True Reality #2

Here is the second of four poems that I wrote about my interpretation of reality…  The format is a little off from the original as this blogging word processor doesn’t allow me to layout the poem how I wrote it in its original design.  However, the message itself is still accessible.  Let me know what you think??

“True Reality #2”

By: Frank Cormier

 

Sliver in my brain, cause of no refrain

I ponder my existence once again

Of which I’m certain, I cannot explain

Who am I to blame?

 

Is the body an instrument of mind?

Or is mind too illusory to find?

Is it fate or freewill for humankind?

I think all the time.

 

“Let things be, people always say to me

“An unexamined life,” reads my decree

“Will not answer, ‘How much more can we be?’”

Am I to blame thee?

 

My simple message is penned without kink

Dear reader don’t blink whilst this point sink

Our lives happen here as quick as a wink!

Do take time to think…

Copyright (C) 2015 by Frank Cormier. All rights reserved.

True Reality #1

I am switching it up this time and posting a poem I wrote ten years ago.  It deals with my perspective of what reality is based off of the many books I have read over the years about this topic.  I wrote four of these types of poems.  They are very readable even if you don’t think you can read or like poetry.  I’ll post the other ones some point in the future.  I hope you enjoy it!  Let me know what you think??

 

“True Reality #1”

By: Frank Cormier

Are we a brain in a vat round and tall?

Or merely watching shadows on a wall?

Do dreams really mean anything at all?

*

Do alien probes curb how we behave?

Or do we really live in Plato’s cave?

Are dreams created to keep us a slave?

*

Are the soul and mind connected as one?

Or does consciousness influence alone?

Do dreams reveal future events unknown?

*

Do we really have a choice of free will?

Or is our existence a structured pell-mell?

Are we dreaming or awake, please do tell?

*

Are we creatures able of self-aware?

Or is this one more hoax designed to scare?

Descartes warned us years ago to beware!

Copyright (C) 2015 by Frank Cormier. All rights reserved.

My Cave – A Short Story

 

I wrote this story based off of real life events and of course added some embellishments to provide color and depth, but the essence of the message is sadly true.  I hope you enjoy the story…

My Cave

Written by: Frank Cormier

            The parlor was dark and shadowy even though it was a sunny Saturday afternoon.  The shades were drawn except for the curtain covering the glass sliding doors.  One half of the curtain was wedged between the couch and the wall to allow a bit of sunlight into the room.  The glass sliding door was ajar letting in the moist summer air.

Threadbare furniture filled out most of the living spaces in the tiny one bedroom in-law apartment, and many sundry knickknacks cluttered any available horizontal surfaces.  Blanche, a sixty-five year old graying woman, was filled with compunction and not able to throw anything away.  She attempted it before in the past and just broke down and cried.  All of the women’s interest magazines she collected over the years were randomly stacked in one corner of the kitchenette surrounding the waste basket.  It was a fire hazard but she convinced herself that they were okay where they lay because she was going to read them all… one day.

A boxy television droned on as she quietly sat in a rocking chair in front of the opened door with the cat on her lap.  She gripped the cat tightly, holding it in place while she petted her.  The cat was tense and as soon as Blanche relaxed her grip, it jumped from her lap and bolted out of the sliding door.  “Go ahead run away,” she bawled at the cat.  “You’re just like everyone else!  I don’t even know why I try.”  She then adjusted the shawl draped over her shoulders as a compulsory move more than one of necessity and continued to rock.  No matter the temperature she was either bundled in a shawl or blanket or wore a sweater.

Another peculiar habit she had was to always dress in black, not so much that she was in mourning, she believed that it made her feel skinny.  She was not grotesquely overweight but was always on a diet.  Whatever the latest diet fad was, she was on it and “none of them ever worked.”  She would adjust parts of the diet to her liking because it was impossible to survive otherwise.  Part of her adjustment included indulging her sweet tooth.  “I see nothing wrong with eating a little bit of sweets,” she said triumphantly to her shadow.  “They aren’t that bad for you once in a while.”  She had a different time scale than most people operated by.  “Once in a while” could mean right then and there (and typically did when it came to sweets) or it could encompass a whole year or longer (especially if it involved a task requiring her to get out of her comfort zone).  The truth of her reality was always relative to what she witnessed or believed in at the time.

