Archive for March, 2009

Guardian for Freedom of Speech?

March 30, 2009

I am not really political, some things just get under my skin.  I have ranted about political parties and even rallied on the wrong side of an issue before.  Most of my digs were a lame attempt at humor mccainpalin-bravo-oh-bomb-awed or to offer another viewpoint the-comedydrama-behind-barack-obama -/-  bho-breaks-his-own-rules But if I have been called to task because of an error I have done my best to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.  (too many to list here, sigh)  But here is one that comes immediately to mind reality-check-is-not-in-the-mail One reader and fellow blogger pointed out that what I was quoting was not accurate so, with hat in hand, I had to admit I had erred.  Nancy Pelosi doesn’t need others to add to her words in order to be made to look bad, she can do that on her own.  ?p=4807 I admit, being corrected while being wrong hurts…  so I try to learn from my mistakes.

There is always the risk you might ruffle some feathers when you take sides.  That is what makes the U.S.A. so great, you have the freedom of expression and there are laws in place to guarantee that freedom.  We pay taxes that in turn pay salaries to political figures that in turn are supposed to protect those freedoms.

I remember an interview given by Sir Paul McCartney about a song he had written, Give Ireland Back to the Irish. Paul had said that he was being ribbed for his neutrality on certain issues but he dismissed it as, “Well, I’m not really the political type.”  Until one day  British soldiers shot some unarmed Irish citizens and Paul thought, quote:  It was a little near the knuckle… in other words, something that could not be ignored.  So he cut the song only to find it  banned in the U.K.!  Though later in the interview he quipped,  “It was number one in Ireland, oddly enough!”

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My friend Karen has a direct link to my blog and she had this on a recent post which I read with interest this morning.  I should have put her over in my all this and other people’s, too! link long ago, not because she says nice things about me but because she writes some interesting stuff and she has said some nice things about me.  8)   So I have corrected that, check out her posts at Karen’s Rant Page and read her opinion… you’ll be glad you did.

Anyway, here is what caught my interest and thus spawned this post…

sH68HvWfaEk in-exposing-the-identity-of-mudflats-rep-mike-doogan-exposes-himself/

First, I thought it was darn cool that ol’ Ben Franklin wrote under a pseudonym dogood.htm I had probably learned that at one time in my studies of the American Revolution, but had forgotten it.

Then I thought it was a darn shame that a political figure like Rep. Mike Doogan had to stoop so low in an effort to silence his critics.  So… I have linked the Mudflats page as well.  I don’t add links all that often because I am basically a lazy person and am not that keen on technology.  Recently my beautiful girl and I have had several run-ins with computer glitches that have cost us  (her) several hours, a few dollars and much weeping and gnashing of teeth.  So I am cautious when it comes to changing anything when it seems to be working just fine the way it is.

Today I make an exception.

The only reason I can see a politician going to great lengths to expose somebody’s identity on their blog when they choose to be anonymous is INTIMIDATION.  These people who work for the public and do this, receive their paychecks from the taxpayers.  Obviously they forget who they work for.  Mudflats was not making any threats to our national security or ensuing bodily harm to Mr. Doogan, merely stating an OPINION and to my knowledge this is not against the law.

Politicians seek to conceal their identities all the time.  Ever heard of an unnamed source or one that has spoken on the condition of anonymity? Sure you have.

So the wheel goes round.  I understand Alaska has had it’s share of bad politicians as of late, sen-ted-stevens-verses-the-free-and-open-internet remember Ted Stevens? ben-and-teds-abhorrent-misadventure The good ol’ boy who wanted to shut down the Internet because people were “loading it like a truck” and he could not get his e-mails in a timely fashion?  194 Seems the Internet and the users of it got to see him shut down instead.  hey-told-ya-so

Folks, we deserve  politicians that will listen and remember who they work for regardless of where we live.  We don’t need to be berated, belittled, besmirched or betrayed.  Alaska is part of our Republic.  Mike Doogan is a servant of the people of that Republic, albeit most of us… anonymous members.

Even Barack Obama knows the power of the people via the Internet…  and he is not taking names.

