The intent of this blog is to promote human equality, human progress, human peace and justice, and optimism. To accomplish this, to encourage the discussion of ideas after identifying and discovering problems, and then creating positive solutions for "we the people," in order to provide for the "general welfare" and "domestic tranquility" of America now and its "posterity" into the future. To encourage an emphasis on separation of religion and state for all, no matter if this is for those "of faith" in a Maker / Creator (Deists, God-loving people, Christians, various people of spirituality) and atheists or agnostics.

Posts tagged ‘happiness’

These are the Good Old Days

Recently, I learned about my hometown high school alumni concert to be held in October. This concert has been held for many years. My mother once participated. I participated in Oct. 2019. There was no concert in 2020, for obvious reasons.

The concert theme this year is to be about happiness. This seems very appropriate since there has been so much turmoil in people’s lives. I asked if John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” would be appropriate. I have various independent lyrics to this song, too. Rather than sing about returning to West Virginia, many years ago, I created some lyrics about returning to upstate New York. It made me happy. My kids would hear the lyrics and came up with lyrics about roads leading to their birthplace area, Tampa Bay, Florida. Then a friend of mine in the church where I attended in Palm Beach County came up with lyrics about returning to Palm Beach County. I could use them all, added to the original ones from John Denver. They bring happiness into a number of people’s lives regarding the area where they were born and/or living.

To exemplify the need for such a “happiness” concert, I have experienced, several times, some rather negative things here in town for which people do need “happiness.” For instance, someone began speaking about “wishing for the good old days.” My reply was words from a Carly Simon song which my partner and his brother have mentioned as having meanings of happiness, too. The song was “Anticipation.” It includes words about “… these are the good old days…” These words are repeated numerous times. “These are the good old days.” I don’t know what the person was thinking about when saying, “oh, but those words depend on what you have experienced.”

Oh? What I have experienced? Shall I speculate as to what these means and the basis for someone saying this? Is it someone who wishes to lambast Democrats as all being bad while elevating Republicans to the top? I speculate on this because I hear this type of BS today which predominates so much it makes me sick and tired of hearing them.

Or, are there no “good old days” today because of sex, drugs, alcohol predominance? To which I can say history demonstrates to us that making such things illegal does nothing to end them. Furthermore, there are plenty of examples from the “good old days,” Prohibition and a damn dry town to name just two examples, which caused more harm and chaos in America than if we just do something different and work together to regulate and control such things effectively. It has been proven over time that when properly implemented, regulation and rehab for the sake of alcoholics does much better than just making the stuff illegal. We do the same thing over and over, like the stupidity of laws recently passed in Texas, expecting different results. Such maneuvering to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is called mental illness. Yet, how many times have such evangelicals and others tried to say anyone who opposes what they want is mentally ill? You don’t believe me, then read what the late Dr. Thomas Szasz, one-time psychiatry professor at SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse says about “creating mental illness” in his book, The Manufacture of Madness. It is quite enlightening.

Thus, I really don’t know what the conclusions are about those “good old days” from the past, when I hear someone mention it. Dare I ask what they mean? Not on your life, due to the lack of abilities today to discuss matters sensibly and rationally. We do need a little happiness in our lives today.
Besides the “Country Roads” song, I can also think of John Denver’s song, “Today.” My college fraternity would serenade the sisters of another professional fraternity with this song. It was our “trademark” song, as opposed to the chapter of the same fraternity located at Ithaca College which used another song from Rodgers & Hammerstein which portrays happiness: “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” When the two fraternity chapters, plus one at Fredonia State College, were together at “province” meetings, we would all sing our songs with beautiful 4-part male harmony to see who did the best!  I will be darned if I can locate a copy of that male chorus arrangement of “Today.” Seems as if none of my fraternity brothers have a copy of it.

