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One Holiday Down and Thirty Days To Go

     Happy Holidays, Fair Ones.

     Well, Thanksgiving passed without a hitch. No turkey, no stuffing, no pumpkin pie but I did suck down a nice bottle of Dubeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2010 and it was just marvy. The kitties and I had a peanutbutter sandwich (organic) in order to make the roof of my mouth more sticky, this needing some of the red stuff to wash it loose.

     The holidays ended when my family died and this is the first year that I really do not give a fig (like in figgy pudding) about the holiday or any holiday, for that matter, with the exception of the Pagan versions, which are much more heartfelt. It is not so much that I have given up on the holidays, as Bob Dylan says, ‘my sense of humanity has gone down the drain’.  I am an Outsider. I have said it often and it finally fits at the time when I need to walk the Edge the most – the holidays. I do love my two cats, Inkie and Budderz.

     As we are brought up in american family culture, the holidays get pre-programmed into our brains by many forces (parents, grandparents, siblings, other kids, the media, the church). They make us think we are less of a person for not being part of the crowd. Maybe I choose to be Outside but after trying to be on the ‘Inside’ in Pennsylvania, all I can say is ‘fuck that’.

     Some years, I get a feeling of despair, starting around mid-October. Samhain helps but then we are womped alongside the head with a string of holidays that can cause the depressed to jump over the edge. More suicides are committed and more relationships break up during the Xmas season than anytime of year. Perhaps it is the futility of being loved. Most people don’t have the slightest idea what love is anymore. Many people have told me that ‘love is dead’. I find that hard to believe but, Gentle Readers, it sure feels that way to me.

      Human nature is basically cruel and contentious. Did you ever drive somewhere and have a car in front of you going slow, like maybe 15-20 miles under the speed limit? Then you pass the car and they speed up and tailgate you. People go out of their way to be pricks but I see very few going out of their way to be nice or to care about the feelings of others. Most road rage is kind of private, usually between you, the offender and any witness who may happen along. Acts of kindness are televised, written up, bragged on, tagged on FaceBook and recorded on YouTube.

     Look at our old friend, Jesus, who some people call Son of God and Son of Man at the same time. The Son of God does pretty well for himself, turning water to wine, destroying temples, pulling beards of the moneychangers, raising the dead and a number of other conversation-stopping party tricks. The Son of Man, his alter ego, doesn’t have it so good.  “The foxes have holes and the birds have nests but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Not that I think I am Jesus, but he sure nailed it.

     It is not normal for people to think of others. We think about ourselves. Thinking about others went out of style when we stopped depending on them. When we do for others, our reward is usually waiting in the Land of Karma and will not be felt on this worldly plane. We should do for others for no reason but that our hearts are filled with love. I wish they still were. I wish people still needed each other and showed it.

     When I was a kid in upstate New York, we got some monster snowstorms. Snow covered the ground from Halloween to Easter, from Samhain to Beltain, and I have the childhood pics to prove it. The point is, all of the men of the neighborhood banded together and fought each storm with shovels as a group. They shoveled up one side of the street and down the other, ending at a house (usually ours) where several bottles of Canadian Club whiskey appeared to cap off the work. People were together then. There was not so much personal desolation.

     We have electronic devices to communicate so we do not know half, maybe three quarters of the people we chat with. We have no connections, we have no need for loyalty, we can log off.

     Many years, I had happy holidays and some years I had lonely ones that sucked. This is the first holiday season when I can say, free and easy, that I just don’t care. I would rather be the one out crying in the wilderness than to kiss ass to have a seat at a table. If you have a family, cherish it. Mine is gone and that is life. I am not bitter, I don’t think…I have just stopped caring and I really never had much faith in others to begin with, so nought is lost.

     Enjoy your families. Enjoy the present moment. It is all we have.

