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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Horse racing, golf and my mothers day memories.

"All I need are some tasty waves, cool buds and I'm fine."
--Jeff Spicoli

Fast Times at Ridgemount High came out in 1982. I was 17 that year. I wasn't a stoner or floater like Spicoli in high school. A teacher wouldn't have been able to pick me out from the pack as one to make an example of like Mr. Hand did, but I had the Spicoli attitude. I came and went as I pleased, and I did pretty much what I wanted when I wanted to.
Two things I wanted to do was play golf and go to the horse races. I wasn't above skipping a few classes to do that. Okay, maybe more than a few classes would be accurate.
Somehow, my brain was able to carry me enough to get my high school diploma so I wasn't in deep hot water that year with my parents. It did require a summer school class for a  Calculus class I failed, but I was okay with that because "Heidi with the 10 body" who wanted me to touch her all over was also taking that class and it was only 1 hour a day for a month. But otherwise, I could not really be bothered with school or homework. My homework was reading the racing program and practicing my golf swing.
When I was around 18 or 19, I decided I didn't want to go to University, even though I had been accepted. I just was sick of school. I ended up going after taking 1 year off, and I suppose I knew I would do that eventually, but it easily might not have played out that way. More about that later in the blog.
At that point, I had decided I was going to play golf during the day, go to the races at night or in the afternoon (or both), and handicap all night while I watched reruns of Lassie and Vegas or Matt Houston. Or any other show in reruns at 3am that I hadn't seen in first run. Simon and Simon turned out to be one of those that fell into my lap that year in the wee hours. I always loved the Simon and Simon theme song. No You Tube in those days, so it made me stay up to watch for it even on the odd night when I didn't want to stay up all night. 

I had the money to do that. I worked every summer up to that point and saved all my money, and I also inherited 8k when my Aunt Eta passed away. I lived at home for free, but paid for my own groceries and never asked for a dime from my parents. My father didn't like it, but he kept quiet. I guess he assumed I was smart enough to figure it out on my own at some point. I decided if I was going to come and go as I pleased, I didn't want to do it in my fathers Cadillac, as comfy as that was.
At that time, my father had 5 brand New Cadillac's, of which 4 were always parked on the street or in the driveway. 5 Cadillac's? Yes, that is what I wrote. There was my sister, my mother, myself and my father. My mother and sister would never drive big cars like that, so, there was no need for even 2. But, that was my father.  So, I had my pick of using one whenever I wanted to. The keys were lined up on the wall like a rent-a-car center. Pick whatever color you wanted to drive that day. I used to drive one to school every now and then. One day the principal thought I had stolen it and called me into the office to explain how a kid without blue-blood parents could drive a different brand new Cadillac to school once a week.
My dad liked to have things, and lots of them. One Cadillac wasn't enough, he had to have as many as he could get his hands on. When his shell game that he used to get those came crashing down one night, some people came and just took them all away and they were gone when we woke up. I wanted to have my own car, even if it was not much of a flashy car like a Cadillac. I wanted it to be there any day I felt like golfing or going to the races, or anywhere else for that matter. I had my aunts inheritance in the bank and I intended on using a part of that to get something that would suit my needs.
My mother was against it. She thought I would buy something that would end up being a lemon, or had a lien on it, or some other problem she figured I would get myself into.
My mother has departed this earth, about 6 years ago. I don't think of her often. I am not the type to dwell much. But, I do remember her of course, and as today is Mother's day, and my friend Dave Schwartz posted a podcast about horse racing, golf and mothers, a story came to my head.
I remember the day I went to by my first car, a Pontiac Acadian. I can remember that because I was also going to go to the track after, and a bearcat of a 3yo mare named Omaha Girl was racing at Greenwood that night. It turned out to be a very rainy and ugly night, so, I test drove the car and skipped the races. But, seeing as I had the program, and I keep them all, I could look up the date.
That car, horse racing, and how my mother reacted to me getting that car, my liking of horse racing and the "incident" that happened the next summer is the story of this blog.
Despite her protests, about that car, and how much time I spent (wasted) on horse racing (that bad gambling thing I did), I bought the car, and I continued to go to the races. It turns out there were no liens on the car, it ran perfectly for years, and it got me around to all sorts of places. Like, the golf course. I played at least 4 times a week. Some weeks, 27 holes in a row, then to the races, and even 5 or 6 times a week and doubleheader Sundays for the racing with Orangeville in the afternoon and Greenwood at night. It was a great life. A Spicoli type of life.
I got better and better at the golf thing, and even had aspirations of playing in tournaments and trying to test my skill against the best. I never did. I practiced so much plus the playing that I developed a bad back within a year. While I was doing well, I could easily drive the ball 300 yards consistently, which for my size and shape amazed anybody I played with, and I became an excellent putter and chipper. Life was good.
As for the races, I thought I was really good at that as well, and only time has made me realize I was really bad at it at that point. Nevertheless, on a trip to Florida in the spring of my "taking the year off" year, we went to Jai Alai, the Greyhound races and even to Gulfstream. I won at all of those and figured I could pack up all my crap in the car and just drive down to Florida, play golf all day, the dogs, Jai Alai and any horse races I could find, make money doing that and live the good life. As Cat Stevens would say, "Oh Very Young".

