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“The Two-Hour Delay”….a Clusterfuck Story…

2 Hour Delay

Thursday, January 4th, 2018….the third day of a full week of “2 Hour Delay” days at my kids’ school and, indeed, throughout the school systems across the country.   And I just finished a verbal fistfight with a school administrator about it…..  but why?

The Public is told that the 2 hour delay is designed to help keep kids safe and prevent them from waiting in sub freezing temps for buses that may or may not come in time to get them there by 8am (or whenever they’re supposed to show).   But that’s a lie.  A bold faced lie, perpetrated by the state school systems to hide the truth…….which IS……..

The two hour delay is usually imposed on days when school really should be simply closed, due to cold or icy weather.  In hilly areas like Pittsburgh, ice and cold can be a REAL problem for kids, and not only those who ride the buses, but those who have to walk or even be driven on streets, yet untreated (as they usually aren’t) or unplowed in a timely fashion.  The stated rationale, is that the extra two hours gives buses time to get their cold-ass diesel engines warmed up and get the kids to school in a “warmer” time of day.  But let’s look at this current weather situation…..  it’s been under 20 degrees (and close to zero, most mornings) since before New Year’s Day. Even colder temps predicted for tomorrow, too.  At ten a.m., it’s NO WARMER than it was at eight a.m.  Not noticeably, at least.  And the kids who walk or are driven still have to get there on crap roads left icy by our inefficient city services. I know of parents who CAN’T take work, because they have to walk UP TO A MILE AND A HALF twice a day with their kids, because the bus won’t get them unless they’re 2 miles away, and they don’t have a car….so the parents walk 6 miles a day to just GET their kids to school. Are THEIR needs being acknowledged?  Nope…..they’re just expected to suck it and like it…..

But the kicker, in MY case, is that I, as the prime caretaker for the kids (4 and 6), had to find a job (and, luckily, I did) that would work with me on my hours so that I could be there to drop off and pick them up every day of the school year.  That means, that I only get to work from about 9am to 12:30pm on a GOOD day when there’s NO issues.  Not much money, but at least it keeps Child Support off my ass…..barely.

The trick though, is that I have to be there to start my job NO LATER THAN ten a.m.  So, whenever there’s a 2 hour delay on a day when school should be closed, not only do I have to deal with the bullshit so that the school can claim to the state regulators that they met their 180 day requirement under the law, but I also don’t get to go to work, so it’s a completely wasted day for me.  Completely useless.  And this week, I have a grand total of ZERO hours going on the ol’ paycheck….which helps to feed and care for these same kids the schools are so concerned about the safety of….  and I’m sure Child Support will LOVE to hear, about how I couldn’t go to work because the school schedule screwed me out of my hours ALL WEEK……my bosses must love it, too…considering they hired me on the reasonable expectation that I’ll be able to actually show up to DO my job….which I actually, love, by the way…

Is the school gonna’ compensate me for lost hours?  Nope.  State Unemployment?  Nope.  I’m just fucked, and that’s all she wrote.

Couple that fact, with the District’s reasoning that Pre-K kids and all the other kids have to go in thru separate doors at opposite ends of the school, which means I either have to keep the 4 year old exposed to the elements unnecessarily for a longer period of time. They don’t want me to pull into their parking lot to drop the kids off (security reasons, they’ll call it) so I can’t leave him in the nice, safe and warm truck unless I leave him a couple hundred feet away from where I’m taking my daughter into the door assigned for her….which, in the eyes of the state is “endangering” my child…..so, they wanted this morning, to send a lackey out to verbally call me out for parking in the no-no zone while I dropped my daugher off at her door and left my son warm and safe, not thirty feet from me.

I took the time to fully explained this entire quandry to the administrator lady, out in the fourteen degree winds, and told her to please DON’T SCREW WITH ME ON THIS ONE……the bitch needs to pick a better battle because I will NOT continue to kowtow to policies that either endanger or otherwise make me uncomfortable about the safety and well-being mf MY child….not their child….mine.  The child I spend 18 hours a day with and love more than they ever could.

I already patiently (for 3 years now) wait forty minutes with a cranky 4 year old after his school is out for the day, until the 1st grader is released at a separate time, and I find ways to keep him entertained for 40 minutes each and every day, so as not to upset the careful balance the school dictates be set for kids in different grades.  I already park on the street and walk them to their different doors and wait until they open them up each and every day the entire rest of the year.  I already elect to NOT get paid and risk losing my job, just to make sure their attendance doesn’t suffer and reflect poorly on their school transcripts…..so the Pittsburgh Public School System needs to calm their tits about where I park on the days when it’s so fucking cold that I, by all rights, should just keep them home (as should every other loving parent in the city), safe and warm.

