sufferageThe Handiwork of Man
September 9th, 301

With summer quickly receding, I find myself relishing the past few months of late moon-lit nights, campfires, friends and quiet conversations. I have one, maybe two weekends left as leaves are starting to drop, trees turning, My youngest has started school. On a much more personal level, I’m looking to the future, a future that isn’t so bright, but one that I’ve come to understand, I own.

Not all businesses succeed, and I’ve always known that but I’ve never believed that I would fail. I took a chance, I lept and fell short. I took a chance and I failed, it’s that simple.

There's a new beginning, a new adventure that’s about to start, the genesis will be born of pain and suffering no doubt, but in the long run, it’ll be ok.

When I look around at what’s happening in our world and I think of my particular life's experiences and journeys, I’m struck by an indelible sadness. Life has not been particularly good to me but neither has life been good for most of our population. By good, I do not meant the financial security that many enjoy, rather the security of what ever we value in our lives. Our loved ones, our friends, our God, our morals and personal ethics, for those, are those things of importance when we take our last breath.

Human pain and suffering, be it sickness or war, seem the prevalent theme with our species, a theme I fail to appreciate much less understand. I find it easy to understand why one would find comfort in their God and the next, deny there is such a deity.

I find none of Gods handiwork in the human theme of things and I blame none except those individuals of yesterday and those alive today.

This is our doing.

There are of course, those who look out across the width and breadth of their lives on a cool but bright, summer day and give thanks for all that is good in their lives. They smile, and wonder what joy will come next. They lead good, energetic and hardworking lives. They will claim they understand that everything can change in a split second, but they do not know how everything can change in a split second. No one can until that fateful second arrives. Yes, there are many insulated from the horrors of the world, their only knowledge is from sources they choose to pursue. Far too many of us understand the horrors of sickness, war and all the proverbial ills of mankind, but not enough know, not enough know to care.

This is our burden, humanities burden, that essentially, we are a weak species, indifferent to those in need and in pain. We accept that weakness, we give it reason, we give it value, we find merit in being poor, in suffering and then claim our salvation lies in whatever God we justify. We intellectualize that there are those who suffer greatly, that it is Gods will, as long as I am not one of them who suffer so..

But their fates are not in the hands of God, they are in your hands, and that is where you will find salvation.

 

 

mpFerguson
August 22, 2014

I just wanted to yell, to scream from the rooftops to all the people in Ferguson. The police, the protesters, the politicians, the activists, the agitators, the media. JUST STOP IT!

Wasn’t it enough that a young man died? Shouldn’t the responsible path forward have been to search for the truth, and that truth should be pursued by investigative agencies with the help of the people, those involved and those who were witnesses.

Then I started listening, digging deeper into what was happening in this St. Louis burb, population of 21 thousand plus. A city that’s 67 percent black with not one black Representative on their city council. Yes, one can argue that’s what happens when people in any community don’t bother to get off their collective asses and vote! But there is a deeper meaning there in Ferguson that most people won’t get, a question most won’t ask.

I know the answers to the obvious questions, like how can an entire community not have trust in those who are hired to serve and to protect but for me, the question is bigger, simpler, ‘Why is anyone surprised this happened?’ Not with the shooting, poor black kids are murdered all the time, but with the level of outrage that followed. What ignited that Molotov cocktail? Was it simply the fact that information spread like wildfire that he was gunned down while holding his hands up? Was it the fact that the police allowed his body to lie uncovered in the street  for hours on end without the slightest  sense of decency toward the deceased, his family, his friends, his neighbors, his community. More than likely on both accounts, and others as well.

Yet, in any murder, in communities across America, the deceased lies cold and still for the initial investigation, rumors fly among the community, pictures and videos circulate and people usually don’t rise up in anger to protest, to loot to agitate. While we might see protests, media events and even outrage, it’s controlled.

I believe what happened, and is  happening in Ferguson had many contributing factors. Factors that transcend the racial unbalance. While that unbalance played a part, race was a small part. Indeed, if people were working, living in a community where the police a were respected and trusted, and city and local government were representative of the community, the riots might not have happened.

And this is the thing, the thought no one seems to get. What happened in Ferguson has it’s roots in the same problems that created the French Revolution. You cannot disenfranchise the poor and the different. Better, you can’t ignore them, you can’t treat them as less, as shit under your feet. You can’t blame all the problems in your community on them without lifting a finger to help them and you certainly can’t fear them to the extent where you imprison them, or even feel free to shoot them.

If you're wondering why the police have become militarized, let me help you here. It’s because they understand full well what they are up against, because they know what might be lying in wait down the road. We have a nation whose populace is growing more dissatisfied and disenfranchised with each passing day.

Ferguson is only a warning.

 

 

fingerI’ve been a Bad Boy.
August 10th, 2014

God knows I have tried to do the right thing more than once in my misbegotten life. I’ve worked hard, been responsible, raised my boys, never hit my wife, much less raised my voice in her direction. While friends were off on nice vacations, buying their Harleys and associated leathers, my nose was to the grindstone. Along the way, I made a hell of a frigging mistake, I forgot who I was. I caved in and did the responsible thing, the easy thing. For most people, that’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do because it pays off in the end. Not so much for me.

Compared to most folks, I don’t have a lot to complain about, my health is good, my family is safe, kids seem to be somewhat well adjusted, there’s food in the fridge and I’m even somewhat happy.

The thing is, I’ve tried to fit in and I’ve faked it for about 30 years. See, I’m really a radical revolutionary son of a bitch that'd just as soon burn most of society to the ground. Why? Because change is good, bubbalubba! By the way, burning stuff to the ground is a metaphor so go change your undies.

What I’m trying to say is, that I forgot to fight some really important fights over the course of the last few decades simply because I didn’t want to rock the boat, or worse, plug the holes that were sinking the little rowboat. That’s on me, totally. I wanted people to be my friends, to work with me and to respect me and ya’ll just gotta know, that worked out pretty much as I wanted it to.

The thing is, when I was younger, before I settled down, I wanted to change the world. I had ideas! I’ll go so far as to say that God, including your God, had plans for this kid and if God didn't, than the aliens did, or someone with power and sway had their intentions. I spent decades waiting to be told what to do, where to go, how to do it. I waited. The Nineties came and went, a new millennium arrived, had my last son, a responsible job, respect, and here I am in 2014 looking back, wondering about it all, fthinking I spent an awful lot of time waiting.

Truth is, I wasn’t listening. I was too busy living, doing the things I wanted to do, and not doing the things I needed to be doing.

That changed about a year ago. I’m poorer but emotionally richer, my futures uncertain but I have a wife and good friend by my side. I’m doing what I was born to do, what I was intended to do, what I need to do, and in some small, small way, maybe there’s a way I can change the world, make it a better place simply by making someone smile and give pause for thought. That’s a huge undertaking, making peoples day a bit brighter, specially when there's tragedy and turmoil at our every corner. It’s an even bigger challenge to get an opinionated old fool or any young stud to pause for a second and think about anything, especially outside their sphere of interest.

This is who I am, this is where I belong, this is what I do. Time to burn shit down, and time to be a real bad ass.

 

 

ductmouthLife got you down?
August 8th, 2014

I want you to know, I understand. Your backs up against the wall, there's no where to turn, no one to ask for help, you're stressed to the max and you don’t have an answer. You flitter into a restless sleep, and when you dream, your stress makes them weird. You’re days are spent praying to God for an answer that never seems to come. Personal relationship, work, financial or all three, sometimes life just dumps on you. There are times you see it coming from a mile away and just refuse to believe it and when it impacts, you’re still bewildered, stunned by the gale force. There are times too, when you are unable to see that gale force  coming and when it hits, it changes everything in a passing, remarkable and memorable second, often in the most tragic of circumstance.

 As if life's demon has his foot in the small of your back, grinding your face into the dirt, and to make it worse, he's laughing at you. You spend your days on the edge of tears and you begin to question, everything. You wonder what's wrong with you, question where your friends are and more than anything else, you wonder what the point is, of anything. Your favorite refrain is now, ‘why me?’.

There comes that time in all our lives where the pain and suffering seems overwhelming to overcome, you’re just too tired to fight, much less to stand, if not outwardly, certainly inwardly. Your soul aches behind every smile, wondering why you’re even bothering to force a smile.

Like I said, I understand!

Here’s a bigger revelation. Most people will understand, most have been there to some degree or another, and survived. In it’s way, suffrage and troubled waters go hand in hand as a rite of human passage. None of this makes it any easier for you, or anyone to bear their burden. It makes for us an easier way by our experience, to understand, but that doesn't necessarily calm your waters.

There are things you can do. I’m not a self hep guru, a therapist and some will say I’m the last person alive to give advice to anyone, and they might be right. But I do have experience in surviving my own personal ocean of troubled waters.

First and foremost, know that life is walked on a thin line between sorrow and happiness, that everyone walks in one direction today and the opposite direction tomorrow, all to different degrees. There's a huge amount of truth that we are more alike than not. The biggest difference between you and I? How we look at things, our perception. That perception is based on genetics, our current environment, our education, our ego, self esteem and a lot of other factors.

The takeaway, perception can be changed. Some change their perception of the world around them by finding God or engaging in professional help. Some merely through friends or through books, some by grit and determination. Changing perspective on the world, in your life isn’t that hard once you decide to change it. Deciding to change is the hard part. People will argue that the decision is the easiest part, but ask yourself this, if you can’t follow through on a decision you’ve made, are you really committed to that decision?

But what the hell is perception? Well here’s a surprise. It’s not how you view the world and your life, perception is who you are as a person. So if you want to start walking a bit more on that thin line in the direction of happiness, it starts with you.

Start with that recognition, own the troubled ocean you’re drowning in. Once you own that perception, you can mold it by writing about it, by talking to others, by research, by sharing. By even, OMG, by asking for help. Asking for help and understanding can be humiliating, I get that, but what you’re not getting, is that asking for help, asking for a friend to listen, can be one of the most rewarding human experiences in the entire catalog of human experiences. It can be, and often is, the first step in an experience that is transformational.

It ain’t easy, it never is, and like I said, I understand.

Than again, maybe I don’t know nothing and I oughta just slap a piece of duct tape over my big mouth.

