Saturday, December 30, 2006


I’ve been grumpy lately. I decided that the reason is my unnerwear don’t fit. It seems that trying on underwear at the store is frowned on. My take on that fact is that it should be OK for me to try on underwear, but certainly not anyone else.

Brown eyed girl tells me that women try on underwear at the store by putting it on outside their current underwear. Huh? There ya go, yet another mysterious thing about the opposite sex. How would you know if it fit if you put it on over underwear that already do not fit? She just looked at me with the ‘look’ when I asked that out loud.

So back to why my underwear does not fit. Over the years I have learned a few things by buying lots of underwear that don’t fit. For example, did you know all men’s underwear is undersized? I have a suspicion that anorexic women must be designing men’s underwear. I have a size 30 waist, great big athletic shoulders and muscular arms, muscular thighs….ooops…..I forgot for a moment we were talking about underwear….despite a size 30 waist I have to buy underwear that is waist size 34-36 L. If I buy waist size 30 it looks as if I have put little boy underwear on, not a pretty sight at all, a sort of combination underwear/speedo ‘my god what is he thinking’ dopey appearance. When the size 34-36 is laundered one time they are also too small. It seems no matter what I do I’m left wearing underwear that is too small; at least too small in one spot or another.

Speaking of which, have you ever noticed the pouch in front is virtually non-existent or pretty darn big? The pouch part is designed by one of two different designers. The Alzheimer afflicted Grandma that forgot about the extra parts or the gal that spends her spare time watching porno movies and thinks all men are THAT size.

Last night I discussed my grumpiness with BEG and she decided to help out by looking on-line for some new underwear for me. I didn’t hear from her for a couple of hours. When I checked on her I discovered she was looking at pictures of men in underwear and had somehow forgotten her shopping task. She now has Jockey, Calvin Klein, and Fig Leaf in her favorite’s folder.

So today I went underwear shopping, I found a fine pair of Calvin Klein unnerwear made of modal fabric. They cost $20 per pair. Ouch. But they feel really good. I wore them all day. Pouch was perfect size for Seven’s equipment.

Got a problem though, I’m still grumpy.

Guess that wasn’t it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Knot of Christmas

The knot that is Christmas grows larger year by year. The news reports center on the consumption. The reporters issue their prognostication of the economy based on our remarkable ability to buy product. I have no quarrel. The consumerism can fuel a substantial economy and signal our general economic health. It’s okay with me if Target, Wal-Mart and Sak’s celebrate. In the end it’s a positive signal about our welfare.

The more spiritual among us lament that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost.

The scrooges like me wonder why the fuss is so elaborate in any case. Troops long to be at home. The lonely remain lonely. The ladies of the mall re-appear each year with broad smiles accompanied by reindeer and Christmas tree festooned sweatshirts, jingly ornaments secured through their ears. Men wearily trudge along behind the reindeered shirts.

And so we wonder about the knot that is Christmas, and its meaning.

I had a fierce conversation not long ago with a friend that takes issue with those that allege they are ‘born again’ and issue the proclamation in public. She is a lib that like many libs laments the religious right. For her, the phrase ‘born again’ does not necessarily describe the process of being renewed in the teachings of Christ, but rather is representative of a temporary spirit of politic, a way of dividing those around her into the dems and the repubs, or the libs and the cons.

It might sound as though I am being critical. I’m not. The protestant religious right too often uses the phrase ‘born again’ to judge against the rights of others to believe what they believe. This same friend of mine believes in the ‘universe’ and she prays to the ‘universe.’ That’s alright by me, I do the same. I also believe with an abundance of certainty in the deity of Christ.

Are they not the same? This is the argument I presented to my friend. She told me she believes the universe offers up the good and we must be in accord with the universe for our spirit to function perfectly and for our spirit to be free of ego. I agreed. I also believe this is what Jesus taught. If we accept Jesus as our guide and our path to God have we not accepted what my friend already accepts and acknowledges?

Has my friend likewise inadvertently accepted Jesus’ teachings as a path?

When we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are in my mind creating acknowledgment of a person that operated in near perfect knowledge of the universe. This is the essence of what will make a perfect world is it not, and what my friend proposes as a spiritual goal?

In this way the spirit of Jesus is ‘born again’ at Christmas each year, a gift to the universe that continues in meaning and teaching. It is a gift that reminds us that we might also be born anew to the universe as my friend is daily re-born to her possibilities within the universe. In the end, aren’t we all re-born each day into our possibilities?

This is the small counsel I offer in untying the knot of Christmas. Perhaps those smug in their ‘born-again ness’ might accept that the spiritual souls of our universe no matter their religious teaching, might be fully embracing the concept of being ‘born anew’, yet it remains transparent to your ‘holier than thou’ exhortations. And to those that lament and wring their hands over the ‘born-agains’ among us; they might be just like you don’t you see? They are only stating their spiritual understanding in a way that makes sense for them.

If we find a universal voice, one that includes Jesus, the universe and the kitchen sink, and if it includes the ‘all good’ that is self apparent to the spiritually awake, is this not enough for anyone? Can the knot be untied? Can we find the opportunity to acknowledge that the birth of Jesus reminds us all of the opportunity to be ‘born again’ in the spirit of love and acceptance? When those we love hand us a gift this season, or when we hand a gift to another, maybe instead of dwelling on the commercialism of the season, we might instead allow it to remind us not only of the gift offered by the Creator, but the gift of acceptance and understanding with which we are ‘born again’?

May the knot lie untied at our feet.

Each year.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Abundance of Certainty

I heard a reporter use the phrase “absence of certainty’ yesterday. I’m not sure why some phrases catch my attention. They do that to me. Some phrases rattle around inside my consciousness way longer than I wish they might. It’s a bit like the songs that get stuck in our brains, the ones we want to scream ‘please stop’ to get them to quit playing in a constant loop? The phrase ‘absence of certainty’ did that to me today. Quite obviously it means that we cannot be entirely certain about some truth or fact that we seek.

The opposite of this phrase is what came to intrigue me in a more contemplative manner. If we said instead that we had reached a complete certainty about the things in which we believe, where would it lead us?

This idea breaches the walls of science and tumbles the long held concept of scientific search head over heels. Those in science seek to prove the truths of the universe with certainty virtually each day of their life. If we hold that what we believe about science to be certain without any investigation we would be quickly dismissed as a non-serious and incompetent scientist, and I would add it would be with merit of logic that such a dismissal would occur.

If I think of the spiritual part of our existence rather than the scientific parts I can find a little more breathing room for thinking about the phrase.

If I could embrace that all things I believe contained an ‘abundance of certainty’ rather than an ‘absence of certainty’ where would this concept take me? Where would it take you?

The great religious figures of history, most notably the miracle workers, carried within themselves an ‘abundance of certainty’ about their actions and beliefs. We can also easily corral the bad figures of history within this conceptual fence. Hitler or Bin Laden become easy targets for us to light upon.

The idea that followed me around most of today involves the idea of the proper placement of our ‘abundance of certainty’. I believe in a world of natural law that originates in the good. Holding that idea gives me a head start on accepting that all good things can come to you or me if we place a large measure of faith in the natural law expressed by the historic teachers of the correct. Jesus, Gandhi, Teresa, MLK, and others showed us a glimmer of the power of certainty in the good.

The transition to evil, or the power of faithfully believing with certainty in the evil, or what I would label the unnatural way of the world, is likely to give any honest thinker some pause when considering the concept of ‘abundance of certainty.’

This is a sharp sword. We can create a great deal of pain for those with whom we share the world if we believe totally in false ways.

In my mind there is a safe harbor from this potential pain. It is a harbor created by the same governing forces that can create remarkable stories around us each day.

