Thursday, May 30, 2013



When I applied to the School of Social Work to get my degree I had to write some reasons that I wanted to be a Social Worker. Now, in all honesty I certainly used my gift for gab to write words, words, words. :-) I did want to be accepted after all. Not that I didn't believe everything I wrote.

It's just that we emphasise certain things at times to make a point or to sway the "powers that be" to our advantage. I can't remember everything I wrote and don't even need or want to remember everything I wrote. But, one thing that I talked about in passing is something that I absolutely believe in. That's hope.

Hope is what separates sanity from insanity. It's what gets somebody through another day of the same old same old

. One of my favorite scenes as far as a "eureka" moment for me occurs in the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. When his character is asked how he got through his stranded existence on an island he said:  "Never give up because you never know what the tide will bring in the next day.”  I used this quote (not as a manipulative thing but, as an attempt to help) with some of the folks I worked with in my job in Colorado at a behavioral health hospital. Something, to help or at least cause those in depression or stress to grab onto and to hopefully decide to keep going forward.

 Hope is one of the experiences that distinguishes mankind from most of the other creatures on the planet. You can take a dog and put him in the back yard. Put up a fence and give him a bowl of water and feed him everyday. Go outside and pet him/her and run around and throw a ball or a stick. After a little while you will have a happy pup!

But, you take a human and give him/her food and water every day. Shut them in a closed system and give them the same old same old to do everyday and you will have a miserable creature. Now, there are other things that can account for this along with hope. But, that person will "hope" everyday that something will change or that they will plan or find a way to change their circumstances.

 I remember seeing something on youtube a few years ago that was really great. OK, I admit for an older person, I think youtube is one of the greatest things in our modern world. :-) Classic rock concerts, old sports footage, Laurel and Hardy and Amos and Andy and Stephen King interviews. I love youtube. But, I digress.

There was a youtube interview with the great psychotherapist and psychiatrist Carl Jung. Very rare to see one of the historic figures and architects of thought in an actual live flesh and blood appearance. Anyway, Jung (who was very elderly himself at the time) was talking about his elderly patients He stated that he was struck by the "hope" they had as he interviewed them. At the end of life they still had a hope and looked forward to something more once this life is over. Hope!

Now, I'm not as "sure" of my faith as I was in my youth. Life and circumstance and situations have caused me to question many of the old standards that I was taught as absolute in my childhood. Sometime when you research something or read about something, you find that it's not quite as black and white as you were "told" it was. But, this isn't about theology or quantum physics or even the reality or non reality of spiritual existence. I think of those things and I am planning on rambling on about some of those things in my blog posts. But, this is about hope.

It's one of the main reasons I'm not an atheist. It's just not logical to me that all the hope and love and hate and flesh and blood and mental and spiritual and life experience of a human is in the end about nothing. But, that's a different argument for a different time. It touches on this but I'm not really wanting to go there today. I mainly was thinking about hope.

In 2008 or so the media and the world seemed to go a little bit crazy. Every time I turned on a t.v. or listened to a radio or read a paper I was hammered by "RECESSION" SLUMP, IMPENDING DOOM! Or it sure seemed like it. :-) Now, I'm not a pollyanna by any means. But, it seemed to me that we were (not in a grand conspiracy ) but just as a society being led down a certain path by plans made by the money holders and we honestly did seem to be getting programmed to behave in a certain way as a society. Even in my job I would hear "well, we're gone" We will be laid off and the whole system will go up in smoke. Now that could have happened and it may still happen for all I know. But, I never stopped "hoping" that something good would happen.

I was talking to a person in my job one day. That person said "a therapist or social worker had told them that everything was indeed getting harder" My answer was that it cost exactly the same to be optimistic as pessimistic. Neither one is absolute and neither one cost you more money than the other one. So, you can decide to say "well I'm doomed" or you can decide to say "I'm hopeful this will work out" and either one is a choice you make. So, why not at least "hope."

So, if like me you are dealing with bad or just unwise choices in life. Looking at the economy or your own personal issues and wondering when it all will change or if it will. I can't tell you it absolutely will. I can't tell you it will all work out the way you or I would like it to work out. But, I can tell you that "hope" will cost you the exact same amount as gloom and doom will. Or as a wise man/God once said. "The evil of the day is sufficent, don't worry so much about tomorrow." Or something like that. :-)

So, with those old folks of the past that Carl Jung counseled. With the people who waited to see the Berlin Wall finally come down. I hope.  Knowing that mankind is capable of great evil such as slavery and the holocaust. But, also knowing that there were some who sacrificed their own life to rid the world of such great evils. I hope.

