The Duck man is wrong, and there are bigger fish to fry

So, I guess you could say I took a sabbatical from rambling.  I’m back, and Merry Christmas!  Now, on with the midnight rant.  I took a little nap earlier, and so, I completely messed up my sleep cycle.  Laundry it is, and apparently, rambling/venting to an otherwise likely asleep or apathetic audience.  (Or, really, really ticked if you’re a Duck Dynasty fan).

So, here goes.  The title of my post.  Pretty much, I’m saying that I don’t care (the bigger fish to fry part) and it really shouldn’t be uber important to anyone.  Here’s why.  It’s a show.  Entertainment value only.  Serves no other purpose.  While the family in Duck Dynasty may do charity work (I have no idea as I haven’t seen it and really don’t care), nobody is being healed or otherwise cared for as a direct result of the show.  What we should really care about is…..pretty much anything else.   I’m not telling you how to feel, though it’s probably coming across that way.  Re-word lest I offend someone and lose my contract with….well, nobody because I don’t make lots of money doing pretty much nothing for a living.

What I’m saying is that I’m much more concerned about the patients that I care for that won’t make it home for Christmas or New Year’s Day for that matter.  In fact, some might not ever make it home at all.  I think about them and what they are going through.  I’m not undermining the importance of freedom of speech here, just saying that things like Duck Dynasty, the Chick-Fil-A thing, the dude on Grey’s Anatomy that got fired a few years ago for the same thing….gets blown way out of proportion relative to the actual problems going on in the world.  If our society (speaking of America specifically here) is more outspoken about a self-proclaimed red neck getting suspended for one comment than being outspoken about many girls being forced into sex slavery all over the globe, there’s something wrong.  That makes me sad, angry, etc. (Insert any negative emotion here).

Most of us have so much we can give and offer to others (I mean those that are well both physically and emotionally).  And, I’m not saying that those people that are upset about the Duck Dynasty issue don’t care about other people.  Please don’t misunderstand.  I think it’s good to have an opinion and stick up for other people who state their beliefs and stick to them.  A good thing.  Just not good if that becomes the focus to the exclusion of other issues.

I think I made that clear.  Moving on….as to what the Duck Dynasty patriach, as he’s affectionately called, said.  I read his comments.  Granted, I read them on various news sources, so they may be taken out of context (which is why I read a few to compare/contrast).  The issue I have with what he said?  It’s simply not true.  Well, it’s sort of true.  The Bible does speak about homosexuality, prostitution, etc; this is true.  However, he said that they won’t “inherit the kingdom of God.”  Drunkards, homosexuals, prostitutes won’t inherit the kingdom of God according to the Duck man.  False.

The Bible isn’t a “let’s look up a passage on homosexuality and see what God thinks about it” kind of book.  It’s not a “I’m really feeling depressed; let me google a passage where God speaks about loneliness and see what he thinks.”  Not how it’s supposed to be, but that’s how many people use the Bible.  I’ve done it.  We’ve all probably done it, but that’s not the intended use.  God wants us to understand Him and our relationship with Him by understanding the entirety of the Bible, the whole thing in context.  It’s a tricky thing, the Bible.  There are many difficult concepts, sayings, etc, and I’m no expert.  I have just learned from those wiser than myself how NOT to read the Bible or how to NOT interpret it.

How the Duck man interpreted the Bible is wrong.  God loves the prostitutes, drunkards, and homosexuals  (I’m not trying to be indignant here, just summarizing what he said).  ((Homosexuality isn’t an act or a choice like prostitution and drinking are (though those aren’t always choices either), but homosexuality just is)). And there is a spot for them in the kingdom.  Saying that I or the Duck man are somehow better than the prostitute, drunkard, or homosexual is not true, and definitely not what God says.  When you start to think that you really understand God, have everything together, you become what’s called self-righteous.  This leads to feeling like you don’t need God and you judge others (another really wise person, a pastor, explained that last bit about how self-righteousness happens, which leads to less love for God and others.  Not good.  This is what many non-Christians don’t like about Christians, and I can’t say that I blame them.  (Not all Christians are self-righteous by any means, but the ones that get media attention, usually are, generally speaking, of course).  God wants us to love others, help them, have empathy for them when appropriate, and so self-righteousness is exactly the opposite of God’s purpose for us.

