Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoughts on wedding and marriage

In the past few weeks, I have been to two weddings. One was for my friends, Ben and Amy and the other for Jason and Samar. I was privileged to be asked to chant the wedding service for both couples. I've given myself to contemplation about weddings/marriage after both of these events and I find myself coming to a different realization than I have in years past.

During my twenties, I went to a whole host of weddings. Though I did everything I could to be happy for my friends and my family who were getting married, going to these gave me feelings of despair. I went to these events single. If I did have a date, it was usually a close female friend where nothing would have happened. The things I hated most (and still do to a certain extent) about weddings is the immediate reception. I hate the receptions in that they are so formulaic, predictable, and, for those of us who abhor dancing, boring. You try to make up for it by having a couple of drinks (assuming they have an open bar, which should be a requirement. But then, if they do, they usually have really cheap wine. Why does everyone prefer chardonnay to sauvignon blanc? Chardonnay is disgusting! Anyway...) and socializing with people you already know. Then there's the predictable bouquet and garter toss, both of which are nothing more than spectacles to reinforce the "stigma" of being single. I hated this more than anything. It got to the point where I refused to participate in this. However, my refusal was met by scorn and contempt. I remember one time that when I refused to go up for the garter toss, everyone at the table, including my parents and friends would not just let it go that it was not my intention to go up there. But they kept pushing and pushing and pushing until I finally banged my fist on the table and said "no." I think I scared Mrs. Eicholz with that move. Now, when people get the MC to try to get me up there, I just get up and walk out of the room.

But I suppose the main reason that I hated weddings and marriages in general is because I was in a state of despair. I wondered why everyone else could get married except for myself. What made me so undesirable that I was stigmatized by not only having a date to these ceremonies but also refusing to participate in these ridiculous rituals which seem to suggest that singledom is not to be preferred, if not to be ridicled.

Since my twenties, though, I have not approached weddings with the same despair. I still go single and I don't care. I still don't participate in that ridiculous ritual and I still don't care. If I am to be single for the rest of my life, I think that that is not something to be disdained or ridiculed. It is difficult, but it is manageable. Granted, when your friends get married, it is more difficult to maintain those friendships, because your friends now have important obligations--wife and kids.

I am seriously giving attention and consideration to being a monastic. I will visit a monastery in a few weeks time and I am hopeful for a brief period of reflection and contemplation. If things go well and if I am able to build up a spiritual relationship with the monastery Hegumen, I may consider staying for a long period of time as a novice. It's not something to enter into lightly and I will only do so with much prayer and contemplation. But since I feel so compelled to do perhaps embark upon this vocation for my life, I think that I am finally OK with my singledom and no longer have to feel depressed about it, especially if I were to go to weddings.

This has been a very good revelation to me and I hope it works out.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Barack Obama is...The Punisher

OK, I've really tried hard to stay away from blogging anything about the current mess our country finds itself in, but I cannot. I know not many people, if any, read nor care what I write, but perhaps this will be useful for posterity so that they can forego the errors we are making now. As the Roman Statesman Cicero once said, "To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be forever a child." But, I am afraid, too many people fall into the category of "Those who do not read history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood."

Our President will probably be forever enjoy rock star fame. Nothing this man does can be perceived as wrong especially by the sycophantic media. I'm sure many movies will be made about him to the point that schoolchildren years from now will watch, in their classrooms, several movies dedicated to this greatest of leaders. I'm sure titles will be abundant from Change: The Barack Obama Presidency to Audacity to Hope: The Revival of a Nation Ruined. There will be no negativity, only glowing praise and that will be all the facts these kids receive unless they actually do research on their own into the truth. But that's not too likely. Now that GM and Chrysler and many banks are now under the more or less direct control of the Obama administration, how long until schools are nationalized and an Obama curriculum runs the show where perfect regurgitation of propaganda, not critical thinking or questioning, will indicate learning. And people thought that Orwell was in a fantasy world.