I, for one…  hope to hear a lot more from Mudflats in the near future.

peace

Bully For You

March 27, 2009

40 years ago I made a decision that I have lived to regret every day since… I quit school.  Not that school was all that hard for me, it was not.  I could get any grade I wanted,  I proved it to myself and my teachers over and over again.  School was also my social outlet and living in a college town meant that we were on the cutting edge of  the new techniques and higher thinking in the educational process.  All my friends were in school, there were girls galore… it was the freakin’ 60’s, man!  At 16…  I was at the top of my game.  But there was one constant that followed me since the beginning of middle school that finally made me cave in and drop out…  I was being bullied.

It is not an easy thing to write about even now, but perhaps by purging this one aspect of my past, others might see themselves or someone else they know and may be able to learn from my experience.

When I was in school and the age of Aquarius dawned, it was like a Godsend.  I was raised by a single parent on welfare.  When long hair and holes in your jeans became fashionable, I embraced it with gusto and my mom reluctantly went along with the “fashion.”  The fact that it was not readily endorsed by parents made it all the more attractive to me and since most kids came from “respectable” families, it took them years to be able to catch up.  I was the envy of the free world, or at least… at my high school.

But the rumblings of bullies had started earlier, just as I had entered junior high.  Even though I was poor and not athletic, I was still tall, blonde and fairly good-lookin’.  I had no trouble finding girls, especially since in junior high girls had gone from skipping rope to skipping school.  My interest and confidence (among other things) grew.  But there were always jealous wanna be boyfriends to contend with.  I was challenged a lot and had to find creative ways to avoid fights, never allowing myself to be caught alone in restrooms and relying on my wits to second guess where trouble may be lurking.  The threat was always there from multiple personalities.  I started to hate going to school, not because of the curriculum but for the constant hassle and fear I felt.  I had even contemplated suicide.

Finally when I reached 10th grade I had my locker broken into and some of my stuff stolen.  I went to the school principal (a great guy that I became friends with later on as an adult) and reported it.  I knew who the culprit was and told my suspicions to the principal.  He instructed me to go back to class and conducted a search, found my things where I said they would be and suspended the guy who had broken the lock on my locker and stolen the goods.

But he lay in wait for me and cold cocked me with a running punch that still has my ears ringing.  The only thing that kept me from being pulverized then and there was the fact that my hard head hurt his fist, but he informed me that I was “dead.”  Fortunately this was towards the end of the year.  I managed to avoid contact until summer vacation arrived and felt I was granted a reprieve.

I had hoped all would be forgotten by the beginning of my 11th year, but it had not.  I was always looking over my shoulder and avoiding classes that these guys (oh yeah, always more than one) shared with me.  Finally, 6 weeks into being a junior and with most of my credits all ready acquired… I quit,  never seeing this slugger again until several years later.

Part of the trouble for me was the fact that I had no confidence in myself.  It was the 60’s, for cryin’ out loud… peace, love and all that happy stuff, ya know?  I had no one to teach me how to stand up for myself, no father figure to encourage me, no older brothers to rely on.  I was pretty much on my own and  I could not wrap my mind around this barbaric form of communication.

I turned out okay, I guess I was lucky.  I moved away from my home town and started over.  Eventually I learned a trade, acquired some confidence, got married, raised a family and never saw a hungry day.   I still had my capacity to learn and applied myself at every opportunity.   I became a Master Electrician and  modest success.  I went to writing seminars,  night classes and continuing education courses to maintain my license and further my abilities.  Like I said, getting an education was never a problem for me.

I did run into the guy that had broken into my locker several years later while still in my early 20’s.  6 years had changed a young hippie type to a strapping 22 year old and when I saw him I knew exactly what to do.  He was at a restaurant with his wife, a girl he had been chasing since junior high.  He had no back up then, just her.  He  scowled at me as I approached but I got up close enough to say, “You don’t remember me, do ya?” while his wife was simplistically happy and said “Oh, hi!” all enthused like we had actually been friends at one time.  I offered my hand to him and he shook it as he replied, “Yeah…” to which I clutched firmly and said, “Time sure changes things, doesn’t it?”  then I walked away… this time unafraid.  No Karate Kid, no firearms, no threats, no revenge and no ill feelings.  Just happy within myself for not backing down from the fear I had felt for so long.

I read once that bullies put people down because they are victims of their own lack of self esteem.  So when expressing ones own insecurity, a bully has to belittle others in order to make himself look or feel good.  Bullies come in all sizes, shapes and forms.

