Tag Archives: ghosts

Free Garbage is Still…Garbage.

I remember talking to someone a few years back, about the local food pantry here in our little town (which is also the county seat, so it’s not exactly unsophisticated).   I had good and bad comments about the food pantry, but the whole experience left me wondering about how that and the healthcare system are somewhat intertwined.

First, the positive – the food pantry here delivers.  That’s really awesome and helpful, especially since the pantry is on the outskirts of town, where buses don’t go.  So, for those of us without a car, that’s a really nice thing for them to do.

The people who deliver the food are very nice, and when you try to thank them they say, “Don’t thank me, thank God,” which I take as the modest statement it is.  They are using their own cars to bring food to my apartment, and I think it’s really nice of them to do that.

Aside #1: Contrary to some misconceptions, I do not argue with every Christian who expresses thoughts about Jesus or saints or whatever deity they choose.  I fully support their right to believe as they wish.  My complaints only come into play when they try to force others to believe as they do, or force others to participate in their worship, or make judgments about neo-Pagans/non-believers being evil and so on.

The bad part about the food pantry here?  It’s nothing but unhealthy food.

Day-old baked goods like cake and cookies (which are, of course, yummy), white bread, canned vegetables with high salt content and lined with BPA, juice “drinks” (basically the ones with juice flavoring and sugar), hot dogs, beans (in cans, not dried beans), and tomato soup (very high in sodium).  And usually ramen – lots and lots of ramen.

Aside #2: Beans are the only things that are remotely healthy on this list, but they always seem to come in extremely large cans, are processed, and in general are not all that good for you. I don’t know why they don’t give out dried beans, as these are much cheaper, keep longer, and are easy to make – and better for you.

I received this a couple of times when my son was living here with me, as we had a very hard time making ends meet on just my food stamps.  Thankfully, he got some assistance and we didn’t have to call these folks again.

Thankfully, too, he got a job down south years ago and never has to live like this again.

I mentioned the unhealthiness of this stuff to someone, who then turned to me and said, “At least it’s free.”

Garbage out of dumpsters is free, too, but it’s still garbage.

Since the person I was talking to was somewhat conservative, I asked him what he thought the extra cost to the healthcare system is, due to people eating unhealthy food for prolonged periods of time.

Aside #3: Heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases can sometimes be prevented, or often can be ameliorated, by eating decent food.  That means little or no sugar, fresh vegetables (or at least frozen ones), fruit, fiber (like beans), and grains.

He thought for a minute and said, “I think we should pass laws so people can only buy certain things with food stamps.   That way, they would have to eat healthy food.”

Sigh.  I should have known – conservatives are not known for their generosity.  Or for their understanding of how po’ folk live.  Or for supporting other peoples’ self-determination.

Should we also pass laws telling private charities what they can and cannot give out at the food pantry, too?

Of course not.  The answer lies in education.  Education for everyone.

The people running the food pantries need to be educated so they can in turn educate their donors on what to give.  I think most people would love to know that what they give could make a huge difference in someone’s health.  And I think if they knew what to buy, and were shown how cheaply they can buy it, it would be a win/win kind of thing.

The people receiving food from the pantry could use some education, too (no, not all of them, and it’s not just the poor – most Americans don’t eat healthily).  I don’t mean about the food groups and so on, I mean education regarding how to prepare meals from scratch.

Many people do not know how to cook from scratch, poor or not.  But it’s not hard.  Cooking rice and beans from scratch takes time, mostly, not brains.  You can cook a whole bunch on the weekend and freeze it all, if need be.

Some poor people do actually work (for Walmart, too, but that’s another blog post).  They have families.  They might not have the energy or time to cook from scratch, unless they are given the tools by which to do so.

By “tools”, I mean…cookbooks.  Heck, you can have volunteers cut recipes from magazines, punch holes in them, and put them in binders for very little effort or money.  Or you could get people to donate cookbooks (though that’s probably a bit harder – most people’s cookbooks are not basic like Adele Davis’ “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit”).

Aside #4: I always thought Adele Davis wrote “Recipes for a Small Planet”, but that was Frances Moore Lappe.   Adele Davis, by the way, was the person who coined the phrase “You are what you eat.”

