An open letter to the students and faculty of Georgia Southwestern State University

Dear Students and Faculty:

Recently, I had the opportunity to see the current state of GSW’s student newspaper, The Sou’Wester.  While I understand today’s college students are highly distracted by the technological, academic, and social demands of our society, seeing the publication which helped bring so much change to GSW and change my own life is, to say the least, saddening.

A student newspaper is meant as a forum for an exchange of ideas, but it’s so much more than that.  It is a place in which the powerful of the campus and community that university shares can be held accountable.  It is a place in which those who achieve can be celebrated, and where joy can be shared.  Whether it is a Student Government member being called out for misappropriation, a faculty member being congratulated for establishing a new program of study, or a student organization’s efforts to raise awareness for cause being given the attention it deserves, a student newspaper is a vital asset which must not be allowed to wither on the academic vine.

Over twenty years ago, The Sou’Wester was a proving ground for writers, artists, managers, leaders, just about any student.  It was also the place those who had no other place on GSW’s campus could come and find acceptance, camaraderie, and the sort of determination to change the world for the better we now seem to only find in fiction and television series.  It was a place where dreamers, thinkers, makers and doers all came together, worked together, and made the impossible happen.  In short, it was the soul of Georgia Southwestern, and that soul burned bright.  Yes, we won awards, but it would have been for nothing had we not pursued our mission – to inform, educate and entertain the staff, students, and faculty at GSW.  We did all three, and rather frequently.

Today, The Sou’Wester has the opportunity to do that again.

There was a brief flicker of that soul a few years ago, only to see it dim yet again.  For the sake of our university, I am asking whoever happens to become the next Editor to look at the issues found in bound form in the Rare Books Room of the James Earl Carter Library.  Read the pages, look at where GSW once was, where it is now, and think of what it could be.  Then, I simply ask you to honor the work of those once stood there, those who once led it, and allow this newspaper to become again what it once was – a place for dreamers, doers, thinkers and makers.  A place where all can come and throw their ideas in the mix, and where a well-produced, well-run student organization can both foster a safe environment for those who can’t fit in anywhere else, and create tomorrow’s leaders.  GSW deserves nothing less than a strong, vibrant, weekly newspaper, both in print and online.

It has been done before, so I know it can be done again.

How the left is making it hard on liberals (and the right ain’t innocent, either!)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwYxP5dLxW0lOEZ0QTR4Z05zc2s/view?usp=sharing

This is my weekly podcast, “Get in John’s Head – the podcast.”  Creative title, huh?  Anyway, this week’s audio spew looks at how the far left is hurting the liberal ideology, and how the right is just tossing salt into the wound.  Americans, in general, can fix this, and I talk about a simple way to do so.  Agree or not, I do get it out there for all to hear.

The calling of one person’s soul, which later inspired the world

There was once a person who decided that it was time to create a new world.  That person saw the injustices of the world, how the rule of the elite oppressed the few, and how money had corrupted everyone it touched.  This person focused their message on those who felt downtrodden, powerless and disenfranchised.  After a while, this person became so focused on their mission, others came around to listening to the message being given.

This person developed a significant following among those who believed their voice just wasn’t being heard.  People from all walks of life began to believe in the message.  It was a lofty one – everyone should treat each other with dignity and respect, extreme wealth was a dangerous thing, and there really was a path to find one’s calling and, ultimately, true peace.  This person called for change and people actually believed in the hope offered.  As word about this philosophy grew, a new ideology of a just and peaceful world began to spread.  Many wanted this person to become a leader, to rule and right the wrongs of the world.  This person, however, understood the true power was in the calling, the message, the higher mission.

Oh yes, this person had their detractors.  Many in power wanted to get this person out of the picture, spreading all sort of vicious rumors, and even going so far as to challenge the person’s origins.  Calls by the powerful for their removal were far and wide, and this person was the subject of many theories and stories.  This person didn’t represent the nation they came from, nor did this person espouse the beliefs or values which made this nation powerful and would, once again, allow it to rise to power again.  In the end, this person knew the spreading of their message would come at a high price, but that price was insignificant compared to what would be achieved in the grand scheme.

Still, this person persisted on, relentlessly, to their place in life.  In the end, this person faced trials, hardships and at times, appeared to be both delusional and even disconnected from the situation at hand.  Rather than look at things pragmatically and be a willing participant in fate, this person dared to challenge the status quo.  The pure philosophy this person espoused remains an anathema to the sort of thinking adhered to by those who wish to keep their fiefdoms and refuse to acknowledge a simple, innate truth – that not only is history cyclical, but the thirst for personal freedom, respect for the individual, and love for one’s fellow human beings cannot be extinguished through propaganda.  For this reason, the message, the philosophy began to be co-opted, twisted, and turned into something different, all to benefit the very attitudes and lifestyles this person railed against.  Fortunately, the message continues, and the philosophy continues to be taught and practiced by those who truly believe in a better world, a better way.

