Love, even in loss.

It has been a very long time since I put my thoughts on this page. Long overdue actually. Part of the issue has been life. Life happened, is happening, and will happen. To stop and express thoughts and feelings during the Life Happenings is a conscience choice that must be acted upon. I, on the other hand, procrastinated until the moment passed and left me holding on to empty bag of unknowns, uncertainties, and unresolved expressions.

So, I take this moment to put aside my laziness and drop a quick note or two onto this fine media….to share, with you, how life has happened since my last posting.

Since leaving my state job, going back to the big corporate life, I have road a roller coaster of events that have altered my life. Most extreme of which was the passing of my Mom. Watching a loving and caring woman succumb to the ravages of cancer…never complaining about the pain and misery she was suffering…has left a sore that I cannot seem to heal.  That spot where you feel the pain, yet don’t have a remedy at hand. At times it festers to a point of creating tears from hurt, and at times it just aches enough to remind you that it is still there, yet I can still manage through the day.

I will confess that there has been directed moments where I have tried to numb the pains with adult-fashionable beverages in excess. But, we both know that is not a remedy for any pain.  If anything, it only leaves the physical body in discord and fills the mind with regret. The sore still remains. Life still happens.

Trying to take my focus off of the sore is also just a temporary fix. Even if I fill my head and heart with the anguish of the world events of murder, mayhem, and vile actions purported on one another, that is only a fleeting burn that dissipates after the news is turned off. Plus, only adds to the disdain I have for people who are filled with evil. Love is smothered and I become numb.

Life still happens. I still walk amongst it, daily having to navigate the ups and downs, turns and curves of my existence. It’s true that you cannot just put your head in the sand and pretend that you are not there. I have tried and it hasn’t resolved anything. The only resolve is facing it all head on. Walking into the storms and taking action on each segment of life as it happens.

As much as it can hurt at times, facing the enemy is more effective in the long run. Life will keep happening, but keeping a firm grasp on how much it can become a sore will most certainly give you the upper hand.  I wasn’t prepared for some of life’s big hits on me and have suffered more than I should have, had I taken a more controlling roll in them when they occurred. So, as with anything….you live and learn!

Not to sound cliché and sappy, but love does conquer all. Filling your heart with love will have a greater impact on your personal resolve to survive the storms of life’s happenings. Thus, when faced with devastation, loss, pain, hurt, and emptiness….you will at least have a warmth that comforts and calms you through it all.

Be strong, my friends, and be in love! Love you, love them, love life…good and bad. But, above all…..LOVE!

 

 

 

Altered States (or… lies your computer tells you)

I have to find some humor in the technological advancements we have today. As much as the science and technology growth has “improved” our lives (still not sure who’s definition we are using there…), there is just as much damage that is occurring from it as well.

Someone shared with me a “glitch” that was found in our technology. No, it isn’t something as large as from the movie “War Games” where the computer is preparing to launch a nuclear device. This was something that could be considered small, yet indicative of changes that could affect future generations. A friend had downloaded the classic piece of literature “War And Peace” onto their Nook e-reader. Now, I will confess right here and now that I am in no way an expert on the world of e-readers. I’m still a fan of holding a real book! But I do like the notion of having several books available into one ‘machine’.

So, anyway, this copy of “War And Peace” was downloaded from the Barnes and Noble site for the grand price of 99 cents! A bargain! Yet the bargain came with a price. It seems that there was some word replacements made within the story. Not by the publisher or anyone else. It was done through the technology! The word “kindle”, as in ‘tending a fire’, is used about 8 times throughout the classic volume of writing. The makers of the Nook are in fierce competition with Amazon’s Kindle. The Nook technology removed the word “kindle” and replaced it with the word “nook”.  That’ll teach them!

So now instead of “kindled” the fire, you “nook’d” the fire! Gotta love it! I have to imagine that if our technology ever becomes self-aware, it won’t try to destroy the human population as it has been presented in science fiction movies. No, they will try to destroy each other thanks to the competition of marketing!

If you can picture the future of humanity, studying the great pieces of literature, with the (un)necessary alterations being accepted as the original text? It’s been done before!  The Bible has seen more alterations  than a wedding dress shop!

So, what’s next? How about Dickens’ classic Great Expectations becoming Great Clips. Or perhaps Stevenson’s Treasure Island getting Casino added at the end of the title.  Maybe Washington Irving’s classic The Sketch Book Of Gregory Crayon will have Gregory removed and replaced with Crayola! Next thing you know, the computers will get politically neutral and change Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to A Holiday Carol! Ugh!