I told my mother that was what I was going to do about a week before I was to go and do it. I guess she thought I was just talking, and although she was not pleased and protested, she just let it lie.
Then came the day I started to pack the things into my new (used) car. I had most of it in there, and I was about ready to go. My mother was panicky, and she kept pleading with me not to do it. I was almost out the door, but somehow, she got me back in and got me to stay.
Luckily for me, because if I had gone, I would have lost all my money, as I was lousy at playing horses as I said. I applied back for University, got in, and left the Spicoli lifestyle behind me.
I still golfed, I still went to the races, but I grew up. Thanks to my mother.
When you are young, maybe you only need some tasty waves and cool buds. But hopefully you grow out of that. Or you listen to your mother when she tells you to grow out of it and grow up.
On this day, word to your mother. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Snake In My Veins

I felt pain in my lower legs. I didn't know why, and it was minor, but it was there. I sat down, near the window, looking out to the yard. I squeezed my legs, and very warm water was oozing out, at a steady rate. I would squeeze and it just kept coming. Then, it seemed dry and I would go to the other leg, and had to do the same. As soon as I drained that leg, the other one was full again. I went back and had to squeeze that one. It seemed like an endless merry-go-round. Then as I drained that one again. a very long, rod-like soft pipe was there. I'd never seen it before, but I pulled on it. It started to come out, but the more I pulled, the more it just kept coming. It seemed there was no end to it. 
I kept pulling it out. It was long, coarse, and seemingly endless. I pulled and it just kept coming, but it never seemed to end. Finally, I got to the end, It determined it would have to come completely out. At that end, it was a snakes head. The long pipe was a snake. Now, the head was trying to bite me. It didn't want to come all the way out, and it was going to fight me for it. The snake had a small head, not really dangerous like you would imagine a snake to be. I grabbed it by the neck, so it couldn't bite me, but it kept trying. It was very close. Very very close. I could almost feel its teeth on the skin of my hands. I called out to the others in the room to get me a knife. I wanted to just cut its head off. To kill it. Put it to sleep, once and for all. Those people couldn't--or wouldn't--get me a knife.
We continued to fight, to struggle against each other, but now, my grip was tighter, and its head was bigger. It was a lot more dangerous now. It was fighting harder. 
And that is where the dream ended. Yes, it was just a dream. Did it mean something? Of course it did. Do I know what that is? I have some ideas, but you can never really be sure what the ultimate meaning is. I can guess, and I am guessing.
The real fight is now in the waking hours. I rarely remember my dreams, or if I do, the details are very foggy. This is the exception to that scenario. I was meant to remember this one.
I've never actually been bitten by a snake. But somehow, I know what it feels like. In my dreams, I know what it is going to feel like. It's internal. It's metaphorical. But it feels real. Like I've been bitten before and I know what that feels like, in real terms.  Inside, that part of me I am trying to get out, that snakes head,  is that devilish and devious side, and reminds me of my father. He was that way almost his entire life. Many of my most troubling of traits look a lot like the ones that took my father down over time. I have been better than that, mostly, in my life, but I know the roots of what I could be still reside in my body, and likely in the blood that flows through my veins.  It's in my blood, in my veins, and as I try to fight with it, it tries to attack me. It has a home and it doesn't want to be evicted. It is not easy to send it on its way. It will resist and bite me, and there will be pain to try and exorcise it. For all I know, my father felt the same way. For all I know, we all feel that way.
 When we have parts of ourselves we want purged, we know they resist and want to remain. It's almost like they belong, or feel they belong. They are virtually an organ that belongs with all the vital organs, like a heart, a lung, a kidney, a brain. Our DNA, or the parts of ourselves that we inherit, that don't help us, but hurt us, are very difficult to remove. They have incubated and lived within us since day one.
As sleep approaches each night, I expect there might be another dream. So far, there has not been.  Who knows? Dreams come and they aren't predictable. Daylight reality is somewhat predictable. The snake has to go. I have to find a way to make that happen, when I have the control to do what it takes to make that happen. I suppose the dream was telling me that. 
 When you've got a snake in your veins, nobody can help you. Even if they want to. Only you can help you. You have to kill the devil inside you, or it cannot be killed. Maybe it just cant be killed. But if it can, it has to be you that does it, or it is never really dead. It is just dormant for whatever reason. Nobody can hand you the knife to cut its head off. Only you can do it, and its a solitary battle only you can win.
 I woke up before I could cut the head off the snake. I take that as a sign it is still there, and there is more work to be done to find a way to kill that part of me. That presumes that it needs killing. Maybe I die if it dies. Maybe it gives me life, and I need it, even though it can be very destructive and disruptive to my overall well being. I don't know. It's just a guess. Like most things in life, its all a guess as to what is best, or not best, for your own well being.
Part of me feels like I want it out, but part of me knows I am the person I am because its there. That is the internal turmoil we all feel about the things that shape our core which we inherited from our parents, and to some extent, their parents, and to some extent, many generations down the line that have formed the end product that is us.

What is that devil inside me, that snake in my veins?

I've always been fiery, even very hot tempered when I was younger. In those days, I was borderline out of control. Destructive to a point I might even have been dangerous if I hadn't been able to control it when it got really intense. Luckily, I was able to stay on the right side of that line. As I aged, I gradually have been able to keep it in check. But surely, it is still embedded in my blood and being. No doubt about that. The dream reflects that. 

Jeff Seabiscuit, plays Charles Howard, the owner of that horse. He asks the question, "son, what are you so mad at?"
I've watched and played that scene many times over since it came out. In many ways, I have been Red Pollard in that scene. The character Toby McGuire plays. The out of control angry man, who can't really explain to others why he is so angry to the point he does stupid things that can't be explained later on, when the anger hasn't even dissipated much.

Everyone reaches that bridge in life that Toby McGuire's character does at the end of the scene. The one where you cant understand why you do the things you do and you don't feel like you can go back to the other side and exist as you wish to be. Because that snake bites you back when you try to be that "better person".

Searching So Long

As my life goes on I believe
Somehow something's changed
Something deep inside
Ooh a part of me

There's a strange new light in my eyes
Things I've never known
Changing my life
Changing me

I've been searchin'
So long
To find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning

Now I see myself as I am
Feeling very free
Life is everything
Ooh it's meant to be
When my days have come to an end
I will understand
What I left behind
Part of me
I've been searching
So long
To find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning

For an answer
To the question,
"who am I?"
Maybe it's true
It's only natural
Good things
In life
Take a long time

At that point, as Chicago talks about in the song, you want an answer to the question of life,

"Who Am I"

"You have a gift. You have a gift." That is what Red Pollard's father says near the end of the clip. It implies that the gifts he has received come with the other parts that don't feel at all like gifts.

I have gifts. Many of those come from the DNA of both my parents, but mostly my father. Gifts come with price tags. We all pay for the gifts we have by accepting the bad parts that came with that.

