Category Archives: Opinion

“Santa’s Beard Has Always Been White” – His Beard, Say I…

A VISIT FROM ST NICHOLAS, HIS “RACIALLY BENIGN” BEARD ALL WHITE. THE REST IT MATTERS NOT, WHAT THE COLOR IS, ONLY A SLEIGH FULL OF TOYS FOR CHILDREN OF ALL RACE, COLOR AND CREED.

“The Night Before Christmas

1 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
2 Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
3 The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
4 In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
5 The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
6 While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,
7 And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
8 Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap-
9 When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
10 I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
11 Away to the window I flew like a flash,
12 Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
13 The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
14 Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
15 When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
16 But a minature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
17 With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
18 I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
19 More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
20 And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
21 “Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,
22 “On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;
23 “To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
24 “Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
25 As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
26 When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
27 So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
28 With the sleigh full of Toys – and St. Nicholas too:
29 And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
30 The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
31 As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
32 Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
33 He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot,
34 And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;
35 A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
36 And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack:
37 His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,
38 His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
39 His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
40 And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
41 The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
42 And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
43 He had a broad face, and a little round belly
44 That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
45 He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
46 And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;
47 A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
48 Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
49 He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
50 And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,
51 And laying his finger aside of his nose
52 And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
53 He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
54 And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
55 But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-
56 Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Santa's deers are waiting, in the 1905 film &q...
Santa’s deers are waiting, in the 1905 film “The Night Before Christmas” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quote of the Day 21 December 2013 – Relationships

Cover of "The Happiness Hypothesis: Findi...
Cover via Amazon

“Happiness is not something that you can find, acquire, or achieve directly. You have to get the conditions right and then wait. Some of those conditions are within you, such as coherence among the parts and levels of your personality. Other conditions require relationships to things beyond you: Just as plants need sun, water, and good soil to thrive, people need love, work, and a connection to something larger. It is worth striving to get the right relationships between yourself and others, between yourself and your work, and between yourself and something larger thank yourself. If you get these relationships right, a sense of purpose and meaning will emerge.”
Jonathan HaidtThe Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

 

Words of the Day 16 December 2013 – Einstein

English: Albert Einstein Français : portrait d...
English: Albert Einstein Français : portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Professor: “You are a Christian aren’t you son?”
Einstein: (as a student) “Yes sir.”
“So you believe in God?”
“Absolutely sir.”
“Is God good”?
“Sure.”
“Is God all powerful?”
“Yes.”
“My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him. Most of us would attempt to heal others who are ill. But God didn’t. How is this God good then?… You can’t answer, can you? Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?”
“Yes.”
“Is satan good?”
“No.”
“Where does satan come from?”
“From God.”
“Yes.”
Evil is everywhere isn’t it? And God did make everything. Correct?”
“Yes.”
“So who created evil? … Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All those terrible things exist in the world, don’t they”
“Yes sir.”
“So who created them?… Science says you have five senses. Senses you have to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me son, have you ever seen God?”
“No sir.”

English: News headline announcing his death Ca...
English: News headline announcing his death Category:Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Have you ever felt you God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?”
“No sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”
“Yet you still believe in Him?”
“Yes.”
“According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol,Science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that son?”
“Nothing. I only have my faith.”
“Yes, faith. And that is the problem Science has.”
Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
“Yes.”
And is there such a thing as cold?
“Yes.”
“No, sir. There isn’t…. Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further than that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.
… What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?”
“What is night if there isn’t darkness?”
“You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? In reality,darkness isn’t. If it is, well you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?
So what is the point you are making, young man?
Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Flawed? Can you explain how?
Sir you are working on the premise on duality. You argue there is life and there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes of course I do.
Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

… Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavour. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?
Is there anyone in this class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?
Is there anyone who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it ?No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that you have no brain sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?”
“I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.”
“That is it sir…Exactly! The link between man and God is faith. This is all that keeps things alive and moving.”
Albert Einstein

Triple Quote Saturday – 14 December 2013- Imagine

Isaac Asimov
Cover of Isaac Asimov

“Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.”
? Isaac Asimov

Part of Image:Planetary society.jpg Original c...
Part of Image:Planetary society.jpg Original caption: “Founding of the Planetary Society Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman, the founders of The Planetary Society at the time of signing the papers formally incorporating the organization. The fourth person is Harry Ashmore, an advisor, who greatly helped in the founding of the Society. Ashmore was a Pulitizer Prize winning journalist and leader in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

“The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard, who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by ‘God,’ one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying… it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.”
Carl Sagan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Went to see GC in Trenton on 4/4/08. His openi...
Went to see GC in Trenton on 4/4/08. His opening act was Dennis Blair. Between the 2 of them I had no mascara left (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It turned out I was pretty good in science. But again, because of the small budget, in science class we couldn’t afford to do experiments in order to prove theories. We just believed everything. Actually, I think that class was called Religion. Religion class was always an easy class. All you had to do was suspend the logic and reasoning you were being taught in all the other classes.”
George CarlinBrain Droppings

Narcissist Q/A – Friday the 13th – What Compels People to Take Advantage of Others?