Alright Cannon, let’s not get too carried away! Back on topic! (As if there was one…..).

Point is, there comes a time when we lose the humanity by allowing machines to do the thinking for us. So many examples of that leading to catastrophe have been displayed in movies, television, and books.  Our legacy to the future generations is to ensure that they never lose sight of where we came from.  That is why it is so important that we maintain history factual and unedited.  The slightest alteration in script could mean the difference from what was once considered evil to now being considered good.

History is our story. We have worked hard to preserve it, teach it, and learn from it. There are three things that a computer should never replace: human touch, human emotion, and human history.

Paint Me Some Common Sense!

It has been a very long time since I have been on here to post my words about the lack of common sense in our world today and the craziness that has replaced said common sense.  I apologize to my readers for this large gap in writing. My only defense has been that the overwhelming amount of chaos, frivolity, and just-plain-stupidity that has been rampant throughout the world lately has overloaded my thought process!

Our mission of Thinking-Before-Reacting and Use-Common-Sense has been pushed aside in favor of time travel back to the Land That People Forgot. That place where crazy reigned supreme, people were filled with disrespect for one another, and lack of reasoning was prevalent. You all are aware of my huge plea to “learn from history”! We have a colorful past of mistakes and errors to show us what doesn’t work! Let’s use it! But, sadly, no. It appears to be just the opposite. Instead of learning from the past, let’s just take our whole mentality and re-create that era. Let’s just live daily the things that we fought so hard to change for the better.

A painter starts with small brush strokes, outlines the various parts of the canvas, details in the colors to bring out the images they strive for. But before the brush touches the paint, the finished product is pictured in the mind.  In order to make that picture become reality, the artist must know what the finished product will look like. So, too, we need to have that “big picture” view. See the whole before we can understand the parts.  When we plant our focus on a small portion, make a judgement of the big picture just based on that small portion…well, often our view is incomplete, inaccurate, and inadequate.

What creates such dissension in this world is that the narcissism of so many has narrowed their view to just a portion of reality. Since they are so convinced that the world is all about them, they conclude things based on that narrow viewpoint.  Now multiply that narrow-mindedness to millions and millions, put it on television and internet, and you have successfully destroyed common sense.  Take out rational thinking and you have nullified respect. Eliminate caring and you have the world as it is today.

I don’t want to be the downer, the negative, the bringer of bad news. My intent is not to depress you, dear reader! The intent is to recharge you! The intent is to revitalize you into pushing for changes in this blinded world we live in! We have had so many paintings presented to us from the past…big pictures that show our bad, that from it we can do good.  But we cannot just focus on a small part of those pictures….no! We need to step back, see the painting as a whole, and learn from what it says!

Opening up the narrow and seeing the whole allows us to make rational decisions, use common sense when addressing issues, and, most of all, care! It takes us away from the mistakes of our past and allows us the opportunity to be respectable people.  I haven’t written for some time, partly out of overload, but partly out of confusion.  There are so many decent people in this world, and yet the media fronts the rotten tomatoes.

One of my favorite quotes from the movies is Donald Sutherland’s character in Kelly’s Heroes. He would always tell Gavin MacLeod’s character to “stop with all the negative waves”.

Very applicable, I’d say!  How about some “positive waves”!

 

A Traditional Way, or In The Way…?

“Because that’s the way it has always been done!” That’s the answer for tradition. If you do the same thing time and time again…it’s tradition. The family gatherings during the holiday, the placement of an item ceremoniously, following a well-travelled path…all traditions. There are many wonderful things to be said about tradition. It can be used as a means of preserving family memories. It demonstrates respect for the past. It also teaches and motivates the young to remember. Tradition can build a strong bond of unity!

There can be down-sides to traditions though. Often, doing something just because of tradition makes it robotic and the true meaning to its purpose is lost over time. People will go through the motions “just because” and get stuck in the rut. Traditions can keep you trapped, missing out on something that can be new and exciting. “Because that’s the way it has always been done!”

I did that once. Absolutely refused to purchase compact disks for the longest time because I felt my tradition of records and cassettes were being infringed upon. Don’t tell me I have to change my media! I’ve always listened to my music this way!

With some traditions though, I have to shake my head and wonder why.  One such tradition is using Roman numerals for the year or to denote a quantitative measure of events. Prime example: the Superbowl. This 2012, Superbowl XLVI was played. Not 46, but XLVI. It is important to note that!  But why use Roman numerals? Doesn’t our numbering symbols work? Does a game or event become more exciting if antiquated symbols are used?