 

 

 

worfRoddenberry's  Mirror
July 28th 2014

Libya, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine, missing jets, missing school girls, and Ebola mixed in with astute political divide here at home, not to mention botched executions, Impeachment rumblings, the Sterling and Bundy show, and Police brutality all along  with the occasional school shooting, has made for an exceptional and outstanding 2014.

 Aggression, Ego, Pursuit of power and dominion, Duty, Loyalty, Religion, Family. All our dark ills and the good things we often make dark seem to be prevalent in our lives at the moment and it’s hard to comprehend the validity of the human species as having a right to even exist. I’m struck by an odd Star Trek analogy, that the Klingon's represented the old Soviet empire during the cold war years. I’m struck by it because I don’t think the analogy was true, back in the Sixties or today. Unless the thought was code, secretly meaning the old guard communists were representatives of the human race. The real analogy might be the Klingons represent us, the human race and Star Fleet, well, they represent who we wish we really were, all our unachievable dreams, the good guys we’d all like to be, but never will be. Sad thought isn't it?

The truth is, we’re not even as cool as the Klingons, we’re just a a pale shade of wannabes.

None of this is to say that we’re a violent species, I don’t believe we are. Most people would rather not send their sons to war, most sons would rather not leave to die in some far off land. Yet it happens all the time. Most people would be willing to treat a stranger with compassion if given the chance, many do, many do not. Most people don’t fall for political diatribe and bullshit, but far too many do. No one want’s to see another school shooting yet there’s no serious effort underway to address the issues involved.

Why?

I can't help but wonder if collectively, we are just a scared little species and the only way to make that fear bearable is through entertainment? I’m not sure, while fear is part of the puzzle, there’s another element as well, that we’re not able to distinguish our own personal truths and beliefs. We take what we’ve been given and we do what we’ve been told. And than, we defend them, even sending our children to die to do so.

I readily admit, I don’t have the answer any more than you do but I do believe this, we’re more akin to Klingons than we are to Captain Kirk and his crew.  I’m guessing our future isn’t going to be as bright as Gene Roddenberry proposed it could be.

 

 

iflagProportional?
July 21st, 2014

So if a kid breaks your window, do you kick the shit out of him? If someone calls your wife a bitch, do you whip out your big ass handgun and splatter his brains against the wall. No, a sensible persons reaction is proportional to the offense and proportional is often defined as what your neighbors believe to be acceptable judgment.

I do not believe Israels actions against Hamas is proportional.

It is not even a question that Israel has the right to defend itself. No one would argue that they do not. But are they acting like the guy splattering some idiots brains against the brick wall for calling his wife a bitch. Yea, kinda, don’t you think?

It’s like America going to war with Malawi. Tanks against spears, guns against rocks, the well fed against poverty. You know, the strong kicking the shit out of the weak, as in neighborhood bully. Hey, before the ground war, there was like  200 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians, including a lot of children. Israel one.

Proportional?

But for Israel, it’s not about proportion. Don’t believe for a minute they give a flying fuck what you or I think. It’s about their right to exist and it’s about reputation, as in setting examples. Call my wife a bitch, and I splatter your brains. Everyone else will think twice before calling her anything but good looking.

As long as Israel has this bad ass mindset to demolish anyone and everyone who thinks they don’t have a right to exist, nothing will ever, ever, change. You just can’t kill peoples children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, in search of terrorists. All you breed is hate and vengeance. So when you wonder why everyone in the region wants your very existence washed from the earth, look in the mirror, you don’t have the moral high ground. Not anymore, and those bad ass Mossad days are gone, there are not too many Nazis left anymore, and most know better than to screw with your athletes, but it’s so because most view you as the Nazis when you're killing innocent people in the name of your right to exist.

And no one but America wanted to fuck with the Nazis!

 

 

 

beastBeast
July 12, 2014

I am a horrible man. A terrible man beneath the calm waves of human demeanor. A violent son of a bitch, an ax carrying card member of your worst fucking nightmare. Yes, your nightmare because I’m looking at you and there's no place to run, no escape till death freezes the blood in your veins, quiets your heart and turns your thoughts to mine.

And the worst of it, you’re nothing special. You just happen to belong to the beast, this beast, and I’ll do with you as I please.

There was a time, a time far past when I was human. A husband, a father, a brother or sister, it doesn't matter because when the human hit the pavement and the blood splatted like projectile puke with tiny little fragrant pieces of body parts splaying, washing my face, I was reborn under the bright, burning sun.

The first time, the fear was paralyzing and I couldn't do it. As much as I wanted to, I had to, I could not. I sat down before their pitiful bound souls and took sorrow on them, staring at the bright green duct tape I had plastered over their mouths. I became lost in my thoughts, were they married, did they have children or were they only friends?

I wanted to know. I reached out toward the fat women and pulled the duct tape off and she recoiled in fear. I wanted to soothe her fears, let her know I understood, that everything would be alright, that I was not going to give in to temptation. That soon she would be, free. That women managed to find a semblance of courage but it was not the found courage that paid for her life. She did not understand me, or anything about me and she spit in my face with her new faith, and drooling, she demanded to know what I was going to do.

She demanded!

And then her bravado waned and was replaced with tears. Tears that mixed with her drool  as she called me out for what I was. She murmured a simple word, beast. She named me and it cost her.

I paused in hearing the word, finally understanding and I did what I was meant to do. I carried the weight of the hammer across her face. Not in a violent, hard and impulsive manner but soft and generous, enough to split open her face and watch her reaction as well that of her friend who squirmed under the oppressive weight of foresight. I took my time, alternating the hammer between them, all soft blows to various parts of their body. I gave them time, and plenty of it, to beg, to repent, to cry, to hurt, to question, and to pray. They mostly cried. And hurt. And with each blow, I matured, I understood more about who I was.

I was asked once by a young man, a man that had been handsome, why I hated him, as if it was hate that drove my passion. I caressed his beaten face that I had pummeled with my bare hands and ran a soothing palm over his stained chest, then drew an outline of a happy face, there on his chest, with his own blood as I smiled at him. Him, I let die in peace because he was a handsome young man that reminded me of someone I had once known, a long time ago.

I am not driven by hate or love, fear is non existent for neither god nor devil have no need of me. Whereas I am driven by need, by desire, by the story the stars have written across the blackness of night and the sun that burns flesh from that story. I am God and you are mine.

Mine as I set here, across from you, watching your mouth chew the fat killing steak you cooked while you dream a life of love and comfort, of family and friends, unaware, oblivious and ignorant of the beast.

That is your mistake.

 

 

stoppigPolice Town, USA
July 7th, 2014

I believe the only way to begin this piece is with a disclaimer. I live in a small town,  a bedroom community of St. Cloud that has a population of some 50,000 people. The Mississippi is what separates us for the most part. Here on my side of the river, there's a small town feel where everyone knows you and your neighbor. You lose that the minute you cross one of the four  bridges. Here in Sauk Rapids, I’ve met several of the police officers, worked with one, even consider Troy a friend.

Going back a bit further, as a young stud in the mind blowing sixties and seventies, I was influenced, and influenced deeply by the mantra that cops were pigs. I believed that  based on my experience growing up in Brainerd. Some of the officers back in the day  hated us, and by us, I mean anyone that was 18 or younger. Some of the names are remembered with vile. I remember my sister, a Jesus freak at the time, being taken down to the ground for no reason other than walking across a park. I, myself was harassed, arrested and charged several times on bullshit. As the years passed, one of the most hateful, ended up paying a high price for his behavior and another simply grew up, to the point where ten years after the fact, we were able to talk like sensible adults (and yes, I grew up as well).

Today, I have nothing but respect for our police officers. They put up with shit that I couldn't, I wouldn't. They are way underpaid, always under public scrutiny and always second guessed and 99.5 percent of them are decent people. Hardworking, with families, like you, like me.

But something is wrong!

poster1Police brutality is spiraling out of control. In 2006, a report was issued by the United Nations Human Rights committee that stated plainly, that after 911, our war on terror  "created a generalized climate of impunity for law enforcement officers, and contributed to the erosion of what few accountability mechanisms exist for civilian control over law enforcement agencies. As a result, police brutality and abuse persist unabated and undeterred across the country."

I’m fighting to take issue with that report and I’m finding it harder to do so as I do more research. First and foremost there are not a lot of verifiable statistics, believed to be because most instances of police brutality go unreported. I’m also struck by my own observation that since 911, Police forces seem to have become militarized.

The Rise of Technology
With the advent of the surveillance state, the police are finding out, that they too are being watched, even in the security of their own work environments. Officer Michael Hart could tell you more about that. So could Deputy Keller, or Corrections Officer Graham. Than there’s the 16 LA County deputies who thought they were safe in their own private world. Mind you, these are instances that happened in their own police stations, jails and the security of their own.

We too have Cameras.
The average American Joe and Josephine  are finding out quickly that their voice is amplified by pictures, and even more so by with moving pictures. Our smart-phones are providing us with an unprecedented voice we’ve never had before, and we are learning how to use that voice, effectively! We’ve came a long way from Rodney King and the California Highway Patrol can attest to that.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know there’s a growing problem and it’s evident, evident as hell.

Want to Comment, head on over to the forum.

 

 

 

treeClean your slate
July 4th 2014

I once asked, that if in all of existence, in all our universe, there was only one living thing, a green tree thriving on a barren rock, what would be the worth of that tree? The question is, of course rooted in existentialism and philosophy. The value lies in the question itself, in our ability to ask the question.

The question really has nothing to do with value, or worth as originally poised. The question has everything to do with ones opinion and therein lies the problem. Opinions are subjective.

The only question that comes with any validity then, is from where did you find your worth?

Think of this, what if in all of existence, the only species to evolve, to gain a level of intelligence and self awareness was us, the human race, what would our value be? First and foremost, that worth be determined by us, and in the scale of the vastness of the universe, that worth would be meaningless. Who, besides us, would care.

To the point, the question is moot , pointless to ask from the collective perspective but from the perspective of the individual, the weight carried in the question is immense. Perhaps as much as the weight of any planet.

