Hillary Clinton – What REALLY Happened

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.

Let’s break this down…

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Dealing With Racist Friends…While Keeping Your Head From Exploding


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.
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The Real Villain Behind The Russian Hacking of 2016?


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.

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Trumpski – Handing the United States Over to Russian Hackers

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.”

BUT THE BIG ONE THAT SLIPPED BY….
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Waking Up the Power of the People – Solutions Part III – Finding the Message in a Sea of Garbage

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.

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Resistance, Persistence and the Commander in Tweet- Solutions Part II

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.
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Our Commander in Tweet – Waking Up the Power of the People In Three Easy Steps

commanderintweet
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???
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Chicken Trump…What Goes Around, Stays Away?

trumpchicken
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.

You can see a clip and a story outline of the event here.

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. 

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Waking Up From A Self-Induced Coma…The Preamble

twitter-trumphesback

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.
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We Have Met the Enemy…and He Is Us – Part I- The Numbers Behind the Numbers

enemyus-parti

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.

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We Have Met the Enemy…and He is Us- An Introduction to Change

enemyus

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?
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A Final Rant Before Election Day…Integrity or Suicide?

theelection

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.
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Looking Up Tonight Could Change Your Perspective on Life

Meteor

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.

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One Nation…Indivisible?

Autzen

Let’s start with the reaffirmation that I am old, jaded, and have worked too long within the political system to feel much enthusiasm for the current state of politics.

But, my 9.600 mile, “Rediscovering America” cross-country tour has reminded me about something I have often considered when going to a Duck Football Game at Autzen Stadium.

This may sound like a strange metaphor for how to look at the current climate of divisiveness in our country. But hear me out, no matter what colors you wear on “game day.”

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When You Feel Helpless to Make a Change…Do Something that Matters

TeacherBedBuyijja

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.

DONATE HERE

Every dollar helps. Please do what you can today.

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.

In Peace, Love and Hope…
Patric

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Rediscovering America – Days 24-25…Balancing Our Delicate Past and Future

MAP1

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.
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Schooled By a Mom and a Grandpa…

Michelle-Bernie

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.

But, then… I got schooled.

First by a mother. And then by a grandpa.
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So. No Surprises Here. The System is Rigged…and Broken.

HouseOfCards

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.

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Days 23 – 24 Rediscovering America – Get Your Trix on Route 66 Part II

Map

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.

Trying to recapture history could be a chore, you had to look… Continue reading

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Day 23- Get Your Trix on Route 66 Part I- Tornado Alley

Route66-Map1

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.

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Discovering America Days 22-23 – Deep in the Heart of Texas

TEXAS-Map

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.

Route66Map

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.

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Rediscovering America Day 21- The 8th Wonder of the World…Creepy!

Maain

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.

Dome-2

But…we got there…and were simply blown away. Continue reading

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Rediscovering America Day 20 – Small Town Charm and Political Mayhem

MAP

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.

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Of Caves, Rocks and Fossils- Another View of Creation

Dino9

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.

But Mammoth Caves?

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Rediscovering America – Day 18 – The Colonel, Noah, Abe and Me

MAP

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.

ArkChellenge “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

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Rediscovering America Days 16-17- A Blue Dot in a Sea of Red

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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.

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Rediscovering America – Day 15- The Eastern Shore and Fighting the Future

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.

Pickles

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.

Which brings us to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

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Sometimes Less is More… Final Days in NJ and Rita Plays Favorites

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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?”

As it turns out. Great. I mean really great.

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5th of July Hangover…and On To Something That Matters

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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.

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Independence Day…WE THE PEOPLE ARE PISSED!

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We are not even to the “halfway point” of our epic “Rediscovering America” trip, and I have identified one common thread that ties almost everyone I talk to, as it pertains to their opinion of the Government…“It’s time for a change.” 

When you look at the opening lines of the document that we celebrate on July 4th, there is a sense that much of it could be written today, regarding the frustration we have with our current political state of affairs…

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Let’s get one thing straight…I am not an anarchist. But, I have certainly moved further and further away from the “organizations of politics” which would claim me as a member. The reason for this, is that over the past few decades, I have gone from “dipping my toe” in the waters of the political ocean, to full body immersion, to being swept out to sea, and finally reaching a point where I want to be safely on an island, watching the cacophony that is modern politics from a great distance.