If you put in the question “why does the Superbowl use Roman numerals” in Google search, you get about a thousand pages of every type trying to give you an answer. And you know what? None of them do. Well, maybe they do, but I’m not going to scroll through every one to see!  But, the common thread seems to be tradition. Plain and simple. It’s the novelty of doing it because, well…just because.  Tradition. 1966 saw the first game played, billed as Superbowl I, and has continued tradition ever since.  They are not the only ones using Roman numerals though. Check out the very end of the credits on television shows. Copyright MCMVXXIII (just made up a random number). Tradition? Yep….tradition.

Let’s face it…the way of the Roman numbering symbols is a thing of the past, but to strike tradition, we continue to use it in various applications. The same can be said of many traditions. Archaic as some things may seem, we still push for some aspect of yester-yore.  Is it a bad thing? No. Something like Roman numerals will not decimate the rise of technology. But if we held fast to a Roman numeral-only mentality, then hinderance of progression may occur!

Standing in traditions that disallow progress have also proven to be damaging. In many cultures or religions, some traditions have proven harmful to certain genders or races. Women have suffered throughout history under religious or political oppressions. Having a belief other than the status quo could often be cause for punishment or death to people because tradition would not move…it’s the way it has always been and it will not be challenged!  These types of situations still happen in this modern-day and age! Archaic thinking creates a separation.

I’m not going to start in on specifics. That usually just leads to arguments. I’m not here for that.  I just feel that it is important to keep a mind open, evaluate all aspects, and be respectful to other’s. Disclaimer: driving like a selfish idiot during rush hour is NOT considered tradition! Just saying….but I digress!

Anyway, I just find it interesting some of the various traditions that people, communities, cultures, religions, and even nations will hold near and dear to their hearts. Look around your world this week and note the various traditions that people engage in. You will find some odd, like Roman numerals. You will find some touching, like visits to a grave. You may find some that need a change. You might find a situation to create one. Sometimes you have to break tradition to create a new tradition!

No matter the tradition, it is something that is a part of the life around us. I hold out for hope in a planet steeped in traditions that a sprinkling of common sense exists within!  Change can be good for some traditions. I know…I ended up buying a CD player and learned to really enjoy that technology!

Now, what is this MP3 stuff I’m hearing about….?

MP3 Player?

…and they say I’m crazy!

Masked To Protect The Innocent!

Minnesota has a reputation of being the icebox of the nation. Winter brings about unique challenges for the inhabitants here: staying warm, surviving, staying warm, keeping healthy, and staying warm! Since a primary goal throughout winter is keeping ourselves warm, why would people purposefully shun that duty, expose bare skin to the natural elements and immerse themselves into a frozen lake?  Because it’s there!

Each year, Minnesotans gather at frozen lakes, cut holes in said frozen lakes, strip down to (almost) bare skin, and jump! What? It’s not some weird fad. No, this is Polar Plunging! I have to believe that  jumping into a frozen lake is not a new activity (probably been around since the beginning of….well, I guess the ice age!). Yet, what may have started as a rite of passage or some pseudo-holistic healing practice, has now turned into a money-maker.  Fortunately for justification sake, it’s making money for a great cause! The Minnesota Special Olympics!

Minnesota law enforcement agencies have sponsored this unique event at multiple lakes for the last 15 years in Minnesota and the popularity increases every year.  Last year was my first “jump”. I didn’t know what to expect, became apprehensive (rational?) right before they yelled jump, but came out the other side (of the water) like a victorious warrior! I was a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’! Frozen to the very core of my soul, but very much alive! I accomplished that short 10 second burst of extreme exposure and wanted more! Well, more has come again!

Welcome the 2012 Polar Plunge in Minnesota! The warrior within has surged! Well, the costume might be a bit misleading. Not very warrior-like. Did I tell you that many of the participants like to dress in costumes? No? Oh, they sure do! Groups of people will often dress alike or follow a theme, such as the folks that become Smurfs or the couple dressed like Batman and Robin. Too fun! Costume and all right into the frigid waters! Just for the record, the feetie-pajamas are not straight out of my dresser! (Though they are sure comfortable!)

Once in, you are surrounded by a sudden shock of chill.  The real fun begins when you break the water’s surface. The winter air pokes at you like a thousand needles in every direction. Under normal circumstances, this would cause distress….but not today. Today is warrior day! Today is the day I’ve overcome rational fears and ideas. People don’t jump in a lake in the middle of winter, especially with water-retaining adult footie pajamas on! Ah, but they do! When everyone else says you shouldn’t because it isn’t normal…you do it because…..