First off, when you imagine a bully, you might think of the kid on the playground who steals your lunch money.  He’s big, foul mouthed and intimidating.  He’s also physical, he likes to push his weight around and resorts to using his fists to settle everything.  Usually he runs with other bullies so his prey is always out numbered and finds it difficult to make a stand.  8848456-sun.html Bullies don’t play by the rules and have no sense of honor or shame.  It is hard to sympathize with this person when he is short changin’ your underwear, isn’t it?  bullies.html

Nowadays it isn’t enough for bullies to want your lunch money, they want to take your life.  Cowardly cyber bullies who cannot even confront you face to face have recently made the headlines, despite the efforts of the authorities and parents.  Their victims have been murdered and even driven to suicide.  This is a tragic testimony to what our modern society has become and perhaps it is partly because of the anonymity the world wide web seemingly offers.  They say worse than being bullied is one becoming a bully himself. 1041

Unfortunately, as I grew up I bullied others, too.  Some of my sisters can attest to that, much to my shame.  You can not justify the things you do when you should know better, but hopefully you can learn from the mistakes you have made.  As I grew older my own kids had their bouts on both sides of the issue.  But I’d like to think that with my experience I was/am able to help others become better men and women despite being exposed to bullying in its various degrees.

Now that bullying is out in the open and more publicly exposed, there are people that can help.  Schools, churches and other youth organizations are going to great lengths to offer assistance to the victims of bullying.  Being a victim of has lost the sniveling, weakling stereotype  it once had where we were told to “fight back” or “stand up for yourself.”  Against impossible odds this is not practicable or even desirable, most people just want to be left alone even if they were equipped to fight back.  Besides… it should never have to come to that.

I would suggest that any parent daily look for signs in their children’s behavior then act quickly and lovingly if they sense anything out of the norm.  Reassure any potential victim out there that they are not alone and there is no shame in asking for help and do it often.  Kids may take a while before they feel they can talk about it, especially to their parents, so be persistent.  Even when you are told things are O.K…  they may not be.

Education is the key…  so do your home work.  You just might save a life.

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peace.

The Day In Between

March 19, 2009

Yesterday was my beautiful girl’s birthday, tomorrow is our 1st wedding anniversary, today is the day in between.

I guess the reason I am bringing this up is because of what happened yesterday with news of  Natasha Richardson’s death and the evening we had before that announcement. Today we are in a reflective…  happy/sad, kinda numb and thoroughly convinced that life is too short and we need to take the time to say “I Love You” mood.  Even the rich and famous have heartache, even the beautiful people have tragedy in their lives.  We need to pause on this fleeting moment called “life” and not take each other for granted.   That has been solemnly brought out to the forefront once again and our hearts go out to Liam Neeson and his family.  He will surely miss his beautiful girl…Obit.Natasha.Richardson

Life in Canada has been educational for me, even in the little things.  I’m learning patience, which makes me anxious to get that life lesson over and done with as quickly as possible.  I’m taking in each day with a little more wonder and enthusiasm as the snow vanishes and the mercury climbs.  That grand ol’ Florida sunshine even makes it’s way to the frigid North occasionally and as it does, the people and their attitudes are starting to thaw… you can see it in their smiles.

My fair one and I even went out for a week day evening Tuesday to see a couple of Canadian artists that I was not familiar with, Stephen Fearing and his guest, Catherine MacLellan.  This was an evening well spent.  Stephen began his career with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and has done well as a solo artist.  I enjoyed his energetic delivery and the  heartfelt lyrics resonated within me the melody of a romantic balladeer and poet.    But though  he performed solitaire,  he assured the audience that B.A.R.K. were still together and working on another CD to be released (hopefully) by the end of the year.

We even had the pleasure of meeting and found him very personable and easy to talk with.  When he found out I was from Florida he asked the question I have heard for the umpteenth time… “Why would you go from Florida to Ontario?” to which I replied simply, “My wife is from here” to which he observed, “You are a lucky man.”  Amazing that he could see that in a span of about five minutes, eh?

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But the real bright spot of the evening was Catherine MacLellan.  Maybe because it felt like my wife and I were “discovering” her in that intimate setting that was so casual it could have been held in our living room.