You could even – gasp – ask businesses to donate crockpots.  They are not very expensive, and you can dump all the ingredients into one, set it, go to work, and have dinner by the time you get home.

You could get people to donate freezer-ware, and include instructions.  You can get containers to freeze things in at Dollar Tree – and all their stuff is BPA-free, I asked.  $1 for a set of 3 or more – cheaper if you buy by the case.

All of these things still add up to a lot less than hospitalizing someone who’s had a heart attack or other possibly preventable illness.  Which would keep healthcare costs down – that wouldn’t satisfy Libertarians or right-wingers, who both want to see po’ folk not get any healthcare at all – but for most normal people, this would be a good thing.

And why should we think about how we can help the poor eat more healthy food, and save on Medicare/Medicaid costs?  Because it’s the decent thing to do, and because it saves money in the long run (i.e., your tax dollars – and theirs, too, by the way, since many of them work).

But…what about people who work and don’t qualify for food stamps or government health insurance?

To them I say, “Be quiet, and be grateful that your life isn’t so horrible that you have to sit in someone’s office for an hour and explain to them why you don’t have enough food to eat each month.”

Aside #5: The intake process at most food pantries is pretty hard on one’s pride.  They ask you how you got to where you are, and that’s a fairly painful question to answer.  Not even welfare workers ask such nosy questions, or look at you like you’re trying to put one over on them.

To them I also say, “You own a car and a house, have a retirement plan, savings account, and other things that poor people will probably never have.  We would all trade our food stamps and Medicare/Medicaid to have the income you have to afford all those things.”

We’d trade it all just to be able to work at a decent job.  To just have a shot at a life out of poverty.  Most of us aren’t lazy – if people who thought that had to live for a month as we do, where everything takes twice as long to do, or in some cases isn’t even doable, I think they would understand the amount of effort it takes just to survive.

Who Ya Gonna Call? Um…

Crash!!

6 AM.  The cats are already off the bed and running towards the kitchen.  I stumble out of bed and follow them.  Chimes are heard from my mobile phone (text message).

All 3 of us stand at the kitchen doorway and look.  Nothing.

Nothing is on the floor, nothing has fallen out of a cupboard, everything is as I left it last night.

The cats want treats, I guess for being brave kitties and leading the way.

I look in the bathroom, just to make sure we aren’t misidentifying where the noise came from. Nothing amiss.

Storage room next to kitchen?  Nothing there, just flattened-out boxes (being smart, saving those for the next move), a computer desk, and a cot.  Nothing has fallen in there, either.

I go back to the bedroom and pick up the phone.  It’s a text message from Nancy:

“Everything ok up there?  I heard a crash!”

Ok, we can rule out the kitties and me hearing things, because Nancy heard it too.

“Dunno what it was.  Maybe the ghost,” I text back.

“Thanks for waking us up,” I say out loud, to no one in particular.  The cats have already gone back to sleep on the bed, having done their good deed for the day.

Later that day, I decided to go online and see if anyone has any suggestions as to how I can find out what this thing wants and why it keeps making noises.  I don’t even know what the explanation is for crashes and bangs that don’t seem to be connected to any physical thing, it just doesn’t seem possible but there you are – it’s happening in my apartment.

But, really, who online would be able to help?  On one hand, you have fake mediums and people who claim to be able to sort this kind of thing out but…I don’t like them, in general.  I find them to be not at all credible, usually because they are selling something or they just don’t seem to be telling the truth.

I have never met a medium, online or off, who wasn’t a complete fraud.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think mediums exist – I suspect they do.  I just don’t happen to think that the “real” ones are on TV or on paid internet sites.  Oh, maybe one or two started out that way, but then the pressure to “always see” gets to them and they start making shit up.

Activity isn’t ongoing, as most of you know from reading this blog.  And if I say, “Throw everything off the dresser,” nothing happens.  Things happen when they happen, and no amount of cajoling from me seems to have any effect.  So I find it completely unbelievable that “spirit” (as mediums love to say, ala Long Island Medium) would just manifest and talk when asked to.

