I’m not a fan of sharing some of my most personal details in public (OK…yeah…that’s a lie). But this one is one of those “Oh Dear GOD!!! I knew you were….but I didn’t think you were…” kinds of confessions. And no. It’s not about my age or my golf handicap. Both of which are far higher than most people imagine.
No. It has to do with the darkest secret of all. I have been carrying around a 5th grader…for YEARS…and I haven’t had the courage to admit it. Continue reading →
As with countless developments in the “modern age” of sports, a series of events magnified the differences between the terms “amateur” and “greatness” in college athletics. Yes…this is likely to feel like a “geezer rant,” about the “good old days.” But in this case, the two primary events were inescapable. One, the early departure of a “great football player,” who I think left for the wrong reasons. The other, the loss of a great man who played and coached football for all the right reasons. Continue reading →
I have to admit it…this feels really different. After a year of dealing with lockdowns, too many deaths from friends and family, and just trying to get through it all, I am ready to try something different.
I have been working full time since I was 20 years old. I started my “adult working career” just weeks before my 21st birthday. It was a case of being thrown into the deep end…in frigid cold waters…in a raging river of dramatic reality…and finding a way to survive.
As “normal” begins to return to the country (remember normal?), I realize that I am slowing but surely finding a way back from the Trump PTSD way of life that used to start with checking my news/social media/talking heads every morning upon waking.
It is a relief…and weirdly stressful.
We have all been programmed for so long to expect another boot to drop (although Trump likely was barefoot as he did his daily tweet-strafing run from the bathroom), that weeks of nothing is…well…stressful in its own way.
And the fact is, we have all been screaming into the echo chamber for so long, that we almost feel weird checking in with our fellow “Dump Trumpers” and talking about anything other removing him from office.
But, weirdly…the echo chamber may have grown louder…and could land you in Twitter Jail! Continue reading →
It is easy to get excited about the prospects of Trump being removed from office through the impeachment trial before we have to deal with him in the general election.
Wishing doesn’t make it real.
It’s. Not. Going. To. Happen.
But, this week, the big news in the Democratic primary race, is that “she who won’t just go away,” is out stirring up more trouble; specifically for Bernie. And frankly, trouble for Bernie, is trouble for the entire field. She is giving more ammo to the circular firing squad, when we should all be taking aim at Trump.
To call Hillary a “sore loser” would be doing a disservice to every playground whiner in the world. She is cut of the same cloth as Trump. Vindictive, obsessed, and unrelenting in her ability to twist facts to make it look like she is the victim.
However, this post is actually not about her specifically (except the results of her hubris in 2016). It is about what we need to watch, and the states we need to win, to finally be done with Trump. Continue reading →
At my age, there are few things in life that surprise me anymore. However, every once in a while, you have an experience that is unique, fun, and completely gratifying. This week, I had one of those experiences, by being a guest on the STR Podcast.
STR stands for “Spent the Rent,” and just the name should give you an idea of how interesting, funny, and self-deprecating Patrick Stutz (aka SelfEsteem Boat Willie) can be.
The STR Podcast is absolutely my favorite local podcast, because it is so very, very local. Like Eugene, Patrick welcomes a huge range of guests, from political figures, social advocates, musicians, and even the occasional college professor. And the super “insider secret” (that’s not a secret any longer) is that it was suppose to be me and him…”Two Pats In a Pod,” out of an idea hatched in the barber chair.
Yes. Patrick is also my barber. And that what makes his podcast so amazing. It’s like sitting in the barbershop, mixing it up with whoever walks in, but without the fear of getting nicked, if things get too heated. And, our conversation got heated… Continue reading →
Yes. I endured watching last night’s debate. And of course, my takeaway is far different than what is being portrayed in the Media from almost all sources.
The desperation for relevance, by almost all of the “front-runners” and a handful of those who don’t have a chance in hell, but won’t give up, was clear by the plethora of emails I got, before, DURING and after the debate. During? Yep…no more than three “how am I doing, please donate!” emails while the debate was going on. Take away their phones?
The whole process is pathetic, demeaning, and may very well be helping Trump get re-elected.
Who’s to blame? The media for hyping the differences (there are very few differences between the front-runners), the Polls (which are determining who is “in the lead and who is catching up) 4 months before the first primary or caucus, and the DNC, who is pushing this mess on the candidates, with all sorts of false benchmarks put in place, including the need to fund-raise…relentlessly.
Brad Parscale has to be loving this…and may be part of the mayhem that is being spread across social media.
Let’s break this down into something that makes sense…and also offers up a real chance to win in November (as in a Year from now!). Continue reading →
It’s really unbelievable, that we find ourselves in the same kind of “Party Turmoil” that lost us the election in 2016. At that time, during our huge 9,600 mile cross country trip, my wife and I could see the writing on the lawns…or more specifically, the lack thereof, in most of the swing states in our country.
To recap…Hillary either barely won, or lost big to Bernie in several of the swing states…and then decided she “had this in the bag,” and didn’t bother campaigning there in the final weeks before the general election. Not a “Hillary 2016” lawn sign was to be seen in places like Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. This opened up the door to the genius (and I don’t use that term loosely) of Brad Parscale’s digital onslaught of Facebook and Social Media manipulation (with a small boost from the Russians), to sway those sitting on the fence, after watching the DNC steal the convention from Bernie.
