Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I receive emails from the American Family Association from time to time. I could write to them and tell them to remove me from their mailing list, but I prefer to keep an eye on the crap they ooze to the public. I got this from them yesterday:
Ford Motor Company Supports Homosexual Marriage Movement
You are probably unaware that Ford Motor Company is a major supporter of the homosexual movement, including homosexual marriage.
From redefining family to include homosexual marriage, to giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to support homosexual groups and their agenda, to forcing managers to attend diversity training on how to promote the acceptance of homosexuality, to sponsoring a "commitment (marriage) ceremony", to sponsoring Gay Pride Parades, Ford leads the way.
To let you see Ford's support, we developed the BoycottFord.com site.
I urge you to take action today. Sign the petition to boycott Ford. Call your local Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, Jaguar, Mazda and/or Land Rover dealer (all are part of Ford Motor Company) and inform them you will not be buying a Ford product until they stop their promotion of the homosexual movement and homosexual marriage.
Be sure to forward this information to your friends and family. They will be as surprised as you to learn of Ford’s extensive promotion of homosexuality.
Click here to go to BoycottFord.com and take the action listed on the right hand side (signing the pledge and calling your local dealer). Remember, calling your local dealer is very important. Please be polite. If the dealer wants more information, refer him to the BoycottFord.com page.
Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman -- American Family Association
P.S. Don’t forget to call your dealer and to forward this to family and friends.
HERE is a link to the American Family Association if you'd care to offer a comment to them.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Sunday, May 29, 2005
I drank almost every day for about 12,000 days and nights. That equates to more than 32 years. I pretty much thought I could stop if I needed to, but I could not conceive of a reason that I would ever need to stop. Drinking, and getting drunk, was me. It was literally a part of my make-up. It defined me as a person. It was my destiny, my fate. I would drink until I died.
I enjoyed it. I had a good job and career. I had money. I had many friends, all over the world. Why should I want to change all that? Oh, I had blackouts from time to time, but so what? I spent a couple of nights in jail during my lifetime, but so what? That happens to everyone. I didn't hurt anyone. I had a few car wrecks. Big deal. I was a safe driver, usually. I was healthy. I could go for days without eating and it had no effect on me. When I got hungry, I'd just drink a little more and get a full stomach. No problem.
But then it all started to unravel. A series of events occurred that took all of the fun out of my drinking. The main thing was, I met Hayden and fell in love. He told me I drank too much. He told me I was a copy of his uncle, who he had watched die from alcoholism. He asked me to cut down. I told him I didn't need to; I was OK. But things were happening that I did not like. I began abusing Hayden; the only person I ever loved. It got worse and happened more frequently. I could not stop doing it. I missed a couple of appointments, something that never happened because I'm so damn anal-retentive. I was drinking 18 hours every day and I knew this was not good. No one else did that. Finally he convinced me to slow down.
I tried to cut back a little. I couldn't do it. He asked me to stop. For a week. I couldn't do it. I could not stop for a friggin' day. Uh oh.
Fast forward to life in AA. I haven't had a drink for 20 months and 24 days. I no longer want to drink or need to drink. It's not a thought in my head anymore. I think I am recovered from drinking. But I have also learned that stopping drinking is only the beginning of trying to correct a much greater problem.
I don't think like a "normal" person. I have an addictive personality. I want to do anything that changes the way I feel, the way I think. AA offers a way to think differently, to act and behave differently. It offers ways to live a different life; a way to change a lifetime of bad habits and addictions. It made me aware of many character flaws and shows me how to combat those flaws. It shows me how to clean-up the wreckage I've made during those 32 years I didn't even realize existed.
It has changed my life completely - for the good. Many more changes can be in store for me and I will continue with AA to learn how to live sober. Living sober is new to me, I have never done that. That's the other part of this program of sobriety - learning how to live a good life without alcohol or drugs. Some people don't feel the need for this and that's fine for them. I need it. I don't want to be a sober and miserable person.
Thanks to what I have learned in AA, I am now happy, joyous and free. I have much more to learn if I stick around. Why change it if it works?
If it quits working, I can always start drinking again. Everybody enjoys being around a miserable person, right?
Friday, May 27, 2005
January 1990. The company was sending me to work in the UK. My immediate boss was already there. I had been given explicit instructions on how to get to the new company apartment .... errrr... flat. As I made my way through the crowd on my way to the baggage pick-up ... errrr... Arrivals Hall, there was an eerie feeling inside of me. I was in awe. You could say I was awestruck. For one thing, all the signs were in English. I had been travelling for a year where everything was in French. Mostly in West Africa. And the people. Where did all these people come from?
