Truth Hurts, Life is Painful, and we are what we are, Human.
Just a fucking shot..
Your Momma was Right.
The more I think about this, the more I believe it. It gets back to every one of us not wanting our boats rocked. We all enjoy the comforts of our belief systems, so much so they blind us to the possibilities that exist around us. How is that a good thing? Don't know, let me know what you think in the comments.
Leadership Ain't What You Think it is
I've spent my life in low to mid level management, mostly supervising 10-15 people at any given time. I have hundreds of hours in Human Relations classes such as assertiveness, personal effectiveness, communications and the like. I like to think I was a decent supervisor, not the best, but I tried. I've worked for some pretty good people, people who were excellent leaders, and some damn poor ones. The difference between the two? Well, there's a lot to be said, with a lot of shades of gray.
There's a shit load of leadership theories out here, take your pick. There was a time when I paid a lot of attention to them, but over the course of time, I came to the conclusion, that like a lot of things, they were over-thought. That doesn't mean they don't have value, they certainly do, providing insight into different styles and personalities. And yes, you can learn to be a better supervisor, a better leader, by becoming familiar with them. All these theories spring from a single core belief though.
How do you motivate people to work together to reach a common goal? It's a straight forward question, with a lot of complications. How do you do it efficiently? Do you have the tools to reach your goals, the support and knowledge needed? People have different work ethics, can you treat them the same? A better way to ask the question is 'How do I get from here to there, quickly, with what I have?'.
The foundation for getting there lies in communication and articulation. Every team member has to be on the same page, even while having different tasks, of what the goal is. And communication and articulation ain't easy! People hear different things in any given sentence, be it written or spoken. Take something as simple as cleaning a toilet. One persons interpretation of that goal is a spotless porcelain bowl with no watermarks, another's idea of clean might be a quick swab with a johnny mop. It seems simple, but undefined goals lead to mass confusion with varying outcomes. That leads to team members becoming dissatisfied, argumentative, and claims of favoritism, to name a few. Over a clean toilet!
That means a good supervisor has to understand those people who they are responsible for. They need to understand their personalities, their character and their work ethic, who they are as people. Doesn't mean you have to go out drinking with them, or attend their kids baptism, but you damn well better understand that you can't treat everyone the same to move them in the direction you want. That doesn't mean you can't be fair, fairness derives from respect for the individual, and respect for differing work ethics. It's a lot easier to be fair in motivating when your goals and standards of reaching those goals are clear.
When you set goals, a leader has to look at what they have, people included, to work with. If there's a hundred toilets to clean in an eight hour shift, do you have enough chemicals, cleaning tools on hand, what known problems will you face; clogged toilets, someone sick? How are you going to adjust on the fly? I can tell you that everyday brings new challenges, and how a person in charge reacts to those daily challenges dictates how his team feels about their leadership. If a team member comes you with a complaint and you blow it off, even if it's unjustified, it's going to come back to bite you.
And that brings up the most important aspect of any leader/supervisor. The ability to listen. Listening is the foundation, the cornerstone of good communication. And very few people are capable of listening. It gets back to people hearing not what's said, but what they want to hear. Even in a non work related, every day common conversation, listening is hard. Ask yourself, when the last time you repeated what someone was saying, asking them, 'Is this what you're saying?'. If you do, nine times out of ten, the answer is going to be 'That ain't what I'm saying'. And you hardly ever hear it from a supervisor. More than that, the implications are that if you're not listening to those your responsible for, you're certainly not listening to those you answer to.
Kinda scary when you look around the landscape, looking for decent leaders, especially the political landscape.
Musings From a Quiet Mind
It's an overcast, wet, in the forties kind of day. Gloomy, kinda like the social forecast for the next few weeks. Normally, I'd be thinking about opening my lot in the next few weeks. You know, firepit and all, but it looks like our Governor might be a issuing a shelter in place order here at any minute, so, that firepit might have to wait. That, and our planned vacay in mid June, but we'll wait to see how that plays out till mid May. I'm an essential worker, being a janitor and all, my wifes a nurse, so we're both still working, and I'm thankful for that. My day is pretty much the same, get up, read the news, check my stats, and then vegetate around the house, till it's time to head out for work. I did read this morning, that congress has passed a two trillion stimulus package, so I'll spend my 1,200 to restock my tp supply. I'll be damned if I get caught having brown hands again. Like you, I don't know where we'll be tomorrow with this virus crud, but I 'spec it's going to be worse before it gets better. Only question I have is how much worse. More I think about it, if I have to shelter in place, I might just head north and shelter around my firepit. That might perk me up a bit, that and if the sun were to come out. The one thing that does weigh heavy is that I'm due to retire the end of May, and if I knew this shit was going to happen, I would of done it sooner, or later this summer. I could change my mind, I think, and hold off a couple of months, but fuck that, it'd just be something else. I find myself worrying a lot about my grand kids in Hungary, my son and his wife, but that worry is kind of unjustified because my son and his wife are good parents, they'll do what they gotta do. One things for sure, not being able to get out and about because every things closed, makes for a lot of thoughts. Maybe too much time. Truth is, I've spent too much time with my own thoughts, so much so that I relish the early morning time I have with my wife. I remember now why I fell head over heals in love with her. Her being a nurse, I am worried about her though. Most people just don't realize how dedicated nurses are to their profession. Of course I'm dedicated too, I extra clean all those toilets, but it ain't the same. Toilets don't talk back, like some family members. Which brings up another point. I wonder if my mom will remember who I am when I eventually get to see her again. She's in a memory ward, and I'm prepared for the worse. Kinda funny, all the turmoil I find in a quiet house. Is what it is, aint what it ain't, I guess.
I won't turn the 1200.00 down I hear I might be getting. I'm suspecting most won't. Thing is, my wife and I are both deemed essential services, working in health care, so were not worried about losing our jobs. I kinda justify it though by thinking that the 1200 will go to medical bills if either one of us gets sick with this shit. But it got me thinking, if I were in charge, what would I do to help people out? First thing I'd do is put a moratorium on medical expenses. People need to know if you end up with the virus, you're not going to be financially ruined. Then I'd target small businesses, you know, bars, restaurants, locally owned mom and pop stores that are vital to local economies. I'd suspend their utility, mortgages and any other monthly outflows. Then I'd turn my attention to their employees, using the same mandates for anyone filing unemployment in the last thirty days. No rent/mortgage payments, no utilities, health insurance bills, and I'd issue the 1200 to those folks for groceries. In both cases, credit card debt is huge, so I'd suspend those monthly bills as well, including interest on those debts.
From there it gets a bit more complicated. For larger employers, first thing I'd do is determine essential services. If you're not essential, I'd shut you down. For those shut down, I'd offer 0.5 percent interest loans utilizing the small business administration to keep them afloat. Why any interest? Well, you have to keep the financial services from collapsing as well. I'd also approve additional hazard pay for essential employees like nurses, janitors, grocery store workers that are on the front lines, if for no other reason then as a moral booster. There's just not enough of an awareness of what these people are going through.
When it comes to larger, multi-international corporations, I'd do the exact opposite of cash bailouts. I'd instead be demanding them to cover the costs of any laid off, or fired employees, making low to medium interest rates loans available, with the understanding of what the loans are to be used for, to cover their lost employees, with substantial penalties if they are not.
I'm not a financial genius, not even close. I have a hard enough time to manage my own monthly finances. But it seems to me that simply passing a paid sick leave emergency bill, entitling people to be paid while their off, isn't enough. How can a small to medium sized business afford that? And it's only good for two weeks worth of leave. And I'm left wondering, if your employer already offers sick leave, if you need the sick time on the books?
I don't know what the answer is, but damn, a person has to start somewhere.
ain't old, it's just weird, with cows and all.
Is their a savage Beast in your life?
Wow, That's Weird
Life is strange enough without all the weirdness.
Comic Book Kid
A look back to when a buck 99 bought a spaceship to the stars.
Call the doc
There exists in every person the potential to do great harm and some people find that potential because it’s easier to find and execute than to find the potential to do good.
When we see a stranger in the face of a child, we all lose.
We surrendered our role in being citizens, believing that financial equality comes without a price, without suffrage.
Social Commentary is an act of subterfuge that will destroy our civilization, but it just also happens to be a good thing.
The Silence and the Wind
The American landscape is complicated, and frustrating!
Nobody gives a shit anymore!
And that's the thing about racism, it's multi layered.
Whiners, Criers and Trolls
We all got 'em in our lives, Whiners, Criers and Trolls. Used to be we could give 'em the finger at work, and walk away. Laugh at 'em after Christmas dinner and ignore 'em in the bar. Not anymore because they're everywhere. Their only enjoyment comes from making other people miserable. Anybody who has a social presence has 'em. There's no answer to 'em, we all just gotta put up with 'em the best we can. Just like toddlers, they're needy little bastards.
Ain't 'nuff Toilet Paper for this shit!
There are of course, no rolls of toilet paper to be had, no cleaning disinfectants, hand sanitizers, or pain relievers to be found setting on store shelves. National and local events have been canceled. No sweet sixteen this year, no more B-Ball or Hockey, and the MLB has been pushed back.
I'm left wondering if good leadership would have prevented any of this? Probably not. People are scared. I'm not, but I'm cautious. I bought extra food, I'm good on TP for the next few weeks, having stocked up a few weeks back. So I'm good in the short term.
And no, I don't think good leadership would have prevented the run on toilet paper. Who saw that coming? I still don't get the correlation, unless people heard the word flu, and associated diarrhea with it. That doesn't mean our government has exhibited the best of their leadership skills in dealing with Covid-19. Leadership has it's foundation in communication, and Trumps communicating skills are somewhat poor. Entertaining, sure. But seriously inefficient. There's two different styles of communicating for Trump. The first is his free wheeling style which you see at his rally's. He goes off script, he's playing to his base, and he's entertaining. He's in his element, and kudos to him for what he does better than most. The second style is bland, and even foreboding, and we see it when he needs to be absolutely serious, such as in his last address to the public regarding Covid-19. His tone was monotone, his eye contact limited, being clearly out of his element. There's a sense of uneasiness about him, and it's hard to find assurance in his words.
That's concerning to me. That, and the fact that he should have talked to the people a few weeks earlier. But then again, with his poor communicating style, he might have made the problem worse. Fact is, he spent the early weeks of this pandemic, communicating in the vein of political gain, utilizing twitter to diminish the severity of the virus. While there's truth that we all did so, the larger truth is, Trump was being warned, way back when, and refused to acknowledge it. That's the kind of shit I need extra toilet paper for.
There's a sense too, we can blame the media, for over hyping Covid-19, holding them somewhat accountable to the public panic that has resulted in a lot of Americans going with out toilet paper, but I'm hesitant to blame them. It seems, and I'm aware we don't live in a perfect world, but it seems if Trumps administration had been out ahead of the eight ball, with facts and plans, of what to expect in the coming weeks, the media would not have been left to conjecture.
I don't know where we'll be mid summer with this, but I do know in the next few weeks, it's going to get worse. My wifes a nurse, and they don't have enough personal protection, as in face masks, to get them through the end of the month. I work for the VA, I'm a housekeeper, which means I'm on the front line of fighting this thing. While we've been assured we have enough face masks and the like, I'm wondering what's going to happen when half the department is out being self quarantined. We're already short staffed, and spending a lot of time outside of our normal duties to fight the virus. Then there' the economic impact, we'll start seeing that in the next few weeks. Parents that are staying home, people that don't have paid sick time, or any sick time, stores that are closing because customers are staying home, and yes, more bare shelves in our stores. Where's our leadership, what are their plans to keep freight moving, to help people get through this. It's going to take a lot more than payroll tax cuts. I get that the house has a package to help, that Trumps on board with it, but where the fuck is the senate? Time is important, leadership is important.
But maybe I'm asking for too much, and all I'm asking for is some more toilet paper to deal with the shit that's coming.
Hey Corona, my Corona
I'm confused, confused like a fly setting on a clump of old dried shit. Is this shit real? Is it worthy of my time and effort? That's how I feel about the corona virus. I'm over sixty, is it going to kill me? All I gotta do is wash my hands, to be ok? What's the deal with toilet paper? It's not as bad as the flu, but ..?
I work in a health care environment, our local VA hospital, and as of yesterday we started limiting access. Everybody is now screened upon entering, employees, visitors and patients. I get it, we have a susceptible patient population, and the screening is somewhat efficient, least ways for me, working second shift. There's only three reported cases in my state, so my employer is doing due diligence. I'm fine with that, and actually, I'm proud of 'em, taking this virus seriously. Especially in light of all the misinformation that's out there. Nothing wrong with a 'better be safe, than dead' approach.
And that's the thing? Misinformation! I pay attention to what's being said about this virus, and I'm confused as hell. I suspect that's a reason for binging on toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer I get, toilet paper not so much, unless it has to do with runaway diarrhea. I keep hearing it's not as bad as the flu, so what's the problem? There's no where near the number of global deaths compared to how many the flu kills every year? I really need an answer to that question, but I'm not going to get an answer. I've heard it's more contagious then Ebola, ok, I get that, but it's only the flu, the damn flu, and that's contagious as hell. Everybody gets it, every winter. I understand the elderly, and those with diminished immune systems are susceptible but what the fuck are the death rates among the elderly with this virus, compared with the normal flu?
Like I said, I'm just confused as hell. Some of that comes from the media, some from the Government. One things for sure, the government was ill prepared for this, yet I work for the government, and our local VA seems to be taking the necessary steps, going so far to additionally cancel some programs, in addition to screening. But I do admit I'm a bit confused, the cafeteria is open, which would be ground zero for the virus to spread. I mean, a thousand people setting, eating in close quarters? I don't get it! But what do I know? People a lot smarter than me are making the decisions, and I hope they're not as confused as I am.
I have to wonder what's going to happen if we do get a confirmed case where I work. I do know there's a suspected case already, and that test results are pending, and the rumor mill is in high production mode. I'm hearing stuff like if you've been out of state, it's a mandatory two week self quarantine. Those with a ton of sick time will enjoy the time off, those that don't are going to go hungry. Another rumor is, they'll be taking everybody's temperature when they screen upon entry. Me? I'm tempted to take an hour drive, cross the border into Wisconsin, and take two weeks off, and go set around my firepit, and try to sort this mess out with a beer and a shot of tequila or three, 'cept it's still winter.
Your Momma was Right,
you're gonna go blind.
It's been said that all myths, legends and old wives tales have a hint of truth. None more so than you're momma telling ya to stop playing with yourself, or you'll go blind. That's right, stop choking your chicken, stop fanning the fur, stop pounding the pud, heal that there rosy palm, cuz if you don't, you're going to go blind.
WTF am I talking about? There ain't no truth to that, you say?
Oh, yes there is! A whole hella lot of truth to it. You just never stopped to think about it, so here I am to explain it to ya. Man or woman, when ya rub one out, whether finger painting the pink canoe or jerking the meat, what you're really doing is participating in self gratification, to the extent that you're oblivious to the world around you (unless you forgot to lock the door and the little ones interrupt ya). Point being, you don't give a shit about anything, just your self, your enjoyment, you're literally blind to the world around ya.
The analogy is a bit more than just applying to masturbating though. When you stop to think about, and you should, the analogy applies to life in general. Politics, you bet, it's all about self gratification, about what you believe, facts be damned! You're politics are all about what makes you feel good about yourself. Relationships? There's truth there too, my wonky, whacky happy friends. Your environment, you betcha! Saving money at wally world makes you seem smart when ya save a nickel, Friends? Sure, I just bet you hang out with people you can't stand, cuz they make ya feel like shit?