It was the song that changed the whole direction of the video, and propelled it from “home video release” to National Network Special. I played all of the instruments, except for the blistering sax solo by NW jazz great Warren Rand (recorded live in my laundry room with mic cables running down the hall). The voice is the amazingly smooth and soulful Ron Tinsley, one of the best singers I have ever had the pleasure to have worked with. Ron sings lead, as well as the bass part. I fill in the middle and high parts. The original demo has a blues harp part where Warren’s sax part now resides… Warren’s part won hands down.
The album version is the full-length version that allows the natural ending of the song to work. I created the original tracks in the small recording studio I used for my ad agency work, on an 8 track recorder. These tracks were bumped later to 16 track- then 24 track for the final mixes, but most of the original demo is actually part of the final product. I play and sing everything except the amazing sax solo by Warren Rand, and of course the lead (and bass) vocal be the equally amazing Ron Tinsley. I really enjoy the mixing of styles on this one…from African/Latin beats to blues… it kind of captures the amazing range of popular music of that era.
He actually said that. The “He” in this case, is a self-proclaimed “Constitutional Warrior” who I stumbled into, or should I say, was stalked by, on Facebook. Stalked is actually far too intense a term, as he is a “friend, of a husband, of a friend” on Facebook, who decided to make it his job to “school me” on Assault Weapons, the 2nd Amendment, and about everything in between, as it pertains to his right to own “any weapon he chooses.”
But in his defense, he is not unique…not by any stretch of the imagination. The kind of silly stuff he believes and spouts, is the same stuff I’ve heard from countless NRA trolls. He is just “another one,” from a long list of rhetoric spewing “gun dudes” who fancy themselves unique, while claiming to be a “protector of American freedom.”
But, first, before we start the real conversation, some subtext.
For decades now, I have watched the gun lobby, and more specifically, the NRA, morph from a group of sport hunters with an agenda, to a Deep State group of lobbyists owned by weapons manufactures, with the tacit goal of controlling Congress, and arming every citizen of the United States.
I use the “Deep State” analogy for the NRA, because like it or not, they are being exposed by their own actions, as purveyors of more manipulated fake news and influence peddling, than the supposed “Deep State” and “Dark Money” activities promoted as fact by idiots like Alex Jones. It was guys like Alex, and the propaganda factory of the NRA, that actually created a real-life “Pizza Gate” situation with another perplexed “motivated patriot” who discharged an AR-15 type weapon in a pizza parlor, certain that it was harboring child-sex-slaves that served the Democratic party elite.
I know. Old news. Right?
Except when you read the kinds of things that the “average” Gun Rights Supporter spouts during a social media “conversation,” (confrontation would be a better term), you will start to see the kinds of insanely narrow and rigid views that anyone seeking common sense and compromise is going to encounter.
However, to frame the conversation and my views completely,you need to know my position, and why I am now so ardently in favor of the ban of “Assault Weapon” and semi-automatic weapons to the general public. And no, they are not one in the same. Continue reading →
Here we go again… Our public officials being “outraged” and then cowering behind the words of indignant inaction.
When is enough, really enough? When “We the People” get off of our lazy, entitled, self-involved asses, to DO SOMETHING other than just tweet, FB post, and Like/Thumbs Up about the obvious.
The obvious? Our country is so horribly broken by special interests, and lobbyists, that the electoral process is easily rigged, hacked, and controlled, FROM THE INSIDE. We the People have no real voice in politics, because we have decided to hand our power off to special interests, media, and government, in a way that has actually diminished our freedom, destroyed our sense of well-being, and created a culture that is so bereft of common sense, that we have been dragged back to a way of life that is now mimicking one of the worst decades in our history…the 1960s.
Don’t look now folks, but “the Cold War” and the threat of nuclear war is back…along with racial unrest, gun violence, and political corruption. Whoohoo! The “good old days” are here again!
We cloak ourselves in Social Movements that do little in the way of real solutions. The “Me Too” movement? Pfffttt… sorry…but as long as we continue to support elected officials who are part of the problem (Trump and Billary, are in the same camp), the movement is a mockery of ambiguity. If you are going to take down Garrison Keillor, and leave the Commander in Tweet untouched, you don’t have my support for your “movement.” But more so…if you can create a national fervor, driven by the “Hollywood crowd” who do more to perpetrate sexism than any other business entity, while not using the same momentum and power to stop the taking of innocent lives by random acts of domestic terror with Assault Rifles…again…your movement is impotent.
But, lets’ dive into the real problem…
Is the problem that we don’t hold our elected officials to a standard of competence, asking them the hard questions that would improve governance? Nope.
The REAL problem with our country, our culture, and any hope of improving our future, is that we don’t ask OURSELVES the hard questions…and don’t hold OURSELVES accountable.
WE THE PEOPLE…are the problem.
This is a nation of people who are the most privileged and therefore entitled, in the entire world. Even those on welfare here, would be considered “rich” in most developing nations, which constitute more than 90% of the world’s population. More than 70% of the world’s population lives on $30-$50 per MONTH. So…when cell phone and social media penetration is at more than 100% (yes…some have multiple devices) in the United State (including the impoverished), and more than 81% of ALL Americans, having a FaceBook account, you would think that the “Power of the People” to reach consensus, and hold government accountable would be easier than ever before.
Not. So. Much.
Facebook is part of the problem…in that they constantly shift their “Feed Algorithms” around to keep the action hot on the most active posts. Unfortunately for us, that is usually inane garbage about celebrities, sports, and boosted “fake news” (from both sides) that is blasted up the “trending ladder” by millions of “fake bot accounts” used to “repost” stories that those who want to influence the masses, control.
