Holiday Hiatus Happiness

For starters, I hope everyone had a lovely few days off of food and drink, fun, family, and friends.  I had a quiet few days, and a few days where I got away from everything by deliberately cutting myself off from the news and almost all television.  I only watched ESPN, football games, Star Trek and Doctor Who DVDs…LOTS of Doctor Who DVDs.  Not only have I turned my 11 year old daughter into a rabid and fire breathing fan of the New York Football Giants, she is as fanatical when it comes to everyone’s favorite Time Lord; and seeing as the complete Fourth Series DVDs (of the re-booted franchise that began in 2003; the show just celebrated a total of 45 years on the air in one form or another) came the last Wednesday…we’ve been doing quite a bit of time traveling.  I planned to put the blog on hiatus anyway, and I’m glad I did.  Given everything going on in India I would have been driven even madder than I was when I first heard the reports.

The break seems to have done me wonders.  Our kitchen is still under construction, but is inching closer to completion; and I’m not as impatient as I was a week ago (now if we start heading into screwing up my Christmas, then “pissed” will be an understatement).  I sat back and pulled myself away from the Mac (where I do a lot of listening to music; besides having a killer sound system, I’m on-line or writing something usually most of the day) and listened to some music on my Main Stereo where I was able to enjoy the recent Genesis 1970-1975 Box Set that has all the Peter Gabriel era material in stunning 5.1 mixes.  I spent more time with my kids, and actually spent time playing with our cats as well!  I enjoyed a birthday party for my youngest daughter’s friend.  All because I did one simple thing…

I chose to let life go on outside the own part of my life that I could control without worrying about the crisis in India, the next political appointment, and the state of the world.  All I cared about was my own little part of the world, and I think I need to do this more often.  I haven’t had any panic attacks since Wednesday.  I have yet to pop a Xanax in 5 days.  The indisputable truth of the matter that I’ve learned in the past few days is one very simple fact:

Life will kill you if you let it.

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination” – John Lennon

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I had originally intended to make this a short post, and I’ll be brief because I really don’t know what to say.

How can human beings continue to perpetuate violence and destruction on each other…all in the name of an entity that does or does not exist, depending on your view?  This world and our place in it is tangible, and real, and can be as wonderful as we choose to make it to be; or we can choose destruction.  That is the simple choice presented to us.

I refuse to get caught up in the politics of this horrible situation in India until I know more about what is going on.  I just know I have a REALLY bad feeling on the pit of my stomach right now; all I can see are the same looks on the faces of those Indians that were on New Yorkers’ faces seven years ago.  Let’s just try and stay positive and hope that nothing further happens anywhere in the world or this situation doesn’t blow up into a full scale war.

Be thankful that you are home safe wherever you are.  Be thankful that you have peace.  Be thankful that we still have a choice to be better than we have shown we are capable of being in the past.

“I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” – Mark Twain

DEPENDING ON THE SITUATION, I MAY VERY WELL BLOG THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND EVEN THOUGH MY ORIGINAL PLAN WAS TO TAKE SOME TIME OFF.  IF NO POSTS APPEAR OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS…THAT’S A GOOD THING. NORMAL POSTING WILL DEFINITELY RESUME ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 1ST 2008.

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE THANKSGIVING.

The New Economics 101

OK, I admit this: I am an unabashed social liberal.  I believe in Universal Health Care and Government Sponsored Education up to and including the Bachelor’s level.  While some may say this is an inconsistent position, I am both anti-death penalty (except for Crimes Against Humanity) and Pro-Choice; and I strongly believe in the right of workers to form unions.  I also adhere to certain Libertarian principles of social order, such as the government staying the hell out of my bedroom and the rest of my personal life, this is also consistent with my position on the right of individuals to have a relationship called a marriage regardless of sexual orientation.   I also strongly support the Second Amendment (I’ll do another post later on down the road as to why I do).  I am also a great believer in balanced budgets at every level of Government and low taxes (or preferably NO taxes, but that too is for another post down the line).  It’s bad enough my political views are both on the left and the right, but the one thing I could always count on was the rules of Economics being relatively consistent.

I honestly don’t know what to believe anymore, because it seems that everything I learned in Eco 101 in college has been thrown out the window.  The baby has been thrown out the window along with the water, the bathtub, and the plumbing fixtures…hell, the tiles and the medicine cabinet as well.  We have monolithic Financial Institutions failing, the Auto Industry is under siege, and we are in a transition of Governments where the incoming Administration is powerless to do anything while the current Administration refuses to do something.  The peaceful transition of government has not been in this much peril since Hoover left Roosevelt a nice plate of steaming dung and told him to make a wonderful meal out of it.

Over the past two days, President Elect Obama has rolled out his Economic Team; and they look like they’ll do a fine job for several reasons.  One, a lot of them are young (like the Treasury Secretary Designate, Obama, and me…all 47); two, a lot of them have a great deal of experience…which counts for something.  I know how Wall Street thinks being a Vice President at JP Morgan Chase many moons ago, and Wall Street likes trust and familiarity.  The current Economic Team Designates are all familiar in one way or another to the Street, and that’s a good thing.  Despite calls for radical financial reform and a new cast of characters, what you are getting is a cast of characters that is new to their positions and reform that will build slowly over time.  The very Liberal among you need to understand these last few points, because the Market has responded accordingly; the best two-day rally since 1987 happened this past Friday and Monday.  I want change as much as the next guy, but sometimes you need to take smaller steps to get there and when it comes to financial change, you need to walk on eggshells.

The last drastic reform of an Economy happened in 1917 with the Russian Revolution…and we all know how that turned out.

“Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political and economic change.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Thing That Will Not Die!

Does she not get the hint?  Well, there HAS been no hint, and that’s been the problem.

