Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just Before Midnight desperation of Awaiting the New Year

There is no desperation like the desperation of single adult individuals still awake at 11:45 p.m. December 31 as they ponder whether it could mean "bad luck" for them if they were, in fact, completely alone at midnight.

"Might it be a 'good omen' for me if I were to drive to the nearest restaurant or nightclub or bar that's open at midnight, and at least go through the motions of expressing camaraderie toward everyone who happens to be there at midnight?"

However, many or most or all of those persons are complete strangers. Merely smiling at complete strangers at midnight, as the New Year suddenly arrives, can feel about as superficial as declaring that "because we as consumers chose the same business establishment tonight, this proves that our affinity for each other is deep and profound."

Furthermore, many of the other persons gathered at the same business establishment as yourself in order to celebrate the New Year are, in fact, inebriated. Meeting someone who is drunk at the time is much less likely to result in a lasting friendship---much less a coherent conversation with that person---than if you meet someone who is sober and cheerful and conversationally compatible with you on an in-person basis.

The New Year's celebration also invites inevitable speculation about what percentage of the persons who appear to be the most ecstatic at 12:01 a.m. as the New Year arrives, will, in fact, be waking up with painful hangovers later that morning. And those hangovers all over America may well be the more telling metaphor from it all: the sense of a nationwide hangover from destructive public policies and individuals' destructive lifestyle choices (addiction to illicit drugs and to tattooing and to profane speech, for instance) that rears its ugly head a matter of hours after the seeming collective harmony and gleefulness at midnight.

Whistle-Blowing State Legislators Deserve Cash Prize

I would love to see the day when a $50,000 cash prize is automatically awarded to each and every state legislator in Texas who during the most recent previous or current legislative session filed a legal complaint with a law-enforcement agency that resulted in the criminal-law felony conviction of at least one other state legislator.

Each and every vigilant and courageously "whistle-blowing" state legislator who earns that honorable award deserves a hero's reception throughout our entire state, such as through a "Grand Tour of Texas" that might be accorded to each such noble state lawmaker.

Each Texas legislator earning an award of that type has made a very noble public statement to the entire world that "I, as an honorable and law-abiding and honest member of the Texas Legislature, refuse to commit the crime of complicity in which I would have pretended to myself be innocently unaware of the shocking crimes committed by other state lawmakers here in Austin."

"Had I as a state lawmaker withheld from law-enforcement agencies in Austin in 2009 this alarming criminal-law evidence I had myself been privy to about another state legislator, regardless of that legislator's political or religious beliefs or affiliation, or whether I have myself admired or liked that fellow state legislator in the past, I would have myself been flagrantly and shockingly guilty of perpetuating the appalling tradition of widespread corruption in our Texas Legislature---a tradition of disgraceful conduct in our state's chief governing body that has insidiously undermined this state's credibility and integrity for decades."

Need to Strengthen Red-Grapefruit Industry in Texas

One of my favorite statistics about Texas is the total number of acres of cropland devoted to commercial grapefruit production in the Lone Star State.

Unfortunately, I do not currently know that statistic. However, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to obtain an estimate on how many total acres of cropland or farmland in Texas are, in fact, devoted to grapefruit production.

I would particularly like to learn the statistic on the total number of acres of farmland in Texas where Rio Red and Ruby Red grapefruits are being raised commercially.

Also, how does that statistic compare with five years ago, 10 years ago, or 20 years ago?
Is there evidence that urban sprawl in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas is posing a threat to the grapefruit-growing industry in that region of our state?

Whenever I drink the delicious and vitamin-rich red-grapefruit juice produced in Texas, I find myself wondering why the Texas Legislature apparently has not pursued additional public-policy actions to adequately protect and strengthen what is clearly one of our finest agricultural industries in all of Texas.

At the very least, I am hopeful that the 2009 Texas Legislature will hold "Ruby Red Grapefruit Hearings."

At those hearings, Legislators can diligently explore current and expected threats to the Ruby-Red Grapefruit and Rio-Red Grapefruit Industry in Texas. That information will enable Legislators in Austin to develop new legislation to protect and strengthen that vital and healthful industry for our state.

Lawmakers should file charges vs. unethical lobbyists

The convening of the next session of the Texas Legislature in January of 2009 brings with it an inevitable question:

Which state legislator of Texas, if any, will actually succeed at preventing any and all lobbyists for special-interest groups from compromising the moral integrity of that lawmaker over the course of the 2009 legislative session in Austin.

If any such state legislator is ever publicly identified that way, I am very hopeful that that state elective official will be willing to hold a press conference.

The theme of that press conference will be: "How I Protected My Morals During the Legislative Session of 2009 as numerous unscrupulous lobbyists attempted to bribe me and seduce me."

One question that I hope this admirable state legislator will be willing to answer at that press conference is as follows:

"If in fact you as a state legislator directly obtained criminal-law evidence during the 2009 Legislative Session that one or more lobbyists sought to involve you in illegal bribes or other illegal activities, please tell us about the criminal-law charges or civil-law lawsuits that you definitely will be filing tomorrow in a court of law in Austin, Texas, against that unethical lobbyist or those unethical lobbyists."

Indoor Gardening Makes Winter More Bearable

One way to cheer yourself up during the winter season is to create a "mini-garden" inside your own home or apartment unit or condominium unit during the winter season.
Even if your indoor "mini-garden" consists of just one potted plant situated near your front window sill, that one botanical plant can add some beautiful greenery and boost your morale.
The indoor potted plant during the winter season can be even more morale-lifting if it has a pleasant fragrance to it.
I am currently pursuing factual research to identify as many of the indoor botanical plants I can that have pleasantly-fragrant leaves and offer an attractive scent throughout the entire room where that plant is being raised indoors.
After I obtain a list of botanical indoor plants that smell good from 10 or 15 or 20 feet away, say, I will then publicize those botanical plant names through this blog.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How to Identify a True Gentleman in America Today

Whenever I observe a true gentleman, I find myself wondering which magazine he subscribes to that instills in him his sense of gentility.

Is that publication "Gentleman's Quarterly," or some publication I don't know about?

Among the values and conduct traits that I believe a true gentleman should have are:

--good hygiene, including a devotion to facial cleanshavenness, which is more hygienic than a beard or mustache or goatee would have been.

---a sense of honor and integrity and devotion to others' well-being so great that he insists on providing any prospective mutual-consent romantic partner of himself with fully up-to-date and fully reliable medical test results from the most recent six-month period---medical test results citing that gentleman's true legal name and birthdate---which state that he is both HIV-negative and has no other sexually transmitted diseases.

---a sense of honor so great that he habitually states his actual first name and his actual last name whenever he introduces himself to another person, including in a social context involving a complete stranger.

--an admirable devotion to taking good care of himself, which involves such lifestyle practices as getting enough sleep at night, and who therefore invites comments from others such as, "He obviously takes very good care of himself, and looks quite young for his age."

--wise avoidance of overtly self-destructive or destructive activities such as rock climbing or sky jumping or sado-masochistic practices involving violence, the true gentleman having a strong sense of his being benevolent and of his being someone who wants to protect his own ability to have a full life in which he can befriend others in person for as many years as he possibly can.

--good posture.

--a sublimeness of facial expression that is accompanied by a warm and sincere smile toward others.

--a generosity and kindness toward others, the true gentleman being someone who frequently offers sincere words of praise to many of the acquaintances of his life, and to each of the current mutual-consent friends of his life.

--a firm policy against bluntly and cruelly responding to cited concerns or cited problems of mutual-consent personal friends of his by saying to that friend, "That's your problem." The true gentleman always and very honorably indicates to his personal friends that he himself has a desire to be helpful to them, even if the true gentleman does not know which advice or assistance he should or could offer to his friend at that particular time.

--a generosity in helping to promote his mutual-consent friends in their own career-related pursuits, this being part of the chivalry and valor associated with a true gentleman.

--an enthusiastic willingness to meet any mutual-consent friend for lunch or dinner or breakfast or tea and conversation, and if for some reason the true gentleman is not able to make the particular time cited, he politely contacts his friend well in advance of the scheduled time and insists on arranging another convenient time for meeting his mutual-consent personal friend in that social-outing context.

--a willingness to receive telephone calls and letters or E-mail correspondence from any and all of his mutual-consent friends on a year-round basis, a true gentleman being someone who naturally wishes to generously extend this kind of "Open Door Policy" toward any and all of his mutual-consent friends (though the true gentleman may for privacy-rights reasons reasonably request that one or more of his mutual-consent personal friends should please contact him in advance before knocking on the front door of his own private residence).

--a consistent policy of never hanging up or slamming down his end of the phone line in the middle of a personal conversation with a mutual-consent friend or mutual-consent friendly acquaintance, the true gentleman being very devoted to the value of politeness and empathy at all times.

--a profound sense of devotion to others, so much so that if a true gentleman is involved in a mutual-consent and lasting romantic relationship, the romantic partner of that true gentleman states admiringly, "He treats me like a friend, too, and he is a good listener who is admirably empathetic toward me. I also love the fact that as a true friend of mine, he strongly supports my own Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Association, and privacy rights, and he boosts my overall self-confidence as a human being. He is never censorious toward me, and he helps to increase my options in life as a human being. I'm definitely a lot more confident and a lot happier for being in a mutual-consent romantic relationship with this true gentleman."