Russians? Hell yes. But, MOSTLY those who are paid by “special interests” to influence those who are easily influenced…We The People.
Do you actually think it is coincidence that the NRA is being investigated for money laundering of Russian “donations” to the Trump campaign? But, more important…knowing that this is even a remote possibility, HOW DO NRA SUPPORTERS CALL THEMSELVES TRUE AMERICANS???????
There it is. The first hard question–with an obvious answer–that everyone is afraid to ask on social media, let alone in person.
But, I am asking it now…
I have friends, and family members who are gun owners, many of whom support the NRA as the “protector of legal firearm ownership.” Of course…we know that this has become one of the worst national jokes, making our country more dangerous than ever before, because we are too lazy to really do anything about it.
The Gun Debate is no longer a debate. It has devolved into the same kind of never-ending, circular conversation as “Do you believe in God?” And at some point…we are going to have to ask both at the same time, because it is becoming DAMN TOUGH to actually be a true Christian, and a supporter of the NRA.
Yep. I just did it again.
We are at a point in our country’s history, when the two have become so inextricably intertwined (the Christian Right, and Extreme Conservatism) that we have to start pointing out ambiguity where it is the most obvious. “Right to Life”…without Protecting Life from random acts of violence from assault weapons? Ambiguity at its worst.
But, the “Left” isn’t without blame on this one. As long as we “take to social media” without actually DOING anything except pointing fingers…we are as much responsible as those who overtly support a “hands off gun restriction laws” approach.
Look. This is complicated stuff…because we have been so completely LAZY about dealing with the symptoms. We are a society that continues to say, “We have a cancer…” but then continues to smoke, eat carcinogens, and drink until our livers erode into raisins. That is a metaphor…but probably also true about cancer in general. But, I digress…
Gun Laws, like any other laws, only change when you make it so clear that “EVERYONE” is responsible, that answers become obvious, and those responsible, are held accountable.
We did it with the “Me Too,” movement (mostly), which is a movement of lives being ruined by sexual power…why the HELL CAN’T WE DO IT WITH GUN CONTROL…WHERE LIVES ARE BEING TAKEN, DESTROYED, AND DEVISTATED by our own stupidity and inaction???
Yes. Louis CK masturbated in front of a bunch of peers, who didn’t ask for him to do it. One guy…with a Semi-Automatic Weapon…KILLS countless innocent victims…every week of the year…and we can’t figure out a solution???????
OH… and let’s not forget the fact that while Trumpski and his movement of brown shirts cloaked in suits are carting off Dreamers…NONE of the School Shooters, or any of the other domestic mass shootings were perpetrated by illegal immigrants. None. Not one.
Sorry. But, I’m done talking.
For the foreseeable future… get used having me poke you in the eye, until we can solve this ridiculously easy problem to solve. I.E. STOP SELLING ASSAULT WEAPONS TO THE PUBLIC. PERIOD.
They are military weapons. Hunters don’t use them…and “Sport shooters” can damn well use something else (like an air rifle).
Time to get to work. I’m done dancing around the issues. Be prepared to make a difference, or keep turning your head away from common sense.
To say that Hillary’s new book, “What Went Wrong” is ill-timed, and unwanted would be an understatement. This is the election that just won’t go away…much like Hillary.
But, what is even more troubling, is that someone who has been a lifelong politician (and yes…being Bill’s wife counts, as that was part of her political aspiration to reach the top, from her earliest career goals), doesn’t seem to understand the REAL reasons that she lost.
Even worse than being a “lifer” in an age when people clearly want “change to the status quo,” is not being able to recognize the real problems she faced, the real warning signs that were flashing in front of her face, and her inability to adapt to a shifting landscape that was in part her own making.
There are THREE Primary reasons she lost the election. Two of them are not her fault directly, but the last one is ALL Hillary…and should be a cautionary tale for the next candidate of either gender, who decides to run.
I have to admit something right from the top. I have grown so accustomed to Social Media confrontations that devolve into weird shouting matches, that I find myself surprised when the same thing happens in real life. Being sandwiched between the latest Trump Tweet barrage, and “news” that Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are at war again should be enough to make me immune to surprises and mind-explosions on a daily basis (yes…having news servers for radio stations as part of my business has horrible side effects). But, every once in a while…you bump into the “real thing” in “real life,” and it is so jarring that you find yourself cleaning gray matter from your favorite shirt for weeks, as a result.
I had one of these experiences at a casual 45th High School reunion recently.
And yes…I admit, that this is risky stuff…actually “outing” someone in public for their views. But, I can assure you…anyone sitting around this guy for more than a few minutes realized that he had no problem whatsoever, “outing himself” gleefully, and self-righteously, so as to leave no question as to his stance on the basics of common human decency. Continue reading →
The events of the 2016 election, obvious Russian interference, and any collusion between parties to sway the election, are beginning to come to a head. There is little doubt by anyone that the Russians made a very clear, and unprecedented effort to disrupt our election process, sway the election in ways that are being unraveled almost daily…and may have grave consequences for the Trump administration.
After watching Comey’s public testimony, and taking a great deal of time to parse reams of stories in the media, untold numbers of tweets, and walking through the chain of events that got us to this historic point in time, I have come to an undeniable conclusion about who is truly responsible for this mess.