Unfortunately, there is no such island, if I still want to be close to my family and home golf course.

So…again, I find myself working to unite those who find themselves of the same mind. And, I think that over a couple of key points…we can almost all agree.

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Rediscovering America- Day 12- We Get Our Railroad On

Northlandz

One more of the “bucket list” items on my list (for at least 15 years), is Northlandz, “the largest model railroad layout in the world.”

Now, granted, after seeing the “Corn Palace” and a few of the other “only in the world” types of attractions, you learn to temper your expectations. On top of this, I have seen tons of layouts, including a few at some National Model Railroad conventions.

But…this…place…is…mind…boggling.

It is multileveled (three floors) and immense in size and scope. It has a legitimate “Guinness Book of World Records” certificate, and I strongly doubt that anyone will ever beat this achievement in size, scope or detail. Once again…I spent the entire 1.5 hours (moving at a solid, steady rate) with an “idiot grin” on my face.

It is the kind of place that makes you feel 12 again, and is even better when you go with kids…which we did.

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Rediscovering America – Day 11 – New Old Friends – Chillaxing and Recovering

Amazon

Let’s go ahead and reestablish that my life is anything but “normal.”  I’m fine with that. I have the attention span of a 12-year-old…and love the fact that technology allows you to play in loads of arenas that were either inaccessible or not invented just a few years ago (as in blogging and podcasting).

I am not one to shy away from something…even it may be “off the map a bit.” And certainly, my TSTO chapter is about as “off the map” as you can get.

For those of you who haven’t heard the story…TSTO stands for “The Simpsons Tapped Out,” a mobile device game featuring the Simpsons.  The story of my involvement in the game started innocently enough…but has meandered in a way that took me to places I could never have imagined when I started playing. And most of the early days was tied to a guy named Ryan. No. Not Katie’s Ryan. Or even Ali’s Ryan…but a whole different Ryan…a guy from New Jersey. 

This is the short version of how we met, and went on to co-author a book together, and start a blog that is followed by tens of thousands across more than 110 countries…and has allowed us to help a school in Buyijja, Uganda.

But it all started with the game…

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Rediscovering America – Day 10- The Big Apple Takes a Bite Out of Me

CBS-Pass

I have to admit, that after having come to NYC so many times now, I am fairly familiar with the city, its vibe, its pace, and it good and bad features. But, I always seem to overestimate my ability to endure the hours that Katie keeps with her job at CBS This Morning.

Day 10 started at 3:30 AM…a quick shower, a glance at the weather app, and we were off for a quick commute into the city from her home in Scotch Plains. I was awake. There is no way you can sleep with Katie at the wheel.

Katie has always been an “aggressive driver.” However, there is something about doing a daily commute to and from the city that has turned her into something akin to riding on a Starfighter as it dodges its way through the gaps of a Death Star in Star Wars. No…that isn’t scary enough. Think of riding on the back of one of those guys who flies with a wing-suit, through a tiny notch of a gap in a canyon, at 200 mph…with someone shooting at you…on crack.  Get it?

I was wide awake by the time we got to CBS.

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Rediscovering America – Day 9- Another Lesson in Obsession and Public Service

For almost my entire life, I have been a semi-obsessive student of WWI, and most particularly, WWI aviation.  It started with the most innocuous of sources, a comic strip. It blossomed into a full-blown fascination that has never really subsisted.

When Snoopy began fighting the Red Baron in the comic strips in 1965, I became curious to find out more about the Red Baron, Sopwith Camels, and other aspects mentioned casually in the strip.

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Peanuts-Snopy-WWI-2

Then I found out that two of my great uncles served in WWI, one even losing a lung to mustard gas on the front lines, and ultimately appearing in an article about the “Great War” in Life Magazine. I was hooked (which is an inside joke, as my Uncle’s name was Irving Hook).

