Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Everywhere on facebook I see clever little memes. People seem to gobble up what's dished out with a gut wrenching relish only to slug it over to the next guy. Why aren't people thinking for themselves?

You hate Trump? That's fair. He's boorish, unrefined and the list goes on. And maybe he's too conservative or even too centrist for you. But the KKK crap is a nonsense meme. He has repeatedly denounced the KKK even in the past. It's a meme. Is he a bigot for wanting to secure the borders? That's a meme, because securing the borders is a fair issue. And actually, Cruz is tougher on immigration. Rubio is running his mouth and he is supposed to be a professional politician. Well, Rubio is professional when he continually repeats the other meme that Trump is a "con artist". Count the times he says it next time. Meme. Kind of like mind control.

So now we have Sanders. I'm a free market capitalist to be honest, but it's clear that the meme machine is working against him too. It's hard to tell what Sanders wants for the country because everyone else is busy telling you what he means. Hillary insists she is the "real progressive" borrowing from what others have been saying about Sanders. As much as Sanders tries to talk about the issues, it becomes a mudfest. Hillary continues to talk about what she didn't do, rather than what she will that is better than Sanders.

I just think it's curious that CNN will do an hour of Trump hating without a single blip about Hillary. SNL is all liberal. FOX is SUPER Republican right? But they HATE their main candidate and make major news about what the Republican Party really needs to do. So the Republican Party is imploding because Trump is "too Centrist"; "too liberal"; "too boorish"; etc. Take your pick. They just wish Jeb BUSH was back or anyone like him. Like we really need another Bush? Now that's power politics.
CNN. SNL. FOX. NBC and the list goes on. All of these media sources and their ilk are owned by what the average American knows as "special interests". In this case, these are massive corporations with gigantic lobby "interests". They buy and sell politicians on BOTH SIDES and they are sweeping up the election as we speak with their lies, rhetoric and memes. But you believe it because it was on TV? Facebook etc? Maybe you need to know the whole story. I mean really? A billionaire New York businessman couldn't give a damn about the KKK. This guy thinks casinos, not the south...and not Bibles either. He's an easy read. And do you really think that Hillary should be a candidate at all at this point?

My entire point is that Trump and Sanders have more in common than you think. They are both getting whack-a-moled by a Two Party Machine of EPIC proportions. If the Republicans would rather lose than let Trump win then that tells you that he isn't in someone's pocket...and that matters to someone. And if the Democrats would really rather have a disgraced criminal front runner then that tells you that she's bought and paid for by the party, not the people. Hell, the people funded Sanders ... and look where that's getting him.

Maybe these guys aren't so bad. And maybe that's the problem.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

We The Anonymous?

"We the People."
And so begins the Constitution of the United States of America. The aim of which is, as it always was, the establishment of inalienable rights, freedoms and moral platitudes for a people unified beneath the battle worn auspices of liberty.

In these last few years then, has the Constitution changed or have the People changed? The People cast their votes and their duly sworn in and elected officials do their jobs. The right to vote then  is as clear a freedom as the right to bear least to those who still support such ideals. Why then are hacktivist groups like Anonymous hiding their faces behind Guy Fawkes masks and 'guarding' our freedoms from a government that 'We the People' voted in ourselves...Constitutionally?

Perhaps the People have changed. One could argue that The People are too comfortable, too domesticated by the propaganda on either side of the voting line. They have forgotten that freedoms come without compromise. They have been lulled to sleep by the media and the politicians as banks and power brokers make off like thieves with those valuable liberties of theirs.

In no time at all The People have forgotten the Cold War and the very meaning of Communism. They huddle in fear of 'terrorists' and threats of climate change and world economic disorder. Social issues and societal evils are used and twisted, weaponized, to wear away and destroy the very rights of the American. There are only those left on the 'fringe' then. They are the shadowy (many gov't agencies would say criminal) organizations like Anonymous; the American Commoners, (mostly now classified in the media as rural and midwestern 'gun nuts'); and the dwindling Patriots of America's past...and their sons and daughters.

If you are a dissenter of the Party Line then you might be on that watchlist too.

What can you do? For must be Heard. Your guns will do you no good in this battle. But to keep your rights to bear them or any of your other rights now at stake you must voice your opinions and ideals. You must Act to be Understood.

The Political Propaganda is meant to blur the line between the relevance and the need for your rights in this century. It will disarm your mind as well as your household if it can...if you let it. You cannot lose the forest in the trees. The sanctity of our lives and the surety of our freedoms are not contradictions. They give realization to the tenuous condition of life and freedom both.

There are those whose actions may warrant that they wear a mask to undertake them. But for most of us, we must not fear to be anonymous. We the People must stand up and speak out. We must both guard and effectively use the power of our votes as citizens. And we must beware of the special interests and those with suspect citizenship all for the sake of the ballot count.

We are the People. The first order of Resistance is for the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans.

Monday, January 21, 2013

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Able To Own An Assault Rifle...Or Any Other Gun

Following the horrific massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the gun grabbers are at it again. This time they are championed by the newly sworn in President Obama and his Administration who are leading the charge under the auspices of sensibility, safety, and responsibility to the collective citizenship.

I'll come out and say it right away. I did not vote for Obama in either election. I really didn't think that he was ready for the office the first time and I was sure that he wasn't by his second term. I have been a business owner most of my career and I can recognize bad economic trends and policies when I see them. That being said, I am a liberal. Can you believe it? I'm a liberal?? I took the internet tests to have some fun and determine whether or not my ideology was leaning to the left or to the right when it comes to social issues and such...and I'm 88% a Democrat.

But I'm an American first.