Her life was uncomplicated for the most part: run errands, watch television, nap, eat, read the local newspaper, sleep, wake, and do it all over again, scarcely leaving the apartment.  Her primary reason for staying at home these days was that she believed she was agoraphobic; some time ago she had watched an afternoon talk show about the topic and decided that she had all of the symptoms.  “No need for a doctor,” she said proudly to her reflection on the television screen.  “No one knows me better than myself.”  On a different program about arachnophobia she called an exterminator right away to ask how much it would cost to fumigate her home.  She balked at the price and hung up.  “I’ll just pick up some Raid and do it myself,” she scolded the phone.

She spied the cat as it crept along the weed encrusted slope of yard just off of the deck.  The cat stopped and readied itself in a crouched position to pounce on some hapless prey.  Blanche studied the scene from her rocking chair trying to determine what the cat was up to.  Once she realized, she sprang to her feet and ran out on to the deck, stamped her feet, and yelled at the cat, “Shoo!  Get out of there you horrible beast!”  The cat undeterred snatched a baby chipmunk from the weeds and snapped its neck in one fell swoop.  The lifeless prey hung from its mouth as she jumped up on the deck and presented the kill to her master.  “Are you fucking kidding me,” she screamed at the rogue.  “I can’t believe you just fucking did that!  You’re horrible!”  She spun around and quickly went back in the apartment and slammed the screen door closed to prevent the cat from following.

The shadows in the apartment had grown longer and more portentous which caught her attention as she dialed the phone.  The eeriness of their shape caused her to hang up before someone answered.  A full ten minutes went by with her motionless, captivated by the shadows.  The cat meowed at the door and begged for admittance, when suddenly Blanche burst into tears and crumpled in place to the floor.  “Why is my life so shitty?” she blurted out between sobs.  “I’ve done nothing wrong to deserve a life like this.  I’m not the one who cheated on the marriage.  I’m not the one who got drunk every day.  I went to church every Sunday,” she cried, “And because he just goes up and dies on me, I get stuck in this miserable life!”  She wept uncontrollably for the next half hour before falling asleep where she lay.

As she came to, she realized where she was and slowly and with great effort stood up, then walked over to a framed picture of her husband with an obituary printed next to it and studied the frame.  Edward had died over fifteen years ago.  “Why did you have to cheat on me and then die?” she asked the picture.  “I was supposed to go first.  Only the good die young and I’m still here and you’re gone.  It’s not fair.  It’s not fair.”  The picture offered no response though she believed it should.

It was now close to supper time and she began the mundane task of preparing a meal.  She always made enough for two and usually ate both portions.  A pot of water boiled on the stove as she fanned in some spaghetti.  The days of making her own tomato sauce had been replaced by bottled sauce, and all she had to do now was warm it up.  The framed picture of her husband sat on the tiny round dining table as she supped in quiet.  During the meal she concentrated on the shadows and glanced every so often at the picture with bitterness in her eyes.

One shadow in particular caused her much discontent.  A small statuette of Jesus with his arms spread and head slightly tilted to one side, stood on the entertainment console, cast an ominous shadow.  A single beam of sunlight entered through the small opening of the screen and glass sliding doors and danced about the statuette’s head creating a halo at one moment and horns the next.  The illusion was caused by a butterfly that had landed on the screen door in the direct path of the ray of light.  Each time it spread its wings the horns would appear, conversely, when it folded its wings the halo appeared.  Blanche was not able to discern the cause from where she sat; she only knew it upset her and it must be a sign.  She was always looking for signs that her life was going to get better.