In summary, (I’m starting to fade now…yay!, and who says in summary?)  Anyway, in summary….(and don’t even get me started on what the Duck man said about African Americans in the South prior to Jim Crow.  That’s also false.  I’m all about free speech, but those in the limelight need to be especially careful of what they say and how they say it)…Anyway, in summary…..I am no Bible expert by any means, but what was said by the Duck man was wrong.  God loves His children, all of His children.  Apparently, the Duck man didn’t sing “Jesus loves the little children/they are precious in his sight/ Jesus loves the little children of the world.”  (No, I’m not a universalist.  It’s clearly time to end this post and get some zzzzz’s).  Good night all!

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Caring for the homeless: Do we?

I’d like to think that homelessness is a problem which has a solution.  But, until nobody has debilitating mental illness (which will never happen unfortunately), homelessness is here to stay.  People mistakenly believe that homelessness is due to abject poverty, and thus, is more fixable.  Sometimes it is, but the majority of the time, it is due to mental illness.   This is just my opinion, however, based on the research that I have read.  It is impossible for mental health experts and researchers to know exactly how much homelessness is caused by mental illness.  It’s presumed at least 25%.

Homelessness saddens me.  Any time I see it, it puts a damper (not like the pedal on a piano of which has the opposite effect as that makes things louder, accentuates the part of the music you want to emphasize) on my day.  Any time I visit a large city on vacation, and I see a homeless person or group of them, it makes me feel guilty for enjoying myself.  Like I should be doing more for them if I really cared.  I always buy them a meal, though I don’t have deep enough pockets to buy a meal for 50 homeless people.  The very wealthy man in Atlanta a few years ago who was surprised I didn’t recognize him gets it; he does just that (according to his wife) who was with him.  And, pays for meals for young couples.  Other random acts of kindness.  (It still kind of bothers me that I don’t know who it was; he wouldn’t tell us).

What made me think of homelessness on this sunny Wednesday?  It’s not in my neighborhood.  It’s not even all that prevalent in the small city in which I reside (though it’s still prevalent enough).  And, it’s certainly not in my currently messy house which I am supposed to be cleaning on my day off (getting back to it soon if you’ll just allow me these few minutes).

This past Sunday after going to a wonderful church service, going to our usual family restaurant for lunch, and then taking my traditional Sunday nap (twice a month on my Sundays off, though I don’t intend to mislead you.  I take naps more than twice a month, and I enjoy them), and then going to Publix to grocery shop, I saw what looked to be a homeless man.  We had just grabbed a sub, a Publix Philly, to enjoy before doing the week’s grocery shopping and were sitting outside at the typical metal table you’d find at a park. 

As the homeless man walked over, I saw him briefly mutter to himself while holding his 8 oz Publix brand milk and carrying a backpack that was probably at least 10 years old.  He walked right past us, and sat 2 tables over from us, the furthest table away.  This information was not gleaned from staring at the both literally and figuratively poor man for minutes; I just got this in the few seconds that I saw him as he was in my direct line of sight.  Made a point not to stare as I’m sure he already gets enough of that.

What did I do?  And, what did I want to do?  Well, as the sun was setting, it was now twilight, and my quick judgment of the man told me that he likely suffered from mental illness.  Maybe schizophrenia of the paranoid type, maybe not.  Impossible to tell.  So, because of this knowledge (though it’s important to note that most people with mental illness are not aggressive), instead of sitting where I sat, I moved across the table so that I could see him the entire time (my back would have been to him otherwise, and this way, my back was to the wall of the store; I just wasn’t comfortable not having the opportunity to be aware of my surroundings).