I grew up in a military family. My father served in the Air Force on the tail end of Korea and should be classified as a bona fide war hero. He was a nuclear test pilot after all, flying more than 17 missions in the south pacific directly 'through' the atomic bomb clouds in the then top secret Project Redwing. Of course most of those heroes are long dead to cancer and their families, like mine, will be looking over their shoulders for generations (those kinds of RADS make a difference). But, thanks to him, you and yours can go to work, go to college and voice your discontent as loudly as you want to. You don't even have to educate yourselves. Watch some MTV; shop online with Amazon; keep up with those darn Kardashians. Tune in. Turn on. Drop  out. Ironically, dad went to college at Berkeley. And he's a Republican.

Freedom is NOT Free. Lots and lots of guys just like my dad, uncles, grandfathers, cousins, friends and more either fought or ARE fighting for your freedom to sit comfortably in Sunday mass with your family or to play a game of Call of Duty while you light up with your friends (I'm assuming that you're in Cali of course). Those red stripes on the American Flag ... represent blood spilled for freedom. Go look it up if you don't believe me. Naturally, you could go to the public library and read so very many volumes about it. But, according to the statistics, you won't. Instead you'll swipe your cell phone and check it out on Wikipedia. Maybe Google can get you there. I'm sure there is a blurb you can wrap that ADHD around.

I like Freedom. Freedom is a good thing. In a free country I can choose to be religious or not. I can even be free of someone elses religion if it oppresses my own beliefs. If my neighbors are gay or straight they can be free to be whatever they are. I can speak openly and voice my opinions like I am doing now and not be worried that the Gestapo, the Stazi, the KGB, Mao's enforcers, or any number of fascists will be plowing down my door to carry me off to a detainment facility for questioning...or worse. I'm free to own personal property and I'm even free to defend myself...AND my country along with my other countrymen. For those of you getting your Google out, that last part refers to a Militia.

Someone should really write all of those Freedoms down don't you think?

But wait. They did. And it is called 'The Constitution of the United States.' It begins with 'We the People' and sets forth the measures of a sane, working, well crafted 'Union'. It is tolerant. It is current. It is universally fair. And it is a bulwark (Google that) of American liberties.

These days, unless you are a political lobbyist with an Agenda, no one reads it. Go ahead and ask those college students to recite just the outline of the rights and amendments of the Constitution and they will blather on about 'freedom of speech' or 'something like that'. Shouldn't it be more important to know what freedoms you have since we have been, as a nation, fighting to have them for so very long? I would think so. Unfortunately, most folks would rather just listen to what the media has to tell them. They get caught up in the moment watching massacres on TV (the real ones this time and not the Hollywood kind) and all agree how truly awful that is.

Someone should do something about all of those poor victims and their families. And I agree. We should punish the wicked. We have laws to do that too. We can jail those who rob and attack us. And we can execute those who murder our children.

Instead, however, everyone is blaming guns. It was the 'assault rifle' (a misnomer if you care to research that as well) that did all of that killing. Take away the 'assault rife' and the guns and we will all live in Wonderland eating cake and drinking tea with Alice. We can pet Unicorns too. Lions and Lambs will lie down next to one another; the AIDS Virus will magically disappear; giant Amazonian bird eating spiders will stop eating birds; and man will be free of lice and crawly things that live as parasites. And all of this will happen because we insist that the tools determine our nature...and not the other way around.

I'm a liberal too...a pablum puking academic even. And I'm just not that stupid.

I became a liberal watching 'Hair' and listening to 'Pink Floyd's The Wall' or to the lyrics of Jim Morrison of 'The Doors.' I'm a Feminist! I think the Matriarchy was a fabulous idea. Equal rights, in my book, should be the maxim for every race, creed and either sex. When possible...make love not war. I'd love to take my AR15 and hang it up on the wall...a nice collector's piece to go with my Bastard Sword and my Morning Star.

Now to my fellow liberals out there...

Did you even watch 'The Wall'? It's all about control. Like me, didn't you read 1984 by Orwell...or A Clockwork Orange? Not a liberal thing? Did you forget that JFK was a Democrat and that he ordered the first troops into Vietnam? How Camelot of him. He must have taken 'Excalibur' off the wall in the Oval Office.

Those very troops marching off to Nam were introduced to the very rifle that would one day become the AR15. Early models of that 'M16' were even manufactured by Hasbro. And, by most accounts, the soldiers hated them. Like any tool it needed a lot of work.

So why should YOU own a gun?

1. If you want to insure that your freedoms to be a Christian or a Muslim; that your rights to marry as a homosexual; or that you may vote as a citizen of either sex or any race, shall not be infringed upon. We erode our freedoms by degrees. Take away that 'gun nuts' right to have a gun and pretty soon you'll be defending your rights too. 

Why? Because we are all different. Change makes the world go around. We don't all agree and we never will. If your aim is to make everyone the same then you will be killing a lot of different people. Someone already tried that just after invading Poland.  

2. You are not a maniac. You didn't just wake up today and reach for your 'assault rifle' so you could murder your family and then find the local elementary school to keep your count going. 

Why? Because only someone who is mentally deranged is going to even consider doing something like that. Most of us just want to sleep in; work as little as possible; look for someone to love and make love with; and eat copious amounts of Indian Food watching 'Breaking Bad' (and marveling at how stupid Walter White is for doing just that). 

3. The world is a dangerous place. Sure, there were 11000 deaths attributed to firearms in one year in the USA; but most of those were gang related. In other words...those staggering numbers are so very high due, in most part, to the fact that criminals have guns. Check out the statistics on crimes committed in the USA and you'll probably start shopping online for a howitzer and a tank.

Why? Charles Darwin did a good job proving 'Natural Selection.' Wake up! Go watch a nature documentary and you'll be absolutely disgusted by the truly horrific means that animals in our world employ to destroy and devour the world around them. I already mentioned the bird eating Amazonian spiders. Check out the Giant Squid. Ghastly. And have a look at parasites, viruses, cancers and other fun things. You'll find all of them on PBS. What you won't find? A Unicorn. Because they don't exist...or because something with teeth and claws...ate them all. 

