Thursday, December 28, 2006


The essence of shame - It is a deep, pervasive experience of loathsomeness or disgust about who or what we are.

It is different than guilt. Where guilt is about specific actions that may be put right or forgiven, shame is about our core identity; the experience of seeing ourselves from another perspective, in the worst possible light; or of fearing that others see the secret self we keep hidden away.

It's interesting to me that shame seems to be linked with seeing and being seen.

Others have distinguished between guilt and shame by indicating that - We feel guilty for what we do, We feel shame for what we are. Shame is often a much stronger and more profound emotion than guilt. Shame is when we feel disappointed about something inside of us, our basic nature.

Shame is the aftermath of having egregiously violated an internal warning to not commit an act that we have educated ourselves against, and crossed over. Shame is that painful emotion caused by a strong sense of embarrassment, dishonor or disgrace.

And I have known those who are shameless and selfish. They have no shame because they have no sense of right or wrong. They were not taught. There are many instances of parents choosing to bring lives into this world, only to destroy their young innocence and purity by abandoning them. If anyone should feel shame it should be the parents. So some never learned.

But for the rest of us, the shame is deserved when we commit the unthinkable. The child molester and the preying on the elderly come to mind.

I, in my life, have known the feeling of shame. It is not good. We all want to be
highly regarded and thought well of. It brings you to your knees.

The bar seems to change from generation to generation as to what constitutes shameful behavior. I remember when “gays” were in the closet because they would be ashamed if others found out their secret. Motherhood out of wedlock was a cardinal sin in society. Alcoholics, prostitutes and strippers led a secret life they wanted none of their friends and family to know of. A history involving prison life was a well guarded secret. Gambling was only done behind closed doors. A drug user may as well have been a murderer in the eyes of the public. Adultery…God help you if you got caught and it became public.

Shamelessness is rampant in the business community today. Words like Enron tell it all. A lack of shame is not something new to our political system. High-class swindlers everywhere - their fancy homes and ludicrous perks gained by fraud and deception - their accounting systems nothing but elaborate lies. TV evangelists, businessmen, lawyers and politicians, they go on doing what they do, devoid of a sense of shame, with no intention of stopping unless the cops come calling. Other forms of shamelessness permeate society at its highest levels.

But from where I sit, even though “the times they are a changing,” character still does matter.

Being a good person, whatever that specifically means, involves making accurate judgments about the rightness or wrongness of one's actions and conforming one's actions to those judgments. The concept of "good person" or a "decent society" is not meaningless, though there is strong disagreement about what a "good person" or "decent society" is.

Shame is one way society shapes the behaviors and attitudes of its members; it
follows from and is a sign of membership in a moral community.

The sense of shame is a kind of cement in any decent society. The fear of shame
reminds each of us that some things must not be done. You don't become a criminal because you would bring shame to your family. You don't employ muscle against the weak. You don't beat up women or prey on the old. You don't father children and then abandon them. You don't cheat or swindle because exposure would coat you with the tar of shame. You don't preach high ideals and live a lie.

But it's clear that we are now awash in shamelessness. It's clear that the sense
of shame needs to be revived and the shameless held to account.

Take care...Ric

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mastery of the Mental Game of Pool

Pool is a game of nerves where the slightest notion of unworthiness can knock you right off your game. Like some other things if life, pool is mostly mental.

Some people look at a pool table and see a pool table, with balls arranged upon it in some pattern; they hold the cue and feel a straight stick, which can be controlled and aimed. Others look at a pool table and see a large battlefield, with offense and defense, attacks and retreats, with landmines and casualties and a battlefield filled with heroics and valor. They remember and savor the sweet smell of victory, and try as they will to forget, remember the near misses and heartbreaking losses.

The problem with being a pool player, is that an inordinate amount of time is spent missing shots. Miss after miss after miss, and loss after loss after loss, can easily lead to damage one’s self image. You begin to think you are not good enough or that you don’t have what it takes…that you don’t belong. You become conscious of people watching you and judging you.