--the ability to communicate to virtually everyone he encounters the profound message that "this particular gentleman has a strong and sublimely joyous sense of having a platonically admirable mission in my life."

---patience and personability and fairness toward individuals, the true gentleman being someone who appears to have all the time in the world for any individual with whom he chooses to speak or have an involvement with in person.

--a consistent refusal to ever state to a mutual-consent friend of his, "You are boring me" or "your comments are not interesting to me" or "your contributions to this conversation are weak, in my opinion." A true gentleman never once tells a mutual-consent friend of his that the friend's comments to himself are grounds for yawning. Nor does a true gentleman ever pose as the judge issuing a verdict about whether his friend's words to himself had been "dull" or "boring" or "shows how ignorant and stupid you are." Tactfulness and a constructiveness of style toward his mutual-consent friends are among the noble attributes of a true gentleman.

---a healthy skepticism toward "Playboy" magazine, the true gentleman being a keen observer of life who notes that the word "love," for instance, is almost never found in the pages of "Playboy" magazine, and the true gentleman (unlike Playboys) is almost never described by others as being "lewd" or "vulgar" or "obscene" or "promiscuous," a healthy selectivity and discernment and wholesomeness and elegance of style being very commendable attributes of true gentlemen.

---a keen awareness by a true gentleman that human identity is not primarily sexual in nature, and that specific conduct traits and other empirically observable personal traits other than the sexual activity per se (is the person being evaluated law-abiding and conscientious and honest and uses clean language and has a pleasant sense of humor, for instance), are, in fact, the primary traits and criteria that define whether a human being is admirable and worthy of inclusion in one's own life, or, in other cases, a person to lawfully and in a civil manner exclude from one's own life.

---a devotion to dressing in a fashionably philanthropic manner, a true gentleman being someone who eschews wearing T-shirts that contain profane language or racial epithets, for instance.

---a concern about the perceptions of others on the part of the true gentleman helps explain why, when interacting with someone whom the true gentleman believes might possibly suspect him himself of being prejudiced against that individual, the true gentleman is doubly mindful of being polite and helpful and conscientious toward the individual in question, and of offering a sincerely warm smile throughout that human interaction, and of thereby effectively addressing that perceived prejudice issue in a straightfoward and decent and courageous manner.

---a devotion to great and wholesome fraternal values that call to mind the "Brotherly Love" tradition of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, along with the observation that "this gentleman is so admirable and fine that he's a Gentleman's Kind of Gentleman."

--a refusal to look upon other individuals as a "means toward an end," with the true gentleman reflecting the fine philosophical teachings of German philosopher Kant in that way. Partly because of his lack of exploitativeness toward others, the true gentleman is almost never described as being someone "who took advantage of" another human being.

--a very high capacity for platonic (nonsexual) enjoyment of a wide range of persons, the true gentleman being very aware that 99 percent or more of the most heartfelt personal relationships in life are, in fact, platonic (nonsexual) in nature for that gentleman.

---a healthy aversion toward the societal malaise of sexaholism, or the pathological addiction to indiscriminate and very frequent sexual involvements with a wide variety of "romantic partners," that is exhibited by many other male adult persons.

--an honorable devotion to promptly honoring verbalized rejections of that same gentleman by anyone else, the true gentleman being someone with a very healthy aversion toward stalkers and toward stalking.

--composure and civility, and consistency of politeness, a true gentleman being someone who almost never participates in fist-fights, and who finds a law-abiding, honorable means of asserting his own point of view with others or defending his legal rights in regard to those who seek to harm himself.

--devotion to a law-abiding lifestyle so diligent that the true gentleman is willing to share his own criminal-history record---a legal document applicable to all adult American citizens, even if that document cites no allegations and no convictions---with any prospective personal friend or any prospective romantic partner who would like to review that legal document.

--devotion to the outlook that most of life's relationships can be symbiotic or mutually-beneficial in nature, the true gentleman being very generous in sharing information with those whom he directly agrees to befriend.

--skepticism toward the outlook of all to many male adult persons that "life is primarily a competition or contest in which the winner takes all," it not being crucial to anyone's own self-esteem or quality of life to achieve a first-place finish in every contest. Also, a true gentleman exercises selectivity in regard to which competitions he chooses to compete.

Furthermore, each male adult person has distinctive needs and distinctive attributes as a human being, and those male adult persons with a competitive mindset often fail to adequately acknowledge the talents and contributions and distinctive strengths of others.

--devotion to fostering elegance and elan in his and others' lives.

--consistent use of clean language, a true gentleman exhibiting a healthy aversion toward the profane-speech syndrome societal malaise found in all too many Hollywood movies of today.

---abstention from participation in verbal harassment of and abusive shouting at others, the true gentleman being someone who feels his own presence and devotion to civility to be so strong that he can, as President Theodore Roosevelt once advised in another context, "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

---wholesome restraint with alcohol, and, of course, a wise gentlemanly rejection of any and all tobacco products and a very wise gentlemanly rejection of any and all illicit drugs.

---devotion to voice modulation and voice intonation in everyday speech.

--a sincerity of speech, accompanied by a gentlemanly disdain toward glibness or use of verbal shorthand, an example of verbal shorthand being the modern glibtalk word "veggie," when "vegetable" or "vegetarian" are generally preferable terms to a true gentleman.

---a consistent naturalness and elegance of self-expression, including through one's body language, the true gentleman being someone who generally eschews artificial and unsightly and "body language" such as nose-rings, tongue-rings, as tattoos, for instance, and a true gentleman notes with concern that tattos, for instance, have caused dermatological and other medical problems for those agreeing to have their own body tattooed.

-- a consistently law-abiding and honorable and privacy-rights-respectful style.

---devotion to law-and-order and law-enforcement and prosecution of criminals, the true gentleman being someone who does not wince or shed a tear when he reads a news story about a convicted killer who was, in fact, capitally punished by court order after a fair trial by jury that defendant had attended in person in the United States of America.

--an adamant refusal to ever shoot his finger (or "shoot the bird," as it is sometimes called) as an expression of contempt toward others, the true gentleman being someone who never exhibits abusive and vulgar "road rage," for instance, while driving a motor vehicle.

--a noble style behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle that involves consistency of driving within the speed limit and consistency of politeness toward other motorists.

---a capacity for self-critical awareness, which enhances a true gentleman's admirable empathy toward others.

---a capacity for self-awareness and rumination, which is reflected in the true gentleman's custom of keeping a personal journal or diary on a year-round basis.

-- vigilance and alertness in noting evidence of illegal conduct by others, and a courageous devotion to reporting evidence of illegal conduct by others to a law-enforcement agency.

-- good locution, including good voice modulation and vocal intonation.

-- a philanthropic and optimistic style, a true gentleman being someone who keeps a "potential new friends" list on a year-round basis, and who generally avoids keeping an "enemies list," any display of vindictiveness toward law-abiding and honest and privacy-rights-respectful opponents or critics of oneself, being generally avoided by the true gentleman.

--a devotion to holding doors open for other men as well as for women, and for any and all youths as well.

---a refusal by the true gentleman to take out his frustrations on and hurl false accusations at women or persons younger than the true gentleman, the true gentleman being very aware that lesser men than he generally tend to take out their frustrations on and exploit women and persons younger than himself. The true gentleman is someone who is never described by others as being a "Sugar Daddy" figure who allegedly victimizes and subjugates persons significantly younger in age than himself. In fact, younger persons who become acquainted with a true gentleman invariably indicate to others that "I feel more confident as a human being, and I feel more ambitious as a human being, for having become acquainted with himself."

---a devotion to pursuing philosophical reflections.

--valor in befriending others.

-- a disdain toward any participation in anonymous communications, a true gentleman being someone who feels personally accountable for any and all statements that he verbalizes to others.

--a refusal to participate in pranks or fraudulent communications or practical jokes or "surprise parties" that could be injurious to or emotionally upsetting to another person, the true gentleman being admirable for his consistency of straightfowardness and moral straightness toward others.

-- a sense of humor, which conveys a gentlemanly capacity to respond to setbacks and crises with magnanimity and determined optimism.

-- a strong and admirable sense of being a very important person at all times, regardless of the perceptions of others and regardless of one's income level or the position of employment one currently holds.

-- a particular devotion to being kind and generous toward children, persons under age 30, and toward mothers raising children inside that family's home.

-- devotion to preventing excessive urban sprawl within one's urban area, urban sprawl being an anti-social, messy and chaotic and unsightly, energy-wasteful, and ungentlemanly intrusion upon the wilderness and upon farmers' and ranchers' lands that is abhorrent to a true gentleman.
The rapacity of commercial real-estate developers who practice urban sprawl is among the societal malaises that poses a major concern to a true gentleman.

--devotion to year-round participation in natural-resource recycling, the true gentleman being very committed to helping protect the supply of natural resources available to any and all future generations of Americans, including the children of today who will be our nation's future parents and political leaders.

---devotion to making financial donations, however modest the amount, to non-profit philanthropy organizations of one's choosing that are aimed at helping to improve the quality of life for many people.

Emotional Benefit from Hearing Voice Modulation

One psychological study I would like to see conducted would be a study to determine the emotional effect and effect on various persons' blood pressure levels from their listening to voice modulation and vocal intonation from a clean-talking gentleman with a pleasant voice who has never himself been addicted to tobacco products.