This makes my message very lengthy, but here is a copy of the lyrics of “Today.”
John Denver
Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today
Verse 1
I’ll be a dandy, and I’ll be a rover
You’ll know who I am by the songs that I sing
I’ll feast at your table, I’ll sleep in your clover
Who cares what the morrow shall bring
Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today
Verse 2
I can’t be contented with yesterday’s glory
I can’t live on promises winter to spring
Today is my moment, now is my story
I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll sing
Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today

We have joy and sorrow from the past. We only dwell on the sorrows of today, but forget the joys. This really disgusts me to view this so much today. If you wish, I can list a whole bunch of sorrows from my past, so those bygone days are not always full of only joys. Shall I share the sorrows from the past?
1. I never met my Grandpa Willet Cornwell because his stay in a hospital in 1948 was too expensive for him, so he checked himself out of a Binghamton area hospital and went home. Within days he died and then the lawyers descended upon the family.
2. I don’t remember it because it happened when I was only a little older than one year of age, but due to the stupidity of a dry town run by a ruthless dictator with the money, my uncle drove off to other surrounding areas, in his teen years, came back and almost died in an auto accident. Thank God, he was the sole person involved in the accident. But as I was growing older, I do recall seeing my uncle and asking him why his face was all dug up? It was the scars from that accident. Add to this the numerous other people who drove out of town to drink. One person hit a railroad train and they say he was decapitated, as the Taliban and Saudis do to their citizens because they make all this money from opium and oil.  My bet is that more young people today can get opioids and other types of stuff more easily in this town than they can belly up to a bar or have a drink at a restaurant and be able to come home to drink. Sorrow from the past. Sorrow from the present and no change in sight which would likely make many of us happy.

3. A Republican member of the Board of Trustees who ran the college where I worked in Florida once commented about how he desired the days gone by because people “did not define their own happiness.” Thus, this idiot wanted to define it. Reason? Because he thought the entire faculty was having sex and using alcohol and drugs. Funny. But me and many of the others were not doing such stuff, so we were pretty disgusted at a Republican who would stand in front of the faculty and tell us he wanted to define our happiness for us. Funny, too, because although we had a dry town in the days gone by, I NEVER heard Republicans smear the names of people just because they were Democrats. Today I hear this so much it sickens me. I guess, in this case I long for those “days gone by,” don’t you know?  Except for the fact that I see many things today in which we could work together to make life better in the future, so I dwell on what the problems are and try to light a fire for people to work collectively to fix such problems. I don’t long for the days gone by because those days contain joy AND sorrow.
4.  I would have had a sister who would be age 56 this year. She went full term in my mother’s womb and died at birth. My mother has commented that she thought the baby died in her womb during the week before she gave birth.

5.  I had a wife who suffered about three or four miscarriages. Such events really hurt her in those years. Add to that my grandmother dying the same year and a very good friend who died in Utica, NY, in an accident which I have reason to believe was a pre-meditated accident which no one was able to prove as being such. Add to that two other people who died at that Air Force base in upstate NY, due to pro-Reagan Republicans. Am I speaking like a conspiracy theory person? You bet and I have no proof of any such things, only circumstantial evidence and intuition. So it is not very important to consider. But the death of my good friend, a mathematician and graduate of the same college where I graduated, threw our contract with the Air Force into limbo, at a time when the governor put a freeze on hiring professors and teachers so the job I had been told might be possible at SUNY Upstate Medical Center just did not stand. Me being the sole breadwinner in the family had to pursue other avenues for jobs and, not happily, we ended up moving to Florida, for a job. Thus, the song about “country roads, take me home” brings me happiness, not what happened in the bygone days.

There were many other sorrowful times from my past. My mother in big disagreement with her brothers. My grandmother who rejected the courtship of the ruthless dictator in town because of his lousy treatment of one of her sons. But, at the same time, I witnessed the very close kinship within the paternal side of our family, as we had many very happy family reunions. The other great times also involved times with student teachers and teachers who were borders at our home. Plus the numerous foreign exchange students who bordered with our family. The family holidays were joyful. Family vacations were very joyful. All of the joyful events from the past remain at the top of my memory list, while I try not to remember the more sorrowful events.

