[Part Two of Two] “Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.” – Richard Nixon

What?  No signature?

No “Happily, Glass” to wrap up that last post?

What is going on here?

I’m not done!

I wanted to separate my feelings about the same-sex marriage ruling from my feelings about the smoke-and-mirrors-y air that surrounds this momentous occasion.  As I said in Part One, it’s a hard time for a lot of people to openly criticize the government now that it has so “bravely championed this victory for human rights” or whatever (I made up that quote-unquote quote although I’m sure very little Googling would’ve uncovered something strikingly similar) but I am unimpressed with the so-called SCOTUS.  I think that this recent Supreme Court Ruling of the United States (#SCROTUS) was nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from the Obamanation (pronounced abomination) that is the Affordable Care Act.

Affordable for whom?!

It would have cost The Family Glass over $1000 each month (?!?!?!) to get insurance through the public school district that I work (pronounced worked) for.  A third of that was just for the Baby and I and two-thirds (more or less) was to add coverage for Holland!  In other words, I can add the amazingly powerful and magical stay-at-home champion that I am so fortunate to be married to onto my health insurance coverage without more than double my monthly premium, an amount which represents about 25% of my overall annual income.  The Healthcare Marketplace wasn’t much better.  For reliable ‘insurance’ (click HERE to see why that’s in quotes), a copay under $50, and an out-of-pocket maximum that didn’t make my head spin, I’d still have to shell out close to a grand.

Here is a list of factors that have made our insurance unaffordable:

1.  We refuse to put Baby Glass in daycare, making us pretty much a one-income family

2.  We all like to spend time together, making second jobs difficult

3.  I am an elementary school music teacher and my salary puts me $300 over the bracket for a family of our size to benefit from the Marketplace.

It is already hard.  Affording insurance (which we just can’t do at this point) would make it impossible.

Maybe, hopefully, your situation is different.  But this is our truth, our life, and it is largely the result of the Affordable Care Act.

Also, you should look into the other Supreme Court rulings that were handed down, like the poorly researched clean air ruling that will cost companies $10 billion a year to comply with.  I am definitely a huge proponent of clean air, but if due diligence is not done, then compliance with the regulations doesn’t happen as efficiently as it could and should.

I worry about the state of our nation.  I worry about the tactics that are used to disillusion and take advantage of good-hearted people.  [Proposed solutions coming soon]

I will leave you here, Dear Reader, with encouragement to inform yourself and always question.  We can fix this all, I’m sure of it.

And here, in closing and in spite of it all, I sign my farewell:

Happily,

Glass

P.S. – Sorry for my absence of late.  I have been travelling across our great nation.  More on that later as well.

[Part One of Two] “Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.” – Richard Nixon

It’s a hard time for me to criticize the government.  Let me clarify.  It is not a hard time for me to be critical of the government, but it is a difficult for a lot of people to feel comfortable openly criticizing it.  When I logged on to start this post, the rainbow banner at the top of the WordPress dashboard reminded me that same-sex marriage has been legalized which is a strange thought to me, not because I’m opposed to same-sex marriage (I’m very much in favor of it, more on that shortly), but because the antonym for “legal” that comes to mind so readily is “illegal.”   Same-sex marriage wasn’t illegal per se before the Supreme Court ruling, but in a way it was.

It’s no secret that the LGBT community has suffered through a world of physical and psychological abuse for ages.  Fear and hate have created an environment that has, in some cases, cost innocent people their lives.  In 2010, my good friend Troy was brutally murdered about six months before his 25th birthday because he made “unwanted sexual advances” toward another man while they were hanging out at the apartment that Troy shared with his mother.  It was a heinous crime that robbed the world of one its kindest and most gentle spirits and it continues to haunt his friends and family.

This is one of countless incidents that have resulted in the unwarranted persecution of an innocent person.  Someone who was exercising their American right to the pursuit of happiness.

We cannot change the way people think, and we should  but we can ensure that the government does not stand in the way of that same right.  I am proud of the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.   I am happy that all people can have the opportunity to have their lifelong commitment to one another recognized and celebrated.

I am happy about that..

Five-Minute Betterment: “Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.” – Benjamin Franklin, 13 Virtues

I like to clean.  I think it’s therapeutic and obviously it’s good to keep your body, your cloaths, and your habitation clean.  I also like to cook which gives me plenty of opportunity to clean and which also leads me to today’s FMB.  Clean your dishes.. BY HAND!  Not all of them.  Just the few I’m sure you’ve got laying around.

The Family Glass has resided at two habitations that were devoid of a dishwasher and one with a dishwasher on the occasional fritz.  When you don’t have a dishwasher, you learn a few things.  First of all, you learn that washing your own dishes is tedious and that dishwashers are amazing inventions.  Second you learn how to make meals without using every dish in the kitchen.

It’s good to relive that experience every now and then.  Just the other day, I went in and cleaned the kitchen but there were a few glasses, a colander, and the pot I used to make macaroni and cheese sitting in the sink.  The dishwasher was full of clean dishes that I wasn’t quite ready to put up.  I didn’t want to look at the dirty dishes any longer, so I took a few minutes and washed them by hand.  No big deal.

