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Monday, June 13, 2016

Purity tests

It's been nearly a week since the California primary and at the time I was writing this there were still some votes not counted (roughly 20% of all the votes cast), and although Bernie Sanders has picked up some additional votes and delegates, he's not going to flip the state.

This past week I've seen fellow progressives turn on Elizabeth Warren, who up till now was seen as one of the bright shining lights of the Democratic party.  She's a villain now because she came out and supported Clinton. 

She tries to explain herself here: 



Personally it makes sense to me.   Warren may be a "liberal" but she is still a Democrat (and so, technically, I'm I) but Warren is first and foremost a Democrat.  She's supporting the ticket.

For many of the so called "Bernie or Bust" crowd this is seen as a sell out.  Time will tell if it hurts her politically or not but Warren is a smart woman and a former lawyer.  I'm sure she did the math and probably figures that in order for Clinton to win over the 30 to 40% of the party that is against her she'll need a strong liberal behind her.  

And that will lead to a future run for the POTUS or a possible VP spot. 

Which brings me to the crux of this article.

I may agree with many of the core of the so called "Bernie or Bust" movement.   To quote Thomas Jefferson; "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."  For me, all forms of government become corrupt over time.  It is in our human nature to want to protect the status quo. To prevent change...however at the same time change is necessary.  Thus we need a "storm" now and again.

Our government is no longer a democracy but a plutocracy.  I've given my reasons I can not vote for Ms. Clinton before, because I still feel that a "little rebellion now and then is a good thing."  To shake up the party, to bring change is beneficial.

What I am seeing right now in some of my Bernie or Busters is a "purity test" of sorts.  If you don't support X then you must be against us.  If you don't support Y then you must be against us.

The problem with this is very, very simple.   It was not that long ago that many in the Tea Party were calling party establishment people "RINO's" or "Republicans in Name Only."  That lead to the Republican party shifting to the hard right and lead to the current obstructionism that we are seeing today. 

This Republican purity to "traditional conservative values" has lead to the state of Kansas to become bankrupt since they have cut taxes to a point where they can no longer afford to keep even basic things like schools open.

In my adopted state of Florida it has lead to our Governor to battle not only his fellow Republicans but Democrats as well on such things as climate change (Florida is on the front line of climate change and many Republicans here go against the party's official line).   

Blindly following a political agenda in the name of "purity" can only lead to disaster.  The world is not a black and white place but full of interesting greys.  If your not willing to accept or at least listen to an opposing viewpoint, then we risk using the term "LINO's" and leading the Democratic party into the mire that the Tea Party lead the Republican's into. 

We don't need a liberal version of Donald Trump. 

Now that being said please note that I"m NOT changing my views.  I am still supporting Bernie Sanders and the movement he started.  I am still NOT voting for Hillary. 

All I'm asking is that you read your history.  Study some to avoid the mistakes made in the past.  I worry when I see calls for a "Peoples Party" because history has shown us that a "Peoples Party" really isn't for the people...it's for purity.  Then you can have only so many "pure believers" and that leads to tyranny.

Isn't that what we are supposedly fighting against? 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

An open letter to the Democratic party

So it's over.

I am still a supporter of Bernie Sanders.   As I sit here a day or so after the final primaries, I have to re-evaluate my support.

You see dear DNC, I'm 50 years old.  I've been voting Democrat for as long as I can remember.  Only twice did I ever question my support for the party.   I voted for Nader in 2000 because I did not think Gore (or any of the Democratic choices that year) were good choices for the party.   It was a protest vote more than anything.

Now before you start to to complain that I cost Gore the election, please remember that the man did not win his home state of Tennessee, if he had then Florida really would not have mattered.   The party really did not give any choice in 2004...after 4 years of Bush the writing was pretty much on the wall that this man would be one of the worst Presidents ever.   Still though....your choice to run against him, shall we say, was found lacking.  I voted with my party that year...and it turned my stomach to do so.

Obama started off with such promise and Progressives like me hoped he would do much more than he did.  However in the last eight years he's been handcuffed.   The Republicans of course are to blame for the most part as they obstructed his agenda at every turn. Some people inside the Democratic party did not help either.

Still though, he accomplished much and earned a lot of love and respect.

Which brings us to Hillary.  Please don't understand me my beloved Democratic party.   I understand that she is a masterful politician.   An experienced leader and a crafty lawyer.   Please understand that my support of Sanders had nothing to do with her being a woman.

It had everything to do with her being the wrong choice to lead the party into the future.