What did I want to do?  I wanted to invite him over to sit with us because he didn’t look like he got an invite like that ever.  But, I was scared.  Even though the odds of him being aggressive to me if I talked with him were minimal, I didn’t want to risk my safety.  For which I feel guilty.  I feel bad for the homeless and want to help them, but I’m also scared of (some of) them. 

Though if the same thing happened tomorrow or next week, I would do the same thing.  Self-preservation kicks in.  I wish that I could show more genuine kindness to people that need it without worrying about my safety in so doing.  But, that’s just the way it is, and I’m not willing to risk my safety to help someone that I think may hurt me.  Most people would say that what I am saying is just good sense, nothing to feel badly about.

But, I do.  Every time it happens.  If you’re living on the street (not by choice like the few who do by choice as part of their social experiment, experiment in living, which I find insulting to the homeless)…. Anyway, if you are living on the street, have nowhere to go (or at least feel that you don’t even though there are shelters), small kindnesses make a huge difference, I would imagine, though I can’t really, as I’ve never been homeless. 

Does the homeless person know I’m thinking of myself, my safety, when I make it a point not to take out my wallet in front of him?  (Most of the homeless I have encountered are male).  Maybe very astute ones.  But, I just go to the nearest eatery, and buy him a sandwich if he asks me for money.

My conscience kicked in this past Sunday, and I felt guilty.  Guilty for not doing what was probably the right thing: inviting him to sit with us.  He was just so alone.  One could argue:  well, even people that are well dressed could be just as alone as him.  It’s just less obvious.  That’s true.  But, he was obviously very alone, very poor, and likely suffered from mental illness to boot.  And, out of fear, I did nothing. 

I remember whispering to my husband.  “We should invite him over to sit with us.  It’s probably fine, and he’s probably harmless.”  Husband whispered back, “I know.  I was thinking the same thing.”

To the man who probably doesn’t have the luxury of the Internet, I’m sorry.

 

The best way to both amuse and frustrate oneself on a roadtrip? Rush Limbaugh Radio

I only wished I had discovered it earlier in the trip.  My husband and I were driving back from a wedding last weekend and started listening to Rush Limbaugh about 4 hours into the drive.  Everyone has heard of this man with only a few that actually listen to him.  I never listened to the man before, and I must say, this was a first time treat.  I can’t remember the last thing I have listened to or watched that caused me to both laugh out of amusement and yell out of frustration within only a minute or two of each emotion.

Limbaugh has that effect on you.  I’m a normo-tensive person, BP 110/70’s on every check-up, but I’m sure if I listened to him regularly, I would need Coreg within 6 months.  At the same time, what he says is so ridiculous at times that you can’t help but laugh.  He’s a smart man.  You can tell by the way he talks, and the words he uses that he has a good vocabulary; he’s just so partisan that logic for him is only an abstract concept learned in a college course years ago.

He talked about prosperity and how teenagers think there’s none left for them anymore since the liberals are very pessimistic, doom and gloom.  That teens aren’t getting the message that hard work leads to prosperity and then that was a segway into Ashton Kutcher’s politics, and Kutcher’s Teen Choice speech that Rush felt was inspirational for teens.  The above was a giant run-on sentence simulation of the radio show I heard.  I don’t want to take Rush out of context since I listened to this almost a week ago, but trust me, I listened to him “in context,” and it didn’t make a difference.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t dislike the man.  I have no reason to as I don’t know him personally.  I believe he is a well-intentioned person who believes everything he says.  I just have a hard time understanding how a reasonably intelligent person can say or believe such things.  (And, both sides of the fence do this kind of thing: democrats and republicans).  I just don’t get it.  I guess that’s why I self-identify as “moderate” politically.

Anyway, Limbaugh’s point during his talk show was that teenagers don’t think that hard work can lead to prosperity or success since nobody is telling them it can.  He says that liberals are more pessimistic about opportunity, etc, and Rush urges people to break the mold.  Rush urged people (like his Steve Jobs analogy) to work hard and not to believe other people are smarter than them (Except: Jobs was a really, really smart guy, and very few people are smarter than he was.  Not many people, including very intelligent people, could have done what Jobs did).