I know. The headline is “sensational” to say the least. But, there were three very specific things that happened this last week that made me want to unplug every padular and mobile device in my possession. To co-op the old Timothy Leary phrase, I wanted to “Turn Off, Tune Out, and Hide in the Corner…”
But of course, as an owner of a handful of Internet-related enterprises (trust me, that sounds way bigger than reality if the IRS is reading this), I HAVE to care about the three biggest developments to shake up the our current reality, and completely alter the future as we know it.
And no…for once, I am not overstating this. An absolute Game-Changer slid through the morass of “Spy-vs-Congress” headlines this week. One that in my opinion may be more damaging to our way of life than anything signed since the massive deregulation bills of communications and investment banking in 1997.
And the worst part, is that the average voter/citizen is too lazy or ill-informed to catch it.
1. Both Senate and House Committees on Intelligence made it clear that there was very specific, and damaging use of “weaponized” information gathered on our highest elected officials, not only during the past election cycle, but as recently as this past week.
2. It was revealed by several news agencies that the head of the Congressional House Intelligence Committee is likely working with/for the Trump administration to hide/alter documents that may be “impeachment-worthy.”
I really did mean to write this a few days ago. But, when I heard that FBI Director James Comey, and NSA Director Mike Rodgers were going to testify before the Congressional House Intelligence Committee, I thought I’d wait. It felt like there was a lit fuse, waiting to ignite a bombshell. A game-changer…a “Holyfreakinshirt…this is HUGE” moment.
And there was. Just not the “HFS moment” I (and most of America) hoped for or expected.
Yes. The news that the FBI is indeed investigating the Trump-Russia connection as a “criminal investigation” sent shock waves of glee/anger (depending on which side of the aisle you sit) across the globe. But the HISTORY MAKER was watching a sitting President, not only refute the statements of his two highest heads of domestic and foreign intelligence…but actually lie… IN REAL TIME, using his favorite tool of self-deception, Twitter.
Which brings us to our final “Waking Up the Power of the People”- SOLUTIONS PART III
Just a warning…you probably aren’t going to like Part III any more than you liked parts I and II… because it requires you to do your own homework. And we all know how “grown adults” feel about homework.
If all of you who follow along actually did what I suggested in the last post, you have seen a week where our “Commander in Tweet” has once again spun facts, pandered to women (not an assaulting P-Grabbing threat in the bunch), claimed that his strategies have already set new records in jobs creation…and that health care reform, is “making great progress.”
Let’s just agree to disagree on most of what he says…right? He is a master of the “say it enough, and people will believe it” tactic that actually got him elected in the first place.
But what we face, is a daily onslaught of truly random ideas, with seemingly contrary results (reducing the deficit while increasing spending, but cutting budgets, while increasing defense…while cutting TSA and Coast Guard to build a wall), that are all born out of one very clear objective…LET THE 1% RUN FREE and everything else will follow.
This makes Reagan’s “Trickle Down Economics” look like a drip…and the dam that keeps the deluge from destroying the country in an unbridled fury of greed, is being dismantled from the inside.
But, there is a way to turn off the spigot of insanity that is polluting the waters of clear thinking (had enough water metaphors yet?), and it comes back to the same “source” every time…Congress.
Here’s why Congress, and attacking their soft underbellies, is the only way we will wrest back any control from this power-drunk-rhetoric-fueled-potentate. Continue reading →
So, I admit it. I started watching the “President’s Address to Congress” with the same snarky, close-minded attitude that many of my “Hate Everything he Says And Does” (HESAD) group of friends had. But, within five minutes of my self-imposed drinking game (take a drink every time he said, “Very, Very, VERY” in his speech), I realized that I was watching a “New Trump.” Kinda mostly… and wasn’t drunk enough not to notice!
He was measured. He cut back on the campaign rhetoric. He actually presented some ideas (although admittedly not with solutions for funding them) that actually had my bulbous noggin nodding. “Whaaaaaa Happened?”
So then I went to check the posts from our Commander in Tweet (yes, I follow him on Twitter…more on that in a minute), and realized that he had taken a moratorium (short, very, very, VERY short) on laying waste to the Tweet-O-Shere over the days preceding his speech.
Just TWO posts in two days…both pimping his big speech. Holyfreakinshirt!
So, WHAT got into him? What changed? Who got his attention? Is it going to last??? Continue reading →
It is a pretty well-known assumption (won’t go so far as to call it fact) that one of the primary reasons that Trump was actually motivated to run for President, and has such a targeted dislike for President Obama, was Obama’s dismantling of Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in 2011.
So when Trumpski gets a chance to take the podium, and level his own brand of “humor” at the Press corp, one would assume that he would join in the “good-natured ribbing” that has been a tradition for decades. But, noooooooooooooooooooo….
Once again, Trump is the first POTUS in 30 years to take a pass on the event… in essence blackballing himself from his own media opportunity. Perhaps he feels bad for excluding some of the representatives of targeted news media this past week. (I’ll wait for you to stop laughing).
But, it is far more likely, he is just, plain CHICKEN.
I’d like to say that I have some great reason for stepping away from the Blog-O-Sphere into a self-induced coma. But I really don’t have one…except that in the vernacular of a character that may appear in the book, “Hillbilly Elegy” (which I’ll get back to in a bit), “My Head Done Got Broke.”
It’s been more than three months since the “election that changed the world,” and I still get a “flee or fight” burst of adrenaline that blasts through my body when I hear the term, “President Trump” uttered by anyone. I admit readily, that the entire concept, and the Bizzaro-World reality that has kept the country and our allies on our collective heals since his inauguration (crowning? anointing? assumption of power?), has left me reeling in ways that have left my face in a permanent, pained squint…like watching a YouTube video of a kid trying to skateboard on the railings of a staircase, and then falling to crush his testicles as gravity wins the battle. “Pained expression” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I guess it is the GRAVITY (as in very, very, very grave to use Trump-speak) that has rocked me from my coma, and back into the fray.
