Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Is Pot dangerous? Or just not taxed?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3JGjzwVvN8&feature=related

The above video, has some interesting information in it on pot (marijuana, hemp, weed, grass, whatever you call it):
POT DOES NOT KILL BRAIN CELLS WE WERE LIED TO ONCE AGAIN.

I looked up some of the information referred to in it and it seems to be accurate. I haven't had time to look up all the information in it yet, but it does give food for thought.

Its a fact that much of the nonsense we've been told over the years about things has been incorrect, or worst case, lies. It has been either damaging to the citizenry (Cigarettes) or abusive (hemp). Like the "N" word for African Americans, we should stop calling hemp, Marijuana, because it invokes the poor information, the abuse of political and legal powers that have been perpetrated upon the American people for decades, in fact, since around the 1920-30's.

Its a no brainer that pot should be legal. The government is afraid to do that because of opening Pandora's Box. But they really need to have some balls and just do what is right. Look at all the people in prison, over pot charges. Look at how it would strip the Mexican cartels of power on the lower level drug situation. Look at all the money we'd save on tracking down pot busts.

Consider how if pot use is anything, as has been said by the US Surgeon General in the past, it is a medical health problem, NOT a legal problem. Taxing pot, not paying billions to criminalize it, look at the disparity between those two concepts. Consider our budgetary state of affairs.

Some great things are happening, because America is broke. We are pushing people into telecommuting, something good for everyone. Its better for the American family, mom and dad can be home more. Its saving our infrastructure, our roads and highways; its leading to beefing up our internet high ways. Causing us to rethink our high healthcare costs. And it may lead us into legalizing pot; shoring up our budgets with taxes from legal pot sales. Its not just about sick people NEEDING to smoke pot; its about recreational use. Its our right, as American citizens, to have the government back off. In many areas, pot being only the tip of the iceberg.

Think about it.

Tomorrow: Does the US need more spies?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Padding - The Upside

Is padding good? We pad many things in our lives. Its done at every level of society. But mostly, I see padding as something that is done to us. Sometimes its good, sometimes its bad. But it happens. And we should give it some thought. What kind of ways can we pad things, and why?

Padding.

Money. We can pad our wallets. When you get paid, you need to put your money into things like bills, savings, gas, food, healthcare, etc. But you should also pad your weekly allowance. Keep an extra amount hidden from everyone, even yourself. That way, should something come up, you always have extra.

Padding.

Valmeticulous. Nuwords are popping up all over the internet. Is that okay? Oh I think so. It acts as a buffer, or a kind of verbal or linguistic padding, distancing us from from the real world that we all must adhere to, the proper usages of, the correct grammar for, the spellings, the definitions. Of course, this Valmeticulous, is a word like "apronative" (a prone a tive). It simply doesn't exist. I created apronative in high school. I had people going nuts trying to prove it was real ("she has an apronative personality"). But it doesn't. I made it up.

We need slang. We need fun, fakes words. Otherwise, we wouldn't have had it for thousands of years. Slang, the linguistic virus. Its harmless, like fads; it comes and goes, waxes and wans. Relax. Have fun.

Padding.

Relationships. We need to keep a buffer between ourselves and others. So, that when there is friction, there is a little room to move between you. Its not lying, just giving yourself a little breathing room. And allow others to have theirs. Take time to breathe, to smell the flowers, notice a sunset or rise. Enjoy the typically un-enjoyed appreciation.

Padding.

Driving, flying, boating, riding. This one is obvious, keep enough padded room between yourself and your fellow travelers, so that should you need to suddenly speed up, slow down, turn, you are covered, or at least you can minimize the damage.

Padding.

Time. Don't head off to some event (like work) leaving only just enough time to get there. Leave early enough in case there is a slow driver, an accident, or some other unexpected, unplanned for, event. You don't have to be foolish, but waiting a little once you get some where, in order to not be too early, isn't such a bad thing; especially, if you have something to do with you; a book, or now a days, you can even watch a movie, TV show, or a documentary on your phone.

Try to always have something with you to keep your attention, in case you have to wait for something. Also, don't let yourself be overly stressed about delays. We tend to be upset, when we have cut ourselves too close to a time limit. Don't fall into that trap.

Padding.

Zodiac Signs. Astrology. Tarot. It may have nothing to do with anything but its a kind of padding for reality. We need a life buffer, and it gives some people hope, something to focus on. What's wrong with that. Its almost as useful as what people call "Real Religion" which is based in even less reality. But then, if that's what you want to believe it, it does give one hope for something better. Doesn't it?

Padding.

Spying. We're all curious. In some cases, its necessary as in curiosity between companies, or countries. Padding has an obvious necessity here. You do not want to lose tempo moving forward on a topic, especially, one where lives are at stake. If you are just spying on a friend, family member, or neighbor, you really don't want to get caught. And you really probably shouldn't be doing it to begin with. As for countries, padding is a old trait there. Its either good or evil, depending upon your orientation.

Padding.

Health. Pad your diet, not your belly. Eat less than you need, not more, if you can choose between the two. Pad your diet by eating a little healthier rather than a little less healthy.

Padding.

Sex. Pad the perception of your prowess, or your sexual intelligence. Whatever you want to call it. Its not cheating, lying, being dishonest. Its giving your partner (and yourself) the greatest amount of pleasure possible to you (and them). It doesn't hurt to research, study, learn a new thing or two. But do it because you care for them, not because you are having an affair. Turn around some of those stereotypes.

And that is padding, the upside.
Live it, learn it, love it.

Try giving back. To yourself. Try just not taking so much. From yourself.

Be a Hero. Be your own Hero.

Tomorrow: Yes, tomorrow....Pot

Monday, June 28, 2010

Padding - The Downside

Padding.

Is padding good? We pad many things in our lives. Its done at every level of society. But mostly, I see padding as something that is done to us. We have corporations doing it to us, to our detriment. And we also do it to ourselves, usually to our detriment.

What is padding? Its filler, its something that isn't the main ingredient. One definition makes it as an artifact consisting of "soft" or resilient material used to fill, or give "shape" or used to protect or add "comfort".

Let's drop the part about comfort, protection, or shaping. For our purposes here, I'm really only concerned with the other elements.

Television is a prime example of an industry using padding. Look at the commercial breaks in a TV show. The segments frequently now end with a preview of what is coming up. The next segment opens with a recap of what just happened. Are we really that God awful stupid that we have to know what's coming up or we'll forget we're watching a show or switch off it? If its that bad, we should switch it off. Are we too stupid to remember what we just saw before the commercial break? Really?

Click. I fast forward through a lot of TV shows, not just the adverts but the fillers too. By doing that, I save myself hours of viewing time every week. Thank God for Tivo. I find that TV shows now are typically 40-42 minutes long, with the commercials taking up far too much time and many don't even notice the padding, wasting even more. On the up side, I'm impressed with what they can do with a half hour TV show now a days, making it look like an hour show (and calling it such). But the quality suffers nonetheless.

Padding.

Like, fat. Fat is nothing more than padding. Only that's one where we do it to ourselves. We don't need it. Its not pleasant. Its just extra weight to carry around. It clogs our arteries, or its associated with elements that clog them. It costs the U.S. billions of dollars a year in wasted resources: extra material for fat sized clothing, extra gas and jet fuel for lugging the extra weight around, mass amounts of extra food to feed those heavy jowls, not to mention, medical costs, wear and tear on floors, shoes, and it hurts the eyes. And lowers the quality of your own life.

Padding.

Like, Government contracts. Contractors have been padding bills for their Government contracts since the beginning of time. When it gets excessive, the Government, law enforcement, step in and take them down. But typically, its never noticed. Because its done in such a way that it simply can't be noticeable. Its a personal responsibility. A corporate responsibility. But "responsibility" is a dirty word now a days. Make a buck, any way you can; so what if you are unethical, immoral, damage, ruin, or make dirty, Air, Water, Earth? The Environment is there for our abuse and ability to enrichen us in any clever way we can devise. And it decreases the quality of everything Government related for every citizen.

Padding.

Like, at work. Time. We get coffee, but take too long. Stay in the bathroom, too long. Spend more time on a project extending its finish, longer than necessary. In doing these things, we cost the company money, we keep bonuses smaller, we restrict more people being hired, leading to layoffs that are bigger even if only by one person, or smaller paychecks even if slightly so, and less modern equipment. It decreases the quality of work produced.

That's padding for you.

Americans are a padding elite, padding experts, and padding aesthetes.

It can hurt, cost us, ruin, destroy, kill even. So consider, the next time you have an opportunity to skim off the top, to steal a few minutes you really don't need to (and hey, taking some "Mental Health days" off, or a few minutes to maintain your sanity, IS a good thing, but I'm talking about pure waste here); just think about it, and give some back, pay it forward, increase all of our lifestyle quality.

Try giving back. Try just not taking so much.

Be a Hero.

Tomorrow: Padding - The Upside

Friday, June 25, 2010

Work of Art? - from the Bravo Channel

I love, Top Chef. And other "Reality shows": Hell's Kitchen (or Kitchen Nightmares, F-Word, etc.), Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (deal with it, Kathy's hilarious and no, for the record, I'm not gay, never have been, never will be), Top Chef (as I said), Ghost Hunters, Last Comic Standing, or...Saturday Night Live.

I might add, I do know how to use the fast forward button on some of these shows. But no, not on Ramsey's, Bourdain's, Griffin's, Padme's or Kris William's shows.

This show seems to be produced by the same producer. Or channel. Oh, wait, it is.

From the Bravo web site: "Bravo’s latest stroke on the reality canvas brings Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Sarah Jessica Parker and her production company, Pretty Matches, together with the Emmy-nominated Magical Elves (Top Chef, Project Runway) and Eli Holzman, to produce Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, an hour long creative competition series among contemporary artists."