The worth of the individual, respective of morals, ethics, religion and other baggage is determined by that weight. That worth is determined by no other than the individual. You and I determine our worth, to ourselves, and to others. That worth is what we live and die by, and what other value is assigned to you and I is totally secondary in how we conduct ourselves.

The only question that comes with any validity then, is from where did you find your worth? In fact, what intrinsic value do you possess that gives you the ability to establish, to determine your own worth?

Here lies the truth, the one that speaks to how small, how  very small we as individuals are, and it is nothing but heartbreaking. Heartbreaking because we are, capable of so much more.

Imagine given a slate, full of directions, morals, ethics, judgments at birth and being told, this is, who you are. Oh, I know, you’re of the belief that the slate was blank when you were born. I am here to tell you it was not. Indeed, we are rigid, particular individuals and we are so based on the repetition of a thousand generations before us. You are your mother. You are your father. You are who you have been told to be, instructed, from birth to be. You have given nothing but passing thought to issues of religion, of life, of society and culture, of mortality and death and you attribute your conclusions to those of your own and they are not. You, the individual have not given more than a passing fart to the great questions of our lives, and yet, you, have worth?

Seek a cloudless night illuminated by a bright moon and go find a hill, far from city, far from friends and lay in the grass, staring to the heavens at two in the morning. You might begin to glimpse the answer I want you to find for the singular truth is, the only truth is, our worth is assigned to us by the heavens as we lie on that hill looking to the stars.

Wipe your slate clean! Be something more..

Want to Comment, head on over to the forum.

 

 

revolutionHistory Anyone?
June 29, 2014

Before you finish this sentence, I’m going to ask that you read the post below, ‘I Hate You’ because in a strange, really weird way, this post has a lot to do with Hate, but more about that in a few. I just finished reading Dylan Byers byline over at Politico, an article written by Hadas Gold, titled ‘Matt Drudge: News business is psychotic now’. It’s a rather short, 30 second read, and is a recap of an interview Drudge did with a radio station where he claims modern news is not only psychotic but vibrant, and that’s how it should be. Matt goes on to defend his partisanship by claiming everyone else in partisan, that everything is divided, from our Polls to our beloved Politicians so why not websites. Keep in mind, Politico is somewhat left leaning, as you jump down and start reading some of the comments from readers, that you can just feel the hate ooze and radiate out toward liberals and progressives.

What Drudge knows full well, and it’s a lesson I refuse to learn, is that Headlines sell, even if the facts don’t always fully support the headline. Matt Drudge also knows all to well, that there’s nothing wrong with being partisan, and that facts have little to do with being so. That said, I’m a daily visitor. Why, because lost in translation is the fact that if Drudge speaks, many follow. I might not like it, but I damn well respect him. 

Politico also has an essay up by Nick Hanauer, titled, ‘The Pitchforks are Coming... for us Plutocrats’ It’s a good primer on history, specifically the French Revolution, and the future we are tied to unless certain people act, and act fast. Problem is, the people who need to read his words, never will, and if they did, wouldn’t bother believing Mr. Hanauer.

As Nick says, we all live in a bubble, we believe that what has happened elsewhere in history and in our present time, around the globe, could, would never happen here in America. As if our exceptionalism bubble protects us from the human elements!

Sorry, I don’t think so. A starving man will turn on his neighbor and if that neighbor is a rich man down the road, he’ll turn on him before he turns on his friend next door. The divide between the two is vast, the abyss too great and that canyon by  name, is inequality.

And this is where the two articles merge, Drudge and our media, push that divide, hoping to widen it for their personal benefit. They are the rich, the powerful and Nick Hanauer is the silent voice of reason, screaming in the wilderness, who just happens to be right.

History can, and will repeat.

Want to Comment, head on over to the forum.

 

hateI Hate you!
June 22, 2014

Hate! There isn’t a more divisive, more fearsome word in all of our language. Those who accuse others of hate are at risk of being called divisive in that they desire to seek and inflame and those who are accused of being hateful, fear to wear that label.

Yet there are those, who at their very core, their most malignant essence of being, are hateful, hurtful people. Being political, be it liberal or conservative, is a cover for their hate, a cover for who they are as people. Some people, too many people just hate everything.

Hate has become a commodity to be valued and sold, a marketing strategy used to ply ones opinions against another

Their was a time when I believed that hate resulted from fear, from a lack of education or perhaps attributable to lack of experience, environment or upbringing. I no longer believe none of that. Now I believe hate derives from hating ones self with such vigor, that there is no happiness to be found except in exporting that hate to others, friends, families and yes, strangers. To do as much damage as they can with their words or actions gives pleasure and validates their own, miserable, pitiful existence. Listen carefully, observe their behavior, you will find no words of encouragement, no sensible answer of compromise or compassion. Watch their behavior, their actions are self gratifying, toward their personal agenda, toward their  gnarled and twisted spiritual path. They will not help you without benefit.

We will never admit it here in America, but we have become that very thing we detest. A nation of haters. Hate has become a commodity to be valued and sold, a marketing strategy used to ply ones opinions against another for the entertainment of the American populace. Indeed, an entire vibrant industry has grown to spew not only hate, but the propagation of hate.

To call the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Ingraham, Savage and many other personalities, Republican, Conservative or even political in their approach is disingenuous at best. They words are seldom true, usually void of fact and aimed squarely at the propagation of hate. They want you to hate, what they hate! They all have made vast sums of money in the hate they manage to spew, eviscerating people and policies on a daily basis. They care little for the damage they do, little for their path of destruction and with each hateful moment, they smile in the knowledge of their success because this is who they are. Hateful people. Hateful people who are articulate and passionate, and have been given a voice to further a cause that has everything to do with hate and little to do with fact, much less reality.

The damage they have done is inconceivable. We now live in a society where it is acceptable to voice our hate, and to act out on our hate. That fact is not only coherently visible in right wing discussions, but evident on Fox news as well. Clearly, an agenda is being pushed, and it isn’t political. As much as they all want you to believe their voice is based in the political process, it is not. Their voice is toward the belittlement of others, and of hate.

They have made it OK to say, I hate you. They have made it ok to act out on that hate. As much as we want to deny it, blame it on mental illness or on a person being disfranchised, the truth is, Hate is marketed and sold like any other commodity. People have come to practice hate, in all its little manifestations, in all the screwey, acceptable little ways, to spread their own form of hate, because it’s now acceptable to do so. They have learned from the best.

I have seen it at work!

Want to Comment, head on over to the forum.

 

browneyeLearning to Soar
June 19, 2014

There comes a time in all our lives when we find ourselves standing at the edge of a large, dark and foreboding void. As we stand there, we know we don’t have either a choice or a chance in hell of avoiding it. It’s coming! While we might not choose to step into that abyss, we know it’s getting bigger and soon it’s going to swallow us up  embroiling us in just a ton of shit. Most everyone I know has faced that darkness.

Those that have managed to survive, survived because they refused to accept it was an eternal darkness, they knew with just a bit of work, they could  walk out into the sunlight once again on the other side. Yep, there'd be a lot of suffering while they muddled through, but they kept walking upright, kept muddling and found their way home.

I’ve always known that life isn't perfect, isn't fair. I’ve accepted it is not, because humans are frail creatures of the environment they create. Life isn’t fair because we are not fair.

That said, we all buy into certain beliefs and ideologies, mostly because we were told, and we were taught to do so. If you’re Christian, it’s a 99% bet you’re parents were Christians, so it wasn’t really a conscience choice on your part. And that’s OK, I guess. One of the beliefs that was hammered into me, one that I totally ate up, because it just made so much sense, is that if you work hard, spend your life contributing, everything will work out. Hard work pays out.

Well, that always doesn’t work out.

The second part of what I’m talking about is blame. It’d be easy to blame others, and there are those who I do blame, but I take full responsibility for my decisions. I made ‘em.

So the storms at my doorstep, I’ll grit my face, clench my teeth and I’ll walk into that god damn abyss, and that sun better be shining on the other side.

Why, simply because a storm is much simpler to weather than Hell. A Hell, that taught me, at 56, what pitiful creatures some humans are, and continue to be. You see, life isn’t fair because all humans are unfair, just some. It’s a mathematical truism that there are just enough stupid and vile people in our world to make it rotten for everyone else, and they enjoy playing that role.

And they get away with it because of our good will. Life is far from perfect, justice seems at times to be more than blind, almost somewhat ignorant, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be unjust, unfair.

Lifting yourself above that pettiness, might not do you any favors with your neighbors, your friends or even your God, but it does your heart and soul good. And that my friend is no easy task, but when done, it changes...

everything!

Want to Comment, head on over to the forum.

 

 

explosion1Iraq Again? Really!
June 15, 2014

Every thing in this world has a cost. Plain and simple, whether it be financial, emotional or physical, everything has a cost. Most of us don’t have much control over what we end up paying, but we somehow end up paying not only what we owe, but in many instances, we pay for others as well.

What emotional toil has George Bush, Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld suffered for propagating a war that hasn’t quite ended yet? None!

There are four thousand, four hundred and eighty six American families that have paid a horrible, terrible cost with the life of a loved one. More than enough suffering to cover the cost that Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld didn’t have to pay.

While I consider the Bush administration responsible and accountable to the American people for initiating a war that had more to do with their Foreign Policy dreams than it did any actual value, protection or benefit to the American people, the sad truth is, they are also guilty of being plain, old fashioned incompetent idiots. They not only started a war, they started a fire that has spread and can’t be put out without the loss of hundreds of thousands more lives.

The fact that the Bush administration  couldn’t recognize that the damn country was religiously and culturally fractured, couldn’t realize that the dismantling of a professional army would lead to those professionals going somewhere, couldn’t foresee the role Iran would plan in the new government, couldn’t understand the geographical and cultural history of the region, dating back thousands of years.

Actually, I do believe they understood all the above facts, they just didn’t give a damn.

And that is why we are where are, again today.

Like everything else, you paid for their arrogance and 4,486 americans paid for that conceit with their lives. There were no weapons, no yellowcake, no hidden terrorist agendas only a bunch of american political assholes who wanted their way, and got it. You just happened to pay for it.

Is it going to happen again? Yea, probably, and we’ll probably make the same mistakes.

Want to Comment, head on over to the forum.

