Poll: What Is Your Favorite Comfort Food??

spagh Your humble Potentate of Profundity has been on a weight  chocolate-chip-cookie-and-milkloss journey that I’ll write more bout at some other time, but one of the things that I have realized is that I am an emotional eater…something that I am sure is not uncommon. I have also discovered that winter, for various reasons, is a season that lends itself to a certain level of weakness for we folks who tend to overindulge. So my icquestion for The Manoverse today is simply…what are your go to foods?? What do you tend to treat PotChili1yourself to when you are some combination of hungry, lonely, bored, sad, angry, frustrated, etc?? Please select up to three choices and leave me a comment about  your particular treats & temptations.

OMG!! Rain!! Drowsiness!! High Winds!! Constipation!!

As I write this my Pittsburgh Penguins have just been eliminated from the NHL Playoffs while their best player…ostensibly the best player in the world…Sidney Crosby watched from a luxury box after having been out since January…over 4 months…with a concussion. Now I am no doctor, but four months for a concussion seems extreme to say the least. Either there is something that Penguins’ brass are not telling us, or they are playing it very very very safe. The latter is more likely, which is the point of my irritation at the moment.


I had already been irritated by a couple of other things lately, neither related to hockey but tangentially connected to my point, which I will eventually get around to making. First, one of the local TV stations in my area has, over the course of the past year or two, made a habit out of interrupting whatever it is I am watching with what initially sounds like a dire weather emergency…batten down the hatches, Katy bar the door, head for the hills. But when one gets past all the fancy graphics and Doppler radar what the well-meaning meteorologist has done is cut in on General Hospital to tell me it is going to rain. Really?? I don’t mean to sound like the clichéd old fogey that talks about walking to school barefoot in 3 feet of snow uphill both ways, but when I was a child we would get some pretty rockin’ thunderstorms throughout the spring & summer and we never had much of a warning. Now I will admit that it is kind of cool that technology allows one to pinpoint exactly when & where a storm is going to occur and how long it will last, but I just don’t think it is necessary. And personally I find it far less important than finding out if Elizabeth is FINALLY going to tell Lucky that he, not Nikolas, is Aiden’s father.


The second thing that I have been more amused than annoyed by for a few years are drug commercials. You’ve seen them…Cialis, Boniva, Nexium, Cymbalta, Chantix. They promise to cure everything from erectile dysfunction to depression to high cholesterol. Now…again with the old fogeyness…when I was a kid drugs weren’t advertised on television, or atleast I don’t recall that they were. Medication was the domain of doctors. You didn’t feel good, you went to the doctor, he prescribed something, and you picked it up at the pharmacy. When did we start allowing meds to be hocked in commercials like they are a product we are intent on selling as much of as possible instead of as little as possible (which would be preferable)?? No wonder we have a drug problem in America. And truth be told the collective effects of all these various pills are far worse for us than marijuana, which of course remains illegal. But that’s a different diatribe for another day. What’s even more sad is that, for reasons that I am sure involve whole teams of high priced attorneys, these commercials must disclose possible side effects, and it is sometimes hilarious in a macabre sort of way. After spending about half of the commercial telling us what a particular drug can do for us, a fast talking voiceover tells us in a hushed tone all the bad things the drug can do to us…upset stomach, constipation, nausea, bloating, heartburn, painful swallowing, diarrhea, joint & muscle pain, dry mouth, indigestion, a sudden & unsafe drop in blood pressure, dizziness, shortness of breath, liver problems, death. Yes, I said death. Now maybe it’s just because I hate taking pills anyway, but I have to ask myself whether or not the positive aspects of a particular medication outweigh the possible side effects, and when the side effects include death the answer becomes obvious.


The truth, however, is that medications have always had side effects, just as the consequences of concussions have always been there and we’ve dealt with thunderstorms and other weather occurrences since the beginning of time. The difference is now technology allows us to have an overflow of information about every conceivable issue right at our fingertips with minimal effort. We have no excuse to be ignorant about a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. The question becomes “Is that a good thing??”.


On the surface the answer would seem to be yes. Unlike the 19th Century it isn’t common in 2011 for 35 year olds to drop dead of diseases like scarlet fever or tuberculosis because advances in medicine have cured many things or atleast minimized the damage. And I am certainly not anti-technology. I love my television & computer, and of course how could we do much of anything without our automobiles. But I do think we can suffer from paralysis from analysis. We don’t simply go out and buy what we need anymore…we compare, look at reviews, research the product online, and listen to every “expert” on the subject we can find. Political opinions?? We let an endless array of pundits “spin” us instead of making up our own minds based on critical thinking or maybe even prayer & guidance from Above. Food?? Who the hell can eat anymore since we are told that nearly everything, including air & water, will kill us. Books?? We wait for the thumbs up from Oprah or atleast read how many stars people give it on Amazon. Movies?? Siskel & Ebert may not be around anymore (well, Ebert is still alive but his face is gone) but there are still a plethora of media types that tell us whether or not a film is good before we ever step into the theater. It is exhausting.