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My Uncle Irv…entertaining the troops with a captured piano, in the trenches of the Western Front in WWI.

I built countless scale models, read every book I could lay my hands on, and even had a WWI plane in my backyard.

OK. So…maybe it was an antique Railway Express cart, with lawn chair, and a plunger, fitted with a bicycle grip and a nail for the trigger as my “joy stick”…but I had ACTUAL WWI era goggles (bought at a garage sale), and a windbreaker that looked kind of like a flight jacket…all much to my father’s concern.  I spent hours of “fight time” in my plane…over the trenches of Western France, doing battle with any number of Jasta from the “Bosch” who inhabited the “other side.” Yes. I did this well into Junior High. Yes. I was a “peculiar kid.”

I don’t fly my own planes. In fact, the one time I have been in an open cockpit biplane, I came to realize the men who flew these things into battle were more than a little insane.

But…once I found out about it, one of the key spots on my Bucket List, was the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck, NY.

Cross that off of the list…and call me amazed by what I found, as well as the obsession of the man who built it.

Then we visited the home of who I consider to be one of the greatest Presidents of all time…but not for the reasons you may think.

Follow us to Rhinebeck and Hyde Park on Day 8 of our journey…
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Rediscovering America Tour- Day 8 – Getting Off I-90 to Return to My Youth

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What started out as a “Road Day,” where we were really just planning on getting from one primary location to another, ended up being a series of side trips that made the day amazing and reflective, with just a tinge of sorrow and nostalgia.

But first, a word from our “Sponsors” (or at least a benefactor of the trip). Part of the lodging for our trip is being spent at PEO Bed and Breakfasts. For those of you not familiar with PEO, it is a Philanthropic Organization of women, formed to offer scholarships and fellowships for women, primarily in the form of grants and scholarships to college students. All three of our younger daughters have benefitted from these scholarships, and Katie actually spent two years at Cottey College (founded by the PEO), in Nevada, Missouri, in her undergrad days. They are an amazing group of ladies, with thousands of chapters in the US and Canada.  More on PEO here…

I like to kid my wife, and her Aunt (both PEOs) that it is a female version of Skull and Bones…mostly because they have a few “secret rituals” and bar men from being anywhere near their meetings. I know…I’ve been banished downstairs on more than one occasion.

But as it pertains to this trip, they also have an amazing system of B&Bs in place that is available only to the PEO sisterhood, and works as a fundraiser for the local chapters. A PEO makes their home available…bed, and breakfast…for a nominal fee ($40-$75) that is made out to the local chapter. The ladies make nothing personally.  We have already had two of these homestays, and have several more planned. But, I am going to guess that none will rival the home we shared with Barbara, in Youngstown, about 25 miles outside of Cleveland. It. Was. Stunning.

Continue reading about the Little League Hall of Fame and World Series, Milford, New York, and my lament (a mini-rant) about the current condition of kid’s sports.

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Bucket List ROCKS ON! Rediscovering America Tour Day 7

RRHF-1

There were only a handful of “bucket list” items that were on the “make it happen, even if you have to go out of your way” list. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was on that list.  It’s not so much that Cleveland is off the beaten path on the way to New Jersey, it’s more that it was going to be a push to get there after driving from Libertyville/Chicago area, and still have enough time to take it in before it closed.

Math…6 hours of driving, minimum… and then park, get tickets, and fly through what could/should have taken at least 4 hours to take it all in. But, then we hit the endless construction zones that seem to be I-90 in the Spring and Summer months. At least half of the trip 400 mile trip was delayed by single-lane, 45 MPH travel…crammed between loads of people who were in a hurry, and driving like dillweeds (that is the most PG term I could come up with).

It was complicated by a “Siri mishap” with a detour through Cleveland that could have been avoided…but, we got there at just past 4PM…giving us 1.5 hours to “see it all.”

We did. I can’t say we had the luxury of actually appreciating everything we saw…but damn it…we SAW it.

Anyone who knows me…knows that music is at the core of who I am. I have been influenced by so many great players/writers/performers…I couldn’t begin to make a list.

And for the most part…the RRHOF had a piece of everyone I revered.