Maybe the devil can't be purged. Maybe the snakes head cannot be cut. Maybe cutting the snakes head will change my core, in ways I don't want changed. Will I lose the gifts I have that come if only attached to the parts I don't like?
Who am I? Who is anybody?
I don't know.
Only in dreams do we ever really face the snake and attempt to take it on. Even in dreams, where the impossible can become possible, it is near impossible to kill your demons.
The snake is still in my veins. Of that much I am sure. There will be another dream, and I will confront the demon snake again. I have no idea how that will go.
We are who we are, who we were born to be, no matter how much we wish we could do something about that. To some extent we can, but in many ways, we cannot. We can only hope to make the effort and hope for the best. 
We are all Searching for the answer, and I think we always will be. Good things, in life, take a long time, as the song ends with. 
And that also ends the blog, somewhat incomplete. As is life most of the time. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Thoughts of John McEnroe dancing in my head

At times in your life, you have a phrase in your head, and it seems clear, but you can't place it or where it comes from. Or who says it.
Then, it just becomes clear.
I just had that exact experience.
It was this:

I would never endorse the type of antics McEnroe displayed on the court, which he did many times. He was an out of control immature brat in those days. He has toned it down a lot since then, but he still calls a spade a spade these days if you watch him in his current form.
Today, the news comes that the CEO of Uber is "Standing up for what's right" which are HIS exact words, not mine. Really? You are doing that?


Let me see if I have this right. You agreed to participate on Donald Trump's team, and you never had a problem with that. You didn't know of his opinions, goals, actions and policies? Yeah, really, we all believe that. He didn't mention during the campaign that he was going to ban all Muslims if he got in? You never heard that and thought about standing up to him then?
And then you didn't think you had to do anything about it....until customers used Social Network bullying and were getting your App deleted, thus costing you money, and suddenly, you have a moment of conscience and have to stand up for what's right? Yup, got it.

Within the article, there is this: 

"Bowing to growing pressure from customers and employees, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has stepped down from President Trump's economic advisory council, saying his participation had been misconstrued as an endorsement of the administration's policies."

Seriously? Misconstrued? 

You know what is even more offensive than Donald Trump, his minions and his archaic Executive Orders and policies? Its caving in to internet pressure to save your sorry ass and then passing it off as standing up for what's right. That is really offensive. I'd delete your App just for that reason alone. Have some effing balls. 

Again, within the article, the writer doesn't mince words.

"Kalanick's about face is a direct result of growing criticism of his insistence on engaging with Trump after the executive order banning refugees and others from seven Muslim-majority countries.
In recent days, the ride-hailing company was confronted by a growing number of boycotts that were taking a toll on its business."

 The integrity horse was already long out of the barn and out into the wild forest by the time you saw the light of what was the right thing to do. You can't sell that horseshit now and call it integrity or a misunderstanding. You aligned yourself with an autocratic, borderline racist, potentially world disturbing dangerous crackpot, tantrum inspired child and now you want to jump off the bandwagon?

Sorry, you can't switch horses mid race here. The race was moving too fast at this stage to do that safely. You might as well just stay with the Trump team and take your hit. At least you would stand for something, the something you aligned yourself with in the first place. Now, you have lost the Trump supporters AND the rest of us who will never use your service again. Nice move, butthead. 
At times, I just shake my head in disbelief. I don't scream out like McEnroe does, but I hear his voice in my head. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bad decisions and shaming

"Make this world a better place, if you can."
Its always been a great song, and we have all heard it thousands of times. It's very inspirational, and for me, that line has stuck in my head for years. The song is not called that, but that is what registers for me.
I'd like to think that I do that, in my own little way. Sure, I have my faults, have done some bad things and things I might regret, or even wish to have a do-over, but mostly, I aim to help people and make their lives better if I can.
Ah, there is the rub. can.
It just seems some people can't. Why is that?
I suppose there is a host of reasons, but mostly, in my view  it's probably one of two things.
Either they simply don't care or want to make it a better place, in which case, there probably isn't much hope for them...or...
They want to but aren't capable.  Those are the people we really feel sorry for. The type that are their own worst enemy. They just can't help themselves, and so, cannot help others. Every move they make is the wrong one. It's a good decision they can't make. They make the bad decisions easily and repeatedly, but the good decisions are beyond their reach.
The question is: Why? Why can't these people make good decisions? I will pontificate in this blog about that issue. 

It was Grade 6.  At that point in my life, baseball was my life. I lived to watch it, play it and listen to the games when I couldn't actually make it to the stadium. Of course, I was also only 11, so I had to go to school everyday. But I didn't really care about school or have any interest in it. I did okay, but that was only because I had more than enough natural ability to get by on just that, and for a long time, that seemed to work. But not on this day.
On that day, we were to write a short story and bring it in the next day. What I didn't know was that the teacher was going to make one or two students read out their story to the class. 

We were to write the short story the night before, and I probably was listening to the ballgame instead and couldn't be bothered writing up a story. So, a few minutes before class the next day, I wrote one up really fast. It was probably really bad. I don't know. I don't remember. But even if it wasn't, it was a bad decision. I should have suffered for that decision, and I did. And I certainly suffered enough that day to remember that experience to this day.
In life, many times we get away with just such a thing. It's probably better that we don't. That day, I suppose I could have lucked out and not been the one or two people the teacher picked to read out their story in front of the class.  I wasn't. He picked me, and I had to read it. I don't even remember if I thought it was that bad, but the class was laughing at me. That I do remember.  I got what was coming to me and what I deserved. It was a lesson that served me well the rest of my life. Certainly not the only time I made a bad decision from that point forward, but I am at least mindful that there are consequences to actions and reasons to do certain things and respect others. More about that shortly. 