For me it started with a simple belief.  That the White House is not a gift to be given from Husband to Wife or from Father to Son.   Really, do we not remember what happened when it passed from Father to Son?  In the 90's things were not bad under Bill Clinton, but the man had a lot of scandals and a lot of baggage.  One of the reasons I could not support Hillary was because I could see her being impeached.  I could see the Congress and Republican party continuing to be obstructionist.

In case you have not noticed, the American people are very, very angry over the lack of caring or progress in Washington.  The "same old thing" simply will not do.

Bernie Sanders caught fire slowly and that was part of his problem, by the time he started to gain momentum it was nearly impossible to catch HRC.  Still though it was a good fight, but I heard many of the established Democrats sounding like Republicans in their opposition of him once he started to be a threat.

I believe it was a Democratic Senator from Maine that questioned his "Free stuff" that was offered as part of Bernie Sander's platform.   I could be wrong on the state and who said it but I remember thinking how the Republicans were saying the same thing.  I remember thinking how our party was becoming "Republican light."

Then there is the question of the closed primaries.  Again I understand the history of a closed primary and why it exists, but when over 40% of the American population is locked out of the process till November...we have to question if this is the best way to elect someone to run for the highest office in the land.   The number of Democrats in the United States is slowing falling, we only make up 26% of the voting population.   Not listening to four out of every ten Americans does not make any sense.   Nor are we exactly attracting new people to the party.

Bernie Sanders brought in a lot of young people, who are feeling cheated and disillusioned by what they see as a corrupt Democratic party.  They may not historically vote at 18 and 22...but they do vote later, and the party missed a wonderful chance to bring them into the fold.

Which brings me to the super delegates.  A system that was originally designed to protect the working party faithful from outsiders.  It worked very well in its original form, guaranteeing those faithful a voice in the party.  It's existed in one from or another since the 1970's and generally not come into play.

Until Hillary.   Who made a big deal of claiming 500 and so of them early in the race.  This gave the perception that the race was rigged from the beginning.   Even if it was not meant to give that perception, it did and in the 21st century perception is everything. 

I also wish the party would have made some obscure rules and complex voting procedures easier to understand.   The idea of voter fraud and the stink of voter suppression now follows the Democratic party.  If the party would simply state..."We're going to investigate this" or "We are going to fix this" then that may have muted the impression that Clinton somehow "cheated" her way into the nomination. 

We both know Trump is going to play that card. 

Speaking of the Donald.  I understand the danger of Trump, although I think he is crazy like a fox and not to be underestimated.  He is a master manipulator that understands the irrationally of people, and that they "buy" on emotion.  He will dismantle her piece by piece because he understands her baggage is something to be used against her.

He's already started by reinforcing the belief that she cheated her way to the nomination with hashtags like #cheatinghillary.  While Hillary may have been able to survive the attacks of a traditional Republican, you gave a slimy salesman named Donald Trump ammunition like her continuing email scandal, her various "mistakes" made through out her career, the money from foreign nationals.  He is not a traditional Republican and will dismantle her using that ammunition.

Sadly I know many otherwise rational people that intend to vote for Trump simply because he is a hammer and Washington is the nail.

I know that Hillary won more votes than Bernie Sanders did in the various primaries.  I respectfully disagree with that majority of my fellow Democrats.  I'm sure many of them had their reasons for voting the way they did and I respect that.  I would hope that I am respected for voting the way I did.  However for me voting for Hillary is voting for the lesser of two evils.

When you vote for the "lesser of two evils" you are still voting for evil.

America has real problems and we need serious change.  The Affordable Care Act did not control the costs of medical care.  This is a problem that needs addressed now, not later.   Wages have been stagnant for the last 15 years, again this is something that needs addressed now.   The student debt that hangs over many American heads is going to blow up and that needs addressed now.   We have roads that are falling apart. 

For those reasons when you ask me to vote for Hillary your asking me to vote from gridlock.  We have had enough gridlock.

When you actually believe in this country, you want to vote for something you believe in.  You want to bring about real change. We Sander supporters want to avoid falling back into the mire that got us into this mess. We asked ourselves a simple question "Is this the best we can do?"

Many of us answered NO, then got to work to change the system. Voting for the person that promises real change. We all understood it was an uphill battle and would take time and that it would be full of setbacks.

For these reasons...I can not support Hillary Clinton.

I will vote for progressive Democrats.  I will work to change the system.  I will vote for Jill Stein in the Green Party because I want to promote a progressive agenda. 

