I should stop listening to the news and reading my news feeds on the Internet. I managed to get past my youthful, idealistic, principled "anger issues" several years ago. But, I have to tell you, it's hard to contain those old feelings when I read the stuff I read in the mainstream media and I mean the NYTimes, Washington Post, WSJ and similar abuses of our forests and Internet bandwidth.
It's the same with the news broadcasts - cable or broadcast. Local news drives me bats. There's seldom anything positive and the rest of the stuff is sensationalized. As far as the broadcast network news, I love to watch Diane Sawyer because she's my age and helps me keep feeling young just looking at her. I'm not into Scott Pelley on CBS and I don't particularly like Brian William's delivery.
Now, going to the cable news networks - someone commented on an op-ed I read in the NYTimes today, with the full intent to slam anyone who watches the Fox News Channel, that they are Neanderthals and watch Fox for the blondes in the mini-skirts. Well, guess what, I LOVE blondes in mini-skirts, so I'll take my position as a Neanderthal way before I'll stop loving blondes in mini-skirts. The fact is, those blondes in mini-skirts have not only impressive résumé's, but extremely impressive résumé's. There's not a dumb blond in the bunch.
But, I also watch CNN, HLN (where I also love dark-haired Robin and Natasha), some CNBC and MSNBC. My least favorite of these is MSNBC. Too many of the MSNBC commentators come off as smug, arrogant, elitist, intellectual extreme liberals. If we ever meet in person, ask me how I really feel about them. Actually, I don't like smug, arrogant, elitist, intellectual, ultra conservatives any better.
The fact is most of the cable channels are more about injecting a little too much personal opinion and not enough about just delivering the news - or being a "news reader." I think the BBC does a better job at that. And, just to be fair, while some of the ladies on the other cable channels might not look as good in mini-skirts as the Fox(y) ladies do, they also have impressive résumé's for the most part - as do all the male counterparts.
Case In Point!
Here's a case in point. Last night I caught some of Greta Van Susteren's coverage of the Carnival Cruise Line ship, the Triumph, docking when it limped into Mobile, Alabama's small port. Now, Greta is no dummy. Her law degree is from the Georgetown University Law Center, a prestigious organization, and she was both a criminal defense and a civil trial attorney before eventually landing her post on Fox. But, she seemed hell bent to condemn Carnival Cruise Lines for putting the 4,200 people, some 3,000 of whom were passengers (paying customers) and the rest crew, through the worst kind of hell anyone could imagine.
This got to me. She was interviewing passengers still on the disabled ship by cell phone. None of them were screaming foul or condemning anyone and in fact, continually praised the crew for doing everything in their power to make everyone on board as comfortable as possible under the most extreme and dire circumstances. I later switched over to MSNBC and The Ed Show with Ed Schultz. It didn't seem much different there.
Focus On The Negative
The focus was on all the negative and little about the positive. Positive just doesn't sell commercial time and ratings. In fact, there was raw sewage and the plumbing systems weren't working nor were the climate control or the elevators and so on. What exactly do these commentators think can be done on a ship like this? Greta asks, "Don't they have back-up systems?" She went further to suggest that the crew didn't put the generator to appropriate use in powering the ship that was brought in on a helicopter.
Don't any of these channels have a research staff to look into these kinds of things before they allow their commentators to open their mouths up in front of millions of people and condemn the cruise line and the crew for something the commentator, OBVIOUSLY, doesn't understand? Have these commentators ever been on a large ship? Don't they realize that they are actually a small city that floats on water?
Do they not realize how many resources these floating behemoths require on a daily basis to function with 4,200 people living in a floating city? One of the reasons these cruise ships make nearly daily stops at ports of call is to replenish food supplies, potable water, fuel, sanitary supplies, empty their sewage tanks and so on. A ship that crosses oceans going 3,000 or more miles between ports is designed very differently. They seldom carry as many people because they need more room to store food, potable water, fuel, other necessary supplies and have a finite capacity in their sewage storage tanks.
Imagine the uproar there would be if these ships just dumped all their raw sewage and garbage in the oceans as they did when the early explorers were discovering the "New World."
Don't these, educated, intelligent commentators understand that a generator that a helicopter could carry might be large enough to maintain a few walk in refrigerators or freezers, but not power even a small percentage of a floating city? The amount of electricity to handle driving the ship, running massive numbers of pumps for the ENTIRE plumbing system including multiple swimming pools, huge kitchen requirements, lights, a dozen or more elevators, etc. requires a large turbine like those in land based power plants. They are huge and weigh tons. Aren't just sitting on the shelves at Costco or Home Depot and are very complicated to install.
Does Anyone Even Care About The Crew?
And, further, everyone is complaining about the poor passengers. How about the crew on a ship like that? The crew quarters is on the very lowest deck, often below the water line. Guess where all that leaking raw sewage is going to end up? In the crew quarters. Yet, for not nearly enough money (I know a young woman who was an entertainer on a ship for several years and she told me what happens during events like this) that crew must continue to perform without clean clothes, showers proper nutrition, let alone the time or a place to rest.
The passengers continually commented on how great the crew was and how well they handled everything. The CEO and shore staff of Carnival considered every possible SAFE alternative to return those people to shore. The passengers will receive a full refund. They will receive some kind of payment for their discomfort and inconvenience. They will receive an option for another cruise at no cost or very low cost. The CEO of Carnival was there waiting for the ship and rushed off to be either on the ship or at the end of the gangway to personally apologize to every passenger. I hope Carnival is able to compensate the crew for what they did above and beyond the call of duty in this instance.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line, do these commentators think that these business operators are that stupid? This is a media feeding frenzy and a public relations nightmare of the highest magnitude. It's going to cost Carnival millions upon millions of dollars to take care of the passengers and crew and repair and replace whatever the ship needs to be seaworthy again. And, I'm not even going to get into the cries and decries about there being a Congressional hearing on this and why ships like this and their companies fly foreign flags. In this case, the ship is registered in the Bahamas.