This insecurity cannot be just ignored or set aside leaving a void. It has to be replaced by something else. I suggest contempt. It is no good to approach the table feeling unworthy, thinking thoughts like “I’ll never get this,” or “watch me screw this up.” It is all right to say this sort of thing as it may serve to soften up your opponent and get into his head a bit, but you must never think this way to yourself. But as you approach the table, no matter how difficult the shot, say “Hmph.” This should be thought with some force, with narrowed eyes, drawn lips and jaw set. You first must believe, “I can do this.” “I belong here just as much as any of you bastards and there is no reason I cannot sink this shot because there is nothing wrong with me and I am prepared to gut the eyes of anyone who thinks otherwise.” This simple assertion enables the development of actual skills and puts you on the road to true confidence. Confidence leads to victory. At least, if nothing else, it is sure to keep your opponent vaguely frightened of you.

And speaking of opponents, a sense of territory is important. The opponent should be regarded only as an imposter. Scrutinizing your opponent in a narrow and judgmental fashion such as being critical of his shoes, estimating his manhood, critical of his bathroom habits or his upbringing or manner of speech, you can give him some sorry little nickname, like “big ole loser.” It is ok to drag their sorry characters over the coals in your head, but care must be taken to not over-do it, because you must maintain an almost affable enjoyment of social intercourse, so that your opponent feels in some way that your character is larger than his, more generous and more exacting.

In the end, being good enough isn’t good enough. It takes mental toughness. It’s about character. It’s about heart.

Finally, at some point, it will happen. You will internalize your intellectual understanding of the game. Your hours of practice will seep into your subconscious, and into the muscles and nerves of your body itself. When this transition occurs, no more conscious effort goes into the positioning and movement of the body. At this point of unconscious knowledge, pool becomes self-expression; it becomes art.

In addition, to me at least, there are outside influences that make my game better. Some pool tables are better than others and some pool halls are better than others. You will need to pay attention to certain aesthetic considerations in choosing an environment conductive to mastery of the mental game of pool.

I like green cloth tables, not red. Green is calming and beautiful, red is ridiculous and for the life of me cannot think why anyone would want one. You need good lights over the table. Music is crucial. It is good to be in a place where the music doesn’t annoy you. I lost a championship game one league night due to being in an unfamiliar, overcrowded bar with loud annoying music. Food is important. After trial and error, the only acceptable foods are nachos and onion rings. And playing pool in a non-smoking environment is downright impossible. And, for pool, you need a drink that suits the pace of the game. Not something that will get you too drunk, but something you can sip on for the entire evening and still be ok. If pressed, I will have to admit that not everyone needs booze and cigarettes to play well. Many masters have become so, without both. But for the rest of us, it is as important as the fundamentals. There is no avoiding it. Pool, drinking and cigarettes (or a good cigar) are inseparable and should be treated as such. Pool is a sport that places great physical demands on the body, and if booze and smoke are starting to be too much, it is probably time to just give up the game. J

It is a great game. I love it. Some nights you get in the groove. You are unconscious. And it just doesn’t get any better. The challenge…the strategy….the chess game…the geometry…the physics…the luck….the psychological battle of wills….the war. And finally the victory. So sweet. It happens that way, but first you must believe.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Do Reindeer Really Know How to Fly?

Yes they do...I know they do.
You see, I'm a believer: reindeer and Santa and cookies by the tree.
Caroling and good will towards man,
All are things so special to me.

The children awaken to find their gifts.
Yes, Santa was here for all to see: yes we believe.
The happy little faces - the joy down deep in those little hearts.
Thank you reindeer for flying to our house this christmas eve.

The special dinners, time out from our hectic lives:
christmas cards and phone calls and a special batch of fudge, we
pause, we stop...and spread a little love and cheer.
Thank you reindeer,
For making this the best time of the year.

The music, the songs with words of warmth and hope.
Sing to me, oh yes sing to me: how I love your happy tune, for your
song I'll keep with me all year long.
Thank you again reindeer,
For my heart, my soul... me: somehow I'm better now, filled with the
ole familiar songs.