I appreciate that Limbaugh wanted to encourage people to do their best and try for success, but he went about it the wrong way, giving people false hope.  Success is going to be different for each person.  We all don’t have the same gifts, so we all can’t be millionaires.  Some people are smarter than other people, and that’s just the way it is.  Nothing wrong with that.  If one person isn’t intelligent, they have other gifts that they can use, and our differences and more specifically, our difference in abilities, are what draws us to different occupations.  Intelligence isn’t usually the only thing driving material success anyway; many intelligent people have no interest in power, prestige, fame, or money.  Material success isn’t what is most important anyway.  At least, that is my perspective.

I will now close with a quasi-quote heard during a commercial break.  “And does anybody else think that the decrease in gun violence is due to an increase in gun ownership?”  I think this was supposed to be an advertisement for another show he would be doing since that’s all Rush said.  (Not an exact quote since this was a week ago.  Either way, the point was the same).

But, in unison, like two peas in a pod, both I and my husband laughed for at least a full minute.  Not only was it a ridiculous statement, but it just came out of nowhere.  In fact, I think I was half falling asleep at the time (No, I was not behind the wheel).  So, the timing, of course, adds to the hilarity of the moment.  I learned something new on that road trip.  I’m going to purposefully listen to Rush Limbaugh, and bring Taylor Swift CDs with me on all road trips.  Though both make me smile, one of the two makes me smile, laugh, and rant, practically all at the same time.  And, that makes all of the difference when you’re on your 5th or 6th hour of endless flat highway, exit signs, and forest monotony.

What I’ve learned after 7 years of marriage

I’m cheap.  There’s a negative connotation to that word, but I’m not cheap in a bad way; I always leave good tips at restaurants.  My theory is that if you can’t afford to leave a 20% tip, then you shouldn’t go out to eat (And, there were times that applied to both myself and my husband).  I’m just a budget hunter, and always prefer to save money rather than spend it.  Everybody says that, though; even the people that buy something everyday and have enough space in their home to house an army will say they are “savers.”

But, I buy most of my clothing at Target (because it’s awesome, so why pay more?), and sometimes have even suggested that we (my husband and I) don’t buy each other anything for holidays.  Not because we can’t afford it, but because we really don’t need anything at all, so it’s better to save money and to give a little to a charity in need.   One year, we gave this house and the moving costs to each other for Christmas.  I know; so romantic.  But, really, neither of us see gifts as necessary all of the time.

If I do spend, I spend the money on travel to see family and friends.  Or, the money is spent on a night away with E or a little get-away somewhere.  Time with family, friends, and my husband is of utmost importance to me.  My husband knows that if he ever buys me jewelry in lieu of going somewhere with him, he’s in trouble.  I just don’t value jewelry that much.  I love the few things that he has bought me over the years, so they have memories attached to them, but I don’t need more jewelry (other than a pearl necklace someday, but that’s not a need anyway).

So, I’m cheap, and I’m not a jewelry girl.  What’s my point?   Getting there.  Yesterday was our 7th wedding anniversary.  We both worked, so there was no celebration or anything special.  Not enough hours in the day.  But, that’s no big deal.  We’ve learned over the years like many have  to “change” holidays or anniversaries to other days to accommodate for the practicalities of life, work.  Not that we’re workaholics by any means.  It’s just the way it is.  Both for us or any other couple where one spouse works in a hospital setting.

So, I called him after work, and suggested we meet at Zoe’s.  (It’s like Panera, but has Greek healthy food).  We both said that if we saw another McDonald’s, we’d just go ahead and ask our doctor for some Lipitor.  (We drove 9 hours each way to a wedding this past weekend with many stops being in the middle of nowhere with options like Arby’s, Waffle House, or McDonald’s).

At least McDonald’s has apples now, chemically preserved, but apples nonetheless.  Though one of the McDonald’s compensated for their apparent lack of apples in my kid’s meal by giving me 2 toys and an apple pie.  That gave us a good laugh as we were driving since a kid would be elated, but I really just wanted apples.