 

 

 

moneybank1Education Greenback Blues
June 9, 2014

With our President set to expand a program to some five million more people who will be eligible for relief from their crushing student loan debt, now is a good time to write about education in general and that ugly student loan that will take most people a damn good portion of their life to pay off.

From personal experience, I ended up in 2006 refinancing my house to pay off my and my wifes  outstanding student loans. No matter how hard we tried, we just never seemed to make headway into knocking down the debt. Interest rates, fines, fees and charges always seemed to accumulate and nothing but pennies on the dollar ever went to the principal. Like everything else from a financial perspective, it seemed to become a joke. It was about gleaming as much money as they could. I wasn’t taught that while I was in college, but I was in in the school of hard knocks when real life came knocking. Like credit cards, student loans had nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with keeping people in debt and making money off their inability to pay.

Nothings changed, in as much a you think Obama’s expansion will help, it will only help a s mall portion of those five million. Teachers, who have paid religiously for ten years, others who have not missed a payment in 25 years and low income students will qualify for lower monthly payments but longer payment plans.

Yea, it’s basically a crock of feel good crap warmed over for public regurgitation.

Todays 22 or 23 year old graduate owes a average of just under 30,000 dollars in student loans when they reverse that tassel and toss that cap high in the air. Chances are, they’re finding jobs somewhere in the 45,000 dollar range, that’s about 21.00 an hour. Liberal arts and humanity degrees get less, engineer and technical degrees more. For a single person, it’s doable. Once you get married, buy a house, have kids, not so much unless your salary increases at a pretty good clip. Chances are, for the average couple, that’s not the case, especially in the last  decade.

For background, in todays dollars, a four year degree costs an average of 23,066 compared to 3,951 back in 1981. Todays dollars! That’s a 945% increase.

Wow, what happened?

While I don’t have any empirical data, I’d offer up that someone figured out there was a hell of a profit to be made in college tuitions. Supply and demand worked to higher educations desires and it became about greed, higher salary's, newer equipment, new buildings, keeping up with the college down the street.

Greed! and indicative of what the free market represents is in todays society.

In all this, keep in mind that college completion rates have been falling, drop out rates increasing, and these drop outs have student loans to repay. Chances are. they are not finding a 45,000 dollar a year job.

This is a problem that will only get worse. And I haven’t even talked about the quality of their education.

Want to Comment, head on over to the forum.

 

 

60sThe Birth of the 21st Century
June 4th, 2014

Born in 57, I am a proverbial child of the Sixties. My daily fodder ran from Lassie to Nasa in those years with war and tribulation woven in as vegetables. I was born into a world of black and white and by  the time I was a teenager, the world was awash in color. In more ways than I could imagine, the definition of simple right versus wrong exploded into a world of possibilities, explanations, thoughts and actions.

I grew up with the knowledge that Americans were inherently good, that institutions like the Peace Corps, defined who we were as a people and more so, as a Democratic Nation. There to offer help, and there, to lead the way for all humanity. Yes, I understood there was evil in the world, but I also understood, we were more than capable of dealing with the communists. We were the great society, the envy of the world. Our freedoms that each individual enjoyed had never been seen before in all the history of humanity. The right to talk, to say and to do as each desired. To speak out openly against those in power, those of wealth and influence had been hard earned, and it was our right.

I grew up believing that I would see in my lifetime; human colonization of space, cures for many of the ills of man, including disease, poverty, prejudice and inequality. That peace would manage to spread around the globe. That each American, if he worked hard, and was honest in his approach to life, would be rewarded with security, and peace, and two cars in the drive and lots of apple pie

The dream was a magnificent dream, an illusion shattered when people started using their rights to free speech and assembly, and spoke out against evil and injustice, and offended those in political power and those steeped in monetary wealth. Minorities saw opportunities for progressive equality and acted, as did women, the young witnessed injustice and sparked a revolution. The canvass of life, drawn taught by the hands of God, was painted with moon landings, belly buttons and the advent of drugs, sex and rock and roll, all displayed prominently in vibrant color swaths. Life became uncomfortable for some, and far too comfortable for others.

I emerged into the seventies a newly minted 13 year old tainted by the 60s. I still believed in the promises and I still believed in opportunities. That the turbulence of the 60s, the social injustices, the explosion of television, the new culture of love and peace would prevail, that the hippies were right, that we should make love and forsake war. America had indeed started the journey to the promised land and that each of us had something to be very proud of.

And then we all had to grow up. Some forty five plus years later, I look back on those years and all I can do is shake my head in disbelief. Yes, we made progress, but the progress we made was made with the sacrifice of ideals and values that the young and the idealists hold true to heart. They lost. One can argue, and justifiably, that the fight for equality lead to President Obamas election in 2008. One can argue, and justifiably, that we are still not quite there yet and all the equal rights movement did, was make one hide their prejudice, their hate.

I don’t know what the truth is. I do believe many people left their beliefs and ideals splayed out on the sands of California or the mountains of New York, traded for the green backs of currency in form and fashion. Our idols went contemporary, wanting wealth and power. In the end, we lost, the hippies lost, sex, drugs, rock and roll lost, equality lost. The truth is, it was simply just a matter of fact that everyone grew up and recognized we needed to get a job, take care of our women and feed our kids.

But we lost something very valuable in doing so, in growing up.

Our future! Our dreams of colonizing space, of cures of human ills, of equality for all, of peace and prosperity, of global love, or perhaps we just realized, it might take a bit longer to get to the promised land.

 

 

 

the screamOur New Exceptionalism
May 30th 2014

I’m that guy in Edvards picture, standing on the bridge, hands slapped to my face in disbelief, mouth poised in an eternal O, screaming at the world in disbelief, in modern day angst, encased in rude red, rust and browns. All for naught. No one hears! We all, to some extent, are standing on that pier.

It’s like it’s 2014 people, and we still have misogyny in our lives, right there living good and well along side racial and religious hatred. Throw in those 275 missing girls into the mix, stir it with an airplane that can’t be found, shake it with the the VA scandal and you have what’s going to be a long, a fucking long, hot summer. Yea, none of this crap is going away anytime soon. In a blink of an eye, there will be another shooting, someone, somewhere in the world will do something stupid to get some attention, there will be another disaster, another scandal and the bus on the wheels keep going round and round.

Yea, I got a lot of post modernity angst. I thought we were better than this, thought we were intelligent. From what I’ve seen in the last few years, we’re not. There’s just not enough good people who care enough to get into leadership positions, and the sorry truth is, why would they want to?

We have a lot of people talking about American Exceptionalism these days. America, exceptional? Really?  What have we done since the advent of Silicone Valley thats been exceptional? Cure cancer? Been back to the moon? Worked toward world peace, fed the hungry, eradicated hate? Stopped mass murderers, help the poor, the homeless?

No, what we’ve done is fuck it up! And I do mean we.

I never expected a perfect world, but I never expected a world full of insanity. I never expected a world where the stupid, the ignorant not only had a voice, but were listened to with reverence. That the Sterlings, the Bundys, the Rogers would find status in our culture, in our society. They do so because it has become the normal. They are not the first and they will not be the last. Is this the new American Exceptionalism, the new moral authority, along with treating our Veterans like shit, our neighbors with disdain, those who look different, act different, with suspicion? This is the new America? The new american empire, global and exceptional, a world gone mad.

Empires decline. They rot from with in and little pieces break off here and there, till there’s nothing left but a shade of past glory.

I’d like to tell you it’s not too late, that we can re-envision out future, work toward rebuilding a golden path. That we can do all those good things we desire, cure all our ills, and engage in a new era of scientific exploration of self and space.

But I’d be lying, and you would know I was lying.

 

 

gunThe Barrel of the Gun
 archived from 4-14-13

 I am not a gun enthusiast, I am not a gun owner. I am liberal minded and try to be fiscally responsible. That's how I wake up in the morning, how I view the world, fairness and equality for all.

I am also a supporter of the second amendment, known as your right to bear arms.

If you have not read it, here you are, written as it was ratified.

”A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Feel free to interpret the 27 words in any manner you see fit. Everyone else has, from Joe Blow down the road to our esteemed Supreme Court who reside a bit further down the road. In fact, our Supreme Courts has ruled on the intent of the Second Amendment several times over the years, with no real clarification.

None of this matters though, because the Second Amendment is being made a scapegoat, an excuse to do the inexcusable. Consider:

31.8 Billion is the economic impact of the Gun Industry

310 million guns in circulation

6 Billion in sales

5.5 million guns made in the US, in 2010

$140,000 is the mean annual salary of someone employed in the gun industry

47% of the populations at least one gun

50,812 licensed gun retailers

Source – Christian Science Monitor

 

This is about money, this is all about profit, and very little to do with the Second Amendment. To be blunt, we live in a society, we live in a culture, where human life is a commodity to be traded for money, for profit.

In 2012, the NRA spent 32 million dollars on politics. One million in direct contributions to politicians, 6 Million in Lobbying, 6 million in positive ads and 18 million in negative ads, almost all directed toward President Obama.

Consider too the following

What The NRA's Wayne Lapierre Gets Paid To Defend Guns

Not to mention, The bulk of the NRAs earnings come from the gun industry, anywhere between 25 to 50 million over the last 10 years.

The sad truth in all this, if it were about our second amendment rights, we'd be talking about background checks, appropriate licensing, firearm safety, weapon types and a whole host of issues that would lead us down a safe and somewhat sane road, but we cannot.

Because it is about the dollar, it is about power. It is not about your right to life, nor the right of your child to live.

 

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

 

 

sunset2The Art of Being Irrelevant
May 20th, 2014

I work hard at be relevant. That means I’m telling you I want to be noticed, I want to have meaning in your life. You, a total stranger should appreciate me, and what I have to say! Why? Because I’m important. Why? Because I’m talented, I’m smart and vibrant, full of energy. You know, all those things you’re not, and wish you were.

OK, slap me silly, go for it. I deserve it

The thing is, there is a lot of truth in that first paragraph. For all of us. We all search, no, we all want a certain level of meaning in our lives, we want to be relevant, relevant to somebody, for some purpose. It’s an inherent sense and it occupies space on several levels. For some, there exists a need to be loved by thousands world wide, for others, it’s enough to be loved by one, to be needed by one.