This is not just emotion...this is who I am.  I am a proud progressive.  I will continue to fight for what I believe in.  So do not ask me to support a party that no longer supports my beliefs. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Reflections on Motivation

"What motivates you?

My boss asked me that question yesterday.

I really did not have an answer ready.  "Well, I like to help people."

"Okay Ms. America and we all want world peace to...but answer the question.  Because if you don't know what motivates you how can you motivate someone else?"

It was a good and fair question.  It took me a bit of soul searching but in the end I found the answer.  What motivates me?  Travel and movement.

I'm motivated by trying something different.  Seeing something different.  Personal growth if you want to call it that.  I'm not really motivated by money (despite owning my own business since 2008 and being in sales most of my life).    One of the best sales months I ever had was due to the promise of a exotic dinner at a restaurant I had never been to but only if I met a certain goal.

Money, like the computer or a car...or even my bike, is just a tool to help me achieve what I really want to do.  Which is to move and travel and see what is over that next hill, what is around that next bend.  The more I think about this...the more logical it becomes to me.

I may have grown up in Pittsburgh, PA but I went to school in Erie, PA and Slippery Rock, PA.  My family likes to joke that when my brother and I turned 18 , my parents said "We love you, now get out."  I guess those travel routes were put down early.

After college, I moved south as soon as I could and have spent time in Charlotte, NC (where I had a job that taught me something new everyday and often required me to travel through the south) and Charleston, SC.  As well as outside of Savannah, GA.  This is not including the various islands and nations in Europe, Asia and South America that I've visited. 

I've traveled to New York City twice, Chicago twice, Las Vegas once.  I've touched down in nearly every state that touches the Atlantic Ocean.  Sue and I are planning on going back to Las Vegas sometime next year (a place she's never been) and our first trip to New Orleans.

If things work out in the long run, then Sue and I will be buying an RV and traveling the US and Canada once we retire. Well I may not be a fan of the idea of getting a trike or a Spyder, the reason I'm even considering it is because Sue wants even more stability when she rides with me.  Plus she knows that I would never ever forgive myself if I were in an accident with her on back.  

I just have that travel bug, that need to see what is over the next hill, and my bike allows me to explore all those wonderful back roads near me. 

Who was it that said "Four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul"?  They were certainly right.  As I look back on my "biking life" I've found that I've been happiest when I have a idea of where I want to go, but it's someplace that I've never been.  It's finding that small mom and pop cafe, or the old cemetery in between point A and B that intrigue me.  Sometimes getting there is more interesting than the final destination...and yes, I know what a cliche that is.  That motivates me to ride, it's just a shame that all I seem to do is ride back and forth to work, so is it any wonder why I'll chose a different path in sometimes?

Even the TV shows I enjoy watching (and I hate TV) are geared towards the exotic and unusual.  Travel shows, history and education predominately.  I used to think that one of the reasons that Jack Kerouac was my favorite author was do to his spontaneous prose, which is basically how I try to write...capturing that feeling of the moment without worrying about how it is structured.  Now in the light of this revelation, I can not help but wonder if it was his nearly neurotic need to be constantly in movement?

Yea, the more I think about this the more I think that my job is just a means to an end.  I need that gas money, I need that hotel room...but that getting away from work is why I work.  That desire to travel is strong in me.  After all, the world is always a more interesting place 50 miles from where your at.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

False Narrative's

My Facebook feed is full of Bernie Sander's stories.   Which, to a certain extent, is fine.  I'm a Bernie supporter and have been from day one.  The reason is simple.

I don't believe that the White House is a prize to be passed from Father to Son or from Husband to Wife.


Hope springs eternal
However lets be honest, he needed to win states like Ohio and Illinois.  The fact that he didn't pretty much doomed his campaign.  He didn't lose by much...but a loss is a loss and that made the matches ahead that much more difficult for him. 

If you look at my Facebook feed it seems that people are accepting of the uphill battle, but don't realize exactly how uphill that battle would be.  Bernie needs to flat out win some states and keep it close in others.  That is the only way he could catch Hillary and win the nomination.  Lets forget about the bull shit that is a "super delegate's" for a moment.  That is just in regular old "pledged" delegates.  When you do the math, it doesn't seem likely.  

When you add in the "super delegate's" - who are party insiders who can vote for who ever they wish - then it seems even more unlikely.

I still support Sander's.  Do not misunderstand me.  A lot of people, including me, are angry at the "one percent" for a variety of reasons.   We see this with the raise of Donald Trump on the right and the surge of Bernie Sanders on the left.   We are angry about the future, the economy and that one simple law of economics seems to be forgotten by the one percent.  People need money to buy shit.


