Sunday, January 30, 2022

What's on TV?


I've posted before about what I'm watching on TV and thought I would do an updated version. My wife and I have watched more shows and movies on streaming platforms than on cable television lately. Some of our favorite shows and most recent shows are listed below:

  • Yellowstone (Paramount)- one of our favorites right now
  • Mayor of Kingstown (Paramount+)- also a great new show from the makers of Yellowstone
  • 1883 (Paramont+)- a pretty good show which goes back in history of the Dutton family of Yellowstone above
  • Yellowjackets (Showtime)- an interesting story
  • Dexter New Blood (Showtime)- a one series reboot of the old Dexter
  • Ozark (Netflix)- one of our favorites and can't wait for the final Part 2 to come out!
  • Chernobyl (HBOMax)- my wife was not interested in this one so I watched it. Very interesting historical piece. I was surprised by the use of bio robots!
  • Your Honor (Hulu)- starring Bryan Cranston. We enjoyed this one and look forward to a second season
  • This Is Us (NBC)- We are sorry to see that this great series is in the last season
  • Don't Look Up (Netflix)- starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I thought this movie was pretty good. It is a good satire of the Covid crisis or possible climate change

I am one episode into Ray Donovan and like it so far. There are many more series that we have watched but I can't think of each one. The list above includes our most recent. There are so many options for movies and series that it is mind boggling. 

We tend to watch those that we hear about from others or on social media. Let me know of any interesting things you are watching and I'll take a look at adding it to my list. Any and all suggestions are appreciated and may enlighten us all to some great shows!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Suspicious Activity

 I retired after 33 years of government service with 28 years of that in law enforcement. Law enforcement officers at all levels used to be in an honorable career that garnered respect and admiration from most citizens. It was one of those professional jobs that was similar to fire fighters and military that involved sacrifice on the job and in your private life to serve and protect the public. With the "defund the police" movement and the lack of respect of police due to highly publicized incidents involving bad apples in the industry, the job comes with extra scrutiny and disrespect on the streets of America today from some citizens. There are still plenty of people out there that appreciate the job these people do to protect us everyday. I for one, detest the bad actions of a few, but still hold the rest of those who serve in high regards.

After I entered the career in 1991, my wife noticed that I thought everyone was suspicious. I think that becomes the thinking of most everyone in the criminal justice system. After you get lied to enough and you get told outrageous stories for excuses you tend not to believe in anything that doesn't have evidence to back it up. There is a humorous aspect to it because my wife will see a cute kid riding a bicycle on the sidewalk and then I will say "Yeah, but what is he up too?". She thinks that I think everyone is up to something. Most of the time I do think that. I've heard other spouses and kids of law enforcement say the same thing about their law enforcement family member. It just comes naturally to us. Or, is it that type of mindset that attracted them to the career in the first place. I can't imagine what you would feel like as a criminal defense attorney. Sure, you would have some great cases that you take on for truly innocent people. But, you would deal with so many liars, thieves and murderers that you probably don't even want to hear the excuse or the truth. A judge would be similar. Can you imagine how many sob stories a judge would hear that would prove false. I mean, even I would swear the light was yellow when I went through it. 

Suspicious activity is real. Some just seem to see it more clearly and some don't see it when it is right in front of them. Today, in Walmart, I was close by my wife while she shopped. Every person that came close was a potential suspect looking to grab her purse out of the shopping cart! I see it reported on the news all the time. Of course, my wife is oblivious to all the criminals lurking around as she is elbow deep in shopping. You can't help but laugh at us and our thinking. But, I know that I have prevented her purse from being stolen at least 50 times by being alert and ready to pounce.

A little suspicion is good. We all are a little suspicious and cautious when meeting new people or getting new neighbors. It is good to be cautious until you know the background and lifestyle of new people.  I think suspicion is in our DNA as part of our survival instinct. If our ancestors were suspicious that a saber tooth tiger lurked in the bushes, they would avoid those bushes. A little suspicion will protect you from being separated from your money or property in any number of scams that I mentioned in another post. A little suspicion may get you to request a little more documentation on a purchase, or a little better guarantee something will perform as advertised. A little suspicion is good when your teenagers tell you a wild story on how the dent got in the car or how they got in an hour late last night. A little suspicion while you approach your car in a dark parking lot will keep you alert to your surroundings and may prevent you from being a victim of a crime. A little suspicion could also keep you from entering into a bad relationship or friendship. 

Even as suspicious as I am, I do believe the majority of people are good and are doing the best they can in life. I believe there are bad apples in every industry. There are a few bad cops, judges and attorneys in the criminal justice system. There are a few bad delivery drivers, office workers and factory workers as well. On the flip side, you have a large majority of people that will help you, care for you, respect you and treat you well when you need them to step up. 

