Category Archives: Editor’s Corner

How the World Fell Off Its Pedestal

Let me tell you a story. This is before COVID, blogs, social media platforms and hard drives that can hold terrabytes of information.

In a way, it was a simpler time because we didn’t have all the distractions of social media eating up our days, which of course is our own fault for using them so much. They’re designed to keep us coming back, like weird little Internet crack dealers.

I can’t promise that I am 100% accurate on this, but when my daughter was younger – I’m guessing around 10 – she was allowed to access certain sites (read: parent-approved) on the Internet. I know we had an Apple desktop before they got to be all-in-one and skinny. Mine was a big one with a full size CPU and stuff. It may have been an iMac…I just can’t remember.

Anyway, my lovely daughter was messing around on the computer while I was folding clothes in the bedroom. She came flying into the bedroom saying, “Mom! I won a computer!”

I had been familiar with the scammers and phishers, with their pop-ups on screen and such for a few years. So, I went to the computer with her and had to watch her face wash over in disappointment as I explained what these pop-ups were and silently thanking all that is Holy that some weird porn pop-up didn’t appear instead of the computer one.

We sat together and I blocked pop-ups while she watched. I know I’m biased, but I have a smart kiddo. After that she’d come talk to me about the “dumb pop-up” that she saw (some of them can get through pop-up blocker).

For some reason, I’ll never forget her face in that moment, when she got one of her first lessons about how life isn’t all sunshine and roses.

She’s an adult now, living on her own, and I’m very proud of her. And she is not stuck to the phone or computer. I’ll have to ask her if she remembers that day. I think it served her well, as heartbreaking as it was for both of us.

I know I might seem hypocritical because I’m sitting here AT A COMPUTER typing this out to share with you guys. That being said, writing is mostly what I do on my machine. I get on Facebook if I HAVE TO because I manage a few sites for clients. I use Twitter to share my clients’ information, and sometimes post pictures of my cat. I use LinkedIn to keep my finger on the heartbeat of the US job market. I don’t have an Instagram, Tik-Tok or any of the other plethora of social apps.

And I’m not trying to say that all social media sucks or that commercials turn us into zombies or whatever. In fact, a lot of people realized that the world isn’t all hunky-dory doing something totally different than being on the computer.

Do you have a moment when the world fell off its pedestal that you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments!

Editor’s Corner – World Weary and Confused: The Crazy Times We Live In

Well, crap. Just when the “ordinary world” was emerging again, my county (Tarrant) has made it (basically) a law that people who go into any business must wear face masks.

Of course, it’s up to the store owners/managers to ask patrons to leave if they don’t have protection, but from what I have seen, most folks have been cognizant about the state order and have complied, whether it be a bandana or a cute Pikachu face mask. And I have also seen some pretty offensive masks. We can’t leave out the rebels! Fortunately, most of their messages are directed toward the virus, as in, “F*ck COVID.” But I have also seen political messages on some masks that make me sigh with exhaustion.

Where do these people get their energy to keep this constant stream of hate going? Whether it’s COVID or race relations, people have to be tired. I volunteer for the local NAACP and they are saying, “We are just tired.” So am I.

I call it, “world weary.” Even keeping my parameters (no voluntarily watched TV news) has lost its luster; it seems that I’ll hear about news one way or another, whether I want to or not. Yes, I am depressed.

I do have a couple of college degrees in psychology, but it’s rather hard to diagnose or help yourself. We are too close to our thoughts, feelings, biases, etc. to point out to ourselves what the heck is up. The best giveaway for me personally is isolating myself, not doing anything I used to like to do and sleeping a lot, as an escape. No, it’s NOT my first rodeo. I experienced suicidal depression after the birth of my daughter (postpartum depression). Obviously, I didn’t carry out my plan (or did I? I could be a ghost writer! Haha…total Dad joke).

With basically zero income right now, getting constant calls from, “I’m determined to get blood from you, Turnip,” and a depressed spouse, I’m not surprised I’ve gotten back into that black pit o’ depression.

Confusion also adds to these feelings. Who to believe? Expert X is saying one thing and Expert Y is saying another. I hate to disrespect our Federal Government, but….WHAAAAAT? One thing on Monday morning, the opposite on Monday night. I wish people would quit lying (or twisting the truth) to us. I feel like Austin Powers in that scene where he gets stuck in a golf cart, trying to turn around in a narrow hallway. Bump, bump, bump.

