Speed Karma

“I am thoroughly convinced that I am paying off karma at a vastly accelerated rate.” – Cdr Susan Ivonova from “Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczinski, writer

Ok, here’s where my life takes one of its absolutely incredible twists and turns; where the roller coaster goes flying off the rails or where the thing that could never possibly happen in a million years does.  And it happens to YOU.  Come to think of it, stuff like this always seemed to happen to me throughout my life anyway.  Perfect example: Back in 1980, I wanted to see one of my favorite musicians, Bill Bruford, and his jazz fusion group that were playing at the late lamented Bottom Line in Greenwich Village.  I had planned on going to either the early or late show…no difference to me; and I was walking with my then girlfriend from the subway toward the nightclub just about a two block walk from the subway station.  As we exit the stairwell, the guy in a mad dash zips past us on roller blades, almost knocking my girlfriend to the ground (the is was era of girls wearing pumps for everything and every outfit; so she almost broke her neck tripping.  Caught her just in time).  Being a Staten Island guy at the time (yeah, I grew up there but I was born and raised for 5 years in Brooklyn..so that’s my hometown, not that horrid place), I shouted some choice epithets in his general direction, made sure Caroline was OK, and we continued on our way.  One go no less than one more block and this guys cuts us off again, and I’m ready to take his head off at this point because he was dangerously Blading through the streets on what was a beautiful and unusually cool August day.  Again, i hurled some choice words his way, and he disappears.

A few minutes later we get to the Box Office, and as we get there, I see Rollerboy jetting off into the distance (probably having bought tickets for Tom Petty or The Village People).  I nicely ask the gentleman for two tickets to see Bruford that evening, either show will do fine.  I was then informed that Rollerboy had just bought out the last 8 tickets for BOTH shows.  With no show to go to, we then spent the better part of the afternoon drinking and the better part of the evening engaged in more pleasurable pursuits (you can do this when you’re 19).  But what were the odds of that happening?  A guy on rollerblades beating me out for the last tickets to the show I wanted to see…and while Bruford was popular among jazz-rock and progressive rock aficionados, it wasn’t the hot ticket that night.  I mean, beat me out on foot…beat me out running to the box office…but beat me on the way there on ROLLERBLADES?  That could only happen to me.

Same thing twenty one years later when I was caught in the WTC during the 9/11 attacks.  Then this past week, the East Coast gets hit with an EARTHQUAKE.  A fucking earthquake!  5.8 Richter that had people in California laughing at us because they have those for breakfast every morning.  Oh, and this happened just shortly before my consult with my cardiologist…nice timing, huh?  And now comes the piece de resistance: the hurricane of this young century and one of the worst ever seen in over 100 years heading our way.  So let’s do the math together: Earthquake, hurricane, and the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 all happening with a couple of weeks of each other.  I’m always a bit of a basket case this time of year anyway because of the 9/11 remembrances.  And of course this year will be bigger than all of them.

Can you say “xanax”?  Sure you can…I like the way you say “xanax” (Could you imagine Mister Rogers saying that?  Oh, that would be hilarious).  This only goes to prove that it’s 3 am, I’m delirious, nervous, and am getting ready for a lot of unpleasant things I have to do tomorrow.  I just thought a bit of humor before I eventually have to go silent because we will most assuredly lose power (and that should be even more fun!) might put a smile on someone’s face in the crosshairs of this monster called Irene.  So I guess I am going to be joined as one with the universe faster than I anticipated, because of all the crazy things that are happening to me lately.  But all I keep asking myself is what the hell did I do in a former life to deserve this?  Most especially, this hurricane called Irene…

She should be called Irony.

“Goodnight, Irene…Irene Goodnight!” – popular song from the Dark Ages, LOL.