However you define relevancy, it comes down to need. I need to be recognized, for my work, by my wife, my friends, co-workers,  for my words, for my thoughts, my actions and for many, by their God. Thinking about it, reading what I just wrote makes us seem, well, kind small minded. But it’s not!

The need for relevancy is the basis for who we are, the foundation for all our relationships, be it a singular relation or plural. Some of us are fine with a lifelong, single relationship, others need more, but the type of relationship, the morals and the ethics of relationships is a topic for another post somewhere down the line. This one is about the basic need we all have and how it defines who we are as an individual.

As much as you’ll deny it, the truth is, you not only want to be appreciated, you need to be appreciated and there are dizzying heights and elongated lengths you will go to, to be appreciated, at least by certain people. Some people you don’t give a crap about, couldn’t care what they think, or so you think. The dark secret is, even if you don’t like someone, you want them to like you! That’s really a sweet revenge, isn’t it? Because if they like you and can’t have you, you... what? Win? Are better than ‘em? Got one up on them?

Oh, admit it! Nothing wrong with it. Because once you realize it, you’re able to laugh at it. More importantly, you start realizing just how large of a force ‘relevancy’ is in our lives, even on such a small, individual scale. Now start thinking about it on a larger scale. No, not on a global scale, rather on a spiritual scale, a great big universal balance type of scale.

If a human being has a need to be relevant to someone they don't really care about, what does it say about you from a larger perspective? The need to be accepted by others is a powerful need. Now consider the power of a need to be accepted by God.

Problem is, we usually decide what we have to do to be accepted by God. Once you figure that out, you figure out why most of the problems in the world exist. For some reason, you believe Gods needs are more important than the human setting next to you as you read this.

Okay, I’m starting to get lost in this post, time to wrap it up. I’m going to have to think about this one for a bit. I’ve probably already pissed off two thirds of the world.

 

 

barranfutureOur Barren Future
May 16th, 2014

I struggle with the stupidity of the far right, and the darker truth is, I fear them. I fear the day is not so far off that they might hold real power. There are many mid stream Republicans and even many more Democrats who believe that the far right is defined by the likes of those in the daily news cycle, Rubio, Huckabee, Mcconnell, Boehner, Paul and yes, even Ted Cruz. The truth is, these poor souls are politicians, politicians fighting to stay alive, to stay relevant in todays conservative world. None of these men believe for a second the spew they spout forth on a daily basis. Their belief, is in themselves, in their manifest destiny, and they are taking not only a dangerous, but a destructive path to fulfill that destiny

These modern defenders of the faith don’t have a clue of what they are really defending. It’s not a new Republicanism, a new Conservatism or even a refurbished and repackaged global Neo Con era of death and destruction. It’s worse, much worse.

If you do not fear a return to the dark ages if the new right gains power, you are an idiot, an idiot who has not been paying attention. You have been told they do not believe in Science, do not believe in equal rights, do not believe in equality of the sexes, do not believe in equal pay, do not believe in racial equality, do not believe in economic equality, do not believe in religious equality.

They have said so with their words and they have said so with their actions!

Their ilk is to mock dialog, ridicule compromise, confuse democracy, and to divide. To divide the rich from the poor, the Christian from the Muslim, the sick from the healthy, the  black from the white, the North from the South, the educated from the uneducated.

They are the new moral majority, the new south, the militias, neo-cons, racists and puritanicals who prey on the fear of the individual, promising people a new and better world. A world where there will be no fear. Like the old KKK, their leaders hide in darkness, welding power from dark and ambiguous thrones. Faces hidden, they fear to take responsibility for their words and their actions and they live secure in the fact that there are those who propagate their agenda. The tea party republicans, the politicians who care only about their pocketbooks, the conservative far right religions and those in the media who confuse and conflate, while they sit back and gloat at the destruction of America.

They are winning! The world to come tomorrow will not be one shaped by democratic ideals, but one shaped by what they accuse our enemies of, a religious fanaticism to control the populace. You guns will be gone, scientific debate will be squashed, you will worship in the church you are told to worship in, you will be taught, not truth, but manufactured truth.

Their world is a barren world for all of humanity, a rush back to the dark ages where power is centralized in the hands of a few. Your life, like the world you will awake in, will be sorrowful, barren of joy, and of life.

Listen! They have said so.

 

 

traffickSex & Slavery
May 12, 2014

I asked a simple question last week on a facebook post, ‘How can we spend millions of dollars looking for a lost plane and nothing on kidnapped girls that will be sold for 12 bucks apiece?’ I wasn’t surprised by a couple of shares and a few comments, but what I am surprised is why no one else is asking the same, relative question? How is it that several Nations are spending literally millions of dollars looking for or the wreckage of flight 370 and virtually nothing for 278 kidnapped girls that are being threated to be sold for around 12 dollars each? American Interests? Well, I believe there were only three Americans on the flight. Corporate interests? I’m sure Boeing wants to know why the flight went down, but that cost and effort should be on them.

I get there’s a valid reason why people want to find the plane. I don’t have a problem with the search, the reason or the involved costs? I do have a problem when people can’t exert the same motivation for what is nothing less than a Global disgrace involving slavery and sex.

Eight people have been charged in the UK for being involved in a sex ring involving young girls. Charges included are rape, imprisonment and drugging. China also has what seems to be a flourishing sex trade bought on by their one child per family law. Even here in my community, it’s a concern with run away teens being forced into prostitution. No matter where you are, it’s happening under your nose, in some form and fashion, and you are totally oblivious to it. CNN has a pretty good read from a global perspective, so much so, it’s kind of, well, heartbreaking.

Heartbreaking because the more you start reading about the issue, the more you just shake your head in disgust. Once you start googling terms like sex trafficking, human trafficking, you start descending into a dark, forlorn wold of human behavior and before long, there's a realization that sets in, that for all our technology, all our social achievements, all our claims of being civilized, there are literally thousands of children, boys and girls, no older than your own children, being held in some dungy room, drugged, and fucked by some guys, day in, day out while you’re setting watching the latest episode of American Idol.

The kidnapped girls in Nigeria isn’t an isolated event, and governments all around the world know it, thus there was no immediate international uproar. They waited till the media pushed the abduction, to do anything, to say anything, and if it hadn’t been for social media, it probably would have been a passing story.

I suppose the reasons a person would get involved in something as sordid as human trafficking has something to do with power and profit, and that says more about us than it does them, I mean, there has to be a market to gain that power and that profit, doesn't there?

Just seems to me that we should be exerting as much time on missing, kidnapped children as we do a missing plane, but we don’t because when a plan crashes, it’s news, because it’s a rare occurrence. Not so much when 278 schoolgirls go missing. When it’s only a couple of dozen, it’s not news at all.

 

 

chris_chan_crazy_eyes_by_curtsibling-d72uucgYou just gotta be friggin’ nuts...
May 7th, 2014

We're all just friggin’ nuts. That's the only reasonable, intelligent explanation I can come up with. Why other excuse exists in your mommas wildest dreams to explain the state of current affairs in our world today? We are not only demolishing the greatest nation ever seen in human history but we're going to take the entire world, the whole kit and kanoodle along with us, and worse, there's not anyone going to be left standing, including you.

Here on the home front, racism has reared its ugly head in the 21st century (and remember, not so far removed from the Star Trek universe), Militias have time jumped from the nineties, reinventing themselves as protectors of the cow fuckers, and they've managed to bring along Clinton's bitch, Lewinski (ok, she's not a bitch, I'm sorry).

On the global scale, it looks like conservative icon Ronnie Raygun lied to us when he claimed he finished off the USSR cuz they're back, taking it all back. Over in Africa (and yes, that's a continent) some Nigerian dude ripped off a school full of little girls and wants to sell ‘em for 12 bucks a head, all while the world watches. I won't even mention that several hundred people went missing along with a gigantic, state of the  art areoplane (hint, watch lost).

Insert face palm here. Can it get any friggin’ crazier?

Yea, it can and it will. For one thing elections are coming up here at home. Be ready for a shitload of outright vile political ads which almost everyone will condemn as outrageous and despicable and then whisper the truth over their back yard fence, ‘Hillary's a lesbian’. Yes... you will! At least, anyone that has tea party credentials will.

Why? Because they are simply ignorant, so much so that they would vote against their own self interests, because their own emotional needs are more important than their own welfare, if that makes sense. Think about it, think about the people who make up the far right. Don't you believe they would most benefit from an increase in minimum wage, in affordable health care? Like I said, you have to be friggin’ nuts...

But what would I expect from a country that can't even execute some murderer in a sensible humane fashion but than again, that from the same people that are telling you it's sunny and bright outside during a freakin’ snowstorm.

And there's too many people believe-in ‘em, Go figure, I can’t. The only thing I can come up with, is their friggin’ nuts, than again, we all might be.

 

 

cr george lenz57
May 3rd, 2014

On a hot July night, the moon was full and I found myself stranded aside a two lane blacktop in the middle of some Texan sand. A lot of Texan sand. A lonely, desolate place where the eerie silence of the night was evidenced by the discreet howl of some old coyote sharing their loneliness. I had quit walking, thought about wandering off a few feet into the sands of the the Texan desert with the thought of catching some sleep till the sun rose blistering hot. I remember the old man's warning though and didn't. Didn't wanna be caught sleeping by some large sand predator and drug away for their children's morning morsel. I still had too much to do, but at the moment wasn't doing much of anything except hoping a ride would come along. Preferably, some pretty lil lady in a 66 Mustang that was tired of driving. That woulda been cool, cruising that horse under the moon on that hot damn and straight asphalt. Course, you know that didn't happen.

Do you know what did?

Now, ya all know me, and know that I’ve told a fib or two in my long and tendered life, but no one knows me as a straight up liar. Do you? So there’s no reason to doubt what I’m going to say next, simply because it’s so strange and alluring, it can only be, always will be, the gods honest truth of the matter.

The wind came up. Not cruel and strong like some storm, but like a womens breath on the nape of your neck. Like when your women cuddles up to your backside as you’re drifting off to sleep. Sweetness, and security. And just like when your womans sleeping, cuddled, and she mumbles something and you think you hear your name, least you think it was, I heard a womens voice come riding in on that breath. A mumbled voice that I strained to hear, believing the quietness of the night was playing thoughtful tricks on the rough edges of my gray matter.