It is obvious to me that listening to a pleasantly-modulated and genial gentlemanly voice has a cheerful and calming effect on myself as a listener.

Unfortunately, though, ours is an era when the great value of voice modulation and vocal intonation are all too often deliberately defied by speakers.

Also, the percentage of adult American men who call to mind the word "gentleman" in descriptions of them is, unfortunately, far lower than it should be.

Re-Examination of U.S. Holiday Traditions Is Urged

The rapidly dwindling fossil fuel supplies and growing concerns about the Global Warming Effect environmental crisis have prompted me to wonder whether Holiday-Season lights displays in front of private residences should be discouraged.

Those Holiday-Season lights displays are consuming lots of electricity and costing homeowners lots of money during a period in which most private citizens throughout this nation are financially strapped because of the incipient economic depression in the United States.

It also seems to me that the traditional American New Year Celebration fireworks displays, which involve the manufacture of what are undeniably frivolous items, are very wasteful of natural resources and energy.

The future of American society should rightfully be one in which an environmentally-protective Progressive Puritanism will reign in this country. That neo-Puritanical tradition of the 21st Century will reflect the greatest qualities of the Puritan leadership in New England several centuries ago.

As for those who say that Christmas lights in front of one's residence help to cheer up one's children during the Holiday Season, I would like to offer a polite response.

Parents could find other, energy-saving, means of delighting and entertaining their children during the Holiday Season. Parents could make a point of accompanying their children to wholesome live-theater stage productions, for instance.

Those wholesome live-theater performances, featuring clean language throughout, could help to instill in children a sense of the pageantry and sparkle of the Holiday Season without exacerbating our nation's and world's energy crisis and environmental crisis.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Realignment of American Economy Is Crucial

I hope that President Obama early in his Administration will find the courage and incisiveness to insist on an honorable and salutary re-alignment of the American economy.

I am referring to an urgently-needed and federally-sponsored alteration of our American economy that will:

---significantly reduce the role of the illicit-drug industry in the United States;
---significantly reduce the role of the sexual prostitution industry in the United States;
--significantly reduce the role of the tattoo-parlor industry in the United States;
---significantly reduce the role of the hard-liquor industry in the United States;
---significantly reduce the role of the tobacco industry in the United States;
---significantly reduce the role of gratuitously-violent "entertainment" industry, a widespread perversion of the "entertainment" industry that's dedicated to the proposition that Americans are sadists who enjoy watching others suffer;
---significantly reduce the role of the frivolous-products industry that produces manufactured goods that have little or no redeeming societal value, and, in most cases, that involve a significant amount of pollution and hazardous-wastes resulting from manufacture or consumer usage or disposal of that product.

The proposed and urgently-needed realignment of our nation's economy would, on the other hand, result in a massive increase in the following salutary private-sector industries:
---the private sector energy-efficient and environment-friendly mass-transportation industry;
---the private sector energy-efficient and environment-friendly personal transportation industry;
---the private sector new-inventions industry;
----the private-sector energy-conservation industry;
---the private-sector natural-resources conservation industry;
---the private sector glass, aluminum, paper, and plastics, recycling industry;
---the private-sector recyclables-pickup services industry;
----the private sector recycling-technology development industry;
---the private sector land-conservation industry;
---the private sector lifelong-education industry;
---the private-sector educational literature industry;
---the private sector alcohol-treatment, tobacco-treatment, and illicit-drug-treatment industries;
---the private sector fruit juices and tea industries;
---the private sector lifelong-sports industry;
---the private sector crime-prevention industry, for instance.

Need for worldwide New Year's Resolutions Website

On behalf of the continual goal of self-improvement that individual human beings throughout the entire world are striving for, I would like to propose the establishment of a special new website.

That new website would be exclusively dedicated to inviting submissions from individuals anywhere in the world who wish to share with the entire world one or more New Year's Resolutions that they have come up with for themselves on an individual basis.

One of my own personal New Year's Resolutions, relating to a very important career-related goal for myself, is a resolution I have recently written and shared on the Internet with my fellow Stephen F. Austin High School (a school of Austin Independent School District in Austin, Texas) alumni at the website

Research Center for Interrelationships of Body Organs

I am very hopeful that some non-profit foundation will agree with me on the urgent need for establishment of a new medical research center somewhere in the world that:

exclusively studies and publicizes information about the medical-health effects on the body resulting from the the relationships between, and inter-dependence between, various organs of the body.

I am also hopeful that the proposed new Center for the Study of Inter-Relationships Among Bodily Organs, or some similarly named research institute, will sponsor the publication of an annually updated encyclopedia or medical guide exclusively focused on that very topic.

I have been fascinated in recent years to learn more (this from my leisuretime readings about medicine and conversations I've had with medical physicians and dentists) about the relationship between dental health and cardiovascular health, for instance. From what I have recently read in Austin, Texas, high blood pressure is often manifested through bleeding gums being observed when one brushes one's teeth at night.

Also intriguing to me is the sign posted inside the examining room of the medical clinic in Austin, Texas, where my primary-care physician is employed. That sign asks any and all cited diabetic patients to please remove their shoes and socks before being examined by a doctor there.

Until I recently learned about this here in Austin, Texas, I myself had never been aware that evidence of diabetes, and about its harmful effects on the entire body, can be identified by a physician through an examination of a patient's feet.

I am convinced that most Americans, myself among them, remain ignorant about the many very important ---- and potentially life-threatening ---- inter-relationships among the various bodily organs.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Restaurants should offer large-print menus for seniors

When I dine out in restaurants, I occasionally feel a bit saddened to sense that many of the senior citizens dining there find it very difficult to read and comprehend the contents of the menu.

"The type size used on this restaurant's menu is much too small for me to read," as a senior citizen customer might understandably complain to a dining companion inside a restaurant in Austin. "This entire menu here is like Greek to me; and I was not among those who ever studied Greek."

At the very least, I personally feel that many of these restaurants with difficult-to-read menus should offer senior-citizen customers the option of a large-print, easy-to-read version of the menu.

In this way, a restaurant in Texas can promulgate its earnest desire to be as customer-friendly and accommodating as possible toward persons of all ages---including an 80-year-old diner who complains that attempting to decipher the meaning of the fine print found on restaurant menus of today in our state is a baffling, mind-boggling, confusing, bewildering, and humiliating experience for that senior citizen.

"At the very least, restaurants with small-print menu should provide all senior citizen customers here with magnifying glasses that they can use at their dining table to attempt to figure out what that very complicated and cryptic menu is actually offering as actual menu-order options," an 80-year-old diner might well point out in a polite signed letter to the Austin-based Texas Restaurant Association.

Need for More Research about Aromatherapy

As intrigued as I am by aromatherapy, I inevitably ask myself whether there is any risk that inhaling the pollutants in the air resulting from burning oils or incense inside one's residence, could possibly cause lung cancer or some other medical problem.

It seems to me that there may be a need for additional medical-science research about possible harmful effects from aromatherapy.

Also, maybe there is a need for greater clarification, with help from further research, about the types of aromatherapy that apparently do NOT involve any risk of sustaining any harmful medical side-effects.

The subject of aromatherapy has been on my mind lately as I search for the "perfect" indoor botanical plant----a plant with leaves so fragrant that even when the plant is not in bloom, that plant will serve as a naturally healthful indoor deodorizer inside my residence on a year-round basis.

That type of delightfully fragrant indoor plant will also spare me the financial expense of ever having to myself purchase any air-freshener spray or other deodorizer for my residence.

Aromatherapy has been in the media lately, partly because Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz has reportedly told the American news media that she is very keen on aromatherapy in her own life. I do not know, though, exactly what Cameron Diaz's aromatherapy consists of inside her private residence.

So far, Cameron Diaz is apparently the only famous person of today of whom I'm aware who fervently extols the virtues of practicing aromatherapy inside one's private residence.

Value of a "Favorite Wise Sayings" Computer file

One of my all-time favorite maxims is wonderfully succinct:
"Never despair."
That pithy philosophical observation comes from the Roman writer Horace.
Another favorite quote of mine comes from the late U.S. Presidential Candidate Adlai Stevenson of Illinois: "Self-criticism is the secret weapon of a democracy."
If I establish a computer file that is exclusively for favorite wise sayings by others that I have encountered in my life, this will encourage me to add to that "favorite quotations" file on a year-round basis.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How to Avoid Attending a Cocaine Party

One guideline for living: If you are invited to a leisuretime party by an acquaintance or coworker of yours, you might want to ask at that time what the motif or theme or featured activity at the party will be.

I still wince when I recall the occasion in the mid-1980s when an erudite, highly intelligent, "New Yorker" literary magazine devotee, herself a female single adult coworker of mine at "The Patriot Ledger" daily newspaper in Quincy, Mass., in a seemingly friendly manner invited me to attend a party with her that was being hosted by a male friend of hers in north Quincy, she said.

Upon arriving at the party inside a private apartment unit with that female coworker of mine, I was immediately greeted by a bald Anglo man who identified himself as being the party host. He then asked me if I would like to partake of some free cocaine that he was offering to all of his guests at that cocaine-theme party in north Quincy.

I politely declined, and experienced considerable shock and politely conveyed revulsion and civilly-stated alienation on my part about the theme of this particular party, and about the party host himself, a prematurely aged single adult male person who was observed by me consuming the very illicit drug that he was offering to everyone else at his party.

