soundtrack to organized religion does not, necessarily, need to be subdued and somber to be uplifting.

Even though I believe that religion primarily, truly, dwells within one’s head and heart… i.e., sans any real need for attending services within a brick and mortar church, synagogue, mosque, temple, etc.… well hell… just knowing songs such as Everyday Will Be Sunday are getting sung each sabbath, I could become sufficiently motivated to join such a flock.

And speaking of joining… our Sunday Song Series will be meeting back here seven days from now. I cordially invite you to be part of our ongoing adventure where the phrase… musical diversity… rules supreme.

 

A Non-Preachy Sunday “Sermon”

Give a listen to a selection from Carole King’s “living room” jam session… her catchy “little tune”… Pleasant Valley Sunday… is jam-packed with big thoughts.

Listening / reading between the lines, we can all get a better sense of what really does (and does not) matter in life.

 

 

The Power of Positive Thinking / The Power of Prayer

 

Have you ever had an experience where the power of positive thinking and/or the power of prayer significantly and unexpectedly bettered some aspect of your life?

In my case, this involved my 30 year career in retail management / sales… 20 of those with company “A” and 10 with company “B”. Throughout that entire epoch my ability to cope with difficult to please superiors had been repeatedly put to the test. But one case, in particular, proved to be a Herculean task.

Part One

Her very initials, L.A.W., accurately summed up her laying down the law stance. While intrinsically, there’s nothing wrong with that, it was her poisoned with suspicion, management “style” that bordered on paranoia… her bad ‘tude, which made for a toxic work environment. It was her belief that no employee could possibly resist the temptation to ripoff both cash and merchandise from our company.

Her treating me like a criminal didn’t sit well. I had never stolen anything… not even a pen or paper clip. In addition to my personal integrity, I could take great pride in my qualities of courtesy, dependability, punctuality, efficiency and accuracy. Hell, I would’ve turned in an honest day’s work even if no manager had shown up. Ironically, my being a model worker only made her suspect me more. From her POV, that had to be an act, right? WRONG!

Well, soon after her arrival she rolled out her extreme internal security measures. Rather than allowing her to rummage through my brown paper lunch bag prior to my going out into the mall, I found it best to eat my lunch in the stock room. As for visits to the restroom? She had that locked up tight. Whenever anyone needed “to go” we’d have to ask her to escort us right up to the door!

My coworkers were feeling just as demeaned as I. One day while we were commiserating, clear out of the blue (and out of her earshot), I referred to LAW as “the can opener” and that nickname stuck. I could go on but I’m sure, by now, you’ve “breathed in” enough of her atmosphere of distrust.

Needless to say she was negatively impacting store morale. Even our District Manager could easily sense the undesirable undercurrents. Eventually, LAW got reassigned to another store and, soon after, put in her two weeks notice. I felt so relieved just knowing that our paths would never cross again?

By 1999, some big shot executive decided that the approaching new millennium meant time was ripe for a corporate shakeup. That restructuring took the wrecking ball to my low level management position… limiting my options to two. Either be demoted or take a hike. I chose the latter.

Part Two

My transitioning to a new workplace turned out to be a lot easier than I’d expected. Company “B’s” store was in the very same mall… catercorner to Company “A”! Even better, I’d already worked for their store manager who, btw, had always wanted to add me to her staff. Alas, less than three years later, my old/new boss had moved on to greener pastures.

An even bigger ALAS… three years after that… guess who had come back to haunt me? Yep, none other than LAW!

Gossip being a big part of retail world, my colleagues soon discovered I had worked for her, before, and so I became the go-to guy to answer all their worried, “what’s she like” queries. Opting to remain professional, I’d refrain from any badmouthing. After all, I hadn’t seen LAW in years… maybe she had changed? Ergo, my noncommittal reply went something like this, “I can get along with almost anyone. If you can, too, there’ll be no problem.” But, hell, even I wasn’t totally buying into my pep talk.

Since I had accrued over two weeks worth of vacation time, I decided to go on a safari… a job hunting safari. It was following one particularly, exhausting day of interviews, when I opted for an early bedtime. Just as I was drifting off to sleep I went to my own go-to guy to ask…

“God, considering the dozens of retailers LAW had to choose from, why mine?”