So. Much. To. Do.
It’s time to strap on the backpack, with the giant Sisyphusian bolder in it, and head back up the mountain.
But there’s another reason that “Blogging for a cause” has lost its luster...until now. Continue reading →
On November 12th, just four days after she lost, Hillary made her first speech reference about the FBI’s role in her loss. In a New York Times article, she is quoted as saying, “There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a donor who relayed the remarks. But, she added, “our analysis is that Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.”
Nope. Sorry, Hillary. If you want to talk about “damaging bad news that was leaked,” there was evidence for months, and just days before you were crowned…er…uhm…chosen as the Party’s nominee, about the DNC/HRC collusion to make sure Bernie Sanders was marginalized. However…the part you ignored wasn’t in the back-room tactics, but the raw numbers that the primary elections revealed, before coming back to haunt you on November 8th.
One thing people have to know about me is that I am kind of a “stats freak.” For decades as someone in marketing/advertising, it has been my job and my passion to not only be able to see trends in data, but to learn to follow my “gut instinct” when it comes to assumptions. And for the most part, ironically because I work in broadcast media, I rarely if ever trust the general media to give me a straight answer when something is important.
The Media (of all flavors) has their own job to do; namely, to keep people targeted and coming back for more. I’ll get into the media’s role in this election more in the next post (see? I’m planting the hook…) but, suffice it to say, that I have doubted the pollsters, the talking heads, and 24-hour news channels and their predictions of a Clinton win for months.
And as much as I know you are tired of hearing about it, many of my suspicions, hunches, and gut feelings (now there’s a string of scientific imperial methods for you) were formed on our 9,600 mile, cross country trip last summer. With the exception of Florida, we drove through the very states that “stole the election” from Hillary, and interacted with loads of people there, never shying away from asking them about their political views.
However, when it comes to the results of this election, and some of the key numeric factors that created the outcome, the answer was in the numbers, MONTHS ahead of November 8th.
And, as I teased in the last post (see? I understand the bait/promo media game), there was a twist that my recent research revealed, that really made this election outcome a foregone conclusion. But even more important, it makes an argument for revising the entire primary election process, including changes in the Electoral College and Primary Nomination process.
Fair Warning: This is a Long Post – If you suffer from attention deficit due to extended padular device and social media overuse, it may not be for you. But, these are complex problems that require more than simplistic finger pointing. So, buckle in.
There are times when I am not happy about being right. This is one of them.
But I am also shocked that people are surprised by the outcome. Trump is a logical conclusion, with the outcome being projected by loads of factors, all of them outside the traditional “politics as usual” box. The signs weren’t just there lurking in the shadows, but were screaming loudly, almost daily, for years, until finally ratified by the voters (or at least those who showed up to vote).
This isn’t something that can be wrapped into one, nice, neat, package with a red bow. The reasons for us waking up to a Trump Presidency go back decades, and ironically, are partially the result of several self-inflicted wounds by Hillary’s husband (and no…not his sexual peccadilloes), as well as a voting public who has traded common sense and dignity for infotainment and general apathy.
We didn’t get here for any single reason, and solving the real problems of this country are going to take some dedicated, focused, hard work. But, it starts with realizing where the real problems originated, and admitting our roles in allowing our country to be hijacked by assclowns.
Make no mistake about it, “We the Sheeple,” watched this happen over the course of decades. And to stand in the streets, baaaaahing and bleating in anger at the outcome, is disingenuous and immature. This is tantamount to a drunk driver, who wrecked a car and destroyed property and lives, blaming the bartender for over serving you. This is about apathy that runs so deep in the electorate that we have lost sight of what the real problems are, and how to begin fixing them. This is about people who are finally waking up to the ramifications of standing on the sidelines, instead of getting into the game, or at least taking as much time to choose our leaders as the average fantasy football “team captain” takes to manage their team.
And, I will begin the finger-pointing with myself. Trust me, there is plenty of blame to go around, so why not start with me? Continue reading →
I haven’t posted anything on this blog since August. There is a reason for this, and it doesn’t give me any pleasure to reveal it to you. The fact is, I have renounced my greatest right as an American citizen, and allowed overwhelming fear to guide my daily battle to post, or simply shrug and walk away from the keyboard.
I am by nature, not a fearful person. In fact, most who know me would say that I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, and say what I want, without worrying about offending those who may disagree with me. But, the instant that the two party nominees were announced and crowned, I could feel an overwhelming, soul-crushing sense of dread begin to wash through me, that has built over the months, into a rushing torrent of self-hatred for my own lack of personal integrity. And it has finally come to this…a last, desperate attempt for absolution, for what I am about to do on Election Day. Continue reading →
My true love affair with the Perseids Meteor Shower was born in a meadow, just below the North Sister, along the Pacific Crest Trail. As some of my Parkrose friends remember, my Dad used to do “Summer Science” camps that ranged from basic trips to the coast, to extended 2-week hikes along the Pacific Coast Trail, starting in the Three Sisters Wilderness area, and hiking South over a 50-mile range.