Maybe having all this information at our disposal isn’t all that swell. Maybe it just causes us more stress. I think I would rather get my medication prescribed by a doctor and not have it sold to me. If it rains I think I am smart enough to seek shelter or take any other necessary precautions. And darn it, I think that a professional athlete needs to either play or retire, not sit on the sidelines for six months because he got an owie and a bunch of suits are scared of what might happen. All of this is connected to The Nanny State and The Wussification of America, things that I have touched on more than once. We may live longer now than we ever did, but do we live better?? Is it better to live life with gusto, have fun, take chances, and throw caution to the wind for 50 years or to crawl into the corner and be scared of our own shadow for 99 years?? The answer, as usual, is probably somewhere in the middle. It is fantastic that we have medications that can legitimately make us feel better and improve our quality of life, that we can make intelligent decisions rather than playing Indian poker with our hard earned money, and that we know that we probably should wear a light jacket or bring along our umbrella. But at the same time we cannot allow our lives to be taken over by microscopic examination of every detail. The 80’s classic Risky Business gave the masses some great advice: ““Every now and then say, ‘What the heck.’ ‘What the heck’ gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.” If there is going to be a storm I’ll deal with it, but in the meantime I just really want to find out if Michael or Abby shot that scumbag Brandon or if it was in fact crazy mob boss Anthony Zacchara who we all know wants to take over the Corinthos Organization.

Introducing The Hall of Influence

It is with great pleasure that I introduce a new feature here at The Manofesto. Every sport has its Hall of Fame. Some entities have a Hall of Shame. The Dallas Cowboys have their Ring of Honor. So why shouldn’t I get in on the action??


I am very specifically calling it the Hall of Influence for a reason. Inductees will be honored for a purpose. These will be people that have had an influence on me and my life. There have been numerous famous people in the course of history that have done many wonderful things, but a great many of those people and their deeds have had no meaningful impact on my life, so they will not be included here. Also not included in The Manofesto Hall of Influence, atleast not right now, are family and personal friends. I may revisit this at some point, but for now my feeling is that you wonderful readers would have no interest in reading about my parents or grandparents or the old folks in my church or the old college buddies that still mean alot to me. Maybe someday I will change my mind and be in the mood to write about my loved ones and won’t give a rat’s petoot if it is interesting to more than a half dozen people.


Traditionally organizations induct new members into their particular bastions of eternal renown once per year and have a bunch of rules and regulations about how those individuals are deemed worthy to make the cut. I have no such restrictive conventions. I may honor a bunch of folks, I may do just one or two. I may initiate them once a week, once a year, or anywhere in between. Assumptions should not be made that a person is more or less important than another person indicative of what order they were deemed worthy of my praise. In other words, let’s not get too spastic or neurotic about it, okay??


I hope that you enjoy my choices and if I mention someone that has also had a positive effect on your life that you will provide feedback.



Reality and the Negative Spirit

(The following is reprinted from a post that first appeared in the original Manofesto over on MySpace on 9/20/08)

* Pragmatism is defined as “a practical approach to problems and affairs”.

* A realist has “concern for fact or reality and rejection of the impractical and visionary”.

* Optimism is the “inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome”.

* Pessimism is the “inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome”.

* Negativity is “marked by denial, prohibition, or refusal, marked by absence, withholding, or removal of something positive”.

I give these definitions as a foundation for this particular invective because I reject each and every one of them. Each of these concepts is fundamentally flawed. By the end of today’s experience I hope to have the outline of a new philosophical approach, one that I can live with, one I will egotistically refer to as Samism.

Pragmatism offers the “practical approach”, which is fine for a lot of life’s issues. It is certainly better than sticking one’s head in the sand and ignoring a problem. However, it leaves no room for faith. It leaves no room for whimsy. It leaves no room for overcoming obstacles and achieving the impossible. It leaves no room for hope. I don’t like that at all. It may be the intelligent approach to life, but it’s also a rather somber and gloomy point of view.

I’ve always said I wasn’t a pessimist nor an optimist, but a realist. However, I am officially changing that attitude. Why? Well, look at the definition. A realist has no vision, which means they have no imagination. That too is a rather depressing outlook on life.