When I was done reading my story, I remember the teacher saying something to me I've never forgotten.
"What, you think you are going to get by on your good looks"
I thought it was an odd thing to say to me. I just looked at him in a puzzled way. At this point, I don't think I even realized what a bad decision I'd made by trying to "just get by on my talent." First off, it never even occurred to me. Secondly, I didn't think I was that good looking, and even if I was, I didn't care or aim to use it for any benefit. And it's funny, because over time, I've heard it said to me so often. In any event, I've never considered it an asset, even if it is an actual asset.
What did I learn that day? We all make bad decisions. Some of us grow from that, others never do. Especially if you believe the hype---that how you look and what you can gain from that is of a benefit to you. It is not. It will make you a weaker person and in the end, will hurt you more than help you. In my case, I tried to get by on my natural talent and not do the work, and that was the point the teacher was making. Whether it was good looks, or excessive talent, it didn't justify not doing the work that the rest of the kids had done. I got what was coming to me, and if I had been lucky enough to not be picked to read my story, then I would have gotten that lesson at some point, based on the law of averages that good luck will always run out.

When you rely on your looks or raw talent to get you everything you have in life, obviously, you can get away without developing the life skills that the rest of us need, and learn to develop over time, to make your way. The offshoot of that is that you never gain those, and it will come back to bite you at some point, when you make bad decisions.

That brings me to the impetus for writing this blog. Unless you have been under a rock, you are aware of this story. 

Before I get to Dani Mathers, I want to share an experience that a friend had and my response to her on her Facebook page. 

Above is her post. Its pretty self explanatory as to what happened.
It is no secret Heather has been very heavy in the past, had lost much of that weight, and gained some of it back in the last year or so due to stressful life situations. In this instance, a cashier attempted to "fat shame" her. It's relevant today as the weeks events unfolded and the Dani Mathers incident is now blasted all over the internet. Blasted for good reason I might add. 
Below is my response on her thread. Obviously, I am pretty direct when I need to be, and not everyone would say the things I would the way I would say them. But, it needed to be said, much like the teacher needed to embarrass me in front of the class in Grade 6.

Something I've also learned over time is that nobody shames you. Unless you internalize their insult, which is all that shaming intends to do (insult you), and let them. Nobody can body shame you or me and I don't think that really exists. We all know how we look--or how smart we are--and what others say about that doesn't matter, even if it is true. Are you fat? Maybe. But that doesn't mean you don't get to do the things you want to, eat what you want to, wear what you want to. And nobody gets to say hurtful things to you or about you.  If they do, its a license and open season to give it right back to them, and not hold back. They are asking for that wrath.
No, they are begging for it.
And in some ways, you are doing them a favor. You are letting them know they are making a bad decision by even attempting it, and hopefully they will learn the lesson that they never did before. Maybe not. Maybe they wont. Maybe they will just keep doing it. But at least you did the right thing. And maybe somebody around you will see that  and stop doing it if its something they do. Or maybe somebody around you will see it and speak up next time if its done to them. In that way, you are making the world a better place, because you can. You have that power if you choose to use it.
That is mainly how we make the world a better place. We can respond, and set an example to others about bad behavior, good decisions and the consequences of saying things or doing things you should not do. 

So, what happened with Dani Mathers? In my opinion, she is someone who got away with never having to make good decisions and probably never got any wrath for the bad ones. Until this week. She is in her late 20s, but in reality, she is mentally about a 10 year old. She hasn't learned how life works because when you are 10, you don't really have to. She is just very immature, and she figured she could act like a child and attempt to shame another person, and in the process, break laws and act immorally. She did that because of her very good looks and great body, she could get away with that, probably since she hit puberty.
The real shame is that these people (Dani Mathers and the cashier and many people we all know)  never learned right from wrong and to make good decisions. We all make bad decisions in our life, but we aim to grow from them. If you are in your late 20's and taking a pic of a naked woman in a shower in a public place, without their consent, and then blasting it all over the internet, you simply never learned to make good decisions.
Can this mistake be overcome by Dani Mathers? Sure it can. She can make a full apology, take whatever punishment is coming to her (willingly) and then aim to learn from it all and do better. If she does all that, I think she can be forgiven. But the first step is truly understanding what she did, owning it, and learning from it.
As of now, from what I've seen of her "apology" she doesn't get what she did. Its not that she accidentally blasted it all over the net and social media, if you even believe that. Most of us don't. But even if that is actually the case,  and she just meant to share it with one friend in private,  it is that she took the pic in the first place, invaded someones privacy, broke the law, and was attempting to shame that person in the first place. Even if she only was attempting to send it to one friend and it never sees the light of day, her mistake was thinking she has the moral and legal right to do that. She does not. That was her bad decision. She attaches her obvious good looks to rights she has that she actually does not have. I would venture a guess she has been able to use those looks to avoid learning the harsh lesson she just got dished out for a very long time.
In her apology, she mentions she didn't intend for anyone but her one friend to see that pic. She doesn't apologize for taking the pic or invading someones privacy for the purpose of mocking them. She doesn't even get the bad decision she made. She needs to own up to that part, and mean it.
If she doesn't do all of that, its really a shame for her. Everyone else will move on with their lives. She will be stuck in Grade 6 her whole life.
I will end where I started. With the song.

We can change things if we start giving
Why don't you?

If you see an old friend on the street
And he's down
Remember his shoes could fit your feet
(Just try)
Try a little kindness you'll see
It's something that comes very naturally
We can change things if we start giving.
 Why don't you
Reach out and touch
Why don't you (Why don't you)
Reach out and touch somebody's hand

Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why does there need to be a reason and explanation for everything these days?

