jungle58
May 3, 2015

August is no time to find yourself in the twisted, jungles of West Africa. Cupping some water from the trickle of a cool stream, I drank and than licked my palm clean, turning my sight overhead, knowing I wouldn't make out the blistering orb through the melange of greens, yellows and browns. The sweat on my brow ran in small trails down my face as I searched through the thicket of colors. I could feel it's heat, it was there, somewhere, probably, should be overhead. One more cup of water, a slow rise to my feet, a step across the water, and I was on the path again.

A narrow, dangerous path cut through the growth of twisted vines and gnarled trees by generations gone, long gone with the ages, leading to a place once teaming with a civilization that would one day, populate our world. A wind rustled the vines, sending leaves shivering and I thought I heard a voice calling. I paused, and noted the finality of silence as the gust died. Standing among so much life, it was so quiet, not a sound. I wondered what large beast, camouflaged in its native environment was watching, licking its chops, believing I was to be its next meal. No matter, when it came, I would eat well.

I continued on and within the hour I met head on, two bare breasted women and a pygmy. The short one with a long, thin spear, pierced nose and ear ring, wearing only a necklace of handcrafted vine. The women, balancing pots of fruit trotted behind the dark pygmy like giant gatekeepers of some unknown secret. They did not speak, but they returned my nod as we passed and the last women managed to look me long in the eyes. A look that was disturbing, disturbing in the way that I had managed that look before, and lived to tell about it. A look that spoke that I was close, my journey ending or as I was told by the blind monkey, on a path to a door that opened with new possibilities.images (3)

Pushing aside some Taro leaves the size of a bull elephants ear, the trail ended and I stood at the periphery of a large, green opening. A meadow of sorts, a clearing in the jungle. There were no shrubs, no flowers, just lush green grass. I wondered, and I wondered seriously, if this was not the destination, how in the cool hell would I find the path again? A strange and unequivocal thought settled, and I wondered, if I might fail.

I knew I would not fail. One day, the sun which is setting, casting longer shadows, will fail in its journey. When that day comes, the Earth will no longer be in the memories of any existing species, my existence not even worth the coagulated shit of a snake, but today, this day, I will not fail. I stepped out among the shadows of large palms and cottons which were growing out toward the center of the clearing, and walked toward the remaining sunlight. Here in the center, ringed by a tall wall of green jungle, I would watch the last of the sun, the birth of a full moon under the Milky Way, and wait.

Removing the small scrap of paper from my pocket, I straightened it, and pondered the symbols, and hoped I was right, knowing I was. As the last of the sun fell beneath the jungle wall, the symbols cast small shadows and interacted with each other, creating a map. A map that lead here, in the middle of nowhere. I folded the map and returned it to its place close to my heart, and then laid back in the grass to watch the stars come out to play.

A great horned owl hooted in the delight of night, crickets sounded, joined by birds chirping. Nature, getting ready for a night of rest, came alive in the passing of day or perhaps it was in anticipation of what was yet to come.

images (1)2The moon full rose over the dark wall in a matter of minutes that seemed a century, and cast an eerie but delightfully beautiful simple shade of dark moonlight upon the clear field. My world was so bright and yet it was so dark. Leaves rustled, the insects and birds died down, and I heard my name called in the thustle of leaves, long and drawn out, like a ghostly demon calling out my destiny with death. I smiled, as I started to rise up out of the grass, I had been right.

She walked in my direction, children in arms, bundled tightly. I knew without being told, one a boy, the other a girl. She was slow, rhythmic in her walk across the clearing and mere yards away I swam in her exotic erotic existence. Long and slender, blond thin hair and large almond eyes.

I blinked and the children were older, standing next to the woman, each holding her hand. I questioned if I were dreaming and believed I might be. I blinked again, and two children stood alone in the moonlight and in the following few seconds, turned to teens, young adults, adults and my children's lives progressed under the stars with out words, without presence of touch and than a final blink and they were gone. I was alone.

Until I hung my head in sorrow, and she was there to place a warm palm under my chin, and lifted my sight to the jewels of the night sky which started to swirl in magnificent patterns of light and shade cloaked by a full moon and a glimpse of risingimages (2)1 sun. I became lost in the jungles of the Universe.

I awoke face down, strung over a large rock of sorts, played out to the end, tired and sore. Naked! I managed to roll off the stone and realized I was neither on a stone or in a clearing. I stood bare, in the ruins of some old, shattered city and abruptly noticed the medallion tethered around my neck. I smiled, the game continued.

 

 

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download8Wishing for a Better World
April 16, 2015

I wish I could wave a magical wand and make all the problems go away. End hunger, done! Poverty and disease, gone! War, never again! Hate and prejudice, see ya, you're history! Crime and conspiracy, ain't got time for ya!

I've always been boggled by the fact that we actually have control of many of our social and cultural ills. Not all of them, but we do have enough say in our ills to have an impact on our lives and our environment.

Least we should!

I'm of the opinion that if we gave 10 people that magic wand, all ten would wave their wand in a sparkle of colors, wishing for a better world. So what gives. If we all want a better world, where the fuck is it? Are we really a race of scumbags that are all talk and no action, that beneath our desires for a better world, lurks a dark and foreboding evil that we really serve? Are we lazy, afraid to do the hard work necessary? Is every ones vision of world peace so vastly different that the vision, any vision, is impossible to obtain? Are there just too many obstacles to get there? Or are we on that road, and it's just slow going?

Just as I don't have a magic wand, I also don't have a lot in the way for answers. I suppose it's some crazy amalgamation of answers, pick and choose why we're not living in a golden age of peace and prosperity. From an American standpoint, I think most Americans believe they are living in an age of prosperity, and because of that belief, they're not too worried about the rest of the world. That's another way of saying most Americans are not socially conscience on a global scale. Than again, I'm thinking, or I rather not think of, what the rest of the world thinks about Americans.

What I struggle with, is that we have far more in common that that which divides us, but no one seems to be able to faithunderstand that, when compared to their individual belief systems. Two people of opposing faith have more in common that the faiths that divide them. Why? Because it's not the words of their faith that are divisive as much as it is the persons interpretation of those words. Never said it was a good and honorable commonality. We take our faith literally, as we interpret our faith, and damn everyone else who doesn't agree. It's simply as saying 'I am right, and you are wrong'.

Faith isn't the only divisive roadblock. Reluctance to change, as I mentioned in my last post, plays a huge part. Waving that magic wand entails a huge leap of faith, faith that you're not going to be worse off. You don't  want someone bettering themselves at your personal expense.

Culture serves as a roadblock on the progressive road as well. No one simply wants to give up their way of life, their way download (2)1of doing things just to help someone else. It's one of the reasons that people are resistant to alternative lifestyles. If you're not like me, you're different and that's a bad thing. Interesting when you think about it, a Nation like ours, built on individualism and equality, has a real problem with people who are different.

There are a ton of potholes, boulders on our journey, all serving as distractions, obstacles and making the process somewhat agonizing, but the thing is, we are on the road.

I'm just not sure where we're going.

 

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hammockThe Mystical Origin of Being
April 12, 2015

Warning, rambling thoughts ahead...

We are, as Human Beings, a strange and somber lot. Strange, in that our behavior is often self defeating, somber in that we recognize that truth, and don't bother to refute it. There are, it would seem, strange and mystical powers involved in our lives. Supreme beings that make us do all these things we should not be doing, would rather not do.

Now before I get too far along, I want to give a shout out to Paula, who kinda got me thinking about this, with her words of wisdom about how we are resistant to change, and that our resistance can be part of our learning process.

I'd be amiss if I didn't mention there's an entire world of thought available on why people are resistant to change, as well as how to get people to change.

What got me thinking as I was reading Paula's Blog was a simple question I asked myself, 'How have I changed as a person over the years?'. While Paula was writing about blogging, I opened the thought up to my larger worldview. I am, as most, just as resistant to change as the next, and if so, what have I done to grow as a person, what change have I faced and initiated to be different than I was yesterday?

The question isn't so simple to answer. There are, variables, and a lot of 'em.

Physical and emotional addictions are such variables. In both, there's need and opportunity for change, and yet resistance is almost mandatory. Again, a strange and somber realization. War, crime, prejudices all strange and somber things that we can not seem to change even in the light of the destruction which follows in their path. These are human things.

As a human, I've had my share of personal demons. Lord yes, I have not always been this cool, great dude you know nowbeing.Truth is, I have a lot to be ashamed of, stuff I'd rather not talk about. You probably do too. In that respect, I've matured as a person and I'd like to think that's part of the growing old cycle, but what's next?

If I am by nature, not really wanting to change, I must be fine with who I am? If so, does that mean I don't want to grow as a person? The right way to say it, I think, is  'I like who I am as a person but I can learn to be even better', which is strange because most people are emotional resistant to learning anything. Nothing is more evident of this than our current political discussions being held across numerous social platforms.

I've always considered myself a person of change, of growth and I've always attributed that growth to my belief that I have an open mind. Open to other ideas, open to new knowledge, open to other cultures. Being open isn't about change though, as I think about it, as much as it is just being accepting of differences.

suntreeYet, being accepting makes me a better person, doesn't it?

I would like to wake up one morning, and answer the following, 'Have I changed for the better since yesterday?' but I can't because I'm not so sure I can, much less if I should. Maybe, there is some mystical shit going on behind the scenes forcing us to do shit we don't wanna do.

Whatever the final answers are, waking up and asking that question is a worthwhile effort, and I'll continue to think about it, for a while.

 

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piano1A Most Misfortunate Soul
(that you will ever meet)
March 28th, 2015

There is no matter, rope or forged chain that held the old piano, swaying high in air, to and fro. Of concern only, is the singular concern that whatever suspect held the weight aloft, did not hold for long.

That a great weight landed upon Mr. Lockwoods head, ending his life, as the rest of his life, is a lie. It was not the weight that ended his most misfortunate life. Rather, as the old wood piece of junk succumbed to gravity, it splintered. Upon smashing into a a hundred large splinters, one small shiver of a large splinter went splaying, cutting through the hot, warm and humid summer air to find a home somewhere in the back of Mr. Lockwood's rather large, cumbersome brain.

Doing so in such a fashion, that Mr. Lockwood believed a small insect of the flying kind had drawn his blood. Before he could raise his palm to swat the aforementioned flying small irritation away, Mr Lockwood was  dead, splayed himself across the walk, the shattered remains of life and piano evident to all.

It was not what was evident in this tragic scene that bears the slightest importance, not at all. Not one witness would guess, could guess, given hints as well, that the man who lay, dead and cold across the walk this fine hot summer night, was the most misfortunate soul one would ever, could ever, or in this tale, hope to meet.

