Crowds, People, and Strangers?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve often been told and have heard this self-perceived proud gloating about remote, rural country-living:  Living out in the country away from huge crowds, rude impolite strangers, horrible traffic and congestion, and high crime-rates are the best reasons not to live in the big city. Where I am currently living, in the central Hill Country of Texas, I am often offered this sort of bragging. I find it a very odd mindset and perception by “sweet ole” country folks. Almost naïve, if I must admit.

I was born and raised in one of Texas’ largest cities, Dallas. From only 682,000 people inside the official city-limits, Dallas has grown now to 1,300,092 in 2016. That number is strictly within the narrow city-limits. Today, the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex has a 2016 population nearing 7.2-million! Though not as large as say New York or Los Angeles, DFW is not moderately sized by any means. And with that size and diversity comes a plethora of wonderful benefits, like the Fine Arts, endless huge libraries scattered about, auditoriums, theaters, museums and sports stadiums, a very wide job-market, and in particular the means and resources to be environmentally responsibly Green! Huge perk there! Nonetheless, yes… Dallas-Ft. Worth does have its drawbacks like crime and traffic just like any major city in the U.S. and around the world.

Dallas Skyline before Sunset 612 3

But are those drawbacks due to a location or region, or are they results of crowds, people, individuals and strangers in a strange or familiar home or place? Is it related to a number of people squeezed together or is it a fluctuating degree of people-skills, education, collaboration? Here’s the million-dollar question:  What is really implied by gloating about one’s geographical home/house or culture? I’d like to honestly understand.

As some/many of you know, I am currently displaced from my big city home and culture of Dallas, Texas. Due to family (mis)givings I am in that heaven-like(?) rural, remote small country town getting my elderly widowed Mom’s house emptied and her moved out of this large 10-acre ranchita home. We are a minimum of 66-miles from the nearest city. With that privacy and peace-of-mind, as many “round these parts” would boast, there are also some significant DISadvantages to this lifestyle. First and foremost, fast emergency attention from EMT’s! When Mom’s late husband had a critical heart-attack in 2006, it took the ambulance and EMT’s nearly 30-minutes to arrive out here, partly because there were only two ambulance services here serving about a 25-mile or more radius.

Second, and as we discovered last year needing to dispose of an old cathode ray tube (CRT) 24″ television, not only did the local garbage pickup company not accept these TV’s for the landfill, but all local businesses or recycling centers would not either. It took near two weeks to finally find an off-the-beaten-path junkyard business to reluctantly take ours, for free!

One year later we are back here again. Now it is her 44″ CRT television that weighs about as much as a small elephant! I would know, because I am the one who strained my legs, arms, and back just to get it out of the entertainment cabinet and onto the tow-dolly in front of the cabinet — only to move it 50-yards to the back patio out the wide sliding-glass doors; the only exit it would fit through. Getting out of bed the next morning I’m sure I looked like a drunk turtle on its back, legs barely swaying in the air looking for something to grab! Hell, if I had needed fast emergency care for paralysis, I’d be waiting for at least 30-minutes, which in that painfully forsaken time I could have hot tea and toast… country-style!

log cabin livingWithout delay I get on the internet and search for some business, some Green recycling establishments nearby to come and pickup this dead goliath-of-entertainment and dispose of it properly. Snap! I find no less than three! I continue reading all the various junk-items that they happily come and pickup — just type in your zip code it says and they’ll arrange for pickup. Wow, I am totally stoked about this solution! Three minutes later, I’m sorry sir. We do not service that area. It is simply too far, too remote. Talk about total deflation. We ask if they have any recommendations. “Go onto the internet and Google TV removal/disposal.” As I already discovered, all the other recycling establishments were in the same large city… yes, 66-miles away.

It begs the question: What is it again you remote country folks love about being so secluded out here away from the crowds, people, traffic, strangers and individuals — and their oft needed help and businesses — that makes this sort of living heavenish!? Where do all of you take or place your trash that landfills won’t accept? What exactly is being burned — once the burn-ban is lifted locally — around town and its outskirts? Because I always see white, blue-ish, or black smoke billowing up into our atmosphere? Oh! Another question:  When the poor or homeless or lower-middle class here cannot afford (by law) automobile* liability insurance, or driver’s license fees, or even gasoline to put IN the automobile,* is there any (very affordable) public transportation available? Which by the way, greatly cuts down on carbon emissions if utilized by more and more caring citizens! And one nationally growing medical healthcare concern is rising dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among our retired and aging. Medical research has shown that if a brain remains actively stimulated and challenged, especially during the last half of life, dementia and Alzheimer’s are noticeably reduced! Ahh, large cities and the hustle-n-bustle of many diverse people certainly offer healthy brain-game exercises! So again…

What is so grand about living far away from crowds, people, and (temporary?) strangers of whom you might one day require their kind assistance or ideal business? Tell me again?

Should we rethink this mentality? Should we better define what “community” means… fairly and accurately on several scales?

(paragraph break)

*Sidenote — when on the streets of this small country town, it becomes glaringly obvious that 75% – 80% of vehicles on the roads here are big trucks or SUV’s.