4. Statistically, YOU will be a victim of a crime. Maybe it's a break in as armed assailants storm your house at 1 AM to get that nice new IPad of yours. Maybe they will leave with just your IPad. Or maybe they will turn to your wife and kids. 

Why? People do bad things for their own reasons. You have nothing to do with what they want or what they need other than being a victim. If you aren't prepared to equal the Predator...then you ARE the Prey. 

5. You may need to defend your Homeland. During World War II, the Japanese avoided all out attacks on American Soil in part because they knew that the population was armed. 

Why? Did you forget 911 so soon? Didn't your Government tell you through the news outlets that there ARE active Terrorist cells throughout the USA? While I'm not suggesting that you take your guns and go out looking for them, don't forget how long it took FEMA to respond to the Katrina disaster. And don't forget that not every country in the world just loves us Americans. You probably would have a hard time getting good service in France...and they are an ally. The Constitution called for a Militia...defense in the hands of the citizens. 

6. In order to Resist Tyranny. How much do you trust your government? Those elected officials on the city, state and federal levels only do good right? Think again. Do yourself a favor and jump on Google again and check out criminal indictments of government officials. Give yourself some time. It's Tammany Hall all over again out there and you have a LOT of reading ahead of you. Of course you can just read the blurbs. It's only your freedom at stake. 

Why? Do you remember the Chinese activist standing in front of the Tank at Tiananmen Square? Take into account how many tyrannical governments started with high principles of fairness, equality and brotherhood. Marx was a philosopher not a savage. Hitler unified his country and the German people promising to restore their hope, pride and economic future. Lenin lifted the people from the arms of the Czars with the aim to distribute the wealth and the profits of the bloated aristocrats among the desperate working masses. Maybe too much of a good thing is a bad thing. 

7. Responsibly shooting guns is a lot of fun. Visit a local shooting range and you will discover that the very act of poking distant holes in targets with a fair degree of precision is as much fun as any other sport. Perhaps that's why that competitive shooting is indeed a recognized sport. In fact, it is an Olympic event and part of the Biathlon. When it comes to the AR15, it is an excellent gun for sport shooting and that is one of the biggest reasons that it became so popular in the culture. 

Why? It is part of our human nature to enjoy testing our limits and capacities. We love sport. It is important to note that guns are the heirs of rocks, bows, spears, swords and other weapons and tools used by mankind to protect and feed himself...for countless ages. Maybe it is in our DNA to practice.

8. Guns are necessary tools for farmers and ranchers. Maybe you don't want to think about where that steak on your plate in that fancy New York restaurant came from, but I'm betting that you wouldn't be eating it if Farmer John couldn't protect his cows now and then from varmints and critters. Wylie Coyote is real and he loves tasty livestock. If your shepherd is President Obama then just remember that your tasty lambchop's shepherd was Farmer John with his Winchester. 

Why? Most farmers and ranchers own lots of sprawling rural acreage waaaaay outside of the city limits. Those poor unfortunate animals that your liberal sensibilities have crowded out with your cities are raiding the farmer's stores and chewing on the rancher's livestock now and then. You wouldn't want that would you?

9. Men Hunt with Guns. Check out your local Bass Pro or Cabella's and you'll find a plethora of hunting supplies. And among those supplies you will find all sorts of guns for hunting. 

Why?  Hunting is in our DNA. Hunting puts food on the table for millions of Americans and their families each year. And hunting decreases animal populations that would otherwise grow out of control. Left unchecked, deer would populate themselves to starvation. Motor vehicle accidents alone would skyrocket as they took to the highways. Whether you like it or not, ALL populations are controlled in this fashion. In nature it is called the food chain. The rifles are no more and no less than the very talons of the American Bald Eagles who soar at the top of that chain. They kill things too and it keeps those populations in check just the same. 

Addendum: What is it about those high capacity magazines? Both AR15s and the typical rancher rifle fire ONE shot at a time which technically doesn't classify either of them as 'assault' rifles. This is what is called semi-automatic fire. Having the ability to fire more than one shot (as in the standard AR15 clip) is no luxury when a feral pig is running you down as in Arkansas where their population is exploding. High capacity magazines make the tool more effective. I would argue that the efficiency of the tool is less the issue than who is using it. After all, the most dangerous 'tool' is the automobile. Consider how many deaths there are each year owing to driver negligence (drunk driving is the driver's fault after all). You can kill a lot of people with your car too. But that would be immoral and illegal. 

10. The 2nd Amendment Says You Can. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Why? Simply because the Founding Fathers agreed that the Nation must be protected from without and from within. What did they think about 'Assault Rifles'? Well, they had muskets. And muskets killed you just as dead. Are we simply arguing efficiency or the act itself?

The Constitution provided a means to protect ourselves as citizens from Tyranny at any quarter, even within our high, duly appointed offices. The very first and most obvious sign of Tyranny, is the dismantling of those means. Each one of us has this Right to Bear Arms. And yet we also bear the heavy responsibility of that Right. And so there are already consequences to those who break the those who elect to murder instead. Even so and ever so...the Right and its Responsibilities are separate. 

After all of this, I should not have to plead my case. The Constitution rested my case hundreds of years ago.

If we cannot trust our society then how may we believe that we can trust the government of our society when it arose from none other than the very election of that people? Can we not then trust ourselves in the possession of such power over life and death?

Are we not responsible? Perhaps we should blame the media, the video games, the violence in the movies, the hunters, the rednecks, the southerners, the conservatives, the school principle, the bullies, the ....hey! Where exactly is that taking us!?

Wake up! Get ahold of yourself and take some individual responsibility for once. Life is survival and proliferation. It must be free in order to grow. I for one hope that we never completely agree. The garden needs variety.

In closing, I notice that everyone is arguing about guns. And then to skirt the issue they begin to look for the cause, the root of the problem. It's mental illness they chirp. It's upbringing. It's the media.