So, once I recognized the format of Top Chef in "WoA", I liked it immediately. They have also tweaked it just right, adding a Mentor, for instance, replacing Thomas Patrick "Tom" Colicchio, in the process moments.

I do wish I had seen the show from the beginning tonight. But I only heard about this from Susanna, today (thanks Susanna). So I set Tivo to record it tonight. But it was already playing when I started to record it. I'll catch it again in rerun (like an hour after its over, after Top Chef).

I mentioned the show to my eighteen year old artist/photographer, college student daughter but she had no interest in yet another reality show. Which I was sad about. The reality show thing, I can relate to. But as with my son, and other young artistic types, there is little desire to immerse oneself as fully as possible into the chosen area of interest.

But I was happy to see she came down toward the end of it and showed at least some interest.

One of the things this show exemplifies is how "artists" can be well, odd. Or, petty, elitist, pretentious. One artist, turned out a professional piece in this episode's challenge. There was a close second in a very standard but professionally commercial design.

Having only seen one episode now (and I'll watch others), and it having been about designing and producing a cover for a Penguin paperback book, it covered aspects of art, professionalism (producing when you are under direction and pressure), and commercialism. Something that many "artists" turn their nose up to; but as the judges pointed out, it was good enough for, "Picasso, Miro, it was an honorable thing to do, to collaborate to make a beautiful book cover".

When I was in college, with high mindedness in the forefront, as an "artist", I felt that I wouldn't compromise my "art" (in my case, wordsmithing). My fellow thespians felt the same. But, one of the greatest things my Theatre Professor ever told us, was:

"Do not sacrifice your making a living over that of your conception of what your "art" should be. There is NOTHING wrong with eating, paying your bills, making a living, while you do your art. Make a name for yourself. Then you can do your art. Because once you are respected in your profession, then you can take the time, and afford, to make what you consider to be your art." He was not saying, sell out. He was just saying, its okay to get paid, to earn a living, you don't really have to starve, albeit a noble pursuit, to be or become, an artist.

Artists tend by nature, to be a protected sort. That, is okay. For some at least, we need that separateness. But its dysfunctional to not be able to adapt. Intelligence, is the ability to adapt to one's environment and excel. The better you can adapt, the more quickly you can adapt, the higher your intelligence therefore, IS.

To act the "pampered elite" is just immature. If, you are God's Gift to the world in an artistic sense (and, really?), then I don't have a problem with it. But then you had damn well better be. God's Gift. Some people are just asinine in their pomposity. They are arrogant, but you know what? I've always felt that if someone were that good, and arrogant, then they had a right to be. I think some people do. I don't think they should act that way, but if they do and they are, as I said, that good, then fine. I'll deal with it and feel humbled in their presence.

I don't feel bad around people like that. In point of fact, I can learn something from them. I would prefer they were all humble and pleasant, but whatever. On the other hand, its also annoying when you are that good at something, and people act like you are acting all pompous when really, you're not. Its their self esteem issue. But that's another story (they were an artist....).

BUT, people who are all arrogant and asinine, and NOT that GOOD, well, they are just asinine and I really can't learn anything from them. Some people just find this is a way to make people THINK they are that GOOD.

But don't be fooled. They're not.

In the end (this is about WoA, remember?), I will watch Work of Art again. I found it fascinating. And, the annoying, older, wacky (insane?), "fish out of water", pretentious, self-proclaimed (and I guess she really is a), "fine art" artist, is no longer there. I won't miss her. Nor will a few of the artists.

Oh, sorry.

SPOILER ALERT! heheh....

Tomorrow: Padding - The Downside

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Gasland - FRACing our nation - Special Edition

I'm watching Josh Fox's documentary, Gasland. He claims that the FRAC process where high pressure water and stabilizing chemicals are shot deep into the ground beneath shale deposits to free up natural gas, has contaminated some of our rural areas throughout the nation. Some people can not even shower in their well water, let alone drink it. Some people's animals and livestock are losing hair and being made very sick.

There are those who claim Josh is making this up, here is one site:
http://www.jlcny.org/site/index.php/news/latest-news-articles/
192-debunking-gasland-the-movie?gclid=CICAnbuzuaICFQdkgwodGyNG4Q

But aside from what he says in the documentary, not even listening to him, listen to the people he interviews. Look at what they show, like being able to light their tap water on fire. The news station broadcasts, talking about the same. Regardless of the article from the web site above, something is wrong. This hasn't reached Washington state yet, but it could, its creeping across the United States to the Pacific Northwest.

There has been some movement from the Government:
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/energy/6874538.html

From there, they said: The chemicals make up less than 0.5 percent by volume of the overall mix but often include hazardous substances such as acids and materials used in cleaners and antifreeze.

That's good to know.

Its claimed that Josh is lying about the exclusions of these Gas companies from clean air laws. Regarding that:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/propublica/assets/natural_gas/colburn_testimony_071025.pdf
Check out her site at:
http://www.endocrinedisruption.com/chemicals.introduction.php
Video of her:
http://splashdownpa.blogspot.com/2010/04/world-renowned-scientist-dr-theo.html
Interesting interview of her at Mother Jones:
http://motherjones.com/politics/1998/03/theo-colborn

The EPA has requested $4.3 million in 2011 for hydraulic fracturing research. February 18, 2010:

Also on Thursday, Waxman said past data received from Halliburton and BJ Services indicates they used diesel fuel in their fracturing fluids between 2005 and 2007, possibly violating a voluntary agreement with the EPA to stop using diesel.

Smith said BJ Services told its operations to stop using diesel but that some inadvertently used it for a few jobs, the last one in 2007. BJ reported the incidents to the EPA and took measures to prevent recurrences.

Halliburton spokeswoman Cathy Mann said in an e-mail that the agreement with the EPA only covered the use of diesel in fracturing jobs in coalbed methane formations and not other kinds of formations, such as shales.

This was from the chron Energy web site.

The Pro Publica site for Journalism in the public interest:
http://www.propublica.org/feature/broad-scope-of-epas-fracturing-study-raises-ire-of-gas-industry
says, Broad Scope of EPA’s Fracturing Study Raises Ire of Gas Industry.

A federal study of hydraulic fracturing set to begin this spring is expected to provide the most expansive look yet at how the natural gas drilling process can affect drinking water supplies, according to interviews with EPA officials and a set of documents outlining the scope of the project.
Here are those documents from the EPA:
http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/a84bfee16cc358ad85256ccd006b0b4b/ 4caa95a38952145f852576d3005daa17!OpenDocument&Date=2010-04-07

The oil and gas industry strongly opposes this new approach.

The EPA is undertaking the study in response to a wave of reports [4] of water contamination in drilling areas across the country and a Congressional mandate issued in an appropriations bill last fall. The agency had previously examined hydraulic fracturing in a 2004 study that was limited in scope and was widely criticized.
http://www.propublica.org/series/buried-secrets-gas-drillings-environmental-threat

I don't have any more to say about this. Not really, its speaks for itself. First, watch Josh's documentary Gasland. Even taking it with a grain of salt, it has import. Adding the Government's attitude, and the Gas industry's attitude, pretty much says it all. Along with the execs that visited people in their homes to tell them the water was safe to drink but when offered a drink of the water, refused. And it wasn't just one guy, nor was it one incident, nor one family.

Something is up. Something doesn't just smell in Denmark but across the nation. We really need to stop corporations from polluting our natural resources.

When people complain about this, they are told they have to prove it. One family, with good water for thirty years, signs a document to allow FRACing on their land, then immediately, their water turns bad, beyond bad; but they have to prove it?

We need our country back, if we ever had it. The corporations shouldn't be exempt from reality. People should be, if it comes to that.

Tomorrow: Work of Art - The Bravo Channel

If Jesus had Twitter....

Jesus (to Peter): did you pick the stuff up for dinner tonight? Judas is complaining you never get enough olives

Peter: Yeah, yeah, I got enough olives! Tell Judas he can suck my olive pit

Jesus: He said, you already did that for him. Whats that supposed to mean?

Peter: Oh, Elohay! I'm gonna kill that little bastard. I'd stone him but you know, he holds the purse. Who's idea was that anyway?

Jesus: Don't be such a sore Simon. Be nice to Judas. 1 day he'll do great things for us. He does manage our money, no 1 else can

Peter: Well, fine. Whatever. So, who's coming tonight

Tomorrow: Gasland. FRACing.

Jesus: Usual suspects

Peter: Will Mary be there?

Jesus: Knock it off!

Peter: I'm just asking

Jesus: Yes, she'll be there

Judas (to Peter): Did you get enough olives?

Peter (to Judas): I would have but I wasn't given enough...MONEY!

Judas (to Peter): Bitch bitch bitch

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vanishing Point

I saw Vanishing Point on a double bill with dirty Mary and crazy Larry at the Rialto theater in Tacoma back in 1974. Even though Vanishing Point was made two years earlier. They remade Vanishing Point in 1997. I love Viggo Mortensen's work, but Barry Newman did an excellent job.

We were sitting at my girlfriend's parents house one Saturday and I was feeling a bit, well, suicidal. So, in an attempt to cheer me up, my girlfriend and her brother took me to see a double feature. None of us had heard of either movie, but Peter Fonda was in one of them. So, we just took a chance. Both movies, arguably end in suicide.

They were entertaining, but the endings were just all wrong for my state of mind. Have you ever had that happen? You don't think you can handle one more thing going wrong, and then it does. And then the second feature comes on and you think this will be better and then it too ends in grief.

And so you sit there, in realization, stunned, disbelieving. You think, "I don't believe this. I needed some consoling and all I got was consolation prize, second best, worst best even."