We all know the story of the cancer patient that medicine and the physicians have surrendered to death. From somewhere in the ‘abundance of certainty’ within the stricken man or woman a cure is already underway, no other medicine required. Or we remember the miracles worked by Jesus and witnessed by many that wrote about them. For those of you that read here regularly, you know I do not believe in miracles. I do believe what Jesus accomplished was grounded in a perfect ‘abundance of certainty’ in the natural law. I also believe natural law will fail to operate in an unnatural way, and in this way the Hitler's or Bin Ladens while doing much damage cannot command the same powers of the universe. That is the safe harbor for us all.

It is this ‘abundance of certainty’ that allows remarkable athletic performances, music from confident artists that shapes our senses and forms memories of time and place, speeches written by Martin Luther King that span time itself, resonant many years later and still containing remarkable clarity; clarity predictive of our culture’s future.

This is another way to think of the word ‘miracle’. To me it is the flawless execution of the concept of ‘abundance of certainty’ within our consciousness. Is it easy? No. Are there dangers from creating this confidence and unyielding belief around a dangerous and unnatural law? Yes.

What are the alternatives? To struggle along in an ‘absence of certainty’ is an option universally embraced. In fact it affords us a comfort zone, a way to poke and prod at our world to see how it reacts. It is a way to conduct experiments as a scientist would do. This can be good for many things and it not at all unwise for us to test our beliefs.

And maybe I have worked my way to a truth that haunts us all. Maybe we just don’t know what we believe?

At the end of this day and at the end of this writing I’m not sure I am offering the certainty I preach. That is what has frustrated me all day. I want the ‘abundance of certainty’ that leads to all things possible at my hand.

Maybe tomorrow certainty comes home where it belongs.

I did solve one thing today. I figured out why the phrase ‘absence of certainty’ plagued me all day. It’s a weak phrase, a phrase of evasion. It’s a way to keep evading the opportunity to believe and trust in myself fully. I like ‘abundance of certainty’ far better.

I’ll keep working toward certainty and pray it is well placed in the natural law when it arrives.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Chaos Haunts The Ground

Chaos haunts the ground, scattered across my feet like shards of glass
Glass of no discernible pattern, mocking in its incompleteness
Chaos that brings the ugly dream; waking in the night to my own divide
A man with a bullet hole in his head, lying on the pavement, dying in my arms
Time Out

Christmas decorations around my house
Christmas songs across the air
One murders another to seek a gift for one loved?
Chaos haunts the ground, scattered across my feet like shards of glass.

Searching for freedom from the obligation of the day
Hoping to rest; just to breathe the season without anxiety
Tradition tugging at my coat, its voice insistent
My mind haunted by the vision of the lady living under the bridge in a cardboard box
Tears in her eyes and I left her there

On my knees working with the Creator
Searching for freedom from the obligation of each day
Something in the heart of me is telling me
Chaos walks the ground, scattered across my feet like shards of glass.

Shadows move across the ceiling while I lie awake
The lady under the bridge
The man with a hole in his brain
Christmas decorations around my house
Christmas songs across the air

I want to go home and fill my head with perfect sound
Sailing across blue water, blue sky above, a loving voice in my ear
No sleep and no fear
No memory
Time Out

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Running with a Fast Crowd

I was on the local university track yesterday for my noon Wednesday workout. It was a particularly tough workout consisting of 25 x 100 meters at semi-sprint pace. Somewhere along the way I took a mental inventory of the scene around me and realized I was literally surrounded by immense talent, famous people and overachievers.

Across the track former TCU sprinter and Jamaican Olympic medalist Raymond Stewart worked with two recent track graduates from USC and the University of Washington. They are real blazers with aspirations of running on the open international circuit this season.

On my side of the track former US Olympian and Olympic medalist Jon Drummond (2) was exhibiting his famous personality by throwing teases, smiles and barbs my way. Running beside me in the workout were masters great Wayne Bennett a 100 meter masters national champion and annually ranked world class sprinter. On my other side was my friend Don Werner (2) , owner of two World Series rings from his time with the Cincinnati Reds in the “Big Red Machine” era.

Down the track at the end of the straightaway legendary TCU coach and former All-American Monte Stratton worked with his pupil/athlete, current World Class sprinter Darvis Patton (2).

My head got light from the history and talent that surrounded Seven! Later everyone was gathered in one area trading barbs and testosterone driven memories and challenges.

What a fast crowd to hang with!

If you read the links about Jon Drummond you will note that he was born with spina bifida and suffered three cases of spinal meningitis during his career. His parents were told he would never walk, yet today he owns Olympic gold medals in the sprints. Life offers us all challenges. The next time your number is dialed, think about Jon, then grab your challenge by the collar and kick its fanny. Remember, you have the the Creator's permission to win.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thinning the Herd

I told a friend of mine yesterday that there are more violent deaths in California each day than there are in post war Iraq each day, based on yearly averages. This was first reported by a Los Angeles Times reporter. I don’t vouch for the reports accuracy. My life is too busy to do the research.

My friend said he has a bizarre notion that he usually doesn’t mention to folks. This of course got my attention and I asked for more detail. My friend just turned 70 and he told me he believes some dying in accidents is necessary to thin the herd of people or we would be in an over population situation. Hmmm….that is kinda bizarre. I told him it might make some sense if it was all old people that die in accidents and never a young child or pregnant mom and so forth. He agreed. In fact we decided it could be a big benefit to Dr. Kevorkian’s work.

I proposed a fun new National Holiday to my friend. Since us seniors have lived a good long life and some of us don’t want to spend any time in nursing homes or being cared for in a decrepit state, why not create a day where old folks, say aged between 60 and 90 years old could go out and drive like holy hell on the highways? They would have a lot of fun pretending they are NASCAR drivers, ignoring warning signs and generally try to meet their demise in a high speed blaze of glory. We would naturally keep the children and pregnant women at home. Well, for that matter lets just say no one under 60 years of age is allowed on the streets that day. Even the emergency personnel could be the retired cops and firemen working one last time; after all saving lives is oxymoronic to the day.

Here are my rules:

  1. No sustained speeds below 80 miles per hour.
  2. No adherence to warning signs.
  3. Extra points given for head-ons.
  4. Braking allowed only to create a better target for others.
  5. Telling emergency personnel to “please hurry” will be considered bad form.
  6. Emergency Room hospital workers will be given the day off.
  7. No donors of body parts. All the parts are too old.

Pat has recommended the following additional rules:
8. No driver license required.
9. Corrective lenses optional.
10. Cellular phones, game boys, portable DVD players and other distractions allowed.
11. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em, stroke 'em if you've got 'em.
12. Intoxication and/or chemical alterations recommended.

I even have a name for the holiday. National Old Folks Speed Driving Day. I made a poster.

Lets thin the herd a little and leave the kids out of the deal. Of course the nursing home entrepreneurs won’t like this one bit. Let’s make sure their lobbyist participate in the first holiday.

Friday, December 01, 2006

In the Warmth

It was August 10, 1974 and the television in the corner of the bar was running tape from the day before. From in front of the helicopter, Richard Nixon waved at the cameras while wearing a jovial smile. The arrangement of the smile on his face, coupled with the fact that he had just resigned the presidency, left me thinking he must actually be happy about the matter. I was an innocent 24 years old and had little worldly knowledge of the feelings Nixon might actually own at that moment.

The setting was a downtown bar in San Francisco. I was there due to wanderlust and unhappiness with the course of my architectural studies in Texas. A president resigning was little matter to me. The image on the screen smiled and waved, a solemn young anchor named Dan Rather informed those sitting at the mahogany bar of the graveness of the matter. Truth to be told no one was listening. Dan could have been speaking Hungarian and it would not have been noticed inside the bar.