Kids need routine. And you have no idea how the 2 Hour Delay screws with their little minds, when they get thrown off the routines of everyday school life.  Their meal times get skewed, the lessons get abbreviated, and their behavior suffers both in and out of class, all because the school doesn’t want to extend the school year farther into June, due to the Union contracts they’ve negotiated with the Teacher’s Unions and Labor Unions.  They HAVE to get 180 days in somehow, before a certain date each year, or they risk the entire year being decertified as a “school year” OR the teachers saying, “Our time is up”, and going on their (well-deserved) summer breaks per Union schedule, regardless of how many days are needed to complete the year to State standards.

Who loses?   The kids, and their working parents, MANY of whom can’t get compensated for missed time and many of whom may actually LOSE their jobs when companies decide they can’t be counted on to be reliable employees and show up on time throughout the winter.  Families lose, while the Unions win.  And the State doesn’t give a fuck.  You refuse to send your kids on these ultra-cold days, and they’ll say you’re a neglectful parent and then you get Children and Family Services knocks on your door and you get to jump through hoops for the rest of your parenting life.

What’s so goddamned irritating, is that ALL that’s needed, is to extend the school year and negotiate Union contracts that take winter weather days more into acount and allow for flexibility to get the required 180 days in each year.  If it’s 5 degrees out, close the fucking school for the day, and then open it one more day in June.   Simple.  Easy.  Fair to everyone.   And parents who bitch about missing their vacation time in Myrtle Beach they scheduled for early June will just have to suck it up, because the vast majority of children and families can’t afford that life, anyway.  We’re more concerned about keeping our kids in school, working our jobs, feeding our families and paying our ever-increasing utility bills and property taxes.

So, Pittsburgh Public Schools….prepare for battle.  I’ll go to fucking war with you and even though I already know I’ll lose and any victory would only be pyrrhic at best, maybe enough parents would hear the words of common sense and agree, and an uprising could take place against the co-opting of our lives by ineffective and downright harmful school policies can be addressed, so that future generations of kids may attend the schools that we PAY FOR and who WORK FOR US.

Your tax dollars at work, Amerikka….  But yet, people are worried about Trump’s Tweets……

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….And so, THIS happened…… (Part 1)

IMG_0178
Ava and Jake, 11/11/2017

One of the happiest days in my life just happened….  my eldest daughter got married.  And I was there to see it….

In and of itself, it might not seem like a huge deal, albeit a great memory for most, but in my case, it was a monumental effort, come to fruition.  An evebnt that wrapped up one chapter in multiple lives, and began new ones.  A beautiful symbol of how things change for the better, whether we plan for it or not.

I have been somewhat estranged from three of my kids for many years. Without going into gruesome detail, suffice it to say, that wedges were placed between us by a third party…. Purposely.  With malice and forethought.

And so, imagine my surprise when my daughter told me she was getting married and would like if I could be there with and for her, if possible.  I was elated for her but, of course, in my position, not sure at all that I’d be able to make it there.  Multiple reasons, again…..but, against my better judgment, I committed to it and told her in no uncertain terms that I’d be there, if it hairlipped the Pope……

Now, how I was going to afford it with a grand monthly income of less than $400, I had no idea…..but, as always happens, the Universe worked in my favour, without even so much as a nudge from me. A beautiful soul not only offered to go along with me, but also, to pretty much foot the entire bill for the excursion.  So THAT part of the equation was settled.

Which left only one roadblock in the way….the specter of the hardships my daughters and I have gone through, which needed to be overcome somehow, in the interests of peaceful reunion and a joyous celebration.  I spoke to them both at length, expressing y true feelings and opening up about some situations that had happened which had prefaced prior letdowns, and found lukewarm responses from them. But in any event, I was determ ined to make the occasion happen.  An added benefit, was to be that I’d also get to meet my two beautiful granddaughters for the very first time. That is, if I could get into and out of a state where I had had warrants for over twenty years.  Piddly semantics, but hurdles, nonetheless….

Leaving out, I was quiet….introspective and while still conversational, not really the catalyst for great road trip talking, because I was focused on the ideas of what seeing them all after 5 years would feel like, and what kind of situation I was walking into. It was a strange amalgam of excitement, melancholy, fear and trepidation, all rolled up and surrounded by a burrito wrap of unconditional love.

The drive from Pennsylvania to Illinois was filled with dozens of dead deer carcsses, which almost looked like a harbinger of doom of some sort, almost like a warning to me, that mishaps are always right around the corner, in headlights one cannot see until it’s too late to move out of their way. This thought came to me and even came close to consuming me at points, but my travel partner made great conversation which kept the demons at bay long enough, for us to get there safely and without my having had any sort of complete psychobilly freakout.