QUESTION: What Compels People to Take Advantage of Others? I don’t understand.

ANSWER: The easy answer… people are bullies and sometimes people allow themselves to be taken advantage of for fear of loss.

Narcissus
Narcissus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The complicated answer… Some people (narcissists) feel they are better, superior, in a different class and while it may manifest in many ways, such as fame, wealth, power, etc, the fact remains that whatever they do achieve in life is never enough, if they are not at the top of the heap.

Most will lie, cheat and steal without thought other than the risk and penalty of being caught albeit in business or personal life. They want/need your compliments, admiration, attention along with their power and material things. These people leave you powerless, exhausted and drained. They have a total lack of empathy for others, particularly family and friends.

This lack of empathy allows them to take advantage of those closest to them to get their own “desires” met… regardless of the pain or hurt it causes someone else. Sensitive people are most often directly targeted because the narcissist will take advantage of compassion you’ve managed to cultivate over years of life and experience.

English: Picture of myself, I am a narcissist....
English: Picture of myself, I am a narcissist. For use on userpages. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s almost impossible to completely avoid narcissists and there are things you can do to protect yourself from those who think of themselves as masters of deception.

The narcissist will groom you in the same manner a sexual predator does. The narcissist knows what you want and need emotionally. The narcissist knows how to make you feel good as part of their confidence scheme. They know how to say the right things at the right times particularly with insincere compliments. You can’t fix them and it’s not your job to do so.

Stop, think… act. Protect your heart. Don’t be afraid to turn around and exit the closest door and walk away. Don’t forget to lock the door behind you… from the outside, so you can’t be followed.

You have to know who you are and what you want. STOP the vampire in it’s tracks.

This question is directly related to PTSD threat assessments and hyper-vigilance…

Tech Piece of the Day 12 December 2013 – Data Transport Protocols

English: Encapsulation of application data des...
English: Encapsulation of application data descending through the layered TCP/IP architecture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we still have some vestige of the digital technological revolution of the last century, it is certainly the data transport mechanisms in use throughout the internet. Although maybe we should talk in plural because they are precisely two mechanisms we have inherited from our digital prehistory. These are TCP and UDP.

Both data transport mechanisms have been with us almost from the beginning, and are so embedded in our hardware and software systems to be replaced would be a virtually impossible task since it resides in the heart of all our communications.

However, attempts are being made to improve the methods of internet communication of the last century. And I say improve, because so far, there has been no public attempt to develop alternative communication protocol(s) to replace the one hundred percent the existing one. On the contrary, it seems that the workaround for a new protocol that meets the needs of a rapidly growing internet would be to recycle the old and obsolete UDP protocol.

Basically the difference between TCP and UDP is the control each exerts on protocols that transport data. TCP requires constant communication between client and server that serves to control the communication between both parties, in addition to TCP consists of sophisticated mechanisms that monitor the data flow sequence and ensuring the integrity thereof. Furthermore UDP is more careless in their purpose and sending everything that comes with a wide lead indiscriminately as far as performance is concerned but leave much to be desired when it comes to quality control. For these reasons and others, the UDP protocol is typically used primarily for the massive flow of data such as video transfer and audio, where reasonable loss of information is not a big risk, while TCP is more suitable for sensitive data sent. The most widespread use of TCP is the HTTP protocol that allows us to surf the internet and receive texts and pictures flawlessly.

However, the control mechanism of TCP can certainly affect the user experience by causing waiting times as a result of sequential processing of data. These delays went unnoticed twenty years ago but not today with data transfer speeds that can exceed 50 Mbps. Another drawback of TCP timeout are caused by initiating communications protocol commonly called RTT (the English “Round -Trip-Time “) where the client and server exchange information and” greetings “before performing the requested data to the user from the browser.