I left the party within 20 minutes of entering the party site, very relieved myself to be liberated from the presence of any cocaine in my life. I believe that my female coworker, who stated to me that she was herself very comfortable with the cocaine-consumption activities, remained at the party with her male party-host friend on her own volition.

Fortunately for me, that was the very last party I ever attended at which any cocaine was consumed by anyone attending that party. And, needless to mention, I myself have never once consumed any cocaine on any occasion in my entire life; nor would I ever do so, under any circumstance.

Prior to the party in north Quincy, Massachusetts, the subject of cocaine had previously been identified to me in a surprising context also relating to very same daily newspaper employer of mine, "The Patriot Ledger," a Quincy, Mass.-member of the New England Daily Newspaper Association.

One day in 1985, I made a leisuretime phone call from my Beacon Hill efficiency apartment unit in Boston, Massachusetts, to the private residence of one of my veteran copy-editor coworkers, an apparently friendly fellow by the first name of Peter ---- a heavyset older man who had identified himself as being a former English professor at Rutgers College in New Jersey.

In that leisuretime telephone conversation, Peter declared, "Your coworkers at 'The Patriot Ledger' daily newspaper all think you (John Kevin McMillan) are very strange, since you don't know the meaning of the term 'freebasing cocaine' (exact quote) when you encounter that term while proofreading stories for this newspaper" (approximate quote). "Everyone else at 'The Patriot Ledger' is very familiar with the concept of freebasing cocaine. You're perceived by your coworkers as being very naive and out of touch with the modern reality, John."

If I were A Child Again

If I were a child in the year 2008, I might:
---Keep in mind at all times that education is truly a lifelong process, and that the most difficult educational challenge occurs in the years after I have graduated from high school or college, when I have to develop my own lifelong education strategy for myself without guidance from a textbook, and without any assignments from a "teacher."
---keep a daily or near-daily personal journal entry;
--Write my first "resume" or "vita" about myself at some point during my elementary-school years. I could keep that personal resume on file in my computer system inside my family's residence, with myself updating my personal "resume" every year. Among the activities or accomplishments I could cite in my personal resume in elementary school might be:
(a) Excels at jump-roping or skipping rope, and Won First Place in a Jump-Roping Contest at Eanes Elementary School of Eanes Independent School District in Westlake Hills, Texas.
(b) Excels at cooking.
(c) Excels at brewing fresh tea using loose-leaf tea.
(d) Excels at writing letters.
(e) Takes good care of each of the pets I help to raise, which include numerous ducks and chickens, one hamster, and a French poodle I'm currently helping to raise.
(f) Helps my mother and father to help prepare meals for my family.
(g) Excels at preparing and baking fresh loaves of bread, which I like to serve hot, with butter, to my friends and relatives.
(h) Maintains a nice collection of flags of nations of the world, including Greece and The United Kingdom (a lovely design on a cup of mine I keep on my desk at all times), inside the bedroom where I sleep at night.
(i) Pursues volunteer projects aimed to help others, including the volunteer work I've done at non-profit organizations where my mother is an active member.

---pay close attention to the harmful effect on my own interest in a subject that can occur if I have a conflict with my teacher. It is helpful to remind myself that even if I don't admire my teacher's style toward myself or toward the class, I should not allow that to hurt my ability to enjoy the subject itself. The field of science, for instance, should not be faulted merely because one of my science teachers at a particular grade level appeared to be less friendly than I would have wanted her to have been.
---Pursue hobbies that enhance my appreciation for the subjects I am studying in school. If I'm studying Texas history, for instance, I can start a hobby of collecting a variety of postcards with photographs of famous historic sites around Texas. If I'm studying science, I could ask my parents to help me rent or borrow from the library some science-theme educational films or audiotapes I could watch or listen to during my leisuretime inside our family's home.
---keep an ongoing permanent file of factual materials I obtain about each of my keenest cited platonic passions in life, with a file about such topics as "Sweden" and "tennis" and "table tennis" and "political humor" and "environmental protection," for instance;
----pay close attention to which genres of literature in the library, including genres of non-fiction literature, appeal to me the most. What might account for my particular affinity for that genre or subject area?
If I enjoy reading murder mysteries set in Great Britain, for instance, does this imply at age 13 that I value seeing a sense of tranquility and civility and tea-sipping restored to English life after the murderer who disrupted that tranquility and civility is finally exposed by an ingenious sleuth. If I enjoy reading about the ancient Greek religion during my grade-school years, does this suggest that I am intrigued by the opportunity that Athenians enjoyed to decide which of the various Greek deities those Greeks would most like to consult or honor on any given occasion.
---strive to imagine what my life will someday be like at age 30, 40, 50, or 60, say, and attempt to anticipate which hobbies and pastimes I would most like to pursue at each of those ages.
---keep an ongoing factual inventory of honorable skills and talents I had developed or honed, and strive to add to my skills and talents;
---be patient in each attempt at developing a new educational skill or career-related skill or hobby-related skill, since any forward progress on any of those skills is grounds for satisfaction at that stage in my life. Even a "baby step" forward with that skill for each year of my youth will offer me a sense of confidence with that skill in the foreseeable future.
---obtain a list of reputable educational tutors in my urban area, including summer-season tutors, who teach skills or topics I would like to either develop or learn more about;
---keep an ongoing file profiling each of the summer educational workshops and summer educational camps that appeal to me the most;
----keep a separate file containing factual materials and essays about each of the possible eventual career options that interest me the most;
----write a letter to some or several of the government officials and famous persons and writers and thinkers whose political values or religious values or public-policy priorities or ideas or pastimes or creative projects or personalities or personal styles appealed to me the most;
---whenever I identify someone as a "hero" to myself, I should make a point of reading biographies and biographical sketches and newspaper or magazine articles and other factual information about that hero of mine;
---clip out newspaper or magazine articles and jot down notes to myself relating to education-related and intellectual pursuits by each of the various favorite "heroes" of mine made. In this way, I will remind myself that successful people became that way partly because they pursued education with diligence and persistence.
----visit museums and libraries highlighting topics and persons who or that appeal to me the most;
----collect bibliographies about each of the wholesome subjects that intrigue me the most;
----find out which civic groups permit persons under age 18 or under age 21, say, to join as official dues-paying members, and do some research to find out which of the civic groups that hold meetings in my town are the most friendly and empathetic toward minors;
----keep a list of the questions I most want to ask my clergyman or my teachers or my relatives, but never seem to get around to asking them.
----attempt to learn how to myself prepare each of the culinary dishes I enjoy the most that are prepared in my family's household;
---establish a separate recipe file for myself at an early age that I can draw upon throughout my entire life;
----always keep in mind that education is a lifelong process, and that if I don't understand a particular subject at age 8, for instance, persistence in asking questions and learning more about that subject will enable me to feel confident about that same subject at some future point;
----establish a permanent file for myself containing factual information about my ancestors, and about my parents and my uncles and aunts and grandparents.
----attempt to pose friendly questions to my parents and other relatives and friends, and to draw them out in substantive dialogues, including philosophical dialogues.
----make a point of identifying each of the personal attributes and pastimes or accomplishments or traditions of my parents that I admire the most, and then reflecting that in directly verbalized and specific praise to each of my parents.
----strive to be helpful and empathetic toward each of my parents, such as by inviting them to go on friendly hikes with myself or by expressing a politely appreciative and well-mannered and patient style toward each of my parents whenever I dine with them in restaurants or go shopping with them.
----Keep in mind at all times that since my parents are significantly older than myself in age, the number of years available to me for being a kind and generous personal friend to each of my two parents, and for striving for a harmonious relationship with each of my two parents, is likely to be very limited. I shall therefore strive to never take my parents' and generosity and kindness and hospitality toward me for granted, and to myself be consistently fair and good to each of my parents throughout their remaining years.
----tape-record a personal statement on my birthday every day, and then play back those tape-recordings each year in order to hone my personal sense of my own life and how it is progressing.
-----establish a list of each of my leading dislikes or hatreds or aversions or antipathies (a dislike of foreign languages at age 10, for instance) that I sense to be possibly harmful to me. I could then collect articles and other factual items that might help me to diminish the extent of my dislikes or antipathies or aversions. For instance, I could collect articles citing the benefit to one's financial earnings capacity and career prospects from fluency or semi-fluency in both English and Spanish.
-----sponsor some education-theme parties for myself and my friends, as a way of enhancing my own, and my friends', ability to look upon education as fun and creatively rewarding.
----find a consumer guide or educators' guide to children's board games, and attempt to learn from that consumer guide which of those board games will be the most eduationally and intellectually stimulating to myself and my friends or relatives. It makes good sense for me to look upon my board games, even, as an opportunity to hone my educational skills and intellect.
----establish a file for myself that exclusively contains information about each of the products and professional services and businesses and non-profit groups that impress me the most. Developing a sense of what makes a product or business first-rate and excellent and superior, can help to promote a dedication to excellence in all aspects of my life. Developing that sense can also instill in me a greater sense of confidence in the potential of the capitalist system to foster superior achievement.
---find out if I could join the alumni organization for the elementary school, middle school, junior high school, or high school, respectively, from which I had graduated earlier that year. In this way, I could keep up a constructive, mutually-polite acquaintanceship with several or many of my former schoolmates.
---keep a list of which of my acquaintances at present appear to be the most consistently honest and law-abiding and polite, and honorable, in addition to being constructive and helpful to myself, and exhibiting a high level of respect toward my own religious and political and personal and religious and philosophical beliefs. That list should help me to identify which persons might also be the most worthy of becoming mutual-consent and lasting friends with myself.
---establish a "Personal Crisis File" for myself, in which I would keep notes about each occasion in which I experience what I regard as a major setback in my own life. Did I receive a poor grade on a recent exam? I could note the date of that setback, along with observations of mine about what might have accounted for that temporary crisis in my own life.
---Attempt to identify which of the polite and civil persons whose companionship I enjoy the most also exhibit the greatest and most sublimely inspirational and wholesome sense of platonic purpose in life, such as a desire to combat crime in this nation or a desire to promote natural resource recycling in this nation. Those persons are the most likely to be interesting and substantive in-person companions for myself.
---attempt to identify the persons who have the most calming or cheerful effect on me when I'm having a conversation with them in person. That could be an indication that I'd feel comfortable about possibly becoming a lasting mutual-consent friend to that person.
---attempt to identify the persons with whom I have the longest mutual-consent in-person conversations that are pleasant experiences for me.
---pay close attention to the types of questions that my acquaintances and current friends pose to me. Are their questions sincere-sounding, or interesting or thought-provoking? Do the questions they pose to me reveal interest in me as a human being, and respect for my human individuality?
---jot down the birthdate and address for each and every friend and relative of mine whom I want to honor at least once per year through a nice Birthday greeting card on which I would write a friendly message and mail to that person.
----Attempt to identify the adult persons I admire in my town or metro area who are, in fact, honorable and law-abiding and civil in their conduct toward youths, and who might make prospective inter-generational personal friends for myself, if my parents are agreeable to that. The capacity to develop inter-generational friendships, both with persons significantly older than myself and with persons significantly younger than myself, is a very good everyday living skill to have.
---Pursue factual research on how to identify major warning signs that a person significantly older than myself in age might, in fact, be someone capable of committing the sex crime of pederasty, and should automatically be excluded from my own life on that basis.
Among those warnings signs might be:
(a) Does that older person physically grab me or physically hug me in circumstances when most older persons would have merely shaked my hand, if that much.
(b) Does that older person frequently verbalize obscene or profane speech or frequently talk about "sex" in front of myself or in front of any other under-age youths?
(c) Does that older person offer me money or presents on a frequent basis.
(d) Do I see any indication that the older person ever breaks the law, or has an alarming criminal-conviction record?
For instance, does he exceed the speed limit when he drives a motor vehicle? Does he ever purchase tobacco products or alcohol for minors? Does he express contempt toward, or a lack of full respect toward, law-enforcement agencies in my presence? Does he routinely refer to police officers as "cops" or "the fuzz," for instance?
(e) Does that older person give any indication that he himself consumes any quantity of illicit drugs, or that he himself frequently consumes drinking alcohol to the point of inebration, or that he himself consumes tobacco products? Any of those lifestyle habits are an indication that the adult man in question might not be trustworthy as a personal friend to a child.
(f) Does that older person generally indicate that he prefers to meet me in the evening or at nighttime, rather in the daytime during the weekend, whenever he arranges to play tennis with you or meet with you.
(g) Does that older person other than my biological parent or step-parent make frequent comments to me that hurt my own self-confidence, or that demoralize me, such as "You're doing it all wrong," "you are lazy," "you are an under-achiever," "you are ignorant," "you are naive," "you are weak," "you are vulnerable," "you aren't good-looking," "you need someone stronger than you to help you," "you are a loser," "you will never succeed in life unless you let me....", etc.
All of this is another alarming indication that I have a need to possibly (this in a civil and law-abiding manner, of course) exclude that older person from my own life at the earliest opportunity, or at least that I have a need to make sure that some adult person whom I definitely do trust is always present with me whenever I have any future conversations with that possibly injurious older person.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Penal Code Revision Needed for Attempted Homicide