For the past three months since that ghastly Thing called Sarah Palin was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, we have had to endure things we never expected to in our lives.  First came the daughter who was pregnant out of wedlock hiding her future kid while holding the future uncle of said kid in front of her in order to mask her bulge.  Then there was the so-called First Dude of Alaska, he of snow machining fame and full-time shadow Governor.  Then came the revelations of her being able to hunt, and skin, and do whatever it is you do with a moose in order to put it into your crock pot for chili.  Then we got even more insight into her view of animals because she just loves to hunt wolves from helicopters.  We can go on: the Wasilla Hillbilly shopping sprees (still the best description I ever heard; thank you anonymous McCain Campaign source);  going “rogue” during the campaign (which pretty much killed McCain’s chances); the disastrous interviews (even Sean Hannity couldn’t save her from herself, although she fared better there); the crazy religious zealotry…it was all there.  The coup de grace came on Election Night when she wanted to give a concession speech of her own.  Uh, hello lady!  The VP Candidate NEVER gives their own concession speech; certainly comments about it the next morning in whatever newspaper she happens read but can’t name, but NEVER on their own on a night that belongs to the victor and the vanquished.  And just like Barry Goldwater’s running mate, should have dropped off the face of the planet forever, or even taken a cue from Dan Quayle who vanished for about a year or so (Murphy Brown was canceled by then) then briefly resurfaced.  It should have been over and done with on November 5th.  Hell, even Tina Fey took a break!

But no…like “Plan 9 From Outer Space”,  the movie so bad it’s good (and considered to be the worst movie ever made)…it became “The Thing That Will Not Die!”, a real-life movie so horrific and so terrible; it’s makes “Plan 9” seem like “Citizen Kane” in comparison.  Ever since we all thought it was safe to come out of our homes, The Thing went home to Alaska and started talking up the media about her experiences on the campaign trail in those famous phrases, you know, the ones that make absolutely no sense…but seem to make it on the nightly news regardless and give Conservative Men wet spots in their BVDs in the process.  She downplayed any talk of someone going through her closets for GOP-owned duds, and of course a Senate run (should Ted The Felon have won his Senate seat and gotten kicked out by the same guys that gave him a standing O the other day if there was a Special Election held for his seat.)

Oops!  Looks like we got foiled on that little front there Governor Moosebrain!  So what does The Thing do?  She decides to pardon a turkey the other day, and in a scene that could only have been scripted by Monty Python or SNL, starts talking more about her rapidly tanking political career with the turkey farm as a backdrop…while they were decapitating the birds behind her.  I was both mortified and laughing hysterically at the same time.  She was using phrases like “on the chopping block” when asked about the State Budget cuts for God’s sake while the death rattles of a recently departed fowl took place behind her.  I am just awaiting this evening’s SNL to see what they plan on doing with this little faux pas…it should be a doozie.

So what happens next?  What will this pathetic Thing that passes as a human being do next, and will the media continue to cover this clueless and vile creature, making her The Thing That Will Not Die?  Only the people of Alaska know for sure,  and I am hoping that the next Gubernatorial Election they put themselves, and us out of our collective misery!

“A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.” – Groucho Marx

I Thought There Was Something Different…

OK, so we’ve had our first face-lift for Intersections…and I think it’s a nice change of pace.

A few readers requested a larger font size, and although I couldn’t accommodate in the way I wanted (well, to be honest…it would cost me extra as a Word Press upgrade…but I have two kids, you know?) but it’s still larger than the old scheme.  I also changed the background color to have a nice black/white contrast with a little buff and orange thrown in for good measure.  Another nice feature that won’t have you reaching for your bi-focals is that all posts are now the same size as opposed to the lead post being legible, and previous posts looking like the fine print of a credit card application.  If you don’t currently use bi-focals, just wait a few years…you will.  You’ll know it’s time when you start reading the newspaper at arms’ length.

As far as everything else goes:

NEW POSTS will continue on an almost-daily basis (hey, sometimes I run out of ideas or get caught up in this little fatherhood gig I’ve had going for the past 11 years) and will be posted after 7PM Eastern Standard Time (-5 GMT).  COMMENTS will remain unedited and unmoderated, unless we get a plethora of Trolls that have suddenly decided that standing guard by their usual bridges is a bit boring.  CLICK ON THE TITLE OF A POST to see that post and all comments beneath it and/or make a comment  yourself.  USE THE ARCHIVE CALENDAR to search for a particular post from whenever, and FEEL FREE TO VISIT THE LINKS I HAVE POSTED.  The mainstream media I watch is up there as well as some other wonderful blogs and websites I visit daily.  They are nice people…they don’t bite, trust me.

So that’s my bit of housekeeping and instructions on how to play nice in the Intersections sandbox.  As always, feel free to e-mail me at ark3blog@me.com with any comments or suggestions you have and want to take “off line”.

Thanks for reading for the past few months!  A new post tomorrow…promise!  I leave you with a quote from the great Theologian Paul Tillich (not that someone who I have not even thought about or read since college, but happened to be brought up in a conversation about music, of all things, on another site):

“I have come to bring faith to the doubtful. And I have come to bring doubt to the faithful.” – Paul Tillich

I Just Need A Small Bailout: A Letter To My Favorite Uncle

Dear President Bush, Senator Reid, and Speaker Pelosi:

As an American taxpayer who has faithfully paid his creditors on a timely basis and has never had a late mortgage payment in ten years, I am requesting a total of $200,000 to pay the balance of my mortgage and my home equity loan.

I have survived the September 11th Attacks on the World Trade Center, and as a result, have been declared mentally disabled due to Acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  My wife is a Registered Nurse who works a scheduled 36 hour week in 3 -12 hour shifts.  She never leaves the hospital on time, because Federal Budget cuts have required the State of New Jersey to also scale back it’s funding.  As a result, many hospitals have been forced to close their doors, and hospitals are severely overcrowded.  This forces my wife to work an average of two to three hours longer than her scheduled shift each day she works.  As a result, she has less time to spend with her family, which you cannot put a price tag on.

The funding I am requesting will alleviate our monthly budget expenses greatly, thus enabling us to save for our children’s college education; which we cannot do now because we are also being taxed to death.  If the State of New Jersey could tax your every breath the would; they almost taxed toilet paper about 15 years ago…and that cost a Governor his job.

I am also requesting an annual amount of $8,000 for my property taxes for the next 20 years.  The total expenditure is $360,000.

My reasons for requesting this amount are simple: my wife and I have played by the rules, and done the right things for all of our married lives.  We even kept the economy moving by purchasing consumer goods that kept other people in their jobs, just like President Bush asked us to do shortly after 9/11.

I would also like to be compensated in some small way for the loss of my mental capabilities due to your ineptitude at protecting the American People from a terrorist attack that never should have happened in the first place.  I would also like to have some of my taxpayer money back from that war in Iraq that was supposed to pay for itself by the sale of oil from that country’s Government.  They are currently running a large surplus at this time, and I’m sure that given the fact we freed them from a tyrannical dictatorship, they wouldn’t mind helping me out because of their eternal gratitude for the Freedom we provided them thanks to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces; over 4,000 of whom have sadly died.