In order to speed up internet there have been several proposals among which a formal initiative of the IETF (Internet Engineering Task force) with its new version of the protocol that HTTP2 applications use, but makes use of the well known TCP systematically by improving browser speed by making use of techniques such as header compression, multiplexing and pipelining asynchronous connections.

However, it is the private sector which has to work with proposals that promise to improve the protocol transfer layer compared to what we know them as today. One of these companies is Fujitsu, who has developed a new technology based on TCP RTT, reducing by one-sixth of the original time and increases the performance of TCP by 30 percent over the current performance. This new protocol is implemented via software and improves the response time to time revise, retrieve and resend lost packets. The protocol developed by Fujitsu, which still has no name, is also able to adjust the data transfer bandwidth available in order to minimize the loss of information and avoid bottlenecks.

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

But the coming war of the protocols would not be war without the presence of Google, which is still struggling for Internet supremacy. Google has not only tried to unseat the new, yet unreleased, HTTP2 protocol applications with their own version dubbed SPDY, but has been redesigned with star UDP TCP elements such as security and control packet reception, but maintaining the simplicity and speed of the UDP protocol. Google’s solution for a faster internet called QUIC.

The implementation of a new transport protocol can be a daunting task that may never come to be. An example of this is the IPv6 protocol, but it has takes years already, and it has not yet been able to be implemented in full, despite the fact your need is prevailing these days. IPv6 is a clear example of how complicated it can be to replace a well-established protocol, although children are worthy heirs of their father.

Moreover, the idea of a “pseudo-protocol” based software such as Fujitsu suggests, it could be the key to the successful implementation of new protocol (and even layers) transport could well be implemented at the operating system level. It is definitely a clean, non-invasive solution.

network communication protocols
network communication protocols (Photo credit: kob42kob)

But could a company give encouragement that a new protocol needs to be adopted by the rest of the digital community without any corporate interest? If anyone with enough power to successfully bring such a task, that is Google. It is assumed that Google is the trendsetter as far as technology is concerned and therefore its Chrome browser as its Android operating system are definitely weapons of mass incorporation of developing protocols ready to be done with the world market.

 

Keep Your Politics Off of MY Facebook

Salt-N-Pepa
Cover of Salt-N-Pepa

Let’s talk about sex bay-bee… Let’s talk about you and me… Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.” [Salt ‘N’ Pepa]

Let’s talk about cats and dogs…
Let’s talk about philosophy…
Let’s talk about crime…
Let’s talk about sexual predators
Let’s talk about hunger…
Let’s talk about homelessness…
Let’s talk about the things we like…
Let’s talk about family…
Let’s talk about love…
Let’s talk about peace…
let’s talk about happiness…
Let’s talk to friends…
Let’s laugh…
Let’s be social…
Let’s share happy things…
Let’s talk about the good…
Let’s be a voice for something good…
Let’s be something good…
Let’s make a difference…

Political speech on facebook is oversimplified propaganda no matter what the political flavor is. Posting political meme’s with images and text demonizing a politician is propaganda. None of it contributes to a real conversation. It only shows us your intolerance for your neighbor… your friends… your family. Why would you want to alienate them???

It makes you hateful and say things you would never say to someone’s face. It’s tantamount to proselytizing religious beliefs and trying to convert someone so they fit the image you want to see in them. Propaganda will never influence an opinion that should be based on fact, not feeling.

It makes YOU UNHAPPY!!! It makes YOU miserable. It makes you obsessively watch talking heads on competing entertainment (news) networks. It makes you argue about the arguments.

DO YOU WALK INTO SOMEONE’S HOME AND CALL THEM A FUCKING ASSHOLE (OR WORSE) BECAUSE OF THEIR POLITICAL, SOCIAL OR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS??? IF YOU TALK POLITICS ON FACEBOOK, THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE DOING. THE POLITICAL MESSAGE ON FACEBOOK POISONS REASONABLE DEBATE. IT’S ALL INSULTING.

OK… tell us your opinion… ONCE… if at all. Posting images of hate and ignorance alienates friends and family and diminishes the value of more personal things, more valuable things you want to share. Who cares about the beautiful picture of your child or your dog when it is surrounded by your hatred of someone across the street and their beliefs.

How many times do you have to tell us about the 2nd amendment and how someone is (not) going to take your weapons. No one is taking mine. No one is taking yours… unless of course your a convicted felon or someone else who shouldn’t have a weapon because they are a danger to themselves or others. It’s all bullshit.

None of it is “social”. It’s entirely anti-social.