Ninety Seven long, tedious yeas ago plus some small, small change, Mr. Lockwood was born to a fair and wealthy maiden who in turn had found a fair and wealthy prince. Unknown to both, a drunkard by nature, an orderly by secured profession switched without care or caution a bassinet, and Mr. Lockwood went from a life of princely principal to an existence of professional poverty in the space allocated for less than a thousand and three breaths.

Truly, a most misfortunate thing. As a young lad, living under the decrepit concrete and stone bridge, Mr Lockwood often on a clear, cool unclouded night would gaze off to the distant, and wonder who the fine and pretty people were that lived in that grand, magnificent house far away, on the only hill on any distant horizon.

Mr. Lockwood would never know.bridge1

Life under that old bridge was cold and harsh in the coldest months, and hot and miserable in the sun drenched days of summer. The old cardboard house had to be rebuilt after every rainfall, and when the river encroached, Mr. Lockwood and his poor mother sought safety in the hill of the high ground, just above the bluffs, thickened and threatened by forest and large, dark unknown animals, all hidden and protected by the oak, poplar and pines.

All Mr. Lockwood possessed in his youth was a tattered blanket, a singular eternally filthy blanket full of holes which from time to time, Mr. Lockwood attempted to rinse in the rapids under the bridge. Mr. Lockwood never understood the origins of the blanket, nor the meaning of the name sewn on a now frayed corner edge, barely readable. One day, while rinsing, a current caught what was left of the filthy material and it disappeared from sight in a single, exasperated and sorrowful sigh of misfortunate loss.

Things being as what they were in Mr. Lockwoods youth, he was not an unintelligent young man. After all, his genes were of the most superb available, and after considering the irony that the jeans he wore, were so less significant than those he possessed, one can only wonder to the matters and consequences of the universe. That matter and consequence came to be important when at the age of thirteen he was hired, not for his intelligence, and in spite of his unkept and unthreaded appearance, to work deep in the dark coal mines as a digger, apprenticed to one old, curmudgeon Mr. Paxton, who non the less, taught the boy how to dig rock with the utmost sincerity and respect due all rock and coal.

Years passed in the darkness of rock and tunnels and one day, Mr Lockwood was told that Mr. Paxton's heart had given out at the end of a especially long and misbegotten day and that from that day forward, Mr. Lockwood would be expected to labour long and hard without companionship.

Unknown to Mr. Lockwood, is that Mr. Paxton after a life of hardship had managed to save a small pittance of astounding proportions. Barely known to Mr. Lockwood was that Mr. Paxton had a wife, three sons and a daughter. Mrs. Paxton, along with her sons, in an action unknown by her fair and honest daughter, cheated Mr. Lockwood out of the small amount of gold that his long standing co-worker had bequeathed him. Of course, it was a most misfortunate thing.

One day, pick ax slung over broad shoulders, Mr. Lockwood was refreshing in the cool waters under the bridge, naked and nude as most men tend to be in their youthful days, when a young, delightful fish of a woman swam his way, naked as most fish are, and inquired as to his name and nature.

cardboardhousesThe young woman had been married some years past, and in an unfortunate, unforeseeable accident, her husband had been trampled to death by a horse carrying a funeral carriage. A funeral carriage carrying the tender remains of a young man that had once lived in a great and magnificent house, far away on a distant hill. It is a most unfortunate thing that Mr. Lockwood never learned that the woman who came to him in the river was none other than Mr. Paxton's true, honest and beautiful Laura, for he once thought to ask, to which she replied, there was no need to know, for she cared not for her past, her mother or her evil brothers.

Time flies as a crow flies, herethere and everywhere but never in form or desire of ones heart. Mr. Lockwoods marriage to his true and tender produced a heritage that most men would be proud, and most women in constant and glorious agony, but it is a most misfortunate thing that a poor man, a man of rock, can not feed, can not cloth, much less tend, to an enormous flock. In the unseemly tick of times eyes, children were born, children were raised with scraps from the table, tatters for clothes, all in cardboard houses along the wandering river under a bridge, with a hill far in the distant. One a baker, two a ditch digger, three sweeps streets, four works late till the sun comes round, five pours coffee, six acts upon a worlds stage and seven, still a child, lives at home.

Love is as time is, a tender thing, tragic this day, joyous the next. For each of us, it is either or, never seen the two tween the sun and moon the same day. One can not say the same for Mr. Lockwood and it is a most misfortuante thing for when eight arrived, his true and only, departed. Departed in a way, only love can, with child in arm, husbands hand in hers, a smile, then her whisper, a belief so strong echoed in  gentle words.

Surely, a most misunfortunate thing, especially so for an old and bothered Mr. Lockwood who raised his young number eight to be, not a musician, but a musician, a muse of word and rhythm, fashioning string from dinner sinew, horns from large, undiscovered, old and ancient bones, ivories from forgotten circus elephants and forming small and distinct wooden instruments. One day, as the young girl sat upon the rocks of the gentle flowing river that gracefully swept under the bridge, a carriage came to a quick and fortunate stop above, high above, over head, and an old, a very old young lady helped herself out of the horse drawn carriage.

For no other purpose than to listen to the child sing and play far down below, upon the rocks.

'It is a most misfortunate thing' the woman claimed, with finger pointing to Mr. Lockwoods nose 'that such a gifted little child be born to one such as you' and therefore asked, and asked again, and therefore so many more times that Mr. Lockwood finally packed all her simple and cherished belongings and walked with her to the far and distant house on the hill where she lived a splendid life of love and goodwill.

Bones become brittle, bend in shape, muscles ache, some even wither and tither away while thoughts turn to memories, or those that remain. Age of old, and older still, is a most misfortunate thing is what Mr. Lockwood was thinking as he paid for his daughters birthday gift, an old, but beautiful girl with soft pelt hammers and tongue tied ivories waiting to be set free. Mr. Lockwood stayed just long enough, to watch it hoisted out the third floor door, to be dropped to the cart below, before he turned, to walk away, his heart happy.

It was a most misfortunate thing, for an unfortunate soul.

As the sun rose, in cardboard houses under bridges all across the land that the days sun would wash, people prepared a bridgejourney. Fathers, sons, daughters, their children and their children's children prepared. Some in rich and fine clothes, some in rags and ragitty tatters. Some men good, some perhaps not, women with their men, some alone. Bakers, ditch diggers, street sweepers, night workers, actors, writers and musicians all prepared, all came. And their friends, and their friends friends came.

From high on the hill, from far and away, Mrs Lockwood held her husbands hand, and smiled at the most fortunate thing.

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fract3Fractured, and in Disrepair
March 14th, 2015

As a Nation, as a people, and as a society we have been lulled into a false belief that we are impervious to ruination and civil strife to such a  degree that we believe our Government can never fall. There is common ground in the thought that no matter how great our differences, our Nation will survive, our Government, our Constitution, will endure.

We are both poor students of history and even poorer judges of the environment in which we live. No single political entity survives when a society is fractured and goes untended. No Government survives when Government ceases to benefit those they are tasked to Govern. No Democracy thrives when it's citizens no longer care to participate, and pass fract2decisions to those who are unfit to piss in a pasture populated by cows.

Fifty long and tedious years after our Civil Rights movement, racism has reared it's ugly influence to an appalling extent. Those valued men and women who risk their lives to protect us in the sands of far flung apocalyptic countries are disrespected under an illusion of patriotic puffed chests and guileless verbiage. Our police, those tasked to serve and protect here on the home front, have become our enemies, their motives questioned at every tick of the second hand. Our politicians are corrupt and their loyalty is a fealty not to our constitution or history, but to their political party,  to their political ideology, second only to their bank accounts. Our Gods, once bastions of good will, comfort, and common sense, have become gods of division, contempt and prejudice.

And yet we continue to trust those who have proven they are not worthy of our trust. Perhaps because we have no other options available. Perhaps because we have become lost, ourselves.

Our belief in a vision of who we are is vastly different than an unarticulated vision of who frac4we should be, need to be. We no longer even trust our collective good will to bargain as a whole for our financial and personal welfare. As lambs, we wear the false skin of a wolf because we submit to being led blindly down a destructive path while believing it is an exceptional journey to great rewards and eternal riches. We lay our heads upon our pillows, dreaming, even sincerely believing that tomorrow will bring a glorious chorus of welcomes into the 1% club when in truth, the one percent take, and take. Our esteemed news media no longer is involved in the art of news, they now are in the business of entertainment, entertainment and propaganda. The selling of that false vision to insure your remain a lamb steeped in the beliefs of a wolf.

We call that democracy, we call that equality, and we are fine with it. Those who are not, are socialists, communists and the dredge of society. Those who speak out are questioned as unpatriotic, as undemocratic, as socialists. There is afractured1 pretense on our part that we know the difference between the three when a larger, supported truth supports the knowledge that most Americans do not know the difference between a Republic and a Democracy, much less Socialism.

One man is not to blame. One President is not to blame. In fact, those who are to blame hide in plain site, comprised of a insidious agenda to destroy our great Nation through deceit, conflict and manipulation. Their belief is in an America whose strength lies in its Military, it's influence in it's financial power, and that the path to reach those goals is through war, conquest and domination, establishing a global American Financial empire, even at the cost of our Constitution.

They are winning! We are a divided nation, without direction, without vision. That fracture is growing, not by decades, not by years or even weeks. The abyss grows darker by the day, ridiculously so. We refuse to see it, to accept it, to seek solution.

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spring1There Comes with Spring
March 7th, 2015

There comes with Spring a sense of renewal and rebirth. A refreshed, energized spirit wanting  to walk the green grass, and wash in the golden rays, beckons just a day or two inside March. We know it's not far off, we anticipate the 'Oh so goodness' of it's arrival because it's been a brutal, cold winter. They all are. That fine re-energized, and refreshed spirit is for the young of heart, lovers and wanderers because we who have experience, life experience, have been marked with the pessimistic knowledge that summer and sun last but for a brief four months. 'Specially here in Minnesota

Yea, I'm already dreading next Winter.

Not because I'm an old wrinkled man that hates fun and sun. Rather because I'm tired of repetitive cycles. I touched on those my very first written word of the year. I've been trying really hard to break certain cycles, the ones I have control over, and they do exist. I've been trying to redefine who I am as a person, what I want in life.

What? You ask. Those are not cycles.

But they are, my one eared friend. Turn your head a bit this way, listen.

If I ask you a question today, what are the chances you'll answer the question in the same form and manner tomorrow? What have you learned today? What have you done different today that will change tomorrow for you? What have you done for someone else?