So, fly reindeer fly.
Do your thing on christmas eve.
Thanks to you, my life is better.
Oh yes, I believe.

a poem by Ric Justiss
Do Reindeer Really Know How to Fly


More stuff about Santa's Reindeer

What Are The Names of The Reindeer That Pull Santa's Sleigh?


Dasher, Dancer,

Prancer, Vixen,

Cupid and Comet.

Donner and Blitzen

Are Santa's Reindeer Male or Female?

Male reindeer generally shed their antlers long before December 25, whereas the females retain theirs until at least January. The reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh are always show as having antlers, so Santa's reindeer must all be females.

Do Santa's Reindeer Live At The North Pole?

Only part of the year does Santa Claus live at the North Pole. In 1925 it was discovered that there are no reindeer in the North Pole. But there are
lots in Lapland, Finland. So today we know that the
reindeer live around the secret village of Santa Claus
and the elves (their summer home) somewhere on the Korvatunturi mountain in the Savukoski county of Lapland, Finland, which is on the Finnish-Russian border.

What Makes Santa's Reindeer Fly?

Long ago, Santa Claus and the elves discovered the special formula of Magical Reindeer Dust which make them fly. This dust is sprinkled on each of the reindeer shortly before they leave on Christmas eve. It gives them enough magic to fly right around the world. They can fly very fast: at about the speed of a Christmas

The Reindeer driven by Santa Claus are the only known flying Reindeer in existence. Besides the Magic Dust, Santa's reindeer are fed a "special" diet throughout the year which helps give them the power of flight.

This magic corn is given to Santa Claus by a great and
wonderful unknown wizard. Through this magic corn, the strength of the Reindeer is increased threefold, their stamina increased to infinity and their hooves can manipulate the air as though it were solid ground.

Are Reindeer Really Deer?

Yes they are. Reindeer are a species of deer located in the Arctic regions of the world.

The largest Reindeer can reach up to four feet high at the shoulder and weigh as much as 250 pounds. It is believed that there are no longer any wild Reindeer, the entire species seeming to have been domesticated. Each Reindeer can pull up to twice its own weight, making it an ideal animal for pulling a sleigh loaded down with any amount of cargo.

Thus, nine Reindeer would be able to pull a sleigh with 13,500 pounds of toys for an unlimited amount of time.

How Can Santa Deliver Presents to Everybody In One Night

With the reindeer traveling at the speed of Christmas Light, Santa can come and go in the "twinkling of an eye." He doesn't need to fill his sleigh with toys for every single boy and girl in the world all at once, it's really easy for him to make several trips back to his Toyshop to pick up as many loads as necessary.

The Elves have his toy sacks sorted and ready to pack onto the sleigh when it arrives back, so the exchange happens within seconds to get Santa back on his way.

New information recently revealed, leads us to believe that Santa has "secret" hiding places located at strategic places around the world, so he can instantly pick up a new load of toys easily and quickly.

Perhaps one of those "secret" hiding places is located very close to your house?

History of the names of the Reindeer

The first record of santa's reindeer having any names is from "A Visit from Saint Nicholas", an anonymously submitted poem in the December 23, 1823 edition of Troy Sentinel newspaper, New York. The poem was widely spread and very popular, you know it today as "The Night Before Christmas".

Eventually, the anonymous poem was attributed to a professor of New York's General Theological Seminary, a professor by the name of Clement Clarke Moore. While Moore is now generally accepted as it's author, much debate has arrisen over who the real author is, with many accrediting Henry Livingston, a New Yorker of Dutch decent. Donald W. Foster, a text analyst expert, is the current voice for Livingstons defense, as written in his book*

An original excerpt from the poem would name Santas reindeer:

"Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now!
Prancer, and Vixen,
On! Comet, on! Cupid, on!
Dunder and Blixem;

Dunder and Blixem? Sure, it's not Donner and Blitzen, it's a Dutch expression (literally "thunder and lightning") meaning "hurry, faster". So santa wasn't calling out eight reindeer, he was telling his six to get their rear in gear. :)

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, and Cupid were Santa's original six reindeer.

