I Do, But I Don't

I Do, But I Don't

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Joy of Imperfection

Life can be horribly frustrating.  It is even more frustrating when we set unrealistically high standards for ourselves and for those around us; fighting and scratching to be something we're not.  On the other hand, some of us tend to set the bar so low that merely existing throughout the day without killing anyone is considered to be reason for celebration.  Somewhere in the middle is where "normalcy" resides.

Or, so we have been told.

There are aspects of our lives where each and every one of us strive for what we perceive to be "perfection," and that can range from our hobbies, our work, our body image, or even relationships.  In my 52 years on this planet, I've learned that there is no one on this planet who is perfect and no one will ever achieve perfection in the sense of human potential (not talking about spiritual perfection).  There is no such thing as the perfect husband, the perfect wife, the perfect child, or so on.  They are mythical creatures that have been conjured up by unrealistic standards set by our outside influences.  Imagery of the perfect body, the perfect smile, the perfect family are all visages of bovine feces that we have integrated into our thinking and accepted as the standard by which we live.  

Does that make sense? 

We should be joyously imperfect; celebrating our imperfection from a posture of humility and grace.  Hell, I've been in and out of the hospital so many times over the last few months that I can't even remember most of the doctor's names or even why I was there.  My health alone reminds me that I am imperfect and magnificently so.  There have been days and nights when my pain level was so great that I literally wept and questioned myself about quality of life.    My past, both good and bad, also point to the reality that I am far from ideal and it's time that I simply accept that fact and try to live the best I can each day.  

I suppose the reason for this silly blog entry is to encourage the rest of the Imperfection Army out there that yes, we are in fact, perfectly imperfect and that's just fine.  If we allow ourselves to be honest and embrace our inability to be without blemish, it makes relating to one another so much easier and more healthy.  

Let's accept who we are and strive to be the best imperfect little creatures we can be.  Let's be imperfect together and celebrate our differences that are worth celebrating and from there, let's change the world one house at a time.  Let our imperfection be perfect in its reach to others and to all those within our sphere of influence.  To hell with it.  Let's just live and be happy where we are, how we are and being who we are.

Of course I could be completely bonkers, but that too is perfectly okay with me.

Ron "Gorilla" Black

Monday, February 06, 2017

State of the Gorilla State

The Honorable Governor Mary Fallin gave her rousing address to members of the legislature and through media coverage; to the rest of the citizens in the state of Oklahoma.  It should come as no surprise, however, that a lot of people in the state of Oklahoma are already aware of the problems we're facing and that includes what the media likes to call a "budget shortfall."  

The problem with the language being used by the media and by elected officials alike is that the budget in the state of Oklahoma is predicated on revenues.  They are not "short" or "long," they simply are what they are and the legislature is tasked with maintaining government services within those revenue projections.  Just like when citizens find themselves with less income, government has to make a few cuts here and there from previous budgets to make ends meet.

Governor Fallin suggested an increase on fuel taxes and taxes on tobacco, but an elimination of the tax on groceries (good) and an elimination of corporate income tax (bad - see below).  Governor Fallin is sounding more and more like former Governor Henry with each passing day.  Increased taxes…that's supposed to be a Democrat thing.

So, here is a few suggestions from your humble little Gorilla as to revenues and the so-called "state of the state."

The first thing we have to do, in my opinion, is to deal with the elected official infrastructure as it exists right now.  We have some of the highest paid part time legislators in the country and while our teacher pay is at the bottom of the barrel, legislators seem to be doing just fine, don't they?  One way to deal with this is to cut the legislative session in half and in so doing, pay legislators based on the average median income for their respective legislative districts and break that down for the time that they are in session.  For example, if the average median income for a legislative district is $35,000, we take that hourly rate and pay them hourly for the time they are in session.  That alone would save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.  

The next thing on the list is to cut the tax subsidies for energy companies and for the Oklahoma City Thunder as well.  Currently, the Thunder pay no income tax on salaries as part of an incentive authored by the legislature to lure them here so, it's time for the golden goose to start crapping out some golden eggs.  In addition, wind energy subsidies in the state of Oklahoma are ridiculous and should be eliminated immediately.  Oil and gas company tax incentives should be set aside as well.  Not sexy, I know, but it is common sense and something that is desperately needed in Oklahoma.  

Lastly, absolutely no taxes or fees should be increased until the first suggestions are implemented.  Fees and taxes could be raised in the event that the recipient government entity can provide an audited statement to justify the need for increased fees or taxes.  The State Auditor should be involved in this process to ensure that there is integrity and consistency throughout.

When you have legislators who are trying to undermine the will of the people by fighting against state questions that were voted on and approved by the people of Oklahoma, that should give an indication as to where the problem lies under the methane gas filled dome.  For a lot of these legislators, it is the best job that they will ever have and their thirst for power and hunger for acclaim drive them more than the desire to do what is right by the people of Oklahoma.  

This state needs a legislative enema.  

It's time, friends.  It's time to take a long, hard look at what has been happening and why it has been happening.  We keep electing the same group of people, handled by the same group of consultants with the same talking points and we wonder why there isn't a real shift in the tide.  This isn't an issue of Republican versus Democrat, Liberal versus Conservative; this is an issue of common sense versus lunacy.