What do you do? Go kill yourself? Or, let it roll around in your head, banging from corner to corner until it finally knocks some sense in you and you simply start to laugh.

And that's the rub, isn't it. Sometimes, when things are so bad, you think nothing could be worse, you have to have a sense of humor about when it finally does get worse.

Otherwise, just what kind of person are you?

Tomorrow: If Jesus had Twitter

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why the sea?

Is a body of water the unconscious?

What do you think?

I've found in my life that I simply cannot feel at peace if I don't live near to a large body of salt water, like the Ocean. I've lived most of my life on Puget Sound and that seems to be as far as I can get from the Ocean. I've lived inland several times, even once or twice in the desert, which I loved.

But in the end, I found I really couldn't live in the interior of a continent. I lived in Illinois for a while. I hated it. Flat ground forever, wind picks up momentum and you get winds that you can lean into at a ridiculous angle without falling down.

Spokane Washington, has "75 lakes within a 25 mile radius". I thought if I heard that again, after four years, I drown myself in one of them. I've been a SCUBA diver since 1970, and fresh water dives tend to be lame.

According to Jung (Carl Gustav), this is the "collective unconscious", where the archetypes of our culture reside, typically represented by lakes or other bodies of water in our mythologies, or in some cases a fluid container of some sort.

So is that what it is? I need to be near my collective unconscious? Maybe.

Weird.

But I do love the life here, beach life even more so. Life near the ocean, or in my case, the Sound, the living creatures in the water, the incredible sunsets, the fresh air, the all around magnificent visions.

Awesome. Simply, awesome.

Tomorrow: Vanishing Point

Monday, June 21, 2010

The God Experience

What is, the Sense Presence?

Rather than ask ourselves, IS there a God. Let's ask ourselves, Why? Why is there, why should there be, why do we think we need a God? Why?

As an animal, you would not recognize yourself. You would not recognize your death. You cannot contemplate your final demise. "You", does not exist. You are one with the world and the world with you. You live in the moment, the ultimate existentialist.

The Mirror Test is one way to differentiate between humans and animals. A few animals can pass this test, but there are yet other denominators to consider, such as contemplating your death, or beyond.

And so we have to ask ourselves what is God. A pan dimensional being? A Creator, able to alter natural laws. More? Maybe. Maybe not.

Is God omniscient? Omnipotent? Omnipresent? Not necessarily.

One could argue, God could have created everything, then disappeared forever.

Or never existed to begin with. Then the Universes are just random happenstances.

Yet still, if we can contemplate things greater than ourselves and our mortality, surely we can envision God. But if we do, is God actually there?

There is a condition known as, Sense Presence. By invoking this condition we discover a situation, not unlike that of experiencing God. By placing magnets over certain parts of the brain, we evoke the feelings, the visuals of a presence.

There is some interesting work being done by neurologist Dr. Michael Persinger. He sees religious belief as "a cognitive virus".

When we cross that pathway from animal, to creature with a greater capacity of brain power, we start to contemplate our, self; our aloneness, our mortality, our limited lifespan. This realization, this "Eden Awareness", this lack of animalness, creates anxiety, where there once never was any.

This is a serious anxiety that causes untold intense difficulties.

The natural thing at that point, is to have, or generate, a counterpoint. To have a feeling, or a belief of something outside of ourselves that goes beyond, that takes up the slack for our newly discovered limitations, and it must continue forever.

Something that is everywhere. That knows, everything. Sound familiar?

Persinger said: "Suppose you can anticipate your personal demise. Well, that precipitates tremendous anxiety, and anxiety is devastating to cognitive processes. So from a natural selection point of view, you can see why individuals would have been selected if they could minimize that anxiety,"

He further explains, "The minute a person can affiliate themselves with this concept of infinite and forever, there is no personal death, and consequently there is no reason to have anxiety. You can see why people become addicted to it." -- from Robert Hercz October 2002 issue of Saturday Night magazine (pages 40 to 46) [from Katinka Hesselink.Net].

So, it is clear that we certainly had a motivation for creating a God figure. We need it, Him, Her, whatever. We need that vessel of unlimited foreverness to contain our anxiety, our fear of what is coming. So, does God exist? He has to. Otherwise, we self destruct.

What about atheists? Do they need God? They say they don't. But they have God anyway. For to push against, to deny, to eliminate, is to have. They have still lived their lives up to the point of denial, in having that God, knowing of God's existence, the surrounding theology, philosophy, psychology.

What about not ever knowing about God? Take 1974s, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser by
Werner Herzog. A movie based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to speak or walk, and bearing a strange note. Later it was found had been held captive his whole life. He was a Tabula rasa, a blank slate. In the film, he was taught about manners, society, God. He questions everything, until someone in the village can no longer take his questioning the unquestionable and kills him. But he had no anxiety about Life. Why? Because, it has more to do with society, than the individual.

Still, what is this, Sense Presence? Keep an ear out for it in the future. I suspect and submit that it will turn up some interesting considerations.

Tomorrow: Why the Sea?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I leave you with this thought on Fatherhood, from Louis CK:
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6600481n

Tomorrow: The God Experience

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cheerleaders Rock!

Why do cheerleaders rock?

Do you realize that Cheerleaders have more sports related injuries than all other school sports put together? Cheerleaders are most definitely athletes. But, is Cheerleading a sport? By law, NO.

Why? Because some feminists from the 70s thought it was good for women.

Should it be? By every Moral and Ethical standard as well as the Hippocratic Oath, apparently so!

First I would like to thank Penn and Teller's BullSh*t! show on Showtime for bringing this up. I thought I'd watch it to see what nonsense they threw out there, just a few minutes of some fun. What I saw horrified me. Not the beautiful, fit girls being athletic, but the horrors these children experience on a regular basis with out the support and safety standards required by sports.

Okay, they did what the needed to, for the 70s! But it needs to be updated because what these girls are doing now a days is so far beyond "dance" that they are dying, being paralyzed, permanently injured and traumatized on a regular basis.

The 1972 Title 9, the Minx" Bernice. A good idea, that needs to be updated. Do Title IX proponents think more about their image than cheerleaders safety?

What do The National Cheer Safety Foundation and Varsity Brands Incorporated have in common? Varisty Brands sells more cheerleading equipment than anyone else. They fund the NCSF [7/27/2010 - author retraction, the NCSF is not indicated as being funded by Varsity in this episode of Bullsh*t! Thanks to Tiffany for that clarification.].

I don't know, but something, seems just wrong here and our daughters and suffering for it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Peppered Vodka, Bond style

Ian Fleming, author of the notorious James Bond books, wrote in one of them, that Bond liked to put pepper in his vodka. He said it was because during the (second world) war, Russian vodka had tiny amounts of contaminants in it, so he put pepper in it to absorb those and he just got in the habit.

So that years later, he still liked to sprinkle pepper into his vodka, only now he would drink it too as the contaminants were no longer an issue. I tried it years later after reading that and I loved it, too. When I eventually tried Stoli's peppered Vodka (Stolichnaya Pertsovka) it was a marriage made in a Bond book, in Ian Flemming's mind, or in WWII.

I always wondered what Bond was trying to absorb in using the pepper and in looking around I find two possibilities. One, vodka could also be used as a fuel for vehicles, in which soldiers, or opportunists, could have taken from one depot to use in another. That is, they could drink it even when it might have some other substances in it being around vehicles that were using it for fuel when petrol ran sparse.

Someone once said, to create a "dry" martini (with little vermouth), you should spritz the vermouth in the air and wave the martini through it. Someone else said, simply show the martini the vermouth from across the room.

Wikipedia says of it, that "Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a powerful psychoactive drug, best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages and in modern thermometers. Ethanol is one of the oldest recreational drugs. In common usage, it is often referred to simply as alcohol or spirits. Mixtures of ethanol and water that contain more than about 50% ethanol are flammable and easily ignited."

It goes on: "Alcoholic proof is a widely used measure of how much ethanol (i.e., alcohol) such a mixture contains. In the 18th century, proof was determined by adding a liquor (such as rum) to gunpowder. If the gunpowder still burned, that was considered to be “100 degrees proof” that it was “good” liquor — hence it was called “100 degrees proof”." - Wikipedia

Another possibility is that pepper can absorb water, which is the part and parcel of what Proof is about. Whereas, 80 proof has more water and 100 proof the least amount of water. Using pepper, could make a "dryer" vodka. Its almost a kind of joke. But if that water were impure, that could also be a reason.

So I still don't know why Bond put pepper, originally, into his vodka. But it makes for an interesting bit of speculation. Either way, I do like my peppered vodka. Now, if I could only find a bottle of Stolichnaya Pertsovka (its not on Stoli's web site any longer).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What is erotic? What is sensual?

We all have preconceived ideas on what we find erotically or sexually arousing. Some of those things are so deeply seated there is little one can do about it other than, perhaps, alter it a little. In some cases however, those deeply seated desires and erotic considerations can be enhanced, added to, or completely changed in a single moment of heat and desire.

My hot, little girlfriend (okay, at 5'9" maybe not little) through my college years was full German. First allow me to say that she was blond haired and blue eyed; a very bright, tall, leggy, woman with a runner's physique. Did I say quite attractive? Her mouth was forever in a somewhat downturned pouty frown that made you want to cuddle and please her whenever you looked at her.

Admittedly, her appearance and our relationship may have affected me in the end.

Still this is a good example of how things you thought were rock solid, could be so altered without a moment's notice.

In our intimate discussions around that time, I had always indicated a partiality to certain French erotic motifs, as banal or common though they might have been.