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The First Thanksgiving and Diabetes For All

     Readers of All Faiths,

     Today is the day that americans celebrate the first Thanksgiving, where we shared our food with the Native Americans, they shared their food with us, then we gave them blankets which were infested with disease, robbed them off all their land and made them a minority in their own country.  We call this The American Dream, Chapter One.

     Karma can be a bitch and it could be some old Spirit in the Sky that has wrought vengeance upon our country for the treacherous way the British in our blood caused us to decimate the native race of North America, the same way it will smite us in 20 years when the last of the wild tigers have vanished from the earth. Tiger population in the wild is calculated to be about 3,200 tigers, or tygers, compared with 100,000 a century ago. I am sure the big cats had nothing to do with it. Thanks, Mankind.

     We will still see them lolling in stinking cages in our local zoos but even they may disappear after so many years. Mankind, as Tom Waits noted, is anything but kind to the Earth and the creatures that dwell upon it. Mankind is better suited to war than to the love of animals and preservation of his it’s own habitat.

     This is a consumer’s holiday in all respects ~ we consume all we possibly can, we follow this by the biggest moneyspending day of the year, Black Friday. This leads into a frenzy of consumption that lasts six weeks and empties wallets and bank accounts, leads to mountains of unpaid credit and results in an average of 20 pounds gained by eating crap we don’t bother with the rest of the year.

     I bet that, if not for the holiday season, americans would not be overweight to the extent that they are. An open refrigerator-door policy during these weeks leaves most carrying pounds which will never come off and which lay the foundation for a few more pounds the year after that…and the year after that. Ever notice how much older someone else your own age looks when they are carrying an extra 50 pounds. A lot older.

     Then you have to deal with the issue of weight related brain damage. The brain of an obese person, when subjected to imaging, shows a startling resemblance to that of an active crack addict. Both suffer from serious lapses in judgement. When you look in the mirror, at what point do you finally say ‘these scars all over my face and the missing teeth…maybe it’s the crack’ or ‘gee. I seem to have gained a bit of weight. I appear to be 200 pounds bigger than I was in school’.  Didn’t the mirror work at 175 pounds? What is the magic formulae of realization?

     In India these days, realization comes in the form of diabetes, which is spreading quicker than it is in the USA, even. The Indian people, from centuries of poor diet or lack of diet, have genes which are used to ‘starving’. When the Western diet was introduced, the whole country became a nation of porkers. They cannot handle all the sugar and other crapola which is processed into seemingly good foods. It is called the ‘disease of affluence’ due to its source in ample food supplies and the high percentage of processed foods. India, with 15 diabetics per 100 people is the world leader in diabetes 2. I guess they were emulating what they saw on TV. Forty million diabetics reside in India.

     In the US, 23.6 million people have diabetes, close to eight per cent of the population. While 17.9 million of these cases are diagnosed, there are 5.7 per cent which remain undiagnosed and (hold on to your hats) 57 million americans with ‘pre-diabetes’. We are about to double, nay, almost triple our rate of this illness at the pace of 1,600,000 new cases a year.  These figures come from the American Diabetes Association.

     To look at it another way, on average, 32,ooo people in your home state will be diagnosed with the disease in 2011 and the numbers will slowly rise.  If you reside in Pennsylvania, that is 477 new cases in your county alone, slightly over seven new cases a month, or more simply –  a new neighbour with diabetes about once week…for now – these figures are expected to increase. Wait until those 57 million get symptomatic.

     HIV/AIDS? piff-paff, Diabetes kills scores more people and has replaced the immuno-deficiency diseases as the world’s most dangerous killer. No sex, no needles required; all  we need is a Big Mac.

     There is hope, though slim…you could exercise or eat properly but it is so much work.

     You could start today and just eat some lean turkey and say ‘no’ to all that other stuff on the table. You also do not need to eat unless you are hungry, a fact that escapes many.

     How nice! The snowflakes are falling on suburbia and inside the warm houses in my neighborhood, kids are sucking down hot chocolate and eating Count Chocula and waiting for the big meal. Future patients.

     The smart people are the ones marching in the parades.

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