There are some big states coming up.  New York and my home state of Pennsylvania are the big prizes.  Both of these states are closed primary states.   Now I'm not suggesting any chicanery is going on, unlike other Bernie believers, but he doesn't do well is states with closed primaries.   I'm not sure of the reason why.

I expect Bernie to win Wisconsin, which is an open primary state and one where independents can vote.  I also expect him to win Rhode Island.   The reason why is simple.   Bernie attracts a lot of non affiliated or independent minded voters.     These votes currently make up something like 42% of the current electorate. Frankly the other states that have primaries in April are all closed primary states.  With the exception of Wyoming which is a caucus state and he should win that one as well.

He is dead one most of the time
However again, he either needs to win in New York, with it's 247 pledged delegates, or keep it very close.  Same with Pennsylvania which has 189 pledged delegates.   Notice that I'm not talking about the "super delegates."  These are party insiders that are more interested in saving their asses than anything.    If it somehow goes to the convention with Bernie ahead that's when they will come into play.   That's when the party will have to make some hard choices.

That's where the Bernie or Bust pledge comes in.

I took this pledge.  I am sticking with my principles and will not be voting for HRC if she wins the nomination.   I'll most likely vote Green.  I'll definitely be voting for the progressives running in Congress as well. 

The main argument I'm hearing against the Bernie or Bust Pledge is that it's a wasted vote because that means we give the White House to Trump or Cruz.   Again that is a false narrative.   The Republicans are in the midst of a full out inter party Civil War. 

They don't like Trump for a variety of reasons but they also realize that he is their best shot of at least winning the White House in name only...a lot of what he says is a combination of not being a politician, playing the media and his own ego.  His polices are a jumble of things that borrow from both sides of the political spectrum. 

The biggest issue however, is that he is not a "real conservative" which is just lip service for "he's not one of us."   There is a long but amazing story detailing how the GOP lost to Trump in the New York Times and it's worth a read. 

It seems unlikely that Donald would be willing to work with the GOP elite, or them with him, if and when he wins the nomination.   I fully expect a brokered convention where Cruz or, in my opinion, the better choice of John Kasich in nominated as the Republican candidate.  Trump runs as a third party option thus splitting the Republican ticket and the lesser of two evils wins. 

The only way I might break my pledge is that if the race really is close, as in 5% going into election day.  The Democrats will have no one but themselves to blame then putting up a rather weak HRC against Trump.  It's not that I want to save the collective ass of my party.  No, it's because I don't want a Republican to be choosing a Supreme Court justice.   It's very likely that you will see at least one or two...perhaps three picks in the next four to eight years.  That is the only narrative that I can get behind.

For me, "Bernie or Bust" is about sending a message.   My party has failed me.   So yes, I will vote Green in November to send a message.  Let's hope my party is listening because I will continue to fight for what I feel is right.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Museum of Broken Relationships

I was traveling down the road somewhere barely listening to the talk show that was on.  Then something made me pick up my ears.

It was a story on the LA branch of the Museum of Broken Relationships.  It seems that there is already a permanent collection in Zagreb,  Croatia.  You can learn about that here.

Which got me wondering.   I've had my share of failed romantic relationships.  I still have nothing nice to say about my first wife Anna  and it's been some 20 years since we married and divorced.  Yet in all those relationships, in all those days I never kept anything.   I could not think of one object that summed up my relationship with Teri, Sue,  Priscilla, Amy, Nicole and all the others.

There was no ratty tee-shirt.  No heart shaped stone.  Nothing....nada...nope.

There is only one thing that I can think of that I've kept all these years from a failed relationship.  Her name was Tricia and we were at two different points when we dated.   I was ready to start my life, I was just out of college and looking forward to starting work and starting a family.  The traditional life.

However a traditional life was not for me.   I left teaching which was what my original degree was in and fell into an Engineering job that took me up and down the East Coast and through out the south.  I had a lot of money and spent it all chasing poetry in a bottle and in a brown eyes of a sandy haired girl.  Her name was Anna, and that turned my heart cold for a bit.

That ,as they say, however is another story.

When Tricia and I were dating, she was just coming out of a bad relationship and painted me a picture of a blue cat (from a song I liked called "When the cat turned blue") on the glass, below it was two other layers...based on something I said about the ocean.   I'm not sure what happened to that painting over the years.  I'm not sure why I kept it.

Actually I do know.   Out of everything that has ever been given to me.   Out of everything that has ever been down for me this was a gift from the heart.   It was original, creative....and it meant something.