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Roots Run Deep…And LOUD! Rediscovering America- Days 5-6

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The first part of Day 5 was spent traversing the rest of Minnesota, across most of Wisconsin, and then on into Illinois.  The flatness of the topography persists across most of this stretch of I-90, with little of the charm that we found in the heart of the Midwest.  It is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But, it is that relentless, unending spew of farms, moderate rolling hills, with gradual passages into green deciduous patchworks, that can actually become tedious.

And then, there is the attitude adjustment…

The fact is, Wisconsin and Illinois are both highly politicized states, where politics are a blood-sport. They care…a lot. And I mean, a lot. This is where you realize the paradox of a state that is governed mostly by a “Liberal” core in its major cities, with the rest of the very “Conservative” and widely geographically spread population in m,. the rest of the state, being angry about it to the point of making Fox News seem like NPR.

This is where the extremists find a home. Ann Coulter probably has a summer home here, where she stores her secret poison potions, and Italian designer brooms.

This was no more evident than in my mother’s “ancestral town” of Libertyville, IL, where we spent days 5-6 with my cousin Chuck.  I love the guy. He and his wife Stevie (short for Stephanie), are some of the nicest, attentive, sweet hosts you can ever meet.  But, if you are silly enough to bring up anything remotely political, (which could be as innocuous a statement as, “is it always this hot here this time of year?”) you will be instantly deluged with a torrent of political, right-wing rhetoric, which will make you step back in wonder.

Fairholm2

The home in which my Mother was raised, in Libertyville, IL. Beautiful… More on this later. 

I’m not going to go into the details of the almost non-stop debates that went on (we really did try not to engage).  But suffice it to say, we discovered the epicenter of the “core listening audience” for both Fox News, local talk radio, and nonstop CNBC stock market reports (they have several forms of media, tuned to different sources of the same rhetoric) all fueling a fire that already burned so intense, you often had to look away or risk being consumed.

Again…I love these two people. They are a hoot and a half. But, the circular discussions (often fueled with a wide range of celebratory cigars and alcohol), was non-stop…as in, until almost 2A, on the night before we were scheduled to leave at 7A the next morning.

And I still hadn’t convinced Chuck that the Supreme Court doesn’t write laws…only offers opinions or chooses not to hear suits or challenges to laws. Look it up. It’s part of the Constitution…and in fact, a 5-4 vote, IS UPHOLDING the Constitution. Really.

But. we had a great time.

Go figure.

Chuck kept saying, “This is so great!! I never get to have these kinds of discussions. Everybody I know agrees with me. Except for my next-door neighbor, Bill, who is even far right of the Pope!”

Chuck wasn’t kidding. I won’t tell you the first thing Bill said about the President (but it rhymes with “Hag”). Followed closely by a blanket statement on Zionist control of the world. That followed by finding out that he has had a job with the county elections board for more than 15 years. Boom! It all made sense.

What also made sense is how the wind turbines that blanket the Illinois and Wisconsin farm fields can continue to turn, without as much as breeze in the air. They are obviously fueled by hot air.

Kidding. Mostly.

windpower

Politics were everywhere. I’d hear people discussing issues and current events out loud in restaurants, grocery stores, and even the bathrooms (I told Chuck to stop following me in there).  Again…they are SERIOUS about this stuff.

EVERYONE was talking about Great Britain and the EU mess. They were watching the market drop, and working hard at trying to figure out a way to blame it on Obama.

Meanwhile…as we drove away, and across the states of Pennsylvania (another conflicted battleground state), New Jersey (another conflicted battleground state) and New York (another place where the big cities don’t remotely reflect the voters outside of the city). we listened to the amazing Mark Maron interview with President Obama, and felt inspired again.

YOU should listen to it as well… FIND IT HERE.

In fact, I’m sending this link to Chuck. He needs to hear about those who “run the country from their couch,” with an unending stream of vitriol…and how the President walks through the weeds to find hope and promise, even with the slightest “movement of the ship.”  Great Stuff.

Tomorrow… I’ll post about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Little League World Series Museum. Both amazingly fun, and inspiring places!