I would also like this compensation because you have yet to catch those parties responsible for the reprehensible attack on American soil.  I find it quite amazing that our Intelligence Services and technology can’t locate a 7 foot Arab dragging a dialysis machine behind him through rocky terrain.  I think I am asking for a small amount relative to all that I have been through in the past seven years, and despite that; managing to pay all my bills and taxes on time.

You may feel free to credit the amount of $360,000 as a direct deposit to my checking account.

Sincerely,

An American Citizen Who Did The Right Thing.

A Kitchen And A Senator That Both Need To Be Finished

OK, I did manage to get some positive news out of this day: my oldest daughter Kate made Honor Roll yet again; her lowest grade was a “B” and her highest was an “A+”.  Youngest daughter Grace did fantastic as well receiving “Very Good” or ” Outstanding” in her grades (they have no letter grade assignments until 5th Grade).  Of course, both of them need improvement in their handwriting ability (they take after me…I’ll admit that freely), and my youngest needs to be less “Social” (as her teacher put it).  In other words, she likes to talk…and talk…and talk…  Guess who she gets that from?  You win the grand prize if you guessed me.  OK, good news over…storm clouds on the horizon.

The kitchen is looking good, it really is.  The painting is done, the cabinets are in; but the floor, the appliances (which arrived yesterday), and the tile back splashes are awaiting the counter top.  Right now, they estimate a week and a half, which puts it after Thanksgiving.  We were hoping to have a nice quiet day home (my wife took off), but we have no choice but to go out to dinner.  The place where we’re going is a restaurant in a huge old Victorian Mansion with sprawling grounds.  They usually use the place for weddings, but they have a restaurant that will be having a buffet on Thanksgiving.  Our seating is scheduled for 4:30 PM.  On a positive note, this is the very same place where my wife and I had our wedding reception 15 years ago, and the food really is outstanding.  My kids have never been there before, and it will be interesting to “return to the scene of the crime” (so to speak) with our offspring.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, our favorite turkey, Senator Judas Leiberman retained his gavel and his Chairmanships as most of the Democratic caucus chickened out.  (Yes, WAY too thick on the metaphor and puns there…but I just couldn’t resist.  Plus it made such a nice segue, too!)  They should have held him accountable for his blatant betrayal of the Caucus and the way he back stabbed President-Elect Obama.  I know I said this the other day, but it bears repeating: this is behavior that has now been deemed permissible in Washington.  This means that any member of any Caucus can most likely choose to go against their Caucus, campaign for The Other Guy (and take down your own Party’s guy in the most severe way possible), it it won’t have any repercussions.

I know the President Elect is all for putting aside differences, getting rid of partisan politics, and working together to help get this country back on track.  I’m all for that, but what Joe The Dumber did was unforgivable in my book and it opens a VERY dangerous door.

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” – Winston Churchill

To Soothe The Savage Beast

The other day, I wrote a bit about my aunt and how she turned me on to much of the music I listen to today.  Music is, for me, one of the most important things in my life.  I am constantly listening to it, or playing it, or reading about it, or shopping for it, and even writing about it.  My tastes are extremely eclectic, and as I like to joke run the gamut from Bach to Zappa.  For as long as I can remember, music has been a very big part of my life.  I sat down at a piano one time when I was 5 and started playing, and I have ever since.  I’ve never taken any formal lessons, I can’t read a note of music, and I play entirely by ear.  I know how to make chords, and can tell you what key something is in…but put a score in front of me and it’s like me trying to read Hebrew.  I have three synthesizers in my office now, with two computer programs that create sounds, keyboards, drums, guitars, bass, orchestras, and will even write sheet music of anything I happen to compose (and I do a fair amount of that).  A couple of years ago I started flailing about on a small electronic drum kit I bought for my birthday, and while I’m not Bill Bruford or Max Roach, I can keep a fine beat…in 9/8.  Let me play “Larks Tongues In Aspic Part Two” by King Crimson, and I’ll have no problem with all the intricacies of that composition.  Ask me to play “Love Me Do” by the Beatles or anything else in 4/4 and I’m a mass of syncopated confusion.  I have a pretty good voice too…and I know my limitations and never stray out of my range.  There would be dead cats for miles around if I did.

While I enjoy playing and composing my own material (very electronic Tangerine Dream type stuff), my real pleasure is in listening to professional musicians do it on record or in person.  My parents used to have quite a collection of music, so I grew up on a lot of wild stuff (The Beatles, Santana, Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass, Brazil 66, Blood Sweat and Tears, Neil Diamond…name it).  I would up falling in love with Doo-Wop and 60’s Pop on my own, through whatever I heard on the radio.  One day, I was over my aunt’s apartment, and she pulled out an album from The Moody Blues called, “A Question Of Balance”.  Within the first minute, I experienced something I never had before: music touching my soul like it never had in all of my then 13 years on the planet.

Thus began my love affair with The Moody Blues, which somehow led me to Emerson Lake and Palmer which somehow led me to Yes and King Crimson, which somehow led me to Genesis…and as Progressive Rock was dying a slow death (around 1980), I would up getting turned on to Miles Davis during an LSD trip and from that moment on, the world of Jazz opened up to me.  To this day, my favorite musician EVER was Miles Davis; I even named a cat I had Miles (he was jet black, had a total attitude, was incredibly smart, and LOVED music…especially his namesake and Frank Sinatra.  Particularly Sinatra).   Music is, for me, as essential as air is to breathe.  It is a very part of who and what I am.  It has gotten me through a lot of different phases in my life: I cannot think about the first real love of my life without hearing “Love The One You’re With” by Stephen Stills, or about my wife every time I hear “More Than Words” by Extreme.  I can’t think of the aftermath of 9/11 if I hear “Buying New Soul” by Porcupine Tree or the hope and release from pain of that day any time I play “In The Presence Of” by Yes.