It is my opinion that the root of these school shootings lies even deeper. And it is most certainly NOT the gun itself. Look more to what the gun represents. The gun is Power. And the will to power in the face of fear is human nature. Yet, any great power can be corrupted. Perhaps we should look to our nature as human beings and to the fears that we face together as a people, as a Nation...and finally address those truths.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nerf World

The Holidays are here again and I am reminded of what a wonderful myth Santa Claus is. The spirit of Santa is alive and well at least. And I'm glad. I'll sit around sipping eggnog and I'll watch a Christmas movie on TV (The Polar Express is my favorite). All the while, I'll imagine a world of magic and peace and a world where everyone who believes...who really believes...can live happily ever after.

Then I'll wake up. I'll wipe the illusions out of my eyes and recall 20 innocent dead in Newtown. I'll recall that America dropped the only Atomic Bombs on Japan...and killed 100 thousand people. I'll remember the Holocaust. I'll compose myself knowing the horrors of the Plague and Smallpox.

And, by the way, great white sharks....they eat people who swim with them.

We do not live in a safe world. That is an illusion. I wonder how long hippies would last unarmed in the Sudan, or dropped into the wild Amazon with nothing but their marijuana to keep them happy. Indeed, the world is often cruel. Some species of wasps lay eggs in their spider hosts. Ick. And you simply want to avoid the giant squid if you can...or the Brown Snake or Funnel Web Spider in Australia.

We do not live in Nerf World. And we can never live there. What makes the world turn is change. And in order for change to occur...things must constantly struggle for new states of equilibrium.

Still, this is not a world that many people want to believe in. Science is on the downturn as people search desperately for meaning in the middle of this tornado of reality. And yet there is meaning. In order to exist the universe must oppose must consume itself as there is nothing else to consume. It stands alone. Call it God. Call it Machine. What's the difference? You're one or the other if you are a part of its wholeness. Some would say that you are both. And either way it is the Nature of what is.

This is not a cynical view. Surely we can strive for a more peaceful world. We can labor to expand our comforts. We can endeavor to control this natural world of ours through invention and our works. This is the spirit of order in what would be a chaos without it. And within this order...this nature of things...lies its meaning.

People are always looking for an easy answer so they turn to ancient scriptures and turn a blind eye to what they see. They believe in the fairy tale of Nerf World, the Utopia that is always somehow out of reach...and is always someone's nightmare when it is achieved.

The Fascists and the Nazis sought Utopia.They wanted to make everyone share the same ideals and believe the same so called truths. They wanted to issue in a world without poverty or disease where the perceived weak were culled out for the benefit of the future. It was a monstrous undertaking in the end. When everything is the same there can be no freedom and no free will.

What is really killing us in this world? What is doing us harm? Is it our arsenal of assault rifles in over 30 million hands just in America alone?

Somewhere along the way the 'Righteous' have replaced Darwin with Dogma. It can be a double edged sword. Religion was cast out by Stalin in favor of the State Policy. A solution? Hardly. But Darwin is not a theory as so many of the uneducated would charge via their misinterpretation of the word in its context. Every dog breed owes its lineage to a Wolf. Change is nature. And so too is the inherent chaos in the world that continues to play its part in natural selection.

We want to assign blame as well as meaning to events such as the tragedy in Newtown. It was the gun. It was the illness. It was the media. It was the culture of violence.We want to believe that we can provide far reaching solutions  so that it will never happen again. Kill every shark and sharks cant kill you.

Can we truly master the nature of the world? Perhaps we can take the guns away and the rights away with them. Then everyone can one day trade their rights to vote for the serenity of a singular faith such as a Christian or Islamic world. It has been done before and worked quite well for almost 2 thousand years in the Dark Ages. The heretics were burned. The dissenters were dispensed with...and the world stood still.

Madness. Tragedy. Loss. Disease. Death. These are facts of life. And this is not because of Satan. Not because the world is evil. These realities exist because they are the other side of the coin. They are the Red Queen on the table moving as it must move for the game to exist at all.

Guns have saved lives as well as taken them. Their are Red Stripes on the American Flag. We must all address our true nature before we can even begin to come to terms with it, understand it and begin to live with it. We are animals that make tools. How we use those tools defines us in many respects. But we are not without the definition of our own innate order as well as innate chaos.

There is no doubt that it is a heavy responsibility that comes with power. And in cases such as Columbine or Newtown we may feel the need to conform and lay our weapons down so as to reduce the likelihood of such tragedies occurring again. I will not argue against that. There is purpose in that.

Remember though that the world is not at peace. The lion eats the lamb. And in the end there is no Santa Claus save the Spirit in us all. Perhaps we could spend more time creating than destroying. But Shiva will dance and the fires will burn the forests. We must, at last, find our meaning within the reckoning of opposites.

The sharp prick of the rose thorn will serve as a reminder that even the beautiful things arm themselves in a world of many predators, much sadness and terrible consequences.

We can hope but we cannot control nature. Where do we draw the line? Should we all be made defenseless lambs as we trust some shepherd to fend the wolves? And the wolves will they always do. Oh how we want a shepherd. Oh how He or It or They will lead us and protect us. It's easy enough. All any of us has to do is Follow.

If we humans cannot content ourselves with being predators then we are the prey. The Politics will ultimately afford the decisions. But the nature of it is simple enough.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Quotes From God's Twitter Account

I don't know about you ... but I Follow God on Twitter. Some of Her last Tweets...