STOP IT… NOW!

Intelligent Design Fail

“Given an infinite number of options and perfect foresight, would you design a world where children are raped?”

Deism
Deism (Photo credit: PinkMoose)

A question for Theists (Christians etc), Deists, & Agnostics: Would you design mental disease or defect that compels someone to abuse children?

If god did that, he can’t be a force for good and his words are meaningless.

Would someone please explain this to me?

Major religious groups
Major religious groups (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Word of the Day 1 November 2013 – Embarrassment

THERE IS a valid argument AND unfortunate reason for today’s word. And there are other words that carry as much weight on a day like today. Today’s word is personal to me. Before I describe the nature of MY embarrassment, I feel first the need to identify the definition and usage of the word.
em·bar·rass·ment
noun: embarrassment
  1. 1.
    a feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness.
    “I turned red with embarrassment”
    synonyms: mortificationhumiliationshame, shamefacedness, chagrin,awkwardness, self-consciousness, sheepishness, discomfort,discomfiture, discomposureagitationdistress

    • a person or thing causing embarrassment.
      plural nounembarrassments
      “he was an embarrassment who was safely left ignored”
    • financial difficulty.
      “his temporary financial embarrassment”
      synonyms: difficultypredicamentplightproblemmessimbroglio;

      Today my embarrassment is because of when I think about hunger, particularly today, I feel shame and embarrassment.

      I received an email overnight from the www.threesquare.org volunteer coordinator. It starts:

      “To our wonderful Three Square volunteers celebrating a birthday in November!!!  Sending our best wishes to all!” “All of us at Three Square want to wish you a very happy birthday!!!” “May your special day be filled with all of your favorite wishes.” And finally came the salutation “Happy Birthday from the Three Square Team.”

      No, today is not my birthday (hatch day)… Mine falls on the last day of the month… and I don’t think the email was about me.

      The problem started for me when I got yet another email from www.threesquare.org. My email filtering placed both messages right next to each other in my inbox describing the effect SNAP benefit cuts will have on families… starting TODAY.

      English: McDonalds' sign in Harlem.
      English: McDonalds’ sign in Harlem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      This email was telling me what today means for all of the people who I have assisted as a volunteer to complete SNAP (food stamp) applications. Less food for the invisible face of hunger. It’s about putting an additional burden on ordinary people. An additional burden on part and full-time employees of Walmart and McDonalds. Two of the largest recipients of corporate welfare. Both of them suggesting and assisting their employees in getting help with food… with SNAP (food stamps) instead of paying them a living wage. Yes, the burden on the back of the low income full-time employee being assisted by their employer in getting assistance with government money. My money… Your money. Corporate welfare. I repeat… Walmart and McDonalds. I’m sure there are other I can’t think of who should share the shame of the board of directors of these monsters. This does not include the theft of service from the medicaid system by these corporations.

      This shows a walmart rollback/unbeatable price...
      This shows a walmart rollback/unbeatable price that is the lowest I’ve seen. It’s for folders and spiral notebooks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      In the case of McDonalds, they throw away a lot of food. Prepared food after “X” number of minutes on/in the line is thrown into the dumpster. This food could be frozen and donated. There is no liability in doing this for the corporation. They are held harmless with food donations. Walmart on the other hand DOES donate, but my feeling is that their donations are a publicity stunt. That money should go to employees, better yet, they operate supercenters… why aren’t they qualifying their employees in the same manner I do before I assist with applications for food assistance??? Why aren’t they providing food for their own employees when there is so much right there in the store???

      I’m embarrassed as an American and a human being by first of all, allowing hunger and secondly putting the burden of a partisan budget fight on the back of the under-employed, unemployed… CHILDREN, homeless. I reject the wing-nut image of the SNAP recipient. It’s not the true face of hunger.

      I see the true face of hunger. Veterans, some of them homeless. My biggest problem is children. I have problem looking at children and seeing them suffer. I want to help them because no one helped me. I want to make a difference.

      The following paragraph was borrowed from the www.threesquare.org website:

      “Hungry does not mean homeless. It may surprise you to learn that, every day, working parents in Southern Nevada face an unthinkable choice between feeding their families and paying the bills. Three Square was founded to help people like this get the food their families need to survive so that they can focus on other things – like getting back on their feet.