Because there are some people who face challenges everyday that are beyond what you and I can comprehend. Tasks that we take for granted are uphill battles for some. My 10 second uphill battle is just a blip on life’s radar compared to what our Olympians face each day.  The Special Olympics participants are going against the grain of society…doing amazing feats of strength, stamina, and skill that they were once told they could not do. And, thanks to their inspiration, truly wonderful people have stepped up to donate time and money to ensure that these Olympians can continue to show us how to overcome!

Sure, some have told me how crazy I am because I jumped in a frozen lake in the middle of winter.  It’s really the motivation behind the jump that makes it perfectly clear to me.  That jump is the most sane thing I’ve done all year. I’ve been fortunate to have helped some of the greatest inspiration the world should be watching! It really makes sense…Common Sense, to be more precise! Keep focused on success, not failure. More mountains (and frozen lakes) can be conquered with a warrior zeal within!

Plunge! Jammies and all....

Will The Real You Please Stand Up?

Who's Behind The Mask?

I am a doctor. I am a detective. I am an athlete. I am a scientist. I am a rock star. I am a comedian. I am all this and more.

I am a talentless whiner. I am a user of people. I am a deceiver of businesses. I am an attention junkie. I am all this and more.

After I turn off the television, I sit in isolation. Quiet surrounds me I’m left with my thoughts. The mind scrambles to register all that it witnessed.  Who am I? Can I heal? Do I solve? Am I famous? Do I need accolades? Where’s my mansion? Who am I?

Filled with inexplicable amounts of make-believe, we find ourselves not ourselves. The constant watcher of others, we soon lose identity and believe ourselves someone else. Reality is scripted and fiction is true-to-life. Separating ourself from the box becomes too painful and we elect to base life upon the results of edited production. The need to immerse our comings and goings on what someone else is takes over. Who am I?

Why is there such a fascination with living vicariously through others, whether fact or fiction? Have we become so dissolution with ourselves, our potential, that we abandon the future we can make all for the fantasy of another? We are so entrenched in emulating that ‘original’ is becoming archaic. Gene Roddenberry may have discovered our futures by the creation of an alien race called the Borg for the Star Trek franchises. They are a fictional race of cybernetic organisms that “assimilate” other beings into their “collective”. In other word, much like the content on our t.v.’s, they absorb people and make us a part of themselves.

We are not too far from that, actually. Lacking the flying spaceships and science fiction effects, we have this continual desire to “be like” this person or that. The old days of boys wanting to grow up and be like their hero’s such as the Lone Ranger and brave knights, or the little girls wanting to become princesses and movie stars, has evolved into obsessions that are suffered even by adults. We seek to replace our doldrums for excitement…our meanial for fame!  The power to be living in our skin, but as someone else.

So we sit day after day, seeking to be someone else, somewhere else. We look inward and want to change outward. We feel a lacking inside and reach for transformation, even if it is only a fantasy.  At the cost of being accusatory, I suggest we are all, to some degree or another, under this urge. We start out as ourselves, become disillusioned with who we are due to pressure to conform, and eventually all but abandon who we are.  Who we become depends on who we covet.

Not that being inspired by others’ achievements to become better is a bad thing. On the contrary, it can be a great thing!  Isn’t it said that imitation is the highest form of flattery?  Sure!  But what on television is there that is worth imitation?

May I direct the audience to reality t.v.? No, it’s ok…you can shake your head in disbelief. A very understandable reaction when you look at the characters on there through your Common Sense Glasses!  Come on folks! These people are out there! Be afraid, be very afraid! 

The fact that many are loose in the world without a good pair of Common Sense Glasses is scary! They cannot see the shallow and conceited manners of many on television. They are blinded to the arrogance of the actors, (…and yes, reality t.v. is nothing but actors).  But because of the flamboyant and over-the-top nature of the characters, some think that the make-believe is a better existence and want to do the same. 

With a good fitting of Common Sense, you start to see through the fake and fluff.  You understand that life isn’t an everyday party without consequences.  You see that accountability is on the individual, not the production staff. Directors and camera crews don’t alter your life by edits and filters…you are you, right to the very end!