The Ceiling Collapsed…And The Sky IS Falling

Months ago, I predicted that the Republicans would be so hell-bent on destroying the Presidency of Barack Obama, they would use the Debt Ceiling as a weapon in taking America hostage.  I knew with this group that call themselves Republicans (but are the furthest thing from what I grew up with as the Republican Party imaginable), they would not hesitate on putting the needs of the Party ahead of the needs of the country.  From the moment he was sworn in (late, and with a botched oath no less), the President has been the target of Republicans.  They swore to get him out of office in any manner possible, and if that meant taking this nation to the brink of financial disaster to add one more notch on the belt to do that then they would.  The same Party that has brought you one terrorist attack that was allowed to happen, two unnecessary wars, two tax cuts that were unsustainable as well as a new portion of Medicare that was also unsustainable was now going to suddenly become fiscally responsible by using a tool to drive home their social agenda (that otherwise would never have passed Congress) that is never questioned: the Debt Ceiling.  Under normal circumstances, the debt ceiling is a “gimmie” in Congress; usually one or two lines are quickly written in the House, rubber stamped by the Senate and sent to the President who signs it faster than a speeding bullet.  This time, the issue was used as a reference point for showing the established political players that a minority in their Party would now be controlling the entire process (despite even some of their own backers urging them not to) by threatening default.  In addition, this would also take the focus away from what the Administration has been trying to accomplish, namely creating jobs; thus, allowing yet another opportunity to take down President Obama go un-wasted.

If you’re wondering where the jobs are, ask the Congress who ran on the platform of providing them; instead, they are simply hell bent on destroying a Presidency.  Ask the President, who allowed the Republican Party to frame EVERY SINGLE DEBATE during his tenure in the White House.  If you’re wondering why we’re not having better economic results, ask these same people.  You see, it’s not about putting the country first.  It’s not about putting the unemployed, sick, elderly, and hard working Americans first.  It’s about maintaining the status quo when it comes to keeping their own jobs and trying to get this President out of his.  The Congress recently had an 82% DISAPPROVAL RATING by the American People…that is astounding, and something that I never thought I’d ever see.  (Only 14% approved; the remainder wondered what planet they were on).  After taking us to the brink for their own gain, we are now faced with what will most certainly be called “Black Monday” after the US Treasury Bonds were downgraded to AA+ from AAA by S&P.  You can pretty much expect the Market to tank tomorrow…and we’ll get an idea of just how bad in a few hours when the Asian Markets open, but most assuredly millions of 401Ks will be taking a huge hit.  There is going to be blood on Wall Street, because large chunks of the sky will be falling; the Republicans not only got what they wanted in the debt deal, the are going to further sink this Presidency by using the downgrading plus any subsequent bloodletting of the Markets against him.  And the worst part is that this President will let them.  He has gotten himself and this country backed into a corner by his ineffectual leadership and willingness to “play nice” instead of taking a stand and be as intransigent as the Republicans are.  One columnist compared it to hoping he plants a flag somewhere…anywhere…and raises it.  Instead, he plants a flag raises it, and then lowers it to half staff.

I am a Liberal, closer to being a Socialist more than anything, but I have some Libertarian leanings too.  I believe in a strong and sound fiscal policy; one where you should have the vision to put forth bold new proposals and the guts to say that you can’t afford it if you cannot; or scale it back so that you can.  I campaigned for this President, I voted for this President, but I honestly believe that this cannot possibly be the same man that I voted into office.  The man I voted into office was bold and thoughtful; and it was refreshing to have a smart guy at 1600 instead of a dolt that chokes on his pretzels.  The man I voted into office was someone who could have done great things, but he allowed himself to get sidetracked by the Republicans and have the arguments framed by them instead of he and his staff.  He capitulated this past week in the most alarming fashion, as he could have simply used the 14th Amendment and told the Republicans to take a hike.  Then we wouldn’t have had John Boehner saying he got 98% of what he wanted, nor would we have had a downgrade in or credit rating.  We could have avoided what is coming over the next few days, if only he had the vision and the boldness to execute the 14th Amendment.  His predecessor used to tear apart the Constitution all the time, he should have taken this moment to use it to his advantage.

Instead, he planted a flag of surrender.

“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong , but to those who see it coming and jump aside.– Hunter S. Thompson