Randy the bartender kept an eye on the banter and playful shoving of the fishing crew that occupied the tables behind my right shoulder. If I turned my head to the right I could see the leader of the group, dressed in a denim short sleeve shirt, an enormous belly hung over a belt long dismissed from view. Red suspenders saved his pants from falling about his ankles. His Giants baseball cap was tugged down to middle brow. He talked with a voice as enormous as the belly below. The general counsel he offered his fishing mates was that the communist were at the bottom of Gordon Liddy breaking into Watergate. According to him the communist had infiltrated Nixon’s staff and Liddy got himself caught on purpose, probably without Nixon knowing a damned thing about any of it. I tuned him out, but monitored bartender Randy’s eyes all the same. San Francisco bars were a new thing for me.

To my left sat a man that reminded me of Joe DiMaggio. Joe had been born and raised in San Francisco. I knew from reading the biographies that he still lived in the area. The man that looked like Joe wore a deep blue suit, finely tailored, with a fresh white dress shirt, set off by an emerald green tie with tiny white anchors scattered across the green. At the end of the shirts cuffs were honest to God diamond cuff links that glittered in spite of the dullness of the bars light. At the end of his right arm he rocked a Tanqueray and tonic, a small lime rested against the side of the cocktail glass half submerged.

I stared too long. It was as if he grew intolerant of my wonder at my new world, then seemed to have a different thought, benevolent in the face of my lack of grace. He turned to look at me. With a bemused smile he asked why a young man like me was sitting alone in a downtown bar. “It’s too big a story to get into really”, I said, “I’m actually from Texas but it got to feeling too big for me there.” This drew a small smile from the man. I wanted to ask him all about Marilyn Monroe. Even if he wasn’t Joe I figured it would give him a chance to pretend and make up Marilyn lies for a Texas hick. I didn’t ask him though. I just stared at my Budweiser and thought about home.

“Is there a woman involved in Texas being too big?” the man asked. He smiled again, glanced up at the TV where Nixon was hugging his wife Pat, then looked back at me. “No” I said, “I have a wife. She’s working and I guess I just felt like I needed some space from things. The truth of it is that she’s earning all the living right now, I just graduated from architecture school.”

Moments of silence went by. I figured pretend Joe looked at me as an enormous creep right now, sort of like sitting alongside a big Texas cockroach, except he had already opened up a conversation with the danged insect and didn’t really know what to say next. My pretend Joe wrote a note with a ballpoint pen across a cocktail napkin and neatly folded it in half.

In time he resumed talking to me, but he took a new strategy of personal monologue, probably not wanting to take the chance of learning any more about me.

“Son, there is something wonderful about a woman that would do something like that. There are good women all over our world. Now you understand that they are quite different from you and me. In a lot of ways they are superior. They know when a child is hurting just by looking at their face, and they know when you hurt by doing the same thing, just looking into your eyes they can know more about you than you want them to know. They do things we never see or appreciate. They smell better than baking bread most of the time and they do it for you and me. The touch of a woman can’t be replicated by anything. If I could have only one thing in the world I would ask God for the love of a woman beside me at all times. The flowers, the smiles, the touch, the knowing inside their eyes.” He stopped talking for a second and rocked his gin across the ice cubes. “You know, they say once a woman loves a man he should honor her at all times because it’s a love that can’t be replaced or found anywhere on earth.” He looked sad for a moment, then continued, “You know another thing? They are smarter than us men really. They understand what love means and they spend their lives waiting for us to catch up to them, only we never really are able to get there. That’s why I take flowers to Marilyn every day, my wandering man from Texas. I’ll keep doing it until the day I die. I never got it right for her when I had her, and now I’m just trying to catch up.”

My heart skipped a half beat at the revelation that I was indeed listening to the great Joe DiMaggio. He had just told me how much he still loved Marilyn and why he takes flowers to her grave each day. My head felt light as I watched Joe place the cocktail glass gently onto the bar as he stood and turned toward the door. He placed a hand on my shoulder on his way out. “Son you remember what I’ve told you about the power of a woman. A single night with a good woman is worth 2 home runs. Go on home to Texas now, and you treat her with the respect every woman deserves.” He disappeared out the door and into the night while Dan Rather interviewed experts on the president’s resignation and my brain retreated from its stunned state.

The large voice of the Giants capped fisherman boomed out at me no more than a minute after Joe’s exit. “Well look at the little man talking to Joe. He don’t know no one sits beside or talks to Joe in here. You’re a dumbass kid, nobody bothers Joe, everybody knows that. You think you’re some kind of special little lousy shit or something, just cozy up to Joe like you don’t know no better?”

Randy the bartender told him to back off, but he was leaning onto the bar at my right side, his big belly grazing my right elbow. His breath reeked of bourbon and cigarettes.

“He tell you about butt-pokin ol’ Marilyn did he? Tell you all about that pretty little bitch giving him head? My theory on women is that they all think with their twats. Aint that right boys?” he bellowed out to the fishing tribe.

“Damn right,” came back the chorus from the men, “Women think with their twats, that’s what they do, that’s why they’re so goddamned stupid.”

Slobber dripped from his mouth. Gravity dropped it onto his belly before it could reach the floor. With a flourish of his left hand, he spread the slobber across the shirt and leaned into to me so he could deliver the end of his sermon.

“You remember that you little turd, Marilyn Monroe hurt that man so bad that he don’t even talk to no one. Except for some damn reason he talked to you cause you didn’t know no better than to sit your little ass right beside him. You just remember my advice. Women do all their thinking with their twats!” He walked back toward his mates, triumphant in his bullying.

On the bar in front of where Joe had been sitting was the folded napkin. I opened the single fold in the middle to find his handwritten note.

“May the women in your life always hold you close in the warmth of their thoughts. Thank you for sitting with me tonight.” - Joe DiMaggio

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Men Suck ???

Speaking of differences in the genders…………I had a really interesting discussion with a female friend recently. During the discussion she trotted out the old familiar line that ‘men do all of their thinking with their penises.’

I know you have heard that one. I think it is so often repeated that it has become generally accepted as true and worse yet considered sophisticated to utter.

I don’t really think there is a rant coming here ….lets call it a purging or challenging discussion. Recognizing I have a faithful female audience (and you know I love you all) I am at some risk here of losing friends, but the general content and tenor of this post is intended to be helpful. Or on the other hand you should know that it is 25 degrees F in Dallas today and I DON”T LIKE THAT.

Is it just me being sensitive or is there an inordinate amount of male bashing going on in the blogsphere? Not only in the blogsphere, but all around me? Are we really so awful that we have to be hammered at every turn?

Let me tell you why I don’t like this phrase “men think with their penises”….I have spent a professional career around men and working with men. We have done considerably wonderful things with our environment, while thinking with brains and not our penises.

When you walk through an airport, attend a movie with surround sound and digital image, fly on spacecraft to the moon, examine the surface of Mars with a mars remote vehicle, cross a gigantic span bridge…and of course I could go on and on…..think of men. We opened those doors for you, along with millions of other doors. We weren’t thinking with our penises. Now of course, you are thinking I am reasoning out of context on this one, since when women say this ‘penis thinking’ thing they are talking about the male sex drive. OK, I’m guilty of that charge, so let’s look at the issue in context.

Did you see the latest brain research? It shows that the area of the brain that processes sexual information, images, fantasy, sexual reasoning and all the rest, is twice as large in men as it is in women. That would be 2X in math terms.

