You Have My Permission To Kiss Me..

This is an extremely hot topic that I want to pursue delicately if I can.  It just seems like the words “Sexual Harassment” has come to mean something quite different than I had imagined.  Having had limited opposite-sex contact even in my youth,  and my Aspie characteristics even then limited my experiences in this area.

canstockphoto41767487.jpgTo be honest, whenever I had even a casual contact with a female in my young adult years it was most often an intimidating experience. Not for them but for me!  I just didn’t know what to say or how to act. As far as I was concerned the female of the species could just as well be from a foreign plant.  I wasn’t immune from teenage hormones so, yeah I dreamed of the time when I would take someone in my arms and give her a big kiss. Part of that dream was not to ask permission before the encounter.  That didn’t happen in any of the movies or TV shows so why did it need to happen in real life?

I have been sexually harassed on two different occasions in my life.  The first was when I was a pre-teen and didn’t really know what was going on.  The second time was as a young adult when a girl, who I really didn’t know, came up to me and gave me a big sloppy kiss when I was least expecting it.  I suspect that the kiss was a dare from her friends as she rushed away giggling

Were things different in my days in the 1960s than they have been for the last few years?  Maybe you now need permission to kiss a girl and if you just come out and kiss someone without permission it is sexual harassment? Are you liable to lose your job thirty years later because of this “assault”? Maybe these kinds of contacts are even more difficult than I imagined?

With all that is going on now, if I were in the workplace and saw a woman approaching me in the hallway I would make sure not to even get close to her.  Maybe I would accidentally brush against her and she would take it in a sexual mode? For sure I would never dream of joking around with a woman now as something I say or do may invoke a sexual harassment charge. I don’t know, it just kinda scares me now. I fear that, as usual with many things, we are going to the extreme on sexual harassment. I hope it doesn’t turn into a “guilty until proven innocent” thing. Since most of these occurrences are a “he said” vs “she said” I just don’t know where the middle ground is?

Given where I am in my life right now, I don’t really need any answers to all this stuff but I am kinda curious. I continue to not really understand the female mind, or at least the female minds I have been exposed to in my life.  Women still tend to intimidate me on the first contact.  I know a lot of this is because of my Aspie characteristics and that fact helps a little but really not very much. 🙂

I just wonder what effect all of these current allegations will have on women in the workplace. Will employers who currently have a predominately male workforce now be even more hesitant to hire females. If he does will sexual harassment allegations inevitably follow? It just seems that this current flood of charges won’t help in getting breakthroughs for women in the workplace. Of course, there are serious sexual predators out there who need to be accountable for their behavior, but some of these current allegations just don’t seem to rise to that level.

But what do I know?

Till Death Do Us Part… Aspie Style..

It used to be that your word was your reputation. If you break your word you suffer the consequences.  But for the words in the title above, the majority of us break our word. Oh, we have all the intentions of honoring them when we say them but then things change for whatever reason.

2016-07-18_17-22-54.pngI think my Aspie characteristics play a part in my response to these words. Most of the time I take things literally. When I say I will be there at 1pm that doesn’t mean 1:05pm. When I said “till death do us part” I meant it literally and still do.  With this prologue complete,  I want to get to the topic at hand and that is marriage, particularly when it involves someone with Aspie characteristics.

I know it is a fact that 90% of those with moderate or severe Aspie traits never marry and those who do divorce more than the norm. I dreamed but never considered it a possible reality that I would get married.  I just never did very well with interactions with the opposite sex.  My mother, who abandoned me when I was ten years old, was like the current Oval Office occupant, an extreme narcissist. Everything was always about her, she had little room in her life for anyone or anything else.  I never learned much of anything useful from her except that I didn’t want to be like her.

My dating history was plainly speaking a catastrophe. I seldom had more than three dates with anyone.  When my future wife asked me out on a date I had pretty much given up on the thought of marriage. For some reason, she liked what she saw and as a result, we were married six months later.