Let's examine the facts. When Obama was elected, this country was in a recession. And we were told throughout the campaign ad nauseam that only Obama and his cadre of economic advisors were the only ones smart enough to get us out of this. No one else could do the jobs. That's why we had to give passes to Obama's nominee for Secretary of Treasury, "Tiny" Tim Geithner. Even though the man had owed thousands upon thousands of dollars in back taxes but claimed it was an honest mistake (though he had known about this mistake for 5 years!), because the tax code wasn't clear to him about his particular situation, we still had to have him. Guess what? The same man who doesn't understand the tax code to pay his taxes is in charge of the IRS! Brilliant. Geithner recently visited the Chinese where he assured the ChiComs that all was well with the American economy. You know what the ChiComs did? They laughed after he said this. They laughed at him. And now China will not buy any more US debt and the Chinese are pushing for universal currency to be measured in yuan not in dollars whic has been the standard for almost a century! Yes, we needed him.

Then, there's HHS nominee, Kathleen Sebelius. She also had a tax problem, a major one. But that couldn't be scrutinized because we needed an HHS secretary because of the outbreak of swine flu...excuse me, H1N1. Let's overlook her tax problems and not ask any other questions because people might learn that she's going to be the one running point on President Obama's plan to "correct" the health care problem in this country by actually taxing individual's health care benefits. That means if your employer pays $300/month for your helath plan, whether family or individual, that will now be considered income and a tax will be levied on that. Sebelius supports this and will be guiding much of the legislation. So much for the plan on not taxing people not making $250,000 or more. But that was only referring specifically to income taxes so this new tax makes it all right.

It doesn't stop there. We are going to get some version of cap and trade which is double speak for a new tax. Secretary of Energy Cho is running point on this working with Rep. Henry Waxman of California to run through legislation that will tax every person in America based on his/her carbon footprint. So, if you set your thermostat to 72 degrees for your house/apartment, you may be subject to an additional tax since your harming the planet. But don't dare bring up opposition to the global warming phenomenon. Remember, Green Priest Algore, has declared that to be dogma for all to adhere to. Opposition will be punished with more taxes. Oftentimes, you will have to pay the same tax twice, but it is called by two different names so it doesn't appear to be so. Very clever. Obama supports this and will sign the legislation.

Sens. Kennedy and Dodd are going to ram through the senate a bill that all employers regardless of whether you have 10 employees or 10,000 employees must supply health care to their workers, whether they are part time, full time or even if they were laid off or fired. Obama supports this and would sign the legislation.

Obama has also appointed several persons (21 in all) to the position of Czar. Most administrations beforeheand had a czar for the drug war or something else, but not 21. There is a car czar, a bank czar, a payment czar, a medicare czar, etc. These are extra-constitutional offices. In other words, the senate does not need to advise and consent per article 1, paragraph 2 of the Constitution. But what is worse is that these czars' recommendations will only be permitted to receive up or down yay/nay votes. Congress will not be allowed to amend or even debate. This is not representative democracy. This is dictatorship.

Why is Obama doing this? He's declared war on capitalism. He has decided to punish achievement. Even during the campaing, Obama was asked very directly about how the tax revenues went up astonishingly during Reagan's administration, doubling in fact because of his tax cuts. Obama said he wasn't interested in that; he was interested in fairness. In other words, we have to tax the wealthy and take their money because it's unfair that some are rich and others aren't. We have to punish the achievers and give it to those who have not. I'd like to ask Barack Obama a very direct question. Do you want every person who so desires, to be rich? Obviously his answer is no. It's OK for him to be rich, because he wants to punish others who have riches. It's OK for Ted Kennedy to be rich because he believes he has a divine right to it, but no one else should.

Now some of you will say that these measures are being taken because of the mess he has inherited and that they are necessary for the good of the country. Others of you will say that they didn't know that they were going to be hit like this during the campaign and were deceived. To the latter group, shut up! You knew or you were just blinded by the hype. For the former group, this mess is HIS mess. ANd it's only going to worsen. And the fact is you want these measures to go into effect either because you hate wealthy people because they are wealthy or you are just idiots and have no earthly idea on how to stimulate the economy. When you punish those who have the brains, the resources, the creativity and the wherewithal to stimlulate the economy, things are going to get worse. Here's another interesting thing. Microsoft, the software giant owned by billionaire Bill Gates, as big of an Obama supporter as they come, is threatening to move Microsoft jobs overseas if these tax increases (health, cap and trade, income, etc.) are enacted.

Obama believes in punishing. He is a class warrior. Nothing matters more than getting the hated rich guy because he happens to have something nicer than you. That's not a solution. That's the blame game and in Washington, D.C., it seems that is the only game in town.

God help us.