I got through the customs and immigration officials, then picked up .... errrr... collected my checked baggage. I had been told to take the train into London. The Gatwick Express. It was a 30-minute ride; a very quick and very smooth ride with the foggy British countryside out the windows. At 8:30 in the morning, I found myself inside the famous Victoria Station. Even I have heard of Victoria Station. Hell, I watch the old movies.
I found my way to the taxi line .... errrr... queue, and waited my turn. After the short wait, I was sitting inside another famous local landmark - the London taxi. I gave the driver the address and as we made our way through the crowded streets, bustling with humans, mostly on their way to work, I had another eerie feeling inside me.
I was home. I knew, instinctively, that I was home. Two hours earlier, I had not ever been in the United Kingdom and now, I already felt totally at ease.
Over the next days, weeks and months, I became quite comfortable being in London. Not only London, but Wales and Scotland as well. (I travel a lot) By the time this stint was finished .... errrr... at the end of the day, I had spent five years in the UK.
I truly believe that if there is such a thing as a former life, I must have been British. I've been to many countries numerous times, but never had the internal feeling that I had whenever I was in Britain. It all seemed so familiar, so ingrained in me, so natural.
I have been back to the UK a number of times the past 10 years and it's always the same. I always feel right at home.
Now I'm back in Houston. Maybe for good, and that's OK. There will always be that very special place in my heart for life in the UK.
I miss it, my friends .... errr ... mates.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
1. Before (or during) your next meeting, prepare yourself by drawing a square.
I find that 5" x 5" is a good size. Divide the card into columns-five across and five down. That will give you 25 one-inch blocks.
2. Write one of the following word/phrases in each block:
3) Living Amends
4) Meaningful Relationship
6) I'm Stuck on Step __
7) I Couldn't Find A Meeting
8) My Sponsor Has Been Out Of Town
11) Yeah But
12) But....don't you think
15) Rational Recovery
16) Recovering Person
17) Searching (as in, "for answers")
18) Gonna (sometimes prefaced with, "I'm")
19) Been thinking (sometimes prefaced with, "I've")
20) She said
21) He said
23) I heard
25) I don't know much about this, but...
3. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words or phrases.
4. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"
TESTIMONIALS FROM SATISFIED "AA BULLSHIT BINGO" PLAYERS:
-- "I had been in the meeting for only five minutes when I won." Adam W., Atlanta
--"My attention span at meetings has improved dramatically." David T., Tampa
--"What a gas! Meetings will never be the same for me after my first win." Dan J., NY City
--"The atmosphere was tense in the last "Honesty" meeting as 14 of us waited for the fifth box. Ben G., Denver
--"The speaker was stunned as eight of us screamed out "BULLSHIT" for the third time in 20 minutes." Joe T., Miami
My sister and I were both adopted at birth from a well-known agency in Ft Worth, Texas. She in 1952 and myself in 1954. We never knew our birth-parents. I have never had any problem with that. If I had the desire, I could do the research and find out about my birth-parents and even meet them, I suppose. No interest in that.
It's never posed any major problem or difficulty for me. I was raised in a wonderful home by two very loving parents. I never "wanted" for anything. Except maybe that red Sting-Ray bicycle when I was 11 years old. Oh well.
However ... (isn't there always something?)
1) I do not know the biological / genetic makeup of my birth parents. ie: medical history
I don't know if they or their ancestors were overly susceptible to cancers or other diseases. This would be a nice fact to have in my pocket, but I am not sure what I would do with it. I smoke way too much anyway and wouldn't change that if I knew one way or the other. I suspect there may be some alcoholic and addictive genes in my blood. That's a no-brainer!! LOL
2) I do not know my ancestry. ie: where were my parents from? I have blond hair (gray now) and blue eyes, so I guess that American Indian is not in my blood, nor am I African-American. Most likely, I am of European descent (I think I'm British; I'll blog about that soon). I was always a bit uncomfortable in school when they asked where our ancestors were from. I never had an answer to that one.
I'm writing this in response to a blog I read the other day. Two new adopting parents were in a quandary as to whether or when to tell their new child about his adoption. My only response is Why keep it a secret? Be honest and trust your child to live the same way. By hiding this fact from them, you are teaching them dishonesty at an early age. They will find out some day. Are you prepared for the potential resentments this may cause?
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had Airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check as I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with thousands of memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people all over the world come to this dismal town.
As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel I noticed they would be hosting the years' most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn’t going to miss that great social occasion! Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.
First there would be the Done family. You know, Should Of, Could Of and Would Of. Then came the I Had family, you probably know of 'Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present-- Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterdays, there are too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.