Riding the breaking waves of sand across the asphalt, I heard my name come clear. Clear enough that it rode the length of my spine, leaving my hair standing straight and hard. Now I’m an intelligent man, strong and steady, fast and sure of foot and not given to flights of fear. Smart enough to also know there were dangers walking about in the dark, in that desert night, under the fool moon. The kind of danger that didn't necessary leave any footprints in the Texas sand, no more than if they were walking across the ocean. Smart enough to raise an eyebrow, look around and pay attention.

A desert owl hooted in flight, defined by bright mother moon and some desert creature scurried across the grains of sand, not knowing time had ran out. In the light of the moon, I saw the owl dive to it’s catch and than saw the women off in the distance, murkey and dark, walking my way, calling my name. Funny thing is, when I saw that demon women coming my way with my name written on her lips, all I could think about is the time my daddy took me camping up in the green jungles of Minnesota. The time we came across a bear, better, the time a black bear, a big un, came across us. Just like then, I was tempted to do as my daddy had said, fall to the ground and play like you’re dead. Be still, be quiet. Worked for me then, not so much for daddy, mostly because he had a loud and obnoxious smokers cough.

So I stood there, quelling my fear forcing it back down my spine and that was a mean feat of accomplishment all on it’s own as that woman came my way. Wasn’t more than a honest couple of dozen steps before I could make out she was tall, lithe, had long dark hair and great big almond shaped eyes and nekkid to boot. Now my wife will tell you I’m a real man, but on this night, on this night, I was the scaredest little cow puppy in all the state of Texas and Louisiana combined.

Thing is, looking back, I wasn't scared of the women. All she was, was a women I ‘member thinking, but she was nekkid, and it was dark, and the moon was full, and the damn coyote howled, and it was hot, and she was nekkid as she came to stand just a few feet away, sultry, with full breasts and nice shapely hips calling to a full hot blooded man. I was wanting to do nothing but turn and run, than thought of the small desert rat who just recently found his end, as dinner on a table set for one.

I would be no such dinner.

She took a step closer, another and then placed her palm across my cheek. Her voice was like a shot of tequilla in that it caught your attention abruptly,  and her breath carried the spice of desert dunes. One word, was all she said, my name,  and than she pressed her lips against mine and love was made in the hot desert night and lost before it had ever found it’s way home. A thousand Arabian nights don’t come close to one night in a Texas desert under a fool moon with a nekkid women with large almond eyes.

I awoke just before the sun broke over the horizon, as the fool and wholesome moon was setting, to a dazzling display of colored lights hovering mid air, above my prone and sore, and wholly nude self. Knowing that what had happened, had happened, but not knowing what had happened I watched the lights dance and move in utter regard, when they quickly coalesced into a singly bright object and shot off toward the setting desert moon, leaving me nekkid in the breaking morning sun.

When I sat up, a tattered scrap of paper fell from my chest and as I stared at it, I understood it was meaningless. Meaningless just as the night had been. I had no idea, not a clue to all the strange gibberish and uncontemplated symbols that were scrawled across the old piece of paper, withered like the desert itself.

Least-ways not till today, forty years later, and it’s why, by the time you read this, I’ll be back, standing at that same spot, under a fool moon, with coyotes and owls, waiting for my wife and son to return, as promised in her note, to give me a grand tour of the universe.

...and I just heard my name on whispered breath.

 

 

 

dreamtime gifWho are You?
April 30th, 2014

Life is circular. Like if it’s happened before, it’ll happen again. Life is also analogous, in that you can compare any one instance or situation to a previous situation. Now a simple mind would say, “Geez, that's just life’, thinking I’m talking about circumstance. A recent example in our lives are  plane crashes. They're is always going to be a plane crash somewhere, sometime. A much smarter person would see an analogy to the fight between Liberals and Conservatives to the fight between Cain and Able, one refusing to coexist with the other. Me, I’m not claiming any specific insight, just a few observations to help you and someone else think a bit beyond the doldrums of the daily news cycle.

Nature, it’s very existence is circular. Hell, the damn moon circles around the earth which circles around the sun in a solar system that circles around a black hole at the center of the milky way. Life is also circular in that there is a rhythm to it. We get up, we go to sleep. We breath in, we breath out. We have good days, we have bad. Friends come, friends go. We live, we die. On a slightly larger scale, we have wars, we have peace, nations come, nations go.

No wonder we come up with cute little phrases like, ‘As above, so Below’ or ‘As yesterday, so Tomorrow’.

Now there’s something else to consider. Centrifugal force. Gravity holds the universe together, including the moon orbiting our little blue ball of water. With out gravity, each is on it’s own. Chaos! But it’s not gravity or even chaos I want you to think about. It’s expansion. Even as we talk, the moon is moving further in it’s orbit from where you sit. As you grow older, you gain more experiences, your sphere increases. Just as the universe is expanding, so are you from the moment your are born. This is both  comparative and analogous to each other and to the very fabric of existence,

Growth.

I view the world and only see two types of growth. Static and dynamic. Static is natural growth, You’re born, you die and everything that happens in between is circular and repetitive. You accept your role in the universe. Planes will crash, people will be bigots, wars will be fought. You live in that circle and everything you have done, or will do has been done before and will be done again. Too many humans live in the world of static growth. You have the same religion as your parents, you’ve never traveled further than a couple hundred miles from your home, you believe what you’ve been taught as truth, and so on and so forth. The expansion is natural and expected, Growth is associated with expected, and known change. There is comfort, and a great deal of comfort, with static growth. You think you know everything but yet, you know the truth, you’re running in place.

Dynamic growth on the other hand is, well dynamic. It is what moves humanity forward. Questions are asked, thoughts pondered and change is welcome even in the risk of pain to self and others. Travel is life, experience is life, change is life. In the chaos, peace is searched for and only hopefully found. Dynamic growth, while part of the natural fabric of existence is not part of the natural order of human experience. Much of this dynamic journey is spiritual as well, in that there is no satisfaction in acceptance of the circular notion of life, even in their practice of it. There lies a desire to end such things as plane crashes, and act upon that desire. There exists a desire to end such things as bigotry, war and poverty, and act upon those desires, even if only by speaking out.

Who are you?

 

 

handsHe said what? They said what?
April 27th, 2014

Thanks to the words of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling, two elderly white men, our country is scratching it’s head, and wondering why it is again forced to face our inherent racism. In the wake of their ignorance, one can only be left wondering if the beliefs of these two men are really the golden standard of most white bred American studs? The conversation is being delicately played out in social media with disdain that we, in 2014, have to hear words from two old white men. Words that are hurtful, degrading and outright stupid. Our mainstream media is following suit with blanket coverage, 24/7,  elevating these two men into national buffoons, and ignorant ones at that. The closest I have heard of anyone coming to their defense were some comments about their ‘words being understandable coming from two old white men’.

There’s a bigger story here that we all are missing.

When one googles ‘racism’ the results are wide and varied and one can peruse old collegial studies as well new and recent observations into the minds of men and women. Ethnic, economic, religious, national, cultural and yes, racial hatred are all covered. One comes across terms such  as scientific, systematic and industrial racism, nationalism, segregation, discrimination and environment.

The bigger story, the bigger question isn’t What racism is, but rather, Who we are as a species? We can strive as a Nation to minimize prejudice, to curb hate and reduce racial verbiage by law, by shame and by exposing the perpetrators but we will never, ever eliminate hate and fear because it is who we are as individuals, as a Nation and as a species. Unpopular as it is, there is some truth in the words of Clive Bundy and Donald Sterling, and that truth is a scab that needs to be ripped off and talked about.

Humans are a petty bunch when it comes to being afraid of anything that’s different, compiling that difference in their dark thoughts as something that is a threat. HItler did it, the Ottoman empire did it, as did Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Rwanda and the Serbs during the Bosnian war. All, just in the last hundred years.

Yes, we condemn genocide but how does condemning such atrocities prevent them from happening again? By understanding what we are doing on a daily basis to foster prejudice and hatred, not only on a global scale but just as much on a local scale, drilling down to the very community you live in.

Mr. Bundy talked of driving through neighborhoods where ‘blacks were setting in groups out on their porches...’ and by and large, it’s a perception many white Americans have of inner city African Americans. That perception was created through movies and news and many white Americans equate a sense of fear of their behavior and that fear was institutionalized with the advent of Rap music. That fear has migrated to smaller, local communities and the sad, undeniable fact is, we relegate the poor and minorities to certain portions of our communities, usually apartment complexes clustered together. In a way, they have become small, comfortable prisons with no chance of parole, much less freedom. In a very real way, they have become Americas new Reservations.

We epitomize the very thing we accuse Bundy of. We try to stifle voting rights of minorities, the elderly and our American Political process attacks and belittles in the most hateful ways through lies and innuendo. What message are we teaching our children.  This has nothing to do with being white, black, Asian, Indian, brown, green, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and everything to do with who we are as a species.

Mr Sterling too has his truth, in that in his ignorance he himself exemplifies the contradictions that reside in all of us. That he finds such a sense of righteousness in his belief, that he would date a women of a different racial and genetic history. He sets himself above his own belief and therefore justifies his behavior. It really is the disgrace of ‘I’m not prejudice, I have a black friend’ mentality.

Ask yourself a simple question. When first exposed to a person of a different color, a different religion, a different lifestyle, are you uneasy, even in the slightest? Chances are that if you find yourself sensing the twinge of fear creeping up your back, it’s because there's a perceived threat. Where does that sense come from?

Look around, it’s who we are, it’s the world we've built. Bundy and Sterling are symptoms.

 

 

 

downloadWaste not, want not, but gimmee my money
April 23, 2014

I remember being scolded by my mother when I wouldn't finish my supper. That harsh scolding was always something akin to reminding me that all over the world, children were dying because they didn't have enough food to fill their little bellies, that I could at least show a little respect by finishing whatever I was refusing to eat. This picture of extended bellies and soulful, bland  stares held even more impact in that I saw it everyday as I grew up in a third world country. I, myself have been hungry but like most Americans, I have never known hunger or known anyone who has died of starvation.