I had never given a thought to Carly Simon’s song, “Anticipation” and “…these are the good old days” until speaking about this with my partner and his brother. After suffering from all the BS from a woman whom I came to discover never really loved me, but gave me some beautiful and wonderful children, the joyful part comes from having those children and watching them grow to become 20- and 30-something adult ages.  There might be some event, though, which brings to mind the bad things in that relationship with the wife. I was a registered Republican when I met her, but Republicans were, at that time, particularly the leadership, much more rational and reasonable people than they are today. I recall the day, during our junior year in college, I was walking to the music school and met the woman who eventually became my wife. She was crying because Gov. Hugh Carey, in revenge to the Republican NY Senate majority leader (from Binghamton) had cut the string quartet and for our senior year, this woman was not going to be able to study with the viola professor with whom she had studied for several years. A very popular string quartet which gave concerts with standing room only attendance and the governor cut it because, like Trump today, he was thinking only about himself and what was best for New York City and wanted to shut down several of the upstate SUNY colleges and open up new facilities in the NY Metro area. Oh, that’s right. In those years, Trump, like Hugh Carey, was a Democrat in New York City! The man has brought a vengeful attitude from the Democrats to the Republican Party leadership, aligning with the white superiority people and bigots of Dixie.  To me, this makes the days we currently are living a sorrowful bunch of days, not the Democratic Party leadership.  But to the stupidity of Republicans, particularly the RINOs, it all becomes the fault of the Democrats because Fox News, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Mitch McConnell, Dan Abbott, Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott, Mark Rubio, and many others, say so. Add to this the stupidity of conspiracy theorists who think they tell the truth (i.e., the government is putting something in the vaccines to track us all). Add to this the remnants of thoughts from the stupidity of the Reagan hatred of government. Stupidity which ignores centrally planned economics which destroy local capitalist business, creating a centrally planned economy modeled after the Soviet communists and then blaming the government and Democrats for this. Wrong. 

In this sense, I DO long for the “goodness” of the days gone by. But not to return to them and base that return on traditionalist thoughts and traditionalism as the sole reason for “bringing back good days” based on persecution, bigotry, and a white superiority complex. Such things do NOT make me happy. My happiness for me and the next generations is to work to solve the problems which promote such attitudes. As a friend once said, “these people with their bad attitudes need to have their buttes kicked over the moon.” Our attitude is one of working together and is not defined by “working together only means just do as McConnell and Republicans wish to have done.” This is a democracy, not a dictatorship. Playing off a commercial for garbage bags: “we want to be happy, happy, happy, not wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.”
P.S. Like John Denver and his happiness, I have a similar experience. He, too, was married to a woman who changed to the same religious cult my woman did. As reported by those in this cult, he treated the members of that cult with disdain. It was reported that he would begin his concerts with an announcement that should there be members of that cult in the audience, they should leave and do so now. That is only hearsay from some of the members of that cult, so is it true? One can see by the words of these songs that he was a happy person. He had even composed a song for this wife whom he loved and called it “Annie’s Song.” When I was out of sight of others, I would think, “Leannie’s Song,” when singing this song. Ever hear Placido Domingo sing this song? That rendition is beautiful, too.
P.P.S. As Diana Butler Bass says, “Seek traditions, not traditionalism.” Add to that:  “Seek wisdom, not certainty.” “Seek practice, not purity.”

Professor Douglas Willet Cornwell (Retired)

Newark Valley, NY

———————————“Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “The problems of the world are not that some people love in a different way. The problems are that so many people don’t know how to love at all (CGA, 1970).” A Puritan is someone in fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time. “Liberty and justice for all [not priorities on individual and selfish rights].” “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union [and overall wealth of American society]…” 
Benjamin Franklin: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are affected.” Stacey Abrams: “Compromise about actions, but not about values.”  Oscar Wilde: “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”  Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Benjamin Franklin: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”  Whoopi Goldberg: “To handle this COVID-19 pandemic effectively, we all need to get on the same page.”  Note: To be clear, I do not like being patronized. I do not express my disdain over what happens to my fellow humans just for my own sake and to pursue favors and handouts. I do it in order to gain R – E – S – P – E – C – T for me and for millions of other Americans of any race, ethnicity, religious belief, or sex and sexual identity who try to walk in integrity as they attempt to achieve, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  PERIOD.  One nation under God [our Creator] with liberty and justice for all.

3 August 2011

Give me an America where I am able to pursue “life, liberty, and happiness” without conforming to the ways of religious fascists.  Don’t define my happiness for me.  My happiness is the same happiness which defines the five nations with the happiest people on earth.

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