Looking at the biology as a sole causative factor the researchers say it is only natural that men think about sex much more frequently and process information about sex more easily. (and with considerably less drama) As we all know research also shows women have a larger talent and better wired brain for talking, beating males by a 7:2 ratio of words spoken per day, the point being that both genders have strengths and weaknesses.

What bothers me on this one is that men are typically branded as being ‘oafish or even perhaps slimy’ because we think about sex often and find the area of sex talk, imagery and sex engagement an entertaining and worthwhile pursuit, even fun. Maybe we aren’t really thinking with our penises at all. Maybe we are thinking with a motor twice as large as yours and the problem is that your female brain is puttering along below the speed limit? Maybe you could even respect our superior ability and learn something from us?

I’m serious. I know speaking for my male contemporaries that there is so much underlying hostility in the male population due to not only the lack of understanding, but the labeling and rejection that contributes to our undeserved ride on the train to confusion and misunderstanding. There are things we can teach you. There are things you need to know. But it will be necessary to quit constantly bashing us first.

As far as public male bashing goes I sense it is at record levels. There is a backlash coming. As I talk to my male friends I find a level of hostility that will ultimately create a backlash.

Maybe the era of feminism and female chest thumping could gently close itself and bring a new era of mutual respect?

It’s 25 F in Dallas and I am in a pissy mood. I am especially tired of reading blog posts that start out “Men suck……”

Really. I am.

Me and my fellow males are very tired of it. Our 2X sex brains are especially tired of it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Confusion De-Scrambler Cap - Part 2

Postscript and response to comments on the "Confusion De-Scrambling Cap" post.
I wish I could say I actually invented this cap. Unfortunately it is just a silly idea free grazing inside my brain.
Reach asked a good question. What question created the post? Well....BEG reads the posts and usually the comments so I will have to be careful. No single question brought it on. It is based on a lifetime (55 years) of observation.
What is funny around here is that BEG will listen to a question from me and I can see her trying to figure out what is 'unsaid' between the lines of the question. When she guesses wrong and gets all discombobulated I always explain there is nothing unsaid, that men always just ask exactly what they want to know. This perplexes her and also other women I have known.
When she asks a question I tend to think the question concerns exactly what she wants to know and I usually answer way too quickly, forgetting the question has serious hidden parts with hazards for those without skills at this level of discourse.
I'm not gender bashing. I guess men could ask questions that are not exactly what we want to know, but I'm thinking we are likely to be so inept at such a thing it might leave us looking like a crocodile trying to fly.
Women might try asking a question where the answer to the question leads to resolution of the question. But...I guess answering a question by correctly guessing at what the actual (unspoken) question really is, is somehow more intellectually stimulating?
So at the end of the day I decided we men needed help.
If only I could get the damn thing to work, I could really make some dough!
On the other hand, some smart-ass transexual would probably pop up and sue me if it didn't work correctly for them.......then of course we have those with an imbalance of chromosones.....and OK.....thats all I want to think about it.
Your stories of gender use of the language, and its attendant confusion are welcome.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Confusion De-Scrambler Cap

Seven's Satire Report News
Men's Institute for Awareness
Hope, Arkansas
Scientists at the Men’s Institute for Awareness have announced a breakthrough in communication equipment. The scientist report they have combined female voice stress levels, voice frequency, voice inflection and voice volume into a complex algorithm. The result of the equation is then integrated into known patterns of female behavior and thinking. The outcome of the two streams of input is a new device that will unscramble questions asked by a female partner. After extensive beta testing with females of all ages, the final data base has been developed into hardware that can be worn by men inside a baseball cap. The micro processor for the system has been installed in the caps button. The flexible and flat hard drive section is sewn to the top of the cap and rests gently against the cap wearers head.

In an attempt to establish a marketing campaign for the ‘Confusion De-Scrambler Cap' the Men’s Institute tested the product with the male executive in charge of the ad campaign.

Johnny Spindude reports stellar results and wrote a brief report to the Institute. The highlights of Mr. Spindude’s report are shown below.

My Report on the MIA Confusion De-Scrambler Cap: by Johnny Spindude
Over the course of two weeks I wore the cap at home and kept the batteries at full charge of 2,140 volts. The cap is comfortable and light weight as advertised. There is an initial delay in responding to the female questioner while you wait for the de-scrambling, however I am told future versions of the cap will address this delay problem. On the whole, the cap worked marvelously and I was able to avoid many hazardous situations with my spouse. Prior to using the cap, such sticky situations would have been unavoidable. Below are some actual examples of the cap’s abilities.

Example 1
Her original question: “Would you like to go to the movies tonight?”

Obvious answer to the question asked: “Sure, let’s take a look at what’s showing.”

However, after the cap’s de-scrambling of the question, it came in clearly in this form:
“I want to go see the movie about the young girl and her relationship with the famous rich guy and how she got a broken heart from him, but her heart got healed because she realized she really loved her best friend from high school, the guy named Todd. Don’t be trying to go see that football movie Friday Night Lights because I’ll just pout all the way through it if that’s what YOU want to do.”

My answer after de-scrambling: “No thanks I have some reading to do tonight. However, why don’t you call your friend Janice and ask her to go with you. I think that dating movie about the girl and famous guy has great reviews.”

Example 2
Her original question: “Is eating at home tonight alright with you?”

Obvious answer to the question asked: “Sure sweetie, I’m OK with that.”

However, after de-scrambling, the question came in clearly in this form:

“If you expect me to cook tonight after working all day then you damn well better have your ass in the kitchen helping, cuz I’m not your danged kitchen slave.”

My answer after de-scrambling: “Lets go out tonight, I know you are probably tired and you deserve to have someone else cook for you.”

Example 3
Her original question: Does this dress look OK for the wedding?

Obvious answer to the question asked: “You look as wonderful as always.”

However, after de-scrambling, the question came in clearly in this form: “I hate it. I’ve worn it to 5 straight weddings and you never even noticed. I don’t know why you can’t pay more attention to me. Everyone is going to think I have one damn dress in my closet.”

Answer after de-scrambling: “You would look great in anything, but I think we should look for something new and fresh so you feel good about wearing it.”

I noticed that it is difficult to sleep in the cap. After removing it during the night I was asked “Are you going to snore all night again tonight?”
I was not able to come up with a suitable answer. I would encourage the Men’s Institute to solve the problem with the cap’s comfort during sleep. Other than that I find the Confusion De-Scrambler Cap to be marvelous and just as advertised.

End of report – Johnny Spindude

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Good Will Prevail

My absence here has been about holiday deadlines and family and friends. It is not disinterest. I apologize for not responding to comments, particularly to those who are always here and supportive; you know who you are.

Stopping in to look at comments I saw Enemy had addressed the idea that a shrinking world implies a theoretical concept that is positive and yet hold hazards in its misapplication. I agree with that assessment.

However, I agree with a positive slant and when I wrote that post I was in a positive frame of mind.

What the Cold War victory produced is a global recognition that successful acquisition of economic wealth is based on free market capitalism and not the centralized top heavy, minimal information frameworks of communism, marxism or fascism. Withholding information from the masses, as practiced by these doctrines is no longer possible. The rage against America is precisely because it is our system that has proven the winner and this free market determinism is now at work across the globe. There are winners and losers, and the losers are upset. This will change. The free exchange of information through cell phone, satellite television and internet has made the world at large aware of its oppression and poverty under systems of centralized control.

The decentralization of the world’s capital into the hands of individual investors around the globe and out of the hands of the centralized banking systems of the Cold War era has created a capital and investment pool of money available to all developing nations that does not award its favor based on political connection but is instead based on the performance of the nation’s economy. Credit investors with knowing the truth; truth derived via information available in an instant. Fail the test of the new era of the diverse investor and the money will abandon you. It is capitalism at its best, demanding performance and competition that ultimately generates wealth. The non-performing countries and totalitarian regimes fall further behind. See the former Yasser Arafat and his regime for an example of such failings. Picture his people throwing rocks at Israeli tanks for a vivid reminder. They remain 100 years behind the Israeli’s, stuck in economic hell.