I know being married to someone with Aspie traits is not easy.  Here are some  words about that from Psychology Today: (helpful hint AS=Aspie,  NT=neurotypical)

  • An individual with AS has challenges understanding or predicting the consequences of his/her behavior on others.  Therefore, the Aspergers partner may see the NT partner as irrational or illogical.
  • NT women especially tend to want their partners to understand them and their feelings.  However, they need to realize that this is something they may not be able to get from their AS partner.  Some change may be possible, but..
  • The most basic elements of speaking and hearing are the most important issues that AS-NT couples may have.  AS adults often may have a very difficult time hearing negative emotions expressed by their partner.  They may refuse to communicate, but then end up lashing out in a very hurtful way later on.

via What Everybody Ought to Know About Aspergers and Marriage | Psychology Today

To some degree, I can see myself in all three scenarios above.  We have been married going on 32 years now so I guess we overcame these obstacles to one degree or another. Our marriage hasn’t always been “happily ever after” but that is as it is.  When I discovered that many of my characteristics have a name it helped me to understand some previous stumbling blocks in my married life. It helps me to realize that my wife and I are likely to see the same thing very differently. It helps me to keep my vow of “till death do us part”. It helped me to realize what an amazing person  I have been married to…

Killing Religion With Your Political Cause..

2017-11-11_10-04-27I don’t know why the 1973 song “Killing me softly ”  by Roberta Flack got stuck in my head recently. Maybe it has something with my brain bleed of eight months ago but that is pretty much a stretch. 🙂  But those verses put the foundation together for this post.  If you want to see the lyrics click here.

Now on to the purpose of this post. There are simply too many in this world who are killing religion with their various causes. They put God into situations that she would certainly not put herself in. By doing this they are possibly poisoning the well of religion for many generations to come. It is a known fact that recent generations of Americans are much less religious than their parents or grandparents. I’m sure this poisoning effect is much the reason for this trend.

Far too many people put religious spins on their prejudices to try to give them some validity. An example of this is the recent allegations against Roy Moore who is a rad-con candidate for the Senate in Alabama.  He is accused among the dozen or so allegations, of sexual harassment of a 14-year-old girl while he was in his thirties. Anyone who has looked beyond the surface on these allegations has to come away with considering them to be valid.  But instead, some Alabama politicians are putting a religious spin on it.  They say that since Joseph was much older than Mary so it is ok for Mr. Moore. Some are even comparing Moore to Jesus who was wrongly persecuted by his enemies.  Religious spin for political purposes poisons the religious well.

Then there is the KKK who cloak themselves in religion as the reason for their racial hatred. Another radical fringe group who are doing basically the same thing is ISIS and radical Islam. They say their god tells them to kill everyone who is not an avid believer in their version of religion. They are killing religion with their causes.

It is common nature for us to look beyond ourselves for the deepest meaning of life. We want to believe that something or someone much wiser than us controls the high-level stuff. Most of us attach to one form of god or another for that knowledge. When others use religion to justify their radical beliefs they are poisoning the well for the rest of us. I’m pretty sure that God is neither a Republican or a Democrat and I’m absolutely sure he doesn’t hate people due to the color of their skin, or any other flippant reason we humans give as justification for our spiteful ways.

Taking “Simplicity” To The Edge

For this artsy Saturday, I want to take simplicity to the edge. This is a picture of a floor in one of the sites I visited this summer uRV trips.  I guess it is considered a parquet floor but I don’t think I have ever encountered one like it. Being a woodworking guy it just fascinated me.  For those who don’t know what they are looking at,  it is an end view of the 2×6 boards.

Floors.jpg

Assets Or Liabilities?

canstockphoto18591396.jpgI wonder how many of you out there remember when a company’s employees were considered assets to be nourished and held on to? Relative to my years on this earth, it was not that long ago. I don’t know why but all of this stuff that I now consider bad, seemed to have happened during the Reagan years. I think that was the beginning of where we ended up today.

It was the early 1980s when the “three-legged stool” was abandoned. This principle was that a successful business was made up of three equal legs: owners, employees, and customers. The second leg was the first to vanish and soon after that and third leg got chopped off at the knees.  Employees who were once considered valuable to the company became liabilities to be replaced whenever lower costs alternative could be found. The owners became king in this environment.