Arriving earlier than predicted, I was able to settle in and collect my thoughts. My oldest daughter was texting me and seemed genuinely excited that I was there to see and be there for her. She and her fiance would meet me at my hotel tht night for a quick hello, while they were getting last minute things together.  I patiently awaited them……

When the knock on the door came, I went to it with butterflies in my stomach. My first “baby girl” would be on the other side of the door, and when I opened it, I saw her eyes dilate really big when she saw me, as I’m sure mine did with her.  We embraced in a tight hug and you could almost hear the sighs of relief, that this wait was now over.

I shook her fiance’s hand and invited them both in, where we made small talk and shared a couple shots of Maple flavored bourbon together. It was odd, actually passing a bottle to my daughter, but she was old enough after all, and the stress of everything that made this happen needed to be broken.  We continued to share earnest and happy conversation for a good while, before they had to leave, to continue getting their own readiness completed before the rehearsal that night and next day’s nuptials.

Arriving at the rehearsal a couple hours later, I saw my two granddaughters in the flesh for the very first time. Looking at the youngest one, Lydia, I stared deep into her piercing blue eyes as she stared deeply into my own brown ones, and we had an instant connection. She smiled at me and I held her close to me and hugged her tightly, as a man who had found safety and refuge from a storm of unimaginable magnitude….and maybe I had… in her smile, I saw the innocent hope and joy of a darling baby girl, my granddaughter, who knew nothing of the world and the bad craziness that can envelope a person in its clutches. There was only “love”, and the excitement of seeing everything new, for the first time. Little questions she didn’t even know how to elicit, yet.

Seeing my daughter’s stepfather, after many, many years, there was a moment of mutual stress and almost an expectance of momentary drama, and we both drew in breaths deeply, as if waiting for some ten pound shoe to fall. I shook his hand and once again thanked him for everything he’d done for my kids over the years he spent with them, and we began to deescalate the moment immediately.  I could feel the tenseness decrease in both of us, although perhaps his held a little tighter than my own did, since I was, after all, the one coming in from the outside of this scene, and perhaps he didn’t really know what to expect from me. His perceptions of me had been coloured by the ex wife, who had a long and storied history of painting things in an altogether unrealistic fashion, peppering her narratives with outright lies and statements designed to make herself look like an angel, while simultaneously making others look like lesser creatures in every imaginable way. But, throughout the rehearsal and evening dinner, he and I found a reasonable detente and mutual respect , albeit begrudgingly, it appeared.  He had no reaon to want or need to like me, and I didn’t push the issue because I respect any person’s right to feel exactly as they damned well please.

As we figured out how three men (her grandfather, step dad and myself) were going to give the bride away and ent through a few rehearsals, we al grew less concerned about any potentials for conflict or drama and instead, focused on how to make the bride’s day a perfect ocasion for her. We got our parts down, and then we all went off for dinner at a mexican restaurant, where the families of bride and groom all mingled together and I had some time to reconnect with both my daughters.  People seemed to sit back during all my interactions with them, as if not wanting to disturb such a reunion or its vibe, and I was quietly grateful for that apparent show of respect.  As it turned out, the groom’s father and I had hung out a wee bit back in the day, and so we talked about mutual things of interest and a couple vague shared memories. All in all, it was a wonderful evenig, and when it was all over and we parted to all go back and rest for the night, I invited my younger daughter and her friend back to enjoy a bit of conversation and catch up.  They did show up and we hung out for an hour or so, until it was clear my old body needed rest, and so they went on their way while my travel partner and I laid down to get some seriously much needed sleep.  The next day was going to be a real and true experience of unknown outcome, and I needed to be mentally and emotionally prepared to watch my little baby girl become the wife of a man I’d met, only hours previous.

…..To Be Continued

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Moment

Taste . . . . . just taste this moment….
Think on how life hasn’t passed you by…… and there’s no more reasons for you to cry.

Think . . . . think for a moment….
You can be anything that you want to be…. There’s no holding back what’s forever free.

And I can tell ya’ things ya’ never knew were real…
I can show ya’ things ya’ never thought you’d feel…
I can help light up the darkened path…. Help you escape your own silent wrath….
And I can give ya’ love ya’ never knew was there…
I can show ya’ it surrounds ya’, everywhere…
I’ve done it before and I will again…. ‘Coz my mission in life is to spend it with you
My friend.

Glide . . . . . just glide on the winds….
Let this take you where you wanna’ be…..  Don’t care where we’re at long as you’re next to me

And try . . . . just try to give in…..
Don’t paint devils where none exist….  Just allow yourself this moment of bliss.

And I can tell ya’ things ya’ never knew were real…
I can show ya’ things ya’ never thought you’d feel…
I can help light up the darkened path…. Help you escape your own silent wrath….
And I can give ya’ love ya’ never knew was there…
I can show ya’ it surrounds ya’, everywhere…
I’ve done it before and I will again…. ‘Coz my mission in life is to spend it with you
My friend.

