Friday, April 29, 2011

Oil prices, oil companies and tornadoes!

While the average person is paying a big chunk of take-home pay for gas, the big companies like Exxon Mobile are raking in a first quarter profit of $10.7 billion (yes that is billion not million). Big business has the consumer bent so far over that oil barrel that it’s best just to whimper and take it. It doesn’t seem worthwhile to complain to the local congressman or the President. The first bunch have their heads buried so deep in the sand fighting inner demons.  And the Prez is mired in some more sand trying to prove his citizenship to “carnival barkers,” so it’s pointless to say anything to them and when was the last time they did anything worthwhile? This mass rape will continue until the big executives get enough to live on, but that day of satisfaction may never come, so pay at the pumps and take it, but it is all a crying shame for what is happening to the American people.

And there are still some companies who let you pump the gas first and then pay for it, but that will soon end because of so many drive-offs.  Here at our local station, we've had to pay first for a long time, so we must be a progressive lot. Also you better get some surveillance gear because people are getting brave and stealing gas by siphoning it out of their neighbors cars and trucks.  If nothing else get a locking gas cap.  It used to be copper, now its gas thievery by the big companies or your neighbors.

But yet while the economy is in shambles and congress in a tizzy over spending money, the disaster of 174 tornadoes touching down in the Deep South, killing over 280 people, has occurred. That will be a big price-tag for the federal government, who have little choice but to fund it because they can’t turn its back on its own people. It seem like Mother Nature is telling us to rebuild our homelands and maybe be an isolationist for a little while anyway. That notion says rebuild our infrastructure, and in the process why not create some decent paying jobs.  We shouldn't have some local congress-person jumping up and down because McDonalds had a job fair, because those people slinging those hamburgers don't get the same pay as that congress-person. Also, maybe we should stop sending so much foreign aid for their disasters and save some for the home front.

 This also brings to light that natural disasters have happened regularly going back to Katrina to the oil spill and a whole bunch of other disasters that it seems better to factor in these cost for the yearly budget. Because it sure don’t seem like they are going to end anytime soon. If there was one consolation in the South, one huge tornado missed Alabama’s football stadium by only a half-mile, so I guess ol Bear Bryant was doing some intervention work to save it, but it's too bad we don't have more help in that area.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chaske Spencer

Normally when the tribe brings in a speaker they make the customary appearance, talk for about an hour, glad-hand a bit, and away they go into the sunset. That’s just the way it is! So when Chaske Spencer came here, he did give a presentation, but stayed around and took the time to visit people which certainly made it more memorable for people on the reservation. He also posed for a bunch of pictures and signed autographs for the old and the young.

Being a community-based person, I usually try and make most presentations by speakers brought in by the tribe and some are good and some not so good. In my rating system, which doesn’t mean a hell of a lot, puts Chaske Spencer right near the top. He talked about his experiences as an actor and how it is important to constantly study, whether it be in school or reading a script for a movie and how that is essential to get ahead. I thought that was good advice. Chaske Spencer has played in several movies such as the Twilight franchise, which has its own rabid followers. Before he landed this role, Spencer studied acting in New York City, his current home, and did several off-broadway plays and was about ready to give up on acting until he landed the role in the vampire series. The big city life had its own temptations including drawing from a large menu of drugs and alcohol to suit any person’s taste. He did indulge in the fast life to the point where it controlled him to do whatever it took to get the next fix, but Spencer slowly regained control of his life and told the audience if he went back to that life-style only three things could happen: jail; being institutionalized or death. Pretty blunt words, I’d say!

Acting and going out into Indian communities and telling about the hazards of drugs and alcohol is his cure and his obsession. Although he lives in the city, he goes back each year to his reservation and participates in a sun-dance and said when he is hanging there with the string going through his pectoral muscles (remember the movie “A man called Horse”) he is praying, not for himself, but all the people sick, hurting, in jail, on drugs, and alcohol. Those were well-chosen words! He connected to his audience and after he concluded his presentation, he asked the audience if they had any questions and normally nobody asks much, but not this time, quite a few people asked about his acting career, his vices and where he hopes to go from here. I truly believed the people there were proud there is an Indian actor like him out there. It is different, for sure. I enjoyed watching the young children ask question after question and as Spencer said if he can make a difference to just one person then he has done his job, but I think he reached more than one on this trip.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tax day, old people and 40 years later!

Today is tax day and I have to pay again this year – so much for the talk about Indians not paying taxes. Gas is fast approaching $4 a gallon with no end in sight. Geez, who’s making the money off us consumers? The oil companies, the Arabs, or is it all a ploy for big business to make more money off the American public again? I heard on the news that people are staying home and only driving to work to save money, which makes sense but that ain’t no fun after a while. I like being home though, it is my comfort zone for sure. Groceries are a big ticket item too. With all these sky-rocketing cost, somebody is making some money somewhere. The bad thing is the old people will have to decide: do I eat or do I fill my prescription for medicine I dearly need. It’s bad enough that nobody wants to mess with the old folks and now life will only get harder for them. It isn’t just old people though, the young people have to bear this current high overhead too. It’s too bad there isn’t a leader somewhere with a backbone to say “enough.”