Eat Your Broccoli And Shut Up…

The only thing I can think of that I ever liked about George HW Bush was that the vegetable broccoli was not served for the four years he was in the white House.  He never liked it as a kid, and as and adult, and he said when he first became President he’d be damned if he’d be eating any broccoli at White House State Dinners.  So for four blessed years, that horrible ugly stalk that smells and tastes worse than anything I can possibly imagine (even conjure up in fiction), was banned from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  I always liked that story.  Hillary may have banned smoking, thus making leaders of the greatest nations on the earth go outside for a smoke; Dubya had a fondness for non-alcoholic brew (as I do); and Obama continued the smoking ban…although I definitely think he kicks back in the Oval Office and puts his feet up on the desk and lights up a Marlboro.  He probably went through a carton over the weekend…but he basically also told his caucus “Eat your broccoli!” when he forced that travesty of a budget deal down the throats of the American People.  Make no mistake, this is no great victory for anyone; at best it’s Pyrrhic for the Republicans because every major economist believes that it will destroy the economy further because we cannot spend our way out of a Recession.  One that was in fact created by THEM.  And guess who might get the most blame for this.  At worst, it greases the skids for a Republican President in another four years, because there are a lot of Progressives who do not like to be told to a) fall in line; and b) eat their broccoli.  And there is of course the new Boehner Precident that was set: we will keep taking political hostages until you give us what we want.

This President has been an abject failure in the leadership department ever since the Medical Insurance debacle.  First off, he tried to not take the Clinton approach which was to get involved in everything; he took the complete opposite approach of complete delegation to his folks on Capitol Hill.  That’s like telling 2000 alcoholics that there is a great tavern they now own.  Some will not indulge, but I guarantee you that most will…and they will continue to do so until someone puts an end to it.  He let the Dems and Republicans run free to come up with ideas, to sit down like adults in a room, work out and compromise on a deal.  Silly Rabbit, Tricks are for kids…and the GOP.  That whole month of August where the Representatives and Senators went home to their Districts and held town meetings, all there was at first was confusion about the plans on the table.  I mean, it was clearly defined by Max Baucus himself, I mean…how could it not be any clearer what was being proposed (and if you believe that there is some beachfront property in North Dakota I’d like to sell you). And while Emperor Max fiddled about, Washington lobbyists were busy burning up the phone lines and the airwaves… controlling and framing the debate so that it eventually wound up being the “let’s unplug grandma and watch her croak” ordered by the evil “Death Panels” that were lurking in every state waiting to be unleashed at the slightest sign that you might not recover from that bad cold and ship you off to a FEMA Constructed refugee camp somewhere.  Oh, the Right had a field day with that one but it was the very lynchpin that served this nation notice that this man that we put in the White House was not doing what he was supposed to do: LEAD.  He could have delegated and inserted himself into the argument as warranted, but always stating what HE WANTED to get in the end. Clearly, he never did any sales in his life because when you negotiate, you ask for AT LEAST what you want, and a VERY SMART NEGOTIATOR asks for WAY more than they want and eventually settles for what they always wanted in the end, or as John Boehner now has it…98% of what he wanted on the debt ceiling deal.  Remember now, this was the very first time he failed miserably; because the debate had now been framed by the GOP, the Insurance and Pharmaceutical companies.   There was no Public Option, because he would have gotten that if he INSISTED on a national program like Medicare for all.  Oh and what a coincidence!  One of the proverbial alcoholics unleashed in that mythical bar was Senator Max Baucus, the recipient of more money from Health Insurance companies and Big Pharma than any other Senator.  In the end, we had a law with no teeth; was expensive, and still screwed the Americans like I who have pre-existing conditions, because they really couldn’t be forced to take me on their books for a few years…although I can go into a “high risk” pool.  A swimming pool with no water is high risk, and that’s what he expected people to just dive into.  So far, not many takers.

With that little disaster behind us, I said to myself that this was a lesson he learned the hard way and he’ll never repeat it again.  Oh boy, was I wrong…and I’ve just noticed that there are no other vegetable choices on the menu except for broccoli.

This “crisis” was completely manufactured by the GOP to get people’s minds off the real issue that they have been so miserable at: JOBS.  Where are the Jobs, Mister Speaker?  Where are those great, living wage jobs (the ones not on paper; the ones with someone with a body temperature of around 98.6F are attached to).  Oh, no jobs…well, it’s because…well…we’re spending too much money!  Yeah, that’s it!  We need money to spend to create jobs, or rather we have to make sure that the rich people who “create” them have the money to do so!  And we have to balance our books, that’s another reason why our economy is so bad, and…and…and…