One admirable new non-profit group I would like to see established---a group I would like to myself someday join as a dues-paying member ----is one that promotes revision of the law to authorize court-ordered capital punishment of individuals convicted of the deplorable, unconscionable, and heinous crime of attempted homicide.

That proposed new non-profit group could, among other things, confer annual awards praising law-abiding champions of the great cause of court-ordered capital punishment for the barbarous crime of attempted homicide.

The proposed new civic group could also sponsor annual awards praising any and all foreign nations maintaining current diplomatic relations with the United States during that period, that do, in fact, impose a court-ordered death penalty on cited individuals who were each convicted in a court of law in that foreign nation of having committed the barbarous crime of attempted homicide in that same nation.

It is crucial for the integrity of American society that a zero-tolerance policy toward both homicide and attempted homicide be implemented as soon as possible.

The crime-deterrence benefit to American society from the proposed revision of the law to authorize capital punishment of persons convicted of attempted homicide in a court of law, will be very significant.

I am very confident that the level of civility and obedience of the law throughout the United States will be significantly enhanced through that proposed revision of the penal code in each state.

At present, our government and our media all too often ignore, or fail to acknowledge the gravity of, attempted homicide cases.

Attempted homicides in the United States are often flippantly dismissed ---and even romanticized --- by our government, by our news media, by Hollywood movie and television scriptwriters, and by American popular culture, as:

---"the work of a novice, which always reminds me of the famous saying, 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again!'";
---"proof that he's an amateur, since a pro would have done it without a hitch";
---"inconsequential, since no dead body resulted from that crime";
---"no harm done, since the victim is still breathing, isn't he?";
---"a classic case of 'You can't blame a guy for trying'," as many wags of today habitually put it a cynical manner;
---"a fist-fight that just got out of hand, nothing more than that";
----"proof that the victim's life was spared, at least, so that shows me the would-be murderer was not heartless or ruthless; his humanity and decency came across in the end";
---"just another example of a young man drinking too much alcohol that night and losing control when he got into an argument with another guy";
---"another case of a guy who changed his mind in the middle of murdering someone, and for that the would-be murderer deserves some praise for the restraint he showed";
----"a would-be murderer not smart enough to succeed at it; he's a retard";
----"proof that he can be rehabilitated, since he obviously didn't go all the way in his attempt at murdering someone";
----"not big enough or sensational enough to qualify as front-page news";
----"another likely case of a married guy who went out of control with rage because another man seduced his wife";
---"a situation in which the attempted murderer will be facing so much violent retaliation from the surviving victim and his family, that there's no need for a judge or jury to punish the attempted murderer; that can all be handled out of court, without any financial burden to taxpayers;
----"proof that the guy who did that was hot-blooded, a bit like the Irish and the Italians tend to be, and you have to admire the fact that the guy who did it lives with lots of passion; even his hatreds are very passionate, it's just his nature to do everything with zeal and gusto";
----"an indication to me that this was a guy who tends toward extremism, he should have settled for arm-wrestling with his enemy, but was not willing to compromise";
----"probably just another case of a public warning from one Mafia family to another, this is what most of these attempted homicides are, really".
----"an indication to me that the person who almost got murdered has enemies, something I hadn't realized before";
---"another example of an American who should be grateful to be alive, after he nearly got himself killed by making someone very, very angry";
---"proof of a lack of imagination by the would-be murderer, since he could have simply gotten a restraining order in a court of law against the person stalking him whom he attempted to kill."
----"I can understand why the guy did it, since I've known lots of people who have driven me crazy, too, and I sometimes even hoped they would drop off the face of this earth."
---"probably just some guy trying to give another guy a good scare, and then the gun went off accidentally."
---"it probably started out as an innocuous fraternity prank, but the prank got out of hand."

Plea for massive increase in treatment programs

One of the most urgent societal goals for the United States of America these days has to be a massive increase in the level of funding for, and in the total number of, treatment programs for addiction to illicit-drugs, over-the-counter drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products.

I am very hopeful, in fact, that President Barack Obama in January of 2009 will himself announce a long-overdue federal partnership with the private sector toward achieving a twenty-fold nationwide increase in funding levels for treatment programs throughout the U.S. in those four specific categories.

Along with that massive expansion of those treatment programs, our entire nation also may have a need for a new federal law that financially rewards persons employed at a workplace for honestly and in a straightforward manner simply confessing to their human resources officer or work supervisor that they themselves are, in fact, addicted to one or more illicit or over-the-counter drugs, alcohol, or to tobacco products, and then adding that they would like to seek full treatment for one or more of those cited addictions.

Under this proposed new federal law, any employed person who confesses any of those three types of addictions to a work supervisor would automatically qualify for a paid leave of absence for the duration of the time period needed---up to three total months, say----for him to successfully complete a treatment program in which he chooses in advance and on his own volition to register, in order to himself be completely cured of his own addiction to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products.

I am also hopeful that President Obama in 2009 will begin a great Presidential Tradition of each month issuing a public statement estimating the current percentage of all Americans who are themselves at that time addicted to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products.

That monthly report from the President of our country will serve as a very sobering reminder to our entire nation that revitalization of our entire nation is strictly contingent on America becoming a morally straighter, more wholesome, medically healthier nation in which freedom from those three specific categories of addiction is pursued, and fully enjoyed, by as many citizens of the U.S. as possible.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Opposing the Bad Can Still Affirm Goodness in Life

As I ate my Christmas meal earlier today inside a first-rate restaurant in Austin, I happened to overhear a lady at a nearby dining table apparently criticizing a young boy who was a member of her party.