It IS in my control as to how long I stay down here in the pit.. Hopefully, I will start to feel more balanced soon, after walking the local track every day, eating healthier, blah, blah. I don’t feel like doing any of it. And I can’t help but wonder if there is more to the story that the general public is not privy to. I just read that 90-something percent of the COVID tests are giving false positives. But is that true? And if it IS true, what does that mean for the general population?

How are you feeling about this stage of the pandemic? What are your coping mechanisms?

Editor’s Corner -Dallas riots: How does violence bring about peace?

Closed copyI went to downtown Dallas yesterday to take pics of the carnage after the non-peaceful protests the weekend before.

For those of you who are not aware, an unarmed black man, George Floyd, died when FOUR police officers held him down while he was handcuffed in Minneapolis, MN. One of the officers put his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, which may have led to his demise. All four officers have been fired (even the three that were non-white) and a Grand Jury will determine their fate. I know they’ll never work in law enforcement again, at the very least.

When I first saw the video, I thought that (ex-) Officer Chauvin, the cop with the knee on the neck (the practice of which has been obliterated from most police agencies across the country, but sadly and obviously, is still used at times), was an obvious murderer. Mr. Floyd can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe!” Yet Chauvin did not get up, nor did his fellow officers try to stop him.

Bland copyFloyd was under arrest for trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. He did resist getting into the police vehicle, falling down on purpose. But as far as I know, there was no prior resistance to the arrest except for Floyd quoting the NWA song, “F*** the Police.” I don’t know why it took four officers to subdue a mostly peaceful criminal. But then again, I could only see a few minutes of this event that unfolded in much more than 10 minutes.

Two autopsies were done, and both found that the manner of death was homicide. But the two reports were a bit different. The autopsy report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner claimed that Floyd died from a heart attack, noting that Floyd had arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, was high on the drug fentanyl and had recently used methamphetamine.

The Floyd family had their own independent autopsy done which concluded that Floyd had died of “mechanical asphyxia,” which is basically the restriction of blood and oxygen to the brain, and is consistent with the knee on neck position.

Crowdus copySo why was I sent to downtown Dallas? This happened in Minnesota.

It is my belief that people were already on edge due to COVID, and when this happened, the anger broke loose all over the country. What I do not understand is why people think that violence is the proper response to violence. Dallas is thousands of miles away from Minneapolis. I do understand that colored people are sick and tired of police brutality directed at their race. As a white person, I can only understand on the fringe, though being a volunteer with the NAACP has taught me a lot. And it’s not like ONLY black people were protesting.

It was sad to walk down Main Street in Dallas and see the needless destruction. Very few pedestrians were walking about, but vehicular traffic seemed to be normal. So many businesses were boarded up and closed. It is my understanding that, despite the 7pm curfew, that downtown was preparing for more riots. A few protests were held just outside of the curfew zone in Dallas last night, but the biggest news was a protest in Arlington.

What is this world we live in? When will the Coronavirus cease to be a threat? When will people stop being on edge? When will violence about something that happened thousands of miles away stop?

I wish I could tell you. But in the meantime, stay safe and please express your opinions peacefully. Even George Floyd’s brother asked for peace. If he can rise above what happened, then we all can.

Editor’s Corner: 81-year-old car brings new purpose to its owner and invigorates interest in law enforcement

By Stacey Doud

RichardCar

Borisenko and the restored 1937 Dodge D-7

Richard Borisenko, the owner of a 1937 Dodge D-7 police car, lives in Cleburne, Texas and has interesting stories to tell about the vehicle. He has made appearances all over the state with the antique car. The Grapevine Source was fortunate enough to interview him and take photos of the car at the Grapevine Public Safety Building.

“I sold a house and I had some money from that sale, and the whole time I’d been looking at this police car, but I didn’t really care at that time about the police part,” Borisenko said.

He has never worked in law enforcement, so sentimentality was not an issue.

“I was in trouble with the police a lot when I was younger. They helped me out by letting me sit in the back seat,” Borisenko laughed. “After that, I met a man who was a minister and I turned my life over to Christ, and completely did a U-turn in my life,” he said.

So why did he buy this antique police car?

