h1

Why I Support “Marriage Equality”

March 24, 2013

Historically, marriage has either been an actual/implied contract–binding human beings and their offspring within certain legal parameters–or a religious/spiritual sacrament, acknowledging the metaphysical bond and personal devotion between two people within their own set of religious/spiritual beliefs.

The time is long overdue for governments at all levels to get out of the business of marriage certification and oversight.

Let all who wish to be married within their own religion or according to their own belief systems do so.

If their religion does not support same-sex marriage, let them work within that organization to change the rules, or find another which will.

As for the legal issues which currently inspire many to enter wedlock, let those rules be either stricken from our laws or rewritten so as to erase the requirement for wedlock in certain circumstances.

Give any and every person the right to designate one person as their significant other or “spouse”.

Let this designation fulfill the requirements for such things as the ability to visit a loved one in hospitals, inherit estates as a “spouse”, qualify for certain benefits or be a confidant who cannot be compelled to testify against the other in court.

Children would continue to be protected by support laws and protection services.

Of course, many benefits (both private and public) might be abolished, but that would only serve to give equal rights to “single” people…

h1

“When The Aspens Turn To Gold”

November 9, 2012

This is, perhaps, the least-insane of all my posts.

As a singer-songwriter who has recorded many demos of my work, I’ve longed for a while now to have my music be accessible on YouTube.

This isn’t a true “video”, in that it is a “slide show” of mostly aspen trees with my song as the “background music”.

At least it’s not “elevator music”, eh?

h1

The Puzzle of The Rings

August 13, 2011

The Puzzle of The Rings

While a certain old man was dreaming, he beheld a puzzle: 

In his hands he was holding a collection of 21 interlocking rings. The old man tried to pull the rings apart without breaking any of them, but nothing he attempted worked. 

Then the old man heard a voice say: 

“There is a solution to the puzzle; ask the one who has the key”. 

So the old man traveled throughout the land, showing the rings to everyone he met along the way. They all marveled at the delicate yet unbreakable set of beautiful, shiny rings. 

“Who has the key to the puzzle?”, he asked. No one could tell the old man what he wanted to know. 

Many of the people claimed that they knew what to do. They would take the rings in their hands, turning and twisting them over and under and round about. No matter what the people did, the rings remained interlocked. 

The old man continued his search. Many days and miles passed, but he still could not find an answer to his question. Eventually, the old man asked every adult in the land if they knew who had the key to the puzzle. He never received a satisfactory response. 

The old man decided he could no longer possess the rings, for the very sight of them would always serve to remind him of his frustration and failure. As he was about to drop the rings into a litter basket, the old man saw a young girl sitting on the front steps of a house. He walked over to the young girl and placed the beautiful rings next to where she sat on the step . Without speaking a word about his gift, the old man turned to walk away. 

The young girl looked first at the rings, and then at the man. Her mouth fell open in awe and surprise. She cried out to the old man: 

“Wait! Don’t go! I have been looking everywhere for you.” 

The old man was confused and intrigued. He turned around and asked the young girl what she meant. 

The young girl opened her hands which had been folded in her lap. There in her palms lay 21 beautiful rings, identical to the rings he had just given to her. There was just one difference between her rings and his rings: the old man’s rings were woven together in an intricate, interlocking pattern, while the young girl’s rings were all free of each other and spread out on the palms of her hands. 

As the old man’s eyes grew wide with wonder, the young girl spoke again: 

“You are the one with the key! You have the solution to the puzzle!” 

© 1998 Gordon Eugene Thomas 

h1

The Parable of The Grapes

August 13, 2011

The Parable of the Grapes

There was a certain man who shopped every day at the store in his neighborhood. When the man believed that no one was watching, it was his habit to pick and eat a single grape from one of the bunches on the produce tables.

One day this certain man saw a woman from another neighborhood in the store. She walked through the produce department to the display of grapes. The woman grabbed an entire bunch of grapes off of the table and threw them to the ground, stomping them into juice and pulp with her feet.

