Thursday, October 29, 2015


This morning, my mind drifted to politics and from there to another Donald. He calls himself Don, and he is a very well-known and popular stand-up comedian who specialized in the genre of "insult comedy." Don Rickles could be a vicious mother*** but ha ha, everybody laughed.  If I remember correctly (and who knows) there came a time that he had to tone down the venom because for a lot of people, being insulted just wasn't funny anymore. The age of political correctness followed, and you know how well that has worked. But he is still, at age 89 no less, a very active comedian and actor. Just not as mean as he used to be.

I bring this up because I sense a shift in the political fortunes of front-runners Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson. I didn't use a divining rod or anything - I read the polls, same as you - and it seems that some Republican voters are drifting away from the Donald and drifting over to the Doctor (not The Doctor) very possibly because the Donald's meanness, initially refreshing, is beginning to wear just a little thin. At the complete other end of the meanness spectrum is Ben Carson, who is conducting his campaign using his best bedside manner.  I am not unaware that Dr. Carson has expressed some opinions that are making Democratic heads explode, but he delivers his messages in such a calming way, he's positively Zentastic.

Perhaps it is time for Donald Trump, like Don Rickles before him, to tone down the snark just a bit before more Republicans cozy up to the delightfully snark-free Ben Carson. It doesn't matter to me, I'm still voting for Hillary, provided she's not indicted (what a country, eh?), but I used to be a Republican, and just sayin'.

Speaking of the Republicans, the third debate is taking place tonight, and while I normally love to watch the presidential debates, the Orlando Magic are playing their first televised game of the regular season and that is that. We are Fox Sports! We are Florida! I want to see if Scott Skiles has worked his coach magic with the Magic. Go Magic! Go Mets! Go Today's Earworm!

Last night I didn't get to sleep at all, no, no
I lay awake and watched until the mornin' light
Washed away the darkness of the lonely night, lonely night

Last night was a terrible night for Chelsea; she didn't sleep, and neither did I. Rob and I are at our wit's end trying to bring some relief to all four of the dogs, but especially Chelsea, who are all being tortured by the damn fleas. We've bombed the house twice, tried commercial sprays, collars, shampoos, organic sprays and capsules, 1/4 of a Benadryl tablet, and nothing works for any length of time. Woody and Chelsea are both apparently allergic to the flea bites and they have both chewed themselves raw. She cried and whimpered and scratched like a whirling dervish. Woody was restless, walking all over the bed, the pillows, our faces, stopping to scratch so energetically, the bed shook. I am never well-rested under the best of circumstances, which these were not. I used a terrycloth washcloth to gently rub Chelsea's skin, sort of like scratching without the skin-shredding. She eventually calmed down and slept with her face buried in my side. Tonight I'm going to try a little Gold Bond medicated powder.  I hate to see the babies suffer.

Time to get philosophical - which I wasn't planning to do, but there's a thunderstorm outside, totally ruining my planting project (I finished the plan, though), and I don't have any of the ingredients to prepare my oxtail recipe, except the oxtails themselves. (Yes, I said oxtails, get over it. Wasn't I right about the beef heart and the goat?)

So I was on Facebook and came across this article (I recommend that you read it) which had been shared by a friend from high school. I shared it, with the accompanying paragraph:

"If there is one phrase I tend to overuse, it is "everything happens for a reason." On the other hand, I believe that God does not usually share that reason with us. But I would never suggest that my statement would preclude grieving a loss, for as long as necessary, perhaps forever. Because I believe in God, I believe He has a huge master plan that often causes Him to set terrible wheels in motion. That phrase, at least to my mind, is never intended to be used as a palliative for those who are suffering."

But of course, I had more to say, and that was best-suited for this blog. So here we are, at least here I am, explaining myself.

My grandmother never used this phrase, and she wouldn't believe it if somebody said it to her. God Himself could come down to explain to her, and she would still not accept that He had a good reason for taking her daughter, my mother Joyce, from her at the age of 29.  No one should ever have to outlive their own child, and I saw what it did to my grandmother. At the end of her life, lost in the fog of senile dementia, having forgotten everyone else, she remembered Joyce.

Personally, I have the biggest problem accepting the reason for children to be born with terrible congenital defects, or to be viciously abused, to have their childhoods stolen. So many times during the past quarter century I have asked, "God, why do You let this happen to little children?" So far, He hasn't answered me. But even if He did, it would bring no comfort. All that God can do is give each of us the strength to keep on living.  So perhaps it is the wrong thing to say to a mourning parent, but the phrase is not going to fall out of use, because it happens to be true. Platitudes like this one persist because they all have a kernel of truth.

I think the author of the article is angry at the wrong people. How many of us know the right thing to say when a friend or relative has suffered a loss? I certainly don't, and I'm sure I've said the wrong thing in the past, but never with the intention of hurting someone or implying that there was no reason or right to grieve. Grief and the process of grieving is as vital as breathing. The pain never goes away. Recognizing that each human tragedy is part of a greater plan doesn't take that away.

And that's my opinion.

At the end of the day, I got no cooking done. Tomorrow will be an epic cooking day, God willing, the crick don't rise and the puppies let me sleep. Potato Soup with Spinach; my overly-complicated recipe for Oxtails (but so good); a muffin of some sort; crockpot spareribs. In the meantime, nobody will starve, I ga-ron-tee! 

My Magic are doing swell keeping up with the Washington Wizards. Let's see if they can keep up the energy in the third quarter.

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