Once finished with her meal she cleaned up while keeping an eye on the shadow.  After several minutes the illusion went away as the angle of the sun ray shifted.  The butterfly remained on the door.  The dishes were cleaned and stowed and she dutifully took her place on the rocking chair.  As she rocked her attention was drawn to the butterfly.  The butterfly had beautiful blue colored wings with small ivory circles resembling eyes on its wings.  A gift from God she thought, maybe this was the sign she had been looking for all this time.  She let her heart and mind fill with the hope that everything was going to be all right.  All grew quiet as she internalized a prayer for a better life and gazed ardently at the butterfly.

Without warning, the cat pounced on the butterfly and knocked it to the deck.  The speed and accuracy with which the cat took out her prey was uncanny.  The shock and surprise of the attack was too much to handle.  Blanche gasped deeply and started to choke on her breath, fell out of the chair, and helplessly flailed her arms.  At that same moment, the butterfly weakly fluttered its wings in a last desperate attempt to cling to life before it succumbed to its wounds.  The cat licked her paw, meowed, looked inside, and then wandered off into the oncoming darkness.

The End

Copyright (C) 2015 by Frank Cormier. All rights reserved.

What is Happiness?

 

I can’t claim to know what happiness is for others, but I know what it is for myself.  I travel for work and one of my happiest times is when I get to see my friends who live all over this great land of ours.  I’m in California this week and have had the pleasure of visiting with my good friends.

Tonight we enjoyed a dinner consisting of sushi and saki!  I’m not sure which I like better, but it’s close!  We laughed the entire time through dinner as we shared stories about the different adventures that we experienced separately and together.  What is a best friend than someone you enjoy spending countless hours telling and retelling stories that you can bust a gut laughing about!?

I am very fortunate and have had some of the best jobs anyone could ever hope for.  And I have always gravitated towards jobs that have allowed me to travel.  I travel for work on someone else’s dime and get to see my friends who live throughout the country.  There’s nothing better than meeting up with old friends that we pick up from right where we left off regardless of how much time has passed.  It makes life worth living.

Happiness is in the mind of the beholder.  I know I have heard that before, and now so have you.  Live, Love, Laugh!  Life is meant to be enjoyed with those we love.  And happiness is self inflicted!  🙂

Copyright (C) 2015 by Frank Cormier.  All rights reserved.

Living in America

One of the things I like about living in America is that you can hate someone without ever having to get to know them. We have so many reasons to hate one another: race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, poverty level, wealthy, physical appearance, education level… the list is endless! It truly is an efficient means to an end where you don’t have to waste a lot of energy getting to truly know someone by investing time with them and sharing a conversation.  It borders on being bureaucratic.  Good lord what a bore that would be to have to talk with someone!

Well that would seem what the national media would like for all of us to believe. “Violence erupts over racial tensions.”  “Gay couples not allowed to eat at restaurants in Indiana.” The list goes on, and on, and on, and… well, you get the point.  I am not in denial that these things don’t exist, however, the national media has a responsibility to report all sides of a story.  Which they don’t do, or they put some type of spin on the story to make it sound as if they “covered both sides.”  Just watch a news channel named after a small rodent eating mammal that typically has red hair and rhymes with “box.”  If you ever saw an episode of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” you’ll know what I’m referring to here.

There is no question that racial tensions still exist in our country just as much as homophobia is out there and it’s making a strong case for taking first place (according to the national media) in the paranoid race.  I have cousins that are gay.  I also have cousins that are black, oops, I should be “politically correct” here, African American.  The funny thing is, growing up with my cousins, I can’t recall a time when any of us hated each other because of a different skin tone or liking the same sex?  And we had ample opportunity to do so! We are relatives after all.  And who fights more than family!?  We were friendly to each other, playing baseball, or football, or some other sport because there were always enough of us around to field a team or two.