"He panted and gasped the air and looked a little fatigued for 45 minutes after the race. I can guarantee the races haven't had the toll on him. He struggled with the track,” said Exaggerator trainer Keith Desormeaux after the colt's loss in the Belmont Stakes. What do you think contributed to the Preakness winner's placing in New York?
I've lived long enough to know that horses lose because not every horse can win the race, and eventually, all horses will lose. Even the knighted superstar of all time, American Pharoh, got beat last year. As did Seattle Slew and Secretariat. And countless others. It happens. Horses aren't robots.
I also know that when some crazy shoots up a Gay club in Orlando because he is just plain whack job crazy, you can make all sorts of secondary arguments for what can be done about it.
First, you can take away all the guns. Yeah, that's the reason he was successful.
Second, he's a Muslim. Lets ban all those from the country. Even the ones that were born here, like he was. Who, are American citizens with rights that many Americans hold near and dear.
Third, lets shoot them all before they shoot us, even if 99.99999% of them will never shoot at anybody and have no desire to do so.
And of course, you can take away the guns. You can kill all the Muslim's, and you can start shooting anybody that looks suspicious because of the color of their skin or the religious beliefs they hold, or even you think they hold that they don't, and even if you did all that, you wont stop a Timothy McVeigh, the white as snow All American Western New York kid (Buffalo is known as the "All American City, and they have a sign when you enter it to that effect) who killed 4 times as many innocent people in Oklahoma City, with no gun. He used a bomb. How do you ban bombs? Last I checked, they don't sell bombs at Walmart anyway. And you can make one if you have 1000 bucks and do the proper internet search. The Boston Marathon bombers didn't use guns. They made some homemade, crude, make-it-in-your- garage type pipe bomb that killed and maimed many.
The truth is, and people continue to ignore this, but its still the truth. Horses lose because we all lose. Cars get into accidents because that is inevitable. People who want to kill other people will do that and find a way. The reason is that they have their reasons and want to, and its not that hard to do. 

The biggest problem we have these days is that we have given the masses a voice and they cry out with that voice for others to take action because they believe their reasons are valid, when in fact, they are total bullshit and based on backwards, non-fact based bullshit reasons that hold zero water when put to the acid test.
I said it 4 years ago when the Sandy Hook shooter killed those kids. And he was a white kid with mental problems and a legal gun that his mother was supposed to keep locked up and away from him. I said it when the Boston Marathon bombers did what they did. I've said it 10 or 15 times when the various other people with agendas did what they did, and I will say it again in a month from now, two months from now, and every month from now when it happens again and again:

You cannot stop these people no matter what you do. There is no reason to these people. 
Just like a champion horse will lose because all horses lose eventually, all crazies with crazy agendas will do what they do and will find a way to do it.
There are good reasons to restrict guns for the majority of the people out there. There are good reasons to be more strict about immigration and there are very good reasons to do something about radical religious sects of all kinds, including the one that a white bred Kentucky woman named Kim Davis belongs to. But those reasons aren't a crazy taking an assault rifle and shooting up a gay club because he is just a hateful idiot in the first place.
And there is no valid reason nor one needed why Exaggerator got beat in the Belmont. Nor do I need one from his trainer. Just say he got beat, just like so many others did that day. Maybe there was a reason, but most likely, there wasn't. He got beat. Okay? Live with it. They aren't going to resurface the track because one horse didn't grab it that day or like it. And we aren't going to take all the guns away, or stop immigration.
Just stop the crazy talk. At times, I'm not even sure who is crazier. The gunman who shot up the club or the people who banter about what to do about it that wont work and isn't even reasonable to try.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

All Jews get why both sides are edgy.

Mea culpa.
I was born Jewish. That is to say my parents identified as Jewish and raised me that way for as long as I would follow along. Which is to say, not long. The deal my father made with me is that I had to tow the line, 100%, until I was 13. In Jewish religion, a boy becomes a man at that age, and he is his own man.
And so it was, that I followed, reluctantly, until that time. I respected my father and because of that, I thought it was respectful to follow his rules. It was his house. He supported me. He looked after me.
So, I did it.
But then, and since then, I don't consider myself Jewish. Not religious, in any way, that's for sure. My sister is the complete opposite. She went the other way, and got more religious as time went on. In fact, she follows strictly. Not to the point she is a religious nut, but she follows the letter of the law according to how you are supposed to if you are a true Jew.
Anyway, I don't. We get along just fine in spite of that. We don't bring our religious baggage to the table when we go out for dinner to eat. She eats her kosher food, I eat whatever I want. We find a way. We make it work.
Now, lets say that Donald Trump, or anyone like him, decides that no Jews are allowed in his country. Or need to be put on a list. As vile as that sounds,  and as unconstitutional as it probably is, lets suppose its the law, and its not offensive enough morally that it is employed.
It has happened before, and with Muslims, it might happen again this time. Hard to believe, but it might. 
Now, am I Jewish? I don't call myself Jewish. I don't follow or practice the religion. I understand it as a culture, and I don't participate. But I do at times go to weddings, Bar Mitzvah's, events, and there are religious parts to those. Again, I am respectful. Does that part bore me? Yes. Do I make a big deal about it or really care? Nope. But, I do go. Does that make me Jewish?
I say it doesn't. It makes me respectful and a good family person and friend. What if I go to a Muslim wedding or ceremony and watch them pray? Or pray myself. Does that make me Muslim?
What if they say I am Jewish, and I say I am not. Who proves what to who?
While I am not Jewish, I did learn the lessons that all Jews learn. And the history of many who have tried to exterminate them, unsuccessfully. Those are lessons that any people of any color, religion, gender or sexual orientation understand. Its all about fear, domination, and selfishness. Religion breeds that type of behavior. Its not a given that any religious person will believe and react on that level, but its a high possibility.
It's probably happening in this case.
Because of the holocaust, Jews identify with Muslims in this current kerfuffle. Hitler attempted to list,  round up, incarcerate, and incinerate all Jews. That is what his plan was. And the German people bought into that. I'm sure they didn't realize what they were buying, but they owned it by the time it was too late to stop it, if it could have been stopped and they wanted to stop it. Once something like this gets rolling, its a runaway train that can't be stopped.
And yet, it didn't work. Jews survived, and set up a homeland in Isreal. I don't follow, but I'm very familiar with the term "never again" and you can be sure Jews will never be exterminated. They are on guard 24/7 for any sign of even a hint of that ball rolling again. 
So, I get how Muslims feel excluded, singled out and grouped for the actions of a few radicals who have perverted a faith.
On the other hand, Jews, Isreal and worldwide, even if they don't follow or identify, are always fearful now of an attack. They are a target of those who see their way of life being stolen away from them by an entire segment. Like the Americans do now. I get that too.
Again, I don't follow the religion, or believe, but I understand persecution and fear of attack.
There are very few groups that can be in the position that anyone raised Jewish is in. They went from threat of extermination at the hands of a crazy dictator, to in the position of strength and power and in the position of being attacked at a moments notice.
Jews get all that. 
And they understand why both sides are edgy and will divide more than come together to find a constructive solution to the problem. 
And they also understand that making lists and excluding entire segments is not the answer. Being vigilent and smart about how you defend your land is the answer. When was the last time an Isreali airliner or airport was under attack? The answer is never. They have had the toughest security on those for my entire lifetime. They were ahead of the game. The Americans were lax, and now they see the holes they left open. The problem is they are trying to close them in ways that wont work, but will only make them worse. 
You don't exclude the good people of any kind. You find out who the bad ones are with hard work and take them out. That is why the Jews persist and always will. Americans can learn a lesson from all that. 
I didn't buy into the religion, but I never forgot the lessons of the culture. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Trump will lose because he is like that hot girlfriend.

