Sunday, April 24, 2016

Nothing Compares 2 U

There has been a lot of love for Prince of late, due to his recent passing. I don't want to be crass, but how many people giving all the "Prince was the soundtrack of my life" comments on social media sought out his music prior to the announcement? To be honest, I really can't remember the last time I looked at my music collection and thought, "Man, I can really use me some Prince."

(Note: We DO have some Prince in our music collection.)

2016 has been pretty awful when looking at celebrity deaths, and it's not even half over. Yet, though the deaths have been tragic (come on, Prince at 57?!?), the outpouring on social media seems way out of balance compared to the impact of the person when they were alive. Yes, David Bowie passed before his "golden years", Natalie Cole sang an "unforgettable" tune with her late father, and Alan Rickman truly "snaped" us with his every performance. But honestly, until the announcements, did you even think of these people?

Like I had written previously: "during such tragedies we are faced with our OWN mortality. And coming face-to-face with finitude has a way of bringing out compassion - for those we haven't seen, or even consciously thought of, for a long time."

And perhaps that is the reason we DO reach out via social media - to find comfort and compassion with our fellow mortals. And upon reflection, that is really okay.

R.I.P. Prince

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Thank You Obama?

To be completely honest, I've only given a passing interest to the goings on of both political party primaries. As a registered Independent living in Ohio, voting for one or the other puts me in that party's affiliation. I'm too independent of thought for that.

Some of what I've grasped so far is that we need to build a wall of some kind, have Mexico pay for it, and provide free college tuition for those using the gender-specific bathroom stated on their birth certificate. Okay, as Lou Costello famously said, "I grasp it, but it keeps slippin' outta my hands!"

One thing that I haven't heard was something that was a main topic a number of years ago. It was more important than any other topic, and that includes man-made climate change. What topic? The thing that was going to destroy this nation. The thing that was going to bankrupt our children's children's children. And that thing was the NATIONAL DEBT!!

Remember that $17+ TRILLION behemoth? Remember when every cable talking head, every politician, and your so-right-wing-that-he-flies-in-circles Uncle Ernie, cried that if we didn't stop spending we'd death spiral out of control financially? Yeah, I remember it too. Whatever happened to that debt?

The Republicans don't seem to be talking about it anymore. As a matter of fact, I haven't seen one Tweet from Donald Trump about it. (Okay, for the record: I don't follow any of these yahoos on Twitter. Sometimes people I follow may reTweet something, but that's about it. And don't get me started on Facebook!) So what happened?

I'll tell you what happened: Obama happened! That's right! Barack Hussein (sometimes known as "Barry") Obama. He became President and not only did the oceans stop rising, but so did the national debt. He must have done it with that famous "Obama money".

And that's why the Republicans aren't talking about it anymore.

I guess it's okay for Congress to keep spending. Thanks, Obama!

(On a less funny note: You can still find the national debt clock here. And I was blown away when I looked at it. That $17 trillion has now reached just over $19 trillion as of this writing.) 

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chapter Seven

"You can't be serious."

It wasn't an accusation. Just a simple statement. A simple statement with a touch of disbelief.

"How can you say that? I’m telling you the truth. A deep, personal thing and you call me a liar?"

"I didn't call you a liar. I said that you can't be serious. Maybe you're imagining it. Maybe you just want to believe it."

"Why would I make something like this up? I didn't want it to be true, it just . . . is."

Then came the silence. That awkward pause. You know the kind. The conversation will either pick up steam, or fizzle out. Someone will dig a little deeper, or change the topic.

We had been on the road for days. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to let her know how I felt. You know, spill my guts. Okay, maybe "perfect opportunity" isn't right. I had volunteered to take her, and a trailer full of her things, across country to where THE job was. And him.

Like I said, maybe "perfect opportunity" isn't right.

She shifted in her seat, looked at me and asked, "How long have we known each other?"

"I don't know, since high school. Sophomore year I think."

"Right. About six years now. And you wait until NOW to tell me this? You wait until THIS moment?"

"Look, I didn't plan it this way. I thought I'd be okay with this. You know, with you leaving. I figured that once you were gone I'd simply move on. But I don't think I can."

"Great. Thanks. This is all I need right now. Not only do I have to deal with my mom's attitude over me leaving, I have to deal with . . . with . . . this."

"First off, your mom means well. And second, I sorta agree with her. You're leaving home and everyone you know all so you can be with a guy you only met your last year in school."

"So it's Richard then. You're jealous of Richard."

"I'm not jealous of Richard. I think he's a swell guy. I just don't think you know him well enough to leave everything."

"Well I do. Besides, you're just saying this because you THINK you have feelings for me."