And remember…no matter how frustrated you become when talking politics… be nice to people from these 11 states…
California (55 votes)
Texas (38 votes)
Florida (29 votes)
New York (29 votes)
Illinois (20 votes)
Pennsylvania (20 votes)
Ohio (18 votes)
Georgia (16 votes)
Michigan (16 votes)
North Carolina (15 votes)
New Jersey (14 votes)

You can actually WIN an election, just by winning these 11 states. Now…THAT’S NUTS!!

fairholm1  FairholmGardens-Satellte

The area outlined in yellow is where the original Fairholm Gardens Nursery used to be. Today…it is a huge housing development and neighborhood park.

Here is a painting my Dad did of the original nursery, in the style of Grandma Moses…which give a good idea of how little was there, other than the greenhouse and trees in the nursery.

Fairholm-painting

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My mother’s family name still graces the street where the original greenhouse once stood.

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Libertyville is a beautiful little town, a little over 40 miles North of Chicago.

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My Aunt’s beautiful home in Grayslake, IL.

 

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Rediscovering America – Day 4 and a Word From Our Sponsors

I-90-FLAT

I am writing this entry the day after Day 4, of our epic, 29-day journey to Rediscover America.  I have to admit, that I am finding it very difficult to go into “full tourist mode,” as the things in this world that make me cranky, continue to do so.

Mostly, it is this gnawing sense that we are way off course, and most of our “leadership” don’t have a clue how to get the ship back on course. But, more on that another time.

Day 4 in a nutshell…was simply a “whole lotta driving” to get mostly nowhere….which ironically, encapsulates my feelings about the current “State of the Inequonomy.”

Yes. I made that word up. But, I think you can understand its meaning. You would pronounce it, “In-E-Konomy” as in an Inequitable Economy.  It is the kind of word you come up with when you have driven for 8 hours, eaten at a KFC, and then slept with one eye open in the “Great Deal” motel you got on Hotels.com. More on that later.

First…the Meat and Corn of Day 4.

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Day 3… Getting Some Big Head(s)

Rushmore4

Wow…really? Can you get any more salacious with a headline than that, especially when talking about a national monument????

I don’t think so. But, once again, it caught your attention, right? You are so easy.

Day 3 started with another of those “hey…we didn’t really plan this…but we HAVE to go!” kinds of  things that kept our heads spinning with the paradox that is this great nation of ours.

So many have nots…SO MUCH OPEN LAND…and then heartbreaking reminders about a past that almost no American can remember proudly.

Our original plan was simple enough, “keep heading East” and stop in Mt. Rushmore.

But when we stopped for coffee at a local coffee stand, we were “welcomed” by a middle-aged Native American man, who spent a full ten minutes telling us his life story, before asking for bus fare.  He was proud of his daughter who was going to college this fall…the first from his family. He was even more proud that she had helped him get his GED in the past year before she left. He then told us of the “Little Big Horn” celebration a few miles away, and that we could all “laugh and cheer when Custer got his.”

New plans made…a slight diversion, leaving us enough time to get to Mt. Rushmore before closing.

It was time very well spent.
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Some Times You Just Hafta Have the Balls to be Different – Day 2

TesticleFestival

Yes. You guessed it. I am not beyond using a provocative headline to lure you in. It works for Trump…so why not me?

I know. It seems pretty early to start talking about politics. So I won’t… much.

The fact is, in Day 2, we were mostly struck by the huge disparity in lifestyles along a single stretch of 550 miles of I-90. We saw a town that had “beaten the Government” to save itself from being lost to “progress,” and we saw loads of little towns that have found a way to exist, in spite of being mostly forgotten, while resisting the urge to “give in to a quick buck.”

And, we saw loads, and loads, and loads of huge new developments in the larger cities, driven by a new industry that is perhaps even more controversial than legalizing pot.

OK. Once again, I may be sensationalizing a bit…but, Fracking and Medical Marijuana do illicite the same visceral responses from “outsiders” who don’t see the economies that are springing up around them both.

Oh. And we passed on the Testicle Festival. Not that it didn’t sound great…but that we needed to keep moving on, and it is still more than a month and half away.