On the other hand, you have people who don’t think there is any possibility of this being something unseen that is trying to communicate.  Their explanation would be that I am either lying (and so is Nancy), or this is a “folie a deux” – “madness shared by two”.   Or that there are completely normal explanations for this that I am not considering (mice? earthquakes? fracking? who knows?)  At any rate, I won’t get much help there.

Aside #1: I have a friend who already, thankfully, debunked the flushing toilet experience as a small part that needs replaced.  So, no, I am not ruling out normal explanations.

So I decided to post on a Reddit paranormal forum.  Since Reddit has now been purged of most of its ugly, nasty, hateful trolls, I thought well maybe someone else has this issue and can provide some feedback.

I posted on a few other sites, too.

I wrote a concise post about the activity, and mentioned that this happens in a lot of places I live.  But that I don’t think it’s something following me, and I definitely don’t think it’s classic poltergeist “I-am-angry-so-my-energy-is-going-to-knock-shit-off-shelves” activity (i.e., I do not believe I am the cause of the activity).  I ended the post by stating I wasn’t wanting rid of it, I just wanted to find out why it’s acting like this.

I got one nice response on Reddit, a long one by someone who has similar activity.  It quieted down when he started including “it” in his morning cup of coffee ritual.  I might try that, actually.  He just talks to it like it’s a visitor in his home, and while he doesn’t know what it wants, it seems to be quieter when he acknowledges it.

His idea is that whoever it is, is just lonely.  I can relate to that.

I liked that guy.  He was nice.  I thanked him and told him I would try the coffee routine.

The rest of the responses were from mediums.  Angry, hostile mediums.

Each and every one of them told me “it” wasn’t trying to communicate.  That it was a risidual haunt that occurred whether I was there or not (in every place I’ve lived since age 4?  Really?).

Aside #2: My dad threw out a Ouija board one night – I think I was 6 – convinced it was the source of some very weird lights in the house.  I don’t know about that but I still saw the indigenous ghosts and the ghost of an old woman, Ouija board or not.

Those were not the hostile posts.  None of them were hostile at first.  They all said the apartment “needed clearing” (uh yeah, for a fee, right?) or that I should ignore it.  It was when I replied to them that it got hostile, when I stated that I know how to get rid of “things” but that wasn’t what I was asking.

One wrote a diatribe about how a “6th century superstition” (she meant Wicca) was useless in dealing with spirits and that only small children or fools believe in magic.  Oh and that salt and sage are just things for cooking.

This, from someone who has a “team of investigators” who use sciency kinda stuff like EMF detectors, and not-so-sciency stuff like her own medium spirit-talking ways.

So, essentially we have a fraud and a pseudoscientist arguing with a witch that the witch’s belief system is “unscientific”.  The humor was not lost on me.  In fact, I think I “lol-ed” a few times.

Randomly Rambling: Music & Social Movements

R.I.P Cilla Black.  She passed on August 1, at age 72.

I first heard her sing in 1964, on the radio (AM, of course), a song called “You’re My World.”  I loved it, and I made my mom buy the 45.

I was 8.  I still can sing the whole song by memory.  I don’t know what it was with her, I think maybe I just loved the very few independent “modern” singers at that time (which also included Dusty Springfield).

This was way, WAY before women played instruments in rock bands – they were all almost universally lead singers.  Or solo acts, like Cilla and Dusty.  It was still very much a man’s world back then, on the very edge of the sexual revolution and feminism.

There were very few role models for little girls.  When we were expected to grow up, marry, have kids. When we were not expected to be good at math or science.  We didn’t talk back, we still had dress codes in school, and we screamed at Beatles’ concerts.

It’s hard to imagine a world like that now.  Even that song I loved, “You’re My World”, ended with the lines

……

Darn it!  I was going to quote the last 2 lines, but my fear of being made to pony-up any amount of money for the priviledge to do so, stopped me.  Here’s a link to a video of Ms. Black singing it, live.

Suffice to say, the last two lines basically stated that if the relationship ended, so did the singer’s world.

