Barack Obama: U.S. Citizen

I don’t usually like to discuss politics or religion (prolonged discussion of either subject can lead to anything from a lost friendship to several thousand lost lives), so this will be a short post.

I just want to throw out my two stimulus cents about this whole “birther” nonsense. Did I say “nonsense”? Sorry. I meant “bullshit”.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a “birther” is defined by the Urban Dictionary as “A conspiracy theorist who believes that Barack Obama is ineligible for the Presidency of the United States, based on any number of claims related to his place of birth, birth certificate, favorite birthday, or whether or not he has heard the song Africa by Toto.”

Think about it. You know how politics work. Barack Obama, Democrat, began his presidential campaign in February, 2007. At the time, our sitting president was a Republican, with a vested interest in seeing his party remain in power. Do you seriously believe that this Sheriff-in-Chief, with the force of the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and military intelligence at his disposal, did not thoroughly investigate this upstart? And that if this man was not eligible to be the leader of the greatest nation on earth, would not have made us all aware of it long before the election?

Trust me, the CIA et al know how often Obama farts in his sleep. They not only know that he was born a citizen of the United States, they know what TV show the delivering doctor watches on Thursday nights and the sexual habits of the attending nurse. If there was the slightest question about his citizenship, we would have known about it long ago.

Barack Obama was born a United States citizen, and his election to the office of President of the United States is legitimate. He will be our president until 2012, and if the Republican party can’t do any better than the hockey mom, he’ll be our president until 2016. Deal with it.

Our country will be the better for it.

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Self-Discipline (Something New)

When I started this modest little blogging effort, it was my intention to write daily. Since the subject is “Random Thoughts”, you would think it would be easy. Write a humorous anecdote one day, perhaps pass along a favorite recipe the next, followed by a movie review and then a link to an interesting video. It hasn’t quite worked out that way.

There are a number of reasons to assign to this failure to communicate, but the main one is, to be frank, I’m not overly ambitious. This blog thing isn’t “monetized” or anything, so there’s no compelling reason for me to take keyboard in hand and pump out content on a daily basis. On the other hand, Nothing Interesting Is Going On, I Haven’t Got Any Extra Time Today, Man I’m Tired!, blah, blah, blah.

And my natural inclination towards procrastination isn’t doing me any favors, either. I was going to write a weekly blog about my summer Guilty Pleasure, Big Brother, but the third week just ended, so I missed that boat. I was all fired up to do a review of The Bob Dylan Show (co-starring John Mellancamp and WIllie Nelson) after the July 14 stop in Allentown; I did a mini-review on my Facebook page, and did a little online research, but 10 days later, that project has kind of lost it’s immediacy.

So I’ve decided to revamp by blogging schedule in hopes that I don’t lose interest. A little self-discipline is all I need. I’ve applied it to my martial arts training, my diet and my music. Surely it will do me well with this. Instead of attempting a daily blog, I shall make it a weekly habit, and post something each weekend, starting with the first weekend in August. I already have a few weeks worth of ideas, so we’ll see how this works out.

See you next weekend!

The Bad Son

I don’t even know where to start with this.

I guess the year 1951 is as good a place as any. That was the year I was born. Don’t know the circumstances surrounding that; the most credible story I’ve heard is that my mother was an  unmarried schoolteacher who got impregnated by some guy or other. I was put up for adoption right away. Before a month had passed I was taken in by the couple I always considered my parents.  I don’t know how old I was when they told me. Very young. It was never a big secret, like you see in various movies-of-the-week. I’ve never felt the urge to track down my birth parents; they didn’t want me, somebody else did. Yeah, yeah, I know, circumstances, morality in the ’50s, this argument, that argument. Doesn’t matter. The couple that adopted me didn’t think they would be able to have any kids of their own. Oops. I have three brothers and two sisters. And I’ve never spent a day thinking I wasn’t part of the family because I sprung from a different set of loins.

So time passed, as time is wont to do. My father turned out to be a dick. In my eyes, anyway. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as I remember him, but I think he probably was. He was a philanderer. He used to drop my brother and I off at a movie or concert or whatever and go out carousing, making sure we knew to tell Mom that he went to the movie or concert or whatever with us, grilling us about plot details and so forth. We complied. We were kids. We didn’t know better.

He left my mother when I was 15, remarrying twice before committing suicide in 1970 at the age of  43.

In the meantime, my mom was left with 5 kids to raise (I was trying to make it on my own at the time, but had to abandon that in ’74). She worked long hours as a waitress at various venues, including the Firestone Country Club. Trying to earn a living and support all those brats, who would be calling her at work at all hours because this one called another one a name, or wouldn’t let them watch a certain TV show, or various other life-threatening disasters that had to have her Solomon-like pronouncements immediately, if not sooner.

Eventually we all grew up (or at least older) and into our various individual lives: one sister a Mother figure dispensing holistic wisdom, another a gay activist. One brother a hopeless alcoholic, another in and out of trouble with the law, the third, by avoiding the rest of the family, came close to his goal of being a millionaire before he was forty. We’re all family, though, revolving around the solar gravity of our mother, who lets herself be taken advantage of, lets herself be walked on, but in the end can’t say “no” to any of her kids. They’re her damn children, after all.

I can say I was never one of the advantage-takers or walker-onners. I was something much worse. Despite her plucking me from a hospital and giving me a home when I was a month old, even though she reassured me throughout the years that I was no different to her than her natural-born children, despite the love and care she blessed me with, I wasn’t a very good son.

Oh, I wasn’t like certain of my brothers, who depend on her to this day to drive them to and from because they’ve had their license suspended pretty much for life. She never had to bail me out of jail or let me live with her because I blow all my money on vodka.

I committed the worst sin you can commit against a parent: I neglected to include her in my life. I got married the first time while I still lived in Ohio. For several years I lived less than 5 miles from her, and rarely went to visit her. Just because I was caught up in my own situation at the time. No big deal. I was married, things happened that didn’t pertain to her. So what? Right?

When I got married the second time, and that marriage produced a son, and we fell upon hard times, we moved to Pennsylvania because that’s where her parents lived. Her folks owned their own business, and were therefore able to help us out more than my mom, who was by this time retired. Oh, sure, she had remarried, but they were both retired. And something I feel bad about is that I never considered her husband as my stepfather, but just the guy she married. Maybe it was my age. I don’t know.

So I’ve been living here in Pennsylvania. Got divorced as a matter of course. My son is now 15. We don’t get back to Ohio much, maybe for a 4- or 5-day stretch during the summer. Too much going on, ya know? I call my mom occasionally, not as often as I should, but I’m not a phone guy. I don’t have much to say.

I put myself in her place occasionally. How am I going to feel when my son grows up and moves away and I hear from him maybe every other month, and see him 5 days a year if I’m lucky? Pretty crappy. I adore the kid and will miss him more than I can say when he’s gone. My mom probably thinks the same about me, since I’m not around like the rest of the crowd.

Like I said, when I do call, it doesn’t last very long. Called her yesterday, as a matter of fact. We talked for 5, maybe 10 minutes.  I didn’t have much to talk about except how nice the weather was over the holiday weekend. She asked about my son, what we’ve been doing, when we’re coming home to see her. She mentioned she had a doctor’s appointment today to get her asthma medicine represcripted.I said OK, talk to you again soon.

My sister called me about 20 minutes ago about the doctor appointment. Seems my mom’s lymphoma has reared up. She also has lung cancer. Doctor says she has a year at most.

My mother has a year to live, at most. Then she’ll be dead.

I don’t know how to end this.