Then Shattered Dreams would surly make an appearance and It’s Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in their life, and each story would be applauded by Don’t Blame Me and I Couldn’t Help It.
Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that no real benefit would come of it and as usual I became very depressed. As I thought about all the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent pity party could be canceled by me. I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there, I didn’t have to be depressed.
One thing kept going through my mind ‘I CANT CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY’. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for my mistakes I’ve made in the past? YES, but there is no physical way to undo them.
So if you’re planning a trip back to the City of Regret please cancel your reservations. Instead take a trip to a place called Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have taken up residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myself's and the New Start's are so very helpful. By the way, you don’t have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. God bless you in finding this great town. If you can't find it, it’s in your heart. Please look me up, I live on I Can Do It Street.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Also in recovery, I will not dump another alcoholic in need out of my life. I AM RESPONSIBLE to always be there. Well now, wait a minute.
Twice in the last two days, I have been on the receiving end of verbal abuse by guys who claim to be in recovery. My part in those cases was the fact that I happened to be in the vicinity at the time and I have previously done favors for those guys. Minimal favors, mind you, but favors nonetheless. Such as listening to them vent and offering my experience, giving cigarettes and giving them rides to and fro when asked. Since Step 10 does not appear to be a part of their program, I feel the need to define, for myself, a boundary as to what is acceptable behavior. In both cases, their behavior towards me is behavior I am not willing to accept. To date, I have not responded to them. I've just sat back and stayed quiet. (PAUSE WHEN AGITATED)
How much am I supposed to take from these guys? It is obviously affecting my serenity since I am writing about it. I refuse to allow anyone to do that to me. Part of the problem is that I see these guys on a daily basis. I will speak to my sponsor about it today. In the meantime, any suggestions from you guys?
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Since my first days in AA, I have heard about service work. It's one of the 3 arms of the AA logo. Recovering alcoholics told me it would be a necessity for me. I needed to help others in order for me to remain sober. "Carry the message," they said. They told me I might be able to stop drinking, but I would never realize the full benefits of sobriety unless I helped others.
My experience has thus far shown this to be the truth. I am fortunate enough to be a member of a large recovery center in a large city. We have about 150 paying members with another 500-600 people in recovery coming through the doors each week. The center currently is landlord to 45 AA, Al-Anon and CMA groups each week. There are monthly fundraisers and other activities to keep us all busy.
If we want to.
Many choose not to, unfortunately.
As a retired person, I have the time to be active at Lambda Center. Besides being on the Board of Directors, I am a member of the Fundraising Committee. I create a quarterly newsletter and print flyers and announcements. I go to many meetings each week and share my experience, strength and hope when asked (and sometimes not when asked). I have one sponsee now and have had a few others in the past. I have participated in meetings at homes of people who could not come to the center due to health problems. I welcome recovering friends into my home for coffee and chat.
I do these things to keep my mind and my time occupied. Otherwise, I know that I can and probably will be back in the bars. So, when looked at in that way, I do these things selfishly. But as a result of the things I do, hopefully someone else can benefit in some small way.
It saddens me when I see people relapse. A large percentage of those who relapse, or slip, do very little or no service work. They provide me with a window into how this program does not work. For that I am grateful.
For as long as I am willing and able, I will continue to do the things I'm doing. It works for me. It's worked for many thousands before me.
And it helps to keep my insane mind from taking control of me.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
These are just a few high-profile CHRISTIAN leaders. Thousands more lead their congregations each Sunday. Protestant, Muslim, Catholic, Hindu, whatever. It's what they do the other six days of the week that kind of bothers me. Well, it doesn't really bother me, it just makes me wary. No, it doesn't make me wary, it flat out turns me off. To their view, their definition of religion.
It's the hypocrisy that I'm thinking about. I'm glad they have a God which is important to them. But their God allows them to cheat on the spouses and lie about it. Their God allows them to gamble away fortunes instead of investing money in their families and communities. Their God allows them to openly hate gay people, yet have a little same-sex fun on the side as long as no one finds out. Their God allows them to preach their own political views and hate those who don't agree with them. Their God allows them to take illegal drugs while they publicly profess their cleanliness. Their God allows them to murder people who don't agree with their views.
These are just a few of my problems with "organized" religion.
Organized. LOL So is the Mafia.
I'm obviously not a religious person, but I DO have a God of MY understanding. I found my God in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. My God is embedded in the Steps and Principles of A.A. and is a loving God. Of all people. All that my God asks is that I try to do the next right thing. To myself and to others. For myself and others.
I don't believe the next right thing includes spousal cheating, dishonesty, selfish gambling that takes from my family, hatred of others because of their politics, color or sexual orientation, using illegal drugs or hurting other people. Especially not murdering them.