{Solo}:

Breathe . . . . breathe in this life…..
Colour your world just the way ya’ dream….. Let it all be just the way it seems.

And hold . . . . hold me tight…….
Enough that you’ll never let go…..  Just plant these seeds and let ’em grow…..

And I can tell ya’ things ya’ never knew were real…
I can show ya’ things ya’ never thought you’d feel…
I can help light up the darkened path…. Help you escape your own silent wrath….
And I can give ya’ love ya’ never knew was there…
I can show ya’ it surrounds ya’, everywhere…
I’ve done it before and I will again…. ‘Coz my mission in life is to spend it with you….
I can tell ya’ things ya’ never knew were real…
I can show ya’ things ya’ never thought you’d feel…
I can help light up the darkened path…. Help you escape your own silent wrath….
And I can give ya’ life ya’ never knew could be lived…
I can build the bridge that can span the rifts…
I’ve done it before and I will again…. ‘Coz my mission in life is to spend it with you
My friend.

©2017, Lone Star Duff Music/Rolling Keg Music, All Rights Reserved

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Sunday Thoughts: 10/22/2017

In the seemingly increasing spaces between when I write posts now that I’m no longer doing the daily social media thing on Facebook, I’ve had no shortage of inspirational moments…. I fill the void with more involved activities with my kids, and with a great gal I’ve been spending time with, and also have been able to really dig deep into the world news stories, especially regarding North Korea.  So, it’s not like I haven’t had things to think about and, in fact, I’ve even constructed in my mind, things I wanted to say, but the immediate nature of thought to word processing wasn’t really gearing itself up for a post, so that’s why you haven’t seen much as of late.

Many of the thoughts permeating my mind are based around how things have changed so much between the era when I grew up, and the world we see today. This has been a recurring theme in my life anyway for many years, and is no surprise, but in removing myself more from the day to day hubris of social media, I find that I’m less distracted by the hubbub that is meaningless, and refocused on what really matters most to me.  Raising my kids to be kind and thoughtful and independent-minded….the relation between worldpolitik and our own daily lives…. the ways our own minds evolve, as a result of the environments we expose it to….and that last one has really set in on me lately…….

I’ve learned, that we have, indeed, a unique power we never really notice, to adapt and yet still draw upon old ways and memories, to recreate our lives in new and better ways, almost on a daily basis.  No matter what obstacles we may face, we can immerse ourselves in the new day before us, and stil utilize those old edicts from our grandparents and forefathers on how best to live our lives, in a general sense.  But with the multitude of things that become new and entwined into our lives nowadays, it can sometimes seem to be a struggle to realize the correllation between what mattered “then”, as opposed to “now”.  The trappings of modern society can tax our minds to where we are overwhelmed by the external stumuli and forget where we, as souls, come from.  We slowly turn into creatures we may not even really recognize and it only comes back to us, upon moments of introspection that we, ourselves, have to initiate.

There are many different examples of how this plays into our lives, and I’m sure that you can easily visualize a couple if you think on it for a few seconds, so I won’t go into a long and drawn out illustration.  But one of the main problems that we face which causes many other problems for us, inevitably, is that we tend to allow ourselves to be so immersed into today, that we forget yesterday, and even yesteryear. We forget the thoughts we had as children and the wonders we felt when we read stories as children, from books that were fifty years older than ourselves.  That imaginative spirit has largely been lost, to a more intense sense of immediate gratification that we seek on daily basis from things that are  temporal, at best.  TV series, or social media warrior-ing, or social activities…..all things which aren’t bad in and of themselves, but which can and do take us over, if we let them.  If we use them, to fill the voids we all feel from our individual life circumstances.

But life isn’t that empty, even as it’s all too clogged with external distractions; in fact, life is as it’s always been for time immemorial…..it’s whatever we make it to be.

We can, at any moment, freely choose to worry about something, be angry about something, be overjoyed or saddened….the full range of human thought is available to us 24 hours a day, every day of our lives.  And if or when we allow ourseves to feel down about something that we feel was beyond our control, then we give power to that “thing” over us.  Power it doesn’t deserve.  Power, that is ours to give….

So, in my case, not being active on social media, I’m opting out of being exposed to things that I already know are gonna’ piss me off and make me want to engage (as if I was gonna’ change someone’s already-made-up-mind, anyway) in either a defensive or offensive capacity.  And that time is better spent, for me, in re-learning the things that I dreamed life would be when I was a child.  Enjoying reading in-depth articles….engaging with my kids in whatever the hell they have going on and answering their life questions…. even a nap or two, which this aging body certainly appreciates more than I ever thought it would.  I also get to spend more time listening to a plethora of music, new to me, but that has been out there waiting to be heard forever.  If the modern day is good for one thing, it’s that you can explore your interests easier than ever before and surround yourself with that which pleases your senses. You can create your environment.