Made my point yet? That's right, it's all about you. And because of that, all that self gratification has made ya blind. Blind to other peoples needs, to their ways, to other beliefs that are out there. Of course, they're too busy playing with their privates as well, behind their closed doors, so what do we end up with? A bunch of blind people that can't see other colors 'cept darkness, their own damn personal room of darkness.
So stop it! Start letting some color in, diversity ain't a bad thing. Other than that, I'm of the mind this post will make a great Youtube video, so stop by my channel, subscribe, and ring the notification bell.
Busting Bernie, Hustling Joe
I like Bernie, and I like Joe. Both have merits I appreciate in a candidate, and both have fallacies I understand, and both are ideologically far apart from each other. Where Bernie believes in radical change, Joe believes in incremental change. Both are life long politicians, both have experience in the game. Both are old, and for both, this election is the highlight of their careers, and their closing act in their twilight years.
Last night was Super Tuesday, and it was well played by the Democrat establishment to turn the tide against Bernie. Like it or not, that's how politics works, it's a chess game. Bernie's still in it, and it's going to be a wild ride to the finish line, but one things for sure, he's not going to get any help from the DNC, where Biden will.
Truth is, I'm not deeply excited or moved by either one. Sure, I like Bernie, his conviction to radical change, but if elected, he'd face real problems in getting any of his dreams implemented. Hell, even if Democrats controlled all three branches, he'd struggle. And as much as I like Joe, he's old school, but he'd be able to work with fellow Democrats, to get some minor legislation done. His Presidency would be run of the mill, a return to the old way of doing things. That's not what people want! That's why Trump is in office. The DNC refuses to believe that.
I've always believed Independents decide elections. Of the two candidates, I believe Bernie has the best chance to speak to independents that clearly are tired of the same old shit in Government, and sadly, that's what Biden represents. Again, that's why Trump is in office. If Bernie's the nominee, I don't believe his campaign would change a lot. Biden, on the other hand would be forced to change his campaign up quite a bit to speak to independents. He'd have to talk about change, a bit more progressive vision for America, a role he'd be totally uncomfortable in, and that would show in debates with Trump.
Personally, I believe the DNC should have thrown their weight behind a progressive candidate, the risk of moderate voters fleeing the party, or staying home is a lot less than the risk of attracting independents who are tired of the same old shit. Independents, as most Republicans and Democrats are, are crying for change in how our government governs. Republicans have learned that, we haven't.
I'm frustrated with our politics, and our politicians. I've been a political junkie for a couple of decades now, and it's a shit show. Nothing less. Politics has always been mean, nasty and cut throat, but this is different. Here's why, and there's a couple of reasons. Technology has opened what was once a sacred, isolated electoral process to the world. It's also given a voice to individuals, Americans and others, to participate, and to find like minded people. See a meme, watch a vid, you don't know whose behind it. A million people can spread it in an hour. Another factor, money. It's reached the heights of the absurd, the amount of money it takes to run a political campaign. Chances are you're aware of the impact of technology and money in politics. Toss in our media, mix it up with some religion and you've got a shit storm for the ages. But wait a minute, technology, money, media and religion have always been a part of our political process, so what's different?
Elections used to be somewhat influenced via the FCC fairness doctrine, that the FCC eliminated in '87. The doctrine simply stated that media needed to present items of controversial public interest in an honest, equitable, and balanced way. Eliminating the fairness doctrine has led to media bias, on both sides of the aisle. No one in media is required to give honest, equitable and balanced views. Worse, media often presents their opinions as just that, fair and balanced. Worse, our laws lag way behind technology, meaning social media, Facebook and Twitter being prime examples, are not held accountable for what is said and done on their platforms. Their objective is profit, at the expense of democracy.
There is something else, other than media, technology, religion and money, and it's us, the American citizen. We've become influenced by media, technology, religion and money in a way that is not healthy to the democratic process, and bullshit in our politics has evolved to satisfy our cravings. We no longer care about issues, we want war. We want entertainment, and dammit, we want to heard above our adversaries. Most people don't give a shit about gerrymandering or super delegates, most don't care about money in politics, most have their television set to their favorite news channel, and that's it. Politics therefore is not about ideas, or vision, it's about getting their people out to vote. The side that has the best voter turnout wins. It's that simple. And it's a sad note that half the people in this country don't turn out to vote.
Politicians have evolved to speak to their base, not to the American people, with vision and insight. They've made it an us vs them choice. That's what we, the people want. We don't want to compromise, we don't want to do what's best for the nation as a whole, we're unwilling to debate topics such as climate change, gun control and abortion, even when both sides have valid arguments, concerns and opinions.
Aging of Time
I'm pulling the plug in May. Retirement. Time to set around my fire pit, drink, watch birds, an occasional deer, sunsets, visit with neighbors, write and do crazy ass youtube videos. I've worked since I was eleven, my first job was helping a neighbor prep his house for a paint job. The pay, somewhere around 30 cents an hour, and I've never looked back. I was planning on waiting a few more years to retire, wanted to make it to 65, but the body says it's time. I'm not one to whine and cry for your attention, specially publicly, so that's all I'll say, it's time, I'm at peace with the decision.
So I'm reading this article about how past and future exist at the same time, which means somewhere in existence I'm still an eleven year old kid, up on a ladder, scrapping away old, flaking paint. Taking something old and making it look new again. I'm thinking if there's anything I would say to that kid, what would it be, and I'm left thinking, 'not much'.
Yeah, I know, there's a shitload of advice I could give that kid. Warnings, pitfalls to avoid, people not to trust, paths not to take, along with a lot of affirmations, encouragements, but I'd say none of that. Not because my life has been easy, not because I'm totally satisfied with how my life turned out, not because I don't think that kid would listen. Rather, I wouldn't want to risk becoming someone other than who I am. If I were to say anything, it'd be that life is short, full of adventure and wonder, and don't bother buckling up for a wild, painful, enjoyable ride.
It's not the ticking of the clock that ages us, it's our relationships, our experiences, that wear us down, make us pause, contemplate. Might well be that young kid on a ladder down the street is me. Might be that I could say something that would change his/her life, but of all the advice I could give them, the only words that would come out of my mouth would be to value every second that passes, they belong to you, only to you. Everyone lives in that same brief second, but of all the people in existence, only you own that brief tick of the clock.
Those brief passings of the hand of time add up rapidly, fleshing you out as a person, in ways you can't imagine, until one day you're old, you're ready to retire, ready to set around your campfire. I'd like to say that as I'm setting around my campfire, I'll be reflecting on a lot of those seconds of my life, but I won't. I've spent my life doing that, that's just me, my real job all these years, valuing every experience, learning from one moment to the next, every experience a foundation for the next. In a lot of ways, I still am that kid on the ladder.
Conspiracy? Hell yes, but maybe not so much.
I'm an open minded guy, so much so that I'm open to conspiracies. After all, every crime starts with a conspiracy, and our courts are loaded with 'em. UFOs.. sure there's a lot of fascinating evidence. Government conspiracies, yeah, just Google Operation Northwoods, and there's dozens more. Religious conspiracies? Check out all the Gospels not included in the bible, along with all the manuscripts and artifacts hidden behind lock and key in the depths of the Vatican. Throw in a couple of archaeological mysteries, like giants walking the earth, and out of place artifacts, which most archaeologists just blow off, and you just have to wonder.
Having an open mind doesn't mean I'm gullible, that I deny existing science. I have not a doubt we landed on the moon, and that the world is round. In fact I don't have a lot of time for outright stupidity, like Qanon, or Pizzagate. Life is full of wonder and awe without having to stoop to the inane. Unfortunately, some do, just to push their own self worth, or a specific agenda. Worse, they're just stupid, although I understand stupidity.
Science is constantly evolving, pushing new frontiers, asking new questions. That's what science is! A lot of things I learned as a kid has been reassessed, reevaluated. I'm fine with that, others, not so much. Change and acceptance is, or should be part of our growth.
There was a time back in the early 90s when I belonged to a group of anomaly hunters. Half a dozen of us got together to study the upcoming release of images Mars Global Surveyor, released in batches, real time, for the first time to the public, all in raw format. We all leaned how to digitize and enhance the images, and it wasn't long before we started seeing anomalous shit. It's accepted fact these days that water flows, under certain conditions on Mars, and we were yelling that way back when. We weren't taken seriously, didn't get a hint of recognition, and that's all right. Thing is, there were other things as well, structures. Strange things in the sky, and it wasn't soon after that we noticed some original MGS images had been replaced with images of really low resolution, or worse, had been air brushed. Don't get me wrong, I'm open to the fact that what I thought was a structure, was natural. But damn, there were some interesting finds.
Of course, I moved on from searching for anomalies, I do have an old hard drive with tons of images, but I can't access it. One of the reasons I moved on though is simple. I started seeing what I wanted to see. I admit that! Another reason is that too many people, idiots, started making outrageous claims, claims I just shook my head at, and they garnered all the attention, and of course, if you were an anomaly hunter, you were promptly labeled as a fool. Mars is an interesting planet, and I have a sense, that one of these days, we'll find microbial life, then something a bit more, then a skeleton or an old foundation of sorts. Might be wrong, I accept that, but like the water flows, it's a wait and see game.
Natural Man in Nature
I just read 'Have Humans Evolved Beyond Nature ?', written by a biologist who believes we've separated ourselves from nature. Separated in the sense by the advent of religion, science (genetics) and War (the nuclear bomb) being prime examples. Interesting read, and of course it got me thinking. Nature and evolution go hand in hand, but what the hell is nature? Human nature? And the natural?
Most I would think define nature as the world around us, green trees, animals, our seasons and the like. Things we can see, understand and interact with, like enjoying he warmth of our sun. From a mere human perspective, it's the world we live in. We've always striven to understand the natural world, with the creation of religion, and then the sciences. I don't believe those creations separate us from the natural world, but rather integrate us. We have learned a lot about nature, and yet there's a lot more that's hidden from us, especially as we dig into the small and larger aspects of the natural world. There's a hell of a lot of mysteries out there, in fact probably more questions then answers. Truth is, every answer we find, raises ten more questions, it's perhaps Gods cruelest joke.
Human nature is one of experience. We live in the natural word, even with the parts we don't understand. Yes, we can destroy nature with bombs, genetics and pesticides, but the destruction of nature isn't controlling nature. Yes, we can rewrite nature, but nature rewrites itself all the time, hence modern humans with big cities. Interesting in that our nature is consisted of a duality, the independent nature and the collective. Both important to the whole of humanity in it's march toward our future. One person can set out to change the world with the invention of a light bulb, and we can march together in an act of war. The first being an act based on the observation of the natural world around them, the second, an act of a deeper seated nature in our being, to preserve a way of life, to fulfill a desire, to right a wrong. Both based on our individual or collective experiences with the world around us.
We believe it's natural for the sun to rise, for crops to grow given the seasons. It's accepted as fact. Just as we accept as fact, humans are capable of war and destruction as much as we are capable of showing compassion and good will to others. That's where I struggle with human nature, with that duality, how can that be? How can we be so loving on one hand, and so hateful on the other? That just doesn't seem natural, but it is. Where is the example in nature of that human duality? Animals in the wild hunt for survival to feed, but upon feeding seem to interact with each other, even in compassionate ways. Humans can have full bellies and still want what does not belong to them. We can also hate in the urgency of words, and we can care for the sick and dying. There's no example of human behavior in the natural world, outside of mans own behavior. Yet we are a part of that natural world, a duality I don't understand.
Satan, the Demon King
There was a time when I scoffed at Satan's existence. The idea of inherent evil just didn't gel. Satan was easier to accept as a personification of all the ills and wrong doings of humans, individually and collectively. While carrying that belief, I'd come across stories about demonic possession, here and there over the years, and I'd mark them with an interesting 'hmmmm.' Not believing, or denying, just taking note of them. From a biblical, religious perspective, you can't have God without an adversary. Again, my belief was that Gods adversary was the evil that lives in the hearts of men. That's how I perceived it, and that manifestation could play out as a mental health issue in a lot of different forms, behaviorally and physically.
I've recently approached Satan a bit different. What if the beast actually existed, and what would the implications be? Foremost, his existence would easily be hidden, or not questioned, by our ability to do evil without his interference. I do not believe our natural state is one of peace, goodwill and harmony. That doesn't mean mankind doesn't possess those things, most of us would rather live peaceful quiet lives, we just can't because it's not who we are, being rather our own worst enemy. Due to that, it'd make the evil ones job a lot easier done, with the proverbial whisper in the ear. And that shit happens, we don't talk about those whispers, a transient thought of evil that comes out of nowhere, bothersome and horrific. Mostly ignored in the same split second they arrive, but still, a wtf moment, like where did that come from?
When it comes to a bit more than a whisper, demonic possession, I wonder what Satan's point is? Just a reminder that the guys around? Because those in full mode possession aren't capable much other than yelling obscenities and flailing their body parts in our faces. Maybe it's just a reflection of a power trip, I'm not sure. Just as God works in mysterious ways, so does Beelzebub, which by the way is a reminder of how long the concept of evil personified has been with us.
The implications of Satan's existence in our lives is horrific, one that redefines the fabric of reality and existence. Of course, we can say that about God as well, but God has given us the ability to choose to believe, or not, and I personally believe that he's fine with our choice, as long as we live our lives as decent humans. Baphomet, not so much. From a larger perspective, if I believe in the actual existence of the foul one, it lessons the importance of God, as I perceive him, meaning that humans were created to be pawns in an eternal war of choice between Gods. Think about the internal conflict then, that would reside in each of us. Perhaps that is why we are so conflicted? Perhaps, that is all the whisper the old one needs.
Yeah, I know. The shit I think of.
Taking Stock: Boom or Bust?
The American dream is littered with corpses of life washed away by financial inequality and debt. We live in a nation where forty percent of the population would meet financial ruin if met with an unexpected bill of just four hundred dollars. In real terms that means those people have less than 400 dollars in savings. Hell, 25% of us don't even have a savings account! Strange, I look up and down my middle class street, I see two cars in every driveway, campers, boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs. I have friends that take week long vacations to the crib, or Cancun, and even Europe. Logic dictates that it's all about debt as an American way of life, so much so we would sacrifice actual cash in the bank to enjoy living in the moment. Debt statistics support that thought, with average debt being 100,000, and yes, a lot of that is mortgage debt. Subtracting out the mortgage debt, it hovers around 38,000. And god forbid if you can't meet your debt obligations, the calls from collectors are harassing and never ending, and despite the long held belief there's no debtors prison, a County in Kansas has found a way to jail people for their medical debt.
We are continually told the economy's booming, and it is, statistically. Job growth is up, unemployment is down, and the stock market is exceeding our wildest dreams. I had a friend at work tell me his TSP saw it's best month last month, and I'm happy for him. The larger truth is that only half of us invest in the stock market, 52%. You know who does own most stock? 10% of the rich account for 84% of stock ownership.
The point in all this financial mumbo jumbo is this. Fuck job growth and unemployment rates as indicators of the economy. Were living on the edge of financial ruin. Every balloon pops, and pops with a bang. If you're middle class, and you have savings and your debt burden is low, you're doing all right, but think about this. If half of us can't handle a four hundred dollar emergency, when shit hits the economic fan, their inability to overcome will adversely affect you, in some form, some fashion, and it won't be pretty.
We've been lulled into a false belief of prosperity, but crushing debt is not prosperity, nor is a hundred grand invested in stocks when it can disappear overnight. Christ, our kids can't even get a decent education without sacrificing their futures to student debt, that's common knowledge, and we're alright with it, why? Because debt has become the American path to a bright future. Unfortunately, like the economy, that's an illusion.