 It hung in various places I've lived.   Normally in my office or man cave.  It seems the other women I've known since then did not find the art very good (and it was more experimental on Tricia's part than anything if memory serves me - and probably another reason why I kept it because she stretched as an artist for me).

Funny that I've not thought about that painting in years.   It may still be tucked away in a box,  It may still be part of my home.  Part of my small but wonderful collection of original art I've collected over the years.

What got me thing about past relationships was that little radio piece and how I never really kept anything.   I guess I did keep something.  I guess I do have something to donate.

Now if I can only find it again.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Watching the Republican's expose themselves

I did not watch the debate last night.  While that's not exactly true.   I watched about 5 or 10 minutes of it and that was enough to watch the lively debate between Cruz, Trump and the moderator Megan Kelly.

Fox news impressed me a bit in that they went after Trump...and Cruz during that segment and for a brief but shining moment looked like a real news organization.

I've been reading the news stories about how the traditional establishment GOP is trying to block Trump for a variety of reasons.   "He's not a real conservative."  "He's not working with the party" or "He's not experienced enough."

If you look past the bullshit however the reason why the "establishment" does not care for the Donald is rather simple.   He's exposing a very simple truth about the Republican party that no one wants to talk about..  A very clever man who is gambling a bit but is playing the establishment and the media like a rare Stradivarius.  I may not like the man but he's smarter than many are giving him credit for.

How so?   Simple.


  1.   Everytime he speaks he gets free press.   Part of this is due to his celebrity but part of this is also do to what he says.  
  2. What he says is a combination of racism, phobia's, and bat shit crazy talk....but contains enough "truth" that many in the Republican base see it as true (more on that in a bit).
  3. Since he's self funding, he does not have to relay on Super Pac money.  Trump himself admitted in the first debate to giving money to politicians to help his position in the business world.   Being self funded he can, and does say what he wants and this is "off message" for the Republicans.  Putting him in the outsider box which works for him.
  4.   Voters are angry, and having a mouthpiece that is angry on the national stage seems almost a role Trump was destined to play.   He recognized that anger well before anyone else did and played into it.
  5. Trump is the master of the soundbite.  Rubio and Cruz simply don't hold a candle to the Donald.  When you speak in soundbites you win the media.  Policy, and facts, don't matter to Donald because he knows that bumper stickers, not policy, wins elections.
The problem is that the Republican party establishment knows that the ground is shifting beneath their feet.   Their base used to be a collection of business leaders, social conservatives (religious people) and whites.

The Republican party played a careful balancing act of serving the business community through a variety of means, being against things like gay marriage and abortion...and although it was not spoken about in public, keeping the black man and other minorities "in their place" so to speak.  Remember this is the party that brought about Nixon's "Southern Strategy" and the "Willie Horton" attack ads (click here to see the ad on youtube).

It was a very subtle type of racism but racism none the less.

And it worked for a long time.

Trump knows how to play into that loose collection.   First off, he is a businessman.   How successful is debatable but most people are familiar with the Trump brand.   For most people the brand is more important than anything.   In my other blog, I write about motorcycles.  I'm amazed how many people will swear up and down that Harley Davidson is the top of the motorcycling world because of the name.   Once your in the motorcycling world however you quickly learn that their are other bikes out that that are simply better.  Brand names matter.

At one time the Republican party could state they were the moral center of America.  That they stood with God and as such were against the sins of homosexulity, abortion and other issues.  However the truth of the matter is that religion no longer plays a large role in the average American's life.  This waning religious belief makes the GOP record on things like gay rights, abortion and prayer in schools dated.

Worse, and the party knows this, they have done little to stop gay rights from gaining ground.  That abortion has been around for 43 years now and any attempt to restrict it further is most likely going to be rejected by the courts.  School prayer has been dropped completely by the GOP.

You do have one candidate running for President that should appeal to the religious right at this time.   Yet he is a distant third in the current polls.

Trump rarely brings up religion, rarely speaks about social conservative issues in general....unless it's in a veiled racist manner....and that appeals to the last block.

Whites.

I'm white....yet I know in the next 20 years or so that I will be a minority.   I'm okay with that.   After all I work with people from all classes, creeds and colors.   I have worked with gay people and slept with a black woman or two.  America is changing and will continue to change.  That's evolution.

My experiences have been and generally will be good with someone "different" than me.   Sadly however there are those out there that espouse racism for what ever reason.   I've seen it in people that I call family and friends.