And that’s what I’m doing….creating my environment.  Again.  For probably the third or fourth time in my lifetime.  Building the world I want to live in, and shutting out all that I find to be distasteful or offensive or which brings out the worst in me.  And I’m better off for it.  I’m happier on a daily basis, and the stressors in my life bother me less, and I’m more firmly entrenched in my philosophy about things happening in the exact order that they happen for a reason, more and more by the day.  I get to see how my intuitions lead me to exactly where I’m supposed to be at any moment in time and how my life is going along in the exact way my Creator had intended.  Situations are placed before me that not simply require, but demand my attention and in submitting to them, I am fulfilling the goals my journey requires of me, for me to be able to move onward in its next phase, whenever that day comes.

I’m sharing love and light wherever I can, and seeing how the good things you do always do come back to you.  In little ways that you won’t notice, if you’re not looking for them, and that’s why I encourage you all to open your eyes a bit and look for all these little, seemingly unconnected things and see where they truly are connected.  “A” has to happen, so that “B” could have happened, so that “C” could show you how to arrive at “D”.    Yeah, I know; quantum theories and shit…..nobody told us math would be required just to live our lives, but it’s real.  The laws of physics do apply, and the laws you abide by do, indeed, lead you to places you only dreamed of being, as a child. But they’re all related, even if you don’t see ’em.  They ALL matter, more than you know.

And so now, on this Sunday morning, I’m not gonna’ worry about North Korea, or Trump, or the coldness of the general public or their increasing polarization on everything from what foods to eat to what color the sky is…… I’m going to enjoy some lounge jazz and take my kids to the park so they can run free….. I’m going to take a nap and then watch football, whether the players kneel or not.  I’m going to take out the trash for tomorrow’s pickup, and never think about it again after that. And then, I’m going to sleep well.

And really, that’s what it’s all about anyway……taking out the trash.  Leaving that which we no longer need on the curb.  Either someone will come along and scrounge for it and find something useful, or they won’t, and it’ll just go into the dump of history, but in any event, I won’t be concerned with it, because I’ve got a better life to live, courtesy of all the wonders we have around us every moment of our lives.  Those roses need smellin’, and those kids need played with, and that stray cat needs a chuck under the chin.  And that friend needs a hug, and that lover needs physical attention, and that stranger needs a smile.  None of it costs me a dime, but it reaches out farther into others’ lives than you could ever imagine.

And these are the things that help keep those childhood dreams alive, in all of us.  And which, if properly tended to, will continue to help humanity to right it’s own ship and keep people attuned to their own needs and faiths and will make each successive generation more keenly aware of the interconnectedness of all things.

And once we arrive at that place, it’ll be wondrous to see, just what kind of world we can build, together.

Be In Peace This Day, and Every.   You Are Loved.

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Friday the 13th…..

Today is friday, October 13th, 2017.  Nordic Air flight 666 to HEL (Helsinki) is making it’s final run today before they retire the flight number, but THAT’S the least of our concerns anymore….

North Korea is hell bent on showing President Trump who’s got the biggest balls of them all, and we have a giant “My Dick Is Bigger Than Yours” match going on…the kind of stuff that’d make WWE’s Vincent McMahon salivate with glee, if only the TV ratings were his to have…

But the other things going on might also give you reason to pause, today, including:

  • Turns out the new dilemma on the horizon is antibiotic resistant diseases, caused by an overwhelming amont of antibiotics being used on our food chain, in order to foster faster meat and muscle growth in chickens, pork and beef,,,,,
  • Russia has accused the US of breaching a peace treaty, as we stage additional resources in the Baltic states for upcoming war games. They’re thinking or moving resources nearby as well, setting the stage for a showdown at the Eurasian border between the two big dogs on the block.
  • Your computer antivirus programs MIGHT all be infected with viruses themselves, designed to relay your pertinent info and all your files to nogoodniks of various ilk, throughout the dark underbelly of the web.  Hide those porn pics of your cousin back when she was 17, okay?….
  • Blacks and whites distrust each other to such a high degree and the inner cities are just waiting for some cop somewhere to shoot an unarmed black youth so they can erupt into chaos and violence.
  • An Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) bomb could, as suggested by a known scholar, wipe out the electrical grid in the US rather easily and, over the course of the year or so it’d take to get it back to speed, almost 90 percent of our population could die from either civil unrest or starvation, since after all, no electricity means no gas for trucks for food delivery to stores which have no electricity to keep ’em fresh, anyway….