My bet with the all seeing is ya'll answers will be the same, today, tomorrow and forever and a day. A change in inflection, tone or volume doesn't take repetitiveness away.

Whaaaa the f******* are you talking about. Rob?

I don't want to be here, where I am today, a year from today! I want to grow as a person, I want to sprout like a weed, travel unknown lands, argue politics, call out wrong doing, see change take place, make the world a better world and all that good and kindly crap. Crap because I'll probably be setting here this time next year writing basically the same thing.spring2

Even in the shame of such a thought, I'll keep chasing that dragon. I'll keep trying to accomplish the impossible, I'll keep trying to change the world, in my small way, my personal way, the only way I know how to.

There's a growing, inherent belief on my part that I should not wake up each morning the complete, same person I was the day before. I do not want to approach a problem, old or new, in the same manner that I did the day before. I would like to consider any given belief with a new and invigorating light and insight. I would like to ponder a question for possibilities that I have not considered.

I might fail, I probably will be setting here next year, but it won't be because I gave up.

Of course, there's always the chance of winning the lottery. That'd change shit up, or would it?

 

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Isis
Feb. 22 15

Isis, worshiped as the ideal mother and wife, protector and patroness of nature and magic, was the Egyptian Goddess married to Osiris. It was Isis who restored Osiris to life with her magical powers after he had been murdered. I find it a bit ironic, actually, a bit...weird that our worlds first and apparently formidable terrorist organization has taken her name. Certainly, there's no clear identification between an ancient Egyptian Goddess and a 21st Century terroristic army. Except location.

Yea, the middle east. That place of shifting sands, despair, conflict, war, poverty, mystery, Lawrence of Arabia, Gertrude Bell, regional tribalism, nomads, and oil. A vast empire of wealth and desolation that the west has tried to own, to control, to organize in some form and in some fashion for over a thousand years.nomad

Religion, wealth, culture, power, and worldview in the west are vastly different than what they are in the East and it would be easy to ascribe those differences for the problems, and potential future problems the West will find in dealing with Middle East. They would be wrong. In a very real way, the modern horrors of Middle Eastern Terrorism has it's roots in a simple word, or lack of it.

Respect.

That perspective is also vastly different here in the U.S. than it is in Europe. Europe has never lawrencetruly respected the people of the Middle East, inserting their dominance over the ages, carving out their own colonial territories and nation states by drawing lines on any given map for territorial and strategic reasons. After all it was just sand. It was their right.  Modern Israel was born of just such ignorance. When we Americans got into the game, we pretty much followed suit, but our motivations were a bit different. We saw dollar signs everywhere, and we were smart enough to know, what England knew, that oil was to be the currency of tomorrow. Our total lack of respect was evident in installing the Shah of Iran. We here in the West, have screwed the Middle East over, and over, and over again, as recently as Bushs war in Iraq.

With all the interference in the Middle East, they are few, if any success stories to be proud of. There are horrible abuses of power, uneven economic disparities, religious intolerance, political divide, sexism, tribal and regional warfare. Things, we here in the west rail against on a daily basis. Is it so hard to understand the hate Isis has for the west? Is it an excuse for their barbarism? No!

Those are the two questions the West must face in countering the growing threat, and those two questions must be framed in the context of respect.

To counter Isis and to frame that respect has nothing to do with acknowledging Isis and everything to do with our allies in the west, and our allies in the Middle East. Respect has nothing to do with power, money, weapons and installing regimes and petty dictators who serve our desires while working against us in the back, dusty streets of Casablanca. The respect I'm writing about is transformative, transformative in the sense that it's a game changer, a global game changer.

I believe that most people who live in the Middle East are not all that different than you or I. That said, I believe that many in the Middle East look upon us in the West with the same lack of moral and ethical respect as the political  and human lack of respecme3t we give them. We are viewed as outsiders, and we are. We are viewed as untrustworthy, and we have been. We are viewed as greedy, and we have been. We are viewed as being unfair, and we have been. We have been viewed as thieves, and we have been. The west has stolen their history, their land, their wealth and their political independence.

We can send an army ten million strong and crush Isis, nothing will change.

Start changing some of their views of the West, stop treating their land as ours, their wealth as ours.

Our President is correct in refusing to tie the barbarism of Isis to religion. Their behavior is so far removed from any religious precept, that to even call them Islamic extremists is dangerous and condescending, in that we give them value, and acknowledgment for that which they are not. No more than the snake biting evangelists who are self perceived Christians.

The problems in the Middle East are larger than the problems of Isis, and we can not fix them through the use of force. Isis is a symptom, and while in the short term, we'll address that symptom, the root cause will remain.

I believe a coalition of Middle Eastern Nations with limited western support is the only answer, and after the threat has been diminished, there needs to be a vast reduction in military aid across the board to all nations in the region. There then needs to be a Middle Eastern summit, including Israel and Palestinian Representatives to address and solve the long standing issues. The West should stand back and watch, facilitate, but not participate. And we should leave our agendas at the door.

expWe might not like the outcome, we might lose some friends, we might lose some corporate profits but with Islam mainstreaming through out Europe and beginning to here in America, we don't have a choice. And it's the respectful thing to do.

The alternative is global warfare, that no one will win.

 

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Image1In the Dark of the Mind
Febuary 8th, 2015

I don't even remember how long it's been since the call came. Five years, maybe longer. Between my wife and I, it's 'the call', the one that changed our lives, impacting our relationship with each other, with others, and changed how we view life.

In the middle of a long ago, dark night, our world changed.

Tired, groggy, foggy and irritated I answered the incessant ringing and tried to bear with the excited, trembling voice on the other end trying to tell me my son was in police custody for his own safety, that he had been found wandering, playing in interstate traffic.

That Sunday afternoon, I, and my youngest son had driven the hour to visit my 19 year old son in a treatment center. A treatment center he had decided on, on his own, to deal with his growing marijuana problem. While I didn't see or share the concern my son had with his smoking weed, I appreciated his self concern, and respected the fact he was willing to get help on his own.

What started as a road trip with my 10 year old son to vist his older brother ended in a feeling that something was horribly wrong. I no sooner pulled up in the treatment centers parking lot and was disgusted by the run down, broken and tattered howdoyouappearance of the place. Setting right off the curb of a busy street, there wasn't a lot of room to park and I worried how the hell I was going to back out in all that traffic. I also started wondering if I was in the right place because I couldn't find anyone and in fact, the building was deserted.  After wandering around and not finding a soul, we decided to leave, and with a little luck navigated our way back into traffic, where my youngest spotted his brother lazily walking along the sidewalk, rambling toward his treatment center. Caleb yelled out and Sean returned his shout with a grin and a wave

Threading traffic to the narrow lot, we found my son standing alone, waiting and as typical, asked if I had a cigarette. He also insisted in setting in the jump seat of my Ranger to smoke his cigarette.

Something was wrong, I thought he was as high as a kite, and I was more than a bit pissed. His speech was broken, he wasn't making a lot of clear sense and he wandered from topic to topic. I asked him where I could find staff and we looked. Looked for an hour, toured the ramshackle, dirty place and found no one. I asked another young man where the staff were and his reply was that staff didn't work weekends, that he and others were on the merit system over weekends. Sean volunteered that almost everyone was down the street at the bar.

I left that afternoon, anguished, scared, worried and not sure what to do. Sean wasn't himself, and he wasn't in a safe environment. I resolved to making some phone calls the following day, Monday.

And then that damn phone rang in the middle of the night, telling me that my son was incoherent, had been found playing dodge the cars on the interstate, and the Emergency Medical Technician was suddenly asking if my son had a drug problem, if this was typical behavior, and some other unremembered health questions.

We had to wait a full 48 hours before we were allowed to visit my son who was now in a secure mental health center. We had been updated, and we were assured that no drugs were involved. We were also warned to be prepared.

How do you prepare yourself to see someone else living in your 19 year old sons body. And not just someone else, but a wild, crazy, incoherent paranoid who believes he's super chicken, blanket for cape, in tune with the cosmic universe. Yea, I prepared myself for that.

4outta100The next four years were a nightmare; courts, social workers, police, institutions, group homes, meetings, doctors, psychiatrists, hours traveled north, and south for visits. Sean finally settled down in a group home just down the road a year and a half back. He has a great sense of humor, a cool personality, echoes Arnold to a 'T' and has a love of music. He's also on a lot of meds, with a lot of possible side effects. Because of those possible side effects, they change up his meds every once in a while. Sometimes there's no noticeable change in my son, sometime there is.  His meds were changed just before Christmas and it was noticeable, so much so that we intervened and made our concerns valued.

On a cold lonely Wednesday evening in January, my son wandered off. Left his tobacco bag in his room with his MPG player, and disappeared.

He was found two days later by an officer, 28 miles away, barefoot, wearing 2 pairs of pants and a ragged shirt. Incoherent and frostbitten, and he was transported to Hennepins burn unit thinking his feet might have to be amputated.

He was lucky, we were lucky, this time.

You have to know that I have tears as I write this. Yes, tears of joy in that he's back home, all is well, but know this, they are tears of sorrow as well, because I know there very well might be a time, when we are not so lucky.

There is no fault in his recent disappearance, no one did anything wrong, not staff at the group home, not the psychiatrist who changed his meds, and certainly my son had no intention to do anything other than what he thought was normal, for him. Indeed, I have nothing but complements for people who helped, staff members who spent their own time looking for my son. People did what they could, because they cared.

And this is the thing. You probably know someone who has some mental health issues. You might not be aware that a nihfriends son is a schizophrenic or that a co worker is horrible depressed. You probably don't want to know that there are tens of thousands of people all over our Nation that need all kinds of help with their mental and emotional challenges.  We would rather not talk about it, and I think it's because it's a topic that is pretty close to home, and one for which we don't have a lot of answers.

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rabbit pigThe Curious Life of Rabbit Pig
February 1st, 2015

Raw and suffocating, fucking suffocating! The humidity works its way into you, drags you down and when you fall tired flat on your furry back, you can't even see the orange sky cuz the world you've fallen into is totally green. A hundred variations of green with splashes of brown tossed here and over there. Lime green, yellow green, blue green with a touch of brown shit, get the idea?

I hate Jungles!

It ain't never nice, never sunny, always wet or dry, sometimes on rare occasions it's both, but never nice. You can't walk ten steps without coming coming cross some kind of danger, be it snakedog or some damn twisted vine lying in wait to drag your sorry soul down to the rocky depths of Verbakken, the forbidden place where death and destruction dwell.