The most memorable of these was in the summer after my freshman year in high school, which as most of you will confess, is one of the most self-centered times of a young person’s life. Several of my best friends joined more than 25 kids, along with Dad’s co-teacher, Ken Grunwald, on what was likely one of their first real experiences of “roughing it” in the wilderness, carrying everything we needed for two weeks of sustenance.
My memories of the first night of this trip changed me forever.
If there has ever been a time to “do something that matters,” this is it.
Worldwide, we find ourselves immersed in a political climate that seems to thrive on the latest headlines of violence, terror, and geopolitical hacking. We have reached a point in our world culture where “bad news” sells ratings, newspapers, and political contributions, like a huckster outside of an old circus “side show tent.” It’s easy to get discouraged, frustrated, confused, and just shut down.
I get no fewer than 15 emails a day from both major candidates, along with countless pleas from SuperPacs, asking for donations…to add to coffers that are already bursting with hundreds of millions of dollars, and projected to go into the billions. All of this, for “movements” that breed anger and a sense of helplessness to actually make change happen? I think not.
It’s time to do something that matters. It’s time to do something that actually makes a change in the lives of people forgotten by the “modern world” but who may grow up to be the leaders who shape the future, if given a chance.
Friends of Buyijja needs your support. We are stalled in our fundraising efforts to begin our biggest project ever…one that will fundamentally change the scope of our support at the Buyijja School in rural Uganda.
We have divided this large project into several small projects, the first of which being a teacher dormitory that will allow almost half of our staff to sleep somewhere other than a mattress, on a dirt floor, while “camping out” in the school storage building. It is a start…that with long-term focus will grow to become a building that is the heart of our vocational training.
Please donate what you can today. My goal is to get at least $4,000 in this first phase of the fund, so we can at least offer temporary solutions for our teachers.
When it comes to “Changing the World,” we are going to do it one child at a time…in the kind of place that has been rendered irrelevant by today’s standards. But every life matters. Ask the man who was the son of an African student…who became President of the United States.
Leaving the gorgeous, artistic splendor that is Santa Fe, we headed into a region of New Mexico that has two of the most disparate creation histories of almost anyplace in the country.
While Santa Fe claims the world’s oldest home, the pueblos and cave dwellings at Bandelier National Monument go back to pre-1100. Again…Donald and his ancestors are lucky that these folks didn’t build a wall when his people were immigrating from Europe. As I have heard said by native Texans and New Mexicans, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us!” But, that’s another post…
It is a gorgeous place, with a fairly easy 2 mile loop that takes you back close to a thousand years.
From there, we went to the place that may have all but guaranteed that humanity may not make it another 1,000 years…the birthplace of the Atomic Bomb…Los Alamos. Continue reading →
OK. As most of you know, I can “fly off of the handle” when my “Rhetoric BS Bucket” is filled to overflowing. The news of the DNC and their clear, unadulterated, manipulation of the primaries set me off. Big time.
What I wrote about the need for change, stands. We need HUGE changes in campaign finance, and term limits. But, that is for another post.
I watched the opening of the DNC Convention last night…toggling back and forth between CNN, CBS and Fox (i’m a glutton for punishment). I watched through Cory Booker’s fiery indictment of Trump, with a message of hope through “Rising Up” rather than fear-mongering.
I watched Al Franken and Sarah Silverman struggle to keep control of a crowd who clearly saw them as a “warmup act,” forced to “stretch” while waiting for a scarey looking, and faltering Paul Simon to come on stage to struggle through a version of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” (a futile attempt to build a bridge to the Bernie or Bust crowd).
I made retching sounds as I listened to commentators from BOTH sides of the “Extreme Media” placate their viewers with their take on what every word meant…and I even found myself yelling back at the television, like the crazy coot that I seem to become when politics are involved.
I really didn’t expect that we would get “more truth” than we could handle as it pertains to our current form of the “Democratic Election Process.” And, even though I am old, and cranky, and jaded, I never expected it to come from the good folks at “WIKILeaks” who also brought us so much information on NSA spying and the mind-blowing revelation that nobody is safe from hackers (certainly not a home-cooked, poorly installed, personal server, Hillary).
But, here we are…facing the grim reality that what we have suspected after watching the primary elections, was not only true…but far worse than even the most conspiracy-minded, anti-mainstream, advocate of change could have imagined.
Like it or not (and trust me, I don’t), the recent plethora of leaked DNC emails has revealed a system that was beyond “rigged,” but has also revealed the exact kind of “insider favor currying” that has taken our political system to the brink of implosion, while making the phrase, “We the People” a sham.
As I intimated in Part I of Day 24, one of the big reasons I chose the course we did for the final days of this trip, was to traverse portions of the old Route 66. We had started the “connection” just across the border of Missouri in a small Oklahoma town, of Clinton, OK. When we pulled up to the Oklahoma Route 66 museum, we had high hopes. The museum is in the old Clinton Armory, and the sign looks very official. But the place is mostly just a bunch of videos, which you can watch from various seats that are supposed to represent old cars from different eras of Route 66…or from a motel bed. It sounds waaaaaaaay cooler that it was.
And that’s kind of the way it is with most of trying to get a sense of Route 66. It’s like meeting a WWII veteran who stormed Normandy Beach. The stories are real, the emotions are rich, the sense of history and nostalgia are palpable…but trying rectify the aging, often confused vision in front of you, with the pictures of his dashing youth, are often difficult if impossible.
Much of Route 66 is gone. But, just like the memories of that aging war vet, there will suddenly be a burst of lucid, clear vision that can immediately take you back to those times in history when America was on the move, growing, and showed no signs of ever slowing down.