What Is Stopping You?
This brings me to the point of this post. WHAT IS STOPPING YOU? Are you reading too many news articles? Are you buying into all the claptrap B.S. spewed out by the pretty blondes in mini-skirts and their handsome counterparts? Are you getting too many liberal or conservative online newsletters spewing dissension and doomsday? Are you believing the President of the United States in his State of the Union message and all the other political talking heads? Are you ready to become a "Prepper?"
Is the nation or the world ending, as we know it? Will we soon be treading water from all the global glacier and polar ice melting? Will we run out of fish because we're out fishing the oceans - and worse yet, we're WASTING thousands of dollars of food each year - as families? Do you have enough drugs for every kind of malady from hangnails to heartburn - and especially tranquilizers, anti-depressants and most especially psychotropic drugs to control your ADHD, paranoia, schizophrenia, psychotic tendencies and a myriad of neuroses? Are you afraid you'll never achieve the "mythical American Dream" and thus, be a "failure?" Do I need to go on? I hope not.
Here's the reality. What is stopping you is Y O U! You don't need a college degree to be successful - look at Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Bill Lear (Lear Jet - 8th grade education), Henry Ford (8th grade education), Thomas Edison (3 months of school, dropped out, home schooled by his mother), Steven Spielberg (achieved much of his success before he eventually completed a degree based on his projects). This is only a short list and I didn't even get into the brilliant blonde, brunette and redheaded women in their "mini-skirts" who have, likewise become successful. One might be Helen Gurley Brown and another, for sure, is Dolly Parton.
I personally knew and interviewed Dorothy Finklehor, a woman who started a small business school out of necessity during the Great Depression in her home. She hadn't finished high school herself. She and her husband, Herb, who I also knew, grew that small business school to a fully accredited, four year, liberal arts college in downtown Pittsburgh. It's called Point Park University. Yes, I said university, since it now has university status with 4,000 students and a multitude of graduate degree programs. When Dorothy died, she had earned her high school, bachelors, masters and PhD degrees and passed away in 1988 as the President Emeritus of Point Park, the school she started in her home 55 years earlier.
Just Be Creative
So, what's stopping YOU? Do you honestly believe you have any real reasons - or should I call them excuses? What do you really, REALLY want from this life? You only get one chance to experience it, you know. When will you start really experiencing it? Oh, you have a wife/husband. You have children. Your family wants you to stay close to them. You don't make enough money working for "The Man."
Here's another fact you can sleep on. It doesn't matter how much money you have, how big and nice or what neighborhood or how many houses you have. It doesn't matter if you drive a BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari or a used Chevy. It doesn't matter if you buy your clothes at Neiman-Marcus, Kohls or Wal-Mart. It doesn't matter how many toys you have. You can count on this. When you die you're just as dead as Steve Jobs and Mahatma Gandhi and Elvis Presley is. Dead is dead! Nothing goes with you - not money, gold, cars, houses, and clothes - NADA! Death is the great equalizer.
So, what do you want from your life? Are you going to let all this crap that pours out of the media and the offices of the faux aristocratic elite in Washington, DC (if you're a U.S. citizen) control your thinking and your life? Do you want to see as many sunsets and sunrises in as many different places as possible? Sunsets and sunrises are FREE and there are a myriad ways of getting to as many different places as possible. It just takes some creativity. Do you want to see the world and all the beauty and majesty it holds for you? Most of that is FREE, too. And, again, creativity can take you there.
There are single folks, couples and families traveling this country and the world every single day. I don't mean just a few. I mean there are millions of them. You just have to be creative. Do you dislike or hate working for "The Man" and accepting what he or she decides he or she will pay you? Is there something you'd rather be doing because you're in harmony with it? Then why, in all that's holy, aren't you doing it? Sure, you may not make as much money. But, you're paying a bigger price in the priceless value of your time and your life that's passing by under someone else's control.
Okay! So I started this with my dissertation about the various news media and the inane way they subtly and subconsciously control our thinking. Are we living under the "poverty level?" Are we middle-class? Are we upper middle-class? Are we the 1%? What does any of that matter if you're not free, happy and secure in yourself and your life? They are just words.
There was a book I once had titled "Hung By The Tongue." Are you hung by your tongue? Do you REALLY care what anyone else thinks? Honestly? Do you? If so, why? Believe me, everyone has an opinion on what you should do, how you should live your life and what kind of "work" you should do. The worst are your family. "Did I spend all that money paying for you to become a lawyer (doctor, engineer, teacher, scientist) and you want to throw it all away and be a guide on rafting trips on the Colorado River rapids? What's wrong with you?"
Well, it's your life. It's not up to me to persuade or convince you of anything. Most people are nice folks. I totally enjoy meeting people. Unfortunately, most seem to fall into a classification we call "sheeple." The ones who really stand out for me are the people who are living the life THEY choose to live on their own terms - for richer or poorer. They are free, happy and secure in themselves and have the greatest stories and experiences. They love to sit around with like-minded people and swap their tales. So, I hope you figure out what you want out of this very short time we have to spend on this planet and join us.
I'd love to kick ideas around with you, both to learn about you and from you . . . and possibly share some of my thoughts, ideas and experiences that you may gain from. I started a discussion forum that still hasn't seemed to gel, but I'm hoping as more and more people sign on we'll eventually get some great discussions going. You can click on the Living Free and Happy link to the right of this post or you can click right here Living Free and Happy. Just sayin'.