Certainly, I realize that being treated as an asset is a two-way street.  To be valuable to the company you are working for means you must put forth your best efforts for them. That is something that has also been lost for the most part in today’s world.

With a good part of the world’s population making a fraction of what we made during the peek of the middle-class years, employees were soon replaced with a much cheaper labor force.  There are still a few companies out there that value their labor force but they are diminishing quite rapidly.  The stock price and associated dividends have become the DRIVING factor above everything else.

How or when will this change? At some point in the future, third-world country’s prosperity will rise to finally meet the declining wages of today’s US workers. When that happens parity will finally be accomplished.  But can that really happen? Are American worker’s willing to tolerate continuing decreasing wages, especially when the top of the country’s corporations make more in a day than they do in a year?

I think part of what is happening today is the misguided belief that shutting down our current systems and giving total power to the corporate elite is somehow a solution. Of course, that has been the GOP mantra for decades now, its called “trickle-down.  I believe that sometime in the not too distanced future the American workers will finally realize that what they have been fed by the GOP is BS! When that happens I hope there is something around for them to finally flee to.

The Democratic party seems to have lost their way in being that choice. They now concentrate on a few issues that have little to do with the average American worker.  The answer to this dilemma seems to be an alternate choice.  I see that choice as the Centrist Party.  They will hold the center positions and leave the fringes to the two existing parties.  How much further down does the average American worker have to fall before this is seen as a viable choice?

Faulty Logic….

It seems that too many people come to faulty conclusions about this or that simply because of ignorance.  I know that is a pretty rank statement but in some cases, it applies. One of those cases is the quote below where the author says that the opiate addiction crisis rampant in the country is due to the decline in religion.

As Religion Falls, Opiate Use Rises In America

While there is no direct evidence for a causal relationship, the simultaneous decline of religion and growth of opiate use offers a potentially troubling correlation for consideration.

Source: As Religion Falls, Opiate Use Rises In America

canstockphoto18069415.jpgI think the blame for much of the opiate problem lies in the fact that for the workers our economy has been stagnant for three decades or more. Middle-class jobs are pretty much gone except for those who are willing to do the work to get them. There is simply no easy path to the good life anymore. Things have to be earned now. 40% of the population is doing pretty good, the other 60% not so good.

Because of this, there are many disenchanted people around. They hear stories about their fathers and grandfathers who right out of high school got that good paying job in an automotive factory. They hear how a college education will set them back thousands of dollars with no guarantee of any real payback. They feel cheated and in some ways, I can’t blame them.  But at least to me, this sounds too much like a pity party. Instead of doing what it presently takes they want to blame others because they had it easier.

I recently came across someone’s definition of a terrorist and that is a man unhappy with his personal life and looking for something beyond himself.  That something in too many cases is a religious belief that condones and maybe even insists that others need to be punished for their lack of correct faith.

Everyone seems to be in the business of blaming others for their personal condition:

Religious organizations blame others for their declining membership. Instead, they should be taking a good part of the blame because of their political stands and their exclusion of too many who ask embarrassing questions or won’t blindly believe what they are told.

The politicians want to blame the other party for the low congressional approval rating. Instead, they should be looking at their partisans stands and their unwillingness to compromise for the good of the whole. It is just too easy to find a “bad” guy to blame in their world.

Too many who have not managed a more affluent way of life want to blame others. Instead, they should be looking to see what others have done to better themselves.  They need confidence in their own abilities, not someone else to blame.

It is just too easy to find someone else to blame instead of taking a good dose of that blame on yourself.

 

 

Rules, Rules, Rules…

I know no one likes rules but sometimes they are necessary to maintain a civil society. But then again the very idea of civility is being attacked by some in RedAmerica. They just don’t believe that civility is of any benefit to them and therefore it is deemed useless. I got a dose of this recently from a niece and her teenage daughter. She flat out said that being civil was not “her thing”. I know I am getting off track here so let’s shift back to the idea of rules in a civilized society.