Sometimes it's generational.  They were raised certain ways and that way is all they know.   Others I've no idea where it comes from.  My own brother, for example, I would call racist.

Do I believe Trump is a racist and an islamophobe?  No.   Honestly I don't.   He's to smart for that, but again he knows that many whites feel threatened.   It's easier to blame a scapegoat for the failings you have.

Trump understands this.   It's the illegal alien that is making me speak Spanish.  It's the Muslims that are threatening my church, never mind that I've not gone to it in the last 5 years.   I lost my job because some chink will work for $5 a day.

Trump also understands that many of the "entitlements" that Republicans hate are being used by those same white base.   Republicans may spout off about Obamacare and other "welfare" programs but understand that they are needed.  Trump acknowledged that with his supporters and again this goes against the "grain of what Republicans stand for."  


That's the problem for Republicans.  They want to move away from the subtle racism towards a party where blacks, latino's, woman and others are more accepted.  They have to in order to survive as a party.  The powers that be know this....and that means moving away from the racism that has always been part of the Republican party.

Trump is a very ugly reminder of it.   To make matters worse, he has about 30% of the Republican party agreeing with him.  Something exposed to the light that the Republicans wish would go away.

It does not take much research to see why the "Establishment" is against Trump.  It does not take much to see that Trump is dragging the party back towards the center.  Where the "Establishment" does not want to be....but knows it has to get back to.  

We have a very quiet and very subtle civil war going on....between the old guard and the new.   Between where the party needs to be and where it is.   I'm not sure if this will split the Republican party in two...but I feel it just might.

That's not a bad thing.   A little revolution now and again is good for the soul.   Frankly, the Republican soul needs saving....and although Trump is a ugly reminder of something very wrong with the GOP.....he just might save their soul by exposing the sins.  

It's about time we on the left started calling them out on it.....but our own party has issues.   Not as bad...but God knows we have them.   That's for another entry though.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The life you lead - experience to extremes

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine at work.  She's much younger than me, I'll say in her mid 20's and the conversation turned to the subject of bad choices.

It seems she made the mistake of doing a hit of acid while in her Macroeconomics class.

Long story short the various curves and graphs were dancing about.  Her professor turned into a hound dog and a few other things were going on.  She ended up having to leave as the trip was starting to turn bad.

I like to tell the story of my roommates bad trip when I was a much younger man living in Charlotte, NC.  I have to admit I embellish it a bit.  We did not after all, find him naked in the closet crying but we did find him in the closet.

I've had my chances to take LSD.   I'm not telling if I did or didn't.  Generally speaking I don't see where the fun is in drugs.  Sure, I've done some things like smoke pot and have gone to enough concerts to see the music as colors but alcohol has always been my drug of choice.

Alcohol consumption, at least, you can control to a great extent.

Case in point, I was at some show up in the mountains of North Carolina, I could not even tell you who was playing; but I will say this.   I was miserable the whole weekend.  I was so miserable I never went to another festival.  Anyhow, some moron decides to throw up right in front of me.  He bends down and picks the shrooms out of his yack and then then re-eats them.

Dude!   Fuck That!

No mushrooms for me.

I'm always amused when people find out that I toured with the Grateful Dead for a summer, or am a paid and published writer (although I've not submitted anything to anyone in forever and a day).   Or experimented with drugs, sex or other things.  Or that I was treated for depression for over a year.

I am, first and foremost, an explorer at heart.

People are surprised that I was in an Open Marriage.  Or that I still believe in Polyamory.  Currently I am monogamous to the one and only Susan, but she started out as my "spice."  It takes a lot of work to be in and maintain a Poly relationship, and frankly I'm very happy to leave that all behind me.   Am I glad I did it?  Of course, but I'm also glad I found "the one."

I will admit however that there are certain aspects to our relationship that I had to leave behind because of her stroke.   Parts that I miss and understand that I will never get back.

That I have explored the various religious texts of the world and visited Buddhist temples, Indian temples and prayed in the Tian Shan mountains.   Where, according to Taoist legends, one can find immortality.

I still believe in God, I'm not not sure if religion is correct.  Or if it's possible to have a personal relationship with God.  I'm sure my beliefs are evolving and will continue to revolve.   For now, I call myself a Pastafarian.

All these memories and more came flooding back as I talked to a girl that was old enough to be my daughter.  Mistakes?   No.

Experiences.

You're going to have good ones.   You're going to have bad ones.   Your going to have your heart broke.