“This car was on my mind, but I didn’t care much about a police part, so I contacted people about taking the siren out and taking the light off. They said I’d have to do steel, not Bondo [a quick-fix for vehicular blemishes]. I’d have to do some welding and things like that,” Borisenko explained. “So, at night, I couldn’t sleep. I was tossing and turning, thinking about that car, because I really liked the body style. I thought it had a lot of class,” he added.

Borisenko ended up calling the owner of the vehicle to see what could happen.

“I called the guy up and said that I’d like to see that car. He wanted a lot of money for it, and I would text him with what I’d give him for it, and he wouldn’t even respond because what I was offering him was so low. I finally got a hold of him and said that I’d like to see it. He asked me when I could come look. I lived in Arlington at that time and he was on the other side of Waco. We figured it out and I drove down to his garage,” Borisenko explained.

“The car was pretty rough looking. All of the windows were broke out. The hood was white. The trunk lid was white. It had no obvious chrome on it whatsoever. So we drove down the road, and it drove real good, so I thought the car had good potential,” Borisenko said.

They were able to make a deal, and Borisenko became the new proud owner of a 1937 Dodge D-7.

“When [the owner and his help] dropped off the car, the guy said, ‘I need to get this get out of here before I get emotional,’ because I think he used that car in parades and different stuff, even though it was in rough condition. It was after they left that several people came by to look at the car. One was a Tarrant County Constable that helped in the convoy to get the car to me. His girlfriend was really excited about the car, and then after that, several people came by and liked the car [in its original condition]. I think that was the minute I changed my mind and decided to put it back into the best shape a 1937 police car could be. I don’t change my mind often, but this seemed like a big Divine message,” Borisenko said.

“I took all the chrome off – the chrome that was on it was painted black. I took off the bumpers. Every day, I did something new. I had it re-chromed, painted the hood black, painted the trunk lid black, had an air conditioner put in it with the help of some friends, had the inside reupholstered and put lights all underneath the car,” he explained.

“I had a lot of trial and error when fixing this car up. I’d put hubcaps on that didn’t look right, so take them off and put new ones on until it looked right. I got some 1937 papers [auto manual] after they sold me that car, so I had a frame of reference. I tried to make it as authentic as I could,” he added.

The engine in the car is not original. When Borisenko bought it, it came with a .318 Dodge engine in it. The whole lower chassis was replaced with parts from 1970 because 1937 Dodge parts are difficult to acquire.

“I went out to Gas Monkey – they had a show out there – and I won several things. I ran into a guy that had a ’38 Dodge pickup and he told me that he had given up. I asked him why and he said that there were no parts out there. So in 2014, I spent over $8,000 on eBay buying what I needed. I really didn’t need a whole lot of stuff, but it got pricey,” Borisenko said.

The car has won numerous awards, but Borisenko is not too concerned with that. A true servant heart, he just wants folks to enjoy the car as much as he does.

Dodge Brothers

Dodge Brothers emblem

He spoke about the Dodge Brothers emblem that is original to the car. “Take a look at the emblem – it has a Star of David on it,” He said. “Can you imagine that in 1937? I’m very careful with these emblems because, if I can even find more, they are about $700 apiece.”

Borisenko has been offered $90,000 for the car – twice. He’s turned both offers down because, “I don’t believe anybody can do what I’ve done because there are no parts out there. That car is solid steel. There’s no fiberglass and it’s no kit car,” he said, with a bit of pride in his eyes.

“People often tell me, ‘I bet you never get pulled over.’ I say, ‘Man, I get pulled over all the time!’ When they ask why, I tell them it’s usually because [the police] want to take a picture of my car. Then they want to hear the siren. I warn them that it is loud, but they want to hear it anyway. They always say that it’s louder than any police car they’ve got!” Borisenko said with a chuckle.

The car is even popular just driving down the road locally to the supermarket.

“Sometimes I think I need to put a sign on the car that says, ‘Not Responsible for Whiplash,’ because people whip their heads all the way around when I drive by. I think they’re shocked to see an 81-year-old car going down the road.

“I saw a guy that was broke down on the side of the road and he was driving a brand new car. I went by and I thought, ‘Man, I’m in an 81-year-old car and this guy’s broke down in his brand new vehicle.’ It was sad and kind of a metaphor for how cars are made today versus even fifty years ago,” Borisenko said.

He has had some fun with the car, crafting props for it.

He has two mannequins, which he calls, “dummies,” that occasionally ride in the back seat. The windows of the car are tinted, so it is difficult to see into the car from the outside.