I know…it’s supposed to be “kicks” from the old song, but the fact is, Route 66 as it is today, is kinda tricky to find in most places. There is a romance that surrounds this piece of highway heritage, as much of it follows the same path as the great railroad line that connected the Union Pacific and Northern Pacific Railways. The original route, much of it two lane highway that cut through the heartland of America, started in Chicago and ended up in Los Angeles, California.
But, like I said…finding today can be pretty tricky…just like many small towns that used to be on the original route, they have succumbed to “progress.”
But we DID find our share of Route 66 in refurbished and thriving little gems that were often not well publicized.
And some of them were pretty damn cool…once we worked our way through the TORNADO.
When I started putting this trip together, I initially did not plan to go as far south as Texas. Actually, the original intent was to join the old “Route 66” somewhere after getting back past our stop in Indiana, and joining up a Westerly route from Joplin to Amarillo and Santa Fe.
But then, one of my longest standing clients decided to take me up on my offer to help them start “monetizing” their multimedia tools, and meet their staff. He was willing to pay me for my time, and pick up the tab for a hotel, so it was difficult to refuse…even if it meant an 1,100 mile detour to get there and back to Amarillo.
Texas is huge. And Brady, Texas is “Deep in the Heart of Texas” as the song goes. And, it may even be that the song was about Brady…but, I’ll get to that in a bit. Geographically, Brady is about a in the middle of the state as you can get. Which is good…because if it was deeper south, our backsides would have given out.
Day one, of the two back to back “Butt-Busters” began.
When I knew that we were going to be in Indiana, I immediately routed us in a way that would take us to a place that I have wanted to see since our Book Club read a book about it.
“So Cold The River” is a really fun, very scary, historically based book centered around the resort at West Baden Springs, Indiana. From some of the opening paragraphs, I was intrigued and obsessed with going there someday. Because, any building with a creepy, long history, that was billed as the “8th Wonder of the World” when it first opened in 1902, it had the distinction of being the largest single span dome in the world (until they started building domed stadiums).
The day started out in a spooky, shaky manner…in that as soon as we started heading toward West Baden Springs from our stay in Greensburg, Indiana, it started raining buckets…with foreboding wind that seemed to be threatening to turn into even more severe weather.
There is an allure to small town life that is irrefutable. Even the most “hip, sophisticated, urbanite” is drawn to Normal Rockwell’s portrayals of small town life. The pace of life, the constant bombardment of noise and outside stimulus changes people fundamentally. If you doubt me, simply drive across the country and feel the difference between an Interstate Highway and one of the smaller US State highways. As you get closer to the cities, the number of assclowns on the road increases exponentially by the mile, and you are suddenly thrust into a battle for yards, feet and inches (if you are stuck in parking lot traffic when there is a wreck, waiting for it to be cleared as we did coming out of Louisville), that defies reason.
Every patron in this game loses reason…forgetting that the crazy, dodging maneuver that jeopardizes the lives of everyone around them may be saving them no more than a handful of minutes, tops, in the length of their actual commute. But, we all do it. Why? Because it gives us some sense of trying to organize the chaos that is all around us, and rest control from what is seemingly uncontrollable.
Looking at the map above, you can tell that circumstances and choices (mostly to see the Ark in Williamstown and not being able to see our clients in Greensburg, IN until Monday) created a lot of road time. And by the time we got to Greensburg, we were “kinda done” with Interstates through the big cities.
The events of the past week have made me appreciate small town life in ways that I could never have imagined, and sadly, reminded me of the great chasm that exists today in the perception of the chasms that separate us in ideology and way of life.
Welcome to the paradox that is small town America in the 21st century.
What can you possibly do to match the insanely diverse day in Kentucky that included the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Birthplace of Lincoln, and the Birthplace of a ton of new ideas about our origins? You just keep the wackiness coming. And we did.
One of the actual destinations on our spreadsheet/map combo was Mammoth Caves…which as I explained, caused us to drive a couple of hundred extra miles out of our way to see the Ark and then back to Cave City near Mammoth Caves. But rising early for an 8:30 “Tour Time” at the Mammoth Caves National Park (yes…I got my senior discount), we were in line with more than enough time to spare, and headed into the mouth of the “Gothic Tour” (named for the particular branch of the caves, not some dude with black clothes and eye shadow).
Now…we have been to caves before. And Oregon Caves just a bit West of Grants Pass, is truly breathtaking. It isn’t nearly as large as other cave systems…but, it is beautiful, even if we come off as being biased.
If you were to look at the map of our 18th Day on the Rediscovering America Tour, you’d think we were lost. But, as the old hymn goes, “I once was lost, but now we found it” or something like that, nothing could be further from the truth.
We MEANT to go a couple hundred miles out of our way of our original more linear destination of Cave City, KY. Because, Katie tossed us a challenge.
“Are you guys already past Kentucky? There’s a full sized Noah’s Ark display that is opening today!”
Whaaaaaaa??? Come on. Full size? That a ton of cubits! That would mean that the thing has to be almost two football fields in length!
Challenge on. Challenge accepted. Plans/route altered.
There are loads of reasons we had to go. After a quick Google of the details, it turns out that not only is is a full-size Noah’s Ark…but has more than 130 exhibits explaining the creation of the world, and the Ark’s relationship to it. And…as it had just opened on July 7th, none of you reading this could say, “hey…we’ve been there!” We were the FIRST!