But what do I know? I'm going to go buy a new camper and park it on my lot, and that's where I'm going to live when the meltdown starts.
Power and authority are acceptable demons in politics. Acceptable because individuals, you and I, cede authority to government with the understanding, politicians work to better our lives. Not perfect, but our Republic has stood, calling to enemies and friends alike, the best of what humanity can be. We hold our history in our honored monuments and sacred names, the Stature of Liberty, Gettysburg, the Lincoln Memorial, Omaha Beach. We are a nation of wind swept plains, frozen shores, ancient mountain ranges, inhospitable deserts, and ancient forests of green. We are a people of the world, come here of all colors, all races, all religions, all cultures. There is not one corner of the earth who is not represented here in our land, in our country, in our Nation.
We are not perfect. We are not exceptional. We are fallible, imperfect, we have made mistakes. We are people, mere humans standing before an assembly of our Gods, stumbling in their wisdom to always fulfill their expectations. We have fought with our neighbors, spilled our brothers blood, cursed those who are different, denied equality due to color or gender, and consigned the original inhabitants of this land to a life of poverty and disease. We are human. Yet, we do not hide from these tragedies, we do not sweep our injustices under the rug of history. Painful as they are, they serve a stark contrast, reminding each of us that we are not Gods holding sway over the winds of the earth, that we are mere mortals.
We are Americans. We believe all men were created equal, that belief is what has populated our Nation. Yes, there are shades of equality, but those colors of gray have been suborned by those who wish to subvert the basic meaning of those words to their own end, to reinforce their own power. Their own political power.
A political power to determine who is an American, who can be an American, to isolate, and deny God given rights to not only an individual, but to race and culture alike. 'All men are created equal', while specific to our Declaration of Independence, carries a voice that speaks to all corners of the globe, speaking Gods words that all men, wherever you abide, are equal. They are words with inherit meaning, with dedicated weight, being a cornerstone of American belief.
A cornerstone that is being weathered under false pretenses, eroded by fear of neighbor, of god, of culture and race. We are being told, we are no longer one, one people, one nation, where all men are created equal. We are being spoken to, as children, ignorant of our rich and proud heritage. We are being told to worship only one god, a false god that fills an arena with gold and power, that enriches only he who speaks from the pulpit. Where their message resounds that gods word of equality has nothing to do with the measure of a man, but with a mans wealth, the color of his skin, and his his religious preferences. So resounding is this message that it has transcribed to political power, a political power that is not to be trifled with.
They hide their beliefs under the auspices of American values, yet would deny those values to those who would willingly enshrine those values in their lives, merely because they are different. Different color, different race, different gender, different sexual persuasion, different background, different culture, different religion. They preach from the political pulpit that all are welcome, yet their political pulpit is of one color, of one religion, one sex, of one thought.
Their world is one whose foundation is based on lack of moral clarity, or ethical principal. Their world is power and control, to alone determine truth. They tear down American based morals and values, accusing their detractors with a myriad of lies and deceit, claiming they are alone are American Patriots, interpreters or our history, of what it is to be an American. It is a powerful message, and divided us as a nation, as a people, as families, as brothers and sisters, as friends, and as loved ones, breaking the bonds that has held us together since our constitution was written.
One could easily argue the speed and swiftness in the rise of their power, but the singular truth is, they have always been with us, hiding, espousing their cause, growing in number, waiting in the cloakrooms of the political venues to strike. They are now alone on the mount of power, gaining strength, soon to be unregulated strength, a strength of power never seen before in our Nation, ushering in an age once unimagined by our fathers.
And it's only Wednesday
Been a crazy week, and it's only Wednesday morning. Chiefs won, Iowa crashed, Trumps STOU, and today his acquittal. Been a crazy strange week on the personal level as well. I've been sidelined since late last week with horrible back pain, my youngest is acting like an adult, my mom's not doing well, ya know, life! But that's all my business.
I'm glad the chiefs won, I would have been happy if the 49's won. I actually watched the whole game, something I wouldn't have done if the Patriots or New Orleans were playing. It was a nice change, of pace, for once! When it comes to the caucuses in Iowa, a state I hold close to my heart, because I was born in IA, and still have loved relatives down that way, my beating heart goes out to 'em, reverberating with a WTF... There's now a lot of people questioning the whole purpose of having a caucus vs a primary. I like caucusing, I like getting out, talking with my neighbors, debating, listening to their viewpoints. I enjoy the sense of participation and community it brings. Here in MN, we've switched to a Primary starting this year, we'll see how that goes, but I suspect I won't attend another caucus in my life. I'll miss them. When it comes to the STOU speech last night, yep, I watched the whole damn thing, and half way through it I thought it was a political rally, and that was before political pundits were calling it that. I went to bed thinking, this is what we've come to, Trump refusing to shake Nancy's hand, she ripping up his speech, stupid outbursts from Democrats and Republicans alike. All I got to say is it's just going to get a lot worse. Thinking ahead to later today, I do have a wicked little fantasy that Republican Senators blindside Trump, and convict him. Fantasies are, just that, wicked or not. Republicans generally seem to think there shouldn't be any punishment, the Impeachment blight is enough, suggesting that what he did wasn't acceptable, and that he's learned his lesson. Well, good luck with that!
Thinking ahead, politically, we're all going to have some damn fine luck to pull through the divide, and luck is something I think we've run out of.
A good friend just passed, and I'm somewhat overwhelmed with emotion tended with some good memories. Life happens literally in a blink. The young don't see it, and the old are blind sided by how quick their life happens. I'm usually not at a loss for words, but I find my self pausing between sentences, trying to figure out what I want to say about life, and death. In those pauses I'm musing about my own mortality, God, afterlife, sorrow, regret, all fleshed out with memories. Lot of good memories with Randy! I keep thinking of the time we were partying out behind his house, around a huge bonfire, and after disappearing for a few minutes he came storming out dressed as Elmer Fudd, shotgun, accent and all, looking for that wrascally wrabbit. My wife and I, along with everyone else literally falling to the ground in fits of laughter. I'm also reminded of the time when I was caught between a rock and a hard place and needed help moving my mom on a moments notice. Randy was there. Friendships are built on memories, memories that sometimes don't come into play until it's too late to appropriately understand their value. I'm a solitary, repetitive creature, by nature. My routine is pretty much the same, get up, go to work, work on my website, my Yt channel, visit my mom. I have friends, mostly acquaintances, people I can laugh and talk with, but not a lot of good, close friends. I do have one old, close friend, and we talk here and there, but he's miles away, and I'm left thinking that I'm going to give him a call later today, for no other reason than to tell him how fortunate I've been to have him around, in my life, a friend to call on when in trouble, or just to vent, or bullshit with. I wish I could have told Randy that, I didn't, but I think he knew. I have another really good friend, one I've only seen once in the last thirty years, at his brothers funeral. We went our separate ways for various personal reasons, stupid, shameful reasons, he's getting a call as well. I'm only 62, and there are days I feel twice that, Randy was 60! I might have another twenty years left, might not, who knows. Who cares? That's not the point! The point is, today, the here and now, and that's Randy's final parting words to me, and this wrascally ol' man ain't going to ignore them there words. God Bless Randy, we'll dance around the bonfires of the gods again, someday.
I just discovered Randy left me something else. When my PC crashed this last summer, I lost my novel, all of it! In looking over old CDs for a picture to accompany this post, I couldn't find a picture of Randy, they're all gone, and that sucks, but I found my original draft of my novel, and that's a gift, a precious gift because I thought it was gone.
When it comes to the impeachment, I don't know who to fucking believe anymore. Both sides are guilty, and that's an indictment of our political system. It's fucking shameful. I don't like Trump, I think there's enough evidence to impeach him, but I'm not personally sure there's enough to remove him from office. I think what he did was, and always will be wrong. Democrats are guilty as well. They should have issued, and enforced subpoenas, and taken appropriate legal action, including arrest for contempt. They were on a fast track, and didn't do due diligence. They made it a pure political act, knowing full well what the outcome would be, a non conviction in the Senate.
The above said, the defense the Republicans are offering up, which is basically 'A President can do any damn thing he wants' is scary as shit for a democracy. Take Trump out of your thoughts, and think what that means for any future President? What's the use of having elected officials?
I do know this, if it was Obama, Republicans would have convicted him in a heartbeat!
Truth has always been ambiguous, open to interpretation. Facts are different, facts are what we use to convict people in a court of law. Yet, facts too are often blurred, hard to pin down. Defense lawyers are good at that, blurring facts, offering alternative views of a given fact, and so are prosecutors.
When I strip all the bullshit away from Trumps phone call, all the witness testimony, pro and con, what's left is his phone call, and I see something in that limited transcript that's bothersome, asking a foreign government to investigate an American citizen. A government by all accounts that has a reputation for being corrupt. A request not to participate in a FBI investigation, but to investigate on their own.
A smart thinking person would believe that the only good thing that will come out of this mess are some decent laws covering political nepotism, but we know that's not going to happen, and we know why. Because they all do it. That's the truth, that's the fact, and it's lost in this quagmire.
An Affair of a lifetime
I love Star Trek. I like Star Wars, but I love Star Trek. Star Treks been a part of my life since I was a kid, it's world has grown through the years, diverse in culture and characters, and if anybodies influenced my dreams of what humanity is capable of, it's Gene Roddenberry. I'm also lucky enough to have married a person who loves the world of Star Trek as much as I do. Last night we watched the premier of Picard, together. Except I cheated, I actually watched it Thursday morning when I got off work at 1am. The second time around was just as thrilling as the first. Star Trek has always been about characters first, followed by questions of our morality and our relationships, Picard is no different. The premier episode set that tone in detail, building the premise for the series. I've got a sense the season is going to explore, not what it means to be human, but what it means to be sentient, to be alive, as TNG did with 'The Measure of a Man'. After the premier episode, I think thats a valid sense, given the apparent role of not only Data, but the Borg in the series, even if it's from a historical perspective. I'm kind of intrigued how the show will equate being sentient with rights, and how it will reflect politically, to todays world. And yes, Star Trek has always been political. Always! Sometime subtle, sometimes in your face, but always political. It's always been a show that makes you think, that makes you question the world around you, morally and ethically, and that's good story telling. Being character driven, the characters in TNG were vastly different people at the end of the series run, then they were in that series premier. Picard drove that point home, that he, twenty years later was a different person then when you last saw him, and the opening scene further drove that nail home on so many different levels. The first being, his true nature was that of an explorer, and tending a vineyard wasn't all that satisfying. The second, the loss of close friends and friendships over the course of time was devastating to him, illustrated by a sense of his dreams, and what I thought was his loneliness in his vineyard, explicit in his new number one. Lastly, there was regret, over decisions made, and his acceptance of his decisions, expressed in his voice that 'he's been laying around, waiting to die'.
I also have a tendency to see what other people are saying about shows I watch, and Star Trek: Picard is no different. Some of the early reviews I read, while not disturbing, were strange, criticizing the show for it's science, for Picard being old, and just generally picking the show apart. An excellent answer to those concerns can be found here, btw Ketwolskis channel is dedicated viewing for Star Trek fans. Check him out. Later reviews were much more positive, I think due to the fact that there was so much offered up in the first episode, people needed time to digest the foundation for the entire series. All I've got to say to any further negative reviews, is that I'll whistle 'Pop, goes the weasel' to 'em, which should have been the opening song instead of Blue Moon, but of course, that would not have been as elegant, so I'm fine.
In fact, the world of Star Trek is fine.
Impeachment: The Great Divide
Politics has always been divisive, it's part and parcel of the game. Citizens have always known this and accepted this. There was a time when we actually went to war with each other because we were so damn divided. A bloody, brutal war. Hell, when it comes to decorum in our senate, what we're seeing isn't as bad as Rep. Preston Brooks, a pro-slavery Democrat from South Carolina, using a walking cane to attack Senator Charles Sumner, an abolitionist Republican from Massachusetts, on the Senate floor. Then again, it's early in the Impeachment trial, and while I don't think walking canes are in fashion, we might see a duel at twenty paces. One thing we are not going to see is truth, even though a lot of people seem to think they already know what the truth is, so the truth might not even be an important part of the process.
One thing nobody can deny, is that Trump, despite his claim to unite us, has failed miserably in his promise to do so. Of course, politicians make promises all the time that they can't keep, and they do that because they're never held accountable. Thats why we have some politicians that have died in Congress and are still casting votes.
Something else is happening though, something more akin to the great caning of Charles Sumner. An outright absence of civility. And I blame that squarely on Donald Trump, on his character as a human being. I'm not concerned with Making America Great again, we never lost our standing in the world. If you want to give Trump credit for our economy, trade deals, low unemployment, or bringing back evangelism, go ahead, I'm fine with it. Problem is, none of that matters in a nation that's so vastly divided we might collapse on the social front. One of the leading indicators of that collapse is the loss of truth due to blind obedience, so much so that compromise is considered traitorous. Another is the vilification of people who disagree with you, and Trumps damn good at that, degrading those who disagree with him on an alarming basis, to the point where it's become acceptable entertainment with his supporters. Thing is, it's not funny, and it's lead to his opposition returning the vilification of Trump and his supporters. This divide is more than just on display during the impeachment trial, it's the trials backbone. I'm left with the opinion, that while we might not see a duel, or a caning, we might see a good old fistfight break out. Funny thing is, that wouldn't be surprising, would it? And that pretty much sums the divide up.
Busting shit at the VA!
I've always been pro union. I also have problems with unions, believing they have turned from representing rank and file, to representing their profit. I say this as someone who has served as a steward, sat at the negotiating table, and attended hundreds of hours of union training and activities. Yes, they still represent their members, some better than others, but unions have, in my experience, been more concerned with their pocketbooks. Of course, there's an argument that to protect members takes deep pockets.
I work for the Veterans Administration, been a union member, but not an active union member in my five years. My union involvement was for over twenty years in the private sector. The AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees) is weird, different than the unions I've worked with. I've never had a union office down the hall in the private sector. I always received a ballot to vote for union officials, and finally, AFGE just isn't a strong union based on my experience with how they've represented people I know who have valid complaints. None of that means they don't serve a decent purpose, it just means they need to do better.
Things are about to get interesting. Trump has directed that all union offices vacate their offices from federal property as of January 31st. A year ago, Trumps order was overturned, buying the union time. On appeal, a federal judge ruled the dispute belong with the Federal Labor Relations Management. Where the dispute stands with the FLRM, I don't know.
What bothers me about Trumps directive is that it's directed at Unions, and Unions alone. There are numerous other organizations that office space with VA support, meaning they use VA phones, email, and computers. As such, the only way to look at the directive is one of Union busting. Reinforcing this is that Trumps order also directs the union that all union business has to occur off site, and any union member seeking help has to do so during their off duty hours. We've always been able to take leave, unpaid or not, to attend on site union meetings, or to meet with a union representative. Even in the private sector, management accorded union business under the same auspices, and while union meetings were held off site, one to one meetings were held on site as long as the process wasn't abused.
Unions have been weakened over that few decades. Membership is way down. The problem with this is simple, the workforce doesn't benefit, the corporations do. It's going to bite us in the ass. There's a lot of people who falsely believe that the five day work week, paid sick leave, vacation, holidays off, and overtime pay are the result of corporate goodwill. No! People literally died for that shit.