But, we DID take the course less traveled…to see parts of America that needed a bit of “Rediscovering.”  We did this on Day 2…knowing that on Day 3, we would be throwing ourselves into the mass culture tourism that is Mt. Rushmore.

We started in Spokane, and for the most part skipped the strip malls and urban sprawl along the breathtaking panoramas of I-90…following the trail of both Lewis and Clark, as well as the lesser known, Yellowstone Trail that we discovered in the most unlikely place ever…a prison.

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All the while…listening to the final chapters of “Serial” and starting a new book-on-tape by Anna Quindlen, called “Miller’s Valley,” (no…we didn’t pick it for the name…it was a book club choice), that is ironically about a town fighting the government against its own extinction.

There are probably a few facets of the new fracking/oil mining culture that I would like to see go extinct.  But, I’ll save that for later… But first, the story of a town who almost DID go extinct, and beat back big government, by using a protective device that was made BY the government.
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Rediscovering America- Lift Off and Day One

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Ahh….to be on the open road!

As it turns out, getting out of Eugene was half of the battle of day one. My beautiful wife is time challenged. This is no secret, and there is no denying it (although denial is part of the symptoms). It runs on her side of the family, like some sort of curse that afflicts the women in their mid-20s.  I thought it may skip a generation, but alas, more than one of my children suffer from the same affliction, and no amount of “fudging” the real launch time makes a difference. They seem to sense what the breaking point is of everyone else around them, and then delay just a “few more minutes” past that.

loading7A turned into 8A and finally 8:30A…but we DID achieve launch with no blood let.

We came armed with loads of music, a couple of “books on tape” (including one for our book club which meets a week after our return), and for the first time, tried playing Podcasts through the bluetooth in the new Highlander.

It was a raving success. In fact…we became so enthralled with “Binge-podding” the series, “Serial,” that we blew right by the exit to Hwy. 84, not realizing we had done so, until we were crossing the Columbia River into Washington and headed for Vancouver on I-205.

Holyfreakinshirt!!! A minor diversion that was repeated again in Hood River. Not kidding. The two “detours” cost us a mere 45 minutes of backtracking. But, hey…that was good for another chapter of “Serial.”

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Rediscovering America – The Prequel

BUCKET-LIST

Merriam Webster defines bucket list as:
noun
Popularity: Bottom 50% of words
|Definition of bucket list
1:  a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.

OK then. Kinda bleak and to the point. Which may explain why the term is in the “Bottom 50% of words.”  But, I have always laughed when thinking of the term, “kicking the bucket,” when I hear the term “bucket list.”

Dark? You want dark? How about this, from the Urban Dictionary?
Phrase used to say someone is dead or has deceased. Term is derived from when suicides were common by a person preparing to hang himself, and used a bucket to stand on, and then kicked the bucket when suicide was desired.
example: Ole’ Charlie kicked the bucket today, we better prepare for his funeral.

Ergh. Ok then. So, a “bucket list” should be some pretty cool stuff. And, I think mine is.

But recently, after a rash of deaths of friends and acquaintances of mine and Deb’s, who were all our age or younger, we decide to “do the trip.” Fueled by the constant repetition of the phrase, “there are no guarantees in this life,” we set about making plans.

“The Trip” has been on my “Bucket List” for decades. The reasons for this exact trip are far more complex than just being the contents of a bucket. I am looking for some answers…

We will be touching twenty states in a little over 29 days. Two old married people (one far older than the beautiful younger one) in a Toyota Highlander, crammed to the brim with stuff. Hotels, B&Bs, Friends and Family will all be supplying our rest stops along the way, with a variety of “must see sites” from Mt. Rushmore to the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado, with about every sort of attraction in between.

Take a look… Continue reading

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Learning What You DON’T Want, To Help Find What You Do Want…

Wisdom-Work

Wisdom. It’s such an overused, yet underutilized thing…right?

But the advantage of being “well past middle-age” (no…I’m not going to live to be more than 120 years old), is that experience really has given me some words of wisdom for those who may stumble upon them (I used to write these on large stones and leave them in random places).