For instance, I found intriguing, such slightly fetishistic thoughts as the ubiquitous male fantasy of a woman in a French maids outfit; or having sex with a girl while she is Frenchly whispering soft "sweet nothings" in my ear. Or, well anything softly whispered in French for that matter. Actually, she could have been excoriating on the French penal code for that matter and it still wouldn't have had any negative affect on me. Let's face it, a hot looking woman, speaking French, coming on to a guy...obvious attraction.

The poor sweet girl had listened to my own foolish understandings of my own lame preferences until she had finally gotten fed up with those rather pedantic attitudes of mine. So she was after all a proud German girl and decided to made it a "thing" to prove to me that her German culture wasn't so bad compared to the French. In hindsight, perhaps rubbing that particular nationalistic wound wasn't the best idea around.

So one evening she took me to a very good German restaurant. I didn't know there was such a thing. She ordered for me what she considered to be "good" German dishes. And I had to admit, it was indeed pretty tasty, even though I'm more partial to Japanese, Thai, and Viet-French cuisines.

That night she had also decided to prove that the German language could indeed be a "romance" language. I had discussed with her earlier, how German was described as a "guttural" language and not one of the "romance languages". A traditional academic stance.

At that time we were taking Linguistics at the University. Our very energetic and sweet, old Linguistics Professor was from an Eastern European, Slavic country, and spoke Germanic languages himself. He received a best teacher of the year award the year we graduated.

She told me that she had wanted to object in class when the Professor had described German as a "guttural" language. The term "guttural" merely refers to the fact that the language is spoken mostly from the back of the throat; whereas most romance languages are pronounced more toward the front of the mouth. Therefore making them appear softer, more gentle, and thus more, Romantic. The short trip to erotic is not a big leap to take, and the history of the French culture for romance and eroticism certainly adds to that understanding.

My girlfriend had decided to keep her feelings to herself that day in class. Until that night, that is. That evening, she proceeded to come on to me to prove her point. We were seated on the couch next to each other, she had her feet tucked beneath her with her knees toward me, one hand playing with the hair on the back of my head and she was staring intently at me from inches away.

In this kneeling, seated position, she was slightly looking down upon me and began to move in more closely. It was a very sexy and provocative approach for her to take. She leaned in and began to aspirate typical sweet nothings with her breath hot and heavy in my ear, but all in German. I found my blood pressure rising, my skin flushing and a desire to move to action overtaking me.

Still she held me in place with one hand on my chest as she continued her verbal and slightly physical foreplay. Until finally, I could take it no longer. Needless to say, this proceeded to a very pleasurable experience for both of us, lasting most of the night; wherein I could no longer fathom any difference of having been spoken to in either German OR French. To make a long pleasant story shorter, in the end I fully recanted my former position without any further consideration to demur, left in my mind.

So, should you ever have similar thoughts about how you feel regarding what turns you on, what is a prominent erotic ideal in your own mind, consider this: what you might think is a solid eroticism for you, what you may even consider to be your sensual fantasy, may not be as founded in concrete as you might think.

If you simply keep an open mind, and should you be lucky enough to have the right person to lead you down a more open and enlightened path than the one you've chosen, you may just find that there is a much wider spectrum of desire available to you than you had ever before considered possible.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nuclear Proliferation

Queen Noor of Jordan, a Chairwoman on The King Hussein Foundation, was on Bill Maher the other day. She indicated that today there is a nuclear threat to the tune of 25,000 nuclear weapons that are in the hands of nine States and a few others. Its more those few others that chill my skin. For more information and a way to put things in perspective, Queen Noor, pointed out the documentary, "Countdown to Zero", a film depicting this post cold war foolishness. Its done by the same people that did "An Inconvenient Truth".

http://www.takepart.com/zero

From their site area, "Demand Zero":

"When the Iron Curtain fell, the bomb became a symbol of another era. But in recent years, the threat of nuclear proliferation has grown more urgent, and the political will to eliminate nuclear weapons is greater than ever. The Social Action Campaign for Countdown to Zero will provide the tools and actions for becoming part of the global movement to demand total nuclear disarmament."

At any one time, 2,200 nukes are on alert around the globe, ready for use in minutes. Speaking from the point of view of someone whose job it once was to support and deploy these things, this is a bad state of affairs. Always has been always will be. Should we destroy all nuclear weapons? No. Should we take them down from being available as a first response, or reply tactical response? Mostly likely.

We need nukes, for the simple reason that they are not weapons, unless we choose to use them as such. They are devices, tools. And so we need to differentiate between Good Nukes and Bad Nukes. Its all in purpose, or intent. One need only look to the stars for a single very good reason to have the ability to explode large nuclear devices. The earth is basically a moving target for the unlimited number of asteroids, meteors and debris flying through the universe at unbelievable speeds. Should we ever need to shoot at one, we might want something with which to do that with.

But, they should be kept in a tool box somewhere, not slung on someone's hip like a six-shooter. That, is insanity. That, always has been insanity.

Again from the site: "Collectively, the US and Russia have approximately 14,000 active nuclear weapons, only 200 of which could devastate either country."

Who scares you most in the world right now? Which government? Iran? North Korea? Burma?

"According to documents and photos smuggled out of Burma, the junta-led state has acquired key ingredients and tools to cook up a nuclear weapon." - Adam Trunell

Check out the National Abolition Day website:
http://www.nuclearabolition.org/

Its all something to be aware of. If you are into being "green" and fighting globalwarming, this is a far superior threat to be aware of.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Nik Knows" - Episode 1

Nik is my son. He is twenty-two now. But when he was say, three, weeell, life was interesting. One never knew what you were walking into with him. But, it was felt, when he turned his attention to something, he got to know it, REALLY WELL.

I could give numerous examples. No. Trust me, very, very, very many.

So many that when he was three, his mother and I discussed the possibility of putting out a cartoon called, "Nik Knows" after our son and his experiences in life. This was because, when he did something, you just never saw it coming. He was brave to the point of insanity, and not so much because he was stupid, as because, it was so damn hard for him to get hurt; and finally, because he always did something that was so unexpected.

When I was still married to his mom, a short, at one time, sweet, at one time, kind of cute, "California-raised-in-Issaquah" kind of (at one time) blond (now a black die job, kind of older, no so young, well, not blond as I said).

He was Mr. ENERGY! Day. Night. Afternoon. Evening. Morning. Night.

When we put him to bed, usually at 7:30pm, hopefully, he would fall asleep by 11pm or so. No, really, let me say it again, 11pm, or SO. Not infrequently, 1am.

Years later, I met and married a sweet, gorgeous woman (no, not just to me, guys would stop and stare), mother to my daughter, babe deluxe, Horse expert and child Goddess (I should say, Child Whisperer) who introduced me to something called, "swaddling". Swaddling. Ever heard of it? Its when you wrap a baby tightly in a blanket. First time I saw her do it I was horrified. But then, the baby zonked out, immediately. IMMEDIATELY. I can only akin it to a chicklet, when you lay it on its side, and push down on it; it will stay there, frozen, unharmed, for up to half an hour. Really, I learned about it in Psychology at the University, tried it out myself years later, and it really works. And apparently it works with children.

Amazing.

But, I didn't know about that with my son. Sadly.

I guess swaddling can be overdone, because I've heard of incidences in the media where parents went beyond swaddling until the child, like, died. So, that's no good. But after a few weeks of no sleep, one can almost understand the overzealousness when once swaddling might be discovered. Take my son, case in point.

I was in the living room one afternoon, studying computers, as I was trying to get a higher paying job (yes, it worked out, but not until a divorce). I heard something, turned around the low and behold, was my son's mother, standing in the doorway, after six weeks of having to feed him every two hours, looking quite insane. She had been cutting food in the kitchen, so she was standing there, holding a large knife, her eyes were, insane, she said, "Do something with him. Do something with him. I can't take anymore. Do something...."

I weighed my options, having been in the middle of some deep computer architecture book, and decided, if I ever wanted to finish said computer book, I had better make an affirmative response to what she was asking. He was a trial to raise.

Years ago, I can remember my own mother saying to me, during periods of extreme frustration, and yes, because of me, she had said that she so very hoped, one day, that I, "will have a child JUST LIKE YOU!" I was only a kid when she said that. I was lucky, for my older brother, she had a cartoon on the wall of the kitchen which read:

"Sometimes I wish abortion were legal before you were born." Said by a mother to a teen son.

"And may you live in interesting times." A Chinese curse. I was a Chinese curse. It had been passed on to me. I was passed on to me.

Hmmm..."just like me". I had to think about that one.

Hey, I was pretty cool, really. I mean, NO one was as cool as me. If I could find someone like me, why, I'd have the best time possible. It would be, well, wonderful. How fun am I anyway. VERY fun. I LOVE to do fun things. Of course, my mother disagreed, but then, she never did those cool things, she only organized things after I was done, frequently putting them back in the radio, TV, or microwave.

Anyway...my son turned out, just like me. He looked like me, was beefy like I was. No, not...hefty, or husky, but solid muscle, and a lot of it. One day, I put him on my knee, he was an infant. I held his hands over his head so he could stand on my knee, just for balance. But he DID it, standing on his own, his balance was incredible. I had never seen a baby that strong before. A real bruiser. Just like I was.

In the birthing room, the day he was born, the nurses called him, Bruno, because his 8'13" seemed so big up against his mother's diminutive 5'1". When she was pregnant with him, she looked like a beach ball with legs, really. One day, she wore a horizontally large striped sweater to a Japanese garden on a family outing with her parents and grandmother. She really looked like a bumble bee, very oversized, but comical nonetheless. Its true. I have pictures.

I'm going somewhere with this, just wait, because, I want to know where this goes too.

When I was a kid, in third grade, my mother came outside of our house because while she had been inside, she saw something drop from the sky, passing the window she was near, and looking remarkably like her son.