“Sometimes people jump or scream because they don’t expect anyone to be in the back seat,” he said with a laugh.

He also has some wooden Tommy Guns (with fake shells) and a cowboy hat that seem to transport him back to the Bonnie and Clyde days.

Since Borisenko is now a Cleburne resident, he keeps Cleburne Police Department magnets on the sides of the car (complete with “bullet holes”), though he has used Johnson and Tarrant County signs in the past.

“Johnson County [the county where Cleburne is located] has been very supportive. They always offer me a chance to gas up for free,” Borisenko said appreciatively.

As our interview was winding down, several Grapevine Police Officers asked permission to take pictures of the car, and Borisenko was happy to oblige.

“I’d like to thank law enforcement for their support. I went through Fort Worth one time, and a few officers saluted me. I thought, ‘You don’t need to be saluting me. I need to be saluting you!’ I appreciate them with all my heart.” Borisenko added.

The car and Borisenko will be making an appearance outside Globe Life Park in Arlington on Friday, September 13, which is the Texas Rangers’ Police Appreciation Night.

To inquire about appearances, email Richard Borisenko at 37Dodge@att.net.

EDITOR’S CORNER: Spinning the Wheel on the US Financial Structure System

By Stacey Doud – This is the OPINION of the Editor-In-Chief and does not reflect the general views of the Grapevine Source or any of its other contributors

***

Like a lot of folks, I like to play games on my phone/tablet. It’s great entertainment when I’m waiting somewhere. It’s also a nice way to “wake up my brain” in the morning, or to just take a break from work/housework.

One of the games I play is a slot game called, “Hit it Rich!”

I got to thinking about how this game mirrors society a bit. When I first started out, the game gave me $3 million, so when I talk about millions, billions and trillions, I’m representing millions as “lower class,” billions as “middle class” and trillions as “upper class,” as far as financial standards in the US go. Yes, there are players that go beyond that in winnings, which would be “the rich upper class.”

When I started playing the slot game, I liked it because it is pretty mindless. It’s a great game to play when I didn’t want to think too much, like I have to with puzzle games and such. It has a feature that gives me extra money as long as I log in every day and spin the bonus wheel. I can request extra coins and free spins from friends, as well as gift to them.

With my initial $3 million, I tended to alternate getting up to $10 million or so or going completely bankrupt. Fortunately, when bankrupt, I logged into the game app every day and spun the wheel to build up enough winnings to play again. It took me several days to get that “baseline” of $3 million back, but eventually I’d reach that goal and be able to spin again.

Now, here are the parallels, which are completely my opinions.

I’m about to talk about federal assistance. I just want to clarify up front that I will be referring to folks who use the system honestly because they really need it, whether temporarily or more long-term. My mother is one of those people, and we are thankful that the system exists and can help her, which helps me, as I’m the only child (and definitely not financially rich).

I looked at those free spins when I was bankrupt as federal assistance and/or a job. I used it honestly, and built up enough money to “live” on (i.e. be able to spin/play). I did not spin until I had that $3 million back, though I easily could have. Of course, some people who depend on federal assistance (including my mom) have to “spin.” They need food, clothing and shelter. Ideally, the bonus wheel spins that they take advantage of every day would represent a job. But it could represent unemployment or just checking the mail every day for the assistance check or volunteering for a cause that is important to that person.

Of course, many people in this country are honestly disabled, so they may not be able to spin at all and rely on collecting the free bonus every day when they login. But the fact that they take the time to login every single day shows perseverance and initiative. The people who skip days or weeks of bonus spins or just keep requesting coins from friends are obviously not committed to the game.

I was playing along in this pattern of “millions to bankrupt” for a long time. I even gave up playing for a while, but I still collected those bonus spins just in case I ever wanted to play again.

Over time, I accumulated a few billion dollars. I could bet higher and, in turn, my wins tended to be worth more. So I was spending more, but my returns were higher. This is not always the case with the middle class. Of course, one hopes to secure a good-paying job so that they can afford to “bet” more (i.e. have some disposable income to enjoy some “luxury” items/activities) now and then. But these days, it is costing us more for “necessities,” such as food, electric service, rent/mortgage, etc. In many instances, the middle class is just able to pay the bills for a lifestyle that takes care of these necessities and that’s about it.

