Category: Changing Times

May 16, 2016
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Pleading Ignorance

Pleading Ignorance

Recent events got me to pondering the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Neither is in short supply. The good news is that one is fixable. Despite a lack of formal training, I consider myself to be an expert on ignorance and stupidity. Life has taught me all I need to know. Decades of observations and more than fifty years of practice and personal experience inform my thinking. Ignorance is about a lack of information, and therefore; fixable. I am ignorant about poisonous insects of the tropical rain forest. Should I ever plan a trip to the tropics, however, you can be sure I’ll read up on the subject. Be stupid not to, right? I’m also ignorant about quantum physics, string theory, combustible engines, …

Apr 11, 2016
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on The Curse of Complexity

The Curse of Complexity

Nothing is simple any longer. Nearly everything is infinitely more complicated than was the case twenty or thirty years ago. Hardly a day goes by without an encounter with something complex enough to make my head explode. Take my medical flexible spending account — please. Tax-free dollars are transferred with each paycheck to an account I access with a debit card to pay for medical expenses. But any time I use the damn thing to pay a doctor bill, I get an email message telling me to upload receipts or the charge will be denied. Wait a minute. We’re talking about charges made at a doctor’s office — like me and my doctors have a big scam going to steal my money! The …

Feb 29, 2016
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Total Assimilation

Total Assimilation

Attitudes about homosexuality have changed much faster than I ever expected. In the 1950s and 1960s, mothers worried about protecting their children from homosexual pedophiles. Today, they’re card carrying members of P-FLAG. Sixty years ago, homosexuality was illegal in every state but Illinois. Until 1974, the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality to be a mental illness. In 1975, the federal government lifted a ban on the hiring of homosexuals. Fast forward to 2015 when the Supreme Court decided gays and lesbians have the right to Equal rights and widespread public acceptance of LGBT folks are good things. Kids come out as gay, lesbian, and transgender at younger and younger ages. Understanding is growing that gender, gender identity, and sexual preference are …

Dec 28, 2015
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Out with the Old

Out with the Old

‘Tis the season to reflect on 2015. I’ve had better years, but to be fair, I’ve also had worse. To put a rather challenging year in perspective, my thoughts turn to where I’ve been, where I am right now, and where I want to go. As Dr. Phil says, “How’s that (the way you live your life) working for you?” My end-of-year “life assessments” are like the performance appraisals I get at work — without all the forms, anxiety, or dread. This last post of 2015 is about the things I want to leave behind. Complacency. When I reach my destination, I get comfortable, put my feet up, and relax. Whether I like it or not, things change. Resistance is futile and counterproductive. Life is about the journey — …

Dec 21, 2015
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Ice Cream Memories

Ice Cream Memories

I’m lucky. A hand-cranked freezer is the star of my first ice cream memory. I’d eaten the store-bought version before, but making our own ice cream was a special occasion. Vanilla was the norm, augmented sometimes with strawberries, peaches, or bananas. Licking the paddles was the reward for helping with the cranking. Sometimes — not very often — Dad took us out for ice cream. Whether soft-serve or hand-dipped, he always got a banana split. I got a cone. Chocolate chip was my favorite, but I liked vanilla or chocolate almost as much. We had Mr. Softee back then — a mobile ice cream shop with soft-serve ice cream and other frozen treats. I became addicted. When the truck came down …

Dec 07, 2015
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on The Party Scene

The Party Scene

Partying is a part of growing up. At some point, most people go through a party phase. A few souls avoid the party scene all together, but most people take at least a short tour. Some never leave. The party scene revolves around alcohol, music, and sex. Drugs have always been around, but didn’t become mainstream until maybe the Sixties. Things have changed a lot since then. I smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol before I was old enough to drive a car. I added marijuana to the mix in college. A few months later, I lost my virginity. Within a year, I’d figured out I was gay. My friends and I went out six nights a week, only because nothing was open on Sundays. We’d hang out before …

Nov 23, 2015
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on No Tipping?

No Tipping?

The latest trend in upscale dining is to do away with tipping. Instead, fine dining establishments say they will pay staff a respectable wage. Of course, they’ll also jack prices up by twenty percent or more to cover the cost of higher wages. Many moons ago, I waited tables. For more than a decade, I pasted a smile on my face and did my best to please often surly customers. Although I did my time in a dive or two, most of the restaurants where I worked were high end. For much of that time, the money I made waiting tables was my only source of income. I was paid $2.01 an hour (eventually it went up to $2.10) without any …

Nov 13, 2015
By Michael Rupured

My Work Here is Done

My dear friend has been in rehab for almost five months now. After 90 days in the program, he earns a four-day pass every month. For both his October and November passes, he came to stay with me. Given the way things turned out in the weeks he stayed with me prior to entering rehab, I was anxious about his first visit. He’s doing great, but I’m a horrible cop, and was afraid of what might happen. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. The program he’s in is run by the residents. He got on the kitchen team in the second month, and by the third had been promoted to kitchen crew leader — one of only three crew leaders at …

Nov 02, 2015
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on A Real Time Change

A Real Time Change

Over the weekend we switched back to Standard Time. Few things mess with my head more than a time change. Frankly, setting the clock up or back does little more than piss me off.  Everyone talks about gaining or losing an hour. Whatever. In the end, we still have just twenty-four hours in a day. No matter how you cut it,twenty-four hours just isn’t enough time for everything I want to do. Forget shifting things around an hour. I’m ready for a time change I can believe in — one that magically results in a few extra hours every day. Not having to work would help. Don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful for a job I still love. But if I had enough …

Sep 21, 2015
By Michael Rupured
Comments Off on Home-Grown Tomatoes

Home-Grown Tomatoes

The older I get, the more I appreciate the taste of a good, home-grown tomato. Back in Kentucky the plants went in the ground toward the middle of May with hopes the first fruit would ripen by the Fourth of July. Without buying big plants or cherry tomatoes, the first ripe tomato rarely appear before the end of July. Within a week or two everyone I knew had baskets of tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers they couldn’t eat. My first summer in Georgia I had a Kentucky-style tomato harvest. Coworkers and neighbors welcomed the surplus. That was almost twenty years ago. Since then, thanks to deer, drought and/or excessive heat,  I’ve had precious little luck growing them. A few years ago, I bought a …

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