If science fiction has taught us anything, it’s that you need to have your guard up at all times.  Aliens from far and near are trying to absorb you into their world, and unless you see them for who they really are, you will fall prey and lose self. Wear your Common Sense Glasses, see the world as it really is, and protect yourself from the lure of illusion. Stand on your own two feet and be who you are! You can still enjoy life, and I believe life will enjoy the real you!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Purse Spelunking

Be Afraid!

At this point, I need to step forward for all men and convey a concern. Actually, it is a deep-seeded worry, (some would say fear).  I talking about purses. You all know what they are. The over-the-shoulder tote that allows women (and sadly, some men…just sayin’…) to have ready access to necessities for the day.  Everyone has seen them.  They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, materials, and designs.  The trend these days leans toward the luggage-sized variety. No matter what style or type, it is the one accessory that rarely seems to be left behind.

As for the contents of said purses, that remains purely individual choice.  Cell phones, keys, tissues, make-up, pictures, and wallets seem to comprise the more common items likely found within.  There are also the coin collectors, the junk junkies, the dirt delighters, and the toy toters.  Now, add larger bags to the equation and you have ample room to include so much more that the term ‘heavy hauler’ takes on a new meaning!

Back to my initial statement of concern and worry for men.  Most men understand the old embarrassment of having to be seen in public holding the purse while the lady is trying on clothes or in need of both hands for one thing or another. Uncomfortable and awkward are the descriptors here.  But a deeper horror begins to take shape when we are asked– nay, told,  to retrieve something from the caverns of The Purse! (Cue dramatic, scary music!)  Before you begin the adventure of Purse Spelunking, let me share some important do’s and don’t’s that could just save you from intense dangers!

Some people are adept at exploring wild caves as a recreation. This is called spelunking or caving.  Going into a woman’s purse is not too different from that, with the main difference being the objects one might encounter.  You see, deep within the well that makes up The Purse, lies a myriad of tunnels and pitfalls where darkness consumes unsuspecting objects.  Many have entered, few have returned.  Trust me when I tell you that preparation could save a hand…or more!

The foremost thing that must be understood is that the outside of the purse is deceiving as to its true depth and width inside.  Never underestimate, as that is the folly of man!  Prepare as if you were entering the largest cave system in the world!  Rappelling gear, rope (as much as you can carry), survival gear (in case you find yourself in there longer than anticipated), a good pair of shoes to keep your footing (you might find a pair or two in the purse, but beware that heels don’t make good climbing shoes), a good light source with plenty of back up power (the last thing you want to lose is light down there), and protective eye wear (Lord knows what sharp objects you could run into).

Upon entering the cavern, you may initially be frightened by the many pockets that lead into darkness. Stay strong! The sight of large winged creatures soaring from side to side could easily lead you to believe that you stepped into a land that time forgot, but rest assured…you are only in a purse!  This is not to say that all you encounter will be new. No, things will appear that entered in a long time ago. Don’t be startled by stale gum, half eaten cough drops, hardened lip balm, corroded hair clips, or coins that contain images of Caesar.  These are all just ghosts of travels-past.  Spelunking in a purse will dredge these up!

Remember to focus on the task at hand. Don’t be swayed and distracted by the curiosities that pop out of different annexes within.  What looks like a food item could, in reality, be a carefully wrapped napkin holding the remnants of a meal long forgotten!  It’s important to know the item you seek intimately.  You don’t want to mistake something down here for something else!  Retrieving some Tylenol? Don’t touch items that are not in a protective container.  Contamination is a prevalent problem down here.  You might think that the loose M&M’s look good, but could actually be ibuprofen with lip gloss melt on them! 

Time is of the essence! The longer you remain inside, the greater the chance of getting lost and being added to the curios that remain behind.  Don’t put yourself in that position.  Keep a “get in, get out” motto coursing through your brain at all times. Keep your eyes open and be aware of what your hands are near.  There are objects in here that will break skin and lead to infections.  That nail file may be rounded on one end but could easily hide mini scissors on the other! Take no chances!

Above all, always have an exit strategy! If you feel something isn’t right, get out! Guys, you are not trained experts in Purse Spelunking. You don’t just thrust your arm into a dark, potentially hazardous pocket without doing your research first. Narrow down your quest by having the instigator give you specifics: which pocket? front or back? left, right, or center? zipper or snap? If the item isn’t in plain view upon approach, now is the time to decide if you truly need it right now. Is this something that can wait for a more experienced spelunkers, such as the owner of the purse?

Preparation is key and keeping your guard is imperative. There are dangers at every turn and unless you are ready to face them in the purse, it may be best to avoid it for your safety.

Looking For The Car Keys......

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