In short, we’re all living on the proverbial razor’s edge, and we can’t do fuck all about it.  We are alive only through the Providence of the Almighty and we’d better either get comfy with the bad craziness we’re gonna’ see ensue over the short to medium term future, or make plans ourselves on how to mitigate the damages we might suffer, in advance of Zero Hour.  The Kill Chain has been set, and we’re all in it…..

Best course of action, is to take a mindset that is independent of the outside world and, while not ignore the clamor from various doomsdayers, at least build a life that can continue to be operated even under the starkest of possibilities.  If that means buying a small parcel of land in the boonies and building a bunker, then do it…. if it means stockpiling organic foods and seeds, then do it.  Do whatever you can to at least feel safe enough that, in the event of doomsday prophets’ warnings coming to fruition, at least you woul’n flip shit because you weren’t prepared.  An oune of prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure.

Either that…..or don’t say you weren’t warned…repeatedly…. the tinfoil hat wearers might have just been right after all, although it wasn’t the Mayan Apocalypse that happened, but one of man’s own creation, as we slowly set the stage for multiple things to happen at roughly the same time, creating a maelstrom of shit that would sink almost any man’s ability to overcome and persevere, unless they were prepared for it.

The short answer is, if you want to guarantee your lifestyle and your survival, go ahead and take a few steps to safeguard it, now.  Maybe doomsday won’t happen…..but again, maybe it will.

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“Short list of things that really dick me off…..”

Those who know me know, that there’s a few things in this world that realy “dick me off” and anger me.  The list seems to be getting longer, so I figured I’d put it out here now, before it gets too long to remember:

  1. People who allow politics to define them and infiltrate every part of their persona:   These folks are the worst of the worst, handing over their whole personality and pride to politically-affiliated people, parties or movements who don’t give even one flying fuck about them, personally. They proudly march under the banners of (insert ideology here), laying waste to everything from lifelong friendships to lovers and even extending to their own family members, and for what?  So that an entity that cares nothing for the individual but only for the collective, “lemming-like” change in which they think their griping and actions MIGHT effect?…..  Pretty worthless to me, as I’ve come to know that my own life, friends and family are waaaaay more important in the Grand Scheme of Things, than ANY ideology anyone could espouse from any viewpoint.  Life is an individual journey, but it requires of us, cooperation and coexistence between competing frames of thought, in oder for it to be rich, full, and yes, successful.  Get over yourselves, and the soapbox may now be passed on to someone who has nothing better to do with their lives, other than stir up divisiveness amongst likeminded lemmings.
  2. Bad Drivers:   NOTHING has brought me closer to murder, than the inattentive and uncaring attitudes of those who think that they own the road and that you have no reason to go faster, slower or safer than themselves. If you live in an area that features many multiple-lane roads, you’re largely safe from these idiots, but in communities like mine, where topography dictates that you’re stuck behind whomever is in front of you, you are completely at the mercies of those, who have no thought of anyone outside their own vehicle.  The world outside simply doesn’t exist….. they will refuse to use proper signalling, drive way below or above the limits, and ignore any attempts to be brought into the mainstream practices of courtesy, and they almost force the road rage that is now becoming endemic in our society.   But I promise you, for each and every case of road rage you see, there’s an underlying cause and that cause is usually the careless and thoughtless actions of the person the rage is directed against.  Let’s stop blaming the guy who simply got fed up with the stupidity and helped karma pay a housecall to these idiots, and place the blame firmly where it belongs….on the moron CAUSING the rage in everyone around them.
  3. Singlemindedness:   To believe that your way is the only way is, at best, foolhardy and, at worst, disastrous.  Families and friendships get ruined, in the judgmental beliefs that there is no way but your own.  With 8+ BILLION people on the planet, how COULD one way be sufficient for all needs?  Even in one household, there can be as many different perceptions of need as there are people in the household. But still, these folks will deign to treat their own ideas as dogma, and yours as irrelevant and useless.  But at least there’s justice here, because their narrow scope of vision surely affects them in ways you cannot fathom.  They attract drama and pathos, everywhere they go, and they usually pair this character flaw up, with a stunning unwillingness to properly communicate with others, thereby assuring their own continuation of their dramatic and periodic meltdowns, over very trivial shit.  Leave them be, and suffer the stupid, as you go about your journey, unaffected by their unwillingness to even consider bending.  They’re easy enough to step around.
  4. Self-Righteous Ex-Smokers:   Every time one of you coughs loudly and dramatically when you walk through a small puff of smoke in an outdoor venue, I want to purposely hold your head in a dry cleaning bag and blow straight Camel stud smoke into it.  You’re already walking in a could of smugness anyway, so why would it matter?  You’re gonna’ die from something…..external particulate matter, or global warming/cooling, or the hot dog you eat or the kale chips that are, even now, destroying your intestines and turning your shit to water.  Maybe a low-flying airplane will clip you as you walk so high above us all, or perhaps a stupid driver (see #2) will do us the favor of wiping you off our sidewalks so we can kill ourselves in peace, without your sanctimonious bitching and mewling every time your pristine environment is even minutely polluted by our presence….. Just die.
  5. Millitant Vegans:    Meat is murder….but so is harvesting a living plant, you nazi bastards.  Plants live and “breathe” too. And just because they’re not as cute as dolphins or cows, that doesn’t denigrate their right to exist any more than does my taste for a nice, medium New York Strip with a side of bacon. We were given dominion over all the beasts of the earth for a reason, and that’s because the Creator knew we’d need their meat, fur and flesh, to survive and evolove.  Amino acids are important for brain development, ya know…..the same amino acids found in red meat, but NOT in legumes or soy-anything.  A well balanced diet, including both meat and veggies is THE KEY to good health and a healthy outlook on life.  If you ever wonder why vegans are so millitant about it, it’s easy to understand; they’re angry, because they truly NEED a burger. Their balances are all out of whack, and I’d be pissed off too, if I’m watching you suck down a gorgeous prime rib, while I’m stuck within my own ego, munching away on a iceberg lettuce, celery and sunflower seed “salad”…… Don’t tell me how to eat, and I won’t tell you how to bathe, okay, Hippie?….
  6. Social Zealots:    Yes, we all know how you stand up for the rights of the displaced alcoholic three-toed tree sloths of Lower Scumbodia who only want the right to smoke their native ganja on public streets….. because you never fail to inform us about their horrid plight….  AND try to make us feel bad, because we could care less…..  We’ve all seen the stickers on the back of your Subaru Outback, and we don’t care.