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

(paragraph break)

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Some Chicken Soup

It might be a tiny consolation to intelligent college-degreed Americans that tRump did not win decisively the U.S. popular vote Nov. 8th. As of 12:45pm CST today it was 48% to 48%. But that will not change what has begun happening for the next 4-years.

Let me first preface my initial thoughts. I am a political Independent who thoroughly evaluates ALL candidates and their background, experience, and track-record. I pay no attention to public campaigns and even less attention to the media-TV propaganda circus. Using websites like ProCon.org and other non-profit 501(c)(3) nonprofit nonpartisan public charities that provide well-sourced pro, con, and related research enabling what I think are very well-informed decisions. That said…

If you thought Hillary Clinton’s blunders in Washington D.C. were indications of serious character flaws for the Oval Office or how well or poorly to handle affairs in our nation’s capitol, on Capitol Hill, and out in the daunting international arena… we have just elected an immature 70-year old racist-misogynist with 1) a less-than-poised-mouth President, 2) with absolutely NO GOVERNING EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER running the affairs of one of the world’s biggest, most influential nations in 3) extremely diverse global affairs with 4) a Congress that Constitutionally controls one-third of the total power between the three branches — 5) which is an entirely DIFFERENT beast than the private sector — of which 6) this man also has ZERO EXPERIENCE doing, ever!!! Now riddle me that!?

At least our Constitutional checks and balances are one more consolation for me and most definitely for our foreign allied nations and neutrals that are in as much dumb-founded shock as I am.

colin-powell-hrI like to consider myself a calm, reasonable man with above-average capability for critical-thinking skills, appropriate de-escalation methods — from my years in the Psych/A&D and Crisis treatment field — college-degreed with additional 18-hours graduate studies, and a deep passionate fondness for history and social sciences resulting in 5-years of general and Special Ed public teaching. This is why I have a high respect and admiration for retired 4-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. He is the consummate embodiment of stoic diplomacy coupled with first-hand experience in war and world conflict. What I admire most about the esteemed Colin Powell is how he conducted himself during America’s most polarized tumultuous times:  Vietnam, the invasion of Kuwait & subsequent First Iraqi War, and 9/11. If those three “tests” were any indication and model of how to manage diplomacy, politicians, and the dynamics of crisis, then Powell passes with stellar excellence! Magna Cum Laude, if you will. Two of many of my favorite Colin Powell quotes…

“Experts often possess more data than judgment.”

“Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.”

What is further mind-boggling to me is that Colin Powell, though technically a Moderate, aligned himself politically with the Republican party — why was the G.O.P. unable to find anyone in 2014-16 resembling or somewhat-resembling the experience and exemplary poise of Powell(?), even someone with just HALF of his Capitol Hill savvy anywhere in this nation of 325-million!? Here is a very good Sept. 2016 New York Times article by Michael Shear about what Powell thinks of our two main Presidential candidates (Click here). I think Powell is spot on, knows what he is saying, and has the experience to back it up. Period.

Finally, what I will never be able to wrap my head around is how an American “democracy” gave tRump enough support (only 48%) to cause our Electoral College to actually put this no-experience-whatsoever man into the White House. Maybe this short video will help explain to the rest of the world how this happened. Click the link below…

http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000004757868/the-electoral-college-explained.html

Or maybe that doesn’t help at all and only confuses our allies and neutrals.

I do know this for those of you in foreign countries, those delegates in the Electoral College are our previously elected House Representatives and Senators from our 50 states, who are representative of our state’s two bipartisan parties and lesser extent third parties. But these “delegates” don’t get into office without being first elected by registered voters in their respective state. In other words, some/much of what happens or doesn’t happen on the Federal level hinges on what informed, or less-informed, or ignorant registered voters do and don’t do (i.e. active, inactive, or unregistered voters) on the municipal, county, district or precinct, and state levels FIRST!

Ultimately, there are only six groups to praise or blame for the U.S.A.’s political Electoral College success or failure (e.g. Abraham Lincoln and Richard Nixon, respectively):

  • Well-educated, well-informed registered ACTIVE voters
  • Well-educated, well-informed registered INACTIVE voters
  • Poorly educated, poorly informed registered ACTIVE voters
  • Poorly educated, poorly informed registered INACTIVE voters
  • Well-educated, well-informed unregistered voters
  • Poorly educated, poorly informed unregistered voters

Naturally, the origins and causes of the above six American groups are an entirely different discussion and personal blog-post for which I currently have no desire nor energy to write. But hey, we all now have 4-years to think about and deal with it. This is the bed we’ve made for ourselves, now we must sleep in it.  — says with sad dejection

Chicken soup anyone?

(paragraph break)

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

MIA

seacrhing-for-cluesWhere have I gone you ask? Let me see how to briefly answer 😉 without sacrificing the most relevant points while still making sense.

As the school year drew to an end and closed for the summer June 6th, I fully expected to have the free time to comfortably and earnestly blog. I was looking forward to completing about 2-3 posts per month! I have about eight posts started and outlined a dozen more topics I’m excited to get posted… in all of my categories.