Here’s the thing about hand-washed dishes.  They look (and probably are) much cleaner than dishes in a dishwasher.  Sometimes, especially if you’re renting your habitation with an older dishwasher, the dishes come out looking kind of filmy or grimy [there’s a many-minute betterment for cleaning out your dishwasher that I might get to later].  When you clean them by hand, you know that they’re getting clean and you know that you won’t have any food stuck on them.  Also, you’re not giving bacteria (or worse, roaches) too much time to feed and reproduce on the dishes while they sit in the sink.

Also, your knives and pots and pans are much better off being hand-washed.  The dishwasher will bang up a good knife something awful, chipping the blade or tip beyond repair.  Nonstick cookware (especially ceramic) should be wiped, not scrubbed, to maintain the nonstick coating.  Stainless steel pots and pans are often dishwasher safe, but it’s recommended that you hand wash them to “preserve the luster” (per the Use and Care section of Calphalon’s website).

It’ll do you well to wash something by had every now and then, whether to preserve your body, cloaths, or habitation, or to increase your appreciation, gratitude, and spiritual health.

After all, Cleanliness may very well be close to Godliness, my friends.

Cleanly,

Glass

P. S. – Click here to read Art of Manliness’ exploration of Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues and how they apply to being a better man and living a better life.  Good stuff.

“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” – Indira Gandhi

Bad news.  Apparently the middle finger is making a comeback.  Over the last few months, I have been flicked off twice while driving by people in other cars.  Twice!

The first time, I had slowed down momentarily under an overpass to make sure that we (The Family Glass) were going to make a turn.  The person in the car behind me accelerated to get around me and casually gave the one-finger salute as he passed us.  The second time was a much more heinous display of uncivilized behavior.

It was my birthday last weekend and we were on our way back from the Lego Americana exhibit when we saw a dead beaver by the median of a stretch of business route in a small town.  Holland and I had never seen a real live beaver before (I guess we still haven’t) and I looped back so that we could see it.  There wasn’t any traffic coming from behind us so I stopped and put my flashers on so we could take a look at this sizeable rodent.  After fifteen seconds or so I noticed traffic was coming so I sped back up.  A car came flying up on us and almost hit our car (really unnecessary considering the highly-visible color, size, and speed of our car).

Whatever.  It happens, right?  Let’s get on with our lives.

Nope.  It didn’t end there.  We got to the next light and the car that had almost hit us was now in front of us.  The light turned green and the driver put their flashers on.  Huh, I thought, maybe their car died.  After several seconds, I tried to get around them and they took off.  That was weird, I thought.

Whatever.  It happens, right?  Let’s get on with our lives.

Nope.  It didn’t end there either.  The proceeded to do the same exact thing at the next light.  By then I realized that they were doing this to spite me for being pulled over with my flashers on.  I accelerated and changed lanes because they were turning and as I drove by, (wouldn’t you know it?) the passenger flicked me off!

Now no part of this on its own was that big of a deal, but who would go through all of the trouble to mess with me at two lights then give me the bird?  This was maybe over a half-mile stretch of business highway in the sort-of-middle of nowhere.  Needless to say, we were appalled.

I thought back over the past several years and I can’t remember a single time that I’ve had the bird shot at me.  I am by no means a bad driver.  On the contrary, I’m easily one of the best drivers I know.  And while I can occasionally be a jerk, on and off the road, it’s apparently never been bad enough to warrant the ole Bronx Salute.  So either I’ve changed in some way (none but for the better) or the dirty third finger is back.

The display of the middle finger as an offensive gesture originated in Ancient Greece (not in the middle ages) with the finger representing the phallus with, as you can imagine, multiple sexual suggestions.  It is believed that the digitus impudicus made its way to the United States in the late 1800s and was first photographed in 1886.  In the picture below, you’ll see Boston Beaneaters’ pitcher Old Hoss Radbourn shooting it to the camera.

The gesture has more or less retained its meaning to this day.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’m just getting old.  I know that there are a bunch of pictures of me displaying my shameless finger (that sounds really bad) when I was much younger, but it just seems like a really dumb thing to do.  I feel like 10-15 years ago, flipping the bird was a very common thing to do.  But, like I said, I can’t really remembering seeing it very often if it all since then.

Here’s my point:

We’re better than that.  You shouldn’t go around showing people any of your indecent digits.  The message suggested by the middle finger is a disgusting one and one that I would never want displayed to my wife and daughter and I’m sure most of you feel the same way.  So keep it in your hand pants.

Here is a list of other things you can do with your hands if you’re really that mad:

1. Wave!

2. Give a thumbs-up

3. Keep your hands on the wheel

4.  I don’t know, squeeze a stress ball?

There’s a bigger message here, too.  When you allow someone to make you angry, you give them control of yourself.  I know it can be hard to just let stuff go, especially if you’re not used to doing it, but you’ve got to try.  Opening the door to negativity allows other negativity to seep into your life.  You can’t change the world, but you change the way you react to it.  Say a little prayer for the person who is making you mad.  Wish the best for them so that positivity might spread through their life and yours.

If we can start a cycle of positive thoughts and actions and stop this foolishness, it may not fix everything that’s wrong around us, but it will clear the air around us enough to let us breathe and focus on what matters.  Let’s give it a try

Wishing you well,

D. Glass