Dumb People

We all know them.  We work with them, they are our family and friends, and sometimes even our spouses.  (Often, they tend to be in-laws; but that’s for another topic altogether).  The Dumb People I refer to are the worst kind: otherwise normal, clear and level headed individuals; hard-working and good people who usually think…except when it comes to politics.  These are the very same folks who vote both Democrat or Republican; watch either MSNBC or Fox as their primary source of news, and in a political discussion spew forth nothing but the latest talking points show to them throughout the day.  They neither read nor can name any newspaper outside of The New York Times, The New York Post (which they claim they read because it has a great Sports Section, but I’m inclined to agree here), The Wall Street Journal, and The Boston Globe.  Heaven forbid a weekly news periodical crosses their doorstep, or they stray from the bookmarked blogs of their political persuasion…if they even get as far as the Internet.

These are the Dumb People who send you endless e-mails of humor that you just don’t want (or see the humor in), even though you’ve told them (under pain of death in some cases) a thousand times to cease and desist.  The same people who send you the political e-mails in the hope that you “may see the light”, and come over from the “Dark Side” to see the world through their clouded eyes and lack of vision.  Yes, we all know Dumb People, there is no escape from them.  It’s pretty scary to be around them in the first place, but here’s an incontrovertible fact and an even more frightening reality:

They run The Planet.

Even Plato knew this, which goes to prove that either stupidity transcends time or it’s in the gene pool.  Is it just me, or have you ever wondered if there actually IS a stupid gene in the DNA strands or the chromosomes?  I know plenty of people who have Dumb People as their parents, or they themselves produce a little Dumb Person on their own despite the fact that they themselves do not fit into this category.  Now, I’m not stating that those of us who are CLEARLY not Dumb People are “Smart People”.   There are much more layers of nuance for the rest of the populace; but we tend to think outside of the box.  Let’s just call ourselves “The Others” for the rest of this exercise.  The Others read multiple sources of information, watch different News Networks (and as much as it often pains me to do so, I’ll watch Fox…but only after I’ve downed a Xanax or two).  The Others don’t spew forth talking point after talking point like some crazed automaton.  We will actually respect authors and columnists on both sides of the aisle (I often cite the late William F Buckley and more recently Andrew Sullivan as favorite Conservatives).  While we will argue with conviction, we will rarely go at it with physical force…unless threatened by the same by a Dumb Person.

Since we’re at that Joyous Time Of Year where we get to spend time with and give gifts to Dumb People (some of whom we REALLY DO LIKE outside of political differences), I just thought I’d remind you of something.  When that perfectly delicious Holiday Dinner is about to be ruined (like it usually is) by that Dumb Person spouting off at the mouth the latest talking point after having WAY too much Merlot and being WAY more vociferous than usual, remember one very important thing:

They think YOU are a Dumb Person.


“Just imagine politics with its dumbbell element subtracted. There would be no Republican candidates. There would be no Democratic voters. The whole system would collapse.” – P.J. O’Rourke

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.” – Elbert Hubbard

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein

The Never Ending Kitchen Chronicles

So Thanksgiving came and went.  We ate out for dinner.  So, I went through the rest of the weekend secure in the knowledge that sometime this week my counter tops will be delivered, and the exodus of my feline friends would be over and our lives could return to normal.  I could then celebrate by cooking a huge dinner on Sunday…a nice roast beef (medium-rare), homemade pan gravy with mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and green beans almondine.  Hold those thoughts…hold the phone…hold…(well, I’m trying to keep this clean here)…well, hold the project.

My appliances were scheduled to arrive on the 22nd of November, they came on the 17th, from fucking GERMANY for Christ’s sake.  You know, the guys we defeated after World War Two, and helped rebuild their nation so that not only do their trains run on time, their people do as well (and you should just see some of those German drummers, talk about syncopation…but I digress).  We’ve had the flooring and the tiles for the backsplash for a while.  The two barstools took 24 hours to order and arrive from Amazon and they came today.  All of the pieces are here…except for the counter top.  The counter top that has already been bought and paid for, the counter top that was templated and measured on November 18th, whereupon I was assured by a representative of The Counter Top Company that it should be ready by 7-10 days after measurement.  I assumed business days, and factoring in for a long Thanksgiving Weekend, i pretty much figured some time today or tomorrow.

WRONG!  Thank you for playing our game, we have some lovely parting gifts for you!