But as I settled in my summer home in the Hill Country, my own wishes and plans went quickly out the window. Unless you’re an island unto yourself… life, family, and career sometimes have little regard for one’s petty personal desires. HAH!

Life

If I choose to keep writing my blog-posts, I will have only short 30-60 minute windows early early in the mornings when no one else is up. This is honestly a welcomed peaceful quite-time ritual:  a wave of the flower garden’s watering-wand brings showers to Black-chinned hummingbirds, infrequently the Ruby-throated or Rufous hummingbirds, buzzing down darting in and out of the spray… often no more than 3-feet away from my nose. Four out of five of these mornings have the cool southerly or southwesterly breezes blowing through our hilltop oasis. As I’m writing this (and not outside) I notice our nearby roadrunner (Geococcyx californianusfamily trots from one end of the yard to the other. This is the prelude of a day in nature’s front-row that is never the same from previous A.M. shows. This is the “life” I would give up if I were to focus on my blogging and all of you. Hmmm, the quandaries. 😉

Family

For two weeks I’ve had my 14-year old son with me. It has been great and rejuvenating rekindling our relationship, again. I haven’t seen him since Xmas 2014 and then before that Spring Break 2014. We talk on the phone biweekly, sometimes more. It isn’t the same though; touching, seeing each other’s expressions, hugging, mean so much more with more lasting impressions. But the landmass of Texas is more than huge — which did allow he and I to talk the drive back, and talk, and talk, and talk five hours, the entire return trip. However, despite that immeasurable profit, traveling expenses are higher when hotel rooms must be included with food and fuel costs. For the last 13-years I’m the one that must and has foot the entire bill if I want to see my children which has made visitations difficult.

The time with my son is precious and highly needed, if not at least for my sake and sanity. And my newly married 21-year old daughter and her husband came to visit last weekend for 2-nights, 3-days! You couldn’t chisel the smiles off my face I was so thrilled! As I wrote a couple of months ago in my post And It Begins, my relationship with my daughter was put on hold 13-years ago when she, her brother, mother and step-father moved from the DFW area to Houston. My face-to-face time with my kids becomes, has become even more priceless. This is the current positive side of “Family.”

I was not told that my sister — an addict, recovering & relapsing the last 35+ years NEEDING to be either in a halfway house or inpatient dual-diagnosis hospital — moved into my mother’s home last December. I am not going to go into the many problems this lumps onto my widowed mother of 76-years living in her 3,000 sq. ft. ranchita on 13-acres and all the daily weekly chores, tasks, and projects a property that size requires… FROM RELIABLE helpers/workers/family members!!! I guess I did go into it a little detail, huh? This is why my Mom never told me she moved in. Instead of being upset and irate last winter, now I’m even more upset and irate when upon my arrival I assessed and determined how horribly behind all the chores, tasks, and projects have fallen and some not even started the last 7-months! Yet, that’s not all of it!

She wants to put on the market and sell the house and property by the end of August… of 2015! *large exhale*

Wonderful, beautiful, fun, responsible family! 🙂

Unreliable, unpredictable, over-weight & smoking, clinically depressed family in dire need of professional help, not resort accommodations! 😦

Family.

Career

The last two years the Texas Board of Education along with their conservative legislative constituents in Austin, will have their specialized curriculums implemented this 2015-16 school year. The most significant changes in the state-wide curriculum will be in the science and social studies/history textbooks and standards (visit New Texas Curriculum Standards and New BOE Chairman for more info).

The circus will return!

The Professor’s circus will return!

These social conservative changes force me to reevaluate my personal conviction of “let the PARENTS aid their children in deciding religious and political debates.” My job responsibility is to offer the various perspectives, that information and data, monitoring student’s performance and proper objectivity. Unfortunately, now that the Texas GOP remains in office with more conservatives seated in our state Congress along with continued conservatives appointed on the Board of Education, as a Freethinking Humanist my convictions and conscience are increasingly challenged putting my performance-reviews further under the microscope by my supervisors and superiors. It doesn’t help either that I’m only a 5-year experienced teacher… easily replaced by a biased Christian-conservative teacher with 10-15 years experience. This past spring I’ve begun considering a career change, more like a career return to the psych/A&D field of therapy, crisis management, and guidance. In 1989-91 I was in the field and doing exceptionally well.

Hence, the tedious, enormous task of job-searching begins simultaneously with everything mentioned above. HAH!

What It All Means

It means simply my enjoyment of writing and blogging will be suspended, or very infrequent until further notice. It has taken me almost 2-weeks just to finish this post! I know all of you are crying and mourning my absence and thought-provoking posts. It is hard, I know. I’m sorry. But this shall one day pass. 😉

Meanwhile, please feel free to read and/or visit my other posts, both old and recent. Comment if you’d like. I will log-in two or three times a week to check for new comments and suggestions for my Us and Them page.

Until then…

(paragraph break)
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
Blog content with this logo by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.com/.