I was a DJ on my college radio station, and later became Program Director and finally General Manager (one of these days, I’ll have to post a few stories about those experiences; they are hilarious and insightful as well).  I’ve interviewed my share of rock and jazz musicians while I was there, and partied with quite a number of them too.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite composers, Philip Glass, during intermission at a Broadway Play while I was getting a drink at the bar.  I sat on the side of the stage and handed Jorma Kaukonen (ex-Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna guitarist) his Heineken if he needed one after I did an interview with him at my first college radio station, and got to hang out with him as well.  Not only that, 2 years after I had transferred schools and my then roommate was chairman of the Concert Committee mentioned we had met…he actually REMEMBERED me.  And of course, I got to hang out with him again after that particular show.  He was definitely the nicest rock musician I met and hung out with…Ray Davies from the Kinks was the nastiest.

I’ve been at Progressive Rock Festivals and met a few of the known (keyboardist Erik Norlander of The Rocket Scientists…one of my heroes), and the unknown musicians as well.  I’ve chatted on line with a few (Billy Sherwood, ex-Yes and currently of Circa; a Yes offshoot band that also features Tony Kaye; and Tom Brislin who did a short stint as Yes keyboardist as well as leader of his own band Spiriling.  Both of these guys are really nice and fan friendly as well.)  The most common thing we all understand as human beings is MUSIC.

Music transcends politics, religious discord, languages…music is the unspoken truth that moves the soul.  It is the one element of Humanity that is gloriously universal.  It moves the soul in a way that needs no other being present, yet when you share the experience of a concert or of listening to the same album with someone, that beauty is indescribable.  Go to a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and you won’t see a dry eye in the house.  Imagine, music about the joy of life and the glory of mankind…written by a man who was going completely deaf at the time of its composition.  THAT is what music will do for people…the urge to create, to express their inner soul…not by words that could be misconstrued…but by notes that cannot.

My oldest daughter is taking guitar lessons now, and she’s pretty good.  My youngest wants to take drum lessons, and she just needs to grow a bit more so she can reach the kit, and we’ll start her on those.  It’s ironic though: both their parents know how to play keyboards (my wife took lessons and can read music), yet they choose instruments their parents can’t help them with.  (We can at least have a family jam session though).

My kids better choose their Foreign Language better than their musical instrument choices.  They need to pick either French (which I speak fluently), or Italian and Latin (which my wife knows and understands).  God help them if they take Spanish, though: the only things my wife and I know how to say are “Merry Christmas”, “Where’s The Bathroom?”, and “Two Beers Please!”

“Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence” – Robert Fripp

Keep Your Freinds Close…

Oh boy.  President Elect Obama has been looking through not only a lot of Lincoln, but he’s probably on his 25th reading of “The Prince” by Machiavelli.  The guy is no shrinking violet, that’s for sure.  He’s been quietly making some interesting moves ever since the election, and like a good chess player, he’s setting his opponents up for failure and they don’t even know it.

Let’s look at his first two important decisions: the VP pick of Joe Biden and the Chief of Staff position of Rahm Emmanuel.  He’s pretty much surrounded himself with one very straight shooter in Biden who is not afraid to speak his mind, and a pit-bull with a clear focus on pushing through the Obama agenda in Emmanuel.  This pretty much leaves two “bad cops” to Obama’s “good cop”; a formidable set of doors to walk through even before you get to the future President.  He also has two guys who know how to work either the House (Emmanuel) or the Senate (Biden) for legislative arm-twisting and back room dealing.  A brilliant start, if you ask me.

The mostly-leak proof Obama Campaign has moved into Transition Phase very nicely, although there have been some questionable leaks coming from the team in recent days.  I refuse to believe that an organization that was that disciplined and controlled for 21 months would suddenly start springing leaks like the Titanic.  I can only conclude that there are more trial balloons going up that are starting to clutter the political skies than the Battle Of Britain.  NOTHING is by chance in Obamaland.  It is a well reasoned, deliberate, and thought out political machine, very much in the mold of the man at the helm.  So, while some of the recent announcement/leaks regarding closing Gitmo, repealing Bush Administration policies and the like may have appeared careless at worst and a trial balloon at best…I am convinced those were designed to get the Press caught off guard and away from issues that were really being tacked in that Chicago office building…like a visit from a former political rival, one Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Ever so quietly, Senator Clinton went to Chicago on “personal business” yesterday.  Quite frankly, I’d call being offered the job of Secretary of State “personal business”, wouldn’t you?  No doubt, she is immensly qualified for the position, and this is one time where former experience as a First Lady REALLY does matter.  She also has numerous trips overseas made on her own as Senator; and she sits on the Foreign Relations Committee.  The sight of a very strong-willed woman at the bargaining table with some Arab leaders is just too much of a priceless image to pass up.  Granted, Secretary of State Rice is a woman…but she’s a débutante…and she sure as hell ain’t no Hillary.  All any Foreign Head of State has to do is ask Bill. He’ll just tell them to make sure they duck around flying lamps.

Speaking of Bill…he may be the one thing stopping her from taking the job.  From what I’ve been reading, the job application for a position in the Obama Administration is rather invasive and even asks whether or not you prefer boxers or briefs, Count Chocula or Frankenberry, and Ginger or Maryann?  Well, I believe Bill answered that he prefers briefs on an MTV interview in 1992, I’m sure he would take both Ginger AND Maryann, and he seems like a Count Chocula kind of guy.  Unfortunately, The Clinton Foundation would then come under very intense scrutiny…and that might be more than Excedrin Headache Number 236 for the Obama Administration.  It might be a bit interesting if the Secretary of State of The United States is visiting a country where hubby does business or wants to do business.

For Obama, this is very much a win-win all the way around.  If he’s offered her the job and declines, at least her offered it to the most qualified person out there (which I believe she and Bill Richardson are right now) and was a very nice payback to HRC for helping in the campaign.  If she accepts, there is less of a risk of being second-guessed by a political rival in The Senate should things not be going to well in the coming years.  It also keeps her very close in his orbit, and almost guarantees her loyalty.  It could also be an extensive launching pad for her should Obama win a Second Term and she decides to take the plunge again in 2016.  This is nothing but a BRILLIANT move on Obama’s part; it couldn’t have been scripted better by The Master himself.

More moves are coming.  Obama is supposed to have a sit down with McCain (and his trusty boy wonder, Lindsay Graham as well as Rahmbo for Team Obama) on Monday.  The way things are going, he might just offer McCain Secretary of Defense…and you know, that’s not such a bad idea.  Obama wouldn’t get a “yes” man (which he appears to not want to have around him), he’s eminently qualified, it would make McCain achieve a higher status than either his father or grandfather ever did, and it would heal a lot of wounds from the campaign.  This White House is starting to resemble Lincoln’s with each passing day, and that’s a damned good thing.  Perhaps we can all sit down as Americans for once to get things done for this country and the world without having to resort to the usual political rancor.