61 : New Short Story
Age is fundamental. Rocks become mountains, seeds plant their identity in their roots, the universe expands, then snaps back, and memories become entangled. What was once thought to be, never was; or is birthed anew? Once, I was in love with a woman I did not know, yet I believe she knew me, yet love was probably never part of her equation, if memory serves truth to be. From fields of sand, to a lush world of Pygmies and greens, she has sent me afar, and kept me close, tantalizing secrets and tidbits of clues along the way. Not one of which I comprehend.
Power through Hate?
Being a child of the 60s and a teen of the seventies, I grew up with domestic terrorism. The Weather Underground, SLA, New World Liberation Front, Black Panthers and a host of others. While I didn't sympathize with them, I understood them, understood what they were protesting against; inequality, Injustice, Imperialism, racism, war, all the social ills that have never changed. These new brand terrorist groups coincided with social movements such the student movements, movements for civil rights, women, gay rights, the environment and of course Viet Nam. Without doubt, one could argue that things changed due to the unrest, but how is it, nothing seems to have changed? Sure, we made some progress with civil rights, we became much more aware of our environment, women started being listened to, the war did end and public awareness of alternative sexual lifestyles entered the public American consciousness. All good things for most sensible people, but it seems that all the small steps of progress came to a screeching halt in the early eighties. Maybe we just grew tired, perhaps it was too much too soon, could be the wind just changed. I don't know, I have my own opinion, and it's politically based, having to do with Reagan and the rise of the moral majority, but I wouldn't bet my life on my opinion.
While the turmoil of the time was based in far left ideologies, I'm worried that the next wave of domestic terrorism is going to be from far right ideologies. At some point in time, I believe it's going to happen. I'm not ignorant of the fact that there already had been far right protests and killings, I'm just of the belief it's going to get worse. A lot worse. Why? It would be easy to blame Trump, but Trump isn't the cause, being just a symptom of the disease. The root cause is what lives in the hearts of the individual, in how they perceive the world around them. Who they blame for all the ills in their lives. In that fact, there's a lot of similarities to those protesters and domestic terrorist of my youth. Everyone sees injustice through their own lens, and they personalize it, needing to blame someone, somebody, and usually the wrong somebody. There is, however, a concrete difference in perception between yesterday and today. Fifty years back, people wanted better, better for all Americans, not just a select group. Fairness and equality were a concept for all Americans, not a select group.
What I see today is a much different concept, based in hate, blame and fear. What the far right wants, and I'm not sure if it's even a white america, as much as it is, a movement to secure power as theirs alone, at the expense of immigrants, people of color, people with alternative lifestyles, and anyone who isn't Christian. It's not a logical concept for a Democratic Republic, but that doesn't mean it's not doable. It is! And I think they're dead set on getting it, any means possible.
Beware the conspiracy
New vid just dropped. Give it a watch, let me know what you think with a YT comment, a like, and god forbid, how about a share. As always, there's a vlog about how the video came to be at the end.
The Coming Synth
I like sex. I believe it's a natural biological function and I get there's a thousand different ways to get off. Like everything else in our lives, thoughts on sex are evolving, or perhaps just changing. There's a lot more acceptance of gender identity and sexual preferences these days, and I'm fine by that. Good lord, I'm even fine with furries, don't understand it, but I'm fine with it. I also get that a lot of people are uncomfortable with anything other than what's historically been considered 'straight sex'. You know, the only right way to do it is between a man and woman, husband and wife, missionary style. I kinda get that too.
Like I said, sex is changing, now we're in the dawn of a new technological age, where artificiality is soon to rule, and by that, look no further than the growth of life-like sex partners infused with artificial intelligence. To the point a synth will recognize you in a crowed room, remembers your sexual preferences, and has your last couple of conversations stored for reference. Weird shit for sure!
I originally intended to write about the weirdness of synth sex orgies when I came across this article, but I got to thinking about where evolution is headed for the our species, and I've always believed the next huge evolutionary step is merging with our technology. And I got to thinking. Scientists are already thinking of ways to construct an artificial brain where your consciousness can be downloaded. We're also on track to grow embryos in an artificial womb.
Artificial bodies, brains and wombs are all on the doable track to accomplish in the next couple of decades. See where I'm going? It's not going to be too much longer where you have a synth, with an artificial brain and womb! Throw in what we're be able able to do with genetics in a couple more decades, and basically, the human species as we know it will have come to a screeching dead end. A sci-fyish future of synth wars could be in our future, and we all know how that's going to turn out. I also can't help but wonder if they will be better than us, more responsible. My guess is, probably not, with their synthetic brains being comprised of human needs, desire and wants, which means not much is going to change after all.
A Delightful Feast of Blame
The New Year just broke and #WW3 is trending. Australia is burning, the US just assassinated some evil dude, and Trump is being praised as the second coming of Christ. All in the first three days of 2020. So much for my resolution of working towards world peace, right Melania? Or was it really 'piss on the world'?
Now I don't think WW3 is starting, but I do think a lot of innocent people are going to die, and I don't think it matters whether they're Americans or foreigners, only that most of 'em will be innocent. I also think Australia will survive, and rebuild, but the loss is already horrific, and it'll get worse way before they're able to start even thinking about rebuilding, and Trump isn't the second coming of Christ, and if he is, I'm just totally fucked, along with every other liberal.
What I do think, is that I'm tired of all the bullshit, the stupidity of humans, the inability to come together, to move forward, to solve problems. We can't talk about climate change, can't talk about gun control, poverty, racial issues, or the rise of prejudice and hate. Can't talk about American boys and girls dying in foreign wars, large or small, for the entirety of my sixty two years on this planet.
This is what we've become?
I can't but help think back to the dreams I had as a young man, dreams of the American dream. Of how proud I was to be an American. That the youth of the sixties were speaking out against senseless wars, standing up for racial and gender inequalities, and spreading a culture of peace and love.
Where in the fuck did it go wrong? When did the slow burn into hell start? I don't like Trump, but I can't blame him for where we're at. I could blame the Beatles, because their break up in 69/70 devastated this old man and everybody else, leaving us thinking there was nothing else to live for. Could be Watergate's to blame, with all the disillusionment of our government that followed. There's a case for the advent of Disco too, that really dumbed us down, culturally, or maybe it was Reagan's election and the attack on unions. Or the birth of the moral majority, I like that one. Clintons impeachment, maybe? 911? Could be! Hell, I can blame George Bush for being a pussy and listening to Dick Cheney.
I guess it doesn't matter where, or when it started, which is saying if you want to blame someone, there's enough of that shit to go around. Tell you who I don't blame, and that's our kids. Or our grandkids. If you're thinking I'm blaming boomers, well, if the show fits, and it does, look in the mirror, take some responsibility for the world we live in. That said, I've got a dream that those younger than us can solve a lot of the problems we created, but you all know how my dreams turned out.
It's a week before Christmas day, and it's been hectic month, and the next week is going to be worse. It's always a busy time of year with baking, cooking, last minute gifts, forgotten cards, visiting with old friends, and of course finishing up my holiday video. Throw in the mix my wife and I both work Christmas day and Christmas eve, time is seriously short.
I'm taking my annual break, I'll be back shortly after New Years.
Have yourself a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year
Truth of the Matter
Given the amount of information available on any given topic, one would think misinformation, myths and lies would be a thing of the past. One would think! Of course, we all know that's not true, and in fact, we seem to be more confused to what the truth is on any given subject than ever. I'm not talking about flat earthers, or those claiming we never landed on the moon, there will always be a small segment of humans out on a weak limb. I'm thinking more along the lines of climate change, politics, and our media in general. For instance, News. I happen to believe what I read in the headlines of the major markets, but I understand, outlets need to frame their headlines in a certain way, and that all our media is profit based. I also understand that from time to time, they get something wrong. Generally, I believe our media is honest. I do want to draw a distinction here, I'm not including political pundits, on any network. Being somewhat of a science nerd, I also tend to trust science, and yet I know science is always evolving, new theories are always emerging. And then there's politics, and you can't talk about truth in politics unless you mention Trump. First a disclaimer, Trump ain't the first politician to warp the truth. He just does it better than anyone else. Ever! I never believed he had a shot at winning the Presidency simply because I thought people would see through his bullshit. I was wrong. So how is it, people accept his word as truth, and how do you fight it? Well, you can't fight his beliefs with truth, with facts, as others would suggest. Indeed, it's claimed that re-framing lies with facts is the way to go. I don't buy into that. So how do you change peoples beliefs, when their truths are wrong. There's a lot to unpack in that question, and it offers up more questions than answers perhaps. It starts with an examination your own personal beliefs, your facts, and the reason for them. You simply can't persuade a person to change their belief systems if you're using bogus facts yourself, or repeating a viral Internet meme as a foundation for truth. Sorry, that's laughable. It's important to establish why you believe a fact is true, from an emotional standpoint. How a fact moves you to laugh, or cry. For example, I find it hard to give any credit to those claiming our moon landings were all a hoax, simply because of the pride I take in my nations, and humanities, accomplishments. They could be right, for all I know, but the evidence is moot because I don't want to hear it simply because doing so would damage that pride. It's no different with politics. The question isn't replacing your opponents facts with your facts, facts can be found to support any position, true or not. The question is how do you get your opponents to start questioning their own beliefs, especially when their beliefs make them feel better. Part of that answer is in the 'entertainment factor', part of it is in 'being special' and another part of it is in 'belonging'. Trumps a perfect example, he's entertaining, people like that. They didn't see his mockery of a disabled journalist as beyond pale, because he was entertaining, because no one else in the room thought it was disgusting, and it bought them all together as a group, making them all special, even while knowing the behavior was probably wrong. All on an emotional level. How do you think a trump support felt when he mocked the disabled, if that supporter had a disabled child at home? I'd guess they'd be somewhat bothered, but they very well might not be bothered to the point where they withdrew their support. Same thing with his pussy grabbing. It's bothersome at an emotional, human level, but acceptable. Why? For several reasons. First, it wasn't too long ago where we mocked the disabled, where the term 'retarded' was common place, and talk about grabbing pussy, well, that really was locker room talk, something men just did. While both might stir emotional issues with a person, the emotional issues were able to be swept aside due to a sense of justification at an emotional level. An emotional connection to the person standing next to you, that you're both part of something special. That's a strong bond, and the only way to break it is by establishing a stronger bond, from another emotional perspective, and that ain't an easy thing to do.
Shame On Us
I've got no problem with my neighbor owning a gun. What I have a problem with is the the fact that our elected leaders, and I use the term 'leaders' these days loosely, won't even talk about the issue of gun violence in our society, unless it's associated with video gaming. With yesterdays shooting in Jersey, another six people died, and it's already dropped from the headlines. Missing is the outcry is that there were two shooters this time. Two people got together and planned out the attack on the Jewish Bogada, including ambushing, and killing a police officer. Just last week there was a shooting at Pensacola Naval Base, killing three, with one shooter, but there are reports the murders were filmed by one or two of the shooters friends.
I just can't fathom our politicians, regardless of party, not addressing the senseless violence. Christ, we can't even have a basic discussion about the problem. That's obscene! Doesn't matter if the body count is a hundred or more, if the victims are kids, if it's terrorism, if the attacks are racially or religiously motivated, none of it matters, we just move on, to the next massacre.
Shame on us!
Are We There Yet?
I'm a financially conservative liberal. Meaning I like money, understand profit, don't see anything wrong with it. I'm also a working class stiff, meaning I have bills to pay. I like to keep what I can of my paycheck, but it usually ain't much. Awful lot of hands out there reaching for my money. Being financially conservative doesn't mean I don't want to help others, doesn't mean I don't have a responsibility to others less fortunate. I do. I also realize that doing so comes with a personal cost, but I'm the one who sets the boundaries on that cost. I think that's true of most people, liberal or not. That philosophy doesn't translate to Government or to major business corporations, least ways, not these days. Simply looking at both entities, there's arguments I'm wrong in that assessment. Both are capable of good things, our Government, regardless of party, wants to do whats best for us citizens, as they define our interests. Corporations have a history of public service, donating money here and there, and a lot of it. When it comes to Government, it doesn't take much to understand what's going on these days. Neither party cares much for the other, and you and I are hurting for it. They're like to toddlers throwing a damn fit while the family's dining out in a fine restaurant. They're ruining if for everybody else, and it's embarrassing. Being a capitalist, it shames me to say profit ain't everything. There's a greater responsibility then to just shareholders, and paying out huge paychecks and bonuses to CEO's while laying off hard working men and women, ain't right. Used to be a business concept called 'Cost of Doing Business'. Ain't so anymore, any loss of profit is passed right along to the consumer. I don't know where we'll be 10, 20 years down the road. Lord knows, the gates of hell could open up at any moment and devour us all. Might be we're deserving of that. I'd like to think we'll be alright, but I think what's going to happen is we're going to end up living in a vastly different country, a country where no ones going to be happy with where we end up. Then again, we already might be there.
Patriotism Gone Wrong
'Love for, or devotion to one's country' is a fairly simple definition for Patriotism. Yet with in those seven meaningful words lies a universe of interpretation. Your idea of love and devotion, are there limitations to love and devotion? Is it without question? Undying? What is country? The Government, the land, history, the people? All of it? For most Americans, our love for our country is rooted in our Constitution, our history. However you define the word, it's more than a word, being a belief system. 'We the people' defines a dream, a collective belief for every word and sentence that follows. While collective, dreams are also personal. And changing. It's one of the reasons our Constitution is a living breathing document. So too is our Declaration of Independence, with the preamble, 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.' Words that speak to personal truths, equality, personal religious beliefs and our basic human rights as citizens, and as human beings. All men are equal. Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are our rights, our legacy, given to us by whatever creator we believe in. Rights expressed as truth that is evident to all.
This is where my patriotism lies, in 'We the people' and the preamble of the Declaration. My patriotism is not toward political party, our military, our president, our culture, our society, our media, but to each other, to my fellow citizens. It is a belief that regardless of who you are, where you're from, who you worship, you're sexual beliefs, or the color of your skin, we are equals, standing before our makers at the end of the day, naked and responsible for our behaviors. That each of us are entitled to our lives, to be free, to be happy.
We live in interesting times, heartbreaking times. Where patriotism is defined as loyalty. Not to a belief, but to party, to religion, to race, to culture, to people who are like minded. So much so, that there are those who betray American ideals for petty dictators, expressing their belief that patriotism is rooted in strength and oppression. Gone is the belief of equality, the dream of a better world quashed under the hollow words of subservience to the cause.
We have never been a perfect nation, we will never be a perfect nation. There will always be injustice, and inequality, there will always be wrongs, but as Americans, our history has been to resolve those wrongs. Yes, it has taken time. Yes, we have failed at times, and we continue to take our time, and we continue to fail on issues that need to be resolved. Time and failures are not reasons to cast one's loyalty toward a given person, a particular party, or a foreign government. Doing so, refutes all that we have achieved as Americans, denying our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.
I'm terrified. Night sweats and all, when I think how far robotics have came in just a short time. Sure, they've been around for a while, mostly in manufacturing, but it seems in the last few years the technology has become super charged, and some of the videos of what they're capable of is down right scary, scary as shit can be. Terminator scary. Currently, police departments are experimenting with robotic dogs, walking Patrol robots, and highway patrol robots. I'm of the mind that in 20 years, there wont be a breathing person in a blue suit. Then there's augmentation, merging technology with our physical existence by way of implantations. I'm not talking microchips just under your skin to open your door. I'm talking big time, to make you physically better, stronger, and it ain't going to cost no six million dollars. The US military is in on that, wanting soldiers with better vision, better hearing, greater strength, and real time data communication via chip implants to link with computers. A common thread of thought is the next evolutionary step for humans is the merging of our physical bodies, senses and all, with our technology. There's also a belief that if there's any intelligent life outside our own, we'll find that it's merged with their technology, which is saying, it's a natural course of universal evolution. Like I said, I'm terrified at all this techno crap. Why, because I'm worried we're going to lose something precious, our identity. Maybe not at first, perhaps not in twenty years, but think ahead 50 to a hundred years, given how fast artificial intelligence along with robotics is evolving. Think for a moment how smart phones have changed us, our interactions with each other, our interpersonal communications, and expand on that, multiply that, and the only scenario I come up with is the extinction of the human species, at least as we know it.