So about the time she got outside, she looked around seeing nothing. Then she looked up, and saw me just about to jump off the roof of the house, again. I got yelled at. I eventually got down. I didn't do that anymore. But I didn't understand, because, as I told her when she said, "WHY are you DOING that?" I said, "Because its so much fun falling."

"Doesn't it hurt when you hit the ground?" She said.

"No, not really." She just shook her head, said I'd break a leg, and told me to get down. What a downer. My type of kid was definitely better.

So, one day, thirty some years later, my own son, playing alone by himself, at about four years old, in our living room, in an apartment above a wine store. You can't make this stuff up, I searched and searched for a dumbwaiter while we lived there, but never found one; soon evaporated were thoughts of late night rummaging in the store for fine wines....

Anyway, I was in the dinning room with his mom, when we heard a large, boom and the floor shook.

We turned around, low and behold, we saw him in the living room, climbing back up on the couch. Wondering, we watched him, he didn't even look at us. He was focused on the center of the rug in the room. He raised his hands apart, leaped up, and flew out into the middle of the rug and descended, boom, hitting square dead center on the middle of the rug.

In a repeat performance, his mother and I watched him climb back on the couch. Incredulous, we saw him raise up off the couch yet again, suspend in the air for a moment, just long enough for us to both us to yell, "NOooooo!"

He didn't flinch, look, nothing, he was into the bliss of the fall. I knew that look. I felt that feeling. The same thing I'd experienced in jumping from the roof of our house, so many years before.

He landed square on his chest, it stunned him briefly, then he jumped up, and saw us looking at him, realized we had responded upset, as we yelled at him, saw that we had reacted with fear to his actions, and basically, that he had freaked out not only Mom, but unflappable Dad, too. He giggled.

We looked at one another stunned. How stupid WAS our son? We were especially stunned when we watched him climb back up onto the couch, in order to DO IT AGAIN. This time, we yelled his name, loudly! Same thing, he got up, did it again, only this time, we plotted. I think the falls on the hard floor were getting to him as when he hit next time, it wasn't quite as hard as before.

We looked at each other, and I said, "whatever you do, don't respond to him this time." She nodded that she was thinking the same exact thing. He flew up again, but when he hit the ground on his chest this time, and looked up at us immediately, he had no audience, we were looking the other way. I could see out of the corner of my eye, that he reacted to our NOT reacting, with great disappointment. He got up. I could see him considering his next move. We took a step off looking at something else.

And it hit him. His fifteen seconds of glory were over. He looked down at the floor. Then found a new toy to abuse, I mean, play with.

It was in this way, that "Nik knew", Stage Performance, audience approval, and the agony of your materiel going stale. But, he never tired of his thrill of, The Shock. A story that continued on, for another decade or so.

I'm only happy, that now...its his turn.

Only, I never cursed HIM. Besides, he's now has a girl. I've raised a boy and a girl now.

I wish him much luck.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What's it like, turning out a blog a day?

I've done what many have done, read an article and then complained about it. That's so stupid. He's such an idiot. How'd he come up with THAT? What kind of a jackass is she, anyway? What Was she thinking?

I can say now from experience, its hard to turn out a quality piece on a daily basis. And so, I'm adjusting to weekends off. I have a job. I have a second job. I have studies and book readings and research to do. I have kids. Okay, one has moved out now.

But its a full time job and then some. Therefore, you have limited time to get everything done in your life, and turn out an article on a daily basis. If it were my only job, I suspect, it would be easier, but then, that would be suspect. Either way, I certainly now have a greater appreciation of the fortitude it takes and the effort required, to pull it all together and turn out a quality piece of work on a daily basis.

On the other hand, it is a drive. A lark. A serious qualm and a pandemonium.
Though I do like it and it can be fulfilling. Although I do have a screenplay to get done.

So, I'm taking weekends off from now on. That okay with you?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What is, Corruption?

Do you think you know what corruption is?

Someone takes a bribe, they are corrupt. Someone is given a promise of advancement, a better job, if they go against the interests of their job, their promises, their people, then they're corrupt. Yes?

But there are other kinds. I've been watching, "The Wire". Great show. Horrible examples are shown of how government can and probably somewhere, does work. You don't even have to know it happens, its just logical. If you want something, from someone, another department, agency, what do they get for it? Just the knowledge that you owe them? Dream on. They want something up front. Standard operating procedure. They aren't making that much money, their department is hurting for funds in order to do their job, so they make up for it, any way they can.

Maybe they have the best of intentions. Maybe it starts that way. It slips, after a while, to where they wouldn't even recognize themselves, but they justify it with the knowledge that this is how the "real world" really is.

And you know what? Maybe it is.

But you have to keep that child's view of the world or after a while, you lose track of what is right (or what is important) and what is wrong, because you get too close to what is happening. That's why it looks so bad when its exposed because those coming into it, viewing it from afar, see how bad it really is. And without all the caveats, rationalities and exigencies.

The official definitions go something like this, "corrupt": Marked by immorality and perversion; depraved; Venal; dishonest: a corrupt mayor; To destroy or subvert the honesty or integrity of; To ruin morally; pervert; To taint; contaminate.

My favorite example to hate about corruption are what concerns statistical requirements in a job. Seems to harmless. You just have to hit this score, some level, an amount or a degree; to be considered good, to keep your job, your compensation level, your bonus. I've seen this at jobs of my own.

Sometimes even arbitrary numbers are picked to prove things are going well, and bad things happen because of it. We see this in the school system all the time. They don't know how to prove schools are doing well, or how good teachers are, so they give tests to build blase stats to show how well everyone is doing. But then you still have kids graduating who can't read. Or kids get mentally beat up because of tests they have to study to pass the test, rather than study to learn. They end up not learning real lessons about how to move on to higher education, live their life, to get a job, to handle a home, or a relationship.

Why don't we teach kids what they need to know in order to make a living, maintain a home, live happy with someone, to enjoy the quality of their life?

Back to the stats. Everyone wants to look good. So they take their department stats for the past month, or quarter or year, and find a way to make it look good, better; by changing the definitions of things, or moving something from one department to another. All this has to do with people up top, who are disconnected from down below, thinking they can quantify quality. What is needed is good people doing a good job, trust, running a good department and not being so worried about what looks good and dealing with the reality of what is.

People need to worry about doing the job, doing it well, making the mission important, carrying things out in a real situation, not a made up one.

The example they played up in Season four of The Wire had to do with murder stats. Homicide was so concerned about their stats of open murders, that they knew they were leaving a couple dozen bodies hidden in many spread out houses in condemned city housing. Rather than be worried about murdered people, about finding a murderer, be they homeless or drug addicts/dealers or what have you, they buried it. It was subtle, there wasn't proof, but a cop had a good theory that should require they open houses and search, but the officer in charge refused, because it would ruin their stats. All he had to do to prove it, was pull a board off a boarded up house to see if there was indeed bodies in certain marked buildings, but he was ordered not to.

They were so worried about what? Not looking bad?

That, is patently, ridiculous. Ludicrous and I don't mean the rapper.

You should do your job. You should never HAVE to worry about how things look, as long as you are doing what you're supposed to; after all, its not you doing the bad stuff.

In this case, they wanted to turn a blind eye to murder, just because it would ruin their departmental stats? Someone should go to jail over something like that. Yes, this was a TV show. Thank God, it wasn't a Reality TV Show. But you can't tell me, that this kind of thing doesn't really happen.

In a way, I don't blame those doing it so much as I do those in charge forcing them into this kind of behavior. Its systemic.

My point in all this, is that corruption is not always what you expect. Its not the obvious bribe, sometimes its the slight of hand, the ignore, the blank stare, or the redefining of a term, in order to look good, or not look bad, or shift something off to another place. Look around you sometime. Is any of this going on around you? Maybe it happens so much, or its so entrenched, that you, that no one, ever notices it anymore.

Have the eyes of a child. And the determination of an adult, to do what you can, to end this foolishness. The world will be a better place, when you do.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Religion vs Human Rights and Freedom

Why, is there such a backlash against Islam in places around the world, specifically, in Dutchland? Holland, that is. Man, you draw one little cartoon, and half the world wants to kill you. Hmm why would that lead to a backlash?

There seem to be so many people that have just about had it with these groups, organizations, and especially, religions, that are so antiquated, backward, repressive, and do not allow its adherents the freedom to dump their beliefs and move on progressively of their own free will. Free will. Wasn't THAT what religion was supposed to be all about. Choice? Making the right choice? Letting God sort that after after they die? Who came up with the bright idea to do this choosing for God?

If a belief system is so great, then why is there so much control exerted and repression put to work to keep people in their place?

Two things have always seemed an apriori in belief systems; for me anyway. One is that you shouldn't have to hide from the world in order to maintain your belief system (christians are renowned for that one, they won't watch this or that, they won't talk about this or that, they can't be around this or that kind of person, on and on ad infinitum). And the second is that your faith, or the ideology of your chosen (or your forced upon) system, should be correct enough, seem right enough, be charming or desirable enough that you don't have to be forced to stay within its ranks by either family, friends, adherents or threats of eternal damnation, hellfire and/OR brimstone.

I'm not saying that your religion should be offering you seventy-two virgins as a reward to keep you in line or anything like that. Its just that if God is God, then he ought to have come up with a pretty damn good system by now. Don't you think? Hey, its just a thought. I like to think, Divinely Inspired, actually (stop that, do NOT look at my dangling participle). I'm only human (lower case H).

Also, a religion shouldn't dumb you down into a blathering idiot, or a beatific zombie. A real religion should turn you into a massively self actualized productive (this isn't to say a Type A personality, either), spiritually (now just a second, who is to say that religion really needs to make you spiritual at all; perhaps God wants people to be Earthy, maybe we're all looking at this all wrong) progressive; Humane (not such a good word after all if you consider what humans have done to this planet and its lifeforms through History, including its own species), individual. Perhaps oriented toward the group. Desirous of community, of bettering the group (good and defective, which isn't to say, into killing the handicapped, or female babies).