We plotted course, and headed way North out of our way…on a “Mission from God.” Continue reading →
Getting out of Virginia proved to be a challenge that neither of us anticipated. We began the day with a final check-in with Charlie and his staff at WESR, with the intention of hitting the road by 10AM, for an 8 hour drive to Asheville, NC. The meeting part went fine…but as we were leaving, they handed us some gift certificates for a couple of their favorite local merchants.
In one fowl swoop, (I know…it is supposed to be foul…and then, not even foul, but FELL if you are using the idiom correctly….but I just wanted to see if you were paying attention), our morning went into a gastric tail spin.
Somewhere around mid Tuesday the 5th of July, we hit the “halfway point” of the 29 day Rediscovering America Tour. Time is like that. It can be slippery, and relative, and kind of creeps up on you when you least expect it.
I am a very young 62 years old.
I know…I know…every person in their 60s these days says that. But, I have a measurement matrix to which I can hold myself, that makes me feel like a kid. It’s the “Radio Industry Matrix.” Compared to almost everyone in radio/broadcasting, I am a “bleeding edge,” forward thinking, tech maven, kid. But, part of that is the fact that the radio industry would like it to be 1986 again…and for the most part clings to the notion that this “interweb thing” will go away some day soon.
I won’t go into the details of the long-term battle to drag our radio clients kicking and screaming into the early 2000s, let alone this decade. But, suffice it to say, that part of this trip, I will be visiting a variety of my clients for some one-on-one face time, and some serious cajoling, restructuring, and reinvigorating.
After days and days of being in “super-warp-tourist-mode,” the time we spent AFTER the NYC Marathon Day (I’m sure we clocked more than 26 miles of walking), were much needed, and very special.
Having a daughter 3,000 miles away, working for a major news organization, in one of the biggest cities in the world, brings both a sense of pride, and a sense of dread. While we talk, text, facetime, e-message, and g-chat all of the time, there is always a bit of parental detective work that goes on to answer the question, “how is she REALLY doing?”
Ah…it is the 5th of July, which means for the vast majority of Americans, it’s “back to business as usual.” And while it’s true that I am on Day 14 of a 29-day “Rediscovering America” cross-country driving trip, I never really get any “time off,” so to speak. I continue to work remotely whenever/wherever I can find a WIFI connection, which in this case, was pretty easy…as we are “camped out” at Ryan and Katie’s place for another day in Scotch Plains, NJ.
We had a really “chillaxed” 4th of July, and broke tradition by NOT going to see a fireworks display…as a torrential downpour hit at around 9PM. So we instead, started a new tradition of watching a creepy “End of the World” thriller (another from JJ Abrams…who seems obsessed with the topic), having a “Rita’s Custard” and settling in for some leftovers from a very traditional, wonderful 4th of July mid-afternoon feast.
We truly are blessed. Because, as it turns out, even Donald and Hillary took the day off. I didn’t get a single fundraising email from either one of them yesterday (unlike Father’s Day). I AM signed up to receive email updates from both of them, as well as the random, “we can still change the world” messages from Bernie’s campaign. I have reached the point where the insane campaign spending has really started to get to me.
Especially in light of the fact that we are actually working to raise funds for SOMETHING THAT MATTERS.
Watching the horrendous chaos that is taking place in Afghanistan, it’s easy to sprint into finger pointing about “what went wrong” in our drawdown and removal of troops from this embattled region where “Empires Go to Die.” This is not a “Biden failure.” Bush got us there, Obama kept us there, Trump capitulated through failed “deal making” with the Taliban, and Biden is simply throwing in the towel, long after our fighters were knocked out.
The history of failures by nations with the “good intentions” of helping the Afghan people to be “free from tribal and extremist rule” goes back centuries. The recently updated WIKI history of the region makes it clear that this isn’t a remotely new outcome. “Some of the invaders in the history of Afghanistan include the Maurya Empire, the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great of Macedon, Rashidun Caliphate, the Mongol Empire led by Genghis Khan, the Timurid Empire of Timur, the Mughal Empire, various Persian Empires, the Sikh Empire, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and most recently a coalition force of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops, the majority from the United States, which entered the country in the first-ever invocation of NATO’s Article 5 “an attack on one is an attack on all” following the September 11 attacks in the United States. A reduced number of NATO troops remained in the country in support of the government under the U.S.–Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement. Since American withdrawal in 2021, the Taliban has regained control of the capital Kabul and most of the country. Afghanistan official name changed to Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”
But if you look at the full history, it becomes clear that the reasons for failure are the same, because the tactics used by all, have a predictable outcome. In short, “Conversion through Invasion and Occupation” is a recipe for failure.
What is the real solution? And more so, does the current failure point to the need for a drastic change in United States and greater world policy?
It is a pretty well accepted fact, that the damage that Trump did by spreading, or ignoring mis-information about wearing masks, and getting vaccinated has likely cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. His reaction, or inaction to the pandemic was criminal.
But we have a new face who is the likely claimant of the title, “Most Dangerous Assclown in America.” He is the face, and “only lying when his mouth is open,” prime time Fox host, Tucker Carlson.
I am appalled at how many people I know who actually watch this miscreant religiously. For my money, he long ago passed up Sean Hannity as the worst of the worst on “Faux News.” But this time, his ridiculous, insane, and “only for ratings” rant about wearing masks, may well make him culpable as yet another “Covid Murderer,” simply because so many Anti-Vax, Anti-Mask morons are looking for excuses to not do neither.
His words should be the first piece of evidence to have him removed from the airwaves. Continue reading →
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