I suppose the Holiday season is a good time as any to highlight how we treat our elderly and disabled. NBC news does that pretty well with this bit about nursing homes kicking elderly patients who can't pay, to the curb. Who would do such a thing? If I walked in my front door and my mother was setting there in her wheelchair because she couldn't pay her 10,000 dollar monthly obligation, I'd be more than just 'pissed'. Truthfully, I can imagine that happening. My mom needs 24/7 care, and doesn't know her ass from page three, and I say that lovingly. The problem is the system, it's all for profit, even when the nursing home is non profit. Christ, they stripped her of her life's savings, her life insurance policies, her stocks, and everything she owned that was of value, and now she's eligible for Medicare. That said, my mom has it pretty nice, her environment is pleasant, she eats well, and the staff are attentive. More than I could offer here at home. I'm thankful she's where she is. Like I mentioned, unfortunately, I can imagine a scenario where she's evicted and dumped off on my front porch. I have a son with severe schizophrenia who lives in a group home. A few years back, he was discharged from a previous group home to live independently, with a support plan in place. A support plan that was woefully inadequate, and lead to his eviction. A support plan that was so not fucking followed through, that he ended up living with us for a year. Either that, or the Salvation army! I love my son, but that was a year of hell, emotionally and financially. He's in a good place now, and like my mother, gets decent care, and the staff are dedicated. That brings peace of mind that you can't buy. So to answer the question of, 'Who would do such a thing?'. People that don't care, staff that are untrained, and over worked, or don't care, and organizations motivated by profit. Sons and daughters, family members too, carry some burden. Trusting their loved ones advocacy to their social workers, not knowing the laws, not caring enough to pay attention, being too submissive in having a say, all contribute. All the conditions make for the perfect nightmare, and when I say nightmare, try cleaning up your own mother when she's shit all over the place. Been there, done that once, and nightmare doesn't come close to that horror.
Truth Laid Bare
I'm setting here at my desk, staring out my window, coffee in hand. It's a cold, damp, overcast gray day, and my great oak rises bare, the leaves have all dropped. The commanding majesty of hot summer days has been laid to rest. There's a thought to an allegory in this scene, to our current political environment. I think that when all superfluous bullshit has been stripped away from any thought, any event, any action, what remains is the naked state of truth. One would think, with all the accusations, and the counter accusations of Trumps impeachment hearings, that truth has been discarded, or at best, like the day, gray and blurred. Perhaps it has, depending upon your political beliefs, and when it comes to politics, there are often multiple truths. Strange thing, truth is, but bare facts don't lie, just our interpretation of them, and there's as many interpretations to testimony as there are leaves on my oak, each leaf contributing to the confusion. For some, there are no leaves, for others, there's a June day full of them. From where I sit, it's clear cut. The President, by his own words is guilty. The facts bear it out. Then I ask myself, if Obama had done the same, would I defend him? I seriously don't know the answer to that. That's bothersome. I would want to, but I do believe that asking a foreign entity to investigate your political rival is wrong, John Wayne, unamerican wrong. I would hope my core beliefs would prevail over my political beliefs. I begin to understand the division in our Nation, in our government. More so, when I wonder if there's no distinction between core vales and ones political beliefs. From a political standpoint, and a moral one as well, I don't like nepotism. If Hunter Biden enriched his life due to who his father was, I have problems with that, just as I have problems with Jared and Ivanka. Both being green leaves to blur and confuse, yet each being a problem of their own accord. As I look out my window now, an hour later, the sun has came out, and I'm reminded that in a few short months, my oak will bud again. I'm not sure that's true of the political oak, thinking instead that the cold days of a political winter are going to be very long, and the hope of spring breaking isn't soon to be seen.
The Entanglement of Reality
Quantum Physics is some crazy, weird shit, and entanglement goes a long way in reinforcing the weirdness. Simply, if you have two objects separated at a great distance, what happens to one object, has an effect on the other, meaning the two objects are connected. Like, if I had a brother on the opposite side of the world, and he died, I'd be affected by his death, but not till I learned of his passing. At the quantum level, that connection is called entanglement, and the effect is immediate, there's no passing of time. Like I said, weird shit, it's almost as if there really is a force binding us all together. It even gets weirder, consider objective reality, which is if two people see a coin toss, both can agree on the result. That's what objective reality is, common agreement of a result of an action. A recent experiment conducted proves that's not always the case. In trying to understand the argument, you know, reading the article, I struggled to figure out what the fuck they were talking about. So I'm left with taking their word for it. I'm fine with that, but then I got to thinking, you know, it's not all that complicated. Not really! There's a whole lotta evidence in our lives that prove truth is dumbed down to perception, the current state of politics is one example, our media another. Hell, one person can like a movie, and another hate it. I suspect there are two people in existence, somewhere, that would argue over the results of a coin toss as well. I used to believe that truth, as defined by facts, was indomitable. I'm not so sure anymore, our reality is as strange as it is on the quantum level, and if the foundations of our existence are based on all that quantum weirdness, it makes sense our perception is just as weird.
Weird, Changing Times
I've always been a believer that UFOs exist, but I also like to think that that I'm somewhat level headed in my beliefs, in that I'm open to a multitude of explanations for any reported sighting. Meaning I don't get too excited about reports of UFOs, and I don't go to much of any length to research the phenomena. I've found the field of investigating UFOs to be full of attention seekers, misinformation, government secrecy, and misidentification, including a lot of photo-shopped videos and images, all with a lot of bullshit conspiracy theories sprinkled on top. It's simply too hard to discern truth. Trying to find that truth can be time exhaustive, frustrating, and downright aggravating.
But, life is weird, and sometimes I get drawn into a story of a report that just knocks my socks off. The recent Naval release of video obtained from F18 Hornet, was, and still is mind boggling. But damn, if it doesn't get weirder. The Video from the Hornet was taken in January of 2015, off the coast of Florida. Weirder is what happened back in 2004, with fighters from USS Nimitz. Joe Rogan has an excellent (as always) Podcast regarding the Nimitz incident that's jaw dropping and eye opening.
Doing a bit of research into these incidents, there's a lot of takeaways. Most are open to argument, based on interpretations. I'm fine with that, but one takeaway that's undeniable is the fact that the Navy released videos of an incident they had no answer for. True, they're not calling the unidentified tic tacs, visitors from another planet, but they're not denying it either, leaving answers to what they might be, to the individual. That opens a new chapter in how our Military, at least the Navy, addresses sightings. And that can't be a bad thing.
I've been around the shithouse a couple of times, and I ain't run into a lot that offends me. A lot of it's my character, in that I am kinda laid back. I'm not particularly the religious sort either, tending to leave the almighty righteous to their own god uppance, mainly because I have a host of relatives down south imbibed with the zealousness of evangelism, and I love every one of 'em. But sometimes, I just can't help myself. Like masturbation, when it's time, there ain't no holding back, and I just go for it.
Such as it is with those who preach and propagate the Prosperity gospel, which is basically claiming God doesn't care about your soul, only your money. Wanna be saved? Want Gods love, then give him as much of what ya got, and a little bit more. A monthly contribution buys you wealth, riches deposited directly into your life, courtesy of the great white man above. Now I realize there's a fool born every minute, and it ain't right to make fun of fools, but damn sweetness, if you buy into this crap, you've got some serious spiritual needs, needs that no amount of cash ain't going to solve. It is however, hard to blame an idiot once separated from their gold, because even I've spent a wooden nickel on a lottery ticket. Now, Churches asking for money ain't nothing new, but truth and fact says expecting God to increase your financial and physical wealth and health cuz you dropped him a twenty is a bit on the wild side. Then again, I might be wrong, as it sure seems to work for those telling others to drop more than twenty in the basket passing. But I'm kinda confused here, when you got pastors telling their flock they need a new jet plane, why they gotta keep asking for donations from the flock. Ain't they given enough to god, so that god provides for their needs? And what about a minister refusing to open his doors to those in need, all because he's worried the sick and poor might contaminate his church. Guess I shouldn't be all that confused tho', as Pentecostals believe their lives should be transformed and uplifted by their service to their faith, and a new jet plane certainly does that, and locking your doors at night protects you from the ravages of sin and Satan.
Confusion aside, the thing that offends me in all this is pretty straight forward, in that in my own belief, if I see a man begging for a quarter, I should give him a buck. Gods going to point shit like that out when I stand before him in judgment. But a rich man, dressed as a beggar asking for a hundred is one thing, and a rich man dressed as a rich man asking for a hundred is something else, and both ain't going to be happy when they stand before God. Both those men pry on the goodwill of people to enrich their materialistic lives, not their faith, not their souls, and it's not only common sense, that it's wrong, it's also deeply offensive.
Primary Thoughts: Sanders
Polls: Bernie has dropped from a high of 24% in late May to just under 17% as of today, 11/5. Biden's around 29% and Warren's has a safe second finish at around 21%. What's interesting is that Bernie's percentage range has stayed in a three percent margin for the last six months, while Biden has shedded numbers, and Warren after gaining, has dropped about 5 percentage points. Bernie has his base.
Can he Win the Primary? Only if he expands his base. It really is that simple. Bernie will also have to fight the DNC machine, even after pledging allegiance to it back in May. That said, the DNC will be backed into a corner, especially after how they treated him in the last presidential election. However, that corner won't exist unless his numbers start vigorously improving. That is dependent on his message, and his message has not changed his entire political career.
Can Bernie Sanders beat Trump? I'm going to go out on a weak limb here. Yes! But there's a hell of a lotta 'ifs' that have to happen. First and foremost, Bernie has to fire up the winds of change that's smoldering in the hearts of every American, and of the candidates, Bernie might be the most capable of doing just that. The problem is, his current message isn't inclusive of the majority of citizens, and I just don't see him broadening his message, making it palatable to more than his base. The second is Trump, in how he decides to campaign against Bernie. We know he'll go all out with the 'socialist' agenda, but the question I have is, will Bernie be able to rise up against that, and be heard. Can his, will his, message be heard from wavering Trump supporters?
Will Bernie change it up? Bernie's an old political dog, with experience from the last presidential election under his belt, and how he was treated by the DNC is still fresh in peoples minds, but it's hard for an old dig to learn new tricks. The foundation for change is always there, for any candidate, so it's a question of type of change, and timing. With debate season coming to a close, and the primaries starting in less than four months, I'd expect Bernie to start expanding his message, to reach out to more Americans, but remember what I said about old dogs. That said, It would not surprise me in the least, to see Bernie wake up one morning, look himself in the mirror, and say to himself, 'I really want to win this thing, I can win this thing', and start reaching out to more than his base. I'd like to see that.
Several media outlets have ran with the thought that Katie Hills case is complicated, and I'm left scratching this old mans thick skull. She smokes a bit of weed and she's Bi, likes threesomes, and maybe had sex with a subordinate. WTF, I mean, what the fuck! What is complicated here? What am I missing that would force this person to resign her position as a California Congresswoman? Why does Al Franken keep coming to mind? Good lord, even Duncan Hunter came to her defense, but I'm thinking his motivations were to make his own case a lot more palatable. I don't buy into the fact that Democrats hold themselves to a higher standard, yet there's a case there, but I believe it's more political, and saving face with ideology, and we certainly don't need Republicans coming to our defense, so I'm left wondering why she actually resigned? I do believe it was a personal decision, I don't believe she was told to take a hike. So I'm left with wondering if there was more on the horizon. No doubt, people are digging into her past, but on my end, as things stand, I don't get her resignation. There is a lot more to the story, an abusive, ratfuck ex that released the private pictures, along with a culture that holds women to a whole different standard then men. Consider, Hunters still in office, Trump has a bazillion accusations against him. I get issues are not always black and white, that truth is dependent upon personal views, but damn, all this woman did was smoke some weed, and have a threesome. Some of which I've done myself!
Meet Dr. Rubicon
Don't make an apointment!
An Abyss Too Wide
Americans are used to political divide, along with religious and cultural divisions. That's what happens when a nations heritage is originated, and continually infused with immigrants. Ideals, ideas, beliefs, all conflict; largely due to our unwillingness to leave our own behind when we reach the beaches of America, whether we've been here one generation or more. Yes, most immigrants assimilate, but we all hold onto something, a sense of who we are, where we came from, and we all have individual opinions of what it means to be an American. We also have a shared history of distrust, alienation, and hate. Native Americans, African Americans, Catholics, Italians, the Irish, all have suffered at the hands of others, and many still do. In a sense, our history is the bedrock that has led to the political divisions we see today, where facts, and truth are denied, lost in personal beliefs, and personal perceptions, and not an unwillingness, but rather an inability to distinguish. We have simply lost the trust that truth brings, and yes, truth is multifaceted, but ignorance has destroyed any possibility of truth, on both sides of the political coin. So much so, that there are many who believe a second civil war is a possibility, and even propagate that possibility. Without thought to the death and destruction, not only of property and loved ones, but to our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence, our shared history. There are those who relish the belief that the only way to save their country, is to destroy their country. They somehow believe, they will come to power in a new America at the conclusion of a second civil war, that the righteous will prevail. Truth is, there would be nothing left, we would be more segmented, fragmented into a thousand different pieces, each piece shattered beyond repair.
Life as I Know it
Being an old fuck, one would think I have a wealth of perspectives to weigh in on. You know, tidbits of wisdom, experience gained, things I've learned along the rocky road, but the soulful truth is, I don't know shit, ain't learned nothing to pass along, to make your life better, easier. I'm a bit troubled by that, 'specially when I see all these life coaches out there, spouting words of wisdom to make the lives of their audiences better. I mean, like where did I miss the boat, more so, fuck, wheres the river? Maybe it's because I've never listened to anybody, cuz I've always thought the only voice of value was my own. 'Cept my wife, when she speaks, I listen. Listen like she's God handing out the ten commandments. That doesn't mean I'm a pussy, just means I'm smart enough to admit there's one person in existence that's smarter than this old man. When the skid-marks hit the underwear tho', and I think back over the course of 60 some years, from a childhood lost in the dark jungles, to losing my virginity at 14, drug addled teens, a stint in the military, raising a family, and years of toil in the blue collar workforce, I can't help but wonder, what the fuck! Yeah, it's been alright, might even say it's been good, even happy good. Somethings missing though. I used to be full of wonder and awe, used to believe life held some great mysterious answers that would be revealed along the way, but the only thing that's been revealed, is that I'm going to end up like my mom, lost in time and space, unable to recognize God and her commandments. Was a time, a few decades back, when I thought humanity was on the cusp of something great, that all or achievements listed out in that book of good things that humans have done, at the top of that list would be the creation of something that would bring the peoples of the world together. Turned out to be a shit show. Now don't get me wrong, I love the Internet. Thing is, it's taught me the one thing I do know for fact, that the only voice of value is mine. Now I don't know if that's closing the circle, or even if realizing that, is a good thing, but it is all I have left. Not saying I'm smarter, better than anyone, cuz I know for a fact, there's better, smarter out there, but damn, if I can find 'em, and that's due to a difference between value, worth, and intelligence. Kinda like knowing a cup of Starbucks coffee ain't worth the hundred they want. Interesting too, as I read back through these weighted babbling words of whitespace, is there ain't no vale in them. I am struck, however, by the comment I made about once being filled with wonder and awe. If anything, I'm saddened by that loss, meaning I don't have any dreams left, and I figure that's because dreams are for the young, not for old foolish men like me. Foolish because chasing 'em, well.., you gotta be an old one to understand.