Aside #1: Ms. Black did not write the song.  It was originally written – in Italian – by two guys named Gino Paoli and Umberto Bindi (“Il Mio Mondo”, 1963), then Carl Sigman wrote a loose translation in English for producer George Martin.  That’s the song Ms. Black made famous – it was recorded at Abbey Road Studios (“You’re My World”, Wikipedia).

Men defined women back then.  That is the world I grew up in.   Men were supposed to take care of women, protect us, defend us, charge in on a white horse, come by the house with the glass slipper, and so on.

My observation of adults did not reflect that, but I bought into it anyway.  I knew my family was different, I just assumed everyone else’s was of the “knight/princess” variety.

TV reflected that idea, too.  Moms wore dresses and stayed home, dads wore hats/suits and went to work.  My family looked like that from the outside, when I was a little girl.

Here are pictures of how adults dressed back then.

But on TV, Mom and Dad didn’t get drunk and have screaming arguments in the street in front of their house, ending with a dramatic storming out at 3 AM, swearing never to return (over and over again – for years I never got a decent night’s sleep).

Today, that would have been all over the internet and possibly the news.

Back then, people just acted as if nothing had happened.  It was kind of like the popular TV show, “The Twilight Zone”.

But I digress.

My point is, back in the 1960s, women and girls still often took back seats to men.

If you want a really good indication of what that world was like, listen to or read the lyrics to 1963’s hit “Wives and Lovers” (Burt Bacharach, what in hell were you thinking?).  Yes, people really did think like that.  It’s a song that has stuck in my head because I really, really hated it – even as a little girl, it gave me a creepy feeling.

Writing about women’s husbands leaving them because they didn’t take the curlers out of their hair!  Or because they didn’t put on makeup and a dress before their husbands came home from work!

Even later in the 1960s, during social upheaval, It was common back then for women to make the signs for demonstrations, and make the coffee for the meetings, but not be in on the planning.  Even in many leftist circles, we were still 2nd-class citizens.  There were exceptions but we won’t address that today.

It was so ingrained in society, that even when I left home in 1973 to go out into the big, bad world, my mom’s parting shot to me was

“You better find a man to marry you, because God knows you are too stupid to take care of yourself.”

Aside #2: This relationship with my mother was probably one huge reason I have never liked people who drink.  I think she might have been a decent person had she not been an alcoholic – but I never knew her when she wasn’t.

My point is, even the “progressives” at that time – which included my parents – were not really all that progressive.

And later, when Ms Magazine became popular, and a former Playboy bunny became the public mainstream voice of feminism, it was still very exclusionary – but on a different level.

I remember complaining to my history teacher – who wore a woman’s symbol necklace and who encouraged me to join the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.) – that even the fees for high-school students were more than most people could afford, and that I didn’t see anybody but middle- and upper-class white women joining.

I didn’t join.  I wouldn’t even read the magazine.  I have never been a fan of exclusionary so-called progressive movements.

This is not, in any way, to bash feminists.  I consider myself a feminist, too.  This is bashing classism within the feminist movement.   The leadership sees gender as the primary contradiction in society.

I see class as the primary contradiction in society.  I did at 16, and I still do today.

Men are not the enemy.  “Men’s Rights Advocates” probably are, but not men in general.

Anti-women sentiment/misogeny/gender inequality/violence against women are huge problems, yes they are.   Those problems would be ones I would address first, myself, if someone would just give me a damn ride so I could volunteer grrrr.

And so are racism, bigotry against people who love differently, and discrimination against people who have disabilities.  To name just a few of the major categories.

But at the end of the day, if you answer this one, tiny question, it all comes under this one umbrella:  Who profits from oppressing these folks?

Aside #3: It’s not a very large percentage of the population.  The young peoples’ movements on Wall St and in Seattle (and elsewhere) got that right, it’s about 1% or so.  Some of us must have taught our kids well.  

It’s interesting – but predictable – how quickly the Occupy Movement quieted down.  As with most class-based movements, this is always the case.  Co-opting people (i.e., paying people off) is probably the single most successful way to destroy a social movement  – just look at people who were supposed activists in the 1960s who are quite wealthy today and/or connected to the Democratic Party.