So, anyway, we quickly chose Zoe’s for dinner since our fast, healthy options consisted of either Zoe’s or Panera.  And, for whatever reason, my husband has an aversion to Panera.  I know the reason.  He says it’s over-priced, and the food is not good.  He only likes the corn chowder.  (These are things you learn after 7 years of marriage, and not to take your husband to Panera since he will only complain about what he could have eaten for the same price elsewhere).

I say that as if it’s negative, but, trust me, I know I’m not a walk in the park sometimes either.  Though in your first year of marriage, you tend to think you’re pretty awesome, and that’s part of the problem of what makes a first year of marriage tough.  Or at least it’s tough for most people.  Both spouses think both they and their family traditions are awesome, and the other person is at fault in an argument.  Always.  Oh, and I’m stubborn.  So, is he.  Hence, the argument part.

So, marriage is actually enjoyable now.  And, it has been for a while with the exception of that first year of marriage.  We both have since learned the art of compromise and not being selfish.  Because even people that are generous and thoughtful of others might not be the best spouses.  It’s true.  So, we’ve definitely grown together, and love each other more like we should.  (Not that we didn’t love each other that first year, but we sure had an odd way of showing it most of the time).

So, we’re at Zoe’s last night.  You’re probably wondering if I’m ever going to talk about this Zoe’s place.  There’s not much to say about Zoe’s.  It’s good, quick, healthy food.  Nothing romantic or exciting.  Just practical.  Both worked, both hungry, and it’s now 1945 when we meet.  I order the food, and find a table, and discover that he’s now here at a table in the time since I’ve ordered.  As we sit and wait for the food, I realize that I’m exhausted.

(We got home the previous night from the wedding at 2030, so we made good time.  But, upon getting home, we realize our mailbox was stolen.  At first, it just looked like there might have been a storm since the trashcan was on its side; E picks it up only to realize we don’t have a mailbox.  Or the post where our mailbox was either.  Awesome.  Stupid kids.  So, we have the opportunity to file a police report.  Since stealing mail/mailbox is a federal offense.  Policeman affirms.  Was probably just teenagers and nothing to worry about here.  Nice neighborhood.  Because I’m about ready to put my house up for sale.  Since, if this happened, then it’s only going to get worse.  Oh.  And, my husband has learned that I have a tendency to over-react and/or exaggerate.  I come from a long line of exaggerators.  (As I type that, I’m reminded of Father of the Bride.  Remember the part where Annie is really upset with Brian because she feels he isn’t supportive of her dreams?  And, she comes to the house to vent to her dad?  If you don’t remember that, it’s not one of your favorite movies, which means your favorite comedy isn’t Father of the Bride, so we won’t have much in common with one another).

Anyway, so as we’re waiting for the food, and I’m half falling asleep sitting there, E hands me a card.  Was a nice card.  The card was just a regular anniversary card, but what he wrote was nice.  He alluded to some gift, and I wasn’t sure if it was figurative; like, he meant the gift of marriage.  In which, I agree.  I love him.  So, I ask plainly, “Gift?  Or is that figurative?”  He beams, “Turn the page.”  I turn the page, and I see a flight.  For 2.  To Portland, ME.

I’m so excited, so happy, but I immediately think without showing it, “I wonder how much this cost.”  To which, having read my mind, E blurts that the flight was very reasonable, tells me the price.  Because he knows me well enough to know that reasonable wasn’t going to cut it.  I like to know details.  I know, I know.  It’s a gift, so price should be a mystery, and sometimes it is, but it’s just a quirk.  He knows that and has accepted it.  You should, too.

He knows I want to see the northeast sometime, Vermont or the like, that area.  And, so he chose the cheapest flight in that area, and it was a good rate, I must say.  I’m always surprised at the cost of flights.  I never really know when I log into kayak.com what my flight home will cost.  Usually I can guess it within a hundred dollars, but it varies depending on season, day, time of day, flight capacity, etc.