When someone yelled at  another person, it was usually because the baseball bounced in front of our home field homemade home plate (try saying that three times fast!) by a foot and the pitcher, who was also the ump calling balls and strikes (we knew that it wasn’t the wisest choice given the responsibilities of each position and the bias that goes along with it, but hey, we were kids), called the pitch a strike when everyone clearly saw the ball bounce.  We got creative and had our own “instant replay booth” back then and the infielders would walk up to the plate and we would all look for the telltale (heart) sign (a Poe reference for those of you who like his works), that the ball skipped off of the ground.

That’s when we all became Sherlock Holmes or better yet C. Auguste Dupin (read Poe if you want to know who he was – “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” is a good place to start as he is the predecessor to Holmes),  and we would spend countless minutes debating whether or not we were looking at the right scuff mark on the turf.  That’s when we would yell at each other and whoever yelled loudest almost always won the call the way they wanted it, and we went back to playing baseball.  Problem solved.

I am always dumbfounded when I hear a newscast focusing on all of the negative aspects of a given situation, but never, well at least hardly ever, mentioning a “feel good” story to let us all know that things are actually okay.  I stopped watching the news or reading a daily newspaper on a regular basis over ten years ago just for this reason.  (And I’m a lot happier for doing so!)  The national media is the one institution that could change things for the better, but don’t, nor will they in my opinion.  Feel good stories don’t sell commercial air time like negative ones involving race or sexual preference!  Instead they peddle the race and sex cards hoping for black jack (no offense intended! – I guess we’ll have to change the name of that game one day soon… I vote for the non-offensive sounding “21” – but I’m sure some news jockey will figure out how to make that sound offensive too, especially since there is form of a basketball game you can play by shooting free throws until you hit 21 points – it’s dirty, I can feel it coming!).

A bureaucracy by rule is supposed to be an efficient form of government because it follows “an inflexible routine.”  This way “all men are created equal” because we will all follow the same set of inflexible rules and be treated truly as equals.  Well it sounds good on paper! And if you are a politician or a celebrity or professional athlete, then you are not created equal, as some of them have infamously exhibited by showing poor judgment and behavior, but I digress… The government is broken into departments; each department follows a set of inflexible rules/routines (that is what a “law” is by definition); and results are generated for better or worse.  The national media is no different.  They have proven over and over that they are inflexible with respect to what they try to “sell” as news.  My suggestion is if you are going to hate someone, don’t take the word of the national media, take the time to at least get to know the person from the inside and not judge them from the outside.  I know it may take more time and is not as efficient as the national media has worked so hard to get us to believe by peddling race and sexual orientation news 24/7, but at least it will give another person the chance to hate you for the same reasons as you might hate them.  🙂

My ending point is, we are all humans at the end of the day.  All of us have internal faults.  All of us are wired differently.  If you truly want to hate someone, let it come from within so the whole world can see how shallow a person you are if you judge others from the outside.  Then that gives the rest of us a chance to hate you too!  Thank you to the Indiana government for showing us your insides.  Very efficient.  I can now hate those of you that proposed the bill and passed it without ever having to know you! 😉  Bureaucracy in action…  At least the national media got this one partially right and pointed out the culprits and their truest inner beliefs.  I would assume, and give the benefit of the doubt since I have no way knowing, that there are hopefully more open-minded and caring people in Indiana and they’ll do their civic duty and vote these knuckleheads out of office.

I know this sounds cliché, but “live and let live.”

Copyright (C) 2015 by Frank Cormier.  All rights reserved.

Trivia Crack-ed Up!

Have you played the game “Trivia Crack” yet??  It is basically a rip off of the old board game “Trivial Pursuit” but it is still fun to play.  Instead of collecting six colored “pie” shaped wedges, you instead collect six “crowns” from the colored topics, ranging from history to what they try to pass off as science to droll entertainment questions.  Who really cares who Zac Efron is married too?  (And I don’t know if he is married or not, nor do I care.  That’s my point!  I’m not interested in knowing if he is or isn’t married, so don’t bother sharing this information with me.  I’m happy for you if you know and care.  That makes one of us!) 😉

Some of the questions truly are challenging, but most of them are extremely easy!  Like, “What state is home to Denver the “Mile High City?”  Unless you grew up under a rock or geographically challenged because you are from a foreign country, then you might have trouble with picking the correct answer from the ones given: Colorado, Washington, Maine, Illinois.  (BTW: the correct answer is Colorado.)  And how many different ways can you ask questions about Peyton Manning and get the same answers!  “What team does Peyton Manning play for as of 2014?”  “What team did Peyton Manning go to after leaving the Colts?”  Really?  This is the best someone could do?  Reword questions over and over to get the same answer?