This I think is Enemy’s point about the dual between theory and practice as the world grows smaller. She can correct me if I misunderstood.

This is indeed the focal point of many of the nations that wage psychological and cultural warfare against the US. They are failing in the fight for economic survival because they are late to the game or refuse to play. Witness the French limiting its economy by placing socialistic legal barriers on the amount of hours an employee is ‘forced’ to work. The effect of the legislation tied the hands of the French entrepreneur in tight knots as they tried to compete with the industrious Indians, Japanese or Americans. Capital fled, industry failed or at best struggled to compete. The ultimate failure of such an idea in the shrinking world was completely predictable. Failing to recognize the new era of information sharing, investor diversity and the performance demands of free market capitalism is a ticket to national poverty.

This is not the only reason much of the world hates us. To imagine there is but one reason is to delude ourselves about the complexity of the world. If you listen regularly to NPR radio they will flesh out all their mantra-nized details and invent a few others for good measure for those inclined to hate and blame their own country. It is my opinion however that economics is the major force behind the rage. The Cold War ended with one economic super-power because our system has proven itself to be the one known dependable model for producing wealth and a modicum balance of the wealth for any nation. This will end in time. America will not always be the super power of today precisely because the world grows smaller and a world that wishes for economic success measures itself against the competition. We will have to continue to compete. It is the nature of the system.

With these beliefs of mine, how would I address Enemy’s concerns about duality of good and bad?

I was actually working that point in the previous post. In a new era where digitization of information creates a shrinking world of new opportunity, how do we attend to the spiritual and cultural aspects of the changes? I sat in a seminar recently about the digitization of my profession of architecture. Remarkable and eye opening changes for the practice of designing buildings waits right around the corner. In the seminar one remarkable thought caught my attention. The lecturer asked, “What are the 3 things that our economy cannot produce by digitizing information?”

The answers were leadership, relationships and creativity. With this we start to zero in on Enemy’s question a little.

I can’t say how we as a nation or collection of people bring the have-nots to the table. It may be as harsh as understanding they must bring themselves. Apart from that question of economics, here is what I hoped to convey in the previous post.

As the world grow smaller as a result of the sharing of information and capital asset we inherit the remarkable opportunity to spread what we believe to other hearts around the world. You might call it leadership or relationships. It is the thing we cannot digitize inside another’s heart. And so I asked the question, “What will we teach the little ones at our feet?”

You see, I believe the natural law of good can prevail as long as we are willing to promote it within ourselves and within our underlying generations. And yes, unfortunately there will be times when we are forced to fight for the natural good we believe in. A terrorist will suffer under the truth exactly as a totalitarian regime will suffer. Each is doomed by the free flow of information in an open world. It is a matter of time for this failure to occur with the terrorist. This is the positive message I want to spread among you. Money and economic power will come and go as competition and the influences of the marketplace divine. Values, beliefs and the power of natural good will not vacillate when used properly. It is our responsibility to win this war using the opportunity that a shrinking world lays at our feet. Opportunity knocks.

This was my question of yesterday. What will we teach the little ones at our feet? My answer is that we teach the natural law of good. Terrorism is temporary. It is transient in the way that communism and marxism were transient, doomed by its own inability to honor mans natural inclination toward freedom, self-determinism and the natural law of good. Darwin was not wrong.

Diligence is required. Teaching is required. The careful and sensitive use of bandwidth as we communicate our values to the world is required. Hating and blaming America is a fool’s game with no identifiable goal.

The good will prevail.

What will we teach the little ones at our feet?

What will we teach the little ones across the globe?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Power of the Voices

Simpson book and television special canceled by NewsCorp.
I will consider this a victory for all of our voices. Power to the People? Perhaps.
Time will tell where the biggest pressure came from, but for now lets pat ourselves on the back

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Who Wins When the World Grows Small?

The world continues to march toward what the futurist of yesterday correctly labeled the era of globalization. As the internet and global communication systems expand the reach of all people we find the improbable of yesterday playing out in front our eyes. A man in Seattle plays a video game online with a Brazilian homemaker as his opponent. With a few keystrokes a trader of commodities in China buys American corn to be delivered in 2009. On that same day in 2009 citizens of Chile will wear shoes made in China while watching a laser screen made in Japan. We all know these things. They are a part of our globalized world.

I should point out that our working knowledge of this globalization deals with information transfer and the conduct of commerce. What is unknown to most of us is what this shrinking of the earth means to the end place of the world's spiritual integration and our systems of values, the moral code that defines right from wrong.

The values taught in America, and by logical extension, the values taught around the globe are the values of a previous era. The idea that the world is ten years old was a popular notion of the 1990's decade. Our fathers, mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers have been at work teaching the children far longer than the existence of our 10 year old shrinking and net connected planet.

No one can teach us the future. Where we are headed is a matter of reaction and adaptation. I am thinking that we will react and adapt as our personal values and convictions direct us. As the world narrows, teaching can come from distant sources. How could an Italian grandfather teach a 26 year old American in 1976? It would be unlikely, a familial relationship being the most likely manner. Today however a blogging grandfather in Italy can reach a young American in an instant and transfer all of his opinion and belief in a way that was not imagined in 1976. The world shrinks and the pot of information thickens not because we know so much more but because the information is more readily available to the seeker.

A wise observer of these trends would naturally question the process for transferring our values and our spiritual conviction to the generations beneath us.

In France a college professor moves away from his university podium. Clipping the microphone to his lapel he moves closer to his students, delivering a condemnation of the mercenary and evil culture of the United States. He rages against our president and our lifestyle. Careful observation reveals he does so wearing Levi’s. His bottle of Coca Cola remains behind at the podium. The young French instructed to hate march out to burn US flags in the street, ever careful to not get gasoline on their Gap t-shirts.

Muslim children are told Americans are evil and exist to be murdered. The facility in which they are taught is funded by America’s need for oil. It is a need that fuels an economy that outpaces all others and often feeds the world with aid and generous charity.

A Venezuelan leader comes to the United Nations and criticizes the evil empire of America, while his own country faces immense poverty and a divide in rich versus wealthy that makes the debate of America’s similar problem laughable by comparison. A well known American actor Danny Glover hoists the deceiver onto his shoulders, ignoring that his own success and wealth have been granted by the American system.

My own opinion is that the overriding factor in why America is hated is rooted in becoming the one superpower. We are the winner of the Cold War era. Our success and ascension is owed in large measure to our tendency toward hard work, but perhaps more importantly to our generosity and our supporting system of values and spiritual faith.

I also think this opinion of mine is meaningless when viewed in a globalization context. The larger view would expect that the term ‘super power’ will soon be extinct. What will define this globalized world of our grandchildren? I propose that it may be the natural law of good at work in a self sustaining spiritual system. The good will manifest in action. The opposite possibility will occur if hatred, violence and barbarism become the idea embraced by the majority. Many in the world will need to transform their values in order to survive in a unified world.

Who wins when the worlds grows small?

Before you answer, understand that I ask the question not expecting that the answer will be America, or Iran or China or North Korea or Argentina. I ask instead which side wins when communication is global and the world knits itself together, expecting that the answer lies not in the new formation of republics or dictatorships, but rather that a spiritual conviction and teaching will win the day.