Today I thought I was going to post an article about Donald Trump and what he said about not allowing any Muslims in the country for a while. But I didn't. 
Then, I thought I might post an article about his argument on Morning Joe this morning. But I didn't.
Here is why.
Back when I was single. I once dated this incredibly hot woman. Okay, not dated. That isn't accurate. I met her at a bar or party, or something that was a combo of both. I don't recall the actual details of that. But I remember that the reason I wanted her wasn't because we had some long convos about life and got to like each other. We did actually talk here and there at first, but I really didn't like her and she didn't like me. There was friction. And it added to the desire to be lovers. On both sides. Much like how it went on Moonlighting between Maddy and David.
Nope. I wanted to fuck her. Simple as that. So, I put up with her crazy. And make no mistake. She was crazy. Like "batshit crazy" crazy. But boy could she kiss. And she had the most amazing body. And in bed, she was really, really good. And did I mention she could really kiss? Yes, there was that.
So, lets say it lasted about 2 weeks. It could have been 10 days. It might have been 3 weeks. I don't really recall. But I recall there was a lot of sex. That part I do recall. And I remember her name. You always remember the names of those types. 
And then, I'd had her. Several times. The only allure she had to me, it was fulfilled. And now, there was nothing left. So, I just got tired of her batshit crazy ways. And that was the end of that.
At this point, Donald Trump is on the downside of the hill in terms of the hot girlfriend theory. He is just getting more and more out there, trying harder and harder to up the ante, stay on top, maintain the interest. But, its not working. I am just tired of him. I can't be bothered with him.
That is going to happen with everyone else. Or most everyone. Enough that he will just get discarded, like that hot girlfriend who has been experienced. 
So, for me, that's it. I'm done with the Donald Trump experience. Have fun with him if you want to carry on. He is about as interesting to me as the interest I have in knowing what Kim and Kanye will name their baby. That is to say, ZERO.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Some thoughts on some stuff ISISsy.

I might or I might not touch on some of these points in blogs. But if I do or do not, here is my position on them and briefly my reasoning. These are not long and well supported points, just my take on what I see and what I think it means.
I don't agree with anything ISIS stands for. However, I support its right to think it and believe it. Even promote it, if they wish. But, when you meet resistance and have to fight for your right to keep doing it, bombing, shooting, stabbing or otherwise involving others you don't have a direct fight with is not how you fight your battles. That is the cowards way to fight. So, blast them into submission. Period. However you must. Cowards who kill deserve no mercy. I don't know who is right. Should we be interfering in the Arab worlds business? Maybe not. But if we are, if they want to fight, they fight on the battle field, not the cafes of Paris.
Even if Donald Trump is right, and some Muslims are dangerous because they support and endorse those who kill in the name of Allah,  it doesn't justify what he wants to do about it. Just because a few do it,  doesn't justify putting one person on a list who has nothing to do with it. That is just one very short leap from being Hitler. That can never be supported. Even if 90% of a sect is corrupt, you don't punish the 10% of the sect who are not.
No matter how strong your army, how many weapons you have,  how much support you have, you don't win a war on the battlefield, you win it in the strategy room. That has been the history of the world. Having more guns than the other guy does no good if he shoots you first or you can't find him. We need the best minds on the strategy detail to beat terrorism. Currently, I doubt that is the case.
Whenever religion is the basis for your world view, whether you are a true believer or not, the only way you can be swayed to live and let live is to be put to death. You don't answer to the laws of man. I have no issues with religion or religious people, as long as they keep that on the personal level of their own lives. If you justify in any way making decisions that effect the lives of others, then religion gets left in the closet. It can only do harm. That takes out most of the Presidential candidates on the right, and possibly some on the left. It's a big part of the problem. We are led by almost as big a set of nutjobs as the ones we are fighting.
Its not enough to live well. If you support a terrorist cells actions as justified, you are just as dangerous. I view you on equal footing and deserving of equal punishment. You can believe in something and nobody cares, but when you support violence in the name of terrorism, you must go.
Refugees are not terrorists.They are fleeing the dictators, not supporting them. If they were violent types , they wouldn't be terrorists. they would be rebel fighters.
What you need to convince ISIS braintrust and ringleaders of is that terrorist acts aren't in their best interests of reaching their end goal. whatever that is. In other words, the more they act terroristy, the more difficult it will become overall. They lose more than they gain. How do you do that? Convince them of that? You fight back, and if they don't give, you fight harder and keep coming until there are none left. If they insist on dying for the cause, then they have to die. If some of us have to die for that strategy, then we do. A few of us will die either way. Might as well win while you are at it.
The main reason that people don't want refugees here, even though they know the vast majority wont be any danger to us, is that we don't trust that our government can do a good job about the ones that are a danger. We have no confidence in the efficacy of the people we trust to keep us safe and secure. It seems they can barely manage the dangerous ones we have now. The French and Belgians seem to bear that out. That is the issue we should really be addressing. I wrote that before San Bernardino happened. It was valid before,  it was valid that day,  its valid as of this moment.
I don't know what the answer is to the Middle East issues. Its just so complex, so multi-faceted and multi- dimensional, not to mention so embedded over time. No matter what you do, there seems to be a fallout at the other end of that that leads to more trouble, more conflict, and more need for intervention. So, there is that.
What I do know is that those there have to know that in the Western World, you don't ever step onto our soil and harm innocent civilians. If you do, you have to know that there will be a heap of trouble that will be struck down on you to make sure you get the message loud and clear. That shouldn't be complex. That should be simple and crystal clear. Right now, it doesn't seem to be the case. If you want to fight your fight, stay there and fight it. If you want to come here, leave your fight there. You can't have it both ways.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

USA: Time to get a divorce.