There Go I
Are you a pre-packaged product? A box of Mac and Cheese setting on a shelf, along side a dozen other blue and creamy cheese colored boxes, in a store populated by several different brands of mac and cheese, among a ocean of several thousand other products? What makes you stand out, what makes you the best choice, what makes you different, desirable? Probably not much! You're the same religious domination your parents, and grandparents were. You hold onto the same societal norms as your neighbors do, your political views are based on your exposure to your local environment. Any person born and raised here, have the same generic educational background, our sense of our history and culture is the same, regardless of race and culture. One would think, the inherent way to grow as a person, is to take all that our elders have taught us, given us, and sort through what works for us, and discarding what does not. One would think! Most of us believe in the concept of free choice, free will, but is the choice between generic mac and cheese vs a name brand free choice. Is the choice to buy or not buy, yours? Is the ability to choose a course of action, free will? Of course it is, least I'd argue it is. But what drives that simple decision, Economics? Sick of eating the shit? Don't care for it? Or just wanna try some Velveeta? Truth is, the decision is an easy one, even impulsive, often at the last moment, one we don't have to think a lot about, and we don't have to defend it with a lot of explanation. It's a safe decision, with little, if any repercussions. Unlike walking into your parents house and telling them, you're no longer a Christian. Common thought would dictate you don't have to defend that personal decision, but you would, you'd try to justify your choice, explaining how you came to your decision. Of course, no one needs to explain their personal life choices, but there's a deep seated need to do so when we do the unexpected, when we shock our friends and loved ones, because they are our friends and loved ones, and no matter our choices in life, we do not want to lose those we hold close. I believe in free choice, I also believe choice takes courage, courage steeped in education, knowledge, a lot of self introspection, and heart. Unlike selecting a box of mac and cheese, it requires hard work, a willingness to question everything you've been taught, to take what works in your life, moving what does not to the back burner, and to open yourself to new ideas, new challenges, new possibilities. Sadly, the hardest choice most of us will make, is generic or name brand?
I haven't seen a movie in a while that moves me to the point where I have to write about it, and after watching Joker last night, I'm moved. The whole damn thing was a layered character study in mental illness, and indicative of societies inability to deal with mental health issues. Of course, my thoughts are biased, because I immediately identified with overworked therapists, loss of meds, loss of care, misunderstanding, and stigma, having an adult son with severe schizophrenia. The movie was also wrapped in the chaos of financial inequality, where I found myself strangely sympathetic to the voices of the clown crowd, finding a surreal appreciation of the destruction in the Jokers dancing, a conductor moving the music to his own tune. Not to be left out, is the origin story itself, not only the Jokers, but Batman as well. All set within a backdrop of a lengthly garbage strike that is allegorical. What makes the whole movie work is Joaquin Phoenix, and I'd be surprised if he doesn't get an academy award nomination. There's a lot of personal take aways in Joker, and people are only going to see what they want, what their life's experience allow, but damn, the first time I heard that laugh, I identified. I've heard it one too many times, being reflective of life's strange journey.
The Rights a Bunch of Lazy Cocksuckers
Democracy is a work in progress, and the key word is work. Work through participation, and participation is more than voting every now and then. Participation is questioning our Government, speaking out when injustice is perceived, researching issues, listening to both sides of debate, in other words being active in our democracy, hence the word activism. I get I have friends that voted for Trump to shake things up, because Washington was a cesspool. It still is, and worse, with no signs of changing. It's easy to cast a vote for a candidate, just because your dissatisfied, it's a lot harder to cast an informed vote for a candidate you might not like, but might be a real agent of change. It takes a lot of soul searching as well, determining what's not only best for you, but what you believe is best for the American people. That ain't easy. The left is active in topics such as climate change, womens rights, gun control, pay and gender inequalities, our environment, and a lot more. The right, not so much, their activism is based on denial, and throwing shit and seeing what sticks, and gerrymandering, moral supremacy, and hypocrisy. The right was outraged, and rightly so, when Kathy Griffin posted a meme with a decapitated Trump, but remain largely silent with the recent horrific fake video of Trump taking out a church congregation. Why? It suits their purpose, a purpose of creating division, and hate among all of us. If you're a Christian, and don't speak out against wholesale murder happening in a church, or you're a trump supporter and let the violence slide, and don't speak out, you're a lazy cocksucker, set in your ways. But let's not stop with that, if you're fine with betraying our allies, the Kurds, if you're fine with Trumps attacks on minorities, with crippling our farmers, with the GOP redrawing voting districts to thwart the American vote, you're a lazy cocksucker, refusing to research issues. Lazy cocksuckers believe reposting memes, sound-bites, propagating rumors and hearsay, and watching Hannity, is participating in our Democracy. No one likes a lazy cocksucker. Don't be a lazy cocksucker.
Weird, and Still Happening
In 1606, farmers outside of London reported 'Whole slaughters of sheep have been made, in some places to number 100, in others less, where nothing is taken from the sheep but their tallow and some inward parts, the whole carcasses, and fleece remaining still behind'. Four hundred years later, five purebred bulls were found mutilated in Oregon, their blood drained, and body parts surgically removed. Explanations have ranged from natural predation to aliens, to cults, to government black ops, and the truth is, it's an enduring mystery. While the government has investigated, and arrived at the conclusion the mutilations are the result of predators, common sense dictates otherwise. Take the recent case in Oregon, while one mutilation might be attributed to a predator, five prized purebreds at a time is cause for a pause, a wtf moment. Cattle mutilations have been with us in the modern era since the seventies, when it was believed satanic cults were responsible, but that theory has since been put to rest. To make the mystery a bit more horrific, there has been some reports of human mutilations as well, but I don't want to go there, it's more than a disturbing thought. There's been a lot of research, books written, theories put forward but the bottom line is, cattle assholes are being cored, body parts are being removed, and blood is being drained, and somebody, or something is responsible, and they've been at it for a long time.
Cat's Outta the Bag, Guys!
Women fake orgasms! For a lot of reasons! They don't want to embarrass you, you're just not that good of a love stud, they're tired, or just can't get there, etc, etc... Yep, there's a lot of reasons women fake it during sex, and men, never know the difference. In truth, the better women fake it, the more masculine we think we are, so women, if you're going to fake it, fake it good. Personally, on a side note, I don't like the word 'fake', I prefer 'improvised', it makes me feel better, now that I'm aware of the truth. Of course, men have secrets too, like after we've had our fun, we're just secretly wishing the women would fake it so we can roll off, smoke another joint, and relish our manhood. Now as a man, a sexually experienced man, I can truthfully say not all women fake their orgasms, I've never ran across one. When I asked my wife if she had every done so, her reply was an honest negative. Her hearty laugh at the absurdity of the question reaffirmed my sexual prowess. Now, if you're not me, and chances are you're not, you might want to ask yourself how you can tell if a woman fakes an orgasm, and you can, but damn, all that shit takes a lot of work, 'specially in the realm of paying attention, and what man wants to divert his energy to paying attention when all they wanna do is boink for the next 30 seconds.
Trump, the Elite.
I don't think Donald Trump is sound of mind, at best his behavior is not that of what we would expect from our President. There's an argument that doing things different doesn't make a person unfit, mentally or otherwise, and I get that. At best, his character, his belief systems, his upbringing is so far removed from a normal person, that his sense of entitlement, of whats right, what's wrong, morally, ethically and professionally is far beyond that upbringing of an average person. How does one reconcile the recent allegations that he literally asked the President of Ukraine to investigate his political opponent, or ask the Australian Prime Minster for help in investigating the Mueller investigation. Quid Pro Quo aside, doesn't this send red flags? Don't we have our own investigation agencies? Apparently Trump believes we're so jaded as a government, so far down the rabbit hole of the deep state belief conspiracy, that he has to turn elsewhere, unable to not only trust our elected officials, but our media as well, or more importantly, his appointees. The problem I have is simple, he directs these allegations only toward those who seek to hold him accountable, without proof, or example. Trump has led a life of entitlement, which has created a false sense of security, that he wraps his behavior in be it cheating on his wives, his business dealings, and now his political voice which he uses on twitter. If one were to read his twitter post, without his name attached, one would think the person had some serious problems, re-tweets of white Nationalists, lies, and personal attacks, all sprinkled with misdirection and a lot of mumbo jumbo in between, not to mention bad grammar and mis-spellings. While I'm open to Government malfeasance, because people are capable of being evil and conniving, and being somewhat conspiracy orientated myself, I find it hard to believe a deep state exists, especially without proof. If trump has proof, then it's time to put his cards on the table, let our intelligence agencies investigate, remembering those who head those departments are Trump appointees, instead of running to the rest of the world asking them to investigate. Because that's, well.. traitorous.
Our American Media
If one is looking for truth, it won't be found in the mirror, and one could easily argue our media is the reflection of our search for truth. Yet, there's also a huge segment of the American population that views our media with disdain and mistrust, and our President reinforces that view on a daily basis. Whatever one believes, one fact stands out, the media is a powerful force, with the ability to sway public opinion, and thus change the course of American history. That power is not unique to the 21st century, rather being attributable to the history of our press in general. Given that our founding fathers ascribed the free press as the bulwark of our democracy without framing how that bulwark should function, it's hard to reconcile our expectations of what a free press should look like. The starting point is history, understanding that our media has always been political, the Boston Gazette for example, reflecting opposition to English rule leading to the revolutionary war, or how the antebellum press laid the foundation for the civil war, or the role of yellow journalism in the Spanish American war. Our press has a history of being partisan, and swaying public opinion. But it's not that simple, is it? The war of independence would never have been fought, or slavery never an issue without the press, and yet yellow journalism is often cited as leading us into an unwanted, unjustified war.
Our press shouldn't be simple, straight forward; issues are complex, multifaceted, with differing opinions, allowing the reader to reach their own conclusion as to their personal truth. And therein lies the conundrum of the mirror as truth, if the reader, or viewer refuses to base their opinions on a variety of sources, that person is uninformed. Calling out one media organization as fake news, with out realizing the faults of your own preferential news source is ignorance. That ignorance is heightened with websites passing as news organizations, whose only purpose is to spread misinformation, rumor, and confusion, and more so, to reinforce ones already concrete political positions. Many of these websites are throwbacks to yellow journalism, dependent upon the ignorance of their readers unable, or not wanting to understand the complex issues of the day.
As a die hard news junkie, I get our mainstream media makes mistakes, is often based in opinion, as opposed to straight news, but it's incumbent on me to know the difference, to seek dissenting views, to be informed, to be open minded to change my opinion. In a time when news is reduced to headlines and sound bites, I'm the one responsible to be informed, to read deeper. It's not perfect, never has been, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
I wasn't asked if I wanted to be circumcised, and after doing a bit of research, I probably would have said no, no fucking way. I mean what man out there wants to lose 27.2 percent of his penis size? Or lose 32% of their sensation during sex? Or narrow their urethra, making it hard to take a leak? It's a proven fact that men who are circumcised are obese, aggressive, and incapable of functioning sexually as well as men who are not circumcised. Circumcision is the number one factor in low self esteem among men as well. I've always wondered why I suffered to the extent I have, and now I have my answer. Some damn doctor cut off half my dick when I was a baby, and I wasn't happy about it back then, and I still ain't. See, I was short changed from the get go, and that bothers me, it's lead to lifelong resentment toward my parents, and society in general, along with a general envy of men whose parents were responsible, and didn't get their son's penis clipped. I mean, how can I not be envious of men with bigger dicks, knowing mine would have been a lot fucking bigger then theirs. Man, what coulda been! Mom, Dad.. why? I thought life was all about choices? You never allowed me to become the man I coulda been, a real man, with a big 'un. Did ya ever stop to think about me? Nope, ya'll just handed me off to some doc and said cut the damn thing down to size. Thanks for teaching me that most choices in life ain't mine to make, and making my wife laugh in disgust. I really do appreciate that.
Primary Thoughts: Warren
Polls: As of Sept 20th, Warren trails Biden by 12 points in a 538 poll of likely voters, and 11 points in a poll of registered voters. Nationally, Warren polled at about 6% back in late March, and is now at 19.8%, in a RCP poll of sept 21st. Looking at this poll, she is the only democratic candidate whose numbers have been on a solid upward trend. Warren also just nudged out Joe Biden in a new Iowa poll by 2 points.
Can She win the Primary?
Yes! But here's the problem. Within the democratic establishment, Biden leads Warren by 79 points when it comes to endorsements, 127 to 48. Warren trails both Harris and Booker, each with 92 and 59, respectively. I would think if her national poll numbers keep trending upward, party leaders would start taking a harder look. I'm guessing that might happen. The only reason it wouldn't is if democrat leaders are absolutely convinced Warren can't win against Trump, totally disregarding Warren's popularity.
Can Elizabeth Warren beat Trump?
In a match up, media, outside of Fox news, is going to be pro Warren. That will help, but not enough to cement a win. If she wants to close the deal, it's going to have to happen on the debate stage. Instead of talking about her policies and plans, she's going to have to kneecap Trump. By that, I mean attacking his moral character, his fitness not only as a President, but as a human being, listing out his idiocy point by point, with charts if need be. She has to reinforce that media support with meat. Red, raw meat. Policies and plans are OK, but people are going to want to see a fighter, a winner. Remember back when Trump was hovering over Clinton during the debates, and she didn't react? If Warren wants to win, my advice, react, and strongly, reducing him to a blithering idiot. That's how she'll win.
Do I think she'll change it up?
Warrens a pretty smart cookie, and as primary season gets rolling I think she will ratchet it up with a fighting spirit. I don't think she'll settle into a mediocre roll based on her upward poll trends, if she does, it'll be a disaster in my opinion. Sure, Warren is already a fighter against corporate America and social injustice, but we already know that, on both sides of the aisle. If she wants to win, she's gong to have to appeal to disgruntled trump voters, and independent voters, especially those independents that voted for Trump. They're not going to want to listen to long, drawn out policy plans, they're going to want to know that when they wake up in the morning, the sun is shining on America. The way to do that, is to be a disinfecting agent.
I ain't judgmental!
Give a watch, let me know what you think. I'm having second thoughts about the background music I chose, but I wanted something chaotic. That said, there's just so much bullshit in our lives, ain't there?
Something bothers me me when our Military claims a UFO video is real, but that's all it is, an Unidentified Flying Object, meaning it ain't alien. Despite the video showing the UFO making aerial maneuvers that are not physically possible, they admit the footage is real. Wait a minute, you have flying objects capable of making high speed maneuvers, outrunning your fastest fighters, appearing and disappearing out of thin air, and all you have to say is, 'Uh, we ain't worried!'. I'm guessing they've been worried since 1947, and they've thrown tons of cash into investigation and research into the phenomena, a hell of a lot more that what's known publicly. If our Military thought, even for a second, these UFOs were of earthly origin, sourced to a foreign entity, that thought would have kicked off a major technological arms race, just like sputnik kicked off the space race. And it would have been public, because funding would have been a whole hell of a lot easier. The fact that past investigations are mired in conspiracy, and controversy, are telling, there's something strange going on in our skies.
Life Ain't Fair, but...