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We even had the pleasure to make her acquaintance as well.  Catherine was very approachable and genuine,  entertaining my lyricist camaraderie  graciously and without reservation.  We could have been at a coffee shop discussing our inspirations and aspirations the way my blushing bride was conversing with Catherine, sharing the ease we all felt.  Catherine MacLellan personified Canada, her manner and down-to-earth style was like a welcome sign for this American transplant.

If you haven’t heard of her, you should do so right away.  Catherine has garnished a lot of CBC Radio play here in Canada and has a new CD  that is outstanding.  You will not be disappointed.  My BB and I agreed that we would enjoy seeing BOTH artists again, with her all ready a fan of Stephen Fearing and me a rapid convert.

So as I sit here in the library and stare out at the sun that has embraced us like a forgotten blanket from the trunk of our car, I look forward to calling my wife on the phone to remind her for the umpteenth time that I love her.  I am waiting for the days to turn lush green and colorful with the flowers and grasses that bloom from the garden of patience.  Then we can walk the paths she trod while waiting for me to arrive here… to come home.  Every day that passes makes Canada more endearing to me, each encounter makes life more satisfying, the driving to and fro makes home more familiar.  I see faces that I have met earlier in my transition from being a Floridian to an ameriCanadian and they cheerfully acknowledge me.

We have survived the winter and spring holds the promise of a thousand sun filled memories.   We will hold each one of them dear to us… waiting as they appear emblazoned on the horizon of our  pleasures and mutually human frailties.

peace.

AIG Solution: Dole out $165 million, Take Back $1Billion

March 16, 2009

Okay, I have it figured out.  The taxpayers giveth, the taxpayers taketh away.

I pity AIG executives when they say we have to pay these outrageous salaries and over-the-top bonuses to attract the best people.  Because if this is the best they can do (hit the government up for cash 4 times because they are losing money) then maybe there is something wrong with their thinking.  Maybe the best is not what they need, maybe… just maybe, they need somebody… shhh! responsible.  Grassley.AIG

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We are the laughing stock of other countries when we speak of bailing out companies on one hand with billions of dollars and raising our national debt to gigantic proportions while having people that are supposedly paying for this losing jobs on the other hand.  Talk about a Ponzi scheme, this just keeps getting better and better.  AIG.Cuomo

I feel the only solution is that we withdraw funds.  You need these people AIG, fine.  But WE are not paying for them.  We take back one billion dollars, sorry… make due.  These so called “best” people better put their heads together and dig themselves out of this hole, earn that $165 million… now.  AIG.Outrage

After all, they are the best money can beg… uh, buy, right? Obama.Economy

It would have been cheaper to bail out Bernard Madoff… and probably would have made more cents.  Madoff.Scandal

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peace.

The Man Behind Curtain 321

March 9, 2009

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Ah, but some of you HAVE been paying attention… now it’s us and them.

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…and that is what makes following the yellow brick road so much fun.

8)

One alert reader wrote and asked me how long it takes to write a certain post (like the last one) and the process I use; i.e. do I write it out long hand on a legal pad first or directly to the computer and transfer or do I write exclusively to WordPress and post, etc.  Let me first say, writing is a love/hate affair with oneself.  Writers write because they have to, want to, love to, need to and sometimes… hate to, too.

I have to presume that what she is inquiring about first and foremost is…  what inspires in the first place, because it would be difficult for me to write if I were not motivated in some capacity; like to achieve power, riches or fame.  But none of these has transpired over the course of nearly 3 years… yikes!  HAS IT REALLY BEEN THAT LONG?  Let me check… Yup, May 2006.  So it has to be due to something else… some type of longing, a desire to create or communicate.

Maybe I just need a hug.  It is  a blessing and a curse, this introspective solitude…  a two edged sword, a napkin doily, an  addictive placebo…

Usually, I write directly to WordPress.  I have not bothered to link to any other service in order to expand my audience basically because…  1) I am too lazy  2) I don’t know how and 3) I am too lazy to learn how.  When I began in May ’06,  I didn’t even know how to categorize my posts and for six months I was thrilled to find an average of  6 people reading per month.  Those were dark days because I enjoy writing and hoped there would be an audience out there for me but I basically relied on the uncatergorized Gods of the Internet biosphere to guide readers to me.  That did not work.    When I realized that categorically I was off in the blue like a kite without a string, my audience grew and so did my enthusiasm.  I don’t know if I could have continued on writing just to put words in cyberspace because every writer wants an audience, a readership, a person involved and responding to his efforts…  even if that person is oneself being lifted from the doldrums of life.