You get the idea.  The Debt Ceiling limit being raised is usually a simple matter.  This is something that is usually a one liner on a piece of paper pushed through Congress at light speed and sent to the President who signs it fast.  It’s authorizing the US to PAY THE BILLS IT ALREADY OWES MONEY ON.  It’s not allowing us to spend more, it’s allowing us to pay what we spent…but once again, the argument was framed differently.  The Republicans controlled that argument, beat it into us senseless for months, knowing full well that this weak, ineffectual President would capitulate in the end.  Which is exactly what he did AFTER they made it seem like the sky was falling.  This same Congress that allowed Ronald Reagan to raise it 17 times and Dubya 8 times.  Many of these same guys voted for one or both of these increases under these guys.  Boehner took the US Economy, seniors, the disabled, and kids hostage and used them to get his budget cuts.  And our fearless leader DID NOTHING to get something in RETURN.  There was the 14th Amendment that he could have used (and would have according to VP Biden if all else failed) as leverage in getting his taxes on the wealthy.  Nope.  He could have used 14 as leverage for closing loopholes.  Nope.  Instead, he let Boehner get 98% of what he was looking for, and a Super Congress (which I can guarantee you will be declared unconstitutional) that will decide the fate of the debit ceiling next time around, because rather than one or two economic terrorists, we will have 12.  And they will decide what get cut with EVERYTHING on the table…including the broccoli.

There was still a chance that it could have failed today, and Obama would have been forced to use 14 to make sure default didn’t happen…and none of that steaming Republican cooked broccoli would be law right now.  And what this has proven is now the President and this Nation can indeed be taken hostage again….by ANY POLITICAL PARTY IN THE MINORITY.  THAT IS NOT THE WAY IT WORKS.  MAJORITY RULES, except here in America where there is no clear majority.  Only clear minorities like The Working Poor.  The Political Class are happy once again because they got something to go back to their constituents with (for/against) on The Great Dent Ceiling Debacle.  All led by a minority in Congress, the whims of Grover Norquist, and the ineffectual and absolute abject failure of leadership of the President of the United States.  If anything this sets up some interesting political theater for the coming months, because on every interview you could tell the Democrats were PISSED OFF.  And I mean, PISSED.  When you have Debbie Wasserman-Schultz stammering for kind and encouraging words about a piece of legislation she had just voted for, you’re in trouble.  She was told to eat her broccoli just like every other Democrat was.

And thank you to the Democrats who refused to eat their vegetables this time around.  They have a principle.  They wanted the Hollandaise Sauce at least, but in the long run were told they couldn’t get any.  We couldn’t afford it.

“If winning isn’t everything, then why keep score?” – Vince Lombardi

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The Through Deal

Let’s face facts, my fellow Democrats: we blew it.

We had both chambers of Congress for two years and failed to produce anything meaningful legislatively, except a bastardization of a Medical Plan.  Oh, that was a compromise; one that was engineered even before negotiations had begun.  The President set his expectations low offering no Public Option like most of America wanted, and what he got was really nothing but a waste of money.  Sure, insurance companies will now have to carry everyone on their books, and everyone will have to buy insurance at grossly inflated prices.  But it meant health care for all.  Right…and I’m Derek Jeter coming out of the shower after just after banging my gorgeous girlfriend.

We had to enforce TARP, but we got tarred and feathered by the Bush Administration posthumously on that one…because we were the ones who had to do part two of that deal…and guess who got blamed.  Everyone forgets about the two wars and Medicare Part D that was unpaid for and the unmitigated deregulation that allowed banks to pretty much do what they wanted with your money.  Guess who got blamed for that.  Guess who allowed the Tea Party a seat at the table.  Guess who let the Republicans control the agenda when we had the agenda in our hands and the votes to go with it.  Guess who blew if for the first two years of this Presidency: WE DID.

Then into town rides the Orange Man on the White Horse hoping to get the tone in Washington changed from jobs to social issues and the debt…avoiding the very campaign promises that got them there.  And who let them?  WE DID.  Moreover, who allowed this to happen on his watch; who gave us Hope for Change and a new way of doing things after 8 years of the worst President this nation has ever seen?  The man we voted into office.  The Compromiser in Chief.  If Hitler had him at Nuremberg, there would have been no Second World War; he would have just compromised the entire continent away.

In short, I have never seen a President more ineffectual at governing and managing the day to day operations of this government since Jimmy Carter…only he’s a much better orator.  The next thing he’ll be talking about is “national malaise”, and then you wind up with President Bachmann.  You know, the crazy lady who looks like she belongs on QVC hawking cosmetics but instead may end up President because we let her get this far.