Of course, there are many, many Americans who live beyond their means and “rob Peter to pay Paul.” I liken this to players who actually buy extra coins, spins, etc. with real money. I realize that these are the folks that keep the game available to me for free (along with the inevitable ads) and allow the game company to update and change it from time to time. They are a big source of revenue for the game “economy.”

With my few billion dollars, I started betting higher, and one day, I hit a jackpot! I went from $1 billion or so to $36 trillion…just like that. And guess what? I started getting showered with rewards! I could move up a level in two spins! And each time I moved up, I got a bonus of at least $4 billion.

Game

Hit It Rich! Game Screen

What. The. Heck?

I don’t need those bonus things. I can bet $20 billion on a spin like it’s nothing. I give coins and free spins to all of my friends that request it. I’m not the one who needs the extras. The “millionaires” do.

Of course, one could make the argument that maybe the millionaires aren’t managing their money well or are not being thrifty or are not using all the resources that the game provides. And I’m sure this is true with many players. But what about the millionaires that are doing everything “right,” but just haven’t hit a jackpot like I did?

I’m sure I don’t have to point out the parallels here. The rich are getting richer, and they get so many perks and free stuff…yet they’re the ones who can afford that stuff if they wanted it!

Why does a rock star get a free meal at a restaurant and regular patrons don’t? It’s bass-ackwards to me. Mr. Leather Pants could afford to buy every patron in the whole restaurant a nice meal, yet his is free? How is that logical?

I know, I know…it makes Leather Pants come back to said eatery and thus attracts his fans, etc. to the establishment. I get the PR/economics of this. I just think it’s stupid.

While Leather Pants makes millions for dropping one album and touring for three months, regular folks are living paycheck to paycheck. I always thought that if I were talented enough to be a pro sports figure, a singer or actress, I’d do a couple of movies/albums/seasons and then retire. I mean, how much money does one really need – or better yet, how much money is one able to spend in a lifetime?

Sure, I could spend $50 billion (real life) dollars before I die, but it would probably be tough. If you doubt me, try this exercise:

Someone gifts you $1,000. This money doubles every day. So on Day 2, you’d get $2,000, then $4,000, then $8,000, etc. It keeps doubling every day, whether you spend it or not. Use the table below to get started. Make sure you list what you buy specifically and estimate the cost to the best of your ability.

Day

Amount of Deposit

Purchases

Cost of Purchases

Total Cash Left

1

$1,000

2

$2,000

3

$4,000

4

$8,000

5

$16,000
6

$32,000

7

$64,000
8

$128,000

9

$256,000

10 $512,000

Let me know how you do! This is what the rich upper class deals with daily. Sure, they own companies and invest in stuff and give money to charity. But if you try the above exercise, you can see it’s a drop in the bucket.

The bottom line is that, in my opinion, the benefits to the lower, middle and upper classes are upside-down. My little $3 million in the slot game is a distant memory. I am LOADED RICH, baby! But does that make the game more fun? Not. At. All.

Editor’s Corner: It may not be dementia

By Stacey Doud

dementia-6signsabuse690x400We haven’t posted a whole lot on The Grapevine Source lately because we were dealing with a family health issue…and I have to say I learned a LOT.

My mother is a total morning person. When I couldn’t get her on the phone by 9am last Saturday, I drove to her apartment, which is about seven minutes away.

I got there and she was indeed in bed, which at 9am is unheard of for her. Everything was dark. I was able to wake her but she was disoriented and basically couldn’t even sit up in bed. She was trying to speak, but it came out in a whisper and made no sense.

So I called 9-1-1. Fortunately, a fire station is right down the road and the EMS/Fire guys were there within minutes. They assessed her, and her vital signs were perfect. But it was obvious that she was not herself, so they took her to Baylor Scott and White Hospital.

To make a long story short, it turned out that my mom had a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). I learned that infections like UTIs can mimic the symptoms of dementia in the elderly. WHO KNEW? The Occupational Therapist explained that the process looks like this: the person slowly stops hydrating as much as he/she should, as well as stops eating right (skipping meals altogether at times); he/she starts to feel yucky generally; then the mental symptoms can start. In my mom’s case, her psychiatric symptoms started sometime late Friday night/early Saturday morning because she was totally lucid and fine when I spoke to her Friday around 5pm.