On a lighter note, this week I will have been married for 40 years. Now let's put that into perspective, that is with the same woman, not 10 with one, 15 with another, and so on, but with the same woman. I personally think she deserves some kind of shiny medal from somebody, but we don’t do that in Indian Country, so I will have to take her to some fine food place and get her some right pretty flowers and maybe indulge in some mindless gambling somewhere in the hopes of breaking even. Seriously, I didn’t really think about this until recently and it is a big thing for an Indian to be married that long. Some people don’t even live that long. My cousin said “she put up with you that long.” Yes, she did. She even stuck by me when I got sick and had operations a few times. We aren’t perfect, but hell who is? Another friend said “pray together, stay together.” We have done that. Maybe that is a reason. We had some great memories from our daughters and their children that we are content with that alone. She put up with me for 40 years, but I think I did my part – I worked all those years except for brief times between jobs, I mowed her yard, tended her garden and was her chauffer for years, so I deserve my side of the bed. But, let’s be clear here:  she was better for me than I was for her. And as Forrest Gump said, "that's all I'm going to say about that."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jayhawks, lawyers and politicians!

The dismantling of the Jayhawks has begun. The Morris twins are forgoing their senior years for the big bucks of the NBA, where they will drive the big cars, wear fine jewelry, have a wad of big bills that allow them to have a woman on each arm, another in the apartment and several more on speed-dial, but that ain’t nothing because they already had all that in Lawrence, so it must be the prospect of playing the LaBron James of the world that lured them away. I guess Selby is close behind, but he never really did anything at KU to be a lottery pick and second round draft choices don’t command anything, so good luck Josh in Europe.

Over in the “real world,” they sentenced several people in the Jayhawk ticket fiasco to well over 46 months in prison and they have to repay millions back to KU, but a lawyer in Topeka got drunk and killed some innocent guy walking down the road and he only got 42 months in a plea agreement. Who would know the legal system and how to manipulate it better than a four-time DUI convicted lawyer? This is Jayhawk Country! You can get more jail-time for selling tickets to your buddies than lawyers get for killing people. Of course, those ticket people didn’t know how to push the right button, but they will learn how it is in the local prison system.

But in the real, real world out East (D.C.politics), they are having a real pissing contest. One day they are shutting down the federal government, the next they fight over the debt ceiling and tomorrow they will fight over some dog fight in Atlanta. The reason for the fight is somebody is trying to gain some traction for the next presidential race and if they can make the other side look bad enough they just might win. Again, the Democrats hate the Republicans, the Republicans hate the Democrats and the devil hates us all.

I know these are some serious issues that I laid on your plate today, but maybe I’m still recovering from my operation or maybe its cause my riding mower is in the shop and I have to get out and push the mower tonight, which drives me to dark writing, but isn’t it fun living in the U.S. of A.?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Update!

I've been on the path to recovery, so I haven't posted anything as of late.  Before this operation, I was having nightmares or maybe I was being delusional or maybe it was something demented in the recesses of my mind, but I had this recurring thing of rejoining my brother Larry.  I would wake up from one of these episodes and thought damn, I havent' reached that rejoining stage just yet.  I miss my brother a bunch, but I thought I had adjusted.  After he died, I had nightmares and in time some of the pain left, but evidently, some of that stuff still lingers -maybe it's all deeply ingrained in the psyche and comes roaring back at times, kinda like the weather we had at the end of March.  I always said I hope the Indians on the other side play some golf, then I can get back on the course with him again. 

But getting back to the issue at hand, I had this operation on Thursday of last week.  Normally, this removing a gallbladder takes about an hour and another hour or so in recovery then they cart you out the door to be on your merry way.  It didn't quite go that easy.  They had some problems and tore a cystic duct and it took 2 hours and 15 minutes to get it right.  When I came out of that operating room, I don't recall experiencing such pain and they nurse said I was "combative" and it took a while for the morphine and pain pills to kick in, in fact, I had to stay a night in the hospital to get me right.  Being naive, I told my wife when I get this procedure done, we would burn it to the casino afterwards, but that notion didn't pan out. The pain lingered for days afterwards so don't let anybody tell you these procedures or operations are simple because you never know what will happen when you go under.  I've had some operations before and I always hated the idea of being totally out and depending on somebody else to get it right. 

When I came home, I stayed home.  I sat in my favorite chair and toughed it out.  I said the pain can't last forever and it didn't.  There oughta be easier ways to get a day off from work. Each day, I get stronger and I appreciate my family for giving a damn about me during this time, after all this is the definition of family, help each other when you can.  I know one thing for sure, it better be a convincing argument to have another operation cause I ain't going to do it unless it's absolutely necessary to the point where I have to crawl into that hospital and say help me.