I try to write what I would like to read, not necessarily in content but more of a style, from the heart.  Sometimes it depends on my mood, sometimes I am trying to lift myself out of a mood, sometimes I am just killing some time and find a mood channel; happy, sad, quizzical, comical, musical, whimsical or lackadaisical but always trying to remain suitable for print.  There is always the feeling that I am not good enough.

And like my mother used to say…  you are your own worst critic…  so my little bits are never quite polished,  just abandoned for something else more interesting.

Usually I write directly to WordPress and post in one sitting.  That is not to say I might not have an idea out of the blue that I mull over for days or even weeks.  There may be times when doing a bit of research (a teensy, tiny bit never hurt)  I’ll stumble upon another topic and think…”I’ll have to write about that.”  Sometimes it will lay there and ferment for a while, other times I’ll begin a draft then leave it for something more pressing then return after the excitement of the interruption piece dies down.  There may be unceasing editing after I’ve posted an entry, but only until the next one comes along.  I’ll read and re-read them while they are the latest and greatest, then lose them amongst the archives.

There have been times when words just blaze out of my fingertips and I rip off 1500  with ease, other times I will work in increments as time permits but I’m not conscious of a word count because I’m not paid by the word.  Some topics just garnish a little more enthusiasm or require more input.

Chances are once a post is up I do not go back and change it unless  there is something I have misstated or misspelled, though the last post I put up is considered the most current and CAN be added to or changed if I see fit.   I have recently gone back to add to certain posts because they may be of an ongoing concern, like why I hate the Pittsburgh Steelers or the indictment of Ted Stevens.  But once a new post is up I rarely go back and change anything on the previous posts.  It is like a writing instructor once told me, once it is in print… it is done, left to praise or ridicule.  You’re nearly a laugh but you’re really a cry…

There was a time in my youth when I was at a party and became violently ill.  Suffice it to say I was not accustomed to the elements and free flowing volume surrounding party favors in those days, and though I did inhale many, many times I have since been clean for over 30 years… but anyway.  As I lay outside of the house I was visiting wallowing in my own recycled booze and misery,  I could hear something blasting over the stereo inside… a surreal refrain that I had haunting me for years afterward.  In fact, I did not even recognize the artists who had recorded the music.  But it dwelt within my subconscious for decades, coming back around like a mystical, re-occurring  voodoo chant… ha ha charade you are.

Writing is like that to me. I don’t know why I do it, I just do… I have written all my life, since grade school.  I remember the first poem I wrote in grade 1.  (no, not a love serenade…) It is always there, waiting to be expelled, vomited out while the music soothingly plays in my head.

I do not recall it’s source…  but I do know contented relief in the aftermath of its revulsion.

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Post #321… thanks,  seamonster02!

peace

There Probably Are No Atheists… So Express God’s Love and Enjoy Your Life

March 3, 2009

My beautiful girl and I often speak about our faith and though we have basic differences we can agree on one thing. There is a Grand Creator, an Originator of Life, a Supreme Being that is responsible for setting things into motion.  A Divine One that has a design, will and purpose for the inhabitants of the Earth.  Why there are differences in view on the clarity of God’s will and purpose will have to be left for a future post.  Just suffice it to say we are comfortable with each other and our faith has strengthened us as our relationship continues to grow.

Recently, my BB was troubled over a news report of a movement in the U.K. that is spreading to Canada.  The… There’s probably no God.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life signs that have been placed on city buses by atheist groups. 681914.stm .

The idea of being an atheist confounds me, but I respect their right to express themselves and the bus lines right to make a profit.  20090207 I have no doubt they would consider running religious views, too.  You see, the bus lines just think of it as advertisement while the atheist views it as… hmmm, a call to unite? 20090303?hub=Toronto

But I am not here to condemn this movement.  I just wonder why people feel so strongly about an issue that they would publicly put their face to it, knowing it would be unpopular?  Could it be they are needing a purpose in life and so look for like minded individuals to encourage them because they lack spirituality?  Because to truly be an atheist, you have to walk alone.  You are content within yourself and KNOW there is no outside influence to guide or protect you.  You are responsible unto YOURSELF.  You NEED nothing else, not even other atheists to sanctify your non-belief.  You are apart from everything else.  The true atheist does not know joy.