Like I said, I hate this jungle! That's why most times I try to stick to my hearth, high above behind a clear flowing waterfell. It's cool calm and mostly safe. There's a ledge I can walk out on, half a mile past the waterfell, high in the sky,  and watch the world go by. Watch the sun rise on my left till it's midday than trace it's route back again, to where it began, and start over, a new time. Below, a thick river trudges in a journey to some unknown place, a civilized place that some day I'll have to see. For the moment, I'll settle for the fucking jungle, my ledge, the river, and all the dangers and all the heartbreaks.

This isn't just my world, it's where mom and dad were murdered, their carcasses left to the vicious. This ain't my home, this is my destiny and I'm of the damned opinion to do it well. This god forsaken, misbegotten jungle a friggin' billion miles from everywhere is where the answers are. Some two or three piece bitch bastard knows the way, has the answer and I'll find that piece o shit and when I do, I'll settle the score, make things right, then I'll think about civilization. Maybe not!"waterfell

"I'm Rabbit Pig, welcome to my fucking jungle, you asshole." I politely mentioned to the squirm as I squeezed the 2 piece bastards gord. "Wanna die, fine with me. I can let go."

I dangled the ol'  Fox Cat out over my ledge,  looking him in his dying eyes, and sarcastically said. "It's a mile down, you'll make a mess, and I ain't cleaning it up."

Some denizens of this jungle don't have a sense of life, much less fear. That's the same as saying they don't care if they live or die because they ain't intelligent 'nuff to know what comes after life. Makes it hard to ask 'em a question, makes it harder to threaten them.

I watched the whiskers. A male Fox Cat will always betray it's intentions in the movements of it's whiskers and when I saw those whickers lay back, I knew what was coming. An unending unequaled assault from some dumb twofer that didn't have the good sense to articulate a complete sentence much less know it's life was over.

I let go, not bothering to watch the splat but not escaping the loud whizzing whine the little beast made on it's journey to Verbakken. I was more interested in how the dumb animal made it's way out on my ledge, holstering a gnarly looking finger gun. A deadly finger gun that had been pointed at my snout!

I knew who to ask.

The crooked wooden sign welcomed everyone to Crud City. Thing is 'Crud' wasn't a city, not even a village. Well maybe a village if you considered a bunch of shambles and lopsided  hearths that came and went on a daily basis. Crud sprung up in a somewhat clearing along the banks of slow waters. Most came and went, daily, weekly, one or two even longer. That Image6being, there are a couple upstanding, permanent cruds. Soon after the first half dozen shambles sprouted up in the trees in and around the clearing, an earth hearth was dug squat in the center of the Crud universe with a new, big ass black and white sign hung over head, calling everyone to Max's damn fine Booze and Food. Truth is, the food and booze was alright, but the whomans were obnoxious. Ya couldn't swallow a piece of meat with out a mouthful of them suckers along with it, kind of like fly bees and shit, they go together. Not long after a night of orgies, booze, and some wild naturals a strange leaven and wood hut rose up down on the dirt banks. Larger than any population creation I had ever seen, the damn thing had a larger leaven woven circle outside it's open door, and on the other side was a larger sign, larger than Max's calling all of Cruds sinners to gather.

First question ever asked of Daddy Owl Horse was, "What the fuck was a sinner"? to which he replied in his whiny voice, ' We're all sinners, my friend'. Can't say that Daddy Owl has any success getting us sinners come listen to him talk about sinners, but when he started talking about his skill with naturals, and when he started backing that talk, population started coming.

T'ween the two, Max and Daddy, they were Crud. Soon after, population came and went in larger numbers and not much of anything happened less either Max or Daddy had their ear to the matter, and in some cases, their ear in the thick of the matter. That's how I found Daddy the next sun come, thick in some three piece bitchs matter. I walked around back to the dirt banks and watched with no certain arousal of the rabbit being as Daddy finished his ride on some squirm. As a rabbit atrib, I was just a bit jealous of his horse hanging atrib as I laughed at him about his size.

"Come's with the ears Pig." he yelled from the banks tossing his loose garb on over his large head where it draped from his broad shoulders over his large, sturdy frame. As he reached a hand in his robe, "What d'ya need, Brother Pig"? he pulled out a tethered circle which fell across his broad chest, hanging from his neck.

"Need an answer Brother Daddy. An answer to why some squirm was up on my ledge with a finger gun, pointed at my damn snout"?

"No shit Rabbit? This just happen"?

"Just the other sun come."

Daddy squinted one oval eye, and raised a thick, rainbowed brow over the other, "Wasn't a Fox Cat, was it"?

I tilted my head just so slightly, and smiled, knowing I was asking someone who knew, something. "Fact, it was."

"Was?

"Yep, was, now's it's a splat."

Daddy Owl Horse  smiled, revealing large white teeth sat in a wide mouth, than started walking toward his leaven hut, "Don't surprise me none. The twofer was here some sun comes ago, askin' 'bout you. Wasn't at all quiet about it either. Limelight before last, did a bit too many naturals, started treading on my territory, talking about bigger things, meanings to existence and all that. All kinda strange talk about things in the air...

And it was at that point, everything changed. I paid attention.

"big whomans and old ancient ruins. Kinda funny when the bitch slapped him silly and laid the squirm out flat, telling him him he was talking tImage9oo much."

"Bitch? What kind"?

"You know Pig, that's the thing, a funny thing, but a thing still the same. I'm not quite sure what she was, not even sure if she was a two or threefer."

My mind turned the corner to a thousand questions, and I reeled in them, but how could one not be called out. "Daddy, how could you not know the bitch"?

"Lots you don't know Pig. Crud, your water and cave, that's your world but the worlds bigger than that, lots bigger with lots of different things, lots of different populations you can't even dream about."

I listened, knowing the world was bigger than mine. I had heard stories from those who come, those who go and from those like Max and Daddy, those who stay. I knew because I remember as a young one flying through the air in some strange mechanization with my olders. I remembered when the damn thing dropped from the orange sky and broke into pieces. I remember my olders dying words, telling me to run, to run fast, run far and never look back, cuz they'll get me, just like they got my mom, my pop. Yea, I remembered! And I knew where the pieces were, where the vicious came and claimed their prey. I knew why she was looking for me.

"What'd she look like Daddy'?

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godCafe Conversations at the End of the World
January 25th, 2015

'Is that what you'll do, start over?' I asked, mug nestled just under my nostrils so I could take in the sharp, stark aroma of my Colombian blend.

I watched the grey one tug at his ear 'Do you think I should start over, Rob? I'm not inclined to, I'm actually thinking about moving on to something different, complety different.'

'How so?' as I sat my white mug with it's thin blue line circumferencing  the rim, on the formica.

'Not so sure, son'. I watched as he turned to momentary stare at the setting sun, a sun he had given birth to in a time before there was such a concept, of sun, or time.

'This time it's going to be different, it has to be different!' turning his old tired eyes back to me. I watched him raise his personal mug to motion to the bulk of a woman that he needed more. I wondered why he just didn't fill his own mug, 'Because sometimes, I'm really not the best cook in the house' he offered.'

I smirked. He continued, stroking his long gray white streaked beard, 'Diversity is a wonderful thing, diversity is also quite eluding, even for me.' he stared straight, looking into my eyes as if I should know, should realize what the hell he was talking about. I did not. That fact was evident as he continued, and long after he averted his sight, I felt his being entwined with mine. 'Take the Universe for instance. How can the universe truely be diverse when every planet is round?'

A strange quizzical sense started to overwhelm my gut, and it must have been reflected somewhere in my soul.

'Let me help you understand, Rob' as the tank poured his cup to the brim. 'Humans aren't as diverse as they like to think they are. You all look basically the same, one head, two eyes, ears and a mouth. You only have two different genders compared to some creations that have had several. Now, besides gender, your skin color might be a bit different, hair and eye color a shade different but all those things are part of the evolutionary cycle that was needed to make you grow, or supposed to make you grow into an intelligent species by allowing for cognitive thought.'

I grimaced showing my ignorance.

'Really? Robert, I would have thought you of all people would have figured it out. Your  harsh and changing environment through the ages was intended to make you think.'

'...and instead, it made us different?' I quietly said, mulling.

'More, it separated you, classified you. An unintended diversity.'

I got it. 'Our diversity is man made, in your eyes, we're'

... all the same dammit! You all screwed up my perfect species'.sunset

I looked out the large cafe glass from our booth, silently trying to come to grips with what the old one was saying. The golden glow from the sun lingered and I knew the first star would be out in minutes. I wondered if he was giving me my privacy and I suspect he was as there was no intrusion.

'Diversity is a man made concept than?'

'No, diversity among a species is expected, but what you're labeling as diversity is cultural diversity and it was unexpected, as diversity's go, more..., or less'

I again snuggled my cup under nose, letting the aroma wrap around my soul. 'Is that a bad thing?'

'No, just unexpected and..., I learned something new.'

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ronnieAn American Myth
January 18th 2015

Ronald Reagan wasn't qualified to be governor, let alone president. I was a vice president of the Screen Actors Guild when he was its president. My duties consisted of attending meetings and voting. The only thing I remember is that Ronnie never had an original thought and that we had to tell him what to say. That's no way to run a union, let along a state or a country."

James Garner

With in two weeks of being elected, Ronald Reagan removed Robert E. White from his service as Ambassador to El Salvador due to the urging of Secretary of State, Alexander Haig. White was an outspoken critic of El Salvador's long list of horrible abuses and human right violations. Assassinations and massacres by American trained murder squads, including the rape and murder of four American churchwomen. Why? The Reagan administration, influenced by Haig and CIA Director Bill Casey had decided on a policy of Militarization in Central America.

Five years later, Reagan appeared in a National News conference to the American Nation, telling us that Arms had been sold, but never traded, for hostages in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair. Reagan claimed he had no knowledge of what top officials in his administration were doing.bonzo

Even Teflon wears thin given time. Ronald Reagan, given his somewhat bombastic and telling way with words came across as a great American hero, a great American President. My truth, he was neither. I see Reagan as a weak man, devoid of serious thought and open to outside influences. His ability was his style of communication, one of being down to earth, honest, and somewhat simple. Yes, he could be eloquent, he could be convincing and I find that surprising given that his best movie was 'Bedtime for Bonzo'

While our media, and especially our conservative media hold Reagan as the gold standard to compare all Presidents against, working class Americans are starting to understand the damage done by the man. Most people I know don't understand the idolization. Reagan was, if anything, lucky. Lucky that his time in office was accompanied by Russian General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev who understood the political reality in which he lived. It was Gorbachev who dissolved the USSR, not Reagan. Lucky that his term covered a time when the American people had turned to greed, excess, ambition and glamor, sat against a backdrop of a technological revolution. It was the 'me' decade, and many were not paying attention.