No, I am content with my God (as I understand Him). You, however, are welcome to believe what you wish and go to the church of your choice. My God tells me that I must allow you those freedoms.
Friday, May 20, 2005
That's another story.
Here are some of this season's "in" fashions. I don't know the costs, but I'm sure your small town dress and tux rental shoppe can tell you.
What a special night it's gonna be!!
Anyway, this is a sign one neighbor made for his yard. It's already become popular, getting TV news coverage and the attention of City Hall.
the small print at the bottom of the sign says,
PLEASE WAIT HERE FOR THE NEXT AVAILABLE
CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE
(following is part of an article from KTRK-TV / Houston)
It is getting some people mad on the street.
"The solution to the whole problem is, complain all you want and move out," said one woman who didn't want to be identified.
Dirkmaat (the sign maker) and his neighbors aren't moving. The district council member says they shouldn't have to.
"I'm excited when people just say, 'You know what? I'm not taking it any more, and somebody's going to do something about it.' And our office stands willing to be a part of that process," promised Ada Edwards, Houston City Council member. Part of that process, she says, is to organize a meeting between the police chief and the residents. The sign will be spreading. More residents are ordering them for their yards and some homeowners are even planning to make up t-shirts.
(HP) I will keep you posted as developments occur. Or as occurrences develop.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Teaspoon, Teacup. or Bucket?
During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director,
"What is the criteria that defines a patient to be institutionalized?"
"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, we offer a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket to the patient and ask the patient to empty the bathtub."
Okay, here's your test: (Those with an abnormal tendency will scroll to the bottom to get the answer before even taking this test!)
1. Would you use the spoon? or
2. Would you use the teacup? or
3. Would you use the bucket?
"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would choose the bucket as it is larger than the spoon or the cup."
"Noooooo," answered the Director. "A normal person would pull the plug."
(You are not required to tell anyone how you did on this test. Please don't share your answer).
My amateur stuff will never be confused with the art of my friend Scott W.
To see his really fine works, CLICK HERE.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
I thought you guys told me that Bill Clinton did that.
Scott is also a fine artist. He opened a new cyber gallery yesterday and would love for you to give it a whirl. Click here to enter Scott's gallery of handiwork.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Tourists are causing a lot of anxiety — and are costing money — to a tiny village where signs keep disappearing. What do the signs read? "Welcome to Fucking, Austria." Pronounced "fooking," the little hamlet of Fucking is named after the man who founded the village in the 6th century. His name? Focko. The town sign has been stolen seven times in the last few months. With signs costing several hundred dollars apiece, much of the tiny town’s budget is being spent replacing the signs, says Siegfried Hoeppel, the Mayor of Fucking. He went on to express his hope that further thefts will be avoided through the use of increased concrete and . . . bigger screws.
Austria is indeed home to a town called 'Fucking' (48' 03"N 13' 51"E).
Monday, May 16, 2005
My friend Molly had not had a drink in almost 6 years. We hung out at bars together but she only drank cokes. She did the other coke too, but she didn't drink.
I had agreed to go to an AA meeting instead of entering some type of treatment program. Hayden (my other half) had threatened to have my lovely mother put me away - just because of my drinking! Our compromise was an AA meeting. "Sure, I'll go."
Molly had never been to a meeting in my part of town, so I got online to find one. We went to a place called Montrose Counseling Center for a 6pm meeting. A couple of guys were there waiting for the doors to open and we told them why we were there. That I was brand-new. They told us that there was a better place to go. MCC was for more specialized treatment, they said. They said Lambda Center was the place I should go and it was for gay people.
We arrived in time for a 6:30 meeting. That was 2 years ago - this week.
I could never have imagined that day in May 2003 how my life was going to change. I was only going so Hayden would get off my back. There would still be plenty of time to get fucked up that night after a silly meeting.
I haven't stopped going yet. It's become my second home. It's become my life.
And Molly? She went to a handful of meetings with me those next few months. Molly never stopped doing the nose powder no matter how messed up it made her nose and sinuses. She relapsed with alcohol a year ago and will not return any of my calls or emails. I have no idea where she is or how she might be doing. But I have a pretty good idea.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Saturday, May 14, 2005
available from HAZELDEN
The heady, drug-induced decades of the sixties and seventies provide the backdrop for this all-star account of addiction and recovery. Among the celebrities interviewed by Gary Stromberg for The Harder They Fall are comedian Richard Lewis; musicians Alice Cooper, Grace Slick, Dr. John, and Chuck Negron (Three Dog Night); actors Malcolm McDowell and Mariette Hartley; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Franz Wright; writer Anne Lamott; and athletes Doc Ellis and Gerry Cooney. The good news? All are recovering and leading lives of extraordinary accomplishment.