Seriously. Earthlings have me laughing so hard I could cry. Religions. I couldn't make that stuff up! So I made everything else and now I'm ROFL watching. #wtfatt? @GOD

Kardashians? Oh man. I was just trying to make a predator for designer shoes. Oops. Frankenstein. @GOD

So sick of people blaming me for their own issues. It's a tissue day. @GOD

I just read that GOD IS DEAD. I'm pretty sure I'm Alive but I may have words with the editor. @GOD

Which book did I actually write? Honestly...I like Love Stories. @GOD

Dawkins says I don't exist because the Universe didn't need me. He's looking right at me and says I don't exist just because I'm not doing things the way other people say or in ways he can understand. Everything he does is according to Nature too. Not sure Dawkins is alive. lol. #atheistsaremonkeys @GOD

The Platypus wasn't my idea. Not takin credit for that thing. @GOD

Everything in the Universe is getting it on and people are writing that I think sex is a bad thing. FYI. I started with a BIG BANG people. @GOD

Does the Sun make my butt look big? Careful...   @GOD

Charlie Sheen woke me up at 3 fricken AM last night asking me to drop by. Man. The nerve! Who booty calls GOD??? @GOD

The Paparazzi got in MY face again. I'm going to make a bunch of Alec Baldwin's to deal with this. @GOD

If I only just set it in it still my fault that Boy Bands evolved? @GOD

Thank ME. Gas prices are finally going down. @GOD

Here's one! How many Televangelists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? I dont know. But they'll screw anywhere they can. @GOD

Katy Perry is so CUTE! I could just kill myself! But that would be a disaster. Then poor Katy would be responsible for the end of the Universe. @GOD

I planted all of these nice little Galaxies. Happy little soon to be universes. ... Now I'm just waiting for it to rain. @GOD

What should I never have created? Parking meters. It's like taxing you to be here. @GOD

Monday, March 19, 2012


Forget 2012. Who needs the Number 23? A full moon? Blah Blah Blah. Sometimes the signs that the world is coming to an end ... are nothing more than stomach pains. And so began my laboring odyssey under the knife...and beyond.

6:30 and I'm on my way to the ballet with my girlfriend. Yes, it was her idea. And no...the ballet is not what put me into the hospital. That was entirely something else. And at 6:30 it felt a hell of a lot like a sour stomach from hell.

I survived the ballet...barely. That night and the next morning found me in far worse shape. Stiff upper lip, I resolved to wait it out a bit more as said girlfriend continued to compel me otherwise. I did what every other self respecting man would do in my position. I Googled it.

And that's when I came across Acute Appendicitus as a likely candidate for what I had.

Uh oh I thought. The possibilities I uncovered on the internet seemed about as uncomfortable, to say the very least, as how I was feeling. Visions of abdominal drains, month long ICU stays, and much worse soon had me in agreement with my girlfriend and I was off to the Emergency Clinic.

Now it's kind of funny how time works. One moment you are living your life and doing your thing. It all gets a bit routine. You make complete plans. You get used to the normalcy of it all. And then all of the sudden, out of the blue, you look around and you're in a hospital getting a CAT scan as everyone gazes on you with obvious signs of concern.

Yep! The Doctor is IN. And the result is Acute Appendicitus. What's so cute about it?? I thought the appendix was this useless little finger sized ... thing in your gut. Well it is. And even though I always suspected, as did the local betting pool, that my liver would go was my lowly appendix that decided to jump ship.

Unfortunately, it was already perforated and God knows what was already starting to happen in my abdomen. Those quiet gazes of concern rang to alarm and I found myself awaiting my surgery.

My Surgeon, an astute smiling female, proceeded to explain that a lot of things could go wrong. We'll try to miss the artery. We'll attempt to avoid the main nerve. You'll probably have a tube coming out of your abdomen for a few weeks. If it doesnt work we'll go in again and see if we can find that lost digital watch you've been looking for since the 1980s....

My reaction wasnt so much panic as it was a weird kind of dumbfounded acceptance. Surgery? Me? You mean my liver still works?? Shouldnt I have had this when I was ten or something and why is it so serious now?

Thursday was kind of a blur. Lots of tests. Lots of waiting. And then a frenzy of activity as veins were stuck, pricked and pinched into submission. Yes. I'm allergic to that. No, I dont think that will kill me right off but you could try. Can't you do this without a catheter? Seriously? Someones gonna get awful familiar with His Majesty. And darkness....beep beep beep.

Awakening after a surgery is always a weird feeling. But of course it is! They knock you out with a dizzying array of venomous compounds and pump you up with pain meds to follow. In my case I had IVs running antibiotics par excellence, all day hydro and ....what's that? Good god. I'm a cyborg. There is something alien coming out of my midsection. AACK!

Note to self when you are lying in recovery in your hospital room. Do Not pull on any of the tubes coming out of you...and there are a lot of them. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to leave the tubes alone. Unfortunately, however, no one told that to my underage PCA who happened to get my abdominal drain caught in her belt.

Wow. There are some things that merely sting. And there are some things that recall past lives in the Spanish Inquisition. Dont let your drain get caught. It's stitched in and you dont even want to know what it feels like when all of your wounds and innards decide to move in tandem. Remember "Braveheart"? Now I know personally just how much drawing and quartering sucked. Believe me, if I had been Mel, or the real William Wallace for that matter, they would have changed the name to "ChickenedOut".

Speaking of stinging... Once the catheter is removed you have no choice but to piss razor blades for days. So there I was laying on my back, miserable with surgical inflations and infection...with visiting vampires every 4 hours and uncooperative IVs that insisted on moving about. And with all of the IV fluids I was getting, I was pissing razor blades about every 20 minutes.

Avoid this if you can. Just FYI.

Thankfully, I had the occasional company of visiting family and friends. Wow. I actually have real friends! They helped chase off the orderlies or make sure that the nurses made their way in to check on me. I'd like to have been able to escape into some television or such but on the other side of the screen at my left I heard my fellow patient in the room, a man of 78, complaining that my tv kept him up all night long the night before. That's interesting since I turned it off at 9PM.