I didn't envy her youth.....but I do miss it to a great extent.   When the next adventure was always around the corner and things like "worrying about your retirement" and "how will I pay for this kitchen remodel?. were not even blips on the radar yet.

I thought of Jack Kerouac.  "Live, love, travel, bless....and don't be sorry."

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A post from my other page

This was originally published yesterday on my other page.

http://www.2smallerwheels.blogspot.com/2016/02/this-day-and-age.html

If your interested in blogging challenges, check it out.   If you're interested in learning a little more about me, check it out.  If not....then fine.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Talking about the Passion

Passion:


  • : a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something
  • : a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way
  • : a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone

I've been thinking a lot about "Passion".  I have a friend that works over Tampa Bay Downs as a "hot walker" and is working on getting her trainer's license.  The intensity she has when talking about horses is laser focused.  She is up at 4 AM every morning to work with the horses, getting them ready for the day's races.  Working in the cold, the rain, the heat and humidity of the summer.  

At the end of the season here in Tampa she'll drive down to Miami, where they run all year round and start all over again.   All for the passion and love of horses and racing.

I have several interests.  We had a small garden out back at one time, growing our own fruits and veggies.  I read up on wine and foods and go exploring...trying different combinations, different cultures.  Frankly I was into craft beers and good food long before they became the staple of tv shows and could be found on every corner.

Soccer, at one time, was a passion of mine.  I watched it on Spanish language channels even though I did not speak Spanish.  I wrote about it, actually being paid by some websites to contribute material to them.  I didn't make much but for a while I was in fact, a paid sportswriter.  However as interest in the sport has grown, my interest has waned.  

At one time I was serious writer, and an rabid reader; reading whatever I could get my grubby hands on.  Wherever it be pulp fiction, hard fiction or some rare find.  I blame the Thief's Journal for several months of drunken debauchery in all it's glorious forms. I was a writer damn it and I was going to self destruct like all the great one's did. 

So in a way, it's sad to see the various stories that I've started not finished or revised wasting away either in my head or in various journals and files.  

I do love riding Kimmie, my beloved bike and writing about those adventures in my blog.  However that too, has fallen to the wayside as I deal with everything else in my life.  I have no passion for it anymore.  I am out of excuses.

My job I have no passion for, although it seems to be my ticket to a better and more fulfilling life.  I am, finally, where I want to be and doing what I have always thought I could do career wise.  

Is it any wonder that I look on with wide eyed wonder as she talks about horses and lip chains and "natural training" methods.  I used to have that passion about sport, writing, books, art, science and philosophy.

How did I let the world beat me down?

How does one rekindle that fire?  That Passion for life?   For living?

No, I'm not depressed.  I'm far from it actually, but I can not help but wonder where that wide eyed joy and wonder went to?

What does one do to reignite a flame?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

This post has no title.

It's been awhile since I've posted something here.

The truth is that although their are a lot of things that engage my mind, comments that I want to make and things that I feel should be discussed...that takes time.  Something precious that I no longer seem to have.  To be honest with myself, their is little that has engaged me lately.

I'm not sure how and when my life became so "busy."  However with the lingering remnants of something that my doctor so elegantly referred to as "the krud" I thought I should at least sit down and try to write.  Even though my head is six times it's normal size and I'm dizzy whenever I try to stand up.

I shall soldier on.

Earlier today I came across an interesting article on NPR about the political divide in America.  If you take a look at this site or my FB page, you might see I lean to the left.

I'm actually okay if you disagree with me.  I'm okay if you're not supporting my party or candidate.   I'm not going to accuse you of "drinking the kool-aid", being a "moron" or worse.   What I might ask you to do is to engage me with facts, tell me how and why you believe what you do.  If your argument bears some resemblance to logic than I'll gladly engage you.  As long as you don't result to calling me names.

What's "some resemblance to logic" mean?  In other words don't tell me you're against gay marriage because you don't want them to butt fuck your dog.   I think that's fair enough don't you?

When you engage someone with an open mind and try to understand their point of view, then guess what happens?  You meet in the middle and reach some compromise that works best for all.  You don't get everything you want....but you don't lose everything either.

After reading that NPR article I posted the following comment:  I would argue that the media, all media, is to blame here as well. When you have Facebook that recommends only people that share similar interests and beliefs you're just reinforcing that viewpoint. When you have Fox News and the Daily Kos, your only reporting news from one side. Their is no more engagement, no more lively debate. I know I've engaged with several people on the right without us resulting into name calling...and although we may not of fully convinced each other that "our side is right." We do at least learn something from the other. Sadly it's much easier to call someone a moron and resort to stupid memes and lies, damn lies and statistics.


