Author: winter b

Midday Matinee – Sputnik and dreams

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Today is the anniversary of what may have been the most important day of my seventh year of life. Certainly it was one of the most formative of my life. This is the anniversary of the date that my dad took me out into the cold night of New Paltz, NY, to show me “something special.” Then he pointed out a tiny dot racing across the heavens against the backdrop of stars and told me that was a Russian satellite. For the first time in history men had launched something into space. I vividly remember it, but not because it was a moment of amazement for me. Rather, I remember it because it was a moment of shock. It was the first time I learned that Buck Rogers, which I watched on TV often, was not real. Men and women were not flying among the stars at all. I had assumed space travel was as real as driving around in a car. I had assumed that while the stories on the TV programs I watched were fictional, that the backgrounds against which they were painted were real. Shock made that memory vivid to me forever and I’m glad it did. My dad is gone now, but I can still remember what it was like to stand...

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Midday Matinee – Reincarnation…why?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Crazy things pass through my mind from time to time, and for some reason reincarnation has been popping up here and there. Maybe because I’m writing a paranormal novel, that while it doesn’t involve reincarnation (at least not yet), certainly tangles the past and present a bit. But the question that’s been running through my head is: Why in the world would I want to do this again? Some cultures that believe in reincarnation don’t think it’s a choice. You get endless do-overs until you get it right. Given the nature of human beings, I guess that means most of us get Mulligans until the universe ends. We’ll never get it perfectly right. One branch of Buddhism takes an interesting tack though: We get to choose if we’ll be reincarnated, and into what kind of life. The theory is that most of us choose to come back in order to learn the lesson of compassion fully. We choose difficult lives because they will teach us, not because we come here to have a rip-roaring good time. Of course, in order to get to choose your next life there’s a small catch: you must pass a test; your positives in your last life must outweigh your negatives or you’ll be slammed back here...

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Furthermore! – Shame on us

I knew a woman who couldn’t drive because every time she got in a car, she saw babies on the road in front of her. I knew another who couldn’t be left alone in her own kitchen because voices would start demanding she put her hand down the garbage disposal and turn it on.   <More> These people and many like them are caught in the cracks of a society that decided back in the Reagan era that they didn’t need custodial care. No more snake pits, or so we thought. I clearly remember when the decision was made, and I didn’t object to it. Most of us had gleaned the impression from movies and television that mental health patients were being held against their will, and were often mistreated. Unfortunately, the mistreatment part was true in too many cases. But when you take people who have serious problems connecting with reality, people like the women I mentioned above, or people whose strongest impulse is to kill themselves, people who can’t hold jobs because of their behavior when the voices start in their heads, or the times when the tears won’t stop falling, you’ve got to ask yourself if it was right to put them on the streets. For a while we thought we’d found a panacea in drugs. Everything should respond to a pill, and the pharmaceutical industry not only...

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Midday Matinee – 1984… it’s still here

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. 1984 has come and gone. We’ve all become accustomed to a world where words are twisted in ways that create new meanings. The only question is whether people have become more aware of how they are being manipulated. I know I had to read 1984 by George Orwell when I was in high school. I’m not sure if it’s still required reading. But even if it were, how many of us even pay attention to the manipulations going on all around us? Remember”death panels?” We used to have real death panels in this country decades ago when committees selected by a community would decide who would receive dialysis and who would not…until Congress stepped in and started paying for it because of moving testimony that made even those hard hearts melt. And today we have real death panels for organ transplants. Some will be chosen for a chance at life, and some will be denied even the possibility. We sure tolerate those. But mention euthanasia for Granny, and the world is suddenly up in arms. But I don’t want to talk about euthanasia or death panels. I want to talk about a different manipulation of words that could costs tens of thousands of Americans a healthy future: the transformation of...

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Midday Matinee – Is my kid being stalked?

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. I’m honestly not sure.  I just know it creeped her out when her coworkers told her what had been happening, and I know when I got the final tidbit all the rest snapped into place. But what do you do?  I can’t prove anything, nothing has really happened yet.  So let me tell you about it.  Maybe you can tell me I’m not crazy to worry.  Or maybe you’ll tell me otherwise. My daughter worked nearly full-time at a coffee shop over the summer, then went to one day a week when her college semester started (she has two jobs so one had to give a bit). So for the last two weeks she’s been in the coffee shop only once.  A regular customer noticed her missing.  But it didn’t stop there. He started asking when she would be working again.  They told him they couldn’t tell him that.  He asked where she was.  They answered, “She’s going to school these days.” He called four times asking for her by name, and asking when she was scheduled to work again.  They told him it was against the law for them to tell him. Then he topped it all off with the thing that made my heart sink: he went...

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