The next morning, I awoke to a rapidly fading dream. Upon concentrating deeply, all the sudden my memory clicked. I had dreamt about a long ago conversation with my mother. We were trying to figure out how best to stop schoolyard bullies from making my life miserable. Since my principal was of the gruff, insensitive, “Just man up and take it, sonny!” mindset, there could be no help from him. That’s when Mom suggested I turn to a higher authority… the highest authority. She mentioned Matthew 5:44.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…”

I now realized my problems with bully LAW could be dealt with similarly. I could even tap into my own submission of applications and resumes routine. This had to be quite similar to what LAW had just experienced! I began beaming my prayers upward, throughout all my remaining vacation days… especially between job interviews.

“God, won’t you please help my new boss LAW. There must be at least one other personnel manager who could make her a job offer she can’t refuse. Lavish her with better pay… a primo benefits package… a better 401K… the works! Nothing is too good for LAW!”

Well, I soon found myself glumly heading back to work… expecting the worst… yet… upon punching the time clock on my first day back… my grinning, assistant manager told me that, in my absence, there’d been a sudden shake up of the status quo.

Part Three

Within mere days of hiring on, LAW had put in her two week’s notice! Seems, somehow (?), some way (?) she had gotten a much better job offer. Go figure, huh? Even better… since our four assistant managers were fully capable of running the store without her… our District Manager had decided to cut her free much sooner.

Bottom line, I never had to even cross paths with her… not even once… not so much as even a fleeting glance at each other… or in her case… her stock-in-trade, suspicious, “if looks could kill” glower.

Even my “failure” at finding a new job had to have been God’s way of preventing me from leaving Company “B”… something I had never really wanted to do.

While some might chalk up my experience to mere co-incidence, I’d say there’s much to be said for the power of positive thinking… the power of prayer.

Hmmm… all the sudden I find myself in an especially positive mood. So… uh… please excuse me while I head off to find a place of solitude… uh… to begin praying that a certain fake prez will get a much better job offer… preferably within the private sector.

 

 

Sunday Sermon (One Quick Limerick #031)

 

If mankind strays too much, sins sans remorse,

Our cross Creator won’t have much recourse,

He need not play active role,

He’ll let us dig our own hole,

His destroy Earth job, TO US, He’ll outsource!

 

Since, in this liberated male blogger’s opinion, there’s no place for sexism in any religion… and remaining mindful of the fact that Theologians do claim humans are made in God’s image… we must not ignore 50 percent of 7+ Billion people.

 

If our race strays too much, sins sans remorse,

Our wise Creator won’t have much recourse,

She need not play active role,

She’ll let us dig our own hole,

Her destroy Earth job, TO US, She’ll outsource!

 

DISCLAIMER from the Department of Second Thoughts: I don’t believe a female God would ever be a vengeful God. Indeed, She’d behave far more evolved, exhibit far much more patience and empathy… and as such… would work far, Far, FAR more diligently at preventing humankind’s violent, self-destructive end.

 

You can access more original limericks, poetry and lyrical parodies by clicking onto my poetry category.

 

September BlogCast ~ A Heartfelt Plea for Harmony

 

My greetings to all of my WordPress blogging colleagues, followers and visitors! If you’re just here to hear the music, scroll down and start clicking away… these four selections will amply communicate my intended sentiments, which I’ll now further expand on… i.e., should you choose to read onward…

Initially, I found it tough to set the proper mood for this installment of our monthly musical get-together. I had to scuttle my original “hot fun in the summertime” theme… deeming it insensitive and inappropriate in the wake of all the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey… considering how life may never fully return to normal for the millions of flooded out, uprooted survivors in Texas. My heartfelt condolences to folks who lost loved ones and hopes that you, who have survived, can restore your lives as much as possible and can find happiness again.

I’d have to ditto my mood barometer reading regarding all who were recently maimed and slaughtered during the eerily similar, vehicular ISIS terrorist attacks against Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain AND Nazis / Klansmen terrorist assaults against Charlottesville, Virginia. My wholehearted condolences to the all the good people who lost their loved ones and best wishes that the surviving victims recover speedily and as completely as possible. Hopefully, someday soon, happiness will be yours once more.

As if those meteorological and ideological storms weren’t bad enough, already, we, of good conscience, have also been deeply in mourning over the loss of the American presidency. And by saying “presidency” I’m referring to the monumental, leadership vacuum that’s been sucking the air out of the Oval Office… sucking the life force out of my homeland and our global community… all perpetrated by an ethically barren, morally bankrupt, avaricious and vicious, Orwellian, stick-figure figurehead.