I should have added that in our 24 hour media environment that the only thing that makes a 30 second sound byte is the outrageous.  Thus the reason we see the Donald every 30 seconds on our TV screens.   There is simply no deep analysis anymore on the part of the general public.  Where people smarter 100 years ago before the invention of the internet and television?  Or even the radio?   No, not really, but I bet dollars to donuts that they were more fully engaged in the politics of their day.   Don't get me started on the consolidation of various newspapers, tv stations and other media companies.   The more the information is controlled the less of the story you actually here.

To a certain degree I do hope that both Trump and Sanders run as independents in the end.  I support Sanders but lets be honest, a self describe "Democratic Socialist" is going to have issues getting anything through Congress.   It's not from lack of trying but anywhere from 30 to 40% of the Republican party leans to the far right in my opinion.   I know a few that feel that they are "losing America" but can't define exactly what is being lost.     


An independent run by Trump forces the Republican party to "come to the center" where I still believe many Americans are.   In my opinion it would also force the Republican party to become more moderate by shedding the Tea Party groups and embracing more minorities.  A run by Sanders would hurt the Democratic party more than help it, but if he does get 10 to 30% of the vote, it creates a true third party movement in America.  It would also make our politicians review many entrenched positions they currently hold...because at least 1 out of 5 of there constituents voted for something like Universal Health care.

Third parties generally don't do well in the long run in American politics but they do serve a purpose and that "shaking up" of the status quo is never a bad thing.   It may also do something that is badly needed in america...actually get us to talk about what is truly wrong with this country....and how to fix it.   

Guess what....what is currently that "moronic right wing" plan just may do it.  That "libtard" plan might just do it.   Let's take the best of the two ideas and see if we can meet in the middle.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

So I finally saw Star Wars!


(Although the chances of you having NOT seen the new Star Wars movie yet are slim...as far warning I must tell you the following:)




(YES - I DID THAT ON PURPOSE)

Overall STAR WARS was not a bad movie.

It's been out for a while I know but I figured opening night be insane, then opening week.  I had somehow avoid spoilers so far...but it was getting harder to avoid them with each passing day.  I had gone so far to post this on Facebook:

So...I've still not seen Star Wars and have managed to avoid spoilers. I hope to see it sometime in the coming week. What should I do:
a) hide in a cave till I can see the movie?
b) live my normal boring life and start going "I can't hear you!" while plugging my ears and running away when someone starts talking about the movie.
c) where a shirt that says "Greedo shot first" and hope that distracts others from telling me about the new movie.
d) give into the dark side?

I knew that sooner or later I would have to see a spoiler, actually the first spoiler I saw was the twitter account of "Emo Kylo Ren".

However this is were my being social awkward when it comes to social media comes in handy.  I have a twitter account but have only ever tweeted twice.  I really see no reason for it and my mind works in more than 144 characters most of the time.

Personally before the movie, based solely on the trailers, I would have thought that Kylo Ren was a turned to the dark side Luke Skywalker. I was surprised to learn that he was the son of Han Solo and Leia.  Or that Han would die, although from what I understand it was at Harrison Ford's request.

It's fun to watch the old and the new blend, and J.J. Abrams did this once before with Star Trek.  There is a bunch of throw backs to the original film.  I personally loved how the targeting system from the original movies played out in the Millennium Falcon.  Finn's reaction to that is classic...and makes me wonder why Han never bothered to update the targeting system.

It's fun to watch Kylo Ren tear up a computer display when he gets bad news.  Or the humor in seeing a stormtrooper give into the mind control of the force a little to easily.  It is nice to see that their aim has improved over time.  Although truthfully, and this may be the age I am, I didn't sense any evil in Kylo Ren.  He doesn't have the gravity of Darth Vader.  His reactions to things, well fun to watch, just did not seem like the actions of a Sith Lord.

He seemed like a spoiled brat to me, which may be why Emo Kylo Ren is so popular on twitter.

I can see, why some people thought the movie "sucked" or did not live up to the original material.  However we need to remember something...the original movie was all the way back in 1977.  We have had a generation of children growing up who believe that Han did not shoot first.

Overall I enjoyed the movie and would see it again.  I loved how the movie blended CGI and live action beautifully.  Sure it's basically a retelling of the movie from why back in my youth (I was 11 in 1977) but guess what....I don't care.  It's what films of this type need to be....fun, wonderful, mythic.

Now if they will only make Kylo Ren more adult and less "emo" I'll be happy.