      • One in six households in Nevada struggle with hunger
      • 57% of children in the Clark County School District receive free and reduced-price meals
      • Nearly 40,000 children under the age of 18 are served each month by Three Square’s Agency Partners”

      My volunteering at Three Square started in a warehouse, preparing weekend packs of food for children who may only receive food from school. Their food is easy… either prepared or given with the ability to prepare it without supervision, since many of these children have no supervision at home. This volunteering was at two partner food bank agencies with Catholic Charities and these food bags being distributed to children at school on Friday before they leave for the weekend. Let’s not talk about the summer, when there is no school. The most rewarding time of the year for me was preparing holiday food baskets/boxes/crates. I could be in a warehouse or a kitchen filling a box with fresh fruit and vegetables, turkeys, ham and fixings with books, toys and other things for children. Each box size based on size of family. While not directly exposed to these people in need. I saw their face when I would bring out a box and retreat into the back to prepare more without having to interact directly with these people. It was always just too difficult for me. My emotions take hold ofme when talking of pain and helplessness and hunger.

      Now I work on the phone, whenever I can at the Three Square main office phone bank. I used to hide, not feeling the ability to listen or help people without getting emotional while seeing, hearing and feeling their pain, particularly when children and military veterans are involved. Contrary to the vocal minority who speaks ill of people in need, these people feel a sense of failure and I wish I had the means to do more. I used to.

      As embarrassed and ashamed as I may feel about hunger, I can only imagine the thoughts of these people… hungry Americans, yes, Americans, (not undocumented foreigners) who may never have had to ask for help before in their life. That feeling of failure. Not being able to feed yourself or your family. Well, being on the phone, it’s not imaginary anymore. I hear it with my own ears and it hurts me.

      The last time I was on the phone, completing SNAP applications an incoming call came from a single veteran who was living in a weekly rental across the street from Nellis Air Force Base. Home from deployment four months prior. Dropped at Nellis and left to fend for himself. Debilitating PTSD… worse than mine. Hearing this warrior hero speak to me with voice crackling describing his situation. Unable to work. No substance abuse. Benefits exhausted.

      English: Logo of the .
      English: Logo of the . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      The cell phone he called in on had three days before disconnect. His eviction from the weekly one day away. A veteran offered no help. Thrown away after he was used up by our own government. I was confused on how to complete his application because on that day, he had some place to stay. An address. The next day he would not. I had to be told to classify him as homeless and have his application expedited. This application was like being stabbed in the back. One of the first questions we ask on the phone… “are you a veteran?” No transportation. Not enough money in his pocket for bus fare to come to the main food bank. Not even knowing if the address would be valid in the one or two days it takes for the application to reach him for his signature and other personally identifiable information we don’t ask on the phone, for example social security number.

      I felt as helpless as this veteran… and for all practical purposes, this homeless veteran could be anybody. I did something on that day that I wasn’t supposed to do. It’s against the rules. I wrote his name, address and phone number on a piece of paper and when my shift on the phone was complete, I got on my motorcycle took a picture, not knowing if it would be the last time I could force myself to absorb pain on the phone. It was August 13.

      embarrassment
      Leaving Three Square food bank main office on a mission. A forbidden mission. This day was the last day I got on the phone.

      Instead of heading home, which was my intent, because this was a VERY hot day… I took that piece of paper out of my pocket and entered the address on my GPS. I stopped at the first bus pass vending machine I could find and purchased a 24 hour bus pass. I then stopped at Albertsons and purchased a large turkey sub. Grabbed as many condiments that seemed reasonable and picked up a food gift card and put $10 on it. I followed the sweet female voice of google maps to the motel where this soon to be homeless veteran was staying… for one more night. I parked. I got off the bike. I left all my gear on. Took off my backpack and grabbed the albertsons bag with the goods in it. My helmet was still on. It was very, very hot. I knocked on the door. This hero answered the door. I introduced myself as the person who had just spent more than two hours on the phone with him trying to find help for him from veteran’s village and other local and veteran agencies. That look of embarrassment was on his face. There was next to nothing in the hotel room. Probably all that he had with him when he was dumped at Nellis. I opened my face shield about two inches. Enough that he could hear me, but not see my face or the fact that I was crying. Told him I brought a few things for him, asked him to use the bus pass the next day to make his first stop the food bank for a meal. I asked him not to reveal what I had just done. I turned around and left. Went back to my bike and rode home. THIS is the face of hunger. Chances are his food stamp (SNAP) benefit could/would be as little as $16/month… On that day in August, BUT NOT TODAY!!! As of today it’s less. I have no idea what happened to this hero and no way to find out. That was the last time I went tot he phone bank at the food bank to volunteer. Firs I need a week or two break and then I had the pulmonary embolism… time flies. It’s that ime of the year and I think I may go back to Thanksgiving and Christmas food boxes/crates because there is less emotion involved.