Living paycheck to paycheck all my life, I'm used to financial pain and the continuing struggle of being a common American on the lower rung of the middle class. I put in my forty hours, pay my bills on time, and I'm happy for the 1% raise I get every few years. I've been a good boy. I've always been aware life ain't fair, my daddy taught me that when I was a young one, so I never expected otherwise. I've always known injustice exists, and I've always told people what I think about that shit, never thinking that what I have to say would ever make a difference. It hasn't. Being a wild man in my youth, I naturally knew that when I stepped up in front of a judge, I wasn't going to like what he had to say, but I'll never forget the day when a child molester stood before Judge Ryan, just before I did, and got probation, because he was a pastor or some damn thing. I remember thinking old man Ryan was a pretty lenient judge, and that I was going to be OK, until the jail cell door slammed shut behind my ass for the next six months. Always thought that was odd. Me, setting for half a year for drunk driving while some pervert was walking around free. Never have I understood our judicial system, but what I've always known is, is that there's one for them, and one for me. If you're looking for a definition of who 'them' is, well you simply haven't been paying attention, or you're one of them. Chances are you're no Felicity Huffman or you're last name isn't Sackler. One a celebrity, and a minor one at that, and the other, rich fucks, major rich fucks. Now, 14 days in prison and a thirty thousand dollar fine for Ms. Felicity might seem an appropriate sentence for the movie star, 'cept I don't think she'll set in the general population of San Quentin for two weeks. And the thirty grand, well, her hub has that covered. Hell, she paid half that to cheat. When it comes to the Sackler family business of pushing drugs on unsuspecting citizens, not one of 'em is going to spend a day behind bars. Sure, they're going to pay billions in compensation, but not out of their personal deep pockets. Their company will pay that shit, and just to make sure, they've moved billions of their personal money off shore.
Like I said, I know life ain't fair, but does it gotta be so damn rub it in your face not fair. Cuz that shit's really getting old!
Wow, this resonates, funny, sad and true. We all have our place in life, and it's never truer than our spot in bed. Even singles, while having the entire bed to themselves, have a favorite spot. Couples though have a not so imaginary line and fairness and equality have nothing to do where that line is drawn. I thought, stupidly and wrongly some years back that my square footage would increase if I dished out several thousand greenbacks for a Cail King. Hell, my area decreased, but at least if my better half wants to talk to me, she has to yell. Better yet, she can't flail out when she has a night terror (thanks Walking Dead) and find her mark, me. And.. and why does she get all the blankets?
Purveyor of bullshit, Alex Jones is shouting that Trump is considering a social credit score to determine who can buy a gun. But what the holy fuck is a social credit score? Say for instance, if you speak ill of your government, your score plummets, and there are consequences to bad scores, like not being able to buy an airline ticket, or your Internet gets throttled.
Sound unreasonably inhuman? Well, talk to China, cuz it's their system, and it's well underway to being fully implemented by next year. I've got so many thoughts on this, I gotta breath and take a minute. First, I don't believe a damn thing Alex Jones has to say, about anything! But I'm in pain, because he did create an awareness of something I totally didn't know about, and I struggle to wrap my mind around that fact, that AJ is capable of warning us about something we should be aware of. Which brings me to my second point. That Trump would try to implement something like a social credit score here in the land of the free. But not for gun control, rather to punish his critics. Using it or gun control sounds like a pretty good idea, you post hateful shit, violent shit, the penalty is you lose your guns. Sounds pretty much like the Red Flag Laws, which I agree with btw. But man, this is a slippery, greased, steep slope of a hill.
While there might be daylight and distance between taking a persons gun away who is posting on-line threats, and tweeting your dislike of Trump, having a social credit score would be a fucking nuclear bomb in a war against your enemies, one that someone like Trump would utilize. That's scary shit, 'specially in a world where his fellow republicans cower in fear of the man. Of course, there's probably a few, or more, democrats who would love to possess such a weapon. People like big weapons. Course, the flip side to the argument is our system of credit scoring, which is also kind of weaponized. One bad mark on our credit system, and you linger for seven years in the doldrums of a mediocre credit score. Either way, we're just screwed, and my asshole hurts!
I'm old, just a hair away from old as fuck. I can't physically do a lot of shit I used to, my bones ache, back doesn't bend, arthritis has set in, and sometimes my dick don't work. There's people my age in a lot worse shape, like buried, and others look pretty good, specially with dyed hair. I'm also of the opinion that in the next twenty years I'm going to end up like my mom, and her mom before her, lost in the confusion of life's memories. I could bitch about how my life turned out, but hey, it turned out the way it did because of my decisions, most of 'em I'd make again. The thing about choices though, is sometimes you don't have any good ones. Sucks, but true. Sometimes, when it comes to bad decisions, there's a tendency to take the easy way out, and that's usually a disaster. For the most part, I'm happy with my decisions, the major ones anyway. There's been a couple of times when I've had to make a course correction after I started walking down one path, and all I got to say about that, is thank God I had the common sense (and a pretty damn smart wife) to do so. If there's wisdom that comes with age, it's because I can look back, and relish the idea that I was smart enough to know I was fucking up. There's a couple of roads I wish I would of stayed on, like writing, or rather kept working toward being published. I've always wrote. When I was younger, I thought it was established fact I'd be a well known author, or I'd win the lottery, or aliens would descend from the skies and make life interesting. But that's what younger people do, dream! Imagine a world where the young didn't bother to dream. It'd be a strange, bleak existence, without change, without the flourish of color, without hope. A funny thing about dreams though, is how people dream, and what they dream of, and how people react when those dreams crash on the shores of reality. Back in the day, I though my generation was going to change everything, eliminate poverty, fight corruption, end war, and make our courts fair, and all we did was make all those things worse. Big dreams laid to the crashing waves. Why? I dunno, might be a lot of the voices back then sold out for more than a couple of bucks. Might of been disco! Who the fuck knows? Be aware young ones, there's a lesson there, somewhere.
I live in a place where Somalians are hated. The hate is palpable, in your face, and everywhere. I'd like to justify that hate by thinking it's confined to a small, but vocal group of people, but I'm not so sure. Funny thing is, if I talk to one of my friends who fall into this gathering storm of distrust, they don't see it as hate. They just don't want them around, unless they talk like they do, dress like they do, act like they do. They rage on-line, and in person, against all the free help the Somalian population receives, how they get free living, free medical, all without contributing a damn thing back. I don't know how much of that is true, and it doesn't matter, because facts don't change anyones beliefs. If truth was a factor in our lives, people would pay attention, they'd take time to think about things, do a little research, to converse with people of opposing views, but it's easier to bitch and complain, then to question one's own feelings. An interesting truth is that most of the people who find fault in these new American immigrants are not bad people. Most people here are honest, hard working folk, and regular church goers, made more intriguing because most Somalians are here because of our churches. Being honest, hard working, and church going isn't an excuse, nor does doing so clarify the problem. In fact, it confuses the hate, making it hard to understand. From a personal perspective, and that's a perspective of one who grew up as an entitled American in third world countries, I don't get it. The only answer I can come up with is fear, fear of change, fear of loss, fear of anything that's different, fear of anything that threatens a way of life. And hates a passionate way to express those fears. Wrong, but passionate. There's a thought too, that the degradation of an entire culture also has it's roots in larger fears, fear of political instability and division, fear of financial stress, and fear of the crushing weight of life that at every turn seems to be more complicated. We work harder for less, the rich get richer, and we parse our pennies for a loaf of bread, all while screaming at our politicians for relief, only to find out once elected, they don't seem to give a damn. We surf the net, see IG posts of those living the good life, and are left wondering where's my vacay in the sun bleached sand. All said and done, I don't believe people are born with hate and distrust in their hearts, I don't believe people, at least most people, live their lives looking for someone to vilify, but when I look around, and I extend that vilification to society in large, including everything from racial tensions, to social injustice, immigration, and the political divide, I can't help but believe that my community is but a symptom of a larger problem. One that's not going away, one that's going to get worse, and one that there's a thousand answers for, but not a single solution.
Polls: Before announcing his candidacy, Joe polled in the early 30's, after announcing in late April, his numbers jumped to an all time high of 41.2 by May 12th. That number has dropped off to 28.8 as of today, 08/26/19.
Can he win the primary?
Where others have focused on issues such as corporate greed, Medicare for all, and exhibiting socialistic thoughts, Biden has focused on Donald Trump. On his policies, sure, but more so on Trump as a human being. Joe has not fared well in the debates, but they weren't image killers, neither have his many gaffes. While his polling numbers have trended down, he still leads the field by 13 points, but Warren is trending upwards, enough so to be a concern. I think he can win the nomination, but I don't think he will. People are just tired of the same ol', same ol', and are screaming for change, and Joe, as much as I like him, ain't about change. The nomination is also about energy, and granted, the campaign trail requires a lot of personal energy, energy that has to carry over to creating excitement about one's candidacy, and that's not happening. Social media is more concerned with his past stances, and his gaffes, and so too has our media.
Can he Beat Trump?
No, and I say that from watching his Vice Presidential Debate with Pence, along with his recent debate performances. Joe's a likable guy, but I think he'll lose in any debates with Trump. Why? Because he's too likable, and not vicious enough. Sure, he's attacking Trump personally, but he's not going for the jugular, he's simply telling us what we already know, and while those attacks make for good sound bites, it's nothing we don't know, therefore the numbers in the low 30's. While I don't think it's a forgone loss to Trump, I do believe if Joe gets the nomination with low primary numbers, there will be an independent candidate, with enough energy to siphon away votes. If he runs away with the nomination, that won't happen. If Joe wants a shot at being the next President, he needs to move beyond generic politics, take a look at his twitter feed, there's nothing there that's not run of the mill politics. So too his FB feed, and like it or not, that's where a lot of people, not everybody, turn to for their news. I've yet seen a Biden campaign post go viral.
Do I think he'll change it up?
And put him in a position to win? No! I don't think he will stoop to Trumps level, and he shouldn't have too, but in a campaign with Trump, you can't play it safe, you can't play it by the polls, you attack, constantly, and consistently, across mainstream media, across all of social media, and in the debates, God forbid, there's more than enough ammunition out there. You hold Trump accountable for everything, going back to his birth. You rattle his cage, bigly! You want to show people you're a fighter, not afraid to take the blow-back. Biden can talk about issues all he wants, and he should, but if he's not at least listening to why Warren and Sanders are polling well, and pare that with a vicious attitude against Trump, He isn't going to win.
Beware, the Anipocalypse
OK, just some crazy shit!
I don't believe God gave man dominion over the earth to abuse it. The fires in the Amazon should make a person take notice, as well the recent melt in Greenland. I live in a state with blue sky and lots of water, where green pines rise tall. Except in the winter, then everythings white, from ground to sky. For people living here, the threat of climate change is literally a world away. The truth is that our weather is changing, our winters different, so too our summers. Maybe it is cyclic, I don't know, but looking around the world, seeing the Amazon burn, the Greenland melt, our polluted oceans, loss of species, sweltering summer temps, I'm thinking we haven't been the best stewards of our environment. In fact, it's more as if we've taken a dump in our living room.
Non of this shit is new. Back in the mid seventies, I remember living in Phoenix, and watching the pollution roll in over the desert city from L.A. I remember driving to L.A. and not being able to see the damn city because of the toxic air. I also remember a time before fines for throwing crap from your car, a time when highways were littered with garbage. Back in the day, industrial waste flowed into our rivers, unregulated. The ugliness wasn't a world away, it was local, in our face, and people were ashamed, of our own behavior, and changed.
Personally, I like setting here at my desk, looking out my window and watching birds frolic in a huge green oak. I like my snow pure, white, while weeks of freezing temperatures in January strengthens my resolve to relish the renewal of life when spring arrives. For many here, the global climate is literally an afterthought on a cool spring evening when setting out on any given lake. I get that. Don't like it, but I get it!
When I look around the complicated American landscape of news, politics, and social media, and I do so more than I will admit, I find it exhausting. Tiring in the sense of an addiction, where I need something more fulfilling, more ambitious, like God and Jesus showing up in tandem to set the world afire. Not being particularly religious, I'd probably not pay attention to their facebook posts, unless they posted some pics of heaven and hell. That might set my world ablaze, until I started reading the comments. But that's people for ya! All in disagreement, with their own opinions, each a raindrop in a thunderstorm, contributing to a flood of confusion, sweeping truth away with the receding waters. And that's OK, I have dreams. If the world was ordered, and nice, and perfectly symmetrical, I'd have no need for dreams.
Dreams are powerful game changers. MLK and Kennedy had dreams, one unfulfilled, but still in motion. The other touched, abandoned, and left to the ages as a singular achievement. Neither forgotten, still relevant, foundations for the following days. America was built on dreams, our declaration was one of freedom from tyranny, our constitution, a single dream, coagulated from many voices, out of many, we are one. Dreams are essential to progress, the bedrock upon which the next step is planted, individually or collectively. We take the next step in our journey, because we dream of seeing the undiscovered country. We'll never step on that soil, because dreams are fluid, being indicative of who we are. A million voices all screaming their differing dreams at any given time.
I remember when the night was silent, the only voices in my head was Cronkite's, and my local paper. That silence was peaceful, the quiet of the night, and there existed no harbinger of future dreams turned inside out, of a people embroiled in a living nightmare. There is imperfection in silence, in that you do not hear the coming winds of change, being blind to your neighbor crying out in pain, to changing ideas, differing thoughts, and when those winds rush across and fill the void of silence, we're left battered, and bruised, and dreaming of the silence we once cherished. Given the choice, I would appreciate the solitude of existing in a vacuum, tending the gardens of my personal dreams, and while there are those who reside in that choice, I'm conscious of the illusion of independence it gives birth to. A lonely, unfulfilled state of happiness where one sets on the same barstool, in the same bar, with the same bartender over the course of their lifetime. A life comprised of nothing greater than their own personal agenda, with no dialogue other than their own, no sense of thought for others than their own, no dreams larger than their own.
Few of my dreams have came to fruition, I'm not a well respected writer, my kids don't have college degrees, my retirements going to be tough, I'm not popular on youtube, there's no moonbase, and as a society, we haven't ushered in a era of equality, peace and prosperity. While all that is bothersome, it's more normal, unaccomplished dreams, that is, than those realized. I'd like to think, due to the failure of my own dreams, I've learned to listen to the voices in the wind, as agonizing as that landscape can be. I've been moved to research topics, to dig deeper for truth, to appreciate the views and beliefs of others, and I've been astonished at scientific achievements. I am continually in awe of the world I live in, even when I find myself tired, and confused with that world. I'll take it over the void.
So some dude takes a fall on his ass, walks in the doctors office complaining of pelvic pain, gets an X-ray, and finds out his dick is turning to bone. (pause for a wtf). Hell, I didn't know that was a thing! Of course, I feel sorry for the old guy, but damn, I'm at the age where my shits all over the place, like I'm going through my own male menopause hell, sometimes shit works and sometimes not so much. That's OK, I've got my memories, leastways, the ones I remember, although I thought I had more than two. I am, however wondering, about running out and getting a dose of Fosamax, a bone growing drug, injected into the tip of my penis. I'd be fine with the hurt, it couldn't be worse than the pain of not getting a boner when you really need one, and of course, I'd be mighty proud to be walking around with a fossilized dick all the time. The damn thing would be there for future archaeologists to stare at in wonder and awe in a thousand years. Here again, I'm dreaming of being famous some day, but in the here and now, I might be better off making an appointment with Doc Dick. I've heard some amazing things about his work.