There is a failure not to communicate, but to lead.  This President does not lead…he reacts.  He reacted to what was what once was a simple line of legislation; let the Republicans turn it into a crisis, sold out the core values of the Democratic Party (which thank God for Nancy Pelosi someone remembers), and we have our own Appeasement at Nuremberg

President Obama is NOT who I voted for, not this guy posing as him.  He may look like him, act like him, speak like him, but he is not him.  He is like some evil carbon copy from The Twilight Zone.  He sold out Medicare, Social Security, and every social safety net imaginable…all because he didn’t LEAD.  He FOLLOWED and allowed the Republicans to frame the debate.  Nice going dude; in one single evening you destroyed the New Deal.

And we have no one to blame but ourselves.  No one kept pressure on him.  No one held his feet to the fire because no one listens to the Progressive Caucus anymore.  We have become marginalized because we let ourselves be so…but with any luck they will listen to us tomorrow when they refuse to vote on this pile of shit that is being handed to the American People on a tarnished silver platter.  At this point, I’m willing to suck up my Social Security check just to watch us all sink into the oblivion that WE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN.  WE allowed a few fringe lunatics control the debate and take the government hostage.  We set up a dangerous prescident for all future governing in this nation: that any minority can simply run their agenda down America’s throat without even so much as open debate because they can.  Because they are backed by the Political Class and Corporate interests.  Because WE LET THEM TAKE CHARGE

We blew it.  Three words every Democrat should take to their grave, because I hate to tell you, the bad guys have just won and the Orange Man is now riding a black horse.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking” General George S. Patton

Tempis Fugit

It is late.  “Tales From Topographic Oceans” by Yes is cranking out on the Mac as I type; at this “magic hour” when I manage to do my best writing.  Don’t ask me why, but only at this time of the day something happens in the creative process that opens the mind’s eye to different things.  Just like the simple beauty of this album.  I haven’t heard it in ages, and yet it remains one of my favorite albums of all time…perhaps because I don’t always play it, it takes on a meaning for me that is special.  It’s not one of those things you break out on a road trip and crank from the car stereo with the top down (although I sure as hell would if I were out crossing the desert somewhere in Arizona).  Something as simple as this, these moments that I am enjoying this music mean so much more to me as I get older.  Perhaps it’s because I look at the days so preciously now rather than as being disposable pieces of a puzzle to get through like I used to.

Once upon a time, I was a guy who worked at a bank.  I was a Vice President who had people working for me.  I was making six figures, had pretty much the rest of my career ahead of me.  Smart money had me making Senior VP before I was 50 as I was one of those guys who rose to the top of the game by playing some of the best political games ever devised by man.  You want to see politics?  Try working in a bank for 17 years; knowing which star to hitch your career to, and knowing that there were others who hitched their star to yours.  You rose and fell as your superiors did at times.  You moved ahead of the next guy by not necessarily being the nicest guy on the block.  If you had to step on someone to get your way, then you did.  It was as simple as that.  No hard feelings, and it was just like they said in “The Godfather”, “Nothing personal; it’s only business.”  There were truly some guys who I thoroughly enjoyed getting ahead of by stepping on, mostly because they were bastards.  They were bastards to me once (forgetting the axiom of always be aware of those who you climb the ladder with because they might be the same ones you see when you descend while they make their climb) and I got them back at a later date.  Or I didn’t like the way they treated a friend.  I almost felt justified in being a bastard at times; I guess I had to keep telling myself that because the politics was tough.  If you wanted to go where I eventually wound up in the bank, then you played tough and most importantly, you were VERY good at your job aside from the politics.  But the politics was always there.

I like to refer to the upper level of any organization as “The Adminisphere”; kind of like another layer of the upper atmosphere.  The air is very thin up there, and the people who work at that level move the world with levels that they control and have others push for them.  These are the Senior VPs and EVPs, and people who run the organization.  These were people who were always used to getting their way, regardless of who or what stood in their way and trust me, YOU would be the one moving the levers and pushing the stone uphill like Sisyphus.  The Adminisphere is where all the decisions were made and they had a very deliberate way of treating one another.  They were very much like the US Senate and had power within the bank that was equivalent to that so-called august body.  But just like me, they rose through the ranks upward knowing what politics to play, and who to play them with and for.   And my goal at one point was to get there.  To have that nice McMansion…  To get a nice car, and to get a home theater system that was off the wall (although I can’t imagine what I would have bought had I been able to given my current system…which is excellent).   I wanted it all and was getting there slowly and surely.