      Before I moved to Las Vegas I used to go to the post office in Atlantic City, NJ before holidays and they had a table setup where you could read letters to santa with christmas requests. I would scour the pile looking for letters from children who ask for nothing for themselves. They ask for others. A brother, a neighbor, a parent. I would choose these letters. Answer the wish for another or others as requested from santa and then providing gifts for these children even though it was not requested directly. They wanted nothing for themselves. This was as close as I could get to the pain of poverty… the pain of children. The pain of my own childhood that was still hidden inside of me and sealed tight/classified.

      My first Christmas in Las Vegas was 1998. I was asked what I wanted for Christmas and I replied: peace, love and happiness. It’s all I ever asked for. I called the main post office, explained what I had always done in Atlantic City and was told, we don’t allow this in Las Vegas. We turn letters to Santa over to local non government organizations (NGO’s). I asked for a phone number and was provided one.

      I settled on helping a family of five… working poor (in 1998) with the mother in a wheel chair, unable to work herself because of being hit by a car and a slow recovery from a back injury. I dropped about $500 in goods from Sam’s Club. It’s all I wanted for Christmas. Peace, Love and happiness and some food for others. Working boots for the breadwinner. A winter coat for the bread winner. There were no Christmas decorations in this house but a one foot tall tree on a table. It was too painful to see a family in this situation so I decided I can’t repeat this. So the following year I tried something different.

      I went to the Salvation Army tree at the Boulevard Mall and selected 12 children who had posted christmas wishes on little christmas tree ornaments, with shoe and clothing sizes and age. This became overwhelming and I had to use my most trusted lieutenant at the time to help me with my task (Jennifer R.) who went to walmart with me and helped me organize so much stuff for so many children. This was a little easier because I didn’t have to look in faces. I only dropped off bags labeled for each child. But again… overwhelming when working 12-18 hours a day.

      Most all of my friends or people need nothing. They have everything they need. So, I found myself sending greeting cards saying, your Christmas Gift went to this person or that person. Like my people needed a box of chocolate from me.

      After my first year here, I started drawing a salary and went from employee to business partner. Sweat equity for working a year with no salary and showing how I work and built the business. I could afford more since I was no longer living out of my savings as I had done the first year in Las Vegas.

      That year, the third Christmas in Las Vegas I decided on the Make-A-Wish Foundation www.wish.org. I called, introduced myself and said I wanted to donate, but I wanted to know the difference between donating to a wish and granting a wish. What was the average cost to grant a complete wish. It was so much easier to just write a check. I decided i wanted to grant wishes. Anonymously.

      The first wish was a computer, peripherals and accessories for a teen with brain cancer. $2400. I thought that would be easy. Little did I know, while I am at compUSA in Henderson, I would be at the customer service desk for a special order pickup and there was this small group of people in front of me exchanging a voucher for a cart full of goodies that any teen would envy. It was the teen that I wrote the check for. Here I thought I would be able to escape the emotion of giving and I was embedded in the middle of it. I walked and left the store… went back the following day for my pickup. I just couldn’t stand there. I saw the make-a-wish voucher, I saw the young man, shaved head with very large scars. I just had to leave. The next wish was for a family of four to take a trip to disneyland before the loss of a child to terminal illness. I knew it would be easier this way. The make-a-wish wish’s were granted until 2007, when I had to umm… stop writing those big checks.

      After this, all I could give was my time. It’s very rewarding. I give time in many ways and I know that what I do helps a lot of people. Between the food bank(s) and being on the phone, I think my donation(s) have more meaning. Partnering with another NGO providing guidance for people living with chronic illness. How to live a healthier and rewarding life. Learning all over again, how to take ownership of your own life and health when you feel you can’t.

      My shame, my embarrassment is because with all we have, all that we throw away, no one should go hungry.

      As I sit here with a kitchen full of healthy organic food and commodity, expensive organic coffee being sipped at this very moment, I know I’m not in need. I can buy my own more expensive foods and not have to worry (as much) about a budget or putting gas in the motorcycle. But I know there are many who can’t.

      Shame on those who would take from the poor to give to the rich. This embarrasses me to no end. It’s a disgrace and brings shame to my heart to know these people are Americans too.

      nuf said