The infection causes blood to flow to that area so that white blood cells can try to fight it, and some of that blood comes from the brain. When there’s not enough blood to the brain, the person gets confused and dementia-like. I found a pretty good article on this issue at SeniorLiving.org:

“One of the many unseen, hard-to-detect dangers that senior citizens face today is urinary tract infections, more often known as UTIs.  Though easily treatable, the symptoms of UTIs in the elderly can often mimic those of other more serious conditions, like dementia. Given that UTIs are one of the most frequent, hidden infections seniors suffer from, it is important to be able to differentiate them from other illnesses, then isolate and eliminate them.

“Older individuals are vulnerable to UTIs for several reasons. The biggest culprit is an immune system weakened by time that increases susceptibility to any infection…Seniors are also more prone to UTIs because they get an assortment of ailments that cause urinary retention.  There are certain health conditions they face that make it harder to pass urine, such as diabetes, kidney infections, and kidney stones.  In addition to slowing the process of urinating, diabetes raises glucose in the urine, which also increases the likelihood of a UTI. An older person’s inability to urinate properly can then necessitate a catheter, which is difficult to keep sanitary, making them even more vulnerable to the same infection.”

My mom is now back home and doing well. She uses a shower chair now to prevent falls, as her physical body is still a bit unstable. Home health comes by three times a week, and I check on her every day. She wants to maintain her independence, but she’s 73 years old. Fortunately, she is understanding of her limits. She makes a point to drink plenty of water (dehydration/electrolyte imbalances can add to the cognitive symptoms), and eats three meals a day, even if one meal is a nutrition drink.

We learned a lot, and want to prevent this from happening again. I like to think I am a biology nerd and know more than the average bear about how the body works, but I did not know this. It flabbergasted me.

I wanted to share it here so that our readers will know, and hopefully this knowledge can prevent or quickly treat this medical issue in at least one other person…hopefully more.

Have a blessed day and feel free to email questions to me if you have any. I will do my best to answer them (based on my experience) or ask our home health nurse if I do not know the answer.

Editor’s Corner: Why I Hate the Holidays

By Stacey Doud, Editor-in-Chief

how-the-grinch-stole-christmas-postcI have been called “grinchy,” a “party pooper” and a “complete holiday ruiner,” but I don’t even care. I HATE the holidays. “Why?” you ask? Let me tell you, my patient readers.

I’m not trying to sway anyone to my way of thinking or to ruin anyone’s holidays. If you don’t want to read a grinchy post, then please move on. But here are my complaints:

  • Christmas, which is supposed to celebrate the birth of Christ (even though “they” got the time of year wrong), has turned into a frenzied ball of materialism. I overheard a conversation in a grocery store recently between an adult and a child of about 10 or 12 (I don’t know how they were affiliated…babysitter, aunt, whatever). The child was talking about going to visit her grandparents on Christmas Day. “I’m just gonna go for an hour or two just to eat and get my presents,” the young lady said. It took everything in me not to go over to them and freak out. Is this what Christmas has come to?
  • I do NOT need to be bombarded with Christmas carols and decorations from September – December. This just reinforces point one above. Can I please go Trick-or-Treating and celebrate Thanksgiving before you stuff your shiny Christmas balls down my throat? Please?
  • Sometimes, family gatherings just suck. Some families don’t get along that well. They would never pick each other to be in their lives if it wasn’t for that blood connection. Yet, if you don’t go spend time with your family, then you suck as bad as your family dynamics. Why get together with people you don’t even like? Sure, someone gets drunk and there’s drama and that can be fun, but mostly, it bites.
  • Food, food, food. You or someone you may care a little about slaves away for hours (or days, for that matter) to make a beautiful meal for family and friends. Those piglets come in for 10 minutes, shovel food down their faces and then go watch football or take a nap. Yay you, for working so hard. And then you have to clean everything up after that.
  • Gifts: If I get you a $50 gift card and you get me a $50 gift card, then how stupid are we?? I know there are people that put lots of thought into gifts and I’m not talking about you. I’m speaking to my kinfolk (the lazy people). Why not just forgo exchanging gifts with adults and just get stuff for the kids while they still think Christmas is fun?
  • Decorations: Yeah, let’s spend hours and tons of money on decorations that will be up for six weeks max! YAY!! Go on vacation instead. It will probably cost about the same.

Viceroy-Bali-Hotel-Pool-Cover-image

Decorations or THIS? Hmmm…

Yes, I am grinchy. Hopefully, you are not and think I just need a good massage, therapy, psychotropic drugs or something. But if you’re as green and furry as I am, then you feel me.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays and Happy Diwali. If I forgot your religious celebration, email me at biteme@holidays.com.