My complaint about the repeated questions, and there are many, and it’s not just the Manning ones, is that there are so many other things that could be asked.  Instead whomever runs the app in the background seems to have a penchant for sameness.  I guess it makes some people smarter to know that Peyton Manning has only won one Superbowl in his career to date, while his little brother Eli has won two.  (I have only seen two questions asked about Eli and and about ten of the same ones regarding Peyton, and there are more about him!  I am at level 122 which means I have answered a lot of questions.)  I even proposed a “Fun” question that has yet to make into the cycle of questions (some moron thought it was spam and reported the question).  My question was: “What percentage of statistics are made up on the spot?”  Choices: 63.8%, 67.2%, 71.5%, All of the above.   Ans: All of the above!  Read the question again carefully if you didn’t get the joke. 😉

One of the mystifying things about the game is that you get to rate the questions as “Fun” with a thumbs up, or “Boring” with a thumbs down.  The problem is if a question gets too many thumbs down, they won’t ask the question.  I am sure that there were some really good questions asked that will never make into the question foray because some dumb-ass gave it a thumbs down because they didn’t know that the book “Liar’s Poker” is about Wall Street and not Texas Hold ‘Em.  Why learn something new when you can just keep repeating what you already know!?  Let me say that again.  Why learn something new…. Ahh, you get the point.

And the “Fun” thumbs up is no picnic either.  How am I supposed to give a thumbs up to a question that ask “Who was responsible for imprisoning the Jews in concentration camps in WWII?”  I think it is a great question because it will force you to remember or teach you if you didn’t know that so many innocent people lost their lives due to uncontrolled prejudices, and hopefully as humans we’ll never see that repeated again.  This is a question that the person answering it should feel smart that they know the answer!  But if I were to choose “Fun” it almost seems like I’m admitting that I liked what happened.

Maybe there could be another choice besides those two?  I propose “Learned.”  At least now the software gurus behind the game could actually measure the effectiveness of the questions.  I know the game is meant for pleasure, but as my sister pointed out to me, she was happy that her boys were playing the game, “because they were learning something and didn’t know it.”  I’m sure she isn’t the only one who feels this way.  On a side note: My own son won’t play against me anymore because I beat him so badly (usually within the first four rounds – there are 25 rounds total).  And he is in high school learning these things!  It doesn’t mean he isn’t intelligent, he’s a high honors student, he just doesn’t want to admit to me that I actually might know more than he does.  He is 16 and claims to know more than me anyway.  🙂

Trivia Crack has the potential to really become an effective learning tool and have fun while playing it.  In our “instant gratification” society that we now all live in, at least with this game you could get instant feedback about how well you have done and where you can improve.  The tools are already there.  Just look at your own profile and you will see the percentages of correct answers you had for each category.  My lowest is 75% in “Entertainment” because of questions like not knowing that Zac Efron wasn’t married.  See!  I told you that you didn’t have to tell me the answer.  I already guessed wrong and the game was quick to point it out!  I learned something that unfortunately I can’t unlearn…  However, for it to be more effective, the software gurus will need to qualify the questions better than a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” and verify that the correct answers given are indeed true.

If you haven’t played the game yet, I suggest that you give it a try.  It is a fun game and you can show your relatives or friends just how much useless information you pack in your head by answering the questions correctly before they do.  😀

Copyright (C) 2015 by Frank Cormier. All rights reserved.