It seems that some genius between The Counter Top People and the Very Large Home Store didn’t manage to either: a) send my template to the company on time (impossible, because the Counter Top Company was the ones who MEASURED for the counters); b) decided to “check out” for a few extra days before Thanksgiving (entirely possible in either Company); or c) began to come up with flimsy excuses why THE OTHER GUY SCREWED UP.  If you guessed “C”, congratulations…you get a part on the back and a few kind words from me regarding your elementary deductive reasoning.  The bottom line is, the Very Large Home Store who had my money for several months (via my contractor who presented me with a completed supply order in September) waited from the 18th until the 1st of December to submit so-called “approval” for my order.

OK…now, the scary part is this: why show those as Accounts Payable when they can be held in Abeyance and not reported on the monthly financials, thus gaining whatever infinitesimal “float” you can on the money?  You do this for several hundred thousand customers throughout the country and guess what?  In addition to your store going “in the black” after Thanksgiving, you can even prop up those numbers even more by delaying Accounts Payable until the following month…like, oh say December 1st.

Bottom line: I’m fucked.  Sure, we’re working around things: the floor and molding will go in tomorrow and Friday, the dishwasher will be installed, and whatever tile work that can be started will be.  Unfortunately, the stove definitely cannot go in until the counters are installed…so two more fucking weeks of fucking frozen fucking dinners here.  (I’m from Brooklyn originally just in case you couldn’t have guessed).  In theory the counter tops will be here by the 15th.

If you see a pig flying out your window on that day, then you know that somewhere in New Jersey, there is a very happy man throwing every single TV dinner in his freezer out into the street.

“The perfect bureaucrat everywhere is the man who manages to make no decisions and escape all responsibility.” – Brooks Atkinson

The Day The Blog Stood Still

Why?  Well, because my remastered and restored print of the original 1951 classic “The Day The Earth Stood Still” arrived in the mail today.  I plan on watching it as soon as Keith and Rachel are off the air.  Another big reason is because the two bulging and degenerative discs in my back are doing their utmost to cause me exceptional pain this evening, so I’ll be under the influence of some very nice painkillers…not exactly the best way to write a blog.  Unless of course, you’re expecting a sequel to “Alice In Wonderland” or “Alice Through The Looking Glass” called “Alice Doesn’t Live Here In Wonderland Anymore Go Check The Looking Glass”.  (As you can see, the pills are having their desired effect).  Another impediment is the fact that I have a 24″ iMac desktop and not a Mac Book laptop, and sitting in the same spot gets a bit rough after a while.

So, I will post a new installment tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to the movie, a comfy couch, and a nice cup of tea.  Now if Santa could only brink me a shiny new Mac Book Pro…

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.

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 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.

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

A Moment To Remember

This is for Abraham.  This is for Medgar.  This is for Martin.  This is for Malcolm.  This is for Bobby.  This is for the thousands of Americans who perished in our great Civil War on both sides.  This is for every American who fought for our Nation and sought to protect the world from evil, all the while keeping the torch of liberty and hope with them.

This is for US…this is for Americans and the other peoples of the planet.  Hang up the sign on the door that reads, “America: Back In Business And Under New Management!”

Yes, we did.  Yes, we will.  Yes, we are!

Hope For The Republic

It might just sound like something from a Star Wars sequel, but it is indeed the truth, and a most fitting title for this post; because after eight years of being the Evil Empire, I want nothing more than to get back to being a proud citizen of the Light of Mankind, the greatest democratic Republic in the history of Mankind.  While I originally intended to write a post against John McCain, the Danger To The Republic; I feel that in the weeks since I last posted a piece of that Series, the case has already been made.  I need not go and make a point that has been made over and over again by McCain, Palin, The Republicans, and closed-minded citizens of this country.  It’s also fitting that since I’ve been trying to stay away from all the negativity of the campaign over the past few days, that I write something positive, because I’m starting to feel that way for the first time since the election began.  Forget the polls…I’m being positive because I can just sense the shift of the mood of the people in the last few days; I don’t need numbers to tell me that.  As I’ve already written in a previous post, my best friend, a life-long Republican is voting Obama, and that spoke VOLUMES to me, more than any poll ever could.