But seriously, THANK YOU for reading. We appreciate each and every one of you and wish you the happiest of holidays!

Editor’s Corner: School is useless

By Stacey Doud

Young handsome male student sitting frustrated between study booTeens: Believe me, I get it. Sometimes it seems like school is a waste of a day (or a few hours if you’re homeschooled). I’m almost 50 years old and still have never needed to use calculus or had to know the date that Ben Franklin’s mom’s third cousin twice-removed got married (though that “useless knowledge” is awesome for trivia games).

Looking back, it seems like when the holidays came around, we all started to get antsy. Maybe it was looking forward to the upcoming vacation from the drudgery of school or just that we had been going pretty much every day since August, but November and December seemed like the months where my enthusiasm for school tanked.

But the important things about school are not as obvious as a certain subject or teacher or assignment. It’s showing that you can finish something (whether it be grade school, an assignment or college), and that you did it with a little pride. It’s about perseverance and learning how to deal with other people. It’s about finding some kind of path for your life.

Jean_Piaget_in_Ann_Arbor

Piaget. He wasn’t always this old. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Psychologist Jean Piaget broke the adolescent years into stages…and some of it actually makes sense.

“Adolescence, these years from puberty to adulthood, may be roughly divided into three stages: early adolescence, generally ages eleven to fourteen; middle adolescence, ages fifteen to seventeen; and late adolescence, ages eighteen to twenty-one. In addition to physiological growth, seven key intellectual, psychological and social developmental tasks are squeezed into these years. The fundamental purpose of these tasks is to form one’s own identity and to prepare for adulthood.” [Source: HealthyChildren.org]

Adults: Who didn’t try different “looks” or personality traits as a teen? Hopefully you didn’t dye your hair black (before there were ways to re-color) and walk around with half-black and half-brown hair in high school like I did or steal a golf cart for 30 minutes just because you could. But I’m sure there was something you’re not entirely proud of that showed you that the behavior wasn’t you. And hopefully you found some stuff that was you. That was your job at the time. And all the while you thought school was dumb.

4611a8dc193f5418a638b05423e231dfGoing to school is the job of the typical adolescent. Sure, you may be super-intelligent or be able to recite Pi to the 2,000th number, but school is still your job (along with all the social BS, etc.). And just you wait…when you grow up (as so many of us were in such a hurry to do), you’re most likely going to have to go to some kind of job every day. If you’re blessed, you’ll enjoy your job and it won’t feel like “work” per se.

But in the meantime, just do your current job, even if you don’t completely understand why you have to do it. It will all become clear some day, and if it doesn’t, please don’t forget to drop me a line and tell me I’m full of crap.

You’ll get through these years. The extreme emotions will die down. Look to the people who love you for help, whether it be with an assignment, a feeling or anything else that’s troubling you. I know you think adults are stupid, but most of us have been where you are and can at least listen and empathize.

happy-thanksgiving-2017-aOn that note, enjoy your Thanksgiving break (if you’re a ‘Murrican) and always remember that there’s more to the story than you think. And PLEASE think a lot and think often.

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logoFor further reading on doing well even when you consider your job useless, as well as other tips, tricks, scholarship opportunities and raw dialogue, click HERE.

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Stacey Doud is the Editor-In-Chief of The Grapevine Source. She is a former overachiever with three college degrees and hopes that no one stresses as much as she did. Please direct all hate mail to staceydoud33@gmail.com.

Editor’s Corner – Movie Review: “The Meg”

Review by Stacey Doud

MV5BMjg0MzA4MDE0N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzk3MzAwNjM@._V1_Jaws fans beware! The Meg was touted to be a bigger and badder Jaws, but I couldn’t help but miss the John Williams score from the original, though the elaborate use of CGI (which obviously wasn’t available in 1975) was a visual treat, sort of making up for my auditory disappointments.

There are some scenes that almost replicate Jaws to a tee, which shows a lack of originality, but The Meg uses not only higher tech cinematography, but also more modern ways to die in the ocean – like in a big human hamster ball or an underwater state-of-the-art laboratory.