I also wonder if self proclaimed atheists have really looked for God, though the Bible says He is not far from each of us and is willing to be found.  It is no mystery, really… the evidence of God is everywhere.  I think it has more to do with being accountable, sort of like getting a free pass for being ignorant.  If I say I didn’t KNOW it was this way or that… then how can I be RESPONSIBLE?

I think life is like walking into a room and discovering  a computer terminal sitting on a desk.  We approach the computer and sit down.  We see that it is turned on and has a direct link to the World Wide Web and we are happy.  We begin to surf and we find out all kinds of useful information about ourselves, the population in general and the broad spectrum of life and the Earth we live on.  We discover Ebay and Craig’s List and find out we can make money.  We see beautiful people and exotic locations and we want to BE those people IN those exotic locations.  We can chat online and meet friends, we might even arrange a date or eventually find our soul-mate.  Our outlook  is good and the computer brought it all to us free of charge.

We don’t question who put those things on the Web, we don’t even question how the computer works, who designed it or where it came from.  But then, something goes wrong.  We discover something on the Web that does us a disservice, is inappropriate or causes us pain.  Someone but something unflattering on MySpace, there is a webcam on YouTube that caught us doing something improper.  Someone put our face on a pornography site, worse yet, they stole our identity…   or there is a virus and the screen freezes.  We find the world is polluted and full of violence, people are starving, being victimized in war, crime is running rampant, the economy is spiraling downward.  Suddenly the computer is a bad thing.  We want to destroy it, or forget about it all together.  We’ll deny that there is any design behind the computer and refuse to go into the room again.  We’ll even restrict others from going into the room as well.

Or maybe the computer tells us things we don’t want to hear.  It restricts us somehow.  We question the computers motive, why it was set up in the first place and why are there so many variations?  so many search engines?  If the computer was so smart, why all this chaos?  We want to decide for ourselves what is good or bad, we don’t like what the computer is showing us.  A world outside of the computer would mean no accountability to it.  We decide there IS no purpose for the computer and deny any proof of it’s existence.

I have never met a happy atheist.  The ones I have met are intelligent, but cannot seem to find meaning in their lives.  Living the freedom the atheist proclaims is hollow, it has no future.

I know they claim there is no evidence of God, but I have not found in them faith and hope or love and respect or empathy and trust.  There is no awe over the expanse of the Heavens.  There is no wonder at the healing wisdom of the Earth.  To them, these things are just there.  Like the computer in the room.  No one designed it, it just evolved one day.  They are consumed with themselves, they are the center of the universe because there can be no one larger, He doesn’t exist.  They live outside those God given gifts, because to claim them would be acknowledging the very attributes of the One who created us.

I say, let the ones wise in their own eyes ridicule me.  Let them say I am delusional, easily persuaded or just plain dumb… led about like a sheep and gullible.    I will readily accept that there are people out there that are much smarter than I am who may think I am foolish.  (see 1Corinthians 1:27)  God chose the foolish things of the world, that He might put the wise men to shame…  according to the Bible.

I know that there are those that are dismayed over the conditions of the Earth.  People think that if God exists He would have done something about the suffering of Mankind long ago.  They feel that because there IS so much injustice and cruelty left unchecked by God, He either doesn’t exist or doesn’t care about us.  But remember the computer in the room we all have access to?  Someone turned life on for us.  Someone put the information in there and designed life so we could do the things we did.  The fault did not lay in the design of the computer, but in how life was used.

Even as I write this I have nothing but pity for those that deny the existence of God.  The evidence is everywhere that He does exist and the timetable He has set to correct the problems we face now has not been delayed.  There are those that mock that God is too slow, but the Bible says,

“Listen to me, you the ones powerful at heart, you the ones far away from righteousness.  I have brought near my righteousness.  It is not far away, and my own salvation will not be late.”  Isaiah 46:12,13

I look at my fair Chantal and I know God has a purpose… even on the part of a lowly sinner like me, because I feel I have already received my reward.

peace.