"You are always so negative" (approximate quote), she gently reproached that child.

That comment has since reminded me that in my own life, some persons have stated a similar criticism of myself in recent years.

I would like to respectfully respond to that criticism by pointing out that supporting a noble, very constructive cause often involves emphatically and fervently opposing conduct----including through filing a lawsuit in a court of law----that one regards as harmful or injurious or illegal or immoral.

To offer some examples of this point, I'd like to point out that the wholesome, idealistic, law-abiding, privacy-rights-respectful non-profit civic groups in which I am a current official member at present include:

--a civic group based in Madison, Wisconsin, that fervently opposes noise pollution, including the cited noise pollution in Austin, Texas, that I myself have repeatedly complained about in friendly E-mail correspondence I've had in recent years with that Madison-based civic group, a non-profit group identifying itself as "Noise-Free America."

I am grateful to "Noise-Free America" for expressing interest to me in itself investigating whether the City Government of Austin has allegedly or possibly been blameworthy in any way for the noise pollution injurious to myself in Austin, Texas, that I've repeatedly complained about in writing over a multi-year period to "Noise-Free America" officials in Madison, Wisconsin (Madison being the hometown for the University of Wisconsin).

--the "Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America," a non-profit organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, that seeks to help all of American society liberate itself from illicit drugs and other forms of drug abuse.

--the "No Cussing Club," a wholesome non-profit group open to all ages that is based in South Pasadena, California, and that seeks to help liberate all of American society, including all of America's children, from ever being subjected against their wishes to profane speech by others, and that encourages everyone to refrain from speaking profanely.

----the "National Crime Prevention Association," a noble non-profit group based in Arlington, Virginia, that seeks to help deter crime on a nationwide basis, and that generously sends me frequent correspondence relating to that noble group's goals and accomplishments.

---"Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids," a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that strives to help youths enjoy tobacco-free lifestyles.

--"Americans for Non-Smokers' Rights," a non-profit organization based in Berkeley, California, that fervently opposes any and all infringements upon the legal rights of non-smokers (I among those law-abiding non-smokers, I might add) by the tobacco-smoking community anywhere and everywhere in the United States.

In addition, I am myself formally affiliated with the "National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling," a noble non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that emphatically opposes legalization of gambling anywhere in the United States.

Live Theater Affirms Role of Dialogues in Life

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2009 is to attend live-theater performances more often.

Those live-theater stage performances promulgate the crucial outlook that the in-person conversations and in-person dialogues of life are central to one's own -- and other individuals' --- overall quality of life and happiness.

That theme is particularly important in an era when many people regard the "chat rooms" of Internet websites ("chat rooms" that often occur in a solitudinous and anonymous context for the web browser sitting in front of a computer, with his "chat" often consisting of nothing more than sentence fragments and his latest proud profanities) as "my favorite form of dialogue I have with others."

In fact, there is no substitute for a warm and sublimely friendly facial expression and congenial in-person conversation with another human being that occurs in a strictly-mutual-consent context. There is no substitute for mutual-consent and in-person human companionship and in-person human intimacy, whether that intimacy be strictly platonic in nature or, in rare cases, a mutual-consent romantic involvement.

Self-Praise a Nice Present to Give for Christmas

Of the presents that you can give to yourself on Christmas Day, self-praise is among the very finest.
Ours is a world in which we are each subjected to profane epithets, insults, scathingly critical evaluations, or unkind comments on a year-round basis.
It therefore makes particular good sense, and is a healthy antidote to that type of negativism, for you to develop a year-round habit of praising yourself for conduct and personal attributes that you admire the most and love the most in yourself.
Among my own best attributes are: honesty, generosity, idealism, consistent obedience of the law, consistent straightforwardness (I do not participate in pranks or anonymous communications, for instance), self-critical aptitude (for instance, I have a longtime tradition of volunteering job-related mistakes I make while on duty at my workplace to a work supervisor of mine), consistent civility (I last physically assaulted another person during my fourth-grade year of elementary school, in 1967, and that male classmate of mine did not have any need for hospitalization as a result of that incident), vigilance and devotion to crime-deterrence (in the last 11 years, I have officially filed or, in other cases, informally verbalized, hundreds of oral and written complaints about suspected possible illegal conduct by others, with the Austin Police Department, the City Attorney of the City Government of Austin, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Travis County Sheriff's Office, the Travis County County Attorney's Office, officials of the State Bar of Texas state agency in Austin, the Office of the Attorney General of Texas Consumer Protection Division, the State Comptroller of Texas state agency, the Austin-based County Judge for Travis County Government, the Travis County District Attorney's Office in Austin, Williamson County government officials, the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., and the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and independent-mindedness (the non-Christian religion I founded in 1996 is still, to this day, a one-member, non-proselytizing, religion, with only one total approved member, myself, and I take great pride in having and voicing many fervent and independently-held political beliefs of mine, beliefs not cited by any of the candidates in the most recent 2008 Presidential election, that would definitely not have appealed to the vast majority of voters in the United States. I also admire and love my gentlemanly sense of humor, accompanied by a sense of satire. I also admire and love my certainty that I have far more emotional depth of affinity and empathy and enthusiasm and platonic-love energy toward a wide variety of individuals (depending on the individual) than do the vast majority of adult men in the United States.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ask Party Host In Advance if Drugs Will Be Present

One lifestyle tradition I strongly recommend for anyone these days, and particularly for younger persons, is to always ask the host of a party at the time when he invites you to that party,

"Can you tell me for certain in advance of your party whether there might be any illicit drugs, such as marijuana or cocaine, being consumed by yourself or anyone else attending your party?"

When I posed that type of polite and reasonable question on the telephone to a male adult party host in Austin back in 1997, that Stephen F. Austin High School (Austin (TX) Independent School District) alumnus candidly replied from his end of the phone line that he definitely expected that illicit-drug consumption by some or several of his party guests would, in fact, occur at that social party he was planning to host in Austin.

While I am grateful to that party host for having offered me that candid disclosure, which served as an invaluable warning to me, I of course could not attend the party under those unacceptable circumstances.

I politely declined his party invitation, and I have not spoken with that particular Stephen F. Austin High School (Austin (TX) ISD) alumnus in about 10 years.

Pederasty-Prevention Leaders Should be Praised

If a survey of the American people were conducted in which they were each asked to cite the honorable, law-abiding American civic, cultural, religious, and political leaders who in the most recent decade, say, have contributed the most toward prevention or deterrence of the sex crime of pederasty, most Americans would be stumped by the question.

I am very hopeful that some generous and enlightened non-profit foundation will soon finance an annual independently-endowed award and accompanying financial prize to the one or five or 10 cultural leaders in this country who contributed the most toward prevention or deterrence of pederasty in the most recent 12-month period or two-year period, say.

According to state law in Texas, the sex crime of pederasty in Texas is the deplorable and injurious crime of carnal relations in Texas between a legal-status adult person and a youth age 16 or younger.

Recycling leadership urged for Obama Administration

One of the statistics that I don't recall having ever once been cited by any candidate during the 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign was simply this:

What percentage of all the total currently recyclable materials (paper products, glass bottles, aluminum products, etc.) that were discarded in the United States by their owners in calendar year 2007, for instance, were, in fact, recycled.

It seems to me very urgent that our federal government as soon as possible during the Obama Administration years insist on each month publicizing to our entire nation statistics along those lines relating to the most recent previous month for which that type of information has been compiled by the U.S. Government.

That type of monthly report serving as another tragic reminder about under-utilization of natural-resource recycling in this nation, could help to shock our entire nation into becoming more conscientious that way.

I'm also convinced that our entire nation has urgent need for appointment of a cabinet-level federal-government secretary, or other high-ranking and well-publicized federal official, whose sole responsibility is to preside over and promote and publicize informational reports about natural-resource recycling throughout this entire nation.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dialogue Invited with other National Writers Union members

As a dues-paying, consistently law-abiding, non-stalking, privacy-rights-respectful (I never participate in anonymous communications or in verbal harassment of anyone), non-stalking, honest, civil, conscientious, vigilant, law-enforcement-minded, consistently clean-talking, permanently teeotaling and alcohol-free, permanently illicit-drug-free, lifelong-tobacco-free, facially-cleanshaven, and tattoo-less, current individual member of the New York City-based National Writers Union,

I would welcome any friendly E-mail letters or friendly blog reply messages from other law-abiding and honorable, alcohol-free or alcohol-abstemious, hygienic, clean-talking, and polite members of that admirably influential labor union---a labor union affiliated with the United Auto Workers labor union and the AFL-CIO labor union.