Indeed, we live in a bountiful breadbasket. Our Holiday tables are festooned with food; turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, yams, vegetables and salads galore. Our Grocery stores are the envy of the world, stocked to the brim, 24/7 by high school kids.

Yet there's a little dirty secret that's not much of a secret. Actually, it's more of a fact that we are just a bit too ashamed to talk about!

Back in late January, a Salt Lake Elementary school made headlines when it not only refused to serve lunches to small children with no money in their lunch accounts, but took the lunches they had served to these children, and tossed them. Here in Minnesota, where I live and breath, the policy isn't much different.

    “A new report shows hungry school children who cannot afford lunch are being denied food in some Minnesota public schools. The  Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid surveyed 94 percent of districts last year and found a majority deprive kids in some way for not having enough money in their lunch accounts.”

The Utah story came out, there was a lot of public outrage, news outlets did their traditional thing, making money off the outrage and our Politicians made political capital. Business as usual!

But that's not the shameful little secret. This is,

190 (2)The amount of waste!

This is a typical picture of a garbage can at a local High School where I worked. It shows fresh and unopened salads that are tossed at the end of a days lunch shift. When I say typical, I mean our Kitchen threw out salads, burgers, hot dishes on a daily basis.

Why? While there might be a thousand reasons given for it, and most logical and sensible, most containing the word ‘liability’ the real truth here is that where I worked, the meal programs are contracted out. That means they’re  profit driven.

Why would you give a kid a free salad if they can't pay for it? Better to spite them and toss it. Makes a lot of sense doesn't it?

To be fair, we live in a wasteful society. The amount of good, edible food that grocery stores, restaurants and even families throw into the garbage is mind boggling, but I don't know of one restaurant or grocery store that is tasked with feeding our children on a daily basis. As a parent, I'm just as guilty and it drives me nuts.

But what really pisses me off to no end is throwing away good food and then turning around with a policy that states you won't feed a child because you can't make a buck off it. Profit is what it’s really about, that's what the shameful dirty little secret is. We all know it. Our school districts know it, our media knows it, but won't repeat it. Instead Districts will spin it as a liability or cost savings issue, it is not. Don't buy into that. It’s about getting your dollar and making it theirs..

 

 

cheFor the Love of a Turtle
April 16, 2014

Truth really is in the eye of the beholder. The problem is, all too few care what's in their neighbors eye, don’t care what they might have to say. Funny thing is, truth is thrown around like it’s some sort of mystical savior, like ‘this is the truth’ so I’m right and you are damned to walking the misty, smelly world of purgatory for all of existence. Yea! Everyone has their personal truths and most of the time, it’s bullshit. Bullshit because it’s not based on a semblance of truth, of evidence or even fact. More so, personal truth is based on observation of an individual, observations which include those that are selected in that you see what you desire to see, need to see to give value to your truths.

If you’re wondering what the source material is for this particular little entry, look no further than the BLM/Bundy incident which played out last week, ending in the BLM backing down, giving Cliven Bundy all his cattle back and then running away with their tails tucked between their collective assess. Why? Because American Patriots joined the good fight, armed to the hilt.

Now I don’t know if the story is true or not. And you don’t either.

Now I know the Bureau of Land Management doesn’t have spectacular reputation, that doesn’t help. Neither does inarticulate reporting or misrepresentation of facts. Not only in our National Media but by those who are blogging or merely passing along their information.

I for one would like to know if it’s true that the BLM was involved in a massive land grab and Bundy was the last hold out.

Did Harry Reid play a part due to his sons involvement with a Chinese company wanting to buy up land in the area?

If everyone else has been paying their gazing fees in Nevada, why has Bundy gotten a pass for the last 20 years?

Or is it simply about a turtle? I don’t know!

I do know this, truth has gone missing.

I do know this guy owns a small, 185 acre ranch, not nearly, not anywhere close, to having enough desert sand to feed all his cattle. I do believe whoever called the BLM off was being smart, seeing the potential for another Ruby Ridge (I don’t buy the analogy to Waco). This is also, not over.

The singular truth in my eye, is that a lot of differing sides are spinning this to spout their views, and that’s sad. In the long run, Bundy is nothing but an inefficient rancher, overreaching with his gazing rights and feels he has the right to do as he pleases because he’s a ‘Real American’. What he really is, is a patsy

In more ways than you can imagine.

 

 

beautiful-spring-day-wallpapers-1024x768Death on a Spring Morning
April 10th, 2014

The sun is shining bright, the snow is gone and it's looking to be a beautiful spring day this mid April. Here I set, my fingers tapping out words and I'm wondering, do I really want to write about death today. Of all days, today? Well, it is on my mind, mostly due to the bothersome death of a young, vibrant facebook friend who died suddenly, without explanation. While I know there are people that think 55 is old, most of us over 55 think it's rather young. Like data, it is and it isn't, with everything depending on your view of where you happen to be at any given moment.

See, as you get older and people you know start passing, there's a general thought that you keep moving ahead in line with each passing. With each death, you get closer to your turn. Now it's true that thought is with you as soon as you're born, but believe me, if you're under fifty, you're not thinking of where you are in that line.

My wife has a new fascination for reincarnation, believing as of late that she is the reincarnation of some long lost ancestor and that she and I, are entwined through all of time until we both have learned our lessons to spiritually evolve. What? Thirty years in this life isn't enough? OK, Theresa will slap me silly for that, but when you realize that line your standing is thinning out, and there's a lot more behind you than there is in front, you start thinking about things like the afterlife, God, getting your house in order. None of which I really care about, because I don't have any control over the afterlife, God is who or whatever God is and my house exists in a perpetual state of chaos. Or maybe it's just my super sized ego whispering I'm just bigger than all that.

What’s left is this life. It makes no difference to me if what I do, in this life, sets the tone for what happens in the next. I didn’t write that script (Can you imagine I might be wrong, that maybe I did write the script, hmmmm) so I’ll do the best I can while I’m here and take an eternal, entwined eternity with Theresa. It could be a lot worse. In the long run, I hate to see any of my friends pass, we are still too young. There are, far too many that have. I think of them from time to time.

And as long as I’m standing in line, doing nothing but waiting, maybe I’ll just wander on outside and enjoy that eternal spring sun shiny day.

 

 

There, but for the Grace of God, Go I.
April 6th, 2014

Image1Mental Illness walks with humanity hand in hand and to no small degree, each of us is far too familiar with ‘measures and disorders of the mind’. By all accounts, our society has not treated our brothers, our sisters, fathers and mothers, friend and foe alike, with as much compassion and kindness as we would the neighborhood dog. We have committed them to hellish and degrading prisons, drilled out portions of their brains, electrified their convoluted bodies till their eyes bleed and sent them packing into realms of distant reality with the advent of anti-psychotics.

Worse, we as a society ignore them, scoff at them, ridicule them and even profit from them. Shameful, considering every other person will have dealt with some form of mental illness, be it depression, anxiety or some other form at least once in their life.

I spent a good portion of the eighties working in a State Hospital that had a a campus dedicated to the mentally ill. My experience was that they were treated with compassion, or as much compassion one could muster given circumstances. After a while, I developed a thick skin, seeing a lot of things that a normal person shouldn't see, at least on a daily basis. I eventually decided working at a state hospital wasn’t where I wanted to spend my life, and moved on. Finished with the mentally ill, so I thought.

A few years back, I got a call that my 19 year old was playing tag with traffic at 2 in the morning. That’s how it started, a strange phone call from some women asking all kinds of disturbing questions about my son, at 2 in the morning. Several times during the conversation, I asked if they were sure it was my son.

Two days later my wife and I  were told we finally could visit. Up a secure elevator, buzzed in through locked doors into a waiting room, escorted down a long hall into a common area, a nurses desk and into yet another locked ward.

The start of a journey, a very long, twisted and never ending journey. For 4 years my son was moved literally all over the state, south to Mankato, a three hour drive. North to Walker, a 2 hour drive. Group homes, police stations, social services, social security, commitment hearings, attorneys, courtrooms, locked wards, locked doors, long waits, doctors, nurses, damaged furniture, long drives, horrendous living conditions, long stares, crying eyes, bland colors, sterile environments and fear.

Fear for my son, that when I am gone, he will die lonely, hungry and cold under some bridge, another number.

Jimmy Carter had it right, building upon a long history of treating the mentally ill. Unfortunately, he was followed by Ronald Reagan, who is not the great man conservatives believe him to be, who in fact laid the framework for treating the mentally ill today, which is to say, he did nothing but demolish the good work Carter had done.

It is said a man is judged by how he treats his fellow man. If that's the case, we will be judged as a society and as a Nation by how we treat those less fortunate. By any indication, we will not be judged well. How will you be judged? And remember,

There but for the grace of God, go I.

 

 

HypocrisyHypocrisy ‘R’ Us
April 2nd, 2014

The last week has seen the height of political hypocrisy with Chris Christie and Hobby Lobby, and with the sentencing, or rather non sentencing of Richie Rich, we can throw in another instance of judicial hypocrisy as well.

Is Christie such an narcissistic egomaniac that he believes he can handpick a lawyer, pay him a reported million dollars, issue a report clearing is name while slamming his staff, friends  and slut shaming Bridget Kelly in the process.

The bigger question is do you believe this? Would you vote for this ‘man’  for your President? There was a time when I would have given him my ear in a Presidential election, and that's saying a lot coming from this progressive. Before Bridgegate, there were swirling political rumors that Christie really was a bully, and that some of his past dealings would be interesting reading, as everything is, during a National election. That said, I was kind of liking Chris Christie.

Not so much these days.

Moving on to the Hobby Lobby controversy, turns out they have no problem investing in pharmaceuticals such as anti abortion pills. Really! Such moral high ground doesn't give way to a plausibility excuse that they didn't know what their own investments were, especially since your investing in pharmaceuticals. If they were that interested in preserving life and aghast at contraception, don't you think they'd have a conversation with their financial advisor that would go something like this, ”Hey, make sure we don't have investments in...” I'd at least have a small-small amount of respect for them and their convictions. It really is about politics tho’, isn't it. Than there's another little thing the Christian Post mentioned.