Well, its just a thought.

I've always wondered why it took so many religions to make up the world if there is a single God. One thing that could explain this hot mess we're in today, would be that there really is more than one God and they are mostly all pissed off because obviously, we have taken it upon ourselves to choose one of them only as some kind of Rock Star. Think how you'd feel if you were a God and only your brother Mike, was always being praised as Hosanna the Most High, when you know him to be a jerk, not listening to Mom, always picking his nose (except when non family are looking) and trying incessantly to look good in public (and in front of a mirror, no doubt).

Irritating, I'm sure.

So, I think, perhaps we should consider, well, maybe we're looking at this world in the wrong light, with the wrong filter. Or perhaps, God once told us the truth, then died. Or his phone went dead and its charging somewhere and some millennia from now, it will be recharged and he will call us again to explain the rest of what he was trying to say when the phone died and boy, will we be shocked.

My point here is that Religion seems to have subverted Human Rights at times. Too many times. Its allowed too many (EVEN if they ARE few) to subvert its original intent. It has held us back from our God Given Freedoms...to choose.

And if it hasn't, then those followers near to us have. If not physically, then mentally, or socially.

Why is it that someone who leaves a religion, is ostracized?
Not very religious. Is it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tips, and how they can fool you

When I was a young child in Tacoma, Washington, once or twice a month we could go for breakfast to a local restaurant called the Flying Boots Cafe. It was a twelve blocks north of our house and a block from what would eventually become my High School. When you entered the front door, there was a long curved counter leading you from the front door, either to the right where there is a door to the kind of sleazy bar area, or to the left along a wall of booths, drawing you back to the rear area full of tables. Each booth used to have those little individual machines where you could drop a coin and select music from a menu for the jukebox.

We loved this place. They had great breakfasts. It was the kind of place that had waitresses in little uniforms you might find in most 1950's greasy spoons. The neighborhood was a mini downtown area along three blocks in one direction down 38th street and nearly none in any other. Across the street was a Christian store that sold everything Christian, Catholic, or the like. This was two or three miles south from the actual downtown Tacoma area.

Imagine my surprise when, having not been there in years, I drove through one day with my son, to show him around my old childhood neighborhood, and the entire area was all Asian signage and language. I LOVE Asian things. I wouldn't have a problem with seeing that kind of thing in a lot more places. BUT, my childhood neighborhood, had disappeared. Worse, it was transformed into something, well, alien. No big deal, just, odd.

So, now in an entirely different way, imagine my surprise to discover, that the Flying Boots Cafe, is still there. The only change as far as I can tell, is now they have karaoke. But, I digress.

Back to when that neighborhood was all American. And I was a kid. My family would go there frequently for breakfasts on Sundays. My mom knew a couple of these waitresses by name and vice versa. We would all drag ourselves in there after church, order up a group O'food, and have a great relaxing time. If it was after church, my step-father wasn't there, but if it was a little later after we got home from church, then he might go with us. Sometimes, we'd get change to throw in the booth machines to play music. Great fun, pancakes, eggs, sausage, all of it. And the place was just fun to hang out at.

The waitresses treated us like family, even though we would make a bit of noise at times no one ever seemed to notice, it was a great, family kind of restaurant; even with the guys rolling early into the bar, before we even finished with breakfast (okay, to be fair, most of the time more like a brunch), notwithstanding.

When it was time to leave, we would get the tab, my mom would pay the bill, the waitress would take it and return the change. Mom would put the dollars in her purse and leave her change as a tip. Now I don't remember how much she left for a tip, but I assume it was reasonable and appropriate. Breakfasts were inexpensive, two or three dollars for a combo plate, so tips in change weren't unreasonable and my mom said she liked to get rid of her change, and the waitresses didn't mind, they are just happy for the money and can change the coin into bigger denominations because, they can always use chance in the cash register.

But these were things she told me in the years after these young childhood memories of breakfasts at the Flying Boots Cafe.

Skip forward. Since then, I had been in the military. I had earned a University degree, been married, divorced, and was fully an adult. One day, I was sitting at my parent's, and my mother and I were talking. The subject of the Flying Boots came up. We were talking about what it was like and how much fun we had there.

And then I mentioned it.

Back when I was a kid eating at that cafe, I always seemed to be the last to leave the table. I was always messing around with this or that and my mom's attention was free floating and trying to get us all up and off.

But I could never figure out why my mother left change on the table. All these coins. Just...sitting there. It seemed to me, such a waste. And messy. So, I didn't think anyone would care, and my mom didn't seem to want them, so....

I used to steal the tips my mother left for the waitresses. I had no concept that I was stealing, that this was payment for services rendered. I would just scoop up the coins and now I had some shiny coins. You could argue that I knew better, that I was trying not to be seen doing it, that I never told anyone afterward, but really, I just thought they weren't wanted anymore.

And that was what I told my mother that day at her home, some decades later. My mom's jaw dropped open, and a horrified look took over her face.

"So, you're telling me, those waitresses that I was always so friendly with, who gave us such good service week after week, for years, weren't getting their tips and they served us so well anyway? Oh my God." Then she gave a nervous laugh, seeing the sad humor in it. "God bless, them. They must have thought I was a cheap S.O.B. Or, maybe they thought we didn't have the money to leave a tip."

And the horror to her of THAT, of thinking that the waitresses believed we were poor, hit her hard. Now we really didn't have much, but we made due, though my step-father had to work two jobs, and I was the first to get a college degree in my family and I got that, by doing 4+ years in the Air Force. But my mother also saw that we gave our old clothes to a family that had too many kids and far less than we did. That almost got me beat up on several occasions, but but that, is another story altogether.

So, when did I quit taking the tips? What made me stop? Let's flash back to one day, way back when, we were leaving the cafe, still at the table and my mother turned back and looked at the table. She doesn't remember this now, but I do. She said, "Hey, where'd the tip go?" IT was a bunch of coins, spread out, hard to miss. I just looked up at her, being the last one to have been at the table, actually still partly on the chair.

I suspected there was something, awry.

"Who took the tip?" She looked at me. I wonder what the look on my face displayed at that moment? I can imagine, something like, "Oh boy, I did something wrong. Again."

She looked down at me and said the words: "Did you take the tip?"

I said, "I took some coins you left on the table. You didn't seem to want them, so I took them." She looked at me stunned. Then, she chuckled.

"Honey, those coins, you need to put them back. Those were left for the waitresses, its called a tip. The waitresses give us good service, and we pay for the food, but then we leave them a tip to show them that we appreciate how nice and helpful they were. If they don't do a good job, we don't leave a tip, or we give them a tip according to how good their service was."

I said, "Oh. I didn't know, I thought you just didn't want the coins." And I put them back on the table.

And I never did that again. No. Really. HONEST!

Back to the present and my mom having just realized that I had been taking those tips, for who knows how long before I learned my lesson of the tip.

"Well, Mom, uh, gotta go now. Thanks for the chat, take care, have a good day, see ya!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Is Music Sacrosanct? Apparently, not.

Recently, I've been looking at reacquiring music I once had before, mostly in the distant past. I have heard about remastering of albums over the years, thought, oh how cool. Because a lot of old music could have sounded better. I'm all for more texture, clarity, resonance where appropriate, etc.

So, I have picked up some of this music. In listening however, I was surprised and a little weird-ed out. Something, didn't sound right. Here is what I discovered.

The original albums I was looking to re-EXPERIENCE, in some cases, where not the same old albums. I wanted to hear and therefore click into those memories I had way back when, but when the album is not the same, then what? Now, maybe its just me, and maybe its because I used to be an audiophile (and videophile, so I'll use some video examples also here) but I used to know where every single pop, hiss and scratch on an album existed. So that when I hear a clean version now, I'm pleased (and slightly saddened, weird, huh?) that these are missing. Saddened, that its not the same recording I once owned, and happy, because it doesn't have those same defects.

We didn't love these defects, but after years of listening to them repeatedly, they become part of the soundscape. But, that notwithstanding....

It really annoys me when I acquire an album I used to have, that its no longer the SAME album I knew from back when. Finding that in some way, its now been changed, for whatever reason, good or otherwise.

Case in point, the David Byrne, Brian Eno collaboration, "My life in the Bush of Ghosts." I've had this tape since it came out, or round about that time period. So I get a new version. I find, something isn't the same. I research it. And I found out what was wrong. You can no longer get the original song on side two, track one, Quar'an.

Why? Because a single Muslim group in England, back when that came out, complained about their putting "Holy words" on the album, as it was singing a part of the Koran. As they didn't want to offend anyone, they pulled it.

You now can not find that song...anywhere.

Give me a break.

I have had a belief, strong, purist though it may be, that when an Artist produces a work of Art, it should be insoluble. Untainted, by commercial interests, or even by the Artists themselves. IF an artist wants to change an original work, they would need to update another product. Which has its own issues. If you can no longer find an original copy, the Artist has changed history. Bastardized their own works. Sometimes, this is brilliant, sometimes, its not.

I would argue for instance, the so called Director's cut of Amadeus, actually detracted from the original film. I hated it. Now, I have relaxed a bit and see it as two different films. I won't bore you with the incidentals.

Some albums, when remastered are excellent. Some, albums, however, they not only re-release, but they add songs, in some cases, replace songs. Now they Artist may have hated a song on there, but for the Fans, they may have loved it exactly as it was and subverting that original set up, is an ugly thing to those Fans, who loved and re listened over the years to that same work. Now, no longer their same loved piece of music.