2017-10-24_18-28-17.pngCivility has a pretty simple definition when it comes to interacting with each other. It is about being polite and showing regard for others around you. That definition pretty much surrounds the Golden Rule of treating others as you want to be treated.  Maybe more enlightening in regards to today is the definition of incivility. Here is how Wikipedia explains that condition:

Incivility is the polar opposite of civility, or in other words a lack or completely without civility. Verbal or physical attacks on others, cyber bullying, rudeness, religious intolerance, lack of respect, discrimination, and vandalism are just some of the acts that are generally considered acts of incivility.

All of the things I put in bold print describe a world I don’t really want to be in. For much of my life, we have made social progress on these items. Bullying was finally being treated as physical abuse. Lack of respect for others was declining at least until the current Oval Office holder started tweeting as president.  Religious intolerance is going mainstream now that Islam and to lesser degrees Christianity has been kidnapped by a radical right fringe.

Diversity was being celebrated as what makes our nation great. Now, too many seem to have no tolerance anymore for others different from them. If you don’t look or believe as they do then you are the enemy.

No one likes rules, even rules that have maintained our civil society until now.  I only hope and pray that those of us who have maintained our civility can once again take back control from those who are trying to kidnap our society. It seems as simple as that.

The Republican tax plan is fiscal heroin

I think that at one time or another almost all of us have faced an addiction. For me, it was cigarettes and coffee.  I couldn’t get through an hour, let alone a day without my fix. Thank heavens I finally shed those addictions more than 30 years ago. But still once in a while, my brain still wants a fix.

That is kind of like what it is about when someone offers us a quick tax cut.  Here is an extended quote about that.  I would highly recommend that you click on the link below to see the whole article.

2017-11-16_11-39-06.png

The Republican tax plan is fiscal heroin: it feels great now and will wreak havoc in the future. The Committee for a Responsible Budget, a bipartisan budget watchdog group, says the current proposal would cost the federal government between $3 and $7 trillion in lost revenue over a decade and that “no plausible amount of economic growth would be able to pay for a substantial portion of the tax plan, let alone reduce deficits.”

America’s debt is already on an unsustainable trajectory. Even before the Republican tax proposal, the nation’s borrowing was projected to grow to the highest level relative to GDP in history. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned in a report earlier this year: “The prospect of such large and growing debt poses substantial risks for the nation and presents policymakers with significant challenges.”

Remember, that was before the Republicans floated their wildly irresponsible tax plan.

The best way to get out of our fiscal hole would be to stop digging. The Republican tax plan would lower a backhoe into our current fiscal crevasse to begin digging faster and deeper.

Remarkably, the Democrats are opposing the tax bill not because it would be fiscally disastrous, but because it is too generous to the wealthy. The current Democratic commentary suggests that the tax cuts—which will have to be paid back in some way by future generations—would be just fine if they were tilted more towards working people.

Source:  The Republican Tax Plan is Fiscal Heroin

Social Gospel

Christ’s church has cycled from one level to another for almost its whole existence.  I can only hope that the cycle turns positive in the coming years. If it doesn’t I can see the end of that institution. One of the bright periods of the Protestant version of the church occurred between 1890 -1930. It was known as the social gospel.  Here is a little about that from my friends at Wikipedia:

In the late 19th century, many Protestants were disgusted by the poverty level and the low quality of living in the slums. The social gospel movement provided a religious rationale for action to address those concerns. Activists in the Social Gospel movement hoped that by public health measures as well as enforced schooling the poor could develop talents and skills, the quality of their moral lives would begin to improve. Important concerns of the Social Gospel movement were labor reforms, such as abolishing child labor and regulating the hours of work by mothers. By 1920 they were crusading against the 12-hour day for workers at U.S. Steel.

Source: Social Gospel – Wikipedia

As you can see the Social Gospelers had taken the words of Jesus to heart and were determined to make things better for “the least of these”.  They became very active in the political scene for labor reforms and quality of life issues. What happened to turn to Protestants to turn so many of them almost 180 degrees since those days?