The true measure of Reagan the man can be seen in his handling of the Beirut bombings of '83. When confronted with a situation he couldn't deal with, he ran like a coward with his tail between his legs, than turned and lied to the American population. Reagan turned us from peace keepers in the region, to active participants in the middle east unrest and war, a participant who had chosen a side. We were no longer mere referees in the Middle East, we were now engaged,

    In his memoir, General Colin Powell (at the time an assistant to Caspar Weinberger) noted, as Colonel Geraghty had already projected, that "When the shells started falling on the Shiites, they assumed the American 'referee' had taken sides."[45] Some analysts subsequently criticized the decision to have U.S. warships shell Druze and Syrian forces. They claim that this action forced a shift in the previously neutral U.S. forces by convincing local Lebanese Muslims that the U.S. had sided with the Lebanese Christians

    Wikipedia

download6Reagan, calling the acts despicable and vowing to stay in Lebanon, turned tail and withdrew our troops four months later. The perpetrators of the attack were never identified. As a good-bye gesture to the people of Lebanon, the USS New Jersey shelled Syrian positions for six hours. Reagan's fact finding commission blamed the military for lapses in security. Many will argue that Reagan's actions, or inaction, emboldened the terrorists.

While Reagan's foreign policy was militarism and projected threats through strength, his domestic policy contributed to, and laid the foundation for the political and economic divide we see today. Reagan's trickle down economics were bullshit; rising tides don't float all boats equally! His handling of the Air Traffic Controllers strike, while applauded by many, forced over 11,300 people onto the welfare roles overnight and demonized unions. There was no attempt to listen to their demands of better working conditions, a shorter work week or their complaint of being in the civil service. It was Reagan's way, or the highway, and Reagan's way was the corporate way.

While there are valid commendations to be made for Reagan's economic recovery early in his term and the consistent dropping of the unemployment rate throughout his Presidency, they came at a cost, a very high cost. The mentally ill were forced to the streets, attempts were made to purge the disabled from the Social Security Disability Rolls and Reagan raised the National Debt from 997 billion to just under three trillion dollars. The National Debt, in Reagan's own view, was his 'greatest disappointment'.

Reagan's 'Tax Reform Act of '86, created to simplify our Tax code ,helped in creating an environment that led to the Savings and Loan scandal. Additionally, the top tax rates were reduced and the bottom rates increased, the only time in our history where the trend was reversed. The end effect, is the economic inequality we see today!

In keeping with his militant style, Reagan reinvigorated Nixon's war on drugs. His Drug Enforcement Bill set minimum penalties for drug offenses, and Reagan must not have understood what Max Lerner was saying when he wrote,

    As a case in point we may take the known fact of the prevalence of reefer and dope addiction in Negro areas. This is essentially explained in terms of poverty, slum living, and broken families, yet it would be easy to show the lack of drug addiction among other ethnic groups where the same conditions apply

    Max Lerner, America as a Civilization

The reality is the law did little toward combating illegal drug use, promoted significant racial sentencing disparities, and helped create a vast and unaccountable federal agency, our DEA.

If given two lists, of the five best and the five worst presidents, I could not place Reagan in the first. I could not say that he belongs in the latter, but given the choice, Ronald Reagan is not the myth that has been built up around him. His views on immigration are substantially worthy of conversation in regards to the American dream, but the download (1)1law has no enforceable funding, or a political will to enforce the law. I see in Reagan a flawed President, one who had a sincere vision for America, unfortunately, that vision was culled from a black and white John Wayne WWII movie. Reagan had no social vision, wasn't concerned with social justice, and actually introduced the phrase, 'welfare queen' into the public lexicon while also referring to young Black Americans as 'Strapping young bucks'.

When one looks at the enormity of the scandals during his eight years in office, and considering that over 138 top ranking officials were investigated, indicted or convicted, including convictions of his Secretary Of Defense, Secretary of the Interior, two National Security Advisors, Treasurer of the US, and his Chief of Staff were all convicted of criminal behavior. This doesn't happen under one of the five best Presidents and is indicative of his leadership, or lack of.

Indeed, James Garner had it right!

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1939517_10153066146661162_7951352225792440323_nGod, the Human(s)
January 10, 2015

I have never enjoyed writing, or talking about religion. Mostly, because I believe there is something more to our existence that what we wake up to every morning. I attribute our existence much as Ellie does when she claims, 'if there ain't nothing more, than what a waste of space'. While the context is a bit different, the thought is the same. By saying this, I simply believe that if there's nothing greater than the human sepcies in all existence, what a waste! I also need you to understand, that I believe religion is personal, that I don't have the right to judge another's personal beliefs. At least so far in my misbegotten life.

That is changing, and I'm thinking I should have started judging long ago.

I have always given all religions the benefit of the doubt. I have always considered the good religion does in any given community; in bringing a community together, the charitable work, the support, the comfort offered in trying times. I still, and will forever respect that, but I can no longer keep quiet about the hate and pain that religion brings, intentional or not, to  us who do not belong to organized religion.

Understand that I believe religion seeks to control, always looking to expand it's power base. Like rape, which is more about power and control, religion seeks just that, power and control over my life. Not to enhance my life, but to justify my existence, and to condemn by way of guilt and accusation. Your god tells me to have faith in your god, not in myself. My imagesbelief tells me to have faith in myself, and in others.

You see, I believe in God, just not your God! For you, that's not good enough, You need me to believe in your god, and that's why I can no longer stay silent. Your religion is destroying humanity, ruining our world, stealing our chance to be more than what we are at this point in time. That is shameful.

Be you an Evangelical snake biter, a Mormon, Christian, Muslim or Buddhist, know that I am not like you! I do not claim any right in the name of God, Allah or Buddha. If my God wants to claim that right, my God does not need me to claim that right. God can go it alone, God is more than capable. You probably don't get that though, because if you did, you would understand what I'm writing about, but instead you'll go on a rant defending how it's your right to protect your faith.

The irony? The Bible, the Veda, Torah, Quran and most religious texts are not bad texts. Familial with the Bible, I can faithfully say that if everyone lived by the basic tenets of the Bible, the world would be a much better place. That isn't the case, why is that?

starBecause we don't think for ourselves, we don't have faith in ourselves. We need to ask others for guidance and there are those among us who have figured that out, and they have led their lambs to slaughter others, and to be slaughtered themselves. Religion demands that you follow, that you not ask questions.

You are taught wrong.

The murders in Paris didn't have to happen! They didn't happen because someone was offended over a cartoon of their Prophet. They happened because the religious leaders of their religion didn't speak out loud enough, in a unified voice, against violence, against hate, aganst terrorism. It's not a lot different here in America when religious zealots say stupid things and our religious leaders stay silent. C'mon, Pat Robertson has said some pretty stupid things and so have others, without consquence.

If justice is blind, than religion is ignorant. So much so that those who commit their lives to their god become blind and uncaring to the words of their god but not so much as to their spirtual leaders. In fact, they entrust the words spouting out of their religious leaders as the repeated word of their god, never bothering to ask or question.

Why?

Enlightment begins with the first question!

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notesThe Rhythm of our Lives
January 1st 2015

With the turning off the New Years screw, I find myself contemplating what an orderly species we are. If viewed through a narrow prism, perhaps a months worth of news headlines, one would conclude just the opposite. That we are a disorderly, chaotic and violent species. We are not! We like our life, neat and tidy, even our wars, planned and organized. Now, I have no doubts our lives are centered around the Sun, at least from a biological perspective. Our days and sleep patterns are a result of that process, as are our growing seasons.

From a broad view, the seasons manage everything, and for everything there is a season. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, or better known as a Year, or the time it takes our blue marble to circle around our big ball of fire and light, is theorbit umbrella for all other time frames, and yet, the year is divided into two distinct portions, December to June when the days grow steadily longer, and July to December when the days grow unbearable shorter. Interesting that we believe that the start of a New Year is a rebirth, as is spring, and that the latter days of the old year signify endings, not necessarily death, better transition.

To this natural layer of life, we can further break it down into the  twelve individual months, each month special in it's  own unique natural way. We have not only moon cycles, but growing cycles. seasonsWet, cold, rainy, dry, green and colorful months. Indeed Military maneuvers are dependent upon full moon, no moons and in general, decent weather. We're also subjected to hurricane seasons and tornado season, whose beginnings are assigned a specific annual month.

So how could we be anything but a repetitive and rhythmic species? And here's the thing, think about our holidays and their spacing, where they fall on the calendar. Our sporting seasons, Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey. television seasons, summer blockbusters, television premiers, television seasons, music awards, movie awards, all media cycles.

Throw in birthdays, anniversaries, death and tragedy and we can view our year, a chalice filled to the brim.

So much so, that I can say with assuredness, that 2015 will see more political scandal, more war, more natural destruction. more football, more cool movies, more royal births, more full moons.orc

No matter how chaotic you believe your life to be, it is not. In fact, it is so well organized that when you exit the stage, there will be another waiting to take your place. You are, as I am, a bit player in a grand orchestra, with your part to play, so play it well.

 

 

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constitutionA World Awash in Change
December 15th, 2014

You woke up this morning, brushed your teeth, dressed and walked out the door without realizing you are at a cross road in your life. And not a minor one. You're totally unaware of the social, moral and political dilemma you face, not because you're ignorant, not because you don't care, but simply because you don't see it in terms of the destruction that lies right around the corner. Yes, you're aware of the approaching storm, you see it, you talk about it, perhaps even passionately but you're unable to understand how what you argue about, care about, will change your life, and change it for the worse.

No less than events that gathered together to give way to our civil war, those of today will change, and impact our lives and the lives of our children. Political, social and ethical clouds are gathering into a huge storm that far too many are casually calling out as  'business as usual'.

Regardless of political affiliation, one can only look upon our current congress with disdain, if not outright contempt. Our politicians are passing legislation to benefit a few, and mostly their own persons. Past social reform in the guise of immigration, race, equality has proven to be no reform at all, or insubstantial at best. Indeed, we tremble with enforcing the laws on the book in fear of lost profit.

Morally, ethically, I believe our descendent's will look back on us and believe you and I were  bankrupt and we will be judged harshly by our children and their children. Why? Simply because we refuse to give any more credence to a discussion of torture than we do American Idol. Most do not even understand the nature of the discussion, believing it to be an ethical decision. It is not! It is a a discussion about us, our human species, about who we are, who we want to be.

No parent alive would say to you they would do nothing to a person who had knowledge of their kidnapped child. I would put a gun to the persons head, I would kick the shit out of the person until I got the answer. I get that! But if you wrote down 10 names on a slip of paper, saying that one or two of the names had knowledge, and the rest were innocent but of the 10, you didn't know who was innocent and who was guilty. I couldn't kick the shit out of all 10 people.

