Posts Tagged ‘disorder’

Playing Musical Monoliths; With Whom?

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

By Bob Gaydos

 The monolith in Utah. The first three that have mysteriously appeared.

The monolith in Utah. The first of three that have mysteriously appeared.

     They’re here. 

      Who’s here? Where?

     Them! They’re here. Well, actually, they seem to be everywhere.

       Who?

       Them. You know, the ones who planted a 10-foot tall, three-sided silver monolith into the rocky ground of an isolated section of southeast Utah populated only by bighorn sheep. Not to mention another monolith in Romania and another one in California. What a week. No sooner did one disappear than another appeared. It’s like a game of musical monoliths, without the music. As far as we know.

        What do you mean?

       Well, the three monoliths all popped up, seemingly out of nowhere, in remote areas of the planet, at the same time the Arecibo Radio Observatory, our famed ear to the universe, was falling down on itself in Puerto Rico. It’s almost as if there’s a silent message in the monoliths.

         But the Utah monolith was gone two days after it appeared — what’s up with that?

        Well, it was reportedly carted off by a bunch of preserve the wilderness types. “Leave no trace,” you know? Their thinking is that some artist planted the monolith in a desolate part of Utah, but that it really belonged in a museum. A lot of people made the connection with the “2001”  monolith. A joke, they said. In any event, the wilderness group apparently tracked it down — like a lot of other people – knocked it down and took it away, rivets and all. The removers also supposedly said they didn’t think it was safe to have a lot of people wandering around in such rugged, isolated country looking for the object.

       Somebody supposedly also took pictures of the whole removal operation and some people wrote media reports on it. Everyone said definitively that the monolith wasn’t the work of extraterrestrials. After all, it had rivets.

        Now, I’m not a big conspiracy guy, but I’m also more inclined to go with synchronicity over coincidence. And, our government has been known to hide information pertaining to possible connection with alien contact. No one knows who planted the Utah monolith and no one checked on the crew that removed it. And no one knows how the one in Romania appeared and disappeared. Or where the one in California came from.

       So what are you saying?

      Think about it. The planet is a mess right now. Pandemic — a million-and-a-half deaths. Global warming. Widespread hunger.  Economic instability. Polluted waters. Constant war. Racial strife. Trump.

       Too much entropy. Disorder on a global scale. The universe, we believe, prefers order. It might have grown tired of waiting for our tiny part of it to figure things out and sent some clues to help restore some sense of order. I think they may have finally lost patience with us. I mean, time may be relative and all, but even the universe apparently has its limits. Enough is enough, you know?

      What could the message possibly be? Maybe, take a break from killing each other. Stop polluting your air and water. Learn to live with all forms of life so you don’t kill yourselves with disease. Share your food. Educate your young people. Live by the rules your religions profess. Love and respect one another. We are all in this together.

        The message and the means to lowering the entropy may well have been contained in one or all of the monoliths, but we couldn’t decipher it. Or not. The monoliths may simply have been planted to get our attention off the chaos we have caused. But by whom?

        I live in an area known as the UFO capital of the Northeast. Pine Bush, N.Y. I know no one has reported seeing any UFOs in connection with any of the monoliths, but who says extraterrestrials have to travel only in ways that we earthlings can imagine. Maybe they don’t need rockets to move through time and space. Maybe they look like us. Maybe they’re not green. Who knows? In any event, I wouldn’t mind seeing one of these monoliths appear in our neighborhood. Smack dab in the middle of Main Street in front of Pudgy’s’ pizzeria. I can pretty much guarantee there wouldn’t be a great rush to tear it down and cart it off to who knows where. Some people around here are serious about learning about intelligent life not of this planet.

       We earthlings are predictably set in our ways of thinking of many things, including extraterrestrial intelligence. Little green men and UFOs. They don’t use rivets. Or stainless steel. But why not? How do we know? Yes, maybe these really were just clever pranks by an international — synchronistic? — conspiracy of artists. Maybe we should then thank them for reminding us of our infinitesimal place in the universe and how we’re destroying it. And, maybe we should try to think about where the idea for such a conspiracy came from in the first place. Maybe Arecibo wasn’t the only way to receive messages from elsewhere. Maybe the universe has other ways of communicating. Maybe there’s a message right before our eyes.

         Never mind out there; maybe they’re here already.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is artist-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

 

A Tool Kit for Problem Gambling

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

Addiction and Recovery

By Bob Gaydos

E8A71752-5BCA-4631-A888-1DFBF62002A6     March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month in New York State. One out of 12 isn’t great odds, but it beats zip, so it’s worth noting.

      In truth, problem gambling, especially if it rises to the level of a mental disorder, is not a joking matter. It is a serious affliction that can ruin the lives of many more people than the gambler. As with all potentially addictive behavior, knowledge is the key to recognizing the problem and taking steps to address it, both for the gambler and those affected by it, usually family.

      To help family members learn about problem gambling, the New York Council on Problem Gambling has produced a Family Toolkit with a variety of useful information. The section titles include: 1) Understanding Problem Gambling, 2) Information for Struggling Families, 3) Self Care Information for Family Members, 4) Resources to Give Loved Ones When You’re Concerned About Their Gambling Behavior, and 5) Is gambling affecting your life?

        The Toolkit is the result of a partnership between the Council and NAMI-NYS. NAMI stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness. Addictive gambling, now classified as a disorder, is a recognized mental illness. According to the Council web site, the “partnership aims to bring awareness, hope and help to families struggling with problem gambling.”

         For the record, and lest anyone think it’s just a bunch of killjoys out to close casinos and kill sports betting, the Council on Problem Gambling is a not-for-profit, independent corporation which says it is “dedicated to increasing public awareness about problem and disordered gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by problem gambling.” It has a neutral stance on gambling and is governed by a board of directors.

          Even more interesting is its origin. According to the Council’s web site, “In 1972, the Board of Trustees of Gamblers Anonymous in the New York City area requested their Spiritual Advisor, Monsignor Dunne, establish a Council on Problem Gambling to do what they could not do because of anonymity — call national attention and raise awareness of problem gambling in the United States. The National Council on Problem Gambling was founded at that time and in 1975 was chartered as a nonprofit organization.”

         So you can thank the people who knew best about the ravages of addictive gambling — the gamblers themselves — for the creation of this lifeline. Appropriately, a 20-question quiz from Gamblers Anonymous is at the bottom of this column to help those who think they might have a problem decide. Hint: If you think you do, odds are you’re right.

      The Family ToolKit and other information on problem gambling are available on line at nyproblemgambling.org. For more information about NAMI-NYS, visit their website: https://www.naminys.org/. 

    Locally, as always, if you or someone you know is experiencing any addiction that is affecting your mental health, call the Orange County Crisis Call Center at 1-800-832-1200. Advocates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

 

Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions

1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling? Yes No
2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy? Yes No
3. Did gambling affect your reputation? Yes No
4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling? Yes No
5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties? Yes No
6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency? Yes No
7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses? Yes No
8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more? Yes No
9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone? Yes No
10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling? Yes No
11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling? Yes No
12. Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures? Yes No
13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family? Yes No
14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned? Yes No
15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom, loneliness, grief or loss? Yes No
16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling? Yes No
17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping? Yes No
18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble? Yes No
19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling? Yes No
20. Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling? Yes No

 

According to GA, most compulsive gamblers will answer ‘yes’ to at least 7 of these questions.

Bob Gaydos is a freelance writer. He has been writing this column on addiction for more than a dozen years. 

rjgaydos@gmail.com