Then September 11th happened, and nothing was quite the same after that.

My job became less meaningful for me; I lost my drive and ambition.  My new boss turned out to be the biggest asshole I EVER worked for; he made me look like a Saint in my worst moments.  He was one for the ages this guy, let me tell you.  And I had met my political match in this guy who decided he didn’t like me or want me (whereas I received stellar reviews for almost all of my 17 years with the bank, this guy gave me mediocre to a disastrous review for my last one).   He was by definition a political animal as well, but he was a back stabbing bastard.  With me, you always knew where and sometimes when the knife would strike, but with this guy it was completely underhanded and stealth.  And always, ALWAYS in the back.  In the end, he won.  All of my connections in the Adminisphere were severed when we bought another bank, and their old chairman (who would be the new chairman of the combined institution a few years down the road) put all of his guys into positions of power.  And this guy moved in very nicely with the new sharks swimming in the water because they were all like him.  And after all my politicking, and doing a damned good job at whatever I did for the bank at every position, it was over.

And just like that…I was voted out of office.  I received a nice severance package, and had a year of salary and benefits that I managed to spend 24/7 drinking away.  I had begun my immolation as a corporate bastard.  I became something else, and it wasn’t pretty.  During this time my wife fell out of love with me (although I didn’t know that until recently).  During this time I became lost as a person, because I no longer had any direction.  I didn’t know what was going on anymore until I sobered up the following year.  In the 5 years since, I started to get my shit together but many things have suffered.

My marriage is pretty much gone.  I deal with acute PTSD and Bi Polar II as well as an ailing back on a daily basis that leaves me in a lot of pain both physically and mentally.  I’ve become a stay at home Dad, and in that sense I found some type of identity, but like the old saying goes, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  Oh without a doubt, I want to either write or teach once the opportunities present themselves…something I should have done immediately after college instead of selling out for the corporate buck.  Then perhaps I can get off Disability and make a decent living for myself once again, because you see there is no way I could ever go back into the corporate world I once inhabited.  I’m not one for having a lot of people around me, and I really don’t like crowds.  PTSD is not a great thing to have, trust me.  It tends to put a damper on what you can do and how far away you can travel from your home base, at least in my case.  I need to be in a small environment or work on my own which is what is probably the best thing for me.  Writing affords me that, and one of these days (hopefully by next year), I’ll finish a first draft of that book and get an editor and try and get it published.  Until then I’ll keep working on it and blog away, because it seems as if I found my voice once again.

I think I’ve learned to accept my present circumstances; I don’t like them, but it doesn’t mean I can’t change them.  My old job is so far away…my old way of life belongs to another time and place.  That person died on 9/11.  It’s taken me some time, but I’m finally figuring out what makes me tick.  Confrontation is not it.  Stepping on other people is not it.  Enjoying power is not it, because quite frankly, I’m not even the guy who really runs this house anymore.  I handle the finances, because I did it for years, I cook, I do what I can for the kids and try to guide them as best I can (if they are willing to listen.  My oldest has become rather existential, and given her life, I can’t say that’s surprising).  And I try and write…because I am finding out that is the one thing that makes me tick.  That is who I am; a guy who can put words on paper and put together something that’s going to express how I feel or what I believe.  It’s starting to become a necessary thing for me to do again, because I cannot live without it.  As Ray Bradbury said once, “You must stay drunk on writing so life does not kill you”.

So dear readers, you get to watch me get drunk on writing again.  The bits and pieces that make up my life might appear on these pages or what I think about politics (which is a lot.  Old habits die hard).  But I’m encouraged that I’m getting people interested in what I have to say once more, and that is humbling…just like the last few years have been for me.  I had to fall from a height and into the abyss and pull myself out slowly and surely.  I’m out of the hole now and dusting myself off, looking around at the sky and the endless horizons before me.

And it’s beautiful…

“The only thing worth writing about is people. People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight. If you do not do it, the story is a failure. […] There is no nobler chore in the universe than holding up the mirror of reality and turning it slightly, so we have a new and different perception of the commonplace, the everyday, the ‘normal’, the obvious. People are reflected in the glass. The fantasy situation into which you thrust them is the mirror itself. And what we are shown should illuminate and alter our perception of the world around us. Failing that, you have failed totally.” – Harlan Ellison