In times of trouble, a nation’s citizenry should be able to count on their leader for a comforting pep talk… an FDR-esque, folksy fireside chat as it were… but… alas… long sigh…

Folks, it’s downright depressing and disgusting to observe the cannibalistic, parasitical, so-called prez…

  1. Feeding off the post-hurricane apocalypse’s human suffering… just to sate his voracious narcissistic hungers… just to erect a smokescreen to enshroud his nefarious, fascist political agenda.
  2. Feasting off the ISIS terrorist attacks in Spain just because that’ll wrongfully validate his flat-out hatred of all Muslims1. It is stunning how… practically in the same breath… he lavishes praise upon un-american [sic] Nazis and Klansmen… sucking up to them just so they’ll help reelect him in 2020.

Net effect, the so-called prez, has wildly emboldened these domestic terrorists. Left unchecked, these co-conspirators… the pathetic “prez” and his deplorable pals… will violently subvert all that the real America stands for. We’re likely witnessing the rebirth of Nazi Germany.

So what the hell does that make the so-called prez? An Adolf Hitler / David Duke hybrid? Did some nefarious, eager beaver recombinant DNA scientist mutate him? Did a psychotic psychosurgeon lobotomize / reprogram him? Or was he “merely” born and/or reared that way? Whatever the cause of his mental illness/illnesses, we can only wish him a speedy, complete and permanent recovery. In this modern medical era, no one should be condemned to live out one’s life bouncing off the rubberized walls… be they real or hallucinated.

The real America’s survival… indeed the survival of the whole world… depends on a sane presidency and sound minded leaders elsewhere, too. How else could we ever hope to see our global population live in harmony?

That plea for harmony is from where I now take my musical cue… set the tone for this month’s BlogCast.

Folks, I find the negativity of what I just blogged… to say the least… disturbing. What else can I conclude than negative leaders bring out the worst in me, indeed, in every like-minded, warmhearted, ethical patriot who truly gives a damn? And that has got to change… starting with the legal, orderly and peaceable ouster of such negative entities.

But, until the day that becomes reality… I believe the following music will provide an ear and eye opening… a mind expanding and mood elevating experience.

Accompanying only my sparse, supplemental commentary, I’ll now let the songwriters’ and singers’ sentiments speak for themselves.

Ray Stevens ~ Everything Is Beautiful

Admittedly, I would’ve preferred this track’s religious undercurrents to have been more inclusive of faiths other than Christianity… but… when we consider the less globalized era in which this song was first composed and recorded, would not genuine believers of all religious stripes be forgiving? Additionally, I sincerely believe one can also be agnostic and still be fully capable of concurring with the overall message of unity. Oh, btw, you can also give a listen to an alternate track featuring a duet performed by Ray Stevens and another of this month’s BlogCast featured artists, Glen Campbell.

The New Seekers ~ I’d Love To Teach The World To Sing

Many decades ago a slightly, lyrically modified, abridged version of this song became the soundtrack to a Coca Cola™ commercial, which you can view here.

Glen Campbell ~ Try A Little Kindness

I joyfully rediscovered this track just one week ago upon purchasing the late Mr. Campbell’s greatest hits CD… after finding it while grocery shopping at my local supermarket superstore. I first heard Campbell perform on the late Sixties era, “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” TV show… a program with a distinctly, politically progressive POV… from where I derived own liberal attitude. Campbell died just a few short weeks ago on August 8, 2017. You can access a video tribute.

Peter, Paul & Mary ~ Weave Me The Sunshine

Peter Yarrow will now introduce this BlogCast finale… thusly…

“‘Weave Me The Sunshine’  became a very big hit in South Africa and in Brazil and ultimately of course it’s a song that has found it’s way into many churches and synagogues.”

About all I could possibly add, here, (as is true with nearly all folk music) it’s nearly impossible not to sing along with this upbeat and uplifting tune. And I recommend that we all add our voices… sing it loudly… sing it proudly… trump all of those negative vibes. Let us all spread outward its unifying, harmonizing message (indeed, the messages from all four of these songs) to all four corners of our world.

Thank you for listening on this day. If you LIKE what you heard, click back here

for my next BlogCast on Sunday, October 1, 2017.

Past programs are archived in my BlogCast and music categories.

 

 

 

1 We, who still can and do think clearly, fully realize that ISIS has mutilated and muddied true Islam and now exploits it just to justify their deadly, bloody attacks.