Image2

Our lack of perspective is no better when turned to social issues. The fact that we are even having this discussion is evidence of a abysmal divide not only among race, but between economic, cultural and religious strata as well. Our talk and our behavior is repetitive, offers no new solutions and is wholly reflective of a nation in decline. We protest, we yell, we accuse, but we do not talk, we do not communicate. Whens the last time a marriage worked when the couple stopped talking?

We hold our Government in contempt for inaction, inaction we are accountable for. You and I! We laugh at them, crack jokes, hate on 'em and every time we do, it's a reflection on us, the individual. We leave participation to those who care, to those who have agendas, personal agendas. Because of that, you'll wake up one bright, fine morning, brush your teeth and walk out into the world to find it different than when you laid your head down on your pillow the night before.

You'll wonder what the hell happened.

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download (2)The Divisiveness of being Independent
December 8th, 2014

There's a special, creepy kind of shit going on here in America. The kind of crap we all know is happening but just can't quite put our finger on the stink, can't quite describe the shit that's happening, but we all know it's on, and on big time!

I call it out as Independent Divisiveness!

This here is a macho thing, an American thing, and we're all guilty of it, men and women alike! Independent Divisiveness, or ID is rooted, and rooted strong and deep, in the belief that we Americans are tough and independent old cusses. A belief that goes back to the pioneering and cowboy days of our mommas and papas.

It's a belief that says, out here on the prairie, 'I gotta do it myself'.download4

Not only a belief, ID is attitude, a good honest attitude, and it made for surviving harsh times, failed crops and Indian raids. The rawness of the land forced that unforgiving attitude of self reliance simply because the alternative was failure, and failure often meant death, by arrow, by starvation, by weather, take your pick.

Our forefathers and mothers needed to be tough shits to survive! It's just that simple. Thing is, back in the day, out alone on the grasslands or trapping along the Colorado river, you didn't have to listen to anyone else's point of view. There was only one that mattered.

So, for any American family that's been in this nation for more than a hundred years, it's culturally embedded in you that you're an independent old sort, a wily old cuss hell bent on your independence.

And there is nothing wrong with being independent, and valuing your history. I cherish mine.

This here is where it gets creepy. Has that independent thing made you a divisive, intolerant individual? So much so that you don't need facts, hell, won't even listen to 'em, cuz you just know better. Or worse...,

are you even all that independent?

Is your mind made up based on information, facts and figures, given to you by others? Would you even consider that those facts and figures might be in the wrong, that you might be wrong?

images2See where I'm going? How our independent streak might lead to some damn ignorance and divisive behavior?

Thing is, most of you have never known hunger, cold and even when a natural disaster comes along, your suffering is limited. That's the nation our forbearer's suffered for, toughened up for. That's why they were unbending, strong as that Oak in your front yard, with your grandpas and grandmas initials carved out in the bark. A testament to their lives. Lives you should cherish.

You don't live on that windswept prairie and you're not  trapping the river to insure your survivability, you can afford to bend, to listen. That's what our ancestors gave us, that's what they fought for. They proved it in our civil war,download (1) saying it loudly, with conviction.

All I'm asking, is think just how independent you really are when it comes to weighing in on what's happening here in America? And maybe asking yourself if that independence might be better labeled as intolerance. Intolerance not because you're ignorant, but because you're too damned stubborn to stop and really think. That's the crap that stinks and it is creepy given our history of self reliance.

 

 

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nieLessons I learned from Ferguson
November 30th, 2014

I've often said that truth lies in the perception of the holder. Want to change the truth? Change the way a person sees something, change their beliefs. My original perception of what happened in Ferguson was framed by the media, and their narrative was simple, a black youth had been shot while surrendering. There were numerous witnesses, many claiming the victim was even holding his hands up, crying out his intent to surrender. Like all things media, first accounts prove to be unreliable, and where I was outraged at the initial reports, I figured there was more to the story.

The robbery, the assault on Officer Wilson, The murder of McCulloch's father, the history of the Ferguson Paul-McCulloughPolice department, the length of time Michael Browns body lay in the street, visible to family and friends, and videos and pictures that followed along with questions asking if he was shot in the back, how many shots, and if his hands were even up.

What I've learned is that most things are not what they appear to be. Ferguson wasn't as it was portrayed in our media, nor was Michael Brown, Officer Wilson, Prosecutor McCulloch, the FPD or the Media itself. Not in the early days, not while waiting for the Grand Jury to deliver the verdict and not after the verdict. There was not one person who realistically expected Officer Wilson to be indicted. Not one, and this is why.

There is very little accountability for the actions of our police departments. Throw in the history of the Kim Bio Resized (2)Ferguson Police Department and McCulloch's potential bias, why would you not expect McCulloch to excuse himself. Again, not one of these individuals are who we believe them to be, including Officer Wilson. The Ferguson PD and every individual in this case has an agenda or a degree of troubling bias, including Michael Browns supporters.

The one agenda no one had, was to understand the truth of what actually happened. Instead, Officer Wilson is labeled a murderer, Brown a thug, McCulloch as biased and the Police Department as racist or use whatever terminology you prefer to uplift or persuade, to argue or condemn.

And you and I are guilty because we no longer care about such high and lofty ideals as the truth. We pick sides, we stick with our side, and our cause is to win, because if we win, we own the truth.

The only sad truth is, is that for whatever reason, Michael Brown made some poor decisions and he is dead. I personally don't believe anyone deserves to die over the theft of a five dollar box of cigars. I won't address the issues of Brown assaulting Officer Wilson, simply because those facts are unclear to me, as are the pictures of Wilson's injuries.download3

As we move into 2015, we should be prepared for the worse. When personal agendas are allowed to confuse and create distortions, you and I will argue and decide based on fear and confusion, and we'll see more peaceful protest turning to riots, and riots have a way of becoming rebellions.

So yea, my lesson learned, is that truth isn't in the eye of the beholder, as much as it's in their agenda, and that people can't even distinguish that difference, or worse, don't care, is disturbing, and bears worrisome thoughts toward our future.

 

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imagesCome as you Are
November 13th, 2014

Religion, like politics, is hard to write about from a global perspective. Religion is, and it should be, a deep personal experience. Notice my chosen word, not belief, not faith, but experience. If religion is based on faith alone, the bond between ones belief and their God is lacking a needed personal daily experience. That bond for me is steeped in the spiritualism of life as in, my wonder of the universal being. You know, the ability to be awestruck as I'm watching the Milky way weave through the clear night sky or perhaps feeling a sense of oneness with nature as I watch a leaf blowing across a country road, calling out the end of our summer days.

I try not to write about religion because of that deep seated personal respect I have for religion and the belief systems of people around the world. More, I just have a general respect for the beliefs of otherstext whether I agree with them or not. Of course, there's also some truth that every time I write about religion, I piss some one off, usually a good friend. For some reason, if you ask a question, the question is taken as an attack on their faith? If you disagree with their point of view, it's an attack on their faith, If you ask about a recent archaeological discovery, it's an attack on their faith.

My takeaway, people of religious faith yell and stomp their feet demanding I respect their faith yet give my belief system no credibility. They fail miserably in giving me one iota of respect for my beliefs while demanding I bow to theirs, and it's getting to be old hat.

I'm getting tired of the religious ilk playing the victim card.

Now, the above said. I also know people who are deeply,  spiritually religious, meaning that their faith is one of experience, open to questions, to debate and the pursuit of knowledge. While I might not agree with them, I respect them and their beliefs religiously.

images (1)1There is a huge difference between having faith and having a personal experience with your faith. Having a personal experience means that ones essential being, who they are as a person, comes from having that personal experience that is based in a certain spiritual relationship. A relationship that is free from the context and trappings of organized religion. Not that, that context is a bad thing. It's not, in fact, those trappings of organized religion serve to benefit humanity in the form of social justice, community, and as a central belief in the goodness of man and woman. These are not evil things! Yet they become evil when the spiritual oneness of whatever God you choose to believe in, is missing. They become evil because without the accompanying spirituality, the closeness of God, they become hollow facades behind which people hide and yell, proclaiming the greatness of their god and the belittlement of all other beliefs.

I find little actual religion in those hollow voices. They are not who they claim to be and when they stand before their God, they will be standing as who they are.

 

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assAre we Asses, or What?
November 6th, 2014

Politics suck. Even more so when you're on the losing end. Me? I hate to lose! Most people don't know that about me, thinking I'm generally a nice guy, but boy, I not only hate to lose, I really hate to lose big time, and that's exactly what happened November 4th.

I actually went into the election believing the polls were wrong. They were, but not to my Democratic advantage. The red wave was embarrassing and damaging to my entire belief system, and I'm still in shock. How could someone like Brownback in Kansas, or Ernst in Iowa be elected?

Yea, I don't get it! Okay, maybe I do. It could be said Ernst was the stronger Candidate, character wise. She said some pretty outrageous things, had colorful ads, and she really didn't make any serious mistakes, and she bashed Obama relentlessly.

Yep, that's how she got elected, being colorful, not making mistakes, not having a strong opponent and hating the President. But that's one race out of how many? How do you explain Brownback winning? A kansasguy that ran his state into the financial ground, so much so, Republicans actually turned against him? Exit Polls suggest that people voted for him based on Brownback being white, male, conservative, Christian and because they felt the country was going in the wrong direction, even while their own Kansas economy was in disarray due to  white, male, Christian conservatives leadership.

Yea, I don't get it!

I suppose I could blame Voter turnout, specifically Democrat turnout, as being low, and it was, but c'mon, so was Republican turnout. So, who actually bothered to vote? Everyone that hated Obama? Maybe? I don't know!

I guess it's a combination of colorful characters, political anomalies, and low voter turnout.

I guess the only thing messing from the above, is looking in the mirror, and asking what part the Democrats played in their loss, because that question is going to be asked by a lot of everyday, normal democrats, but probably not those politicians that need to be asking the question.

Bottom line is, you all let the reds have their way, you let Republicans define the entire election. There was no talk of issues, it was all about the President and his policies. You allowed that party to create an ernstenvironment of fear, and even hate, long before Ebola. That was a mistake you paid for, and we will pay for, because that hate has permeated the nation, setting the stage for a conflict you don't even see coming.

From the moment Mitch McConnell declared his only job in his political life was to make Barack Obama a one term president, you should have been on the offensive. We should have been on the offensive!