Need for group against Anonymous Communications

One civic group I have never heard of, and would love to myself join, is a non-profit civic group for law-abiding persons that exclusively focuses on opposing anonymous communications.
I believe in stating my full legal name in all E-mail communications I share with others. That conveys my own willingness to be fully accountable for the content of the message I choose to share with one or more other persons via the E-mail.
A disproportionately high share of the anonymous communications are pranks or terroristic threats or threats of terrorism or threats of violence or communications generated by a law-breaking stalker.
I have opposed participation in pranksterism or fraudulent communications or anonymous communications ever since my childhood, when I grew up in Westlake Hills, Texas.
I was dismayed by a story I heard one day in the late 1960s about a group of youths at St. Stephen's prep school who reportedly in a surreptitious manner put "Ex-lax" into some brownies or cookies served to a member of the faculty or administrator of that private school in Westlake Hills, Texas.
I did not share the amusement over that prank that was expressed to me by a male classmate of mine from Eanes Elementary School. He had chuckled while recalling that incident to me.
I have never once pulled a prank on anyone in my entire life; and I have almost never been accused of telling a lie to anyone in my entire life (and in several of the occasions in which I was accused of telling a lie to another person, the accuser was himself or herself verbalizing a verifiably false allegation to myself).
It also seems to me that in this era in which terroristic violence has all too often been accompanied by and preceded by anonymous communications, anonymous threats, including anonymous death threats, etc., opposing anonymous communications is one way to promote rational, straightforward, civil discourse and dialogue and communications at all times.

Need for Cash Prize for motor vehicle improvements

The Christmas Season brings with it the great and sublime hope that some non-profit foundation will assume the role of a very generous Santa Claus, and will offer a $2 million reward to:
---the inventor or team of inventors anywhere in the world who in calendar year 2009 invent a technological improvement to any motor vehicle that significantly improves:
(a) that motor vehicle's level of consumption of fossil fuels; or
(b) the level of safety to human beings from driving or riding in that motor vehicle, including in a context when an accident occurs.

A separate proposed $2 million reward could also be offered to the inventor of team of inventors anywhere in the world who in calendar year 2009 invent a technological innovation that:
(a) significantly reduces the quantity of pollutants emanating from a motor vehicle or resulting from the manufacture of that motor vehicle at a factory;
or that:
(b) significantly enhances technology used for the recycling of any and all parts of a used motor vehicle no longer being used that has been discarded by its owner.

"Mack Brown Award" for Great Gentlemen Coaches

As virtually everyone in the United States already knows, sports commentators during live coverage of Longhorns varsity football games frequently praise University of Texas at Austin Longhorns varsity football Coach Mack Brown.

Coach Mack Brown is a "truly nice guy" and a "friendly gentleman" (or words to that effect), those sports commentators frequently point out to television viewers.

This suggests to me a golden opportunity for The University of Texas at Austin and for the State Government of Texas:

Coach Mack Brown, who is nearing retirement, could be asked by the University of Texas System Board of Regents or the Texas Legislature, or possibly by the Ex-Students Association primarily serving UT-Austin alumni, to help establish a "Mack Brown Coach of the Year Award" or "Gentleman Athletic Coach of the Year" award.

That independently-endowed award and accompanying generous financial prize could be conferred each year on the successful varsity collegiate football coach anywhere in the United States who during the most recent collegiate football season exhibited the greatest overall decency, wholesomeness of lifestyle, exemplification of a great scholar-athlete tradition himself, cleanliness of language, scrupulous obedience of the law, privacy-rights-respectfulness toward others, restraint with any (if any) alcohol consumption by himself, complete year-round abstention from tobacco consumption, support for obedience of the law by others and for enforcement of the law and for crime deterrence, admirably vigilance, courage, independent-mindedness, nobility, integrity, valor, honesty, empathy, fairness toward everyone (including to those who criticize him in any way), kindness, generosity, humaneness, public-safety-mindedness, and medical-health-mindedness, and the greatest overall dedication toward each of his players and prospective players, and toward fans and the general public as well.

Texas Legislature Should Honor Texas's Friendliest!

As much as Texas has traditionally emphasized the friendly style of the vast majority of our state's residents, I feel very strongly that our Texas Legislature should establish an annual or biannual tradition of publicly honoring two or more of the most honorably law-abiding and friendliest of Texans of any cited age group, including youths.

In this way, our State Government of Texas can promulgate the societally salutary message to the entire world that this is one U.S. state where consistency of affability and enthusiastic hospitality and generosity toward others, honesty and straightforwardness, consistent politeness and gentlemanly or genteel or lady-like conduct, consistently clean language, consistent civility and diligent obedience of the law, refreshingly wholesome moral values, and the sublimely beautiful and inspirational role of strictly-mutual-consent and mutually-beneficial platonic relationships, are, in fact, revered by all Texans.

Need New Requirments for American Auto Industry

I am personally convinced that the American motor-vehicle industry must be strengthened in part through strict Congressionally-approved or court-ordered requirements that:

---any future new automobile being sold or purchased or driven or rented anywhere in the United States of America must be in compliance with the already-stringent air-pollution emissions standards that have been set by the State Government of California, or, if applicable, any other government entity anywhere in the world (such as the government of Sweden or Great Britain or Japan, for instance) that has possibly established even stricter auto-emission standards than those of California.

----any future new automobile being sold or purchased or driven or rented in the United States must be in compliance with very stringent motor-vehicle safety standards for that category of motor vehicle.

---any future new automobile being sold or purchased or driven or rented anywhere in the United States must be in compliance with the fuel-efficiency standards for that class of motor vehicle that have already been met by any honorable motor-vehicle manufacturer anywhere in the world.

---insists on the phasing-out of two-wheel motorcycles in the United States, and that requires that the significantly safer three-wheel motorcycles or trikes account for a growing percentage of all motorcycles permitted to operate on roadways in the United States.
Those three-wheel motorcycles or trikes can help save thousands of lives of motorcyclists each year.

There is no reason in the world why the new motor-vehicles being manufactured by American automakers cannot meet the strictest of air-pollution-control standards, while also meeting the strictest of motor-vehicle standards and the most stringent fuel-efficiency standards thus far achieved anywhere in the world for that category of motor vehicle.

This environmental-protection-minded, public-safety-minded, realignment of our entire nation's auto industry is urgently needed as soon as possible. To paraphrase and revise the famous words of then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles of the Eisenhower Administration in the 1950s, "What's good for the environment and public-safety of American citizens and American society and our entire world, is also good for General Motors."

(The original words from Secretary of State Dulles had been: "What's good for General Motors is good for our country" (approximate quote)).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Questions to ask upon Meeting a new acquaintance

Among the questions that might be helpful for a law-abiding and benevolent person to ask himself as he seeks to determine whether to become mutual-consent personal friends with a new acquaintance, are:

(1) Is that person honest and polite and law-abiding?

(2) Is that male person, for instance, gentlemanly?

(3) Does that person exhibit a high level of respect for your own (and others') Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, and Freedom of Association legal and human rights?

(3a) Does that person respect your privacy rights? Does he almost never subject you or anyone else to anonymous communications or noteworthy pranks, for instance?

(4) Does that person ever make any comments or pursue any actions indicating that he (or she) seeks to censor you or restrict you or change you or limit your own law-abiding options or opportunities in life in any way?

(5) Does that person exhibit a high level of respect toward your own legal and human right to set your own course in your life?

(6) Does that person exhibit a proven capacity to promptly honor verbalized rejections of himself by other individuals?

(7) Does that person attempt to punish other individuals who disagree with him or who choose to reject him in a law-abiding and civil manner on their part?

(8) Does that person ever subject you to any noteworthy illegal conduct, such as if he consumes marijuana in your presence inside his residence; if he exceeds the speed limit or drives recklessly while driving you somewhere in an automobile; or if he frequently verbally harasses another person in public in your presence while hurling obscene language at that victim?

(9) Does that person exhibit empathy toward others, and toward yourself?

(10) Does that person ever exhibit any self-critical aptitude, such as in a context when he might sincerely and convincingly acknowledge to yourself or to someone else in your presence that he had, in fact, made a mistake or wronged someone.

(11) Does that person give any indication that he himself has consumed any illicit drug at any time in the last 12-month period? Does that person give any indication that he is possibly addicted to any illicit drug, or to consumption of drinking alcohol?

(12) Does that person verbalize to you significant and thoughtful and insightful words of appreciation for yourself? Or do the "compliments" that he offers you strike you as being very perfunctory or insincere words of praise on his part?

(13) Does that person make frequent comments that undermine your own self-confidence and self-esteem? For instance, does he repeatedly cite "weaknesses" or "flaws" in yourself, while frequently by contrast citing his own "strengths"?

(14) Do you find that you feel calmer and more cheerful and more confident about yourself as a human being as a result of getting together with him or as a result of your acquaintanceship with him?

(15) Does he frequently accuse you of telling him a lie or of having wronged himself?

(16) Is that person generous in sharing with you practically useful and factual information that might be tangibly helpful to you?

(17) Does that person offer you a constructive vision of life from himself, or, rather, does he present his own life primarily in terms of a series of grievances that he is developing and adding to on a year-round basis?

(18) Does that person smile at you in a sincere and appreciative manner? Does he elicit a calm and appreciative smile from yourself as well?

(19) Does that person introduce you to new acquaintances he knows whom he believes you might enjoy meeting? Does that person invite you to parties that he himself hosts?

(20) Does that person occasionally on his own volition invite you to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner with him?

(21) Does that person exhibit an openness to new ideas and an openness to new cultural traditions? If an Albanian-style restaurant opens up in your town, would that person be interested in finding out what the cuisine of Albania (a neighboring country of Greece) tastes like?

(22) Does that person reveal evidence of having a sense of humor that is generally philanthropic? Or, rather, does he appear to be either humorless or cynical and misanthropic in his worldview?