Our courts are filled with those who engaged in a conspiracy, as most every crime begins with a conspiracy. Our Government followed through on conspiracies to test LSD on unwilling American citizens, treated Black Americans with syphilis, and created a plan to down an American airliner to blame on Cuba. Corporations too, have their conspiracies, look no further than the current opioid crisis. Remember Enron, or Lehman Brothers, or Fannie Mae, and that list is substantial. When one stops to think about it, it's almost mind boggling, but the truth is far simpler, people want to do bad shit for personal reasons, know it's wrong, and try to hide their behavior. Sure, there are some outlandish conspiracies out there, like pizzagate, or the moon landing hoax, and they live side by side with others, like the Kennedy assassination, that make people simply scratch their heads.
The thing is, the above conspiracies are the ones we know about, and I'm guessing there's a couple of crimes out there that will never see the disinfecting light of day. When it comes to the suicide of Jeffery Epstein, the controversies that emerged in the first twenty four hours; being taken off suicide watch, guards absent, and lack of video insures a half dozen conspiracy theories in the early hours of the investigation. The fact that our President re-tweeted a conspiracy allegation is sure to solidify Epstein's death as a major conspiracy. I'm guessing the autopsy will do nothing to alleviate the growing scandal. Personally, I'm open to the belief he was murdered, but I'm hesitant to go there due to the complexities of orchestrating the murder of a high profile inmate. The I ask myself, if I were well respected, and yet engaged in some horrific sexual behavior with underage girls, what would I do to keep that a secret? From my wife, my kids and the public? And if there were others, with secrets to hide, powerful men, with sterling reputations, with money? What would you do?
While the first use of beer is documented to about 5,000 BC, the oldest use of marijuana is dated to 2500 BC. Yep, we've been looking to escape the daily rigors of our lives for a hell of a long time. What strikes me as fascinating isn't our desire to numb our minds, to relax our souls, but our ingenuity. For instance, I still roll with Tops, and I'm old fashioned, cuz now days people are using vaps, wax, blunts and a variety of technological wonders to burn the weed. It's all fine, the end results the same. I'm guessing here, but there probably wasn't a huge stigma attached to burning one till 1937, and I'm mindful of the fact that for most of my life, people didn't go around broadcasting they enjoyed a toke or two. Or four and maybe more. There's an old saying, what's old will be new again, it's just taking some time, and all I have to say, is I never thought I'd see it in my lifetime. As short as five years ago, people kept their use private. Hell, the other day I lit up in a room full of respectable people, and nobody cared. That can't be a bad thing!
For Tucker Carlson to say there is no problem in America with white nationalism, and that the concept of white supremacy is a hoax, is a betrayal of our our past, a lie today, and a dangerous claim for the days ahead. For Christ's sake, David Duke has christened Donald Trump the Saviour of the white man. David Duke is a white nationalist. Donald trump has often retweeted white nationalists. The recent shooting in El Paso was racially motivated, as were the nine African Americans dead in Charleston. The validity of the problem goes on and on, and Tuckers perversion of the facts simply increases the chances of the list growing. Donald Trump is a Racist. Best case scenario, Trump uses race as a divisive tactic to rile up his base, and that's worse than being a racist, it's led to heinous acts from his base and it will continue to lead to more, especially when you have people like Tucker defending Trump's behavior. The singular, and only solution to the problem is disinfectant; a public outcry exposing Trump for what he is, for the destruction and hate he is propagating. To defend this President, to say that he is doing only what needs to be done, to make America great again, is a defense of hate and bigotry. It is a betrayal of American ideals.
It just isn't going to stop. Statistics don't matter, innocent lives don't matter, police don't matter, prayers don't matter, arguments don't matter, the second amendment doesn't matter. We've moved beyond all social norms where death and mayhem are now so common, we collectively sigh and roll our eyes. Sure, it's a horrible thing, we viciously soak up the news, tweet our condemnations, and then move on. Wash, rinse, dry, repeat. There's literally nothing to be said that hasn't been said. We don't care anymore! Yes, there are voices, and loud voices crying for change, but no one cares, no one is listening, and the few who are listening, shout them down with their own shouts of opposition, and the conversation becomes muted. There's really nothing left to be said, because we accept the violence as a way of life. We won't talk about it, we won't look for solutions, we just wait for the next event to happen. The best we offer is a hope the devastation never happens in our neighborhood. It's all we have.
One would think that reasonable men and women would come together to talk about an epidemic that is pervasive in it's toll. To offer solutions, to compromise, to try. To at least look like they cared. We don't even get that. This is what we have become, this is who we are. The violence can be stopped, our children and loved ones can be safe as they enjoy an afternoon out, but not until enough of us start caring again, and I don't see that happening. And that makes me sad, because I believe people do care, want to care but we live with own feelings muted, because there's a sense of no solutions, no conversations, no end to innocent people being slaughtered.
Or better titled, 'The Shit People Come Up With'. Designer underwear with built in pockets to lug around ice packs to keep your balls cool on a hot summer day, is a novel ideal. A tribute to the innovative mind of the human species. Word of warning though, if your a newlywed, wanting to have kids, sperm needs to be at body temp to be effective, so like anything else, read the instruction manual, carefully. Personally, I just grab an ice pack out of the freezer but people think I'm deformed or something, if I'm correctly reading all the stares I get when walking around Wal Mart. These frosty inserts are more naturally formed to give the impression that you're hung like a horse, so no more gawking. Stay cool, friends. Available on Amazon.
Still Got Angst
I did 'Still Got Angst' in just a couple of hours yesterday. I had a bunch of other stuff I needed to do, but the creativity bug bit, and everything else fell off my radar. I wasn't sure I'd be able to get it done in just a few hours, but somehow, I managed. Of course, not having a lot of effects helped. While I like this, I like the original as well, except Angst was done before upgrading to a decent mic. I'm happy with it, what do you think? Leave a comment.
The Cluster Fuck Debate
Nope, not going to watch. Normally, twelve minutes is more than enough time to for a person to spew what they believe and allow me to make a certified judgment as to their sanity. But when you have ten people on a debate stage, all trying to get my attention over the course of two hours, I just judge 'em all fucking nuts for even trying. Sure, I should watch, just to see if kamara asks Joe if he remembered to put on his underwear. I get the media is playing up the Bernie vs Elizabeth angle, but they're both on the same plane, they ain't going to bash each other. The other sixteen are background noise, each wanting to throw out something social media will take and run with.
And I'm a left leaning Democrat. I should be invested in what my potential presidential candidates have to say. I already know what their going to say, some will bash Trump, others will tout their healthcare plans, their plans to battle corporate greed, and a few will talk about income inequality or social injustice in around about ways. Yeah, all important stuff, but I'm jaded. Promises are a nickel a dozen, promises kept are few and far between. But that ain't the thing, I'm used to that shit. What I want to hear about is dreams.
That's right, frigging dreams! Policy's OK, even wonks are fine, but that crap is like dried out, old shit to this fly. I wanna see some passion, and passion only comes from one place, somewhere deep, in a persons dreams of what can be. Having an idea about redoing healthcare ain't a bad idea, because yep, healthcare sucks. We all know that. But tell me about your dream behind that, how it will make a better world, what it means for me, and my kids moving forward. How will it bring us, as a nation together, how will it make us a better nation, how will it make me a better person, what's there in the details to give me hope, something to invest in, to fight for, to dream of?
When people are used to the same old crap from politicians, words and ideas regurgitated in different form and fashion, over the course of a lifetime, and now with social media, over the span of 24 hours, people get bored. They look for something else, something bright and shiny, something different than black and white, even something orange.
Interesting article, 'We Should Be Constantly Hallucinating' and my only thought is, maybe we are. As a parent with an adult son who has a severe form of schizophrenia, I'm super fucking aware of differing realities. As a son of a parent who now lives in a world of past, confusing, disconnected memories, I'm stuck by the similarities of my mothers realities and my sons. On one hand, they're behavior is far different, and on the other, there's some god awful similarities. Where my mothers reality is based in incoherent memories, my son's sense of the world is based on things, events, people that never existed. Yet to both of them, their sense of the world around them is their personal reality. As much a part of their existence as yours, or mine.
There have been times when I question my own perceptions. Back in the day, I'd watch an entire evening watching television while the damn thing was off, thanks to a handful of orange sunshine. Always found it fascinating how drugs could change perception so easy. While it's obvious people don't see the world around them in the same fashion from a emotional perspective, I've often wondered if people see the same shade of green I do. I'm guessing there's slight differences. But when it comes to personal, overall realities, we all live in the same physical world, right? I sometimes question that. Certainly, our minds interpret what we see, and regurgitates it all into something we make sense of, just like code being interpreted on a PC. There's an entire spectrum of electromagnetism that we know of, and we only see 0.0035% of it, so our software is a bit limited.
In the scheme of all things though, it probably doesn't matter, we all see what we want, facts be damned, and so maybe it's all one optical illusion.
'the way in which an event or course of action is perceived by the public.'
Facts are a tedious thing, getting in the way of what we believe. Like mosquitoes on a hot summer night, they swarm, they bite, eventually driving one to seek refuge, ruining their evening. I'm not surprised by the optics of yesterdays hearings, most legal proceedings are dry affairs, and my expectations of what Rob Mueller would say weren't very high to begin with. I am surprised by how the media was far more concerned with the optics of his testimony then what he actually had to say. Their obsession with perception drowned out a lot of facts for a lot of people, most of who really wanted, or needed to hear what he had to say. I don't believe most people took the day off to tune in, instead relying on sound bites and headlines, and what did they get.
A dry, tired old man that struggled.
What a disservice, to a man that spent his life in service to his nation, honorably, and to every American citizen. The tragedy of being reduced to a meme only reinforces what a person already believes, and they'll spread it far and wide, truth be damned. There's a surety in the fact that people only hear what they already believe, it's one of the truths that make life painful. But the funny thing about mosquitoes, they always win in the end.
The Nature of Sex
When you have questions,
I have the answers.
The Diversity of Fear
I spent the first 20 years of my life in the company of people of various ethnicities and differing nationalities. One would think that if I found myself today, alone in a room full of people of color, I'd be comfortable. I wouldn't! Yet, there's a contradiction, when I was 19, I found myself in a small Liberian jail cell, chicken wire walls and a five gallon bucket to piss in, with about twenty other Liberians, and it didn't bother me in the least. In fact, I struck up a conversation with a one eyed thief sprawled next to me. The contradiction is familiarity. I had spent most of my youth in Liberia, most of my friends were Liberians. I recently attended a birthday party for a Liberian friends daughter, and I found myself comfortable in a room full of Liberians. If I were to find myself this afternoon in a room full of American blacks who were strangers, I'd feel out of place, and very uncomfortable in a way that would be different then if I found myself in a room full of white Americans. I'd like to attribute the difference to shared experiences, but I don't have a lot of shared experiences with white people either. The explanation might be as simple as being most comfortable with people who look, and act as I do, shared life experience be damned. Regardless of who I find myself in a room with, I realize my discomfort. It's not the fault of the people in the room, it's who I am, for whatever reason. I own it, I don't like it, but I accept it and I move on, refusing to let my awkwardness ruin my experience.
And that's the thing about racism, it's multi layered. I don't consider myself racist, but why would I be uncomfortable in a room full of people of color?
I believe we're all racist at some level, based upon fear of the unknown, the unexpected, or some perceived threat. It seems it's easier to project those fears onto somebody that's different then what you look like, onto somebody you think you don't have much in common with. In fact, humans have a history, across many cultures, of utilizing that fear, of blaming others for their misfortune, or justifying their behavior. It seems to be rather easy for someone to step up to a podium and inflame a crowd of people.
Logically, I understand racism. Emotionally, not so much. Do we lack the introspection to dive, and it's a shallow dive, to question our own discomfort, our unease, or our outright hate of a person who is different? I understand the fear of change, of the unknown, of what is different then the norm, but for the life of me, I cannot understand letting that fear dictate who I am as a human being, to the point where I would dehumanize another person, much less an entire race or culture.
There are days I feel stupid, dumb like a rock, and now I know why. The good news is that I'm not alone, IQ's are dropping on a global scale, and I'm not surprised. I wanna blame it on social media, or the junk food we digest, or the air we breath, or the news we consume, or the television we invest in, but the skid marks at the end of the road tell me it ain't none of the above. So what gives? It's God! That's right, God thinks we've grown too big for our britches, and he's decided to dumb us down a bit, for our own good. Now I know you're going to scoff, ain't going to believe God would do such a thing to his favorite kids, but for a fleeting second, put yourself in the old mans shoes. If you got a smart assed kid, how many times have you yelled at him that he ain't as smart as he thinks he is, wishing you could somehow make the point? And we've all gotten to be some god awful smart asses, haven't we? Just take a look at your Facebook time-line. Now of course, most of you following along with my blabbering on how dumb we all are, ain't going to think any of this applies to you, but I know different.
Abortion is a moral choice, and legislation of morals is political garbage, in that liberal and conservative leaders know it's nothing more than a divisive issue, used to motivate or shame, supporters or opponents. Alabama, and other southern states, are passing arcane abortion laws in an attempt to have their voices heard in front of our supreme court, with the intent to overturn Roe Vs Wade. All will face lengthy, and expensive court battles on their way there. Even if these states were to prevail, they'll lose, we'll all lose. Women will still seek abortions, unsafe and alone, without support, without compassion. I'm also of the opinion, that of the 25 white males that voted for Alabama's legislation, that not one of them would step forward to help support a child of an unwanted pregnancy. As a man, I'm not comfortable discussing what I believe is a womens personal choice, rooted in their beliefs. Personally, I'd like every child to be born, if we lived in a perfect world, but we do not. To legislate that a women impregnated by a viscous, brutal rape must carry the child through to birth, is beyond my comprehension. Indeed, it's an embarrassment to our compassion for others. I do not know what the answer is, I don't know if a six week old clump of cells is a living person or not, I don't know when life begins, and neither does anyone else. You might believe human life begins at the moment of conception, but your belief doesn't make it a valid fact. Yes, there's an argument for potential. It's a valid argument, that a group of cells, might one day be a human being, but if that's your argument, every sperm I have carries that capacity, and perhaps vasectomies should be deemed illegal.
We all hide, from strangers, friends and family alike. As we move through our day we shift the masks we wear to suit our purpose. No one really thinks about it, but we do. People are complex, their relationships are complex, masks help us deal with that complexity, especially when much of that complexity is based in privacy and individualism. No one came along and designed it that way, it just is. We don't even tell our loved ones our secret shames, our inner most desires. Social medias just an extension of that personal and individual mask, and I'd guess that most people on social media are reflective of who they are in real life, amplified a bit. Least ways, that's my take on it, so no, I don't think everyone I follow, or communicate with, is a liar, especially that bikinied young babe that wants me to be her FB friend.
The Eternal Dream
Interesting article about lucid dreaming, but no matter how hard I try, I just can't do it. I really tried some years back, really put the effort and the time into it, but just couldn't get to the point where I realized I was dreaming, and thus control my own dreams. Dreams for me are a different than they are for others, in a sense that I believe they're a reflection, of what I'm not sure. Being the type of person I am, I often wonder if perceived reality is a dream. Might be! But wtf, I still don't seem to have any control, so I'm not sure what's up with that. The only thing I do know, my dreams are weird, my life is weird, the difference between the two is the split of a hair, and I could live in either world. My reality is funny like that. Let me expand on that a bit, men fantasize about sex every seven seconds. I'm old, so that doesn't apply to me, now days I spend my waking time in other far away places. When I'm immersed in a conversation with another person, I usually don't remember the conversation because I'm somewhere else. That's why people don't bother to talk to me. Btw when I was younger, it was every 2.37 seconds. Now you know.