Now their biggest drives seem to be political. They want to make sure no one gets anything they haven’t earned.  If you can’t afford health care then that is just too bad.  If you don’t accept everything we tell you to believe then you are not welcomed.  How did the teachings of Jesus go from front and center to off on a remote back burner?

My Feathered Friends

For this Artsy Saturday post, I want to show you a cherished picture of some of my feathered friends. Redheaded woodpeckers are certainly a colorful part of that family.  I wonder why nature gave them their colors.  It probably has something to do with attracting the opposite sex. Even human women seem to go for flashy guys.

Woodpeckers.jpg

Car Guys Are Like Women…

I have been in the weeds so to speak with my posts here on RJsCorner so I thought I would put out a car post today.  I want to move from the weeds of politics to the green pastures of vintage cars.

I know this post title is going to get a lot of attention from my more macho car guy friends. I suspect that they are saying “yeah if I drove around in a pink Cadillac!!” But what I am really talking about is how many car guys fall for the latest trends even if they are totally impractical. They are like women who insist on plucking down the big bucks on a pair of seven inch high heels.  These women know that there is nothing healthy or practical about those shoes but since they are told that anyone who is attuned to fashion “must” wear them.  Yeah, car guys are like women in that regard.

2017-11-09_11-24-38.pngNow, let’s get down in the dirty on this post. The car guy who insists that they have to have a car “down in the weeds” is not my kind of car guy.  Down in the weeds means the car sits about an inch off the ground, has enormously large tires and absurdly monster engine.  None of these things makes a car more beautiful or practical.

2017-11-09_11-23-48.pngDoing this stuff is kind of like putting a 300 hp engine on a skateboard as far as I am concerned.  I am a car guy in that I do love the styling of many of the cars I grew up with in the 1960s.  When Lynn Eikenberry who I admired from afar in my college years came back to campus with a 1967 Chevy Chevelle I fell in love with both her and her car.  But of course, she never knew that. Yeah, I love the looks of some of the cars of my youth but I fully realize that compared to those today those cars were rolling deathtraps.  My idea of a perfect vintage car is one that has a body from the 1960s and a chassis from today.

If I had my choice I would put an electric engine in a 1957 Chevy pickup. I know that is the opposite of what goes on today but since my view of the world is often quite different than others, that fact doesn’t bother me at all 🙂 Paying thousands of bucks to put a car in the weeds just doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

Permanent Tax Cuts For The Rich, Temporary Cuts For The Rest Of Us..

Don’t be fooled by all the GOP rhetoric about their proposed tax plan. Study its effect on you before jumping on board. And even more importantly look at what effect it will have on your children.  Of course, we also have to understand that the GOP is primarily a party that gives the most to their rich donors. They are the ones who will primarily benefit from this current plan.  Since the “trickle down” theory they have constantly used in the past has never come to actually happen why should we expect it to happen this time. Too much of the increased income just end up in off-shore accounts.

Here is a little information to consider from my friends at the New York Times:

2017-11-13_11-35-07.pngFirst is the poster child family Paul Ryan keeps talking about, a family with two children making $59,000 a year. In the first year of the Cut Cut Cut Act, such a family would indeed receive a tax cut. But this cut comes from several special tax credits that are basically loss leaders to help sell the plan; they all either expire in later years or will get eroded by inflation. By 2027, with the plan fully phased in, that exemplary family would actually be facing a significant tax increase relative to current law.

Second, consider someone who is much further up the scale, but still works for a living. In the movie “Wall Street,” Gordon Gekko sneers at “a $400,000-a-year working Wall Street stiff flying first class and being comfortable.” What would happen to that guy? Well, I’ve done some back-of-the envelope calculations: If you ignore deductions, he’d end up paying a few hundred dollars less in taxes. But once you take lost deductions into account, especially reduced deductions for state and local taxes, he almost certainly ends up facing a tax hike, not a cut.

Source: Trump and Ryan Versus the Little People – The New York Times

This tax cut is another example of how the GOP has moved from their roots.  They used to be the party of fiscal responsibility.  They used to hate deficits and scream about how their opponents will put debt on their kids and grandkids for some immediate person relief now.  I always admired them for that.  But they openly admit that their current plan will raise the federal debt by trillions of bucks.