Last night, on the Rachel Maddow Show, she had a 20 minute long piece showing the history of how abortion doctors and their families have been gunned down, mostly at long range by sniper type gunmen. Most of those are not actual snipers, and they miss. Injuring the doctors and their families, but not killing them. Some have actually been killed. Now, last Friday in Colorado Springs, the gunman didn't bother with the long range shootings. He entered the building and killed as many as he could before the security kicked in and didn't give him access to more potential victims. Candidates like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have almost justified these actions as justifiable. I am not making that up. Go online and search. You will see their logic behind why they think it happens. They blame the victims. 
Today in San Bernardino, 3 heavily armed gunmen with AK-47s shot and killed 14 people and injured at least as many. They did it with long range weapons, and were so efficient they actually got away and there are no apparent leads to capture them. They could conceivably never be caught.
Here are my thoughts on what just happened in San Bernardino.
There comes a time in every relationship where divorce is the only answer. You can get marriage counseling but that might lead to the suggestion to just go your separate ways.
I feel the States are at that point.
On one side, you have the anti abortion, pro guns, less civil rights for innocent people who refuse to see there is any other way. When they don't get their way, they take their guns and start shooting people who don't agree with them. Or, they justify those who would, even though they wont actually do it themselves. Then you have the other side who simply will not come to their side of thinking, which makes perfect sense because most of those arguments are embedded in backwards logic.
Like say the NRA contention after Sandy Hook that the best way to protect from a hostile shooter/bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun to shoot him or her and protect you.
That's all well and good, but many abortion doctors have been shot in their houses, from long range, say through a window. How does the good guy protect against a shooter like that? Or, today, a group of 3 shooters with AK-47s who ambush and can shoot from long distance before you can ever get your gun out. What kind of security protects against that? Buildings and houses with no windows? Is that the type of world we want to live in? I don't.
No, it seems the only solution is to divide the land up. Right down the middle. Everyone on one side of that line believes in one way of life. Everyone on the other believes in another. Then, those sides can debate any other issue with those factors off the table.
I want to be on the side where nobody has guns. Not even police. If you do, you get the death penalty for even having one. If you don't like that, live on the other side and do as you please. But you aren't welcome on my side of the line.
I don't see any mediation or therapy. There is a defiant tone, even from those who actually aren't that dangerous. They have to have their guns. It's their right, and you aren't taking it away from them. The states simply aren't United enough to make that happen. In fact, the whole country is controlled by a powerful NRA lobby that makes sure that it will never happen. In terms of irreconcilable differences, this is the definition of that. A reformation is needed. A divorce and a start over.
Guns are for war. And killing. Not for protection. At least not on my side of the line. Other than the army, which will be employed if we are invaded by a hostile outside force, nobody on my side of the line needs a gun. If nobody has one, nobody needs one. Everybody is a good guy, or at least a less dangerous bad guy. It's a mindset. A mindset that the pro gun lobby and supporters don't have. Which is fine. As long as you don't live on my side of the line. Do whatever you want on yours. Live in fear of gunfights in restaurants and help centers. Abortion clinics. Schools. Churches. Malls. Theaters. Etc. Etc. Etc. If having a gun makes you feel safer with that, have fun with that. On your side of the line.
If that is how you want to live, live that way. Most of the rest of us do not want to. And frankly, I don't feel safe anymore that you are among us. Nor should I. Because it isn't safe out there anymore.

Climate Change wont work. Here is why: One word. Selfishness.

In Nahlah Ayed's piece below, she starts off with this statement:

"Its a turning point we're told. That it's the fight of our generation. Words that suggest global unity against one common enemy."

I will explore that statement in this blog. Obviously, by the title, you know that I view that as total BS. It's a lot of hot air. More than even the hot air that they are trying to cool with the rhetoric they spew in Paris this week. 

 UNICEF, an­oth­er UN agency, re­leased a re­port on Nov. 24 claim­ing that chil­dren will bear the brunt of fu­ture tem­per­at­ure rises and their as­so­ci­ated ef­fects.

 I am not a climate change denier. I believe in science and accept the findings of those who have been doing the work. For me, that will never be the issue. I understand what is happening, and I have a different reasoning for not changing my ways. Not entirely anyway. And I think most are like me, although they talk a good lip service game when they discuss what to do about it.
I try to be the good citizen. I recycle. I conserve water. I compost. I try to create as little garbage as possible. I reuse more than anyone you have probably ever met. I try to plan my trips so that I hit the grocery store on the way to my weekly hockey game, thereby eliminating one needless, carbon spewing car trip into the atmosphere. I grow some of my own vegetables and fruits, and I waste almost nothing I buy. I don't (mia culpa, hardly ever) eat meat. I keep the aircon off unless I must have it. If the house gets a shade colder, I put a sweater and an extra pair of socks on.
Sure, the world is hotter in 2015 than its ever been before. When I say ever, I mean the modern era. I'm sure over 4 billion years, there have been hotter years. And we have survived to live to tell, and heat it up again.
However, when push comes to shove, no matter how hot it gets now, by the time I die, it wont make hardly a dent in the way of life of most of the world. So, in reality, I would be acting now so others in the future will get the benefit I never will. 
I have never been one that is all that concerned that humans survive well after I am dead. I'm not against them doing so, and I guess I hope they do, but if I'm dead, why do I really care? The truth is, I do...and I don't. I do, because species survival is inherent in all beings. I don't, because I really am more concerned about myself than the overall species. If the two competing agendas can live as one in harmony, so be it. But, if one has to suffer at the others expense, then, I am going to be selfish and screw the future over for my own current, in-the-now, happiness. 
So, will I give up fossil fueled cars altogether? Hell No. Who would? So some person I have never met can enjoy a better life 200 years from now? I don't think so. 
In Paul Hunter's piece below, he brings the viewer a story of how Atlanta, once one of the worst air pollution cities in America, had seen a very significant rise in electric cars, and the culture seemed to be changing. That was for one simple reason: The subsidy that the State of Georgia and Federal government provided to slash the cost of a new electric car as opposed to a gasoline or diesel car.