He did well.  I have a week off next month, and so does he, and we were planning on doing something.  We just hadn’t figured out what yet.  We haven’t done anything together, just the 2 of us, in a little while.  Actually, it’s been since February when we went away for a night to the zoo.  So, this was well-timed.  I’m so excited to check out Portland, ME, and the surrounding area.

After my shower (it’s just a necessity for hospital nurses to shower as soon as they get home), we started googling where we’d like to stay.  He knows me so well that he didn’t surprise me with the whole trip already planned.  He knows that I enjoy planning the trip, part of the fun.  So many cool places up there.  I’m excited to explore Portland, and Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor.  I discovered on my quick search last night that there’s even a shop called Cool As A Moose.  It’s going to be a lot of fun, and I’m in good company.  We may not have thought that our first year of marriage, but we’ve grown together.  Love each other more and more each year.  I know that’s how marriage is supposed to be, but it’s not something to take for granted.

I take nothing for granted.  Working in the ICU has given me a healthy sense of both a carpe diem/you can’t take it with you philosophy as well as both planning and saving for the future.  We’ll do this trip on a budget.  We once did a trip, a honeymoon trip really, for our 5 year anniversary 2 years ago that had no budget in mind.  Stayed at the nicest places, ate out all of the time, and it was an awesome trip.  But….it’s not necessary more than once or twice in a lifetime.

We’ll stay at little basic  2 diamond clean, cottages and have just as much fun cooking on our little stove top that comes with our kitchenette.  It’s getting to be high time to start our family, so this will be a nice trip that will probably end up being the last trip just the 2 of us.  If all goes according to plan.  Which, I’ve learned, that plans are nice, but flexibility is key.  Has been especially helpful to think this way in this economy.

I’m excited to explore the area and to discover if that area is appropriate for a hospice house.  Market/price, etc.  Obviously, I already know it’s picturesque and beautiful.  I told E that it would be cool to live up there at some point.  Guess we’ll get to see if we want to relocate there some day.  I have the tendency to say that I want to move everywhere I’ve been on vacation, but I guess that’s why they’re called vacation spots.

In short [though I realize that I made zero attempt at being concise here.  Truly off the cuff rambling, so if you made it to the end, I applaud you], when you marry the right person, marriage is a good thing.  I think I made it clear not to judge whether or not you married the right person that first year of marriage.  (Though sometimes there could be exceptions obviously).  Just accept the fact that the first year of marriage is tough, but it takes you on the road to marital bliss.  Do we still argue sometimes?  Of course.  We’re human.  And, I happen to be a human that’s argumentative.  So, there’s that.

But, it’s truly been a joy.  And, the thought of ever having to visit my husband in the ICU saddens me.   Or him having to come visit me.   Yes, of course I’ve thought about that.  I see it every day.  It wouldn’t be a normal thought for someone working in IT, but it’s my job.  So, I provide the best care I can for those people.  And, enjoy the time I have with my husband.  And family.

Because the little quip, “Life is short” is true.  It sounds cheesy, but we’re not guaranteed 5 more days or 5 more years.  So, I enjoyed waking up in the middle of the night on the couch last night with a puddle of drool on my face to find myself covered with a blanket and a nice pillow behind my head.  That I didn’t put there.  That’s the true joy of marriage.  The little thoughtful acts.  And quirks.  Though I’m sure E wouldn’t mind if I stopped my “quirk” of drooling all over our pillows.

Writing the truth is libel, but only if the truth hurts

How many millions of messages on Facebook and Twitter are posted every day regarding a complaint the poster has about a company, service, and/or his job?  I see them all of the time on my news feed.  People feel better, I guess, after sharing their frustration with friends/acquaintances and/or hope to prevent people from experiencing the same thing.  Then, they go about their day; no harm, no foul.

Except, sometimes there is harm.  Most of the time nothing comes of the things people post on Facebook.  (Though it is incredibly stupid to post anything negative about a person’s job if they want to keep it.  One is more likely to lose his job that way than by what I will soon be describing).  However, there are times when the things people post become huge issues for the company or service in which they tweeted their frustration.  Company loses business because of tweet or post.  And, then, get this:  company can sue for libel.