As she ran out of the store, the woman cried out in a crazed voice: “NOW there is wine for those who have nothing to drink!”

The man was enraged, and he quickly went to find the person who managed the store.

“Did you see the evil deed done by that crazy woman from another neighborhood?” cried the man. “She should be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I will dress up and go to the courts to testify against her, for I am thankful that you have provided this store here in my neighborhood.”

The person who managed the store looked at the man and spoke slowly and clearly:

“How dare you label that woman crazy and her deed evil? Aren’t you the person who comes into my store every day and steals a grape from me? That woman just smashed about 200 grapes on the floor, but in the last year, you have stolen 365 grapes from me.

“That woman only ruined one full bunch of grapes, but because you take from a new bunch each time you come to the store, you have damaged hundreds more bunches than that woman.

“Do you tell yourself that you are doing nothing wrong? Every single time you choose to steal from me, I feel pain. Can you imagine how sad I feel after a full year of this daily theft?

“Do you tell yourself that you are somehow better than this woman? She has done her actions out in the open for everyone to see. You sneak around, not claiming to steal for the sake of a higher cause. Instead, you consume the grapes yourself, and no one else ever shares even one drop of the juice with you.

“If you truly care about me and the grapes in this store, first stop stealing them. As you honor me and these grapes, you and I will be at peace.

“Once you and I are at peace with each other, perhaps you will see the way to peace with everyone who comes into this store…”

© 2001 Gordon Eugene Thomas

h1

The Rise and Fall of Record Companies

February 26, 2011

Here’s the problem they face, as many see it:

The Record Companies have not developed a new “value-added” strategy. It was a relatively short time ago (in the grand scheme of things) when music was not readily available in any form other than performing in homes, in churches and other spots (taverns, halls, etc).

When music “publishers” started printing sheet music and companies began producing tangible sound recordings, then the music was inextricably linked to various medium (paper, vinyl, etc). Even player piano’s needed the right scroll containing the correct holes in order to cause the instrument to produce a sound.

This benefited the publisher more than the consumer, for now it was necessary to purchase the particular product in order to obtain the music contained thereon/therein.

The advent of home taping systems began to pry the music away from the medium. As cassette taping systems became more easily available to the common person, better and better copies of music were made.

With the dawning of the digital age and the production of digital sound files, plus the boom in devices capable of storing and playing those files, the chasm between sound recording and recording media grew wider and wider.

Itunes and Rhapsody have dealt with this issue in significantly different ways: iTunes chooses to dispense the sound files in a format that cannot be duplicated. Rhapsody has decided not to provide an actual file, per se. Instead, their music is streamed from “the cloud”. Yes, that’s a “file”, but not one that can be tangibly apprehended by the end user, save through the use of certain proprietary software.

It appears that the industry is voting to go the way of Rhapsody. The recent move by Napster towards a Digital Rights Managed streaming system is significant. It’s also worth noting that audio visual recordings are increasingly only available through the cloud.

All of this was foreseen by MP3.com founders Michael Robertson and Greg Flores. In 1997 they realized that someday, people would no longer need to have a tangible sound recording file. Instead, they believed, the sound recording data files would be stored “out there” somewhere, and subscribers would pay a fee for the right to stream the files to their individual devices.

Just as the DVD is about to become obsolete due to streaming, so too then is the CD also going the way of the carrier pigeon. The only way that companies will be able to survive the transition will be for them to find a way to coerce consumers into buying something of added value in order to have the rights to a CD or the rights to download it.

It could be as simple as a T-shirt (buy the CD; get the T for Free).

Whatever they come up with, it needs to be something (or some things) with broad appeal for the listening audience. Otherwise, there will be no added value and no reason for consumers to honor the record companies with direct business.

h1

What To Say To Vietnam Veterans

November 11, 2009

Since I’ve started wearing my “Vietnam Veteran” baseball cap from time to time, I’ve been touched by the number of people who will stop me and say “Thank You For Your Service”.