I’m the same age as Barack Obama, and like him, I grew up a child of innocence when our nation was losing its own, and being severely tested.  Nightly body counts on the news from Vietnam, assassinations of RFK and MLK, and the counterculture were just part of what we witnessed.  We also saw men on the surface of the moon, a President resign in disgrace, the fall of The Berlin Wall, and the death of Communism as we knew it.  It was both a wonderful and tragic time to be alive and grow up in.  The past decade has not been so kind to America (nor to me, outside of the birth of my two beautiful daughters).  We are engaged in a war with a virtually invisible enemy, both from terrorist organizations, and those who would be terrorists truncating our Civil Rights in the halls of Washington DC.  My own children are watching again news of a war in a far off land, like I did.  They are also seeing cracks in the very fabric of our society, just as I did.  While the parallels are astounding, they do not go unnoticed nor unheeded.

Barack Obama has seen this history with me, and has become a part of it already; with the wisdom of the American People, he will forever change the Presidency and make history yet again as the first African American President of The Unites States.  The pain of the injustice of slavery, the Civil War, the rights of all men and women who marched during the Civil Rights Movement…it will have all come full circle.  We brought forth upon these shores Africans as slaves, and this cost our nation dearly as we almost tore ourselves apart.  Great men and women fought and struggled for the equality of black and white, man and woman, rich and poor.  Now, we have the son of a black man from Africa and a white woman from Kansas who has the chance to not only change our nation, but all nations on this Earth.  He represents the unity of race and the struggle of Americans over the past 232 years to achieve what is truly the American Dream.  He represents hope that the deaths of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and countless others shall not have been in vain.  That there was a purpose greater than our understanding at work.

This is why Barack Obama will make an excellent President of The United States of America.

Joe Biden is another patriot: a man of great courage and strength, who after the passing of his first wife and young daughter brought up his two sons as a single father before starting over with a new wife and being blessed with another daughter several years later.  The fact that he still rides the rails home every single night to be with his family while other Senators stay in DC all week (or longer) is a testament to his down to earth nature.  He has survived several health scares as well, and like the old saying goes, that which does not kill you makes you stronger.  Joe Biden is infinitely a better man and a stronger person because of it.  He understands the triumphs and the tragedies of the human spirit; he has a wealth of experience behind him in his own personal and professional lives.  He still remembers where he came from, and that is always a good thing.  He has been, and remains a man of modest means, while 97 other US Senators have accumulated more wealth than he.  He has guts, and the courage of his convictions, and speaks his mind…and we need that right now, more than ever.

That is why Joe Biden will make an excellent Vice President of The United States of America.

We are faced with the most important Presidential Election in a generation, and certainly the most important one in my lifetime.  At this moment in time, in this place we call our home…the odds have never been greater, the choice never so clear, and the fate of Humanity hangs in the balance.  Our choice as Americans is clear: we choose a pathway toward a new hope, a new destiny, a new age for all of mankind…or certain destruction in the hands of those who seek to subjugate us and the rest of the world in their tyranny.  We have these two men, who are the right persons in the right place at the right time.

And that is why I have hope for The Republic.

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” – Thomas Jefferson

AUTHOR’S NOTE: MY NEXT POST WILL BE ON NOVEMBER 5TH, 2008.

My deepest sympathies to the Obama family on the loss of their beloved Grandmother.  Mrs Dunham…you did a hell of a job.

Fire!

Sarah Baby, according to your interpretation of the First Amendment, you can indeed yell that in a crowded theater.  You can also go up to someone who is African American, and call them the “N Word”.  In Sarah Palin’s America, you can call someone a Communist even though they aren’t; you may feel free say anything you want about anyone, most especially in the media because your rights to absolutely unlimited speech are protected by the First Amendment!  Isn’t that right, Sarah Baby?

Every time I think this woman can say something or do something dumber than previously shown, she surprises me once again.  Just imagine how Johnny Boy feels about that!  In an interview with a Conservative radio host today, she claims that by constantly bringing up William Ayers (and now apparently Jeremiah Wright), the media getting on her case is akin to infringement of her First Amendment rights.  Let’s let Governor Moosebrains speak for herself in this direct quote: “If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

This woman is incredibly fucking dumb.  A doorknob has a higher IQ…in fact, it’s MENSA compared to her.

Remember from grade school (they have those in Alaska, Sarah Baby; I know this for a fact because recently I’ve met quite a few incredibly intelligent folks from our 49th State.  So what’s your excuse?) the old addage of Free speech does not mean you can yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater.  In other words, there are certain times where your rights do not extend as far as you think.  You cannot accuse someone of something in the media without evidence to back it up, or it becomes a little thing known as “slander”.  So let’s just say someone accused you of being woefully being unprepared for ANY public office and that you have an incredibly narrow and shockingly shallow understanding of the US Constitution, you’d have to prove that they were wrong.  Gee, I wonder what would happen if that actually occurred?  I think you might just lose that argument.