I’ve always been attracted to movies set under water or that contain interesting under water scenes. I recently saw Deep Blue Sea (1999) and prefer it to The Meg only because it has a modicum of scientific interest. The Meg is just bada$$ CGI sharks. It’s like Jurassic Park set under water, with only a few, though impressive, species of dinosaurs. 

Lead actor Jason Statham wasted his time in this movie. He’s a talented action actor, but The Meg could have used a trained monkey in the lead role and would have been as effective as Statham. That was disappointing to me, as I generally enjoy Statham’s performances.

Don’t get me wrong – if you are a fan of the genre, it is a fun ride. But don’t expect Jaws – or a real plot. But the bada$$ sharks are worth the rental fee as long as you’re not expecting anything poignant.

★★★ (3/5 Stars)

Editor’s Corner: How did I get here?

feeling-lost-in-singaporeHave you ever gotten into a situation (either good or bad) and wondered how you got there? Sure, big events happen sometimes. But, a series of small occurrences can also take us to places we’d never thought we’d be.

I’m going to share with you a trivial situation and a more serious one to illustrate how life can turn you around and around…gradually.

THE GAME. I have found some fun games and such online. I’ve never been a big gambler in real life. If I go to a casino, I’m the one playing penny slots, and if I took $20, I’ll play until that is gone or until I double it. Coming home with $40 is better than coming home in debt, in my opinion. That being said, my favorite game to play on my phone or iPad is a slot game. Even though I know it’s truly not random, it gives me the feeling that it is, and that I’m trying my LUCK.

When I first started, I think the game gave me $1.5 million. Can you imagine having $1.5 million? Can you imagine LOSING it?

I’d find a slot I liked that seemed to give me decent returns, but, eventually, I’d be broke once again. The odds are always with the “house,” or, in this case, the game designers. [For more in depth information about why we love slots, scratch-offs and buying lottery tickets, click here.]

Eventually, several slot games started paying off and my “meager” $1.5 million turned into $10 million.

Then, I stumbled across a slot game that encouraged me to bet big to win big, and I took the bait. Call it luck or psychological programming, but now I am a fake billionaire.

Heck, I now bet that stupid $1.5 million on one spin! I am flabbergasted that I keep winning. The rich get richer, eh? And to what end? Realistically…nothing. I get no benefits in the real world by playing this game.

I know I could lose my fake fortune in five minutes and I know it’s not real. The point is that I went from the baseline ($1.5 million fake dollars) to where I am now gradually, yet it changed the way I think about the game.

When I play the game now, I feel invincible.

I know that sooner or later, I will hit the BIG WIN. And while it does absolutely nothing for me in real life, there’s some weird part of me that feels like I really won that money.

When I play now, if I don’t get at least one big win, I feel ripped off.

I had to look back at when I started the game. I was happy to win $100,000 back then. But since I’m now a fake billionaire, I feel gypped at anything less than several million.

And it was GRADUAL. I think that many situations – good or bad – happen gradually. And most of the time, we don’t really see it as it is happening.

LIFE. I’m a divorcée, and it took me a while to understand how and why my ex and I got to the point of splitting up. He never hit me, went to strip clubs or cheated on me. But after almost 23 years of being together, it became obvious that we didn’t have much in common anymore. It was gradual.

Over those 23 years, things had GRADUALLY changed. I got more involved in the community…he got more involved in the company that he and his business partner built. Is either thing wrong? No. But it created a chasm over time.

Through the years, people and circumstances change slowly…sometimes for the better, sometimes not. But oftentimes, we just don’t notice the gradual changes. That’s why we end up in a situation that, “I never thought I’d end up” in. No one gets married thinking that they’d get a divorce.

A SOLUTION. It happens to everyone…sometimes in inconsequential situations (like my game) and sometimes in much more important scenarios (like a divorce).

Vigilance is easy from the outside. I can see what YOU need to fix in your life; however all we can really control in life is our own behavior. But, like driving on the same route every day and not remembering how you got to your destination, we get “zombied” with day-to-day stuff. Pretty soon, we are in a situation that is unfamiliar or that only “other people” get into. Our behavior needs to have purpose and requires forethought. It’s not an easy thing to do.

Check in with your situations, relationships and feelings regularly. Remain observant. It is human nature to adapt to different situations, but make sure that you’re adapting to healthy ones! Hopefully, this will help you get to whatever destination you’re aiming for in a more conscious, purposeful way.

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If you have thoughts, complaints or questions about this article, please email the author, Stacey Doud, HERE.