That’s right, folks.  While we’re all aware of the potential of this happening, it does happen on occasion.  I was just curious how often these frivolous lawsuits occur, so I looked it up.  And, unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised at my findings.  Go ahead and google it if I’ve piqued your curiosity.   I found a lawsuit a few years back where a Michigan college student was sued for libel, $750,000, by T&J Towing Company for starting a Facebook page where people could cite their grievances with the company; commiserate, if you will.

The student claimed that his car was wrongfully towed (and I believe him).  Student stated that the towing company broke into his car and scraped his parking pass off his car so that they could legally tow him.  Student filed a police report as most reasonable people would do, and nothing came of it.  So, that’s when he started the Facebook page to see if other people had similar experiences.  (Info regarding case facts taken from dailyfinance.com).

Turns out many, many people did have similar experiences, and the company claims that they lost business ($750,000 to be exact, projected) because of the Facebook page Kurtz (the college student) created.  Don’t know what happened to Kurtz or to the towing company after the lawsuit.  Didn’t see anything online regarding post-lawsuit details, but I guess that’s because the most interesting piece of journalism was the lawsuit itself.

At the risk of sounding like an Oprah’s book club member [which, given the context sounds negative, but she really does pick some good books.  Reading Middlesex currently, a Pulitzer Prize winner]:  was it okay for Kurtz to post what he posted?  Or did he cross the line?  Was the towing company’s lawsuit legitimate?  Or frivolous?

My take? (which should be obvious by the title of my post).  Frivolous.  I could exaggerate like I oftentimes do and say, “Never has a more frivolous lawsuit been taken to court,”  but that’s hardly the truth.  You can sue for almost anything, and not be penalized for it.  We won’t get on that train today, though.  Just libel.

Firstly, to be clear, libel is written defamation; slander is verbal defamation.  For some reason, many people commonly use the term slander when they really mean libel.  I guess slander is just a word that’s more common in people’s everyday rhetoric.   Secondly, to be clear again, libel is a very real thing, and it does happen.  I’m not trivializing true libel.  But, telling the truth is not libel.  Kurtz was telling the truth (and, the BBB seems to agree with him as it has given the company an “F” rating; yep, the BBB works the same as your elementary school report card in case you didn’t know).

I don’t believe in censorship.  However, that is not to say that I am not careful about what I say and write (even though I’d rather feel more free to say or write what I want to say and write).  Even on here, yes, a blog that is read by very few people.  Have I wanted to say or write certain things at times?  Yes, but I refrain (even if it probably would be okay).

It shouldn’t be that way, though.  I had a certain analogy that I thought of almost immediately when writing my previous post on Valiant and the mass layoffs, but I deleted it.  Left it out even though that title was better, and the content would have been different (better) if our culture wasn’t one that (sometimes) punished people for speaking the truth.

Being objective and stating facts about what a company did, and why it is wrong: truth.

Writing that someone is a profanity after profanity when in fact he is a charitable person: libel.

Our culture has become far too sensitive.  A culture where the truth is exchanged for diplomacy.  Actually, diplomacy is too generous of a term; political correctness is more appropriate.   A culture where you can barely tell from certain job titles what the job duties or responsibilities are for that job.  That’s ultimately where the truth/libel issue stems from, cultural/society changes, so it’s not something that will dissipate in the future.

Apparently, though, the truth can be very hard to objectify and defend.  So, if you’re brave enough to speak it (on issues that matter in which you could offend an “important” person or two), you better lawyer up.

Important was placed in quotes because I don’t believe any one person is more important than another.  Having more money or being more intelligent or a famous athlete makes you a rich person, a gifted person, or an athletic person.  Not a reason to be treated better than anybody else.  Everybody should be regarded with kindness, warmth, and compassion.  My patient who is a homeless alcoholic gets the same treatment as the patient next to him that is a retired investment banker.**

**These are hypothetical examples and are not taken from any actual patients.**  The point remains.  (And, I think is illustrated well by the fact that I place asterisks at the bottom of my posts with clarifications much like Law and Order does when they say events in the show are just coincidental, not based on actual people, etc, blah, blah, blah).  We should treat everybody well regardless of their social status or notoriety.