We ran away and refused to have a seat at the public table, letting Republicans define every issue for the last six years. It was almost like we went to bed after the '08 elections believing that just because we elected Obama, everything was going to be alright, our work was done, people had come to their senses. When Republicans started to gain traction, when the far right took control, we analyzed, mystified, mollified and did little else. And when we woke up concerned about the far right, we were too scared to do anything, and we ran, straight away from our beliefs.

And that's why we lost last night.

Because the Democratic Party leaderships and politicians are nothing but cowards! They will reinforce that belief with the coronation of Hillary Clinton.

I won't accept that.

Let me offer up another scenario.

Start with taking the 'financially responsible' mantra back. The Republicans have been the most fiscally irresponsible party while in power for the last 50 years, and yet we allow them to claim otherwise. Second, start hitting them where it hurts, not their pocketbooks, their smarmy little claims that they're 'Patriots'. Let's start calling 'em what they are, what the far right really is, fascists! What moderate Republicans really are, corporate owned war hawks!

warren

 

and finally,

Coronate a true Progressive.

That's how we build the future, or we can die with the old!

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scott emmaLife as Celebration
October 26th, 2014

Smack dab in the middle of world craziness, life marches on along a twisted and gnarled path. Ebola? Not to worry, it's a million  miles down the road. Terrorism, Ug! Just kill em all and get it over with. Partisan politics, same old shit, who cares? Income equality? Hey, I can still buy a new IPhone, not a problem. Police brutality, say what? I'm white!

In a real, yet very excruciating surreal reality, there's a surreality to our lives. A madness all around us, that manages to envelope each of us, forcing us to rise up and be a part of a global consciousness that we want no part of.

Okay, that's a mouthful, if not quite a philosophical statement! I was just saying, in a fancy, contrite kind of way, that with todays global civilization, when the worlds mired in a ton of shit, I don't necessarily want to hear about all the crap that's going on. There's not much I can do about any of it, and hey, I have my own problems, my own life.

Of course, there's no escaping the news of the world, or should we just call it what we all know it really is, "Todays Evil" This mornings headlines,'Human rights violations, School shooting, Man smashes 10 commandments, Deputies shot, ISS hostages tortured' and it is only Sunday.

I don't think most people bother to read beyond the headlines any more. They've read the same story a hundred times, a thousand times, and it never really changes. I wonder if most people even manage toimol raise an eyebrow in their disgust with human behavior any more. Personally, I don't think people care anymore. I think people worry about their own little world, their particular bubble, and leave it at that. In a strange, meandering thought, I kinda get it. That bubble, their world is the only thing they have control over, the only thing they feel they have a say in, and they are right.

While the rest of the world is threatening immolation, there are those who are celebrating their lives, even in the face of an impending surreal apocalypse. And there's nothing wrong with them doing so! Sometimes, in the face of adversity, the only thing one can do, is move forward, continue on with what you were doing. In a way, it is an act of defiance, a rebuttal of the worlds insanity.

That's why I believe, in the long run, perhaps in a very long time from now, it's all going to be alright. Because most people are content with living their lives, with moving forward in the face of trial and tribulation. But until that day comes, the world is still a crazy frickin' place.

suszi emmaA place that for a small time, with the birth of our first grandchild, I was able to escape from, and spend Friday night celebrating with my wife, wondering what kind of future our world will give her outside of what her parents will build for her? 4, 842 miles away a small child lies in a crib, what world awaits her? What world waits for all our small and growing children?

I don't know! But in the meantime, I can celebrate her life, that of her parents, and all those in our bubble.

Welcome to the human race, Emma. It's going to be a wild ride.

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containmtLiving in an Accountable (Not!) World.
October 16th, 2014

I originally had a post ready to go about Corporate America but I woke up to a god awful post on Facebook claiming that Ebola had gone airborn. That particular news report referenced a claim by the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease and Research Policy, a prestigious reference indeed.

Quick and efficiently, the University of Minnesota issued a rebuttal, stating

        "The published commentary, however, doesn't make that claim, U officials pointed out. It only states that "people should understand the potential for a virus to become airborne."

The first paragraph of the online news article

    Ebola is airborne, according to a new report by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. Researchers at the university just advised the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that "scientific and epidemiologic evidence" now exists that proves Ebola has the potential to be transmitted via exhaled breath and "infectious aerosol particles."  *Emphasis is mine.

From the CIDRAP actual report

    We believe there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks.

First, I want to say this. If Ebola was to go airborn, this would be a different world in the space of a 24 hour period. Travel would come to a stop, people would not gather for football games or shop in coagulated, crowded malls. Fear and panic would be widespread. I say this because an air born virus is much different than a virus spread by contact. So much so, that any discussion of Ebola becoming air born must be handled with responsibility and accountability.

Non of which was evident in the original news article, the report itself or the rebuttal from the UM.qmark

Hell, I'm still asking myself if the damn thing is airborn, or not! Could the UM just be doing damage control, not wanting to send everyone into a mass panic, better known as 'I don't wanna die bleeding from my eyes and ears and turn into a frigging zombie' full blown panic mode

I want to take a step back here, and actually talk about responsibility for a minute, and give you the reader, some thoughts. President Obama has stated the responsibility is his, in how we fight ebola. The ol' buck stops here, kind of thing. It is a nice sentiment, a warming thought knowing someone is in charge that we can blame when things don't work out. George Bush knows all about that, after all, he paid the ultimate price and was held accountable to the American people for lying to us about Iraq. Just like Clinton was held to the same high moral standards and accountability for jisim staining the carpet in the oval office and before him, Reagan's feet were held to the hot flames of hell for Iran-Contra.

Get my drift? The last President who was totally honest with the American people was a one term president and was vilified not only by conservatives, but by his own party as well.

Accountability is a lost concept in modern day US of A. Taking ownership of a mistake is a lost cause for anyone, ask any politician, ceo or corporation. Hell, I bet you're thinking of a particular co-worker at the moment. In fact, we've taken denial of ownership to new and aintmewithering heights. Consider BP, who paid millions in fines for the gulf spill, and ruined the coastline for miles and miles inland, and yet, they are still gleefully in a position to make the mistake again, and again. Uh, how many oil spills have we had since the Exxon Valdez?

One of the reason it's hard to pin accountability down, is confusion. For instance, in the above examples, after reading all three articles, I'm left wondering what the hell is being said. I'm also left wondering that there seems to be agendas at play. The newspaper wants to make a buck, the article wants to be read, and the UM has a reputation at stake. At the very core, they are simple, everyday, run of the mill agendas.

Bseuessut I have one question. What public good has been served? The answer, not one fucking iota of good has been served. 

And what if Ebola has mutated? Our inability to hold peoples feet to the fire might just kill us. Don't believe me? Well, let's see who gets fired at that Dallas Hospital for how they handled their isolated Ebola case.

 

 

 

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bm2In Real Time
October 9th, 2014

I watched in fascination as Bill Maher and Ben Affleck argued about Islam and the Muslim faith. The argument Bill was making on his October 3rd show, Real Time with Bill Maher, was that Muslims at their core, were violent because their religion, their core belief systems were violent.

I'm starting with a quick history lesson here, and it's an important one for everyone. Christianity and Islam are both Abrahamic religions because they originated with Abraham.  In fact, both religions share a lot of the same beliefs in prophecy, the messengers of God (apostles), revelation, scripture, the resurrection of the dead, and the centrality of religious community. In many ways, we have more in common than not.

In fairness, know that I've been a Bill Maher fan since his Politically Incorrect days, and not so much with Ben Affleck.pi

Ben's reply to Bill's argument that Isalm, that all Muslims were violent, was that Bill was being racist. To which Bill called Ben, ignorant. That's it in a nutshell!

Of course, CNN saw faux headlines, liberals went hyperbolic, Fox Pundits had their first multiple orgasms, and the world ended, lost in the fog of the banana joints being rolled at Bill's after show party.

They all missed the point! Our news media, Liberals and Conservatives alike, as did the countless Muslims and Christians who chimed in to make their names.

While I disagree with Bill Mahers beliefs toward Islam and Muslims, he's not alone in his beliefs. In fact, there's a lot of Muslim hate going on in this country.

islamNow I can imagine Bill standing on his stage and pointing his finger at me, jabbing it in my schnoz, as he  claims in pitched voice, "I don't hate Muslims, I'm just saying it is, what it is."

That's not what Ben heard from you, Bill! That's not what I hear in online forums, Facebook, or in conversations over a beer with friends. I hear hate, and that hate stems from fear. Fear of something that we don't understand, and worse, don't want to understand.

That's the conversation that Ben and Bill were having under the guise of civilized discourse. I don't know if they realized that, but it's what I heard, and what I found fascinating. Both men had valid points, as well those that were invalid, but their fear of being invalidated  prevented both men from reaching any type of consensus. Both men were insistent on being right. That insistence was based in fear. In Bills mind, there was no room to wiggle, he was all in, and has been for quite a few years when it comes to his stand, not only in respect to Religion in general, but specifically to Islam. He appears to hate them. This was not  his first go around with denigrating Muslims, or any Religion, to be honest. The other glove, that one Ben BAAffleck was wearing, was too liberally tight, cutting off his circulation, not allowing him to ask the appropriate question? Why do so many people in America fear Muslims? The best Ben could do, is equate Bills beliefs with wholesale racism. It's not, it's wholesale fear based in not understanding Islam, and again, not wanting to understand Islam.

All said and done, I still have a great deal of respect for both these men, and the others who were panelists. Both men knew this wasn't going to be an easy discussion, because that discussion came from opposing hearts and beliefs, but it's a discussion that needs to happen more often than not.

Now, if Bill would have this conversation when Reza Azlan was on.

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Ebola and You!
October 2nd, 2014

M350px-Negroland_and_Guinea_with_the_European_Settlements,_1736ost people here in Minnesota that know me, know that I grew up in Africa. Most of my friends will tell you that I grew up somewhere in West Africa, and close friends will tell you that I grew up in Libya, or someplace like that. I suspect, in the very near future, everyone will tell you, if asked, that I grew up in that African country where they had the Ebola outbreak.

Liberia!

Liberia has an interesting past in it's association with all of us Americans. Not just those of us who happened to spend a good part of our time living there. Growing up in Liberia, I was able to use an American dollar, most everyone spoke English, or a pidgin version, and there was a huge, vibrant international  community, of which the US was prominent. I in fact, worked with US AID for .20 an hour, driving between the airport and the Capital when I was 19. Best damn job I ever had! Best damn co workers I ever had. Best damn Boss I ever had. Best damn time of my life!bus

I have a deep admiration for Liberia, for its land and for its people.