    "And, that doesn't even touch the fact that China's cheap labor conditions are such that no American would be willing to work them (some are even equated with slavery)...or the fact that China greatly restricts religious liberty (the very issue Hobby Lobby claims is under attack here),...or the fact that their numbers on infanticide, orphans, and child-abandonment are abysmal," Chambers writes.

Hypocrisy isn't limited to our esteemed politicians, we can extend that branch right on over to our judicial system where Judge Jan Jurden sentenced Richard Richards, a Du Pont, of the rich and mighty chemical Dupont clan, to probation.

For raping his three year old daughter.

Why probation? Because he would not fare well in prison! Well, what can one say. Maybe go read ‘What the...’ one more time, because you should know, this isn't the only instance of the 1% being treated differently than you. Than again, you're not surprised, are you?

 

 

janiceFreedoms Just another Name...
March 29th, 2014

We are beings of law, of culture and society just as we are of our religion, our morals and our upbringing. You work all week, belly up to the bar on Friday night, talk sports, politics, your love life, what have you. We come and go as we please, we wear what we please, we say as we please, we hang with who we damn well please, because we are free.

We are a civilized, morally and technically  progressive society, and we are free because our parents fought the great war, our grandparents fought the noble civil war. We are free because we are Americans. We have fought hard for our freedom, our right, to say and do as we please.

Yet there is a thread, a thought that perhaps something, is not quite right. A thing which you can not put your finger on, a lingering that bothers you every now an then, but easily swept aside by hanging at the drinking hole, shopping, fishing or perhaps, watching a movie.

You have it all, poor, black, rich, Asian, the sick, white, the insane, native, Christian, Muslim Americans all, we are free, free to not be bothered by nasty little lingering doubts. Indeed, here in America, freedom is of such importance that we give it to brick buildings and signed contracts and damn those who disagree.

And with all our freedoms, we have created a great many people with nothing to fucking lose!

The freedoms you have are illusions. Freedom is not about the right to own a home. You make your home. Not about free speech, man has always spoken his mind, and willingly paid the price. Freedom is not your right to choose what doctor you see, not about what politician you vote for or the right to choose who you hang with. That’s capitalism, Democracy and good decision making.

Freedom is about oppression, equality, the right to grow, to be more than what you are, to choose your course, to write your destiny, to fulfill your dreams.

Are you doing any of these things? Or are you simply existing? Paycheck to paycheck, tired of the long, repetitive days broken only by the annual vacation to Casa del Lobo. Perhaps you’re lucky, you’re financially secure, you’re really free.

You, in all your glory believe yourself to be free. Than let me ask you, why do you practice the Religion you choose? Why do you vote for who you vote? Why do you live in the community you live in? Why are you swayed by a movie to tears? How have you changed spiritually, grown as a person in the last decade?

Freedom is also about, and inclusive of, responsibility. Freedom, true freedom is about thought, introspective inquiry and action. It is freedom from fear. Fear of starvation, of assault, sickness, of recrimination, of abuse, of poverty, of death. True freedom requires you to take all the your mother and father gave to you, to establish that which is useful, and to note the rest. Chances are, you have not done so.

There's a good chance you have not studied the worlds religions, spoke out against inequality, volunteered in a local shelter, researched a political topic. You have not done so, because you believe you are free to not do so, and you rather not waste your time. That is not freedom and you have absolutely nothing to lose in doing so.

 

 

NetObjects-107~sr_0011Oh, go Smell some Flowers.
March 21, 2014

Every once in a while, life becomes way too serious. We worry, we struggle, about all kinds of things, most which is out of our control. You lay awake at night, listening to your significant other snore, toss, get up, use the bathroom, set in the dark, check your email at 3am and then the alarm goes off. I was, and I am so much improved, the type that a concern would latch on in my mind, and it would wrap itself around my thoughts, squeezing everything else out. I was literally, blinded by the worry, in that I was obsessed by it. Now, it wasn't a constant, everyday blindness, it usually happened once or twice a year, and usually accompanied by a great deal of anger.

Now most people who know me would never use the term ‘Angry’ to describe this old cool cat. I talked about it in a post below, On a Cold, Dreary Morning,

The thing about anger, that most people can’t process, is that you probably really don’t know what you’re really angry about. I get the whole human emotion thing. I do, serious. But you can’t control another persons actions, and if those actions tick you off, you get mad at the person, but could it be, you're really mad at yourself? Mad that you can’t do anything about it, mad that we live in a civilized society. Oh, you can talk, bitch and complain, but that rarely solves your problems.

I learned to deal with my sleepless nights over the years. Age, experience and maturity has a lot to do with how anyone views anything. So, from the life of Rob, here’s a couple of easy hints to help you, and I’m talking to you, cope.

First, choose hat you decide to worry about. his is tired and holds as true today as it did when I learned all those years ago. The secret, not hard to do. For example, you get up in the morning, in a great mood, and on the way to work, you stop in at the holiday station for a cup of coffee. A brutish guy budges in line, doesn't apologize but gives you the “dare ya to say something look” and it pisses you off. You say something, he says something, and you both go your way, you are now just so pissed.

Some stranger has just ruined your good mood. Not saying here that a brute shouldn't be called out. He should, but you need to make a conscious choice not to let his behavior ruin your day. Think about, its happened, hasn't it?

For those sleepless nights, learn s simple breathing exercises. Just learning to concentrate breathing in and out, goes a long way to relaxing. I kid you not.

When I find myself really angry, I find a solitary place, and after I count to a hundred, I ask myself a serious question, and I actually look for an answer, almost always finding one to “Where's the humor in this?” Because we are human, we tend to wallow, but when finds the humor in what they are wallowing in, the anger and suffering tends to be negated to a huge degree. Pleasure, is always a good thing.

When you younger, you think you understand life is short, but you don’t. You don’t understand just how short life really is, not till you’re too old to appreciate your youth. Nothing wrong with that. Just the way life is. So go smell some flowers, it’s technically spring!

 

 

 

sorrowWhere a man should not go.
March 16th, 2014

There are dark places a man should not go. Thoughts that give solace, give pleasure yet their fulfillment would bring despair beyond belief only because we live in a civilized society. There is a great truth that life is full of sorrow, and melancholy, for each, as well the whole. The loss of a loved one, a wandering spouse, an unpaid bill, hunger, poverty, sickness, war.

We try to escape, to movies, netflix, to food and drink, whatever, wherever our sensibilities allow.

There are times, the darkness is unsurmountable, the questions asked, of self and of others, are those which should never be asked and always are. The answers always the same, tainted by the darkness of thoughts, unforgiving and... unreliable.

In all our hearts we can be hateful creatures, mean to our neighbor, distant from those we love and covet that which is not ours and this is true of you as it is of I. Tis a difference tho’, an ocean ‘tween, can be, and are, and there in lies a saving grace.

There are those, I refuse to be. When the darkness comes, I will reveal but I will not live in places where I can not see, can not feel. The thoughts will come and I will let them go, without form, their substance refuted. All the ills of humanity can come this way as hammers to strike this nail, and as I am held to the wood, I will not flinch.

Neither will I surrender.

Truth twisted, turned on it’s side, scared and mutilated is still the truth. It can not be an excuse.

And when the truth is known, the darkness remains, the damage done, the soul a bit aged but I will run, with quick feet and quicker thought, to a green pasture where warmth and goodwill prevail.

Or in other words, I need my god damn campfire and I need it now, lol!!

 

 

appleLet me teach you, a thing or 2
March 12th 2014

In full disclosure, I’m biased. I spent 18 years working for a progressive, cool district, or at least about 16 of those years were cool and progressive. Yep, I started as a janitor and worked myself up into a department head at a ultra cool, new high school for the last ten years. More than that, I put three kids thru the same district with another, a current 8th grader.

So yea, I can talk.

Right off the bat, teachers are not bad people and teachers are not the problems in our educational system. Want me to prove it? Well, geez, Teachers are not making the everyday decisions to run a particular school or a district. That responsibility belongs to  Administration. Principals, Superintendents, School Boards. None of these are bad people. I have found them to be fair, hard working and I believe, almost all have our kids interests at heart.

My experience as a parent has been mixed. As a parent, my chief complaint has always been a lack of two way dialog. For instance, I’ve had some administrators claim in no uncertain terms that there's no parent involvement these days and than from experience, I’ve noticed the parent is sometimes left out of the process. But, that's my experience.

When one stops to talk about local school boards, there's some interesting community dynamics there. (Another disclaimer, it’s early in the morning and my dog is setting under my desk, licking my bare feet, so if I go off with some orgasmatic verbiage, you know why and if you have a dog, you understand why) . Board members are elected by their neighbors to represent them. Something strange happens though, and it happens quickly. Newly elected board members become representatives of the school district and not the public that elected them. Unfortunately, sometimes they even become representatives of the Superintendent. They still have to answer to the public, but their interests lie with the school district they now represent or the Superintendent, and that thing about representing you, kind of falls by the wayside. Just like any other politician, once they have been elected, their priorities change, their interests change. All politics really are local.

Than you have the Superintendent who embodies everything the District should be. It is the Superintendents responsibility to run the day to day operations of the good ship lollipop. The Superintendent is also the public face of the district, the media go-to person. I, in my opinion have had the luxury of working for one of the best, and one of the worst. The best created a working atmosphere of trust and worth, not always perfect, but the thought was there. The worst, I believe an atmosphere of deceit and indifference.

Now this is where it all becomes important. Doesn’t it make sense image and learning environment filters from the Superintendent, to the school board, to Principals and other administrators and to the kids? And that’s the crux of my argument here, of what I’m trying to say. If you have dissatisfied kids, an angry community, pissed off parents, don’t blame the teachers, it’s not their fault!

If you’re of the opinion I’m wrong, so be it. I’ll tell you that I think, talk to your kids, give ‘em enough credit to know what’s going on in their school. They sense it from their teachers, they hear it from their parents, they see it in the halls, in their classrooms and even out in the community. Personally, I literally have seen teachers sitting at their desks in tears, because of a parents treatment in the form of verbal abuse or due to the lack of support from administration. Every time it happened, the entire school knew about it, including kids. Just take a minute and think about that.

Your problem ain’t with the teachers, jack!

 

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