In the piece, Hunter gets to the point. The electric car love-in ended abruptly.

"But then, a speed bump. This summer, Georgia pulled the plug, killing the state tax credit. The result, laments (the Nissan dealer in the piece)...we went from selling 275 in June and I think in July we may have sold 6."

I will try to do the right thing, but I'm not sacrificing myself entirely to do so. Yup, I'm selfish like that. And so are you. Its all about degrees of that.

Now, if they can make an electric car that reduces world emissions to the point that global warming slows down, reverses or disappears altogether, and I don't have to spend 10 times as much to have that vehicle, I'm in. But, if it means I don't get to travel the world because it costs me too much, then no, no way, I'm not in.

Would I convert my house to 100% solar, wind and natural energy sources of power? I would, absolutely. If you can make it affordable, relative to what I pay now. Or even close to that. I'm willing to give a little. I am not completely selfish. If it means I can't afford to eat out once in a while or go to a hockey game because my disposable income is sucked up with that expense, then No, again. No way.

No matter what, somebody can do more if they gave up more of their own happiness now. But they aren't going to do that.
So, it is what it is.
And what it is is the quality of life now vs. the quality of life for the future. Those two need to be in harmony. Right now, they are not. So, as Buster Poindexter used to say, its HOT, HOT, HOT, and its going to stay that way.

I am one of those that believes nature will take care of this problem. If the apocalypse comes, and the world of Earth starts to bake, humans will decrease rapidly, thus curtailing the behavior that caused the problem. Nature will adjust and heal itself, and then regroup, just as it did in the ice age. 
The problem with humans is that they love to view history only in terms of how it relates to themselves. So, what really matters is what has happened since we rose to prominence over dinosaurs, apes and whatever else ruled the earth in the time it has existed. However, we aren't earth. We are a part of it, and we will be adjusted accordingly when our own actions cause our own species to decrease back into the harmony position. Just as any action one takes in their lives will cause reactions, adjustments and consequences. 
A hot climate, and nature are no different. Just because we think it is doesn't make it so. The idea that humans can alter nature over a vast amount of time, say millions of years, is another selfish, foolish and egocentric notion we have that simply doesn't hold water. 

 Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today
And don't worry 'bout tomorrow, hey
Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today
Live for today

It is very possible, maybe even likely, that a Republican will win the White House in 2016. As I understand it, almost all Republican candidates either deny climate change is valid, or at best, admit it exists but don't view it as an issue of upmost importance as the current President does. That is the type of leadership that tells you the will is not there. I view that as more the overall attitude of the average person on the street, who will continue to pollute, waste and generally contribute to the problem. I don't know what it would take to turn the tide on that, but as of yet, I haven't seen anything to change my position on that.
I think in many U.S. towns, and worldwide for that matter, if it comes down to shutting down a plant that supplies jobs because the emissions and nature of their business contributes to the overall problem, they simply wont. If it means their way of life--a good life--will be harmed, it is not going to be the prevailing will. 
People are selfish. That is always the prevailing will.   
Is it sad that people 5,000 miles from us get hit by megastorms that might be caused or enhanced by global warming? Yes, it is. 
Does it bother some that it happens? I'm sure it does. Some more than others. But in reality, it's a two week "I care" kind of moment. It fades away, until the next one, and then it's too bad again. And in the meantime, we will do all the things that probably cause those problems. Because, in our daily lives, something that happens 5,000 miles away from our humble abode and great city, mean nothing to us. Certainly not enough for us to care any more than initially about the suffering and our part in that. If the pollution in Atlanta returns to smog central, then they will do what they have to to fix that. Because then, it will be about the citizens daily quality of life, in the hear and now. They didn't need any global Climate Summit in Los Angeles in the 70s. They needed a city so high in smog it was unlivable. Simple as that. That was very tangible. That created will for change.
Yeah, the stakes are high. I guess. And the tragedies will only mount. Sure. And in terms of our total interest in all that, its long off and not close enough to home to matter. Now, if the shores of the Hudson River overflow and decimate New York City, or the California coast overflows and wipes out big parts of San Francisco and Los Angeles, then I think we will take notice and start to care. Then, it will effect us, or at least people we can relate to. Real people, in our time, who lose their homes, their lives and if neither of those, at least their way of lives. Then, and only then, it becomes about us.  

I will close where I started, with the end of the Nahlah Ayed piece, and a statement by the mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson.

"Our opportunity to turn that around is significant. and if we don't, the stakes grow even higher. The tragedies will only mount."

And how did the "leaders" and "diplomats" show how much they care about solving this problem? Did they take very low carbon emitting means of transportation to the summit? Did they arrive in vehicles that were 100% electric and not big, gas guzzling stretch limos?
Um, not so much.   

One more time, I go back to the Nahlah Ayed piece, for the most accurate statement, by the Chinese President, with a comment on President Obama's assertion that the summit is a turning point.

"the summit isn't a turning point, but a starting point."

So much for global unity. Yeah, that came and went fast enough.

Again, yes,  that is it. We are starting. However, unless humans become less selfish, which history has shown they do not, I will die and this problem will be worse, not better when that happens. And, to be frank, I'm okay with that. I do my part. Others can do theirs. Nature will do its part. It will all work out in the end. That end might be a million years from now. When that happens, nobody will remember me, or the vast majority of the next generation, or the generation after that. 
At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter that much. Not as much as my happiness in the Here and Now. 
That matters a lot. To all of us.   


About Me

Daily profile about a specific artist,their life, their work and their impact