Now comes 1837, a publisher by the name of Charles Fenno Hoffman reproduces "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" and alters this to read "Donder and Blixen" for the sake of making it better rhyme and making it easier to pronounce in English. The final change came in 1844 when Clement Moore, who was familier with German, but not Dutch, changed it to "Donner and Blitzen" (which is german for "thunder and lightning") and giving birth to the final two reindeer.

Finally, there comes Rudolph.

Rudolph was the creation of Robert L. May, in a 1938 promotional booklet, for use in their Montgomery Ward department stores. He penned a story of an underdog reindeer, taunted for a his abnormal nose, which glows bright red. Original name ideas, Rollo and Reginald, were rejected for being too chearful and too British, respectively.

Originally dubious (with "red nose" being a referance to a drunkard), his department store is finally convinced when they see the animations of the lovable character. Mongomery Ward begins giving away the lyrical booklets for their christmas promotion to roaring success Over the course of the next 9 years, Mongomary Ward would distribute over 6 million copies of the story.

Come 1947, May pleads with Mongomary Ward's coperate president Sewell Avery for distribution rights to his story, to help pay the debt dug by his wife's terminal illness. Thus begins the commercial distribution of "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" across America. It even makes it's way to theatres as a 9 minute animation. Rudolph, however, has only seen his first taste of stardom, before May's brother-in-law Johnny Marks pens a song for the misfit reindeer.
Originally recorded in 1949 by Gene Audrey, the song is a smashing succress, overshadowing the success of it's literary companion. This song is soon to be known by just about everyone in the country, and finally solidified the names of Santas, now nine, reindeer as: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen... and Rudolph

How the reindeer were named is, as you can see, a long story, but the final answer is that most of us learnt the reindeer from "Rudolph the red nose Reindeer", performed by Gene Audrey, Written by Johnny Marks, adapted from a book by Robert Mays, based on a story by Clement Moore revised on a poem by Henry Livingston, based on a legend of Santa Clause.

Thanks greatly to for information! ..........Ric

Friday, December 15, 2006

Legal Holiday Agreement

1. Pursuant to an impending Holiday Season, the undersigned hereby covenants and agrees that on or about the date thereof the party of the first part (herein referred to as "you" or "your") shall execute, to the best of your ability, a spirit of kinship and goodwill inclusive of, but not limited to, all holiday activities.

2. This Agreement shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the parties hereto in accordance with appropriate holiday festivities.

Article 1: Christmas Cheer shall be deemed to be appropriate on those days defined as set aside for the purpose of frivolity. Decorations may be displayed or indeed worn for a period extending to but not beyond Twelfth Night, being that day eleven (11) days following 25 December.

Article 2: 'Tis the season to be merry and ipso facto the party of the first part may party with the party or parties of the second or more parts (but not ex parte) as appropriate for the pursuit of innocent merriment on the part of all parties to the impartial benefit of every party concerned.

Article 3: Misuse of mistletoe: traditional use of the hermiparasitic evergreen Viscum album and related species of the genus Loranthaceae for the purposes of entrapment and osculant activity should be limited by the bounds of decorum and political correctness, whichever are the more stringent; the precept of ex abusu non arguitur ad usum nevertheless applying.

Article 4: Resting of merry gentlemen (deemed for the purposes to include merry gentlewomen). It being established that the season of goodwill takes an exacting toll, on those days defined in Article 1 (quod vide) and any other day which shall immediately follow such a day, gentlemen inter alias shall apply due diligence to the pursuit of rest and recovery.


By _________________________

'With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year'

By _____Ric Justiss_____________

Friday, December 1, 2006

Taking a Stand / Whiskey

My friends,

I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be.

One has asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right then, here is how I feel about whiskey….

If, when you say whiskey, you mean

…the devil’s brew;

…the poison scourge;

…the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children;

…if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame, and helplessness, and hopelessness,

then certainly I am against it.

But, if when you say whiskey, you mean

…the oil of conversation;

…the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good friends get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes;

…if you mean Christmas cheer;

…if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring into the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning;

…if you mean the drink that enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s greatest tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows;

…if you mean that drink the sale of which pours millions of dollars into our treasuries, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm and also builds highways and hospitals and schools,

then certainly I am for it.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise. Ric