Another example in the video world, is what George Lucas has done in his Star Wars franchise. I say, franchise and not film series as he has turned it into a commercial entity over that of an artistic entity.

What he has done, is both brilliant, and horrific, depending on the Fan you question on this. But this is fine. IF, both versions continue to be available.

Its like the God Father trilogy. Francis Ford Copolla recut it, to a chronological version. Now there are two versions (at least), one in the original form of the three movies, and another singular long version as one film, cut to have the entire story in order without flashbacks. Both, are gratifying to watch, but now, I wouldn't want to lose, either version.

We are left with a question. Is it OK for an Artist, or the works owner (a studio, corporation, individual, etc.) to be allowed to change a work of art, cinema or music?

I have argued for years, that when a movie is played on TV, that should not, by law, be allowed to be altered. It should by law, be required to show in its entirety, without cuts, alterations, voiceovers (to replace restricted language, etc.). Otherwise, it simply couldn't be shown on TV.

I also think it should be harder for an Artist, once they put their works into the public, that they cannot so easily change it. Again, it elevates it, makes it more than it is now. And we would all have to have more respect. We might have fewer artists (lower case A) who turn out crap. Because, once its out there its there. I thought that the Internet never let things die; but if they came about before the Internet, then its possible.

I've seen movies in the US that were butchered by networks in order to show at a lowered audience level so kids could see it, or to who more commercials. I also noticed that in many cases, these same films, showed in Great Britain, without any of those cuts.

Why the discrepancy? Did the British children get damaged? Are we just whimps?

So my argument for TV is, if you have to change it, you don't get to play it. I have not heard one good argument for showing a movie on TV (or music on the radio), that is a good reason for cutting or altering it. So, put it on, you show it as it is, or not at all. That, would elevate our Artist's works above mere product, above commercial only interest. Perhaps that explains our feelings about cutting Arts programs in the schools so quickly. We don't respect it.

IF Art doesn't make a buck, it sucks. Or, is it us who suck?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What, is Art. Who, is an Artist?

Have you ever wondered, "Just what in the Hell is Art?" Maybe after you saw some exhibit, or some new piece of Art installed somewhere. Maybe you didn't like it, maybe you did but didn't understand it. Maybe it is art and you are just ignorant. Or maybe its isn't art, and you are just observant. Have you ever wondered?

Well, I have. Try living with an Artist sometime. You won't have a choice except to wonder. That argument has to come up or they are not, simply put, an Artist. Its one of those facts of life.

I believe there are two schools of thought on what defines Art. One, is that the Artist, being its creator, is the only one capable of defining that the art they produced, is indeed, Art. Sounds pompous. Doesn't it?

The other, is that Art, is in the eye of the beholder. Sounds diffuse.

Wikipedia has this to say: "Traditionally, the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery. This conception changed during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as, 'a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science'. Generally, art is made with the intention of stimulating thoughts and emotions."

Using that definition, I can see that literally ANY thing, could be considered art; whether it be seen that way by you, the Artist, or by anyone else's definition.

But, do we really want that loose of a definition for it?

I have found that it helps when you don't understand something, to come up with a few terms to help break it down. Take any subject, say fear. First understand that there are different kinds of fear, and you beat it. Otherwise, it always appears overwhelming. So there is fear of courage, fear of panic, fear of imminent death, fear you will slip while free climbing a cliff, etc. So knowing, helps you to attenuate your responses and better understand what you are dealing with. Fear of slipping while free climbing, is sane a fear, it can keep you alive. But if you treat it as if it were fear of panic or imminent death, you are probably dead.

So to differentiate my considerations in talking about Art:
-Art vs. art
-Artiste vs Artist vs artist
-High Art vs low art
-Being high when you view art vs not being high (okay, just checking if you're paying attention)

Notice a pattern?

For myself, I refuse to accept that if an artist says its Art, that makes it Art. That is a concept, a theory. Making a theory into practice, can lead to this kind of confusion. Perhaps, this is one of those times. Perhaps.

Of course, Artists are nothing if not Idealistic by nature.

On the other hand, if a true Artist, or "Artiste", says its "Art", it probably is. However, if an artist, or maybe an Artist, says so, then its not necessarily so.

This is all a matter of Quality, really. Expertise, Genius, Craftsmanship (yeah yeah, its not sexist, let's just say that's in the Old World meaning of being highly perfectionist in one's craft).

Here is the problem I've found with just going with the flow of the Zeitgeist and saying that anything is Art. To give any Artist (yes, capital "A", see, I'm being nice and giving them the benefit of the doubt), has license to say that any thing they claim as Art IS Art, then they can get lazy, sloppy, or even lie. It really leaves us at a disadvantage. If I accept that anything an Artist claims to be Art is, then what if they claim something is Art, but they are actually lying and they don't really believe it? Then what?

Mother to my son and a long time ex-wife of mine, was a self professed "artist". She used to claim that anything was art. Drove me a little batty, but she WAS the "artist" so....

But then, she also professed a love of, "the Art of the Ugly" and acted funny that I'd never hard of that before (we both attended the same University). I lived my entire life in a striving for what was beautiful, lovely, perfect, or magical (a classically romantic definition I'll grant you, but still, it made sense to me for most my life up to that point).

To have someone say that Art could be or should be, something ugly, to find beauty in ugliness, was a real mind opener (bender) for me. And for that I do thank her.

Her friends used to glue all kinds of stuff to their cars (Barbie dolls, doll heads, junk, whatever but in some kind of order, usually) and then drive around town with mobile art. Now, it might be "cool" to do that, but that's not saying its Art. I caved on that for years, because I wanted to seem cool, or artist-like, but hey, I finally had to think about it one day and go, wait a minute!

Randomly gluing crap to something, is crafts.

Art, takes skill, thought, depth of levels of meaning, metaphor, expertise. It should be something beyond what just anyone can do; and by definition, I would argue, it should.

Much of what her and her friends did, they called art (okay just about everything). After all, she was an Art Major in college (five years of college, switching her major five times, yet never graduating with a four year degree (or a two year degree, for that matter); hmmm, that might indicate something there...).

Anyway, supposedly, she was an "artist". To be fair, she got into an Art Gallery. And a nice one. She was progressing, selling, gaining fans (or art appreciators) but then dropped it. The Gallery owner told me later, after we had divorced, that she really didn't understand, as people had liked her works. She was making a line of multi-color, cut glass jewelry as well as painting furniture in cool clever ways.

Not high Art, but Art. Okay, maybe crafts, but its debatable, you know?

This was the kind of stuff that prompted me to start differentiating between Artists like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, even Pollack, and current day college student "artists" (some not even with a degree, not that one's required, really).

So I learned to call what I consider to be an artist, an "Artiste" (Art Teest accent on the second syllable); and the others, I called simply "artists" (pronounced, "craftsmen", okay, craftspeople if you prefer, but that sounds kind of dumb).

My younger brother, is an Artiste. An incredible Artist, a certified Genius. My son's mother, as I mentioned, is an artist. Most of her friends (that I'd met) were also, artists. Much of what she did were actually craft works, making jewelery, masks, etc. But now at some point, I do believe they can or do turn INTO art. But consider that if we call anything and everything art, 1) it makes the real artists lazy, and 2) it devalues the hard work put into Art by Artistes.

That is sad. And that is unfair.

If I throw paint at a canvas and call it art, is that really as deserving of the name as the creations of incredible form and dimension, color and shading, that gives many levels of meaning, and done by one who studied for years to perfect the Art? Or that of an amazing work sculpted and presented with great and perhaps genius consideration to dimension, form, texture, light, presentation? Now, I'm not talking about Pollack's works either, I'm talking about ME throwing paint, which would in no way, be art. Only for the artistically challenged.

Art therefore, considers All aspects of its presentation. On the other hand, art, really does not. Does it.

From an Artist's (general term now covering all of them) point of view, calling
everything art, certainly gives them an easier go at it. Doesn't it? But from an Art lovers perspective, it devalues not only the monetary side of things, but the cultural side.

In recent times, Art has taken on a more contextual meaning over that of a true craftsmentality (using craft differently here, obviously). I don't know if this was because of the 1960's freer attitude toward everything, or not. And this had been coming that direction through the 1950s post WWII mentality. But I wouldn't take it back as far as to the Surrealists, because, if you've ever seen a Dali, its not something glued to the bonnet of a car. And getting completely off track, this concept of all kids in an event getting to win an award in a sport, or the concept of "all things are good", are really misconceptions. Sounds good, but only healthy in some ways, damaging in others.

I know this is a heated topic for many. But mostly for those who think more highly of themselves in an idealized concept of an artist (and you can figure out which usage I'm going for here), than they probably deserve.

So now we get into the realm of True Art, and that contextual, commercial, or pop type of art. And there may be others, I'm not an Art major. I just know when I look at something, if its art or not. I would argue that most "art" that I see, simply isn't "art". Yet people want to claim that anything titled as a piece of art is art.

Why?

Is THAT to be the definition then? Subjectivity? If someone simply claims its art, is it? Should it be? If another says the same thing isn't art, then is it, not? Perhaps and admittedly, this IS one of the great things about Art.

Its also a part of the Zeitgeist. And of course, what isn't art now, just might be, in 100 years. I'll grant you that, and I suppose we do need to be somewhat open minded.

So I guess, in the end, I find a difference between contextual art as metaphor and
icon; and traditional Art, as hard work, expertise, skill and craftsmanship
(and no, I'm not going to be politically correct there, now stop it, the word just sounds cool using the gender, "man", and I might add, as its intentionally used neutrally here).

So, have I really resolved anything here? Well, no, not really.