Was I going to have to go to war with Walter? Would the morning nurses, so intent on jabbing my stomach with a shot to preclude blood clots, find themselves scrambling in the halls in desperation as Walter and I fought like jedi with our IV stands?

"You are not my father you miserable old codger! The TV stays ON!"
"You may think that your condition was more serious than me boy...but the nurses know the value of the dark side!"

Laying there at 4Am with the vampire slashing my fingertip for her nightly meal, I looked out the 7th story window onto the lights of the town that seemed so much closer just a few days before. It was surreal. Listening then to poor Walter, in for a hernia surgery moaning in the bed next to mine, put things into perspective. We were in a foxhole of sorts, Walter and I, and anyone who joined me at night sleeping restlessly in the chair in the room.

It was us...against THEM.

I forged my alliance in the AM. Walter had awoken to a terrible fit of nausea and I was scrambling to summon the nurses with my beeper for him. There I was yelling for the nurses...Walter having a hell of a time breathing. And twenty minutes or so later they finally showed up.

Ahhh medical care. Here's the long and the short of it. First off, it is indecently expensive. The sum total of what I went through cost about as much as a luxury car. I was blinded by bureaucracy during the entirety of my ordeal as young businesswomen wheeled their laptops bedside so I could continue answering their most relevant question of all...Just how was I going to pay them for everything?

I told the other girl. Yes. I told her that as well. Didnt I fill this out already? Put the needle down...I answered question #46A already!

I'll give them this. They pulled off some great tests right away and the surgeon was excellent. The care started off quite well in fact. However, over the weekend the staff resolved to orderlies and PCAs in their teens. One nurse every shift. All in all it was a bit of a mess and left me thinking more seriously about modern health care and the appeal of international medical care options.

A couple of days later I was on my feet taking mini laps around the nurses station. There is no such thing as dignity in a hospital. My beard had grown out and I resembled nothing less than a hunched over homeless person wandering the halls with a squeaky IV. There is just no glamour in that position, especially when you are sporting the latest in abdominal drains. Sexy. Soooo sexy.

"Lets get out of here Walter!! The tide will be in and I'm building a sail out of the drapes in the room."
"You're delirious boy! We'll never make it! They're watching us. They watch our every move. Except when we want them to, they watch us!"
"They kept you here for more observation Walter. Don't you see what they are doing?!"
"I'm an old man kid. We may have to wait this one out."

Wait it out I did. Five days later and I was finally back at home embarking on my first road of recovery away from vampires, IVs and constant shots to the stomach.

But along the way I met some interesting people. In that world outside of my world I met a fellow Texan talking me through the CAT scans. I met a surgeon with a heart of all things. I met scores of nurses and attendants...some of whom were better than others...and nicer. I met a crazy Ukrainian cleaning lady with a wild accent and lots of great stories...

And I met Walter.

The last day I was in the hospital, Walter was discharged just before I was. He walked over to my side of the curtain and looked out to the sunlit city through the window. We had begun our journey with differences. But he smiled at me. He walked over and shook my hand.

"I'm glad you were here with me," he said. "I hope you get to feeling better soon."

Thanks Walter. You too. Two jedi, eye to eye. We had survived the night's attacks. Our foxhole shared memories.

Since that time it has been a bit of a tough road. I relived that scene from "Braveheart" as my surgeon yanked out my drain a week or so later. After, I found myself watching a lot of movies on my back. Slowly, I made my way to recovery, walking about the house and occupying my time with anything I could find. Battling a deadly infection is no joke so it's a slow road back from where I most unexpectedly wandered off to.

Fingers crossed and my happy Angel will have answered the prayers of my friends and not my enemies. She's mischievous that Spirit and often keeps me on my toes.

I suppose our world is what we get used to. So it can end, or change, on a dime and catch any of us unaware. Vigilance, especially in matters of the health, may be our salvation. Trust me when I say that prevention is better than the cure. I would suggest that we all take better care of our health, and we value our loved ones with as much Vigilance as for any other reason.

It's just a tale like any other. It's my message in a bottle from a distant shore. It's just one patient's story of life on the island. Back on the mainland, so far at least, I am left with even more understanding and compassion for those still castaway to the sudden illness, the chronic condition, the accident or the injury.

Walter! Walter!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Crisis of Our Humanity

The human condition is...

"Suffering" says the Buddha. "Whatever works" says William James. "The result of natural selection" says Charles Darwin. "Submission to Allah" preaches Muhammad.

Random. Created. Evolved. Fashioned. Continuing. Chance. Hopeless. Faithful. Ironic. Miserable. Beautiful.

Biologist Richard Dawkins is an atheist. He would have you believe that we are all the evolved products of billions of years and millions of generations. To Richard...we are genes and memes. Simply put, man is the culmination of physical and psychological patterns that have developed over massive epochs of passing time. We are walking and breathing systems of reproduction copying whatever works best to survive forward into the abyss. Surely, this is a gross oversimplification of the matter. But shouldn't any answer be simple?

Of course, you might ask fellow evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould about Dawkins. He would tell you that Dawkins is the one oversimplifying things. More agnostic than atheist, Stephen thought that God was not the subject of empirical research and represented a kind of unscientific bias in Dawkin's thought catalog.

Perhaps unaware of his vast lineage, man has fallen by the billions to the pox, to war, to cataclysm. The fact that any of us are alive today is a sure testament to a struggle if nothing else so eloquent. We all ask the question at some point why we are here...what is the meaning of it all. In the end most of us either live in denial of an answer, find some personal motivation or seek the solace of an answer in a shared faith...a religion perhaps.

There are plenty of religions to choose from to be sure. Out of his cave man looked to the stars. And under foot he found revelation in the local plantlife. A constellation would steer the mind as well as the navigators of human destiny. And a mushroom would let the man look within. Astrotheology and shamanism painted caves, constructed pyramids and gave rise to stories, and myths...more explanations.