I did read one interesting thing that Obama is asking of his cabinet members: to sign a loyalty oath…to the Chicago White Sox.

“A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Joe The Dumber

OK…what would you do?

A guy who you considered a mentor and friend when you came into The Senate deserts you, after you helped campaign for him in  not only a tough primary, but in an election when he ran as an Independent against a dyed in the wool officially sanctioned Democrat.  He supported your opponent in the Presidential Race, spoken against you at not only the Republican National Convention, but in front of every TV camera he could find afterward.  He called you naive,  unready for the Presidency, and possibly a Socialist.  He campaigned with that God-awful thing that was the GOP VP Candidate and sat silent as her usual Bund stump speech elicited the usual racist cries.  He even stumped for down ticket Republicans.  Now you won and you are the President-Elect.

I know what I would do: politically castrate the son of a bitch.  Strip of him of his committees and power, and let him defect to the other side while he wanders the halls of the Senate wondering what the hell he is going to do for the next four years.  A bit harsh?  I think I’m far too lenient…hell, I thought Reconstruction after the Civil War was FAR too lenient!  This is something close to the heart of many Democrats, Liberals, and anyone with a propensity toward protecting their Party’s integrity would do as well.  He would be chum in the water for the donkeys bearing the teeth of Great Whites circling the condemned.  Dead Senator walking!  But this is just me.

Our President Elect has other ideas and is a much more forgiving man than I.  He has signaled to Harry Reid he wants Joseph “Judas” Lieberman to remain in the Democratic caucus.  While I disagree with Obama, I think he’s got a plan for Joe The Dumber.  Our esteemed President-Elect has already said he’s been reading a lot of Lincoln.  And Machiavelli.  He is incredibly smart politically.  I cannot see anything beyond the madness, but there must be a method (keep your friends close and your enemies closer) there.  He can only suggest this to Harry Reid though.

There are still 98 other Senators who need to weigh in, and like I said before; a significant number of them are just circling Joe The Dumber and waiting to extract revenge. I honestly hope they teach this guy a political lesson that will be remembered the next time someone decides to cross party lines in the manner in which Judas Lieberman did.   I can’t say whether or not this will happen, but I’m one of those guys who has a personal hero in General William Tecumseh Sherman; because I have always felt strongly about one thing…

Sherman was right.

“War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.” – General William Tecumseh Sherman

A Simple Proposition

The Civil Rights Movement Of The 21st Century is underway.  It began with the approval by the voters of California of Proposition 8, adding language to the State Constitution banning Gay marriage.  In a year where we elected the nation’s first African-American President, I find it disconcerting that we as a nation still have a blind spot when it comes to the area of sexual orientation between consenting adults.  It’s also ironic that this Proposition came from arguably the most liberal State in the Union; a State which has a large gay and lesbian demographic and for years had been at the forefront of civil rights for these citizens.  In an era in which we all could be proud that one area of our collective American past has been overcome, we still have another important issue of equality among our citizens to address, and that is the issue of Gay Marriage and Civil Rights.

I’m very much a heterosexual, and for as long as I can remember I have always been attracted to the opposite sex…going back as far as Kindergarten, when I had my first crush on a girl named Erin.  A little young?  Perhaps, but I never struggled with my sexual identity unlike many others in this country (and throughout the world) have.  I cannot even imagine what that is like, but to finally be able to accept who and what you are and how you feel about yourself and another human being for the first time in your life must be an incredibly freeing moment.  It may also produce a moment of sheer terror knowing that because of your own personal sexual orientation, you will potentially be ostracized by friends and family.  Moreover, you will most certainly be looked upon as unacceptable in certain quarters of society and not have the full rights of other citizens…such as the right to marriage, joint tax filings, health care benefits, and hospital visitation rights.

I have some personal stakes here.  My aunt was gay.  Although no one said anything (this was the Irish-Catholic side of my family) about it, it was just not to be discussed openly and even produced denial from at least one of my other aunts, and I think my Dad was a bit hostile to the notion as well.  My aunt lived with another woman for a number of years who was referred to as her “friend” by the more unenlightened relatives.  An entire charade had to be displayed at holiday gatherings at my aunt’s large apartment; her partner would leave the apartment for a few hours until all the guests arrived, and then she would come in as if she came from somewhere else to spend the holiday with us.  Her partner was a perfectly wonderful woman, and even got everyone gifts at Christmastime, most especially the younger cousins or their children.  The fact that this happened was a damned shame, because in some respect I think that is what my aunt felt for a long time, partly because of her Catholicism, but partially because of the unwillingness of some of the family to accept the situation.  This is why she NEVER came out…not even to me, one of the most liberal and open minded of her nephews.

I loved my aunt dearly.  She was an enthusiastic NY Yankees, Giants, Knicks, and Ranger fan.  She loved the WNBA most especially, and would go to see the NY Liberty often.  The woman was a font of sports information, and watching a game with her was just a joyous experience.  She also was an avid music lover, and much of what I listen to now (progressive rock) was started with her turning me on to The Moody Blues.  She also got me into Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Jefferson Airplane, Chicago, and Santana and so many others.  She absolutely loved music; most especially the group Bread.  That’s where her and I parted company (I always found them to be way too saccharine for my tastes)…but boy, did she have an album collection.  The first time I ever listened to music over headphones was over her apartment…and this was before I got stoned for the first time!

She passed away at a young age (not even 60) a number of years ago from a congenital heart ailment that runs on that side of my family (thankfully my brother and I do not have it, nor do my children).  After she passed away, she left a number of mutual funds and life insurance policies in her partner’s name.  Although that relationship had ended, they were together for a number of years and my aunt maintained those policies in her partner’s name FOR A REASON: she loved her, and wanted to make sure that what little money my aunt had, in addition to going to her siblings and nieces and nephews, would go to her old partner.  This was not good enough for my aunt (who is somewhat well off after winning a good chunk of money in the NY Lottery) who challenged the validity of the beneficiary status on those policies.  She won.  It wasn’t about the money, she said…and it probably wasn’t; it was all about sticking it to someone who represented a lifestyle she disagreed with, and since she could never do that to my aunt, this was the next best thing.