What is even more frightening about this woman’s clear lack of a functioning brain, is the fact that she also is missing another key point of the First Amendment.  The Press (which has been guaranteed freedom under Amendment One) has the RIGHT to criticize you Sarah Baby…THAT IS exercising Freedom of Speech, not abridging YOUR right to speak…but once again, speaking in public within bounds.  Conceivably your accusation or Senator McCain’s accusation that Senator Obama is a Socialist or a Communist is SLANDER.  If he chose to, he could sue you (and would almost certainly win), and you can kiss little Piper’s college education fund goodbye.

More frightening is this: there are people in this country who will DEFEND her for this!  Not only that, the mindset of the current Republican Party is such that this is perfectly in line with their reasoning.  Please, I KNOW there are real Conservatives and Libertarians in the Republican Party who have no great love for what has happened to their Party.  Please take back your Party, give Americans a real, intelligent, and viable political movement and PUT THIS WOMAN OUT OF OUR MISERY.

Oh…one final thing Sarah Baby: this is an OPINION piece, just like the rest of the posts in this blog.  I even state that fact in the “About This Place” tab just over on the right.  You are an ignorant, dumb shit Sarah Palin.  If that offends you, well it’s too bad.

It’s my opinion, and I have a right to say it.  In fact, it’s guaranteed.

“Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” – Constitution Of The United States Of America

Deal Closed…I Hope, No I Believe!

It was moving, it offered us a glimmer of hope for this country.  It made me feel proud and more than willing to help move America forward, and like Senator Obama said, participate in our democracy.

Perspective: My best friend (we met in college, in wedding parties, would have been Godfather to my kids if he was Catholic…damned Church) is a staunch Libertarian/Conservative.  (He’s a REAL Conservative, not the Neocon impostors or anyone else in the GOP he has become disgusted with)  He called me after the campaign ad and said he was voting for Obama.  I cannot believe that…he is voting for the first Democrat IN HIS LIFE.  If that had an impact on someone like my friend…then we have hope that there might be impact elsewhere.

We might just really have a chance to hope and dream and become Americans again.

“I was there at the Dawn of The Third Age of Mankind…” – Ambassador Londo Molari (Babylon 5/jms)

The Art Of Closing The Deal

This evening is Barack Obama’s chance to close the deal with the American People.  If you don’t close the deal, you have no sale; and in this case, no sale means no future for America.

I was a salesperson (financial sales) at one time in my life.  One of the first things I learned was the axiom, “He who talks first loses”.  What that means is that if you are selling something to someone, you’ve made your pitch, and now there’s that awkward silence between you and the prospective buyer.  If the buyer talks first, odds are they will buy (or they “lose”); if you talk first, you lose your sale.  Think about this the next time you’re being sold something; because if the sales person has to talk after that silence, then they HAVEN’T closed the deal…they feel a need to reinforce or add on to what they have said.  Good sales people keep their mouth shut at the end of the pitch.  They can also REALLY screw up the sale by saying something incredibly stupid.

I’m not so worried about Senator Obama having a loose lip, but Good Ol’ Joe Biden better keep quiet from now until Tuesday.  Senator Obama makes his pitch tonight in a 30 minute Prime Time campaign ad (I hate that they are calling it an “infomercial”.  Sarah Palin is the type that would do an infomercial for designer AK-47s with dancing moose in the background.   SNL was probably incredibly on target, with the target sitting right there!).  At the end of the campaign ad, Obama will speak live.  I don’t know what he will add, but let’s just hope that by him having that coda is not akin to losing the sale by talking too much.

I’ll be back later on with some thoughts on the ad.

“Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.” – Joe Paterno

OK…Now That I’ve Had My Xanax…

This is what this Election has done: taken normal, sane (mostly, anyway) people and turned them into raging lunatics.

Yes, my post from Saturday was WAY over the top, but you know what?  It’s staying right where it is because it’s a perfect example of what can happen to you when you lose your line of vision.  When you lose yourself in the moment and all rationality has been stripped bare.  I just went “out there” because That Woman infuriates me to no end; she and her ilk.  They’re looking for the Un-Americans?

All they have to do is look in a mirror.

More later on today…right now, I need my coffee…