What is real? Dont ask me. Ask the likes of Stephen Hawking or Carl Jung. Again, one looks to the stars for his answers and one looks deep inside the Self. Is the Self, the psyche, God? Are we the myths made flesh and blood? So many, such as the mythologist Joseph Campbell, would think so. But man doesnt know his place after all. The travail of mankind is that each individual decides his place and, like the Biblical God, fashions himself in 'his' image.

We either entrap ourselves or free ourselves by our own perspective. What we believe to be true...becomes true. Ask the orphans of madness populating the behavioral centers. Ask them what is true. Are we all mad with faith? Go ask Bill Maher who sees faith as 'Religulous'. It is clearly ridiculous to him to believe in something outside of what he chooses to believe in. Perhaps we are all a bit more 'Religulous' than Maher would like.

At the end of all of our philosophies, our religions and our ideologies we stand the naked ape before the stars. Ask the young woman of the pain of her births. Ask the soldier the worth of killing. Ask the old man on his deathbed what he lived for. And ask the sick, the wounded, the the end is the pain of life worth the living it?

Be at peace...yet we are not peaceful. Go to war...yet we are mortal. How many untold agonies tell the true tale of the human struggle? 55 million of us died in World War 2. Is that not Apocalypse? What of the unspeakable brutality of the murderous Inquisition? Man is Gladiator in the arena, spilling his own blood and crying victory.

Damn them all for being anything but a Humanitarian. What belief can justify the horror of murderous war? What god or religion is still calling for human sacrifice on altars that must be, must only be, profanities in the analog of our species? So many of us now are of steel. And like that tyrant, we steel ourselves against the suffering of nations, of our brothers, our sisters...our other selves.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This is the golden rule. Buddha, Jesus, Krishna...they all said as much. Or look away...stand as god among mortals. Live forever in contributing to the suffering of others. Is not such a thought madness? For all of us are mortal after all, aren't we? All of us suffer and bleed and eventually die.

It is not a miracle that we rise in the morning and greet the warmth of the sun. But there is no explanation for it. Science is not qualified to philosophize. And the rational mind must know at once that 'the answer' is elusive by our own relative perspective to it. And so we each greet the sun indifferently, accepting our fate under the heavens.

We are not so blind now. We cannot excuse ourselves in ignorance. We are learned men and women...or so we tell ourselves. Only in the moment of your pain may you judge the pain of others. Only at the moment of your death can you know that we are all the same you and I.

We are builders. We are creators. In spite of all of our weaknesses, man has raised civilizations, built bridges and artfully expressed the inexpressible beauty of a stunning likeness to god within...the works of Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Beethoven...

And yet...we spend our lives surviving in third world countries in war torn chaos like animals. Or the more fortunate gorge themselves on heart wrecking fast food, driving the right cars and wearing the right clothes. We evolve Dawkins says. In his view, we are no better than enlightened monkeys. Few of us, if any, prove him wrong in the end. We are vacuous, banal, and self serving. My life. My generation. My time. My ...

If we don't wake up in time, then the dream may become a nightmare and we may always sleep in terror of waking. At the dawn we must confront what we are left with and we must, at last, embrace it and live a life that is genuine by all accounts.

I am a man, he says. And I see that we all are.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Early Morning Valhalla

Live every day like it could be your last. At least that's what my neighbor the Viking keeps telling me.

Every morning when I struggle, coffee in hand, down to my mailbox to ignore my mail in person, I see my smiling, shirtless, Nordic friend mowing the lawn, tending the weeds and sitting idly in his buckskin lawnchair.

When I'm reaching for the paper that I'm preparing to throw away...he shouts "Today is a good day to die!"

I wonder about that actually.

I'm not really looking forward to kicking the bucket, the second time, anytime soon. I usually don't think about it, saving that sort of melancholy pondering for midnight reads of my latest philosophical books.

Is there a good day to die? Hmm. I suppose it goes without saying that if you having millions in the bank, a town full of people who think you're swell, a healthy canine companion, and a family by your side who love you...that's a good start. But should it be on a Wednesday? A Thursday? Or is dying a weekend thing? I'm not looking forward to finding out either way.

What is it about the lawn that makes that damn Viking so cheerful? Will a rock thrown up by the lawnmower blades still qualify him for Valhalla should he meet such an ignominious end?

I guess its not a matter so much about being a good day to die as it is about being a good day to live life to the fullest. And that should be every day.

"It is a good day to die!!!" screams my neighbor the Viking.

Fine. Just do whatever you're doing more quietly...and later in the day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

All You Need is 'LIKE'

How's your history doing? Are you old enough to remember the 60s? How about the 70s then? Hmm....The 80s? 90s??
Do you remember anything???

That's alright. If you do happen to remember the last few decades or even parts of them, some of my parts are blurry for certain, then you might be familiar with the 'Love Generation' and Generation X. While the 'Love Generation' of the 60s comes to mind with visions of happy dancing flower children and Generation X reminds us of Kurt Cobain and a decade or two of inward searching emptiness (and a real hit and miss when it comes to music), there is a new Generation planting its flag.

And I call it...The 'LIKE' Generation.

The word 'Love' is just too intimate for this commitmentphobic generation. We all have cell phones now. We can all get by on text messages to our friends, family and loved ones. Hell. We can even do business that way. You'll notice that Facebook doesnt ask you to Love anyone does it? That's just too personal. That would be weird! We just 'Like' them.

Perhaps we all need a few more choices when it comes to our social networking. Maybe Facebook should add some buttons. Maybe they need to add a 'I Like You More Than "Friend Name"' button. Why not add a button that says 'Buy Me Dinner and We'll See.' And how about a button that says it like it really is most of the time ... 'Assume I Like You.'

The 'Like' Generation is too entitled for my taste. It was too easy for them. When I was a kid only the first place winner got a trophy. Second and third place received a ribbon. And when it came to the long jump...I had to settle for bupkiss. What's with all the kids getting gold stars and trophies now?