I have pointed out a difference in something, though. A difference between those who claim to be artists, and those who really have a miracle of an ability to create something far beyond the norm and into the unfathomable. And then there's those throwing some garbage together, and labeling it "art" and well, that just doesn't make it.

Quality. I believe, Quality may be the key element of concern here. Alas, what IS Quality?

Throwing something together, just to make someone "think", really isn't Art. That's a diorama. Art is that which is elevated beyond the craft, into a different (higher) level of existence, bringing with it many and varied meanings. And the only people that claim that is not true are the ones who do not have the skills to produce such art works. In order to make producing Art more accessible to the masses, they would devalue it to the point of having little meaning.

Comedian Phillis Diller, of all people had this to say about art: "...[in to that] go years of work, experience, and training, or all three. When it looks "easy," you're looking at art." I think she has something there. What you're looking at, obviously has to first BE art, first and foremost of course, with the caveat that if you can do that , AND make it look easy, then you are an Artist, or beyond that, an Artiste. Weird twist that, huh?

And now, we have to delve deeply into one final concept. That of the ending. Yes. That is really all I have to say about this topic. Though I think I've made my point clear. I thank you for this ride and opportunity to consider all this, and I hope you had a moment or two yourself. Of, consideration, a different thought, a new angle. I hope I've not offended anyone to the point of needing psychiatric help. And if I have, please, get it. No, really. Get it now.

I hope I may have sparked some interest in thinking about just what Art is, and who it is exactly, that is an Artist. Or an Artiste.

And so, I wish you well with that....

Tomorrow's Blog: Is Music Sacrosanct? Apparently, Not.

Monday, June 7, 2010

U.S. 'secret war' expands globally?

The Washington Post had a June 4, 2010 article titled: "U.S. 'secret war' expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role". It would seem that the Obama Administration is using more and more secret teams to go in and take out dangerous radical groups.

Is this bad?

I had been proposing this since 9/11. I brought this up again and again, at least to family and friends, back when we entered Iraq under the pretenses of having information leading to Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction and there being a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda; a contention I never bought, nor understood. Even when the Bush White House said they had intelligence indicating this to be true I didn't believe it. I thought, well I suppose its possible, but I found it hard to believe for obvious reasons. Why did Congress?

My contention then, as it is now, is that we should not send in mass amounts of troops. What we needed, were smaller, specialists hit squads. Yes, this sounds scary. Yes, these have been misused the world over by dictators, terrorists, War Lords, Crime bosses. But which makes more sense, sending in many American Troops to lose their lives on blanket, shotgun-like approaches to taking out the bad guys? Or sending in special small teams, with proper intelligence, to only mark and remove those individuals that would best server our goals and save the most lives?

You can argue all kinds of things about this. It could go over limits. How to do you control it? Are there moral or ethical implications? On and on.

But look at what we have now. How many have been killed on both sides? How many innocents? Wouldn't it have been better to send in the smaller teams, targeting specifics, than using bombs, war theater tactics, shooting missiles from afar and using drones? Even if specialist squads killed a few innocents (which I'm thoroughly against, but that's yet another topic), how many have we killed now, using our current tactics? I doubt we could even approach the current numbers.

This is not political assassination. This is targeting specific individuals or groups, to strategically and surgically, take out those who are actively supporting the killing of people out side the intent of their goals. My point in that statement is, when a group wants the US out of their country, killing US citizens, or their own, and typically innocent people, is out side the intent of their goals.

Terrorists justify their murderous actions because they are too small, too poor, too powerless, etc., and so they use larger than life actions to draw attention to their group, their goals or their issues in order to get their way, or bring popular or media attention to their cause to help achieve their goal(s).

But this has gotten out of hand. Frequently, their original goals change over time, or they lose track of their intention, or to maintaining their core beliefs and begin to rationalize. Since they do NOT have a centralized government to support and guide them, it is easy for them to lose their way. Yes, it can be easy for a state governed group to lose site of their origins; but far easier for those run by a small rag tag committee, or war lord, or a rich deluded ex national businessman.

Mostly these people are lost, missing something in their lives, and want to subvert process to attain goals through ANY means possible. That might be understandable. But it is just as understandable that someone would want to stop them. Which is just as reasonable and has just as much weight. Once a terrorist organization kills innocent people, they lose the right to be justified and righteous.

The same is true of a nation state. And they should be called to task by the world stage, the UN, and their allies. But for terrorists, they have none of this. And so they need to be put down like rabid dogs as swiftly as possible by any means possible, just as they do. But care needs to be used in not harming innocents.

Not harming innocents, is the core concern in all of this. For some Muslim extremists to say that the killing of some Muslim innocents is okay and they will receive their reward in Heaven, is ludicrous. And those terrorists will burn in a special Muslim Hell of their own making.

So, let's start bringing back the Troops, and go silent on these killings. Less talk, more action. Release the dogs of war. Let loose the Delta Force. Let's just see things get cleaned up. The terrorists should simply start to disappear in their sleep, wake up dead or gone, and no more attacks be done.

Those in charge of these teams, need to be conscious of the need to do right, to execute with need and justice, and avoid at nearly all costs, the loss of innocent life. Because once they start killing innocents, they are out on the same limb for which they are out there removing those rotted and diseased souls who have lost their way themselves.

Tomorrow's Blog: What is Art? Who is an Artist?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Big Gov? Or, Appropriate Gov?

Should we have big government?

That is the bone of contention between the Republicans and Democrats.

So, should we?

I could say, No. But that would be an easy answer to a stupid question. What we should have, is "appropriate" government. It should always have been this way. I find it pretty annoying when people get the wrong question, because that fundamentally screws up the entire process of discussion.

Big government, for the people, isn't good. Small government involvement in people's day to day, PERSONAL lives, is good.

But is the world so solvent that one government is good for All? What about, Big Government being there to stand up to say, oh, I don't know..."Big Oil"?

Do I want the government in my daily life? Hell, No.

If I want to smoke a joint (spliff, bong, pipe), a cigar, or a CIGARETTE, for God's sake, that's MY business. I want the government to mind its OWN business. Its really NOT anyone else's business. If there is crime behind it? Remove it, remove the desires, the actual need for crime, legalize it.

If I want to commit suicide, for a good reason, because I'm in pain, at the end of my life, and want to leave before it gets any worse, or drags on any longer, THAT, my friend, is MY BUSINESS. Not the government's. As for Doctors? They have been big pussies about this issue for like, for EVER. They need to stand up FOR it. They took an oath to end suffering, not perpetuate it, to do no harm. Killing someone, sometimes, is not doing harm. Its the Humane thing to do! Can it be abused? Yes, should it be made available nonetheless? Yes.

So, Big Government is proved to be bad, in people's day to day life, in those ways.

But, when it comes to long term, big issues outside our daily proximate lives, that is what the Government IS for. To Be our Big Brother. Not in the 1984 George Orwell way, but in the original way. To protect, care for, guide, sustain. I WANT big Government to go kick some ass on the Big Oil bullies. To make the good decisions. What the Hell happened to that?!

Sometimes, we need a good shock. Sometimes, a brother has to even break the rules (beat up the bully on the block, which protects the little brother, and the other kids in the neighborhood). If he gets caught, he gets in trouble, but done properly, the bully is too scared to speak up. No one gets into trouble. Is the big brother in danger of becoming a bully? Yes. But is doing it wrong when its right? No.

Like I taught my kids. Sometimes, in life, you will find, you do what is right, and you get punished for it. Life, isn't fair. And we've become unAmericans. Out of fear for our jobs. We are too concerned about our welfare. Is that wrong? No. But, if you take a job that is there to protect others as your expense, well? If you are Secret Service, you may die protecting your protectorate. Part and parcel of the job. If you're found to be lacking in your job, you no longer do that job. Fired. Out of that industry, career, job field.

People shrink back from that. Its called, Responsibility. Public Service. We shouldn't break the law and yes, that is bad for a government, it sets bad precedents. But in reality, sometimes it is necessary. But in the right orientation. We shouldn't pass laws about it, but people in those positions, should do what is right.

Jack Bauer, as president? Perhaps not, but maybe a little. Jack is wrong in his execution at times but his goal is correct. His intent is. What's the difference? Its that in the end, he gets the job done. He skirts around the issues, he's even wrong at times, but in the end, everyone is happy. Except, the bad guys. At times, he's even suffered for doing what no one wants to be exposed doing, in order to correct wrongs.

I am just too tired of hearing about people in positions of power, protecting their jobs, rather than their constituents. WE the People, are their most important guide for them, not their job, career, not their next election. Something, is wrong there. Something is broken. We have issues of lobbies, cronyism, such things perpetuated by long term and old boy networks. These can be good, but they have also long term, proven to be a problem.

Am I offering suggestions here? No, admittedly, not really. But just to talk about it, think about it, complain, make it known, does something. Thinking about it, and saying nothing, does nothing.

Tell someone. I'm not even asking for you to do something, because most of you won't; but if Everyone talks about it, grassroots change begins. Its not so much our laws, our government, our people in office, that are the problem.

Its a mindset, a culture of foolishness, sometimes even stupidity. Greed.

Its putting up with the bullies in the world: North Korea, Israel, screwed up countries run by religion, lame dictators, idiots whose only genius is getting into and staying in, power, Big corporations, big oil, people and governments who think they are untouchable.

Remember. No one is untouchable. Not from the righteous. Righteous, that has gotten a bad name because, like Islamic terrorists, some few have hijacked the main for the masses. And that is wrong, but that is media, isn't it. Its not actuality; its perceived reality.

Where does this leave us? For those who say stop complaining, who say, shut up or do something, I say to them, No, YOU shut up.

Because if everyone complains, Even IF no one does anything BUT complain, then something... WILL...Happen.

Tomorrow's Blog: U.S. "Secret War" Expands Globally?