Many of you might want to comment that the answer lies in electing Al Gore not George Bush. This misses the larger point of the concept of a smaller world. I believe we are headed elsewhere as we shrink and communicate universal spiritual views. We move in a direction that the Creator may have always had in mind. We move toward a universal grant. A time of decision. A grant of peace on earth or hell on earth as we forge what we believe within a small community that paradoxically spans across the globe.

What can cause us to change our morals and spiritual convictions? Would it be the weakness of what our parents taught us? Is this just as true for a young Muslim boy taught to hate Christians or a young Muslim girl taught that she has no self rights? Can that be overcome? Can an American child be taught to overcome religious bias?

The world grows smaller. What voice will we use? I trust the voice we want the world to hear is the voice that is persistent and soundly grounded in the natural law of the good.
Who owns the strongest will and the strongest voice in a shrinking world? Who owns the strongest spiritual teaching?

Who wins when the worlds grows small?

What will we teach the little ones at our feet?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Double Transgression

My mother told me that I could not learn a thing from watching television.

She was very wrong.

For example, I learned a valuable cultural and behavioral theory from a television show recently.

My enlightenment occurred while watching Curb Your Enthusiasm. For you intellectuals that obeyed my mother and do not watch television, that’s an HBO show written by Larry David, the creator and writer of Seinfeld.

Larry David makes me laugh; right out loud while sitting on the couch.

The theory, according to Larry’s agent Jeff, is known as the ‘Double Transgression Theory’.

It sounds pretty important with profound psychological implications dripping off its every letter.

It goes like this:

Imagine a dog that has peed on the floor. He has been caught with his leg lifted, and is being herded to the yard to be disciplined. The dog knowing he is already in trouble snatches the plate of ham off the table on his way out. The dog is theorizing that since he is already in trouble and will have to suffer a punishment, why not get another transgression out of the way at the same time, resulting in one punishment rather than the two he would get if he snatched the ham later in the day.

Of course a dog thought of this. Who else?

I like this theory.


You may feel free to report to my mom that I haven’t called her because I have been diligently studying the cultural implications of the double transgression theory and its effects on my personal behavior when confronted with conflicting choices. That will impress her. She likes long sentences like the ones George Will invents.

But, please don’t tell her where I learned this information. She doesn’t like being wrong.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Are You Kidding Me?

And now we see that Fox News will host an interview with OJ Simpson over the Thanksgiving Holidays. The subject of the interview? According to Fox, Simpson will hype his new book by discussing how he would have killed his wife and acquaintance; that is if he had really done so.

I have this to say to Fox News. This is shameful.

I’m not sure anything else needs to be said. It is simply, in my mind, inarguably shameful.

You know the saddest thing here among many sad things? People will watch. People will buy the book. Good ratings will embolden other communication outlets to continue the long slide into sleaze with similar repugnant programming.

Shameful and Disturbing.

Addenda: Below is my email to Fox columnist Mike Straka

It’s total and complete BS that Fox will give air time to this sickness and that you paint it as giving the public what they want. OJ exists because the media shares in his thirst to make money off of sleaze. Fox has a choice. The public is often just watching the television when they are broadsided with this filth. Others, as you say, will specifically tune in, support and be glued to this sick discourse. To defend that Fox has no choice but to give us this at our request misses a larger point of moral clarity and responsibility and feebly defends a filthy national conversation. This is truly shameful of Fox.
Rick Riddle

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Webster’s definition of circumlocution
Circumlocution: a roundabout, indirect, or lengthy way of expressing something.

My mother in law is 86 years old. The large number of years has allowed her to master the fine art of circumlocution. She visited here Sunday while our daughter and our grandson were in town. She wandered around the house a bit then apparently noticed that I needed someone to listen to. She told me she stopped at the bank on her way over, but forgot that it was Sunday and so it did her no good at all since the bank was closed.
I asked her if her bank provides her a debit card and ATM card. This was her answer.

Mom-In-Law: “My neighbor Rita across the street is 92 years old and sometimes her daughter comes to take her to the bank. Now, her daughter understand is 70 herself and she can’t drive at night because of her glaucoma. Anyway, she and her husband only have one car because they don’t really need to go anywhere. I think it's a Buick. No, wait maybe its a Ford, oh shoot I cant remember. Anyway, sometimes they go to WalMart but she told me she really likes Target better anyway because of the prices. The only thing about Target is that it is so far to walk from the parking lot. I don't go to the one near me, there's one over by, oh what's the name of that street? You know the one I mean, by the coffee store that sells that Star-something coffee? Anyway, back when Leonard’s was downtown you could take the trolley and it would take you right up to the door and you didn’t have to walk at all. Nowadays it seems like everybody has a big parking lot and the stores like Target are so big I get tired before I even find what I want. Anyway, she said her husband won’t go into Target because the lights make him dizzy, but the lights in WalMart are different and so it doesn’t bother him in there as much.
Most of the time when they come to get Rita they will come over and say hello to me. One time she brought me a bundt cake that had these big pecans in it. I can’t really eat pecans because of my dentures but I didn’t tell her that, I just took a piece and told her I would eat it later. I don’t really understand why someone would leave big old nuts like that in a bundt cake anyway. I don’t think Rita cooks much either so maybe she just never taught her how.”

Me: What about the ATM card?

Mom-In-Law: “That’s why I was telling you about Target. They have those machines there that I see people putting a card in and I don’t really understand it. Rita said they don’t make mistakes. But, I remember when typewriters first came in and some of the manufacturers put the keys in different places from the other people so you never really knew if you were typing a ‘s’ or an ‘a’ unless you looked at the paper. After a while you got used to your typewriter and you didn’t have to look up, but then they would get you a new typewriter and it would be the other way around and you had to relearn it all over again. It took them some years to decide to make the typewriters the same. Anyway, it just seems like all new things have to have the problems sorted out with them. After all airplanes still crash and they have been around a long time. I still remember visiting Meacham Airport when it opened and that was 80 years ago. Daddy took us out there and I remember sitting on his shoulders so I could see. He was tall. My boys were tall like him, but now Brown Eyed-Girl isn’t tall like that. Anyway the airplanes were some of the type that only hauled cargo and the US Mail. A lot of times the planes had to stop for maintenance somewhere and the mail never got to the place it was supposed to go. Anyway, I don’t want any of those cards, I don’t trust them.”

Me: I see.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Babbling Is Ever a Folly

I am amused that institutions that thrive on performance and the continuation of positive effect are content and comfortable with a deadlocked government.

This seems at first glance to be paradoxical. If the institutions that value progressive and positive movement, such as business, are happy to see the government elected by the people drawn to a conflicted standstill, what does this say for the government?

In a more perfect world it would follow logic that a properly functioning republic form of government would be an aid to the welfare of the people governed. If we define ‘aid to the welfare of the people’ I believe it would fall into a framework of economics and supply of need that is economics based. However for many years now we see that business and Wall Street typically function better for the people when government is stricken with partisan deadlock.

That last sentence is my opinion, also supported by other writers and record keepers. It could be argued that significant legislation such as welfare reform has in fact aided the populace all around and that it was affected by a divided government. I would counter my counter argument by pointing out that welfare reform was a 'too long coming' compromise between political parties hammered out over documented failings that were statistically conclusive. In other words, it was a ‘no-brainer’.

In the beginning the founders of the country forged law and set the tone for growth in an orderly fashion, though it can also be pointed out that its efforts fell short of respecting the original inhabitants and could not avoid a civil war within the US. Nevertheless I think the legislation designed and passed by early congresses helped us set an example of a thriving and successful republic for the rest of the world.

Now we have seemingly arrived at the point where the lack of a functioning congress brings a period where the performance institutions that surround us applaud and breathe a sigh of relief.

Is it possible too much legislation is the culprit? Is it possible to make too many rules?