That said, these words are for all my American friends. Please don't give in to fear , and fear mongering when you hear the word Ebola. Don't believe everything you hear. You're not going to wake up tomorrow bleeding from all your bodily orifices. We are not going to become a nation of the zombie apocalypse any time in the near future.

Yes, we should be concerned that Ebola has made it's way to America, but we should be concerned in an intelligent, educated way that benefits us and protects us. Fear mongering, and the spreading of rumors causes more susceptibility to the spread of the disease than anything else. Unfortunate to say, our species has a knack for panicking in the face of adversity and fear. Once fear sets in, judgments are clouded, decisions are made that do more harm than good. We become essentially, mad dogs lapping at the doorstop of human insanity.

So please keep in mind, you're not going to catch Ebola by someone breathing on you. First, they have to beSymptoms_of_ebola (1) infected with the disease, and you  have to come in direct  contact with their body fluids. In fact, you have more of a chance of catching the measles than you do, Ebola. That said, the fatality rate of those who do contract Ebola is quite high, and that is scary.

The above said, there are viable concerns, but again, you're in no danger. Not even close. What you are in danger from, is fear mongering, ineffective solutions, rumors and even, stupidity. These are the things that will lead to a global pandemic, and I say global, because if it happens here, it's because it's gone global. Closing our borders, quarantining plane-loads of people, or an entire populace or community might sound like good, solid ideas to stop the progress of any disease but they are not. They are stupid and won't work. If a disease can jump an ocean, do you believe it won't jump a fence?

Your best defense is in understanding how Ebola works. It's just that simple.

In the end, if you're really concerned with Ebola coming to our shores, think about stopping it before it has the chance! Donate to one of the many organizations in Liberia fighting to stem the tide. Doctors without Borders, Samaritans Purse, Dignity Liberia are all on the forefront of the fight, as is our own Military.

Yes, this is a call to action for all my friends, please donate, something, anything, even if it's a prayer.

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firepitThe Fear Flavor of the Week
September 26th 2014

I'm going to enjoy this first Autumn Friday night around a campfire sucking down some MGDs scattered with a few shots of Cuervo. Hopefully, when I wake on a crisp Saturday morning, my mind won't be dull and not notice the changing of the seasons. I hate the cold winters, but the beautiful color in the trees is in itself, a reminder of life. The trees, the very planet itself is exhaling, ready to sleep here in our Northern hemisphere.

Things change constantly, and I find a comforting irony in the fact that change is the only consistent thing in life to hang onto. You can't stop change, but you can shape it. There's a lot of truth in knowing how to make lemonade out of lemons but the sad truth is, far too many people fail at a such a simple task. Especially change that's dark and foreboding.

Yea, I know, easy to say, huh?

It is easier to say, and much harder for most to bear. Change at times, is by nature hard, sometimes even tragic. A life threatening diagnosis, the abrupt death of a cherished friend, a paralyzing accident. There is also a slower type of change that's harder for most to deal with. The change that you see coming like a slow motion train wreck. A sister caught in an abusive marriage, a brother who drinks way too much, a wandering husband or a friend who lives a bit too dangerously.2011-09-15 18.33.41

Most of us just set back and kinda watch. Most of us fall into that category these days because we're tired, tired of trying to help and getting our asses bit, and bit hard. So much for trying to do the right thing! We have our own lives to worry about.

It's not that we don't want to help, it's that we no longer know how to help. Energy, time, money has already been spent, and to what avail? Nothing has changed! You look around and see others stepping up to the plate, and you wish them the best of luck, you're going fishing or shopping.

Seem familiar?

Think about this old saying, 'As Above, So Below' which can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, one of which is; what happens on the smaller scale of the individual, happens as well with the collective whole. It's a nice way of saying, we are all in this together.

I believe most of us are tired. Tired of reading about hate, police brutality, racism, financial inequality, ineffectiverobvac politics, war, terrorism, mass murders or whatever else happens to be the fear flavor of the week. How can you not be beat down, your compassion drained, your energy sucked right out of your soul as if your mouth was duct taped to the end of a vacuum cleaner hose, 24/7. It just never ends.

You and I are busy with our personal lives and in those rare moments, when we happen to look up, the leaves on the trees have changed, and when we look around us, all we see is a train wreck waiting to happen, how rotten the world is, how terrible people are. We've listened to it all week long. We're ready for the weekend, for Friday night.

Some will find refuge in other things, facebook and twitter come to mind, you know, cute little kittys, jokes, cartoons images (1)and memes are always a nice distraction to comment on as opposed to all the evils and ills in our world

That's when my tequilla really calls.

 

 

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Cafe Conversations at the End of the World
September22, 2014

"What did you learn today?" the wise old, big G asked?

beardI fiddled, not to a musical note, but with dark matter in a darker ceramic mug of bitterness, bereft of cream, sodden with sugar, fiddling with the unpleasant answer, "That it's all your fault. All my pain, death, suffering that exists, anywhere, everywhere, it's all your work, your doing."

"Of course it is," the unwashed grey bearded one said, 'but that is old knowledge. I'm waiting for your answer."

I glanced out the large cafe window and fell in love with the Eastern sunset. Dark underbellies of clouds streaked with golden rivers spread to the horizon, rivers converging to a prick of a single point, and I was reminded of my life. A life where nothing was as it should have been. I turned my thoughts inwards, raised my large dark mug with both hands; steady, unshakable, wondering how I would tell this feeble, misguided but wise old man what I had learned.diner1

"I've always thought, that when I think far too much, about anything, something, it's easier for me to just  do" his words were soft like molten lead, pliable but destructively searing, "and I've often thought, perhaps this is why there is so much suffering."

I tilted my head, just a nod, and the ragged old man noticed, "That would be a human fallacy?"

"All fallacies are human!" his one blue eye lit up with the radiance of the setting sun, his black eye turned down as if in shame. "Have you ever wondered, ever asked why there are so many different varieties of a simple thing, for instance, the worm?"

I slid my mug to the edge of the Formica, nodded to the battle tank shaped women behind the counter, and mouthed the word, 'please', all the while thinking, 'dualities'.

worm"The worm is no simple thing," I said as the tank approached, pot in hand. "If it were, there would be only one, and no more." I paused, and watched my dark blood fill my veins, nodded a thank you, and continued. "Variety insures diversity and gives birth to the possibility of duality, which is, at the very nature of existence, including your own." came as a whisper, yet even so, it was an entanglement in the old ones beard. One that I took some measure of delight, in speaking, if only in a whisper.

A pale shade of gray walked into our cafe and cast it's presence across our small booth and I wondered if it was the old ones displeasure or just the finality of the last setting sun. I marveled in that I had never noticed before, that the wise one had a tendency to tug at his ear, then stroke his flowing beard from time to repetitive time, but only when he was in thought, as I believed he was deeply with in at the moment the sun sank dark.cafesun

"My old friend," he began, not by addressing me, but by turning his blue and black toward the forgotten, unreliable sun. "What does a worm know of variety and diversity, much less of duality and in what form does your answer convey meaning to any worm, of any species? Perhaps, could it be, in your conversation with me, there are similarities?"

The old wise one had turned to stare at me, his pupils had caught the last rising sun and he radiantly pierced, my soul, with joy. He smiled, and than asked if I had the bill, as my world shrunk, shriveled and withered.

 

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petersonThe Profit of Violence
September 18th, 2014

Do you believe, honestly, that no one spanks their children anymore? I do not. I believe that decent parents use corporal punishment as they deem fit. Yes, it's true, schools no longer do, and that's not a bad thing. No one has the right to spank a child other than the childs  parents. I would hope you would agree with that, unfortunately, I suspect there are those who don't. I, for what it's worth, remember quite fondly, that the paddle was still being used as late as the  ninth grade at Franklin Jr. High.

On 14 year olds!

That said, I never had the pleasure, but that paddle sat prominently in the Principals office. A long handled, wood paddle with holes in the flared end. I remember my rebellious attitude at 14, 'Yea, just try it, just try it!'

That was in another time, another culture. I'd like to believe we've came a long way, or have we?

Apparently, theres a lot, and by a lot, I'd roughly guesstimate about a third of the population that absolutely cannot understand the difference between a spanking and child abuse. That guesstimate comes from peoples remarks around the web. Thats a lot of people and that's sad!

Those 84 million people seem to think the problem with this country is that liberals have outlawed spanking. That if everyone was able to spank their kids, kids would grow up differently, better. Before I let 'er rip, let me be clear, I, along with my brothers were spanked. There were times, I was left with welts and had a problems setting for a spell. I spanked my boys! I never enjoyed doing it, as my father never enjoyed doing it. Despite my own children threatening that if I spanked them, they'd call the police, I still spanked them and then gave them the phone. Why didn't they call? It wasn't the threat of another spanking, but because my boys understood they were wrong, and that they were being disciplined. That said, the number of spankings over the years, between 4 boys, I could count on one hand, w/ a finger missing.

And by the way, they turned out alright.

That said, I don't ever remember being spanked younger than six or seven and I never experienced leaves shoved into my mouth. Nor was I ever spanked where I bled or I was scarred, nor were my testicles bruised.

I was disciplined! Not abused, and I suspect there are parents who continue this practice and I don't have a problem with spanking.

I do have with abuse, and for those of you who think there's a fine line between the two, bullshit! If you are inclined to anger and rage, you shouldn't be spanking your children. If you are, you're not a decent parent, in fact, seek help!

As much as I admired and respected Adrian Peterson as a football player for my Minnesota Vikings, I'm struggling to find that same respect for him as a parent. Adrian comes off as a likable guy, as a dedicated professional and as a person who contributes to the community.

But he needs help, and he should take advantage of the time off and seek some real help. That's actually more important than playing football, or anything else in his life.

Now, the other half of this story has everything to do with violence in our society, from football, to domestic abuse, to our gun culture, to our entertainment addictions. Violence is profit! For the NRA as much for the NFL as much for any gaming systems as much as any movie. I don't have a huge problem with a good shoot 'em up movie, I like them as much as the next guy, but the thing is, when it bleeds over into reality, there has to be a zero tolerance factor, profits be damned.

Profits were not damned and that's why the Vikings were originally going to let him play against New Orleans, that's why Mr. Goodell and the NFL are in the predicament they are currently drowning in. Profit carried the ball over any moral objections they might have had.

That's the problem! Not only with the NFL, but the NRA and those 84 million who blame liberals for all the problems in this country.

 

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sufferageThe Handiwork of Man
September 9th, 301

With summer quickly receding, I find myself relishing the past few months of late moon-lit nights, searing campfires, friends and quiet conversations. I have one, maybe two weekends left as leaves are dropping, 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, I'll be okay.

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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..

 

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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?

 

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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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