The state of the state is as it always has been until we vote for people with a passion for this state and our communities rather than an ego boost and a step on the career ladder.

Of course, I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt it.  

Ron "Gorilla" Black

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Catching Up, Throwing Down

For a "Christian nation," there sure are a whole lot of really angry people running around.  We are seeing that the folks who beg for tolerance are less tolerant than they desire others to be and we are seeing that folks who are supposed to be all about grace and mercy are really all about their perception of justice and retribution.  Perhaps this is just how things go after an election but I have a very distinct feeling that there is something special in the air (or maybe in the water) and there will be some major changes soon.  The storm clouds are forming on the horizon and a shift is about to take place…

I suppose I still find it tough to believe that Donald Trump is our POTUS.  I say this not for or against the man, but rather with curiosity as to how we got to this place in our history where we would have to choose between the two previous candidates.  President Trump has already stirred the pot in Washington and without a doubt, he'll continue to do so until it's a murky, muddy mess.  It's also amazing how many people absolutely hate the man and would rather turn violent and destroy property to show their disdain for him than they would to accept the fact that sometimes candidates we don't like much win races.  Reasoned dialog is out the window, the tolerant ones have become immeasurably intolerant.  And what really pisses people off is that Trump is actually keeping his promises that he made on the campaign trail.  


On a local level, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel has resigned after his November victory over Mike Christian.  Christian has vowed to run again during the special election and unless another candidate steps up, he will probably win in a walk.  Whetsel submitted his resignation letter and is ready to ride off into the sunset regardless of what kind of ghosts will follow him; the ghosts of fiscal mismanagement.  This makes everyone wonder just why it was that Whetsel again wasted taxpayer dollars by causing this upcoming special election.   It's just bloody weird.

In other weird and wacky news, a state senator is apparently filing legislation to shut down the will of the voters on a couple state questions in the last election cycle.  As I have said before and will again; we must never forget that for some elected officials, it is by far the best job they will ever have and their new-found power will corrupt their minds absolutely.  They begin to think that they know what's better for their constituents than do the constituents who elected them.  More Nanny State manure will certainly be coming our way, so wear your political waders.

In my humble opinion, everyone needs to just calm down for a little while and try real hard to find logic in action.  If we do, maybe there is still hope for us.

Of course, those are just my opinions and I could be wrong…but I seriously doubt it.

Ron "Gorilla" Black

Thursday, November 10, 2016

And Yet, Here We Stand

The land was laid bare and the bodies of the dead littered the streets; streets that were covered in blood.  In the distance, the screams and lamentations of women and children pierced the air and threatened to shatter eardrums.  The smell of death and destruction permeated the air and created a weight and denseness to every breath.  The fear and sadness surrounded every living thing that remained; it was as though any hope of life and joy had been sucked from the human existence and left in its wake was nothing but despair.  The skies were permanently darkened, buildings and institutions that had stood the test of time were decimated, and survivors were fearful to even consider a future. 

Okay, not really, but reading some of the post on social media after the election, one would think that the end of the world had come and stripped all Americans of their humanity and dignity.  Hillary Clinton lost in her bid to be the country's first female president, defeated by one of the most disliked men in all of politics, Donald Trump, and far too many people are taking it personally.  Trump was called every name in the book by the elitists on either side of the aisle and yet he triumphed and that really pisses people off.  Even today, there are people who have lost their damned minds and are protesting in the streets!  What in the hell is wrong with us?

This country will survive.  We survived Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton.  The country will survive Donald Trump and perhaps it will awaken the establishment douchebags to see their douchebaggery.  Maybe, just maybe, terrorists will take us a little more seriously now as well.

On a local level, there were some serious surprises.

SQ779:   While I believed that our teachers and children deserved better than this proposal, I really figured that it would pass.  After all, they had Toby Keith in the ads...but I digress.  It was believed that the initiative would pass, teachers would receive a pay raise and administrators would have s slush fund to play with, but no.  It didn't happen.  Teachers still need a pay raise and we need to do something better to fund education because the lottery wasn't the magic bullet, was it?  Hopefully, the legislature can do something honest to address the issue and make sure that the administrators keep their filthy paws off of the money that will be for the classrooms and for teachers.

SQ790:  I really thought that Oklahoma would pass this measure and not because it was the right thing to do, but because of our desire to mix God and government at every turn.  Perhaps Pastor Paul Blair's loss in the primary was a harbinger of things to come that Oklahomans understand that we need to be careful what we ask for, because we might just get it.  First, it would be spending money on the 10 Commandments (the ones we couldn't keep and so Christ had to die for us), then it would mean that Islam would get a monument, then Hinduism, and so on so forth.  Tax dollars spent on one religious institution would mean, by necessity, an entitlement from all religious expressions.  Kudos to the voters for shooting this one down.

Oklahoma County Sheriff:  Whetsel got another four years, defeating an aggressive and determined Republican Mike Christian.  Whetsel will now face the County Commissioners about financial wrongdoing.  This was a surprise.  Even though Whetsel was a recognized name, he spent money on television and frankly, that was a big plus for his campaign because Christian was pretty much nowhere to be found.  Maybe he spent too much on his consultants...but again, I digress.

Yet, amid all this madness, here we stand.  We still live in the greatest country on the planet to say or believe anything different is just silliness.

We can do this. 

Of course, these are just my opinions and I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt it.