I will take you weirdly out of context for a moment and I readily confess to the digression being significantly skewed, but if we take professional sports as an example of an institution that values progress and is non-ceasing in its efforts to transcend toward its ultimate perfection, we know that the players, managers and coaches are under significant scrutiny.

Managers that cannot bring success and players that do not measure up by viable measuring standards are released and others are given a chance to prove they are better capable of delivering positive results. In the case of the Texas Rangers this season the manager was released because the players rejected his extensive use of rules, including what they could wear on an airplane, dictates about uniforms, and clubhouse hours and more. Two teams have gone on the next season to World Series championships the year after firing this same manager. A close friend of mine, employed in professional baseball for the past 32 years, tells me this is for no other reason than that the players are able to return to playing baseball without the oppressive managers rules that regulate everything except their performance. They are so relieved to be rid of the oppression of too many rules that they perform way above expectations the following year.

This sounds familiar to me when I think about this phenomenon of business being happy with the congresses ability to do nothing.

Maybe we are altogether better off to suspend the rules making when it now takes experts to interpret only one of the hundreds of rulebooks before us. Maybe Wall Street is on to something worth examining.

Ben Franklin said, “Silence is not always a Sign of Wisdom, but Babbling is ever a folly.” I think I would have liked Ben Franklin a great deal.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Election Reflections Part 1

I am going to break my self imposed ban on writing about politics for a series of 3 or 4 posts. I really should say that I will be writing about political culture. I will tell you that my tolerance is very low for interactive discussion that devalues another’s opinion and I really won’t tolerate that behavior in the comment box. Consider yourselves forewarned.

In fact that idea is the subject of this initial post. Is it just me or have we sunk into new lows in our political discourse? This is not a new observance for me, I have been aware of it for several years.

I participated in a discussion on a video recently. The video consisted of an exchange between CNN reporter Aaron Brown and cartoonist Aaron McGruder. During McGruders hateful diatribe against the president he states that “Beliefs don’t mean anything if you are stupid.”

This comment was met with resounding cheers from commenters that believed it to be a remarkably intellectual statement. I don’t see it that way. I think the comment is soundly failing in logic, compassion and benevolence.

In my mind it is a remarkable display of both arrogance and ignorance that accompanies a mindset of hatefulness. I pointed out to the commenters that it is perfectly possible to have beliefs that effectively guide your life even if we might not have graduated from a northeastern prep school. Actually I used Forrest Gump as an example in my rebuttal trying to help them understand that the fictional character Gump had a profound belief in the power of love for his mother and for Ginny, and that his beliefs were (while fictional) nevertheless meaningful.

I was thinking in a philosophical context that separated the statement from its political hatefulness and placed it instead into the context of human reasoning and simple examination of its base logic.

As you might imagine I was immediately told that I was comparing Bush to a retard and that that somehow proved their point that I was defending the president and this made me stupid as well. The discussion culminated in a commenter declaring me a 13 year old f **** retard. If you would like to follow this predictable and sometimes bizarre discussion it can be found here . I am the commenter Sleepy7.

Now it is important to know I am essentially a political independent and cast no particular lot with either party. As a matter of information you can consider me a limited government advocate. A deadlocked Congress is a wonderful thing to me since it means the government will not actually function except in emergencies, an assessment with which Wall Street agrees.

I do enjoy an intelligent and reasoned discussion. The problem I am seeing across our country is that the process of discussing points of politics or culture often digresses into one party calling another one nasty names if you are not a member of their ideological camp.

In my opinion one of the hallmarks of intelligence and the development of useful social discourse is the ability to listen and accept that another’s position and understanding is important and meaningful to them even if we disagree with their opinion. The fact that they hold a different opinion is not the same as delivering a death sentence to our own beliefs.

In the case of the ‘you tube discussion’ it appeared the audience was unable to excise the intellectual examination of the logic of McGruders comment from their intense hatred of conservatives and the president. The fact that I would challenge the statement immediately set me as a conservative enemy in their mind and the hateful venom was quickly ejected. What is comical to me is that Bush is far too liberal for most conservatives and yet is widely despised by liberals. It’s a strange and hateful political world we occupy. I would leave everyone with this thought. Not everything in our lives or judgment carries political party implications. Perhaps we could all act in a more thoughtful and reasonable manner when dealing with our neighbors beliefs?

Beliefs do mean something to anyone that holds them; even if you are not a northeastern seaboard ‘blue state’ cartoon artist that is all too ready to dismiss the beliefs of those he considers inadequate.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Scatter Shot Election Tuesday

According to Rush Limbaugh he would like to slap Michael Fox 'back to the future' for confusing the electorate and telling little white fibs. However, Limbaugh say it is a difficult task since Fox will not sit still long enough.

Reports from the NFL yesterday said Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard was questionable for the game because he pulled his groin last week. Hmmm…I did too, but I think I could still play football.

A man in Detroit this week was arrested for assaulting his wife. He claimed he grew tired of her ‘looking at him the wrong way’. Clearly, more practice ‘looking at him the right way’ is required.

Just kidding…no hate mail please. Defenses of the slandered individuals are also not required.
However, I would like to hear your sex stories from the weekend.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Following the Piper Across the Illogical Divide

It’s late on a Saturday evening and for some reason I am reflecting on a summer day in June of this year. I was watching the Yankees play the Red Sox on television and the Yankee fans were viciously booing their own player Alex Rodriquez.

This post is not necessarily about baseball, so don’t hang up the phone just yet.

What I am really thinking about is a cultural phenomenon that presents itself for inspection often. Many of us might use the colloquialism ‘piling on’ to describe it. Or we might also call it ‘follow the leader’ or being ‘on the bandwagon.’

What Yankees fans were doing was booing one of the games premier players, and odd to the point of illogic, one of their own players in a situation in which his positive performance would be instrumental to their goals as Yankee fans.

I see this often. My take on this is a simple analysis really. I think we often behave in a herd mentality to our detriment. A talk show host or someone on the New York sports scene decides to jump the case of Rodriquez and soon the unthinking herd has picked up the beat and the next scene observed is the thundering roar of complete illogic.

From Florida elections history we are told that elections are rigged and our vote does not count. The Democratic Party confesses it must now re-educate its voters to understand they really should vote because their vote actually does count. Once again the bandwagon effect plays a part in an illogical action from voters based on the wagon loading voice of the party’s leaders themselves.

We watch the disgraced Ted Haggard place countless thousands on the anti-gay bandwagon while he pays for gay sex on the quiet. The anti-gay beat resonates across religious America with intense fervor as the wagon grows tall with followers of the Haggard position, no personal thought required; we’ll just follow gay Ted to loud and profane illogical conclusions.

It is not a crystallized thought with me at this point, but I am moving toward the idea that we are often simply too cowardly to act on our own thoughts. We find a chorus we are comfortable singing and then we find many others to sing it with, abandoning additional thought. It matters not that the song doesn’t belong to our heart or even represent our soul’s reflection. Rather it is the easy out, the repetition of another’s thought brought forward into reality without a proper gestation based on individual thought.

So we join the chorus that sounds more or less socially presentable to us, one that makes us acceptable to others. We do it because the consequences of being different or disputing the logic of the masses is unpleasant. This failure in stepping away from the tribe is apparent in history. If it were not true, then Hitler would not have done the damage he did and fanatical Muslims could not so willingly kill from atop their bandwagon of immense hate carrying the illogical notion that the service of virgins is the reward for the murder of fellow humans.

I say these things because I believe in a natural order handed down by the Creator. I believe all things are presented in the good and that evil originates from our failures to understand or correctly implement the natural law.