It’s a wonderful thing for them to do, and I hope more people do this for all the veterans they encounter.

I thought some of you might want to know what Vietnam Vets have developed as a form of greeting/recognition.

We simply say, “Welcome Home!” to each other.

Because that’s the real essence of what was missing when we returned from Southeast Asia.

No one welcomed us home.

In fact, many went out of their way to be at our points of arrival (Travis AFB, etc) and verbally & physically denounce us as “baby killers”…even spitting on us in protest.

So, it is wonderful for us to hear that now, people appreciate what we did.

It’s even greater when someone simply says “Welcome Home!”

After all these years, it really does mean something to us.

May all veterans be made to feel appreciated today.

lifevv

h1

Health Care

September 10, 2009

I have resisted commenting on this subject because it’s such a tar baby (and NO, that’s NOT a subtle racial slur).

However, I keep hearing the same numbers being regurgitated over and over and over again.

Here is MY take on them.

It is said that “70%” of the population wants “health insurance/care reform” and elected President Obama & Congress to enact sweeping “change”.

I agree.

???

Allow me to clarify:

I agree that 20% of the population has NO insurance, and they want insurance.

I also agree that the 20% includes a significant amount of younger people who simply choose not to pay for insurance they could have, because they choose to bet that they don’t really need it.

However, for the sake of this discussion, let’s say that the oft-quoted 20% figure is totally made up of completely helpless folks who do not have a choice in the matter.

That still leaves 50% of the population who have insurance yet still want health insurance reform.

I’d guess that part of that 50% are people such as myself who empathize with those who have no care, even though I have what I think is one of the best health care plans in the world.

It also includes some people who could afford to subsidize the health care costs of someone else.

We know that many people send “just $20.00 a month” to feed and/or educate the poor and starving children of the world, and by now there could have been a successful movement to send “just $20.00 a month” to collectively provide health insurance for an American citizen who has none.

However, that’s just a bit too close to home for the comfort zone of many people.

Besides, most people have greater faith in relief societies in 3rd-World countries than they have in the insurance industry and hospitals and health care providers of the U.S.

You know how the spokesperson for the relief organizations will tell you that “85 cents out of every dollar is spent on direct aid to ‘your child’”?

With the U.S. health care system, those figures would likely be reversed, and who wants to spend one dollar for the sake of someone else’s health care insurance if they know that only 15 cents out of that dollar will be applied to the actual health care needs of that person?

But, again, for the sake of this discussion, let’s simply say that the 50% of the population that has health care insurance wants to see their own plan fixed.

There’s the rub.

Those people do, honestly, want Health Care/Insurance Reform.

However, that means different things to different people, and most of their concerns are very personal.

They want their doctor to be able to provide care without HMO approval.

Will the health care “reform” being debated improve their plans in that respect?

Doubt it.

More likely the HMO will simply be replaced with a bureaucracy who will allow or deny such requests from the health care provider.

I don’t know about you, but as hard as it is to deal with an HMO (a company), I’d rather be dealing with them then a government bureaucracy.

At least with the HMO you do have some ultimate legal leverage, should you be willing to go that route.

I could list other specific reasons that people want health care reform, but the bottom line seems to be “I don’t like what ‘I’m’ getting and I want ‘My’ plan to be forced to treat me better by the federal government”.

So, you have 70% of the population wanting health care reform, but most of them NOT having altruistic motives for such change.

Congress has been getting THAT message from its constituents for a while now, and the media has delivered the same message to President Obama.

Has anyone published figures on how many protesting calls, letters and emails have been sent to The White House?

So, let’s look at these numbers from a different perspective:

30% of the American people DO NOT want health care/insurance reform.

50% of the American people DO NOT want the health care/insurance reforms being suggested by The President and Congress.

So, spin the numbers all you like.

Well over 50% of the population does not support current proposed legislation, even though most of them voted for some type of change.

However, do not loose hope.

The Supreme Court will certainly change the system for us.

After all, isn’t that where all the REAL legislation is coming from these days?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.