We all get jaded by the news we hear and the news we see. Seldom does the news report the good going on in the world. Daily, we see the news reports of thefts, shootings, murders and terrible accidents. It is hard not to think the world is in trouble. I think it has always had some problems over the years, decades and centuries and will continue to do so. We can only do our individual part to make the world a better place and give people the benefit of our doubt. We need more feel good stories about puppies, kittens, heroes and great charity work. 

So, watch your purse while shopping but enjoy your shopping experience. 

I've got to go, I see an elderly lady with a walker going down the sidewalk and she looks to be up to no good!

Friday, January 7, 2022

Empathy and Sympathy

Empathy is the ability for a person to understand, share with, and see a situation from another person's perspective or point of view.

Sympathy is the feelings of sorrow or pity for the misfortunes of others.

I always thought that I was probably born with very little sympathy in my bones. I've been accused of not being the most sensitive person in the world. I think part of it is that I am a male and tend to want to fix things. If something is broken, I want to get a new part and fix it. If something is broken, I want to use my knowledge and can do attitude to get the broken item back in operation. When it comes to someone experiencing a physical or mental issue, I have trouble dealing with it as it is something in which I can't grab a screwdriver or wrench and fix the issue. Most of my life I have probably shown a lot more sympathy than empathy. 

I think I have progressed over the years from being sympathetic to becoming more empathetic as a person. As we gain more experience in life we feel more emotions in a variety of situations that grow the sympathy into empathy. When you are young and both parents are alive, you can show sympathy to a friend or family member who just lost a parent but you don't quite get the true feelings and emotions that go through it.

Once you experience losing a parent you now can have true empathy for a friend or family member who loses a parent because you now know exactly what they are going through and the emotions they are experiencing. With this experience you now have tremendous empathy for someone going through the same thing and you can actually feel the pain along with them.

My wife's cancer diagnosis has ramped up my life experience and increased my empathy quotient. She is currently in treatment at MD Anderson in Houston, TX and is handling it pretty well. We have met some wonderful people at our housing unit that are going through treatments and helped brighten our stay here. Recently I met a man here who's wife was going through breast cancer and was back in town for a scan and checkup. I only knew him for about two days before he called me to talk the evening they found out her results. As soon as I exited my apartment and saw him I knew that he had received bad news. He advised that the doctor had told her she had two months to live. I talked with him, prayed for him and cried with him over the news. I did this with a guy I only knew for two days! It was so unlike me. I truly had such empathy for this man and his wife that I felt the emotions and feelings that he was going through. 

A person who has not had the experiences that create empathy for another person, can not know anything but sympathy for their situation. I have often heard empathy and sympathy used as if they have the same meaning. I can assure you there is a huge difference.

So, when you meet someone in a difficult situation, please, at a minimum have some sympathy towards that person. Never disregard their situation as something that would never happen to you. Life tends to offer us all a similar experience on earth with good times and bad times. 

And not to be a Debbie Downer for this post, we can be there for others in the great times also. We all must share the same feeling during the good times. It is often hard to be enthusiastic at other's happy moments and celebrations. But, if you put yourself in their shoes and remember how happy you felt when you got married, had kids, graduated kids from high school and college, had grandkids, got a promotion, had a milestone birthday or anniversary or any other great moment you can share in their joys and enjoy their moment along with them. So, the next time you head to a wedding that you really don't want to go to, think about the feelings that the bride and groom are having and go help them enjoy their day with a smile on your face. 

Do you have a story in which you were surprised by your empathy in that situation? Have you noticed, that as you get older that you have more empathy because of your own experiences? What is your take on empathy and sympathy? 

Sunday, January 2, 2022

101 New Things Update for 2021

 I set a goal of trying 101 new things in 2021. I fell way short of 101 after starting out strong. Life got in the way of seeking out new things in the latter half of the year. The whole quest has changed my perspective now as I am always looking and eager to try new things now and in the future. I managed to make it to 58 new things in 2021. Here are the latest additions to my list since the last update in September.

54. First time to eat Detroit style pizza. Never heard of it before.

55. Visited Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville, TX

56. Shaved wife's head (due to chemo treatment)

57. Visited Brazos Bend State Park and saw 8 alligators in the wild

58. Visited Moody Gardens Christmas display in Galveston, TX

I still plan on seeking out opportunities to try new things in 2022, but will not set a specific goal. I would still like to try pottery making, see a roller derby match, visit the John Wayne museum in Ft Worth and try glass blowing to name a few things. Hopefully 2022 will also give us all a better environment to travel safely again and see some new places.

All of us can benefit from trying a new thing or stepping out of our comfort zone to add a little zest to our lives. Even a short and fun experience is very satisfying and will bring a smile to your face and leave you feeling good. 

Happy New Year to all!