It seems that Generation Millennial (I’m sorry that they ran out of letters from you guys after X and Y), are really struggling with finding the right job…or in some cases…any job, after going tens of thousands of dollars into debt to get a college degree.

Well…take it from someone who “exited before the final act” in college (I tell people that I graduated Cum in my class…as in In Cum Plete), there are worse ways to “find success” than your path.

Observe.

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Seriously?? You Are Taking Another “Selfie?”

Pickles-Selfies
from the comic strip Pickles

I know this has been covered by loads of people, across loads of social media…but damn, I don’t see it getting any better.

I would like to start this conversation by asking, “JUST HOW MANY FREAKIN’ PICTURES OF YOURSELF DOES THE WORLD NEED?????”

Let’s not forget that I have been on the “bleeding edge” of Social Media, before they started calling it social media. I was an early developer for AOL (remember AOL?), and have watched every incarnation of ways to “share about yourself” develop and multiply through the X, Y, and Millennial generations in ways that even a “visionary” like myself could not have predicted.

But, enough…is…enough. Really.  

And that goes for YOU, who probably found this site through social media, where you have tons of pictures of what you had for breakfast, where you last had a beer, the funny thing you found on your face this morning (oh…wait…that was me), or the latest “filtered” Instragram pic of you and your “homies” (do you still call your friends homies?) out for a night on the town.

I did some research on this topic…and was SHOCKED to find out what this meant to my own attempt to “leave a digital imprint” on the world…
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Then and Now…On Having 5 Daughters and Learning to Live with the DDJD Syndrome

Daughters

When I first started thinking about resurrecting CrankyOldGuy,com I began by going back through some of the “hidden gems” from the old site. Most of these are more than 10 years old…and the fact is, they feel dated…just like me.

So, on the new site, just for the fun of it, I am going to post some of the old nuggets, along with an updated view of how I feel about the same topic now. I have to admit, even I was surprised by some of this stuff, and how my emotions had changed…or not.

Here we go– THEN and NOW

Then
(approximately 2004)…I wrote this about being a Father of Five Daughters

Learning to Cope with the DDJD Syndrome

First, let me say that unlike most Asian and Middle East cultures, I do not see having daughters as curse. In fact, if there is God’s hand involved with this (and not just the reality that my “y chromosome” must be almost non-existent) it more than likely has something to do with the fact that he knows that I would have been the “little League Dad from Hell,” and nobody needs that.

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Just When I Thought I Was Out…

“They keep pullin’ me back in…”

Poor Michael Corleone. Poor me.

I thought I was done. I really did. In the early 2000s, I was on the “bleeding edge” of blogging about life, politics, entertainment, and media…and got burned out when things went nuts (do the Bush years bring back any happy memories for anyone?). I got out, just as blogging and pod-casting, and social media exploded. Perfect timing…as usual. 

“The Interweb” has morphed a ton since my original ravings under the moniker of CrankyOldGuy. I blogged for a while under my real name, until someone barked back and said that he was “sick of reading rants from a cranky old guy” (I was just past 50 at the time, and had hardly earned my tree rings as a bona-fide cranky OLD guy).  I just checked the original domain name register info, and was shocked to see I actually bought the domain name crankyoldguy.com in May of 2006.  Weird. Ten years ago. And, now…I’m actually old. But, I was the original cranky old guy, no matter what Bernie Sanders would have you believe.

Of course, most of my peers are going to start with that old saw tune, “You’re only as old as you feel.”  But let me assure you…I feel as old as I feel…and on lots of mornings, that is old.

I just got back from a golf/reunion with my old college football teammates. I again use the word, “old” in its descriptive form.  There were a ton of “Goats and Bloats” there, along with failing (some would call it revisionist) memories and face/name recognition lapses that required a bit of the, “hey…I think I went to school with your kid” kinds of comments.

OCEFootball-Golf

But we were there…and very happy to see one another, because it had been more than 40 years since most of us had seen one another. The golf was fun, but the best part was pulling out a few scrapbooks, and comparing pics of the “earlier version” of our “nicely weathered, bonus footage included” bodies.

Including mine.
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