Optimism and pessimism are polar opposites of each other, and both are an illusion. One anticipates the worst possible outcome; one anticipates the best possible outcome. There are a couple different difficulties there. First of all, either way there is anticipation. I understand it is difficult not to anticipate, to think ahead, to worry and wonder how something is going to turn out. But it’s a losing proposition. If one always anticipates the worst possible outcome all the joy and happiness of life just dissipates into thin air. If one anticipates the best possible outcome they are setting themselves up for heartache and disappointment when things don’t go well. Secondly, anyone over the age of 5 has likely figured out, to varying degrees of awareness, that the upshot of a situation is most often neither the worst case scenario nor the best, most perfect solution. Life just doesn’t work that way. Does the absolute worst possible thing sometimes happen? Sure. Does something good, even better than the best thing one had hoped for, sometimes occur? Absolutely. But life usually isn’t that simple. The concepts of optimism and pessimism would dictate that, on a scale of 1 to 100, the result will always be either 1 or 100. An intelligent being with any type of life experience knows that is nearly impossible. It is extremely rare for one extreme or the other to transpire.

Negativity I suppose could be lumped in with pessimism. But I examine it separately for this reason…it is more active than pessimism. Pessimism is an attitude. Negativity integrates effort. By definition it requires one to “deny, prohibit, refuse, withhold, and remove”. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot of work to me, and I’m far too languid for such a task.

All this deep introspection comes as a result of becoming fed up with negative, pessimistic, unimaginative, unenthusiastic, downtrodden forces within my orbit. I’m just tired of it. I am a person with a physical disability. I was raised with love and kindness, proper discipline, and a certain level of support, though I am at a point in my life where I realize I wasn’t challenged and uplifted as much as might have been possible. I am coming to grips with the fact that I have been influenced by dark forces that have, to a degree, shaped my life in a way that has limited me and had a negative impact on my emotional health and social productivity. Are some of these issues a result of my own shortcomings, mistakes, and attitudes? There’s no doubt about that. But it saddens me when I realize just how low the expectations of others are and continue to be about the possibilities not only of my life, but of life in general. When I look back I can see I was really only encouraged in the area of academia. Thankfully I was always an inquisitive, creative, nerdy kid who enjoyed school and learned things with relative ease. I was always expected to do well in school, get good grades, make the honor roll, etc. And that I did. As a result, I’m perfectly content with sedentary pursuits such as reading, being online, listening to music, and watching television. My intellectual curiosity has never been absent, and for that I am thankful. It is no one’s fault but my own that I have not used these skills and aptitudes to their maximum potential. That being said though, it must also be stated that phrases like “the shape you’re in” and “it’s all work” permeate my environment. It’s been pounded into my skull over and over and over again that I have “two strikes” against me. I suppose in a way this was done as a way to protect me from harsh disappointment and rejection and to make sure I understood clearly the challenges I would face. While I appreciate the shelter and the love with which it was undoubtedly intended, I am only now beginning to fully grasp, too late I suspect, the consequences of such a guarded and trepidatious path.

But I don’t want to make this all about me. I know there are many others that have been held down in one way or another for various reasons by well meaning people or possibly by not so well meaning people who knew full well what they were doing and had selfish reasons for doing it. Most of us are products of our environment, and whether it’s an individual, a neighborhood, a family, or a town full of the oppressed and demoralized, negativity breeds negativity and vice versa. So, what to do?

I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. However, I suppose a good way to begin is to train our mind, and for the purposes of the present discourse we must start with discarding all the old definitions I previously mentioned. Don’t be a pragmatist…it forces you to crush dreams and have no faith. Don’t be a realist…it eliminates vision. Don’t be an optimist…you will be disappointed often. Don’t be a pessimist…it destroys hope. Don’t engage in negativity…it uses far too much unconstructive energy. Be a Samist. The question is, what the heck is that? Well…..

Samism addresses problems, issues, and concerns head on in an intelligent manner. Samism has vision but engages that vision with reason and common sense. Samism recognizes that having expectations is unavoidable but seeks to employ critical thinking to temper such expectations so they do not lean to one extreme or another. Samism is open minded enough to welcome possibilities. Samism has faith in an omnipotent and just God that allows us the free will to screw up, grants us grace when we do fall short, and desires a relationship with us so we can learn better each day how to get it right. Samism believes in dreams but doesn’t allow one to be crushed by their weight.

This is a work in progress and the final working definition will most assuredly evolve. I just know that changing one’s own mindset is a jumping off point for changing one’s life, which is a jumping off point for changing the lives of others and the world around you.