And, we should be able to speak and write the truth without asterisks.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals buys Bausch & Lomb for $8.7 billion. Hundreds lose their livelihoods in Rochester.

Rochester-based employees will have to relocate to find work as a city that once was based on 3 companies now has none of them.  (Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb).  The new B&L headquarters will be moved from Rochester to somewhere in NJ according to recent news reports.   I just hope and pray for the people that were given pink slips.  I hope that they either have sufficient secondary income (if married) or that they are able to find a job soon elsewhere, and find a place that they enjoy living.

Not that it’s really a great opportunity to be fired if you’ve invested so much time in a company, but I hope that people affected have strong family ties and are able to transition somewhere else.  Maybe they’ve always wanted to live in Texas or Barbados or with their friends in Boise, but never had a reason to leave.  That’s really a best case scenario for many people, but I hope people are able to quickly pick up the pieces and sell their homes if necessary.

And, now I am reminded of Up in the Air and The Company Men.  Those movies exist for a reason as I can only assume the people that wrote them believe that capitalism, when misused, to be wrong.  (Those are both very well done movies if you haven’t seen them before).  I am so glad I didn’t marry someone who believes people are expendable and to be used for personal gain (like Coach in The Company Men; that was his stand-out role, so that’s how I recognize the actor who did a phenomenal job, by the way). Not that I would ever marry such a person, but my husband is a good man.

A good, intelligent man concerned with social justice, humanity, and doing the right thing.  The kind of man that doesn’t overlook the plight of the homeless.  The kind that buys a homeless man food when the homeless man asks for money to ensure the homeless person doesn’t spend the money on addiction, and then vents to me later that the man grimaced when he handed him a subway club.

I forget now if the person grimaced or if he wasn’t there when E got back.  Actually, I think both happened on separate occasions.  And, I told him that he could be certain that in those cases, the man probably just wanted the money for alcohol, which is tragic nonetheless.  Nevertheless, what makes one man concerned with humanity and another man self-absorbed?  Most often, it’s probably how the person was raised, but that’s not always the case.  But, isn’t it laughable when you see a 10 year old be so rude and cut in line, but then see the 40 year old parent doing the same thing a few minutes later?

Anyway, I wish there was something that could be done to protect employees.  Something like what OSHA did for our safety.  Some law?  Can laws really be put into place to make a person do the right thing?  Can such a law be written?  Some law that prevents retirement from being taken away when a company intentionally singles out somebody close to the age of retirement?  A law that prevents mass layoffs unless absolutely necessary for the company to stay afloat?  That would be tough, to be sure.  How do you write a law for such things that aren’t as concrete as OSHA?

Something needs to be done, though.  I guess that’s the downside of capitalism, but it doesn’t need to be.  Since I’m not a lawyer or in politics, I hope that those that are in these professions and have the ability to are working on a solution.  One man (or woman; remember, I think that the politically correct man/woman talk is just redundant) should not have to work 70 hour weeks doing 2 jobs while the other man who was let go applies for job after job on indeed.com**.

**The last example was hypothetical, and not based on any actual person or affiliated with any particular company.**

Though haven’t we all heard about people who have had something similar happen to them in recent years?  It’s entirely different when a person knowingly chooses to work endless hours when he starts a job (say, a lawyer at a large firm takes the position knowing he will be working 70 hour weeks).  It’s another thing entirely when a company makes that choice for a person.

Birth of a Book

For all of the bibliophiles out there, beautiful video shot by Glen Milner of how a book is made using traditional printing methods. You wonder why those really pretty books cost more? Watch, and see.  Found it on Mr K’s Used Book Store website.  Saying Mr. K’s is a great store would be an under-statement, especially since they post a quality video such as this one.  Best used book store I’ve ever been to, hands down.  If you live in the southeast near one of their locations, check it out.