"I don't THINK. I KNOW. I've known for a long time now. I just didn't have the guts to tell you."


"Because I thought that once I told you how I really felt, it would kill our friendship."

"Pete, don't be silly. Of course it wouldn't kill our friendship. It's just that all this time I thought you considered me more of a sister. And now?"

"You're angry."

"I’m not angry."

"You're angry that I opened my mouth. Hell, I should have kept it shut."

"C'mon Pete, I’m not angry. Just a little confused that's all."

"Wait. YOU'RE confused?"

"Yeah, I mean. Look. I really like you Pete. Really, I do. And at one time I thought that you really liked me too. If I had only known . . . "

"Well now you do. So now what?"

"Now? God, Pete. Don't do this to me."

"Do what?"

"Just forget it. Look. Once we get there . . . I don't know."

And then, with perfect timing, her phone went off.

"Oh, hi Richard. Yeah, we're still on the road. Maybe another couple hours out. Uh huh. Okay. I'll see you soon. Bye."

I glanced at her and asked, "No 'I love you'?"


"You didn't say, 'I love you'."

"Yes I did."

"No, you didn't. Freudian slip?"

"Oh, don't start."

"Okay, call him back and tell him."

"Oh, come on, Pete."

"No, really. Call him back and tell him you love him, and give him those kissy sounds people do."


"So, you really don't love him."

"Stop it."

"Go ahead then. Call him back and tell him. To be honest, I don't think I've ever heard you tell him."

"It doesn't matter."

"Why not?"

"Because . . . I don't. Love him, that is. To be honest, I'm not moving out here for some great job. I'm moving out to be with Richard and HIS job."

"I'm confused."

"Pete. I'm pregnant."

©Emittravel 2016

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mixed Messages

"Think Green". What does that mean to you? Do you have thoughts of lush, green lawns? Or maybe stacks 'o greenbacks (a.k.a. "cash")? Or maybe you think of the intended message: Recycle.

The "Think Green" movement has been around for quite a while. Now, to be honest, I've never been a big proponent of the whole recycle movement. I've never thought of taking a cruise on Greenpeace either. I’m not anti-environment. I've just always been soured by the "Mother Earth" religious mentality; you know: Save the Earth worship.

Don't be mistaken: I DO recycle. Our town came up with a really interesting methodology to get people (especially me) to recycle several years ago. They notified us that the city paid for every pound of garbage collected. They had partnered with a recycling company that picked up the recyclables for FREE. That meant every pound we recycled was a pound we did not have to pay for. SOLD!! I didn't throw away my shoes for sandals, wore nothing but old jeans and tie-dye shirts, and refused to bath, but I did start to recycle.

Now, several years after the initial program, our city has partnered with a new company to handle both our trash and our recycles. I haven't heard yet whether or not the same cost-savings are in place. I guess I'll need to make a phone call or two. But what I want to focus on is the mixed message (thus the title of this post).

Like the original recycle program, the company has provided recycle bins. They also, since they handle the garbage pickup, provided trash bins. Both are designed to have a truck with a forklift system pull alongside the containers, pick up the containers, dump the containers into the truck, and place the container back on the sidewalk. The containers are a deep green with "Think Green" plastered on them.

Take a look at the containers:

From left to right: the new trash container, the new recycle bin, our old trash container, the old recycle bin.

Notice anything peculiar? Look at the sizes of the containers. Now, it's nice that the recycle bin is a little larger than our old one. But take a gander at the size of the new trash container. You could practically put the other three containers INSIDE that damn thing! I've seen businesses with smaller dumpsters!!

What is the message here? "We want you to recycle, but really don't think you will. So, we provided a REALLY big trash container for your use."

Now, for us, most weeks the trash container contains one full kitchen bag, and seven bags of cat excrement. Not even half full. Our recycle bin, however is usually between 4/5 and OVER full. Again, we are a two human (and one cat and one bird) household, so our trash output isn't as much as other families. But really! Come on!

I believe the containers should be at LEAST the same size (the yellow lid on the recycle bin is a good indicator of the difference), and preferably more on the recycle bin size. We used to keep both the recycle bin and trash container inside the garage (so we could look out and enjoy my wife's green thumb):

Now, we have to keep at least the trash container outside the garage. Which is such a lovely thing to look at. (sarcasm font)

Part of me wants to get rid of the recycle bin and just use the trash container for everything. But don't worry, I AM being environmentally conscious. Take a look at this great How Stuff Works article on plasma generators. If this works out, we may be better off disposing rather than recycling!

What do you think? Can you think of other mixed messages out there? Do you recycle? Does the concept of plasma converters excite you? Let me know.

But please: no mixed messages!

©Emittravel 2016