    Does that make me a nazi or a racist or a whatever-ist?…. Nope.    But it makes YOU a pain in everyone’s ass, and that’s why we don’t invite you to our parties, anymore.  Perhaps if you spent a little more time actually working to lobby Congress on their behalf instead of trying to get the masses of uncaring anti-three-toed-sloth-ites to convert, you’d get farther in your goal to bring drinken smoking sloths into the mainstream of acceptance.  Jus’ sayin’….

  7.  The Reborn Jeesus Heads:    Yes, that’s “Jeesus” with two consecutive “E’s”.  Because that’s how it’s to be pronounced by the televangelist worshipping bretheren who are truly saved, as opposed to all the rest of us malcontent sinners who’ve been left in God’s dust, as he went about rapturing all those who were worthy….Oh wait….that hasn’t happened yet.  I forgot, because there’s been so many dates that came and went without The Apocalypse having happened, that I lost track of where we’re at in The End Times, currently…..  But I’m pretty sure Jesus will enlighten you as to the REAL date, since you have that Hotline to Gawd that none of the rest of us are privy to.

    Just wondering….did it ever occur to you, that maybe Jesus’ teachings about not judging others lest ye shall also be judged might have been dead-on?  That the verse about worshipping the Lord thy God in secret and not like the Pharisees and Saducees do in public MIGHT just have been more in keeping with the true intent of his teachings?  I’m kinda’ sure that God is omnipotent enough, that he sees me when I’m sleeping and knows when I’m awake…and knows if I’ve been bad or good, so be …..wait, that’s Santa….sorry….slipped up again….damnit….

    Anyway, God sees into our heart of hearts, or so our Scripture reads.  Ya’ don’t get to pick and choose only those passages that make you look holy to others….it’s kind of a deeper commitment than that, and all your outwardly overly-prosletyzing persona does, is misrepresents God’s true wil and nature, and makes people shun the idea of God MORE, because they figure that if you are the embodiment of what being in Heaven will be like, they’d rather spend that eternity in Hell, instead.  So, please think of God as a “No Go Zone” for your pronouncements from the mountaintop… because your glass house is just as transparent as our own.

    This is just a few of the major annoyances I deal with in my daily life. I hope none of you reading fall into one of these categories and, if you do, then please take a moment to simply see how your existence could be better and more palatable to ….well…everyone else on this planet…if you’ll just learn how to temper yourselves and just enjoy the ride more, and complain about its faults, a little less.  We’re all gonna’ die one day, and I’m likely gonna’ die as a meat-eating, non-3-toed-sloth supporting, situational ethics-practicing smoker who drives well and is considerate to the rights and thoughts of other people outside my own little bubble of solace. And I have a strange suspiscion that, regardless of my other shortcomings, my Creator is gonna’ smile at the things I WAS able to do in this life, not because others saw it or took pride in knowing me, but simply, because they were the right things to do, at the times the situations were presented to me.

