More Jackson County Opinions...

DECEMBER 31, 2003


Column

By:Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
December 31, 2003

Doing a little soul searching
Christmas shopping for someone who has everything he needs and almost everything he wants can be a problem.
That’s me all right — the most blessed man in the world. The only way you can be more blessed than I am is to think you are. Attitude is everything; it determines whether you are blessed or cursed.
That is easy for me to say, because I really am blessed. I didn’t physically need any of the material stuff I got for Christmas this year, but I wanted it because it came wrapped in love, and that satisfied the old man’s spiritual need.
There are a lot of people in this world who don’t have anything they need. And nothing they want: no warm home, no new clothes, no transportation, no family, no friends, no health and no hope. Their food is served down at the homeless shelter.
Some of them would chide me for saying they have no hope. Sick and poor, they hang onto hope. Their positive outlook in a negative environment has to come from deep within. It is no surface fluff that depends on anything material. It is spiritual.
Some folks who have everything they need and almost everything they want feel superior in the presence of such people. Not me. I am embarrassed and feel inferior — not because of them, because of me. It pricks my conscience when I realize that I complain more than they do. And it pricks my pride when I realize that they win more victories out of their weaknesses than I do out of my strengths. And it puts me to shame that they are doing far more with the talents God gave them than I am with the talents He gave me.
Why am I writing this? On the last day of the Old Year, on the eve of the New Year, why am I doing this soul searching? I really don’t know, but every year, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I do it.
Does it make the world a better place? I doubt it. Will you, dear reader, benefit from my search for meaning and my reason for being? Probably not. Will I be a better person for it all? Perhaps.
You are welcome to come along as I continue the journey, or you may want to turn to the comics, Sports or Mike’s column.
Why do I perceive that the gulf is widening between the material and the spiritual? Why is the seen trumping the unseen? Why does it seem that physical matter is the only fundamental reality and that everything can be explained as manifestations of stuff?
Did Christmas do that to us? Where was the Spirit?
Why do I perceive that the gulf is widening between the educated and the uneducated? No child left behind? What a crazy idea! A lot of kids are being left behind. But should we hold the fast ones back so the slow ones can catch up? I don’t think so. Whatever plan the schools (public and private) come up with, the wise will become wiser and the ignorant, comparatively speaking, will become more ignorant.
Did the computer do that to us? Where is readin’, ritin’ and ‘rithmatic?
Why do I perceive that the gulf is widening between the rich and the poor? I used to believe that the wealth of a nation, a company or an individual was its ability to produce. I’m not sure anymore. Does the CEO who makes millions produce more, and is he worth more, than the guy on the production line who makes $30,000 and lives in fear of losing his job to a guy in China who makes $5,000? And what are we to think of the filthy rich who cook their books, commit fraud, declare bankruptcy, and bilk investors out of their life savings?
Did greed do that to us? Where is honesty?
Maybe it is time for those of us who have it all to see if we can learn anything from those who have nothing. Maybe it is time for those of us who have it all to give up some of it so those who have nothing can have a little. Yes, I know, there are those out there, mostly rich, who believe the poor are poor by choice. Perhaps some of them are. Maybe the rich should put themselves in their shoes and find out.
I read somewhere that “He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.” And this: “He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and gives to the rich, shall surely come to want.”
Time and space are running out. So one more time I am going to find my journal and dig out my philosophy of life. These are my words to live by, and I confess, I don’t do a very good job. Nevertheless, I go over them every year about this time, and hope they will make me a better man in the New Year. Thanks for letting me review them in your presence.
One thing I know and one thing I believe. I know the only years of my life are out ahead. I believe the best years of my life are out ahead. (There is a slight difference between knowing and believing, but if I didn’t believe the best is yet to come, I’d be ready to go now.)
It always rains after a dry spell, and the sun always shines after a storm.
No line is every as long as it looks.
The best way to get a job done is to get it started.
I am not a victim. I cannot — will not — blame anyone or anything for the trouble I’ve been in. I alone am responsible, and I must accept responsibility.
Everything I have, including knowledge of the words I’m using to write this, is a gift from God, and He takes good care of what I have.
Therefore, I must share what I have with others; otherwise, it is stolen property.
Virgil Adams is former owner-editor of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index

Column

By: Kerri Testement
The Jackson Herald
December 31, 2003

A look back at pop culture in 2003
As you’ve probably noticed, practically every media outlet is using this relatively slow news season to reflect on the past year — and this publication is certainly taking a look back at 2003.
I’ll admit I’m a pop-culture junkie (and an excellent player for Trivial Pursuit). So, here are some my picks for the best and worst of 2003:
•Most curious use of quotation marks — McDonald’s: While waiting in line at a local McDonald’s recently, I couldn’t help but notice the promotional sign praising the “new Chicken McNuggets.” The quotation marks seemed a little unnecessary to me — I mean, what makes the “new Chicken McNuggets” different?
McDonald’s website says the “new Chicken McNuggets” are made with “white meat and offer great taste and an improved nutrition profile.” The fast-food chain launched the “new” product in November.
OK, if I assume the “new Chicken McNuggets” are made with chicken and pork is “the other white meat,” then what were the “OLD Chicken McNuggets” made of? What were we eating all those years when we thought we were eating “Chicken McNuggets?”
Sorry, but this use of quotation marks on McDonald’s part is really bothering me.
•Most over-hyped (and over-commercialized) celebrity death — John Ritter: Yes, the death of the “8 Simple Rules . . .” star was unexpected and tragic — but did ABC really have to exploit Ritter’s death with so many “special episodes?”
There were the commercials promoting his final episodes alive; there were commercials promoting the first episodes after his death and there were commercials promoting all of the “other special moments” on the TV show without the TV dad.
Did ABC deliberately capitalize on this man’s death?
“Entertainment Tonight” gets a runner’s up award for adding to the over-commercialized hype over Ritter’s death.
•Most annoying entity — “Bennifer”: Attention tabloid media: I don’t care about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, anymore.
Yes, I watched all of the pre-wedding hype and the subsequent fallout, but I’m really sick of Ben and Jen now.
Anytime the tabloid media gives you a nickname (reference “Jacko”), it can’t be a good thing. I used to call Ben Affleck one of my favorite movie stars, but now I just don’t want to hear anything more about him (or J.Lo).
•Best mug shot — Michael Jackson: Oh, that category was a close one between Michael Jackson and Saddam Hussein, but the self-proclaimed “King of Pop” wins.
Just one stroke shy of a Picasso painting, Jacko’s mug shot is sure to become one of those pop culture commodities.
•Best move by the president: Opening the National Do Not Call Registry to stop telemarketers. And that’s about it this year from Dubya’s part.
Kerri Testement is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers, Inc. Her e-mail address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.


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