Again, I go back to a certain old book or collection of ancient writings that are sometime thrown away as myth and sometime, I'm afraid worshiped as god But, always if you look "full of hope."

A certain young woman was a queen and her king had decided to allow the murder of her kinsmen. Her uncle came to her and asked that  she speak with the king on behalf of her people. She was afraid and said that she might be killed just for speaking up. Her uncle told her that for all she knew "the very reason she was raised up as a queen was for this very purpose." She did speak. Justice was served and wisdom prevailed.
I try to remember that. Maybe some of the things I go through and experience were already planned for me and maybe they all are part of my life's plan. Yeah, "stuff" happens. But, I still "Hope" that once God does balance the books, that I will see my hope end in sight. Both here and forever.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mars Attacks!

I have always loved the weird and off beat and good popcorn movies. A movie doesn't have to move me with a deep message. It can but I don't require it. As a matter of fact, I ask less of a movie than I do a book. With a book if I haven't wondered what happened to a character at least once during the day then it failed me. I immerse into what I read in a way that I don't with what I watch. The world in my head is somehow more immediate than the world "out there." A movie simply has to make me laugh or cringe or say wow! I love old horror such as Shirley Jackson's The Haunting and the movie from the 60's based on it. I like to watch it every 3 to 5 years just to remind myself of what an actual horror movie can be. Of course watching it for the first time when I was around 6 or 7 years old is more than likely the reason it is so scary and embedded in my head. I also love the old sci fi stuff. The Amazing Colossal Man 1957, The 1958 Steve Mcqueen take on The Blob. The 1955 movie based on the Jack Finney novel The Body Snatchers. I also like some of the more modern stuff. I love to pop up some popcorn and watch Mars Attacks with Jack Nicholoson and a cameo by Tom Jones directed by Tim Burton. I liked Independence Day and I liked the First X Files movie. The second is a damn shame but I digress. I love the old Art Bell Coast to Coast Am and I enjoy downloading a podcast to listen to while I walk around the track. I enjoyed The Fog and also watched it with the John Carpenter commentary. The Exorcist, which to be honest wasn't that scary to me. Well, I did see the uncut version and that was scary. The part where she spider crawled freaked me out. The original Halloween and Friday the 13th are fun. I liked the Lost In Space movie of some years ago. I knew it was gonna get killed by critics when I read the first review I saw. It started out with the reviewer saying "I don't really like sci fi or horror movies." Really? Then shut up! It did what I wanted it to do. It had cool space scenes and was a little campy. I liked the original Scream and enjoyed Ringu or Ring the Japaneese horror movie. The girl coming out of the t.v. is great. I can't watch the original Alien at night because I fall asleep. It's so dark that I just never got through it. By dark I mean the lighting and background not the atmosphere of the story. But, I did watch it early one evening and finished it and liked it as much as I can like a slow building hard sci fi type movie. It is good, it's just not really my thing. I know that's like a classic rock fan saying they don't like Bruce Springsteen that much ( I Don't) but sometime it just happens. I loved the X Files and we even named our first and only child after the main character. I liked Fringe for a while but I kind of stopped watching. Might have to pick it up again. Millinuem is a really good and under-rated series that my wife and I watched. I actually get my love of horror from a strange place. My mother raised me on watching old sci fi and horror movies. We had The Rebel Drive In right in our neighborhood growing up in the sixties and early seventies. When they had a Christopher Lee or Boris Karloff or Vincent Price marathon (Dusk Till Dawn) we were there. I can still see Dracula turning to dust right on that giant full color screen before my 7 or 8 year old eyes. Vincent Price running through the rubble and chaos as The House Of Usher fall. :-) A movie called "She" and we even saw a killer Santa one holiday season. I sometime feel bad for folks this generation. They have some splendid toys that we couldn't even dream of. But, they have no idea what a 20 foot tall Christopher Lee looks like as he bites the scream queen on the neck.

 Man, I wonder if maybe I can talk Cindy into putting our 9 year old in front of the computer and shutting the door and popping in a horror movie this weekend? So sue me I love my child but he will enjoy playing a video game. His mother will get me but if I can talk her into it. Pop some popcorn and kick back and watch one of the classic ones like Soylent Green or a little more recent one like Predator. Or maybe more of a horror theme like The Fog or Creepshow. Anyway, I have a sudden urge to eat popcorn and chill out in front of a giant screen for a couple of hours this coming weekend.