Time Magazine calls the 'Like' Generation...the 'ME ME' Generation. Actually, I think they're onto something. Just take out the space from 'ME ME' and you get the word MEME...which is the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkin's word denoting a psychological gene. Memes are the brands we buy and the ideas we infect others with. Memes are the viruses of the mind that make us who we are throughout our cultural as well as our environmental development.

You Generation 'Likers' will have to forgive me. I like to do my own thinking thank you. Of course, I know a lot of you who are freethinkers too. And I applaud you. Sadly though, too many 'Likers' are coasting along the cultural wave spending daddys money on the right clothes, do's, mp3s, and other generally useless crap.

I'm not crazy about doing business with the 'Like' Generation. Since when does business benefit from that same distant approach to relationships that you see on Facebook? "I'll have my secretary text you?" Really? How bout not?

So you went to college. You got your degree in Business Admin. You dress the part and look like the folks on 'the Hills'. You have just enough of the 'right' friends. And speaking of which, you have almost 500 Facebook friends. You would have more but you trimmed the fat and got rid of those friends who didnt bother commenting on your post about your pupply getting drunk at the after bar you barely made it back from.

Why did you take a dog to an after bar anyway?? Lame. For that I may have to 'Unlike' you.

I dont really care who you're trying to be Generation 'Like.' I'm more interested in who you are without that tornadic trail of memes around you. I know you like Radiohead, Lady Gaga and Journey. I know your favorite movie is The Boondock Saints. I know you are attending the Christmas Party at Donnas. And I know that you couldnt sleep last night because you posted on Facebook about your ex calling you all night long.

Im not sure I've ever even met you Generation 'Like'. I'm glad we're friends on Facebook and I wouldnt dare Unfriend you. After deserve better!

But I deserve better too. If, at the end of the day, you really want me or anybody else to care about you, your business, and those things that are important to you, then you need to stop chasing your 15 minutes on Facebook and realize that life is not so much a goal as a journey. No one wins in the end though we we can all win often enough along the way.

I lived a long time without Facebook. And you'll hear me and a lot of other Gen Xers tell you that there's a lot more living in those details....details easily missed when life is experienced via texts, social media and friend requests.

Gee. I wonder if I should send God a friend request? You know...just to make sure.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Duh! Being!

When it comes to partying, apparently nobody parties quite like actor Charlie Sheen. What do you call 5 hookers, 5 tennis ball sized coke baggies, and a paid off preggo pornstar?... Just another weeknight with the Warlock!

Seeing as only Jesus Christ Himself could actually live, or better yet rise, from a binge like that...Charlie Sheen is in good company to author a spiritual bestseller. Tiger Blood and Adonis DNA? That sounds awfully religious to me!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Autocorrect My Life

These days our smartphones are so very smart that they can actually have blonde moments. Sure, the little doohickeys seem to be working well. The pixels are all pixeling; the diodes are all dioding; the chips are all...chipping. Unfortunately, that smart phone is too smart for its, and more importantly our, own good. Brain fart...and that pimp superphone just autocorrected your ass.

The future is more or less now...and nothing like we expected it to be. Decades ago we all imagined flying cars, phasers, and monorails atop our floating cities. What we got was an economy that couldnt afford any of that even if we could build it. So we settle for gadgets, little personal reminders that we live in the world of Only, Capt Kirk would be texting Scotty to beam back up to the ship. And its more than likely that Scotty would beam Kirk into the middle of the sun ... all because that stupid communicator autocorrected his text message.

'Scotty! It's Kirk! We're being attacked by the Klingons! Beam us back to the sun!! Shit!! Scotty...wait ... ship...not sun!!! NOT SUN!!!! ... ttyl.'

The Autocorrect ruins lives. I've made more than a few Freudian slips when it just happened to kick in once when I was texting a girlfriend. At least she thought they were Freudian slips. Hell, who knows? Apparently my smart phone was doing the thinking for me.

I'm beginning to wonder about the Autocorrect Effect. Think about it. If the phones Autocorrect because they were programmed to 'expect' or 'anticipate' certain words or word combinations, then how different is that really from other expectations in life?

I for one feel 'Autocorrected' all the time in my life. I'm always being prejudged for something I'm not going to do anyway. And I'm always being reminded of how I was or should be thinking or feeling by people who are obviously experts when it comes to my personal thoughts and feelings. Again...there go the relationships! poof!

Actually. That explains a lot.

The women in my life have been programmed by society to anticipate that all I'm interested in is sex. No...that's a typo! But it's too late and the message was sent by first wave feminists and sexist commercial propaganda. Poor me. Poor everyman. Lets all just give up and live down to those worst expectations!

What 'type' am I? Well...if I spelled it out it would say one thing. But once everyone around me 'Autocorrected' me, I suppose I wouldnt recognize the message that I was sending either.

We're all getting Autocorrected. Maybe enlightenment is the art of not Autocorrecting the original message. Hmm...I hope that message doesnt get Autocorrected. Maybe I'm really onto hamburger.

... No! 'Something!' Not 'hamburger'. Damn... see!!?

I wonder what would have happened had holy books been Autocorrected...

'In the beginning...Fish created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was wife's form and bulls.' - the Bible...Autocorrected.

Would we all be worshipping fish now? Which wife?? What fucking bulls!!!???

Another good question is just what have we Autocorrected in our lexicon of human history? Maybe Alexander wasnt so great. Maybe Alexander was grouchy or late or something. 'Hey look! It's that damned Alexander. Always late everywhere he goes. Alexander the ...


I guess it could work to my advantage now that I think of it. After all, I have been the real architect of my own destruction. Perhaps a lucky stroke of Autocorrect will serve the whims of providence one day and secure my place in those hallowed halls of personal greatness.

Scott Fish. The Creator.

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