(23) Does that person exhibit an admirable devotion to helping to address the broader needs of his city, state, nation, and world? Does that person exhibit an interest in helping to address the various needs of children, young persons under age 30, and parents?

(24) Do you find that your in-person conversations with that person are true and mutually-respectful dialogues---or, to the contrary, do you find that he tends toward monologues and lectures and tirades, and exhibits an intolerance toward points of view that differ from his own?

(25) Do you find that when he talks with you about a famous person or institution or business that or whom he himself admires, you yourself also admire the individual or institution or business that or whom he cites?

(26) Does he refrain from ever verbalizing a death threat or threat of seeking to bodily harm yourself or anyone else?

(27) Does he use consistently clean language in his comments to you and in his letters and E-mail correspondence with you?

(28) Does he refrain from imposing restrictions on your own ability to contact him at any time, whether by a phone call or letter or E-mail letter, unless he states a very fair and verifiable reason for citing any such restriction upon your contacting him?

(29) Does he write and send you reply letters, whenever you write to himself via the E-mail or U.S. Postal Service?

(30) Do you find that you tend to wince or grimace from being aesthetically repulsed by his presence and countenance, or, to the contrary, do you find his personal appearance to be pleasant or very pleasant when he sits across from you at a dining table inside a restaurant?

(31) Does he exhibit a pleasant tone of voice and pleasant vocal intonation and very pleasant voice modulation?

(32) Does he have a strong sense of platonic purpose in life (as distinct from his cited romantic-life goals that he may also verbalize to you in regard to his favorite romantic or sexual fantasies)? For instance, does he emphasize to you that he would like to help American society achieve the goal of establishing a nationwide network of high-speed passenger-train service throughout this entire country?

(33) Is he creative in the comments he makes to you, or, rather, does he tend to make predictable comments that show a lack of freshness of thought and a lack of independent-mindedness on his part?

(34) Is he fair and politely receptive toward civilly-worded and lawfully-worded criticism that you yourself voice about any particular subculture or any particular civic group or religious group or atheist group or political group or business entity or individual in the United States?
Or, to the contrary, does he exhibit a censorious intolerance toward criticism verbalized by yourself toward one or more such entities or persons?

(35) Do you feel more optimistic and cheerful and energetic as a human being after getting together with this individual, or, to the contrary, does an in-person meeting with him leave you feeling depressed or pessimistic or emotionally drained?

(36) Does he offer you tangibly helpful ideas and information that might enable you to enhance your own career-related prospects or your overall financial position, or your own medical health, for that matter?

(37) Is he the sort of person about whom you would gladly serve as a character reference or for whom you would gladly write a personal letter of recommendation, or, to the contrary, is he someone whom you regard as being unsavory, dishonest, sadistic, slyly manipulative and unethical, decadent, and not someone whom you would be proud to refer to as an actual friend of yours;

(38) Is he the sort of person whom you are not yourself fully comfortable with, and whom you get together with on occasion partly because you sense that you need to know more about decadence and depravity in American life in order to write a novel exposing societal malaises in American society that that individual appears to embody.

(39) Is he the sort of person whom you are not proud to introduce friends of yours to if they happen to observe you having lunch with this person inside a restaurant?

(40) Is he the sort of person whose involvement in your own life you you sense you will someday have to explain to the news media, if you ever do run for President and the news media ask you to please explain why you have associated with the cited individual during a prior or current period of your life, in view of questions that have been raised about the level of morality and obedience of the law of the cited former or current "associate" of yours;

(41) If the individual in question invites you to lunch and you accept the invitation, and if you leave the dining table in the middle of your meal with him in order to use the restroom, do you secretly fear that he might attempt to put some poison into your glass of tea or some poison into your food lying on your plate, during the time period in which you are using the restroom?

(42) Has the individual been very honest and straightforward with you about his own medical history, and has he never once subjected you to any contagious disease that can be caught through casual and platonic contact with another person?

(43) Do you find the individual in question to be "thought-provoking" and "creatively inspirational," or, to the contrary, do you find yourself worrying about suffering from brain atrophy or intellectual deterioration and a sense of insipidness in your life during the time periods in which you have in-person meetings or exchanges of E-mail correspondence with himself.

(44) Does he impart in you a sense that you have actually helped to inspire him as a human being, and that you are someone tangibly helpful to him and intellectually stimulating to him as a human being?

(45) Does he appear to subscribe to the dreadful philosophy of biological determinism, along with an accompanying contempt for the capacity of each human being, regardless of his cited "intelligence quotient" from his earlier years, to achieve intellectual and creative vitality and to contribute toward the cultural life of his city, state, nation, and world.

(46) Does his involvement with you appear to relate primarily or in large part to a cited "V.I.P.," or "Very Important Person," perceived by him as having a major role in your own life, rather than to you yourself as a human being.

(47) Does he appear to divide all of humanity into the "V.I.P.'s" and the "Nobody's," with the latter group being persons toward whom he exhibits no interest and no empathy and no appreciation whatsoever.

(48) Does he appear to divide all of humanity into the "Winners" and the "Losers," or, to the contrary, does he exhibit the healthy awareness that any person can be a potential winner in some context, even if he gets labeled and dismissed as a "loser" by nine of every 10 people who encounter him.

(49) Does he appear to regard all of life as a competitive struggle, or, to the contrary, does he have a keen appreciation for the symbiotic potential of human relationships, and the accompanying manner in which human beings with shared goals or a shared sense of decency can, in fact, be helpful and cooperative toward one another.

(50) When you meet with this person, does it cross your mind that if you were to somehow faint or fall unconscious to the floor, he might not rush to a telephone and immediately dial 911 in order to ask for emergency medical help for yourself, and he might instead regard your plight as "someone else's problem," so to speak.

(51) When he describes to you his conversations and meetings with others, what percentage of those conversations and meetings that he describes to you reportedly (according to him) are marked by angry arguments and angry conflicts that he describes in painstaking detail.

(52) Pretend you were a psychologist, summing up what appears to primarily motivate or serve as a motive for human conduct by this new acquaintance of yours. Would his leading motives appear to be: "A Quest for Alcohol- or Drug-Induced Highs, A quest for financial wealth and financial and political power, a quest for fame, and a quest for year-round sexual and romantic titillation." Do you find yourself feeling delighted or exhilarated by his apparent leading motives as a human being, or, to the contrary, do you feel somewhat repulsed by the leading ambitions that appear to guide him in his life?

(53) Do you sense that the individual in question is the sort of person who laughs uproariously whenever someone slips on a banana peel in a Hollywood movie? Are you yourself uncomfortable with much of what elicits delighted amusement or laughter from himself?

(54) Do you sometimes sense that of all the Roman Emperors, he most reminds you of the Emperor Nero, so much so that you can almost imagine this individual fiddling as Rome burns.

(55) Do you find when the individual in question expresses antipathies and dislikes, that you feel comfortable with his point of view in regard to most or nearly all of his antipathies and dislikes? For instance, does he declare to you that he worries about what Las Vegas, Nevada, reveals about the state of American society today, and you find your nodding your head approvingly. Also, does he comment to you that he is very alarmed by the annihilation of and contempt toward the legal and human rights of individuals, including the legal and human right of law-abiding and civilly-worded dissent by any given individual, in Russian society?

(56) Do you find that his statements about himself --- possibly even in regard to his very name, with himself possibly citing two or three "names" or "nicknames" for himself that he has used, which may in fact be "aliases," as a police investigator might point out in very down-to-earth, no-nonsense terms --- and about his conduct as a human being are not consistent, so much so that if you were a law-enforcement agency investigator, you might identify this individual as a pathological liar and a con artist and a fraud.

(57) Does he comment approvingly about the legalization of sexual prostitution in several European nations, or, to the contrary, does he express a healthy concern about sexual trafficking of that type and its accompanying ruination of thousands of lives in Europe occurring in the guise of "liberal innovation."

(58) When he does criticize you, does his criticism of yourself strike you as being a very fair and reasonable concern to express, or, to the contrary, does it appear to convey a shocking failure to acknowledge that you yourself are consistently law-abiding and honest and conscientious and gentlemanly and platonically polite toward others.

(59) Is he courageously conscientious about himself reporting to a local law-enforcement agency, or, if applicable, a federal or state law-enforcement agency, some or many of the possible evidence of possibly illegal conduct that he himself ever observes in his everyday life.

(60) When he dines in a restaurant with you, is he politely respectful toward the waitress or male waitperson?

(61) Does he refrain from lifestyle conduct (sky diving, rock climbing, driving while intoxicated, exceeding the speed limit while driving a motor vehicle, participation in anonymous sex, attempted suicide, etc.) that you yourself regard as being significantly self-destructive?

(62) Does he ever state to you that your being an actual mutual-consent personal friend of his is strictly contingent on your withdrawing your own longstanding support for court-ordered capital punishment for the unconscionable and heinous crime of homicide or (through a proposed helpful revision of state law in Texas that the Legislature would have to first approve), proposed court-ordered capital punishment for the also-barbarous crime of attempted homicide?

(63) Does he appear to guide himself by a consistent moral code of any type, or, instead, does he appear to balk at the very idea of morality?

(64) Does he appear to take advantage of and exploit and possibly abuse persons who are either significantly younger than himself in age, or, alternatively, persons who are significantly older than himself in age.