Now I see that they have also put in a provision to cut off all funding for people who can’t afford healthcare.  They are bound and determined to keep people from getting the healthcare they need. I just don’t understand their rationale for these cruel actions? Mr. Ryan, who is the chief antagonist of this tax plan doesn’t seem to think it is necessary to explain so that tells me something very basic about his character.

From the above quote, we discover that the things they put in it for the middle class will expire within ten years while all the cuts for the rich are permanent! Watch out for what you hear from either party. That is especially true in the next year where one has all the power.

 

It’s Hard Looking Beyond Self Preservation Nowadays..

The political news just gets raunchier and raunchier now that we have a “liar-in-chief” in the Oval Office. The president used to be an image that we could give our children for their inspirations. Now we need to shield them from the current occupant’s disrespectful rantings and constant lies.  My tolerance for these intolerable defects continues to erode as each day passes.

I used to be a hog for news. I watched multiple sources on a daily basis. Now, the only thing I can seem to stomach is the PBS Newshour and since it is recorded and watched the next morning about half of it is watched in the fast-forward mode. I did see a recent segment where and a GOP consultant made the comment that Mr. Trump is not the problem when it comes to civility and such but only a reflection of our times. He insinuated that all of this hateful rhetoric and actions are now endemic in our society. It is the new norm! I totally reject that idea. Saner minds will once again rule this country.

But I do admit that when things get as dark as they are many of us go into the self-preservation mode which of course means primarily looking out for ourselves and things that personally affect us. That is not a mode to be in for an extended period of time but sometimes it is necessary to maintain our sanity. I know I personally don’t give much of a hoot on what happens in the rest of the world right now.  As long as I have my social security and Medicare I will be satiated for now.  If those are threatened, and they just might be in the months and years ahead, I will spring like a cornered cat to defend my way of life. Sadly, I am in the self-survival mode right now.  I can’t see anything good coming from the narcissist in the Oval Office so I am just praying that he doesn’t do too much permanent damage before saner minds control our world.

This is a sad state to be in my final years but that is as it is.  I can only hope and pray for brighter tomorrows….

 

 

Making Government Accountable

It was at least a little comforting to see how the limited elections worked out last week. You might call it a slight silver lining in the very dark cloud presently hanging over America.  We can only hope to see the same thing on a much larger scale a year from now.

But, as far as I am concerned both parties have a lot to be blamed for these times.  They have learned from each other that total obstruction pays dividends in the “next” election. It would go a long way toward solving many of our current problems if the people finally get disgusted with the current office holders and vote them out.  Is this current gridlock mode really the answer to making the government once again accountable to the people? Of course the answer is a big NO.

I think it’s time to make some wholesale changes to our electoral processes. Both parties seem to have lost their founding principles but still have their own way of trying to keep their base in line. Here is a quote about that:

By and large, the two parties have very different performance routines they employ to build and sustain their voting coalitions. The GOP will tell you that the Democrats are a bunch of godless socialists who want to quash all individual initiative. Democrats will assure you that the GOP is a party of oligarchic theocrats who want to give all your money to the rich and make you go to church….

Source: Learn American History to Make Government Accountable | National Review

We need to send an unequivocal message and the way to do that is to not give our vote to either party until they put their house in order. It’s time for more of us to vote for the independent candidate. Nothing will change until we give the current two parties a message that they cannot ignore.

Even voting independent in the short term has an almost immediate effect. If we just had a half dozen senators who were not beholden to either party they could drive an agenda for the common good since they would control who gets the majority vote.  Now if only there are enough forward looking voters out there to do their part.  I realize that my State of Indiana is VERY red so I don’t hold out much hope for an independent running here but I do plan on financially supporting independent candidates wherever I can find them next year.

Let’s not throw in the towel simply because times are difficult right now. Instead let’s work to change things. Yes, there will always be those narrow minded voters who are driven by fear and hate but we the majority can keep them on the sidelines if only we have the will.