If that doesn’t work, though (you know, when someone with principles can’t be bought off), there’s always driving them nuts (the CIA used LSD for this, amongst other things), making sure they’re poor, jailing them, or killing them (MOVE in Philadelphia).

It’s always necessary to silence class analysis, always.

That doesn’t mean people stop trying.  Someone always sees.  Someone always speaks out. Though usually it’s not someone from the class actually being oppressed.  Ironically, there is still a class bias within social movements, even as they present a fairly accurate class position on things.

“Don’t lead, just support” seems to be lost on them.  Intellectualism has greatly reduced the effectiveness of every social movement in this country, post-labor movement heyday (Google it, young ‘uns).

Every time a progressive uses the word “sheeple”, I want to strangle them.  This is the attitude I am writing about.  I expect it from the right-wing, but it infuriates me from the left.

They don’t know what it’s like to be poor, which in itself isn’t worthy of condemnation – it’s the lack of empathy, the smugness that they know it all and don’t have to really try to understand what it’s like to be poor, the “we know what’s best for the masses” bs – that’s what depresses and enrages me.

Which brings me full-circle to one of the reasons I write this blog.

It started out as mourning the death of a brilliant singer, and then ended up, as everything inevitably does…with class contradiction.

Y’all see why I am a hopeless case?  I can’t be any other way and most of the time I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it.   I desperately hate being poor, but I hate it that anyone else is poor, too, and I guess this is my purpose in life – to let y’all know what it’s really like.

Until I win the lottery.  Or get a good-paying job.  Either one, at this point, seems highly unlikely. But money, aside from making one’s life bearable, is also necessary to fund social movements, and I would love to be in a position to do so.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”  – Warren Buffett

Like I said, laugh or cry…

Today’s weirdness comes from the site “Malcom’s Musings”, via “The Anomalist” website, and it’s an article about a gnome abduction.

No, not the stealing of garden gnomes by pranksters – though I find those stories highly amusing – but the attempted abduction of a human being by a gnome or something similar.  It’s quite a long post, and some will chalk up the person’s experience to a possible bad reaction to a prescription drug, a sleep disorder, or a combination of the two.

Except her kids apparently had similar “sightings” as children, and never told her about the until she started relating her experience, years later.   So, that struck me as, while not exactly lending credibility to this woman’s story, certainly head-scratching material.  I don’t know what to make of it.

However, I prefer my “whatever it is” that throws things, to invading gnomes.  I find gnomes much scarier.

By the way, the ghost/spirit/whothehellknows is active again, usually making very loud crashing noises in the kitchen. When kitties and I go to check it out – because the activity doesn’t scare my cats at all, oddly enough – nothing is amiss.

It also swept some items off a table, as I was standing right in front of it.  That was weird, watching things move when you are not touching them.

There is also very faint cello music, on occasion. When I asked out loud if it played cello when it was alive, the music abruptly stopped.  I still have no idea what he/she/it wants.  Nancy thinks I should get a tape recorder and see if I can get any EVPs.

I agree.  I can’t afford one, but I agree.

Today’s recommendation is for a website by “The Association of Independent Information Professionals”.  They help people start their own businesses as, basically, information gatherers.  Because for every person who hates researching when they have a particular need for information, there is at least one other person who loves to look things up.

I think that kind of job would be right up my alley.  I did tons of it in grad school, and do tons of it for my blog or just out of curiosity.  I think, though, that like everything else, it requires money.  But maybe one of y’all might find the site helpful.

The other recommendation I had, I stumbled across while searching for a legitimate article about the CIA’s project MKULTRA (to back up my assertion about people being driven crazy by being unknowingly dosed with LSD).  It’s a film from 1955, financed by Sandoz, which shows a (willing) test subject tripping.

It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the CIA – though the person who posted the video states this particular experiment was funded by the CIA.  I can’t find evidence of that but who knows?

It’s called “Schizophrenic Model Psychosis Induced by LSD 25”.

Be good.  Be kind.  And if you see something move in your garden, out of the corner of your eye…