Love your fellow man.  Unconditionally.  And be respectful of the differences that make us unique, and beautiful, and special.

Uncategorized

Viva Las Vegas….

And so now, here we are…..a running tally of at least 57 dead and 527 injured, by a lone psychopath gunman in the Mandalay Bay Hotel on Vegas’ famed strip…..

I’m only the one millionth person to mention that this is the single worst mass shooting in American history but I don’t believe that it is been over said….

And while, inevitably, we’re going to have the same old tired debate about gun rights versus gun restrictions and the mental health of people who have guns and all that, the most simple truth of it all is that in reality, none of us are ever safe. If somebody wants to harm us or kill us there going to be able to find a way to do it….. If you look at what is going on in Havana, Cuba, we’re all of a sudden our diplomatic at Hays have been suffering some kind of sonic attacks that have caused brain damage and hearing loss. Even the North Korean dictator’s brother or uncle or something like that was killed buy two seemingly innocuous young ladies whose hands were covered with some kind of a deadly nerve agent, believed to be VX.

 

The fact that we have worldwide television and news that hits Us by way of the internet within a very short period of time if not immediately after it happens, it is easy to see that in this shrinking world that we live in we are actually less safe instead of more safe. No matter how many police or government laws or whatever we want to impose in order to try to give ourselves the facade of safety, we are simply not safe and we never will be again. All that we can try to do is take steps to lead the safest possible lies that we can while still not denying ourselves the life that we deserve to live for at least as long as we are allowed to live it.

This is not the time to bring about the debate of gun control again because at the end of the day it is a moot point, anyway. You can be killed with a knife or you can be killed with something that somebody can buy off of the internet for $50 or less. You can be killed by governments and you can be killed by your lover or your spouse. You can be killed by your parents or your children or your siblings. Death is the ugly Specter that we all must face at least once in our lives and generally we will lose in that face down with it.  Because of course we cannot forget heart attacks or cancer or Alzheimer’s or Ms or any of the other nasties that might deign to take our lives at any given moment to notice.

What happened in Las Vegas is a truly horrible event that shows the worst of humanity but it also shows how wonderful people can be when they all pull together to try to help each other out of a bad situation and for that, I applaud all the First Responders and people who were in the audience that thought more of their fellow man than they did of their own safety at that moment.

The conversation that really needs to take place though right now, is how do we build our lives and the lives of our families and loved ones so that we can be comfortable with the idea that Life Will Go On for only as long as forces we cannot control are benevolent enough to allow it to continue.

But unfortunately that’s a conversation that we can only have with ourselves because we are the only ones who can chart that course for ourselves. We can talk about it with other people and everybody will have their own unique opinion because after all, there are over eight billion of us on this Blue Marble and we all have our own unique perspective on what it means to truly live this life.

But I do believe that pretty much everybody can agree on a couple of very simple things:

We love our kids and families.

We want to achieve some measure of legacy to pass down, somehow.

We want to die, peacefully, in our sleep.

Aside from those 3 items, none of which can only be controlled even amongst themselves, there’s not a whole lot that we can do…. All that we can do is try to find those things that we feel help to bring us some kind of spiritual growth so that once our final day comes and we take those final breaths we believe wholeheartedly that we will move on to the next phase of our existence with a clear conscience and ready for whatever may come our way.

And so, in the aftermath of this horrible event in Las Vegas, I would suggest that we all simply take a look within ourselves and find out what it is that truly drives us and try to remove ourselves from our own lives for just a moment and look inward from the outside. What would an alien being from another planet think when they looked at you and your life? What might God think of you if he tune his TV to your channel and watch you for a couple of days? Not whether or not it is entertaining of course, but whether or not you are living up to your potential.

And if you happen to look at yourself in that light and you find that you are not living up to your own potential then the only thing that you can do to make your life a little better issue start making the changes and doing the things that will allow you to feel that you are living your life the way that you are supposed to. Because there is not a single one of us that knows when our last day is going to come and we will all be caught by surprise even if we happen to contract some long lasting debilitative disease that will sap our strength and our lives away from us that will sap our strength and our lives away from us slowly.

I heard you to stop whatever it is you’re thinking about right now and simply live this life. That is the one thing that you can do to honor your Creator and honor all that you consider to be precious or holy or special to you.

I also offer up a prayer for Tom Petty, who may or may not have passed away today but is certainly at the very least barely Clinging On To Life After Life Support has been pulled away from him after a massive cardiac arrest in his home earlier today. The man stomped on the terra and was a true God amongst men as far as living life on his own terms, and I applaud Mr. Petty for everything that he was able to achieve in spite of all the cards that were stacked against him from the word “go”. God bless you, you traveling wilbury, you.

And may God bless each and everyone of you who take the time to read this. Whomever your God. Whomever your God may be.