"My own disease would like to tell you that my 'isms' are now my 'wasims.' But as this book reads, it's an ongoing process that leads to the sweetest spirituality. My hat's off and great kudos to those who share their story like it is for those of us who still need to hear it." Steven Tyler - Aerosmith
It's been "out of control" for about 6 months now. That neatly coincides with additional welfare-type services being provided by 2 charity organizations. They feed these kids and provide free medical services. One of the organizations provides short-term housing for up to 100 homeless kids. No job training nor job-related services are provided.
I attended a community meeting Thursday evening. Attendees included a police department spokesman, 2 area Civic Association leaders and some of the concerned residents, such as myself. The meeting was held at Interfaith Ministries and chaired by their President. Representatives of other service organizations were there. I refer to these people and their respective oranizations as enablers. The police officer was quite sympathetic to our concerns, but the police feel their hands are tied. Huh?
The message I got from the enablers was this: we must bring God into the lives of these unfortunate children and most of the problems will stop. (insert your own comment here)
These kids are taking advantage of the system. The more food that is provided, the more kids who will show up. In turn, there are more kids who live on the street, waiting for the next hand-out. In addition, a "no loitering" or "civility law" was recently passed for the "Midtown" area, about 1 mile from here. Midtown is going through a metamorphosis of renovation. That caused the homeless to come here. So, we are told, until these poor kids (I do have compassion for them) receive God into their lives, we, as residents, need to accept the prostitution, rampant drug activity, vandalism, begging for money and cigarettes, loud and unruly behaviour, verbal harassment on the sidewalks, dirty needles and other trash littering the yards and so on and so on and so on. (my first time to use 11 commas in a sentence)
I hope the message they got from the people who actually live around here and have to put up with the criminal activity 24/7 is that we expect current laws to be enforced. What the hell ever happened to people accepting responsibility for their individual actions?
There will be more meetings. The Houston City Council shall hear from us.
We have a looooonnng way to go.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
"How hard could it be?"
The Official Kinky site
QUOTES from Kinky
INTERVIEW with the novelist
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
"Two Brewers" my pub in Guildford, England ~ 1991
young girl in Dakar, Senegal
"Popeye Village" Malta (this is the movie set of the film, POPEYE)
"Checkpoint Charlie" Berlin 1990 (just months after the wall came tumblin' down)
My name is Friday. I'm a citizen. We're seeing a new scam and I'm gonna tell.
Starbuck's is around the corner from my townhouse. It's located in a small strip-center with 5 other businesses and they all share a common car park. The management company that operates this car park contracts to Z Wrecker Company to tow unauthorized vehicles, 24/7. The individual drivers of the towing company have discretion to decide if a car is legally parked or not. That is where the insanity begins.
Myself and fellow townhouse owners park in an off-street covered parking area, secured by a remote-controlled security gate. We keep our little remote "clickers" on key rings or in our respective cars. Last Wednesday night, in the middle of the night, my next-door neighbor's car was stolen - from the secure parking area! It was duly reported to the police on Thursday but there's little they can do. blah blah blah Friday morning, my neighbor received a call from the City of Houston Impound Yard. They had her car and told her it would cost $230 to retrieve it. It had been towed there from Starbuck's. Towed there by Z Wrecker Company.
Here's the scam (not too difficult to figure out). The wrecker drivers are stealing cars and/or paying homeless kids a $20 spot (can you buy crack for $20 a hit?) to do the deed for them. The drivers possess "universal remotes" that can open any remote gate. The stolen cars are then driven to Starbuck's parking area and towed from there. Unfrickenbelievable. Now it's a "legal" tow.
The driver gets $160 for the tow; the impound yard gets $35/day for storage. From that $160 I suspect the driver pays a few dollars to the kid to steal the car and maybe the Starbuck's manager as well. Everybody makes money. Except, of course, for the honest citizen who pays for it.
Simple plan. No witnesses. Impossible to prove. The police look the other way. They can't be bothered.
So now we concerned citizens are shelling out $2000 for a video security system. Maybe that will help. Maybe not.
It's very sad to watch as this wonderful old neighborhood is becoming a ghetto. But we are gathering steam with television coverage, meetings with the offending businesses and will be attending city council sessions to complain. They will probably want to discuss it for a year or two so as not to offend the homeless kids or the not-for-profit businesses that enable them.
In the meantime, our property values spiral downwards. Who, in their right mind, would buy a property here if they knew what was going on?