In the final analysis, it was truly about the message for this person, and about the desire to make life better for all touched by their positive, lofty idealism.  Skeptics would, today, regard this person as a liberal-minded opportunist.  Historians regard this person as a legendary figure who began an enduring philosophical movement.  Those looking for a better way still seek out the message in this person’s teachings, despite it being perverted, distorted, and parsed to fit any sort of means to selfish ends.

From a strictly historical sense, this person was a revolutionary, a radical, a person who upset the apple cart and threatened all those who had something to lose.  Curious as to who it is?  Here’s a hint…

The Hebrews called him “Yeshua.”  Google the name.

WRITER’S NOTE:  I do not consider myself religious.  Take this piece as you will.

Bank proposes fee-based strategy to cover stadium construction overruns

suntrust park

SunTrust Bank announced plans to intervene in the escalating costs of their namesake baseball stadium being built for the Atlanta Braves in Cobb County, Georgia.  With citizen anger escalating in the wake of revelations about construction overruns, the bank has devised an innovative strategy to help defray any liability to county taxpayers using a special Overdraft Fee tier.

“It’s already being called ‘Overdraft Field’ and ‘NSF Stadium,’” an unidentified SunTrust official reportedly said during a  closed-door meeting with Cobb County Commissioners.  “Why not let the stadium live up to its name and shift the construction burden off the backs of taxpayers and those customers of ours who are least likely to complain?”

According to sources close to the situation, the new fee, unofficially nicknamed the “Lee Fee” in honor of Cobb County Commissioner and stadium deal architect Tim Lee, is to be a super-escalated $200 per transaction posted against an overdrawn account.  One source stated the original concept was actually a bit more draconian in nature.

“The company’s top dogs were originally considering the make the cost of the fee higher if customers held lower average balances,” this source is reported to have said.  “Why stick it to our best customers?  Let’s force this cost onto our least-motivated customers.  We can afford to lose a few hundred penny accounts.  Now a billionaire or two?  That’s a different story.”

Unconfirmed reports state the original fee schedule would be $300 per transaction for anyone with a balance of $200 or lower daily after the first three overdrafts, $200 per transactions for anyone with a daily balance of $300, and the industry-standard $40 for anyone with a daily balance of $1,000 or more.  Those with running balances in the six-figures would enjoy no overdraft fees, whatsoever.  All fees raised would go directly into an “Contingency Offset Fund” the bank would release to the Braves in exchange for ownership shares in the club.

Tim Lee was unavailable for comment, but even sources close to him say they were stunned to learn he wouldn’t receive any sort of compensation from the Braves.  SunTrust Park is scheduled to open in 2017 on the corner of Interstates 285 and 75 in Cobb County.  Costs are currently estimated at approximately $1 billion, but team officials admitted those costs are likely to spiral due to, among other things, special considerations need for local political approval of site improvements.

-SATIRE-

A new player in the political game

Now that the 2016 Presidential Election campaign is beginning to heat up, a new player has emerged in the world of political activism.  Focused on returning politics to what they consider to be a “simpler” time, the National Interstate Nostalgia Enthusiasts Endowment (NINEE), has begun focusing on candidates they consider to be compatible with their mission.  Though they are derisively being called “ninnies” by others, NINEE members have embraced this particular insult as a term of endearment.

“We are committed to our mission of creating a better America by embracing the practices of old,” says NINEE President B. N. Seelie.  “There is no reason our nation should allow the continuing degradation of our electorate by diluting the requirements to exercise the franchise.”

Seelie says his group is planning to support candidates who are for a variety of methods to pare down the voter rolls so that those believed to be more informed and intelligent politically are given the exclusive ability to exercise their voting franchise.  According to Seelie, voting was never enshrined in the Constitution as a right and, therefore, the ability to cast a ballot can be limited.

“We are not a democracy,” he insists.  “We aren’t even close to a democracy.  Our Founding Fathers despised the notion of a democracy.  Many, in fact, openly preferred an oligarchic structure to government.”

NINEE’s platform is rather simple and straightforward, despite appearing to be a throwback to a bygone era:

The National Interstate Nostalgia Enthusiasts Endowment is committed to ensuring the purity of the American ideal, and the preservation of the American dream through the limiting of the voting franchise.  It is our mission to eliminate the notion of our nation as a democracy by limiting the ability to vote to all but those with a profound understanding of the importance of voting and those with a legitimate stake in the function of our national and state governments.  Those in possession of real property, those who are informed and intelligent, those who produce genuine goods and services, those who are of the lineage of genuine stakeholders in our nation, and those who create jobs for the masses are true representatives of our overall dream; an America in which the best and brightest have the ultimate say in our national function.  – NINEE Mission Statement

When pressed about the group’s mission statement potentially being racially insensitive and biased towards both minorities and women, Seelie had no comment except “there is no reason we cannot express our opinions.”

While many candidates have distanced themselves from NINEE, the group states that many prominent pundits espouse their views, even if they choose to not associate with the group formally.  “Just because someone doesn’t want to be seen with us in public, doesn’t mean they don’t agree with us in private,” Seelie admitted.