More personal ties: a good friend of mine from college came out a few years ago, and has been living with her partner for 15 years now, the same number of years my wife and I have been married.  They own a home together, and have a life together.  My wife and I knew gay couples, and we’ve gone out with them for dinner on a number of occasions.  I always love going to a restaurant where they never expect to see a heterosexual and homosexual couple at dinner together; it usually produced some hilarity from our table, particularly if the Server is taken off guard and is uncomfortable with the situation.  I never think anything about it if someone mentions to me that they are gay.  To me, it’s just the way it is.  I tend to accept people the way they are anyway (unless they are unkind to me or others), so why would someone being gay be any different?

More importantly, what business is it of GOVERNMENT to DICTATE just WHO a person LOVES and can choose to have a relationship with?  It’s not the government’s business if my wife and I choose to engage in activities that could be considered “kinky” (and I’m not answering that question for you either!) and we’re straight…so why is it OK for government to prohibit LOVE between TWO CONSENTING ADULTS who just so happen to be of the same sex?  Government can’t even run itself, it’s going to tell me or someone else how to run their own lives?  WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?  WHY CAN’T PEOPLE JUST ACCEPT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING FOR WHAT THEY ARE RATHER THAN WHAT THEY WANT THEM TO BE MOLDED IN TO?

Spontaneous demonstrations against Prop 8 have originated from California every single day since last Tuesday, with more springing up all over the country as well.  This is not going to go away; and the Religious Right and the intolerant secularists among us need to understand this.  This is not going to go away any more than Rosa Parks taking a seat on a bus did; or a march on Selma did; or a march on the Washington Mall did.  This is not going to go away because PEOPLE CANNOT CHANGE THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION, any more than they can change the color of their skin (Michael Jackson being the sole exception).  There is still the right of free association IN PRIVATE, whether you are gay or straight.  I’m certain many gays choose not to associate with heterosexuals in the same way many heterosexuals choose not to associate with homosexuals.  BUT DO NOT DENY ANYONE THEIR RIGHT TO EXIST AND HAVE THE RIGHTS AFFORDED EVERY OTHER CITIZEN IN THIS COUNTRY.  No one individual, institution and most especially THE GOVERNMENT has the right to do this.  It’s amazing that the large movement that was at the forefront of Prop 8 and fronted a lot of the money for 527’s for it was The Mormon Church…you know, the same folks who brought you polygamy as a lifestyle.  The same folks who were run clear across the country and persecuted because of their beliefs.  It’s amazing what just a few short years of social acceptability can do to your outlook on other groups seeking the same thing you once sought.

How about this story: What would you say about a man with a wonderful message of brotherhood?  He was poor and traveled among the people with a message of hope and love.  He also traveled around and LIVED with 12 MEN.  So I have an important question for you: what if Jesus was gay?  Would that change his message and who he was?  Would that change how millions of people believed or what YOU believed about who he was?  Would that suddenly make it OK for someone to be gay tomorrow if we found out Jesus was gay today?  Would that somehow make everything more acceptable, or would all of Christianity suddenly become one gay cult movement?  Likewise, what if Jesus was indeed married to Mary Magdeline and had children (as is alleged in some circles)…would that make his message any different either?

What would Jesus do?  What would Jesus do indeed.

I usually close with a quote, but today I am placing that in the more than capable hands of Keith Olbermann.  Last night, he gave a moving and incredibly beautiful Special Comment on this topic.  He said it better than I did or ever could.  Please take a few moments and watch Keith’s message.

Thanks.

I May Have Found My First Troll!

Ah…the perils of blogging.

When I first established this blog, I did so because I wanted to express my views on not only politics, but the state of Humanity as well.  I also wanted to get some other pieces written dealing with parenting, home ownership, family life, music…a whole list of things ASIDE from politics.  Although the topics have been for the most part political in nature over the past few months, they by nature HAD to be given the importance of this past Presidential Election.  Needless to say, there will still be political posts in the future.  I sure as hell don’t expect everyone to agree with what I have to say, and that’s why there is an OPEN AND UNMODERATED COMMENTS section.

Why open and unmoderated?  Well, I am a great believer in freedom of speech and the right to state one’s opinion without being edited by a site administrator or moderator (except of course if the comments were socially unacceptable e.g. rascist or slanderous in nature just to name two.).  I am also a great believer in an intelligent discussion of ideas and an exchange of opinions in a civil manner.  This usually entails a willingness on the part of the individuals involved to have a DIALOG…something akin to more than just a few short words about a topic.  I received three comments from a new reader today that are not intelligent, nor are they an exchange of ideas, nor are they anything resembling a dialog.

Look, I don’t expect a doctoral dissertation in a comment.  I DO expect more than just a few words (which are kind of the written equivalent of a hit-and-run in my opinion).  I’d like to think that since I put thought into my work, that comments and replies on this site reflect that same kind of commitment.  Talking points don’t cut it with me…never have and never will…so please, save those for the Fox News Channel.  I can only assume that short one-sentence comments are those representative of a Troll.  In my “About This Site” page, I explained that Trolls will be dealt with in a unique fashion, and since I loath not to keep my promises, I shall now reveal the award winning comments to you of the winner of my first Troll Award:

  • Comment on “Election 2008 Word Association”: “‘Senile? Republicans’ Wow. how open-minded of you” [sic]
  • Comments on “Hope For The Republic”: “‘and the death of Communism as we knew it.’  it shall be reborn under obama” and “sorry communism wont be reborn socialism will be brought upon america destroying the entire capitalist foundation of the US” [sic]

CONGRATULATIONS TO READER “YEP” FOR BECOMING THE VERY FIRST TROLL ON “INTERSECTIONS IN REAL TIME”!

I said it would be unique way of bringing Trolls to light, and there it is.  “Yep” has now been brought to the attention of everyone, and any comments from this individual should be regarded as those of a Troll unless he/she proves otherwise.  The easy way would be for me to delete their comments, but I won’t do that; it’s a matter of principle.  I can, however, give them enough rope with which to hang themselves.  If anyone disagrees with me on a post I’ve written, please feel free to let me know about it…several readers have already.  Their comments were well reasoned and thought out and contributed to a discussion.  Other readers responded to those comments and created a little something called DIALOG.  That is being civil.  “Yep” was a hit and run attack…period.

