Thanksgiving 2021 · 25 November 2021

There is always something to be thankful for. Thanksgiving 2021 is no exception.

My mom passed away this fall. So did one of my aunts. Yet even with funerals and memorials and adjusting to life without them, I still have lots to be thankful for. Lots.

I am most thankful for my parents. They were wonderful people. People with flaws to be sure. But they were always there for us. They taught us that our family is there for each other regardless of how much we have hurt each other. They were the ones who taught us right from wrong. Most importantly, they were the ones who showed us Jesus. That we could be His hands and feet. They taught us that if God is for us, it did not matter who was against us.

I am also thankful for my family. My immediate family and my extended family. The ones who are close. The ones who are far. The ones who have gone before us and passed on. I am thankful for the memories that we share. The time we spent together. And just the bonds that we have made as we travel through life together. I know that I am the dad in my immediate family, but I am thankful for the lessons that my wife and kids have taught me. And even though I am not done learning it, my greatest lesson from all of my family is the lesson of humility.

Humility is a lesson that many of my friends and colleagues have been teaching me too, although with them, the lessons usually come more pointedly. (Yes, I am still striving to become a mediocre man.) I am thankful for the lessons that my friends and colleagues and even my students have taught me. But more than that, I am thankful that my friends have become my family too. We have bonded as we have worked together. We have laughed and cried together. We have celebrated birth and mourned death and endured tragedy together. Those are all things that families go through together. (It might seem like I am just talking about my work friends, but I am really talking about all my friends.) I am thankful for my friends and colleagues.

I guess when it comes right down to it, I am thankful for the people in my life. For those who have come for a moment and for those who have stayed for a lifetime. For those who share DNA and those who share experiences and those who share tears and those who share laughs and those who share struggles. I am thankful for all the different people with whom I have different relationships. And yes, it is a bit cliché, but I am thankful for all those people who have been woven into the rich tapestry that is my life.

One last little bit of preaching here. I want to be clear that I am thankful to God for all the blessings of all the relationships He has given me. It is not the government or the universe that has given me the blessings of my life. It is God. And to Him goes all the thanks of this Thanksgiving day, and every day.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful people in my life. Thank you for life itself. And thank you for Thanksgiving 2021.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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“Defecate” Is a Tremendous Word · 20 November 2021

The word defecate is a tremendous word.

I like to think about words. I know. Not necessarily a strange thing for a writer. After all, writers should have good command of the language they write in. For instance, English is not Latin, so you can actually end sentences with prepositions and nobody cares. Except those who were taught by old time teachers who imposed their Latin rules on English writing.

At any rate, having a good vocabulary is part of having a good command of language you are using to communicate. For anybody. Not just writers. Which is why I think about words.

There are many things about the word defecate that I think are fascinating.

First of all, it is the verb used to say you are going to excrete the solid waste from your body. Yes, defecate is the technical term. And it might even be the polite term. (But you should probably not excuse yourself from the dinner table with the words, “Excuse me. I need to defecate.” Unless, of course, you are getting the third degree about why you are leaving.)

Another great thing about defecate is that it will probably not ever be used as a swear word. Too many letters. (Definitely not a four-letter word.) Too many syllables, too. Think about it. I do not know of any three-syllable swear words. Then again, I have a limited vocabulary of swear words. And if I use them, I would need to do pushups. (Which is a completely different story.) Still, it might be a way for those people who want to stop swearing to actually turn their swearing around. “Aw defecate,” has a silly ring to it. So maybe those trying to give up washing their potty mouths with soap should give it a try. Just a thought.

But there is an even better reason I think defecate is a tremendous word. It is the past past tense of eat. Think about it. Eat, ate, have eaten, defec-ate.

First you eat. That is the present tense. Then, when somebody offers you more food, you can say you already ate. Past tense. When you have had that one thin mint beyond what you should have eaten, you can say that you should not have eaten more food. The past participle. (Or something like that.) Then, when the food has been digested and your body is done with its process of processing said food, you defec-ate. The past past tense. Eat, ate, have eaten, defecate. It is perfect because it completes the verb eat and it completes the eating process. (By the way, do not tell your English teacher that defecate is the past past tense of eat. I might get in trouble.)

Well, I do not know that I have convinced anybody of the merits of the word defecate, but that is okay. I still think defecate is a tremendous word.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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The Constitution Even Defends a Culture of Blame · 11 November 2021

Regardless of our current culture of blame, I am thankful for veterans and active duty personnel who vow to defend the United States Constitution for all people.

Veterans Day is November 11. It is not just a day off from work. It is a day to remember. To remember those veterans who have served in the U.S. military to uphold and defend the Constitution of these United States. To remember those who have fallen. To remember that there is a price for freedom. There are others who have fought and even died for freedom in other militaries of other countries, and we honor them too. But Veterans Day seems so American. So tied up with the Constitution.

One of the most interesting things about the U.S. Constitution is that it defends the rights of those we do not agree with. It seems crazy that those who decry the country are those to whom the Constitution guarantees rights. Rights to not just denounce and criticize, but to dishonor in many different ways, possibly even burning the flag. Those rights are both crazy and beautiful. Which is why we should want to defend and protect the ideals of the Constitution.

What I do not understand is the culture of blame that we live in today.

I tell anybody who will listen that blaming does nothing constructive. Crucifying somebody for being the cause of some horrific ill of society does nobody any good. Especially since no one person is responsible for any of the ills of society.

So why do we have such a culture of blame today? I wish I knew. Then again, even if I did know, I doubt people would listen for an answer. After all, people think that placing blame makes them feel better. In reality, even if we could know that somebody is to blame for some ill of society, blaming would do nothing to alleviate that ill. Knowing just brings bitter feelings to the surface. And like I already alluded, knowing is not always really knowing.

It would be nice to have a society where people could talk civilly to one another. Where assigning blame was not the is all to end all. Where we could even disagree with one another without shouting and name calling. But perhaps we are beyond that. Perhaps we just want to live in our own little bubbles and stew in our own disgust of people who do not agree with us. For that is what I think the blame culture boils down to. Nobody wants to take responsibility for their words or their actions. We hide behind blame and a feeling of self-righteousness. We hide behind pointed fingers, forgetting that we have our own fingers pointing back at us. Forgetting that we have a log in our own eye.

I am not sure what veterans think about the society they have defended. But I believe they take seriously their oath to defend the Constitution of these United States. Which means that they defend it so people can disagree. And even blame one another for the ills of society.

Regardless of the society we live in today, I am thankful for veterans and active duty personnel who defend the United States Constitution for all people.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

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