This might sound mysterious, but for me it is as simple as listening to the inner soul or perhaps what we think of as heart. If the heart and mind feel good and you do not suffer from psychosis, then I propose we are working in the natural order. If it somehow feels wrong then perhaps we should consider if we are atop another’s bandwagon instead of riding comfortably inside our own set of values and God granted abilities to discern good from evil

I fear the possibility that I follow the Piper across the illogical divide too often. I pray that it isn't true. I wish to be brave enough to ride on a bandwagon of one called 'me', walking in the good with logic in hand.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Point of Departure

The opening lines to the movie The Departed are given to Jack Nicholson. It’s something along the order of “I don’t want to be a product of my environment; I want the environment to be a product of me.”
Watching the movie I am given the impression the viewer is expected to absorb the message in a sinister manner. I got hung up on these lines. Given that these are the first spoken words of the movie meant I lost my place a couple of times as I mulled the thought through.
Somewhere in the front third of the movie came another honey of a line. Replying to another actor that has stated that he feels like he is dying, Nicholson deadpans “We all are, act accordingly.”
Now I have two memorable lines running through my brain and my concentration on the movie began to develop slow leaks. I’m betting the director and writers were not expecting the audience might get hung up on contemplation over a couple of lines, but they are memorable lines aren’t they?
Can this first remarkable phrase about the environment be considered sinister? The actions, thoughts and behavior of Hitler or Bin Laden could prove this case in my reasoning. Could it be used in white ways? It sounds like the working philosophy of Jesus, Gandhi or Mother Teresa as well. This is truly a double edged sword of a phrase.
“I don’t want to be a product of my environment; I want the environment to be a product of me.” We could all spend some time with that phrase. I thank the writers of The Departed for sharing it with me. Maybe it has an historical origin and my lack of literacy limits me having known this phrase before.
The second line that confirms we are all dying and therefore should ‘act accordingly’ carries equal paradox to the careful listener. We can turn that phrase inside out and re-write it as “We are all living, act accordingly” and then we might still wonder if we have the same meaning in place?
The movie itself is a twisting tale of violence and double-cross, the sort of Hollywood brew that turns back on itself so many times it is easy to get lost. There are lots of bullets through brains and folks leaving life in violent and improbable ways. And of course the main characters are inevitably united in a mano v mano scene where all other cops and criminals are mysteriously absent even though the scene began with their presence.
I’m taking away these two memorable lines to work with:
“I don’t want to be a product of my environment; I want the environment to be a product of me.”….and….“We all are, act accordingly” in reference to dying.
For some reason I am reminded of another very memorable line given to Nicholson in the movie Chinatown. The principal actress in the movie telephones Nicholson and asks him if he is alone….the reply from Nicholson was “Aren’t we all?”
These are three remarkable phrases to think about on Monday. I’m twisting them inside out and standing them upside down. I’m going to shake their pockets toward gravity later. I want to see if I can get a little more out of them.

For now, TTYL.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Seven Leaves of Autumn

If I could catch the now I would place it in a jar,
I would watch it and come to know it;
I would cling tightly to the hope of understanding what I see.

When I open the window of the car on an October morning,
I feel the cool breeze and smell the clean air.
I hear the children play on the school playground,
Their laughter resonates against, and then mixes with the fall breeze.
I feel the now; and then it is gone again.

My mind ricochets around the past, and then bounds toward the future.
The present is left to wait.
The children play but I no longer hear.
I wait in expectation for the future; I wish yesterday had not disappeared without warning.
If I could catch the now I would place it in a jar,
I would screw the lid down tight.

To see the world as it wants to be.
To know now is enough.
To understand today’s now becomes tomorrow’s memory in a blink.
To know that tomorrow is not yet earned.

To feel the tear on the cheek as though it were the first one ever.
To hear the birds sing as if it was all new.
To smell the autumn; the smell of a fireplace burning as it moves across the evening air.
To feel the leaves under my feet, and the rain on my head.

To see a friend’s smile and comprehend it as a golden gift.
To feel as if I were dreaming with my eyes open wide.
To see the world as it wishes to be for me.
To know now is enough.
If I could catch the now I would place it in a jar,
I would give it to you; and laugh when you laugh.

If I could catch the now I would place it in a jar,
I would try with all that is inside me to embrace it.
And if I did hold it long enough,
I would give you seven leaves of autumn, of different colors each.
I would do it right now,
And smile when you smile.

If I could catch the now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Man With A Crooked Smile

I was raised in the kind of poverty that wasn’t oppressive enough to make an emotional dent. It was the type of want that prevented new clothes. I wore my older brother’s clothes as he grew larger. Often the pants had patches on the knees. We didn’t go to restaurants. If we went on a vacation it consisted of visiting the local lake for a weekend of camping out and cooking over an outdoor grille. Genuine world travelers were we.

I was loved back then and the same people that loved me then love me still. Some are gone of course, but I trust they still come around and accept me despite their graduate status.

One thing that was not available to me was dental care beyond the basics. It hasn’t turned out so bad really; I have a handful of fillings now later in life. But the word orthodontics was unknown in our house, at least I had never heard of the word until many years later. I have paid for orthodontics, writing check after check for my kids. Tomorrow my day comes. At 55 years of age I will have a set of braces placed on my teeth. It happens tomorrow morning (Wednesday). Our blog friend Leonard Leonard said I should write about this. I was hesitant. I am a little modest about my teeth I suppose. They are well taken care of, clean and white. The bottom ones are more crooked than the top. Most of the time when I smile and show only top teeth it looks normal for a baby boomer I suppose.

Still writing about something so personal seemed difficult for me so I decided not to do so.

I changed my mind this morning.

Isn’t it interesting the way that small things we say to one another can have such a dramatic impact? We talk a lot of nonsense to one another, particularly bloggers, but every now and then someone will say something to you that makes a bullseye. Not the type bullseye that Warren Buffett describes. He says too often we shoot the arrow and then walk up and draw a circle around the arrow, then draw great comfort in our shooting accuracy. Instead I am talking about a true bullseye, a comment that hits the mark of our consciousness and strikes deep, sometimes good and sometimes ill.

That happened to me this morning and it created the springboard for me to be able to write about this experience in my life. The comment came from my little brown eyed girl here at home. We were talking about the details of the event; sore mouth, sore teeth and pain killers. She stood looking at me for a second longer than my instincts might expect her to and then she said, “You know, I think I am going to miss that crooked little smile of yours.”

The power of this statement didn’t hit me for a while, but when it did I knew I needed to write about it. For me it meant unconditional love was surrounding me. Isn’t this what we all seek? To know that we are loved despite our imperfections? To know that someone loves us so much that our imperfections are not only forgiven, but possibly even incorporated into the base equation for that acceptance and love? For me it turned into a spiritual signal moment

To feel her love despite my imperfections, and to have it expressed in such a disarming and simple fashion, this was my gift from the brown eyed girl today. It’s priceless to me.

Someone said grown men don’t cry?

Sometimes the man with the crooked smile does.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Waiting for Tomorrow

I’m always waiting.

I’m not sure what it is that I am waiting for.

Staring at the clock. It’s 2pm and I wonder if 3pm will be different.

Watching the rain and waiting for the sun.

Watching the sun and waiting for the rain.


Wishing for the things upon which I wait.

Waiting for the thing upon which I wish.

Waiting to see who loves me at the end.

Wishing that my wait for the end is not near.


What is around my corners?

What is contained in the day known as tomorrow?

Waiting to find out.

Waiting for the night, then the darkness causes me to await the light.

Waiting. I’m always waiting.

When will now be enough?

The fatigue of waiting makes me want change.

Waiting on the change from waiting all the time.

When will now be enough?