So, I’ll continue to opine and you may feel free to leave a comment or not.  Please just be intelligent in your remarks, back up your arguments, and let the debate begin.  If you can’t do that, please feel free to say nothing and move on to the next blog where you can troll away.

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” – Ray Bradbury


The Kitchen Chronicles

For the past ten days, my house has looked like a pre-Marshall Plan Berlin.  No, wait…Berlin looked better.  We’re in the process of undergoing major reconstruction of our kitchen, and it’s completely turned the usual lunatic asylum on its head and sent it spinning into the next week…or two…or three…or whenever this thing is finally done.

My wife and I bought this house ten years ago.  It’s a ranch-style home built in 1950 in a suburban development that was designed for Veterans of WW II to get first shot at home ownership after that war (very similar to the very famous- or infamous- Levittowns in New York and Pennsylvania).  We’re the 4th or 5th owners of the home (no one is really sure, and I haven’t had the chance to go take a good look at the town hall records), and it’s been “home improved” several times by any or all of the previous owners, all in various states of quality and ineptitude.  Let me clear something up: in addition to me not being Joe The Plumber, I am also not Bob The Builder or Thomas The Electrician.  The only things I am great at assembling are scale plastic models of airplanes and spacecraft (a hobby), computers, and home theater systems.  Give me a bunch of components, a flashlight, some wire clippers and wire strippers and I’m in my element.  I’ll set up your home theater or computer so good it’ll prepare your morning coffee for you.  Computers and components are my friends; power tools and plywood are not.  This is why I call a contractor.  This is why you are SUPPOSED to call a contractor.  You see, I KNOW my limitations; other homeowners, do not.  Unfortunately, the previous owners of my home fell into the latter category.

You know you are in trouble when a contractor comes to your home and says the following: “I’ve never seen THIS before!”.  That has been our home improvement contractor mantra for our replacement windows, doors, roof, garage, bathroom, and now our kitchen.  When it came to money, the guy before us spared no expense…on contractors.  At all.  He was tighter than a clam’s ass.  We found TOILET PAPER used for insulation in a door frame; a bunch of nails walled-in in the kitchen contained in an old Chinese Take Out container; 3 layers of roof shingles in spots, two and one layer on others (Code says a maximum of 2); and my personal favorite…a lamp cord hot wired into a light socket…the same light socket where I had a surge protector plugged into it for my Mac, speakers, printer, and three synthesizers.  The only way I found out about the latter was when our clothes dryer caught on fire last year (thank God there was smoke damage only and no injuries) and I had to have all the outlets in the basement (where we have the office, laundry room, and home theater/den) checked.  It’s nice knowing that close to $3,000 worth of electronics were relying on the safety of a lamp cord to function in addition to the safety of the entire electrical system of the house.  I can only conclude that the Home Improvement Manual this guy was using was originally created in Japanese and translated into English written in Cyrillic.  Oh, did I mention that he used to work for the Federal Government?

Our latest project comes on the heels of us fixing our main bathroom.  We knew it was time to fix the bathroom when I could see what my wife was putting into the washer while taking a dump.  We knew it was time to get replacement windows a year after we moved in because we were able to fly kites in our living room.  The kitchen was due (it was ALWAYS due) because it was just too damned small.  If you threw some spare change on the counter, it would take up half the room.  So, we knocked out a wall; sealed up a doorway so we can recess the refrigerator into the doorway alcove; and added an additional 12 cabinets to our previous 8 and more counter space.  We also went for the jugular when it came to appliances: stainless steel EVERYTHING, and a built-in dishwasher as opposed to the portable one we used to schlep across the kitchen to the sink.  It’s going to be beautiful, and it’s supposed to be finished in about another 10 days or so.  In the meantime though, our living situation is pure hell.

Our three cats have been sequestered in the basement.  Their litter boxes were down here anyway; now, they get to spend more time watching the 51″ Sony Widescreen TV and 7.1 Home Theater system.  They’ve kind of settled in now, but I know they’re just itching to see what’s going on upstairs.  I feel a bit like Otto Preminger in “Stalag 17” at times: “No von escapes from ze basement!” every time they try and get “wire happy”.  I can’t help but thinking that one of these days one of them is going to be bouncing a ball against the wall like a feline Steve McQueen.  As for the rest of us, we have no stove and no kitchen sink.  That means paper plates and plastic utensils and frozen dinners…LOTS of frozen dinners.  I’m going to name my next kid (or cat) Swanson if this keeps up any longer.  I mean, there are only so many types of things you can eat this way.  Of course, there’s take out and going out to eat (which we did to celebrate Obama’s victory on Thursday Night).  I had a REAL 18 ounce boneless NY Strip Steak with a baked potato and a cup of beef barley soup, washed down with a delightful non-alcoholic amber beer.

This week the painting gets done, as well as the tile for the back splash, flooring, and the cabinet installation.  The counters and appliances are next…and then SANITY once again.  This Thanksgiving I think we’ll really have a few things to be thankful for, and I don’t think I’ll mind one damned bit cooking the usual banquet.  The real banquet…not the kind you set “time-10-start” for.  My cats will finally get their usual spots on the beds or couches back, and then they’ll try and get used to the new kitchen.  My wife and I will have one pressing problem though:

How the hell to we fill up 20 cabinets?

“Anyone that’s ever had their kitchen done over knows that it never gets done as soon as you wish it would.” – Ronald Reagan

Grace And Redemption

I’m still overcome by my emotions over the past three days, but the one thing that I noticed that isn’t there anymore is the sense of anxiousness and uncertainty that has plagued me for the past several months.   As my oldest daughter Kate asked me the day after the Election, “Does this mean I’m getting my Daddy back?”   I’m finally at peace with myself and now I really can hope again…hope for a much better future for my children than I had ever since either of them were born, but most especially for my youngest who was born August 12, 2001.  In many ways, she’s been deprived of a lot of the love I should have been giving her over these past eight years due to my Mental Illnesses and Alcoholism.  I’ve been sober for two and a half years, but being without booze in your system isn’t necessarily being sober.  Sobriety is a state of mind as well as being, and in many ways I still have a lot of issues that need to be addressed in order to be a complete peace with myself.  I thought I was tackling these, but I realize now that perhaps I wasn’t doing all I could to REALLY do that.