-Satire

Are you a man in love with a woman with PMDD? Here are ten USEFUL tips to help!

wpid-MyFaves_Love_Heart.jpg

Today I wanted to bring a topic to everyone’s attention which may be unusual, but there is a purpose.  That topic is PMDD, a condition which is similar to PMS in some ways, but extremely different in others.  The best way I can possibly describe it is PMS being your average baseball hitter who can hit a home run hard enough to take out a scoreboard light, whereas PMDD is your brute force slugger who hits the ball so hard it knocks down the whole scoreboard.  Yes, it’s that strong a force of nature.  Those of us men in love with a woman with this condition endure a special form of torment, one which many suffer in silence with.

Having spent 18 marital years locked in what has felt like mortal combat with this situation, I read some tips for men living with this.  Most are solid, but there are some corollaries I would like to add, mainly because there are always exceptions to the rule, but also because sometimes we miss the obvious.

  1. If she can’t eat dark chocolate, any good quality milk chocolate will do. My wife is a supertaster, which makes for double trouble.  The usual PMDD food therapies (dark chocolate, coffee, etc.) are completely useless because they are too bitter for her to tolerate.  What I usually do, foodwise, is keep good quality milk chocolate on hand, along with “mood foods” that are nutritious.  PMDD sufferers tend to have extremely amplified cravings during their cycle, so be sure to listen to what their bodies say, within reason, of course.  Aim for European-origin milk chocolate, as most American-made bars are no more than 10%, the FDA mandated minimum.  (Sorry Hershey’s, just being real!)
  2. Cravings tell you what the body is being depleted of. In my wife’s case, it’s beef.  Lots of beef, and protein, lots of protein.   This is because the body is expending a ton of energy prepping the reproductive area for the possibility of fertility.  During this time, the body diverts resources from regular tasks to do this job.  Red meat of any sort tends to be rich in iron, so vitamins and, in particular, iron, help.  Also, the loss of protein energy can lead to sugar cravings, because the body is looking for a quick jolt.
  3. Encourage cat naps. As important as sleep is, for PMDD sufferers this is especially vital as many tend to not get enough sleep because of its effects on the body and mind.  When droopy eyes hit, let her sleep.  A cat nap can do wonders for her mood.
  4. Develop a very thick skin. PMDD is a sneaky little bastard.  Being a body chemistry issue, it will create all kinds of havoc, most of which is mentally based.  The more you can slough off what she says and does to get attention, the better off you are.  Be supportive, kind and compassionate, but not a punching bag.  If she starts yelling and screaming, the best way to defuse it is saying in a calm voice.  “I’m not yelling at you, why are you yelling at me?”
  5. Sometimes, a good fight really IS what she needs. Fighting, arguing and yelling releases stress.  As long as you do it fairly, show compassion and don’t gaslight in any way, it is survivable.  Most important of all, any fight during a PMDD cycle cannot be conducted with the mentality of winning – this is about blowing off steam for her, and you are the only person she can get away with doing it with.  Let her blow it up, put on that thick skin, and blow it off.
  6. Do no harm. It sounds idiotic to have to bring this up, but the fact that it’s easy to forget is why this tip is so very important.  This doesn’t mean “walk on eggshells.”  This means don’t make a bad situation exponentially worse with stupid statements, comebacks, snarkiness, or bad behavior.  Love, kindness, compassion, and generosity are essential components to surviving PMDD episodes.  Abusive behavior of any sort, even implied, is never, ever, acceptable!!!
  7. Don’t take the “Ghostbuster” approach. In other words, don’t blast her when you see the demon approaching.  Let the demon come out and play, ignore it, and remind the woman in its grip she is valued, cared for, and vital.  It does sink in, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
  8. Believe any PHYSICAL pain she says she is in. PMDD tends to bring with debilitating physical complications.  Where most women suffer menstrual cramps, the PMDD suffer experiences a flurry of physical pains, and sometimes flu-like symptoms as the body’s immune system is sometimes compromised because of a diversion of blood to the uterine area.  Treat her like any allergy or cold sufferer – plenty of fluids, plenty of rest, and lots of support.
  9. If she has a furry friend, keep them close by. A cat, a dog, a ferret, a bird, it doesn’t matter.  When she’s hitting her episode, keep her buddy close by.  Women who have pets tend to relax noticeably when their trusted companions are around.  These creatures do not judge, do not talk back, and are the most loyal, trustworthy friends they see.  Give her all the time she needs with them.
  10. Remember this too, shall pass. PMDD will not last forever.  A woman suffering PMDD will often experience substantial relief with treatment and permanent relief with menopause.  When those days come, cherish them as you would a special event.  A perfect day with no symptoms should be regarded as a holiday, and celebrated to remind you of the good which keeps you going through the bad.  On those sorts of days, buy her a gift, or flowers, or take out on a nice date, even if it’s just a romantic walk under a starry sky.  Most of all, listen, hold her, and remind her how much she means to you every day, especially the bad ones.