I was a regular attendee of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings up until about six months ago, when my back finally gave out on me and I now have yet another ailment to add to the ever growing list that comes with age.  A lot of the medication I was taking (both narcotic and non-narcotic) prevented me from driving because of the effects that were sometime worse than being drunk.  (When these guys say don’t operate heavy machinery, they are NOT kidding!)  I was starting to veer away from AA’s philosophy though anyway.  The main focus of AA is using God as a means of staying sober, and while there is a claim to being non-denominational, I find it to be rather contradictory when you close every meeting with The Lord’s Prayer.  I realized that the same reasons why I had issues with the Catholic Church were becoming the same issues that I was having with AA…so I made the decision that it was no longer the path I needed to go down to aid in my sobriety.  What I did find out was that WRITING was, and that’s why I post here almost daily and continue to write my book.  Plus, the coffee is MUCH better!

Don’t get me wrong. AA is absolutely fine for some folks, but for me…at least for right now…I’m finding that this approach is working much better for me.  I can take out my anger or frustration on the page rather than someone else.  My beliefs about The Universe (which is what I choose to call that which is most certainly greater than myself) and religion can remain uncompromised and I can at least live with myself by not dealing with the whole only God can save my sorry ass concept.  I believe that whatever that which is God, or The Universe or whatever is within each of us anyway, so if I help myself in a manner in which I see fit, I guess it is like God helping my sorry ass anyway, isn’t it?

In some ways that was kind of confirmed when I started this blog on September 10th of this year.  I had been actively involved in posting on other blogs and websites about the election, most especially The Mudflats Blog and Mudflats Forum, particularly after Sarah Palin’s announcement as McCain’s VP choice.  (He’s probably screaming, “DO OVER!  DO OVER!” from Arizona as I type).  There was a veritable army of folks who found a previously obscure Blog about Alaskan Politics by sheer happenstance (as I did on the day of Palin’s announcement) and found that the inside information that was being posted not only scooped the Mainstream Media by at least a week, it was ACCURATE is hell.  Moreover, many of us came from all over the political map (Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarians, Socialists…name it) came together in common purpose because we loved our country and we knew that it was going down the toilet…and God help us all if McCain and Palin won.  The sites gave me impetus to finally start up a blog AGAIN (I had two previous attempts without success as I was still drinking), and this time I hoped it would work out.

Well, it sure as hell did…much better than I ever dreamed.  I get a lot out of posting, and from the comments here and off the record e-mails I receive, so do you.  None of this would have happened though if I didn’t by chance come across a quote from the Greek writer Aeschylus.  I found it while searching for a quote from Bobby Kennedy to end one of the first posts I had written; ironically on September 11th.  RFK read it at Martin’s funeral service in 1968; it was a poignant quote meant to state that although people may not have understood why Martin was taken from us, that the reason would be clear in time.  It said:

“And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

I sat there stunned and absolutely FLOORED at what I had read.  On that day of all days, suddenly and quite unexpectedly, the scales were lifted from my eyes, and much like Saul on the road to Damascus, I was struck blind with one perfect moment of absolute enlightenment.  I broke down, tears flowing freely and the weight and burden of my guilt of surviving September 11th was lifted from me.  I understood WHY I was spared, why I had to go through all the pain of the past seven years, why certain parts of my life that were previously enigmas to me suddenly made perfect sense. I had suddenly been granted the blessings of forgiveness by being able to forgive myself for surviving, for putting my family through pure hell because of my drinking, for being much less of a human being than I am capable of being. In some sort of cosmic coincidence, my youngest is named Grace…but there are NEVER coincidences when it comes to The Universe, are there?  The Universe had suddenly given me the Grace, Redemption, PURPOSE and a DIRECTION that I always knew in my heart is what I was meant to do, but now I am suddenly CALLED to do…and that is write and document about what is coming.

This election was only the beginning.  There are more changes coming, and I have absolutely no idea what they are and how they will affect us…but I do know one thing: that we are on the threshold of greatness, a change greater than anything any body politic could offer through legislation.  A change greater than any Church or Temple or Ashram could offer.  A change that is only available through individual consciousness being raised collectively to form a greater good that will make Mankind achieve greatness.  It has eluded us over the centuries, but we stand here like children looking up at the stars and raising our arms to touch the heavens.  All of this is possible, but only if we change the way we perceive our world and ourselves.  We often seek Grace and Redemption from a Higher Power, and although we may ask, often that does not come.  We need to ask for Grace, Redemption, and Forgiveness from something else before we ask for it from The Universe…

Ourselves.

“Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.” – Anonymous

The Closed Circle- Prologue

“I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.” – Martin Luther King

And so it begins.

Last night when the final results came in and declared Barack Obama the 44th President of The United States, I cried my eyes out and laughed at the same time.  It was an extremely emotional and cathartic moment for me, because all I could do was think of what I had seen in my youth; all the violence and hate, the war without end, the deaths of great men…all of it somehow made sense.  All of the past seemed to lead to this moment, and for years we as a nation may not have seen that it would, or understood that the tragedies of the part would somehow lead to hope for the future…all of the past suddenly seemed to jump into a massive prologue to the present in a way much different than we ever could have imagined.  The Dream had come full circle, and with it the perspective of tragedy and the weight of injustice lifted from our collective shoulders.

We…all of us: white, black, brown, Asian, Gentile, Jew, man, woman, straight, gay…we did indeed overcome.  We did see our brothers get to The Mountaintop, with many of us with them on their journey as we climbed that mountain with them…and when we reached the summit, we did so TOGETHER.  All you had to do was look at the sea of faces in Grant Park in Chicago last night…THAT is what America is all about!  That from out of many indeed come one: one Nation, one people, one hope…the last best hope of Earth.  We have reignited the torch that had been dimmed over the past eight nightmarish years.

It began with the first slaves brought to Jamestown in 1619, continued throughout British Rule, and eventually carried over into the birth of the United States and beyond until 1861 when we waged war upon ourselves.  Freedom was given to the slave, but equal rights would not be forthcoming until the Civil Rights Act of 1964…and then we still had a great racial divide.  Throughout all of this, the circle was being drawn…and last night we reached its completion.

We have become the Closed Circle, and nothing in this country or on this Earth will ever be the same again.  Last night began the New Age of Mankind; the first stirrings of The Great Awakening have begun to resonate across out land and upon the waters.  We as a people, have overcome…and just imagine the bright future that is ahead for all of us if we do not squander this moment in history to begin anew.

The triumph of Humanity and the realization of our potential is upon us…let nothing stand in our way.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro