July 28, 2010

it's been a long time since I felt fine...

July 27, 2010

Hijacking ideas

As a southerner in the United States I would like nothing more than to be able to fly the confederate battle flag. To me, it would symbolize pride in a culture where people stood against a tyrannical government and said, "You don't like us having an economic stronghold, so you apply unfair taxation on our exports, and that isn't fair." Yet, to most people it simply means, "I hate brown people." Politically correct history teaches us that the civil war was because of slavery, when in fact most southerners were poor and on about the same socioeconomic level as slaves. Slavery was on it's way out in the United States and many plantation owners were aware of it. There was a growing school of thought that resulted in slaves being given status as sharecroppers, it was found that men worked harder when they were working for themselves.

Freedom, so simple a word, yet so profound an idea.

The reason I can't fly this flag with pride, is that it has been hijacked by white supremacists and bastardized to come to be recognized as a symbol of hate. I must concede this fact. Do I want to argue continually with outspoken people who take offense to it? No. I know what it means to me, but to be caught in a loop of teaching people history is a waste of time and quite tedious.

This is a regular occurrence throughout history and it's happening every day. There are schools of thought that hijack what many people know to be good and wholesome, things that people live their life by. This drives people crazy, to see something they hold as sacred being burned, made fun of and ridiculed by ignorance. Yet, to grow, this usurping must be recognized and we must move on. Christianity has dealt with this for centuries. From the crusades, to people that kill abortion providers to people that protest funerals and warp the minds of children with ideas that teach hate as a second language.

Do you desire to fight this battle?

There are people who want to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center. Some of these people don't understand why this is offensive to others. It is offensive because peace loving Muslims have allowed their religion to be hijacked by people that wish to kill people that do not believe in and interpret their theology the same way they do. There are countless businesses that send money to organizations that fund this mindset, we know this. There are governments that we support with money that back this mindset, there are people we train militarily that, in turn, train people that will attempt to kill us, we know this.

There are people in Israel that do not understand why others not of their faith should get upset when they bulldoze existing homes to build places for Jews to live. There are people in Ireland that can not understand how a marriage in the United States can exist between a Catholic and a Protestant. There are people all over the world that can not understand how millions of individuals can walk into a building each week and freely give their money to an organization that hides men that molest children.

When priests molest children and are hidden by the hierarchy of the church, there is no way said church can be taken seriously. When leaders of a religion openly call for the destruction of western civilization, there is no way they can be listened to. When people speak of a god that calls for others to burn for eternity because they are born with a genetic code that makes them attracted to the same sex, those people are ignored and should read the actual book they hide their own hidden homosexual tendencies behind. When people protest a school that trains military personnel that end up training our enemies, they should ask themselves, "Who better to train our enemies than ourselves?" this way they know what we want them to and they can easily be defeated... When a government seeks to oppress its citizens via debt for the "common good" said government should be replaced when elections come around. When "news" becomes a voice of the corporate purses that sustain it, they should be ridiculed and ignored.

Jesus said, "I come not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it."

Muhammad said, "He is not strong and powerful who throweth people down; but he is strong who witholdeth himself from anger.”

Buddha said, "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger."

Confucius said, "
The superior man is satisfied and composed, the mean man is full of distress."

The religious texts are all similar in nature, from the Bhagavad Gita to the new english translation of the Bible, yet we choose not to read them in total, but pick out those things which best suit our personal agenda. To me the underlying truth of these works is that at some point someone had enough of listening to the crowd and took it upon themselves to speak openly and from their own minds. Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna, Confucius, etc simply stood up and said enough.

The same is true with works not given by God but spoken by men, and claimed as such. The works of the founding fathers of this nation come to mind. When people have said, enough, and stepped away from the crowd and spoken the truth of their minds. When you do this you suffer, such as all of these people & deities did. People die for ideas, this has always been true and always will. How far are you willing to go for what you believe to be the truth?

There just simply comes a time when people must be responsible for their own actions and these awakenings begin with someone slapping this reality into us, while not giving a damn about what the crowd thinks.

So what do we as a society do with this mess that we have created over the total of our history?

We evolve, we learn, or we simply destroy ourselves... that's about as simple as it gets.

Step away from all labels, think and act for yourself, do not listen to what others tell you but find out for yourself. Accept the truth of your existence. Rise above ridicule and know that all life exists as one and its fate is in your hands. Life or death, its your choice. So don't build on what others have done, stare at a blank page, create your own thoughts. Make these thoughts ideas worth giving your life for. Peace should not come from the death of another, we have existed as humans long enough to learn this.

July 25, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Naked

A second rate actress and train crash in the making by the name of lindsay lohan gets drunk, wrecks a few cars, violates probation and then is sent to prison.

And it is "news"

This woman is a bug. Bugs are a dime a dozen. They can be found in every place humans exist. A bug is defined as a human that has no soul, exists through lies and manipulation of those around them, for no apparent reason. They have no creativity or originality in them what so ever. They are mimics at best and sociopaths at worst. They seek to control their surroundings and have fits of despair when this can't happen. Aside from outright slaughter, the quickest and most effective way to destroy a bug is to ignore it, they wither quickly, but will almost always explode before they vanish, seeking to take as many people with them as possible.

While channel surfing the other day I was amazed to see her all over the television. There were lengthy programs on air dedicated to tales of her drunken debauchery and the relationship she has with her father. Is this where we are headed as a society? Giving this much attention to spiders such as this?

Welcome to the cult of celebrity.

While we are bombarded with images of the behavior of these people in print, on television and on line. There are many more regular people doing what must be done on a daily basis, and these vampires feed off of them. I am amazed that there are real businesses built entirely on the actions of bugs. Televison programs, web sites, magazines... all built around what these people do when they are simply walking down the street. The people who head these outlets actually get excited when one of these bugs breaks the law, they know they are about to make more money... its almost like cops is the poor man's entertainment tonight...

Between the stories popping up on "news" outlets of this whore's antics and mel gibsons tirades you could almost find out about some legitimate news occurring here and there, like north korea threatening nuclear attacks if south korea and the United States go ahead with military maneuvers in the area, or U.S. military personnel being kidnapped in afghanistan. God forbid alfred e newman over in iran bombs israel with one of those nukes they aren't trying to build, they might have to interrupt the twenty-four hour news cycle with something of substance.

Once all of the corporate mergers are complete and the internet has become as policed as the news media is now, we shall all be blissfully ignorant of everything that happens. I shall be first in line for the lobotomy... I'm quite tired of thinking.

July 20, 2010

Captain Phil Harris

What is it about this guy that has drawn such a reaction and created so many fans?

He was born in 1956, and, beginning at the age of seven, spent his life working on fishing boats. He went to work for his father at the age 17 on a crab boat. From that point forward he was a crab fisherman. He became captain of a crab boat at the age of 21. In 1990 he bought into the fishing vessel Cornelia Marie, and served as its captain from then until his death in 2010.

His story has touched many people since the first airing of the television program Deadliest Catch on the Discovery channel in 2005. His fan base in fanatical and includes people from all walks of life, from quiet unassuming people who enjoy his manner in dealing with his crew and family, all the way to Harley Davidson nuts he seemed to be able to bring these people in and give them what they want.

For me, I watched the show off and on over the years and recently tuned in when I heard about him passing away in February of this year after suffering a stroke. Tonight I watched the episode when he died and then watched the tribute episode that followed. When the program was over, I thought about why I wanted to see it and what it was that drew me to it. I came to the conclusion that it was because of the passing away of my own father in February of 2008 and all that followed during the weeks after. I was simply drawn to it as a moth to a flame. I could identify with his children, friends, and family.

Deadliest Catch can be entertaining to be sure, but I never watch the program every week, I mean its the same thing over and over. Rough weather, hard working guys doing a near impossible job while dealing with a mountain of tension and stress... All for money so they can support their families and lifestyles. Watch a television program about this? Everyone does this almost every day.

In pondering what the attraction of this one man is I came to a simple conclusion. Almost everyone that watches the show can relate to him on some level. He worked hard to support people that love him, as I stated, and he played hard doing the things he loved to do. He was no angel and lived a rough and tumble life through the seventies burning his way through money and brain cells as most people we all know have done. For the Harley crowd, he loved motorcycles. For the gear head crowd he also loved cars and anything fast. For the burnout crowd he lived fast and hard, yet seemed to make it through to success. For the family oriented crowd, he loved his children and ex wife deeply and provided well for them and taught his sons the hard lessons of life, all while keeping a fairly close watch on them.

My personal attraction to him was to his sense of humor, language, and the fact that he was content with what he wanted. With as much as he had accomplished in life he lived out his last years in a small travel trailer, building birdhouses and hanging out with his dog. All be it the travel trailer he lived in was, as one of the other Captains put it, "The only trailer I've ever been in that had granite counter tops and regular maid service..." He once called some friends and invited them over to his new place to check it out and they discovered when they arrived that he had simply bought another trailer and set it alongside the one he already had. Being only ten years younger than Phil I can remember the time that he grew up in and can relate to a few of the things he did.

He seemed to be a normal person. While watching the show I came to realize that he differed from the other Captains in the use of his authority on board his ship. He would chew someones ass when they did something wrong, but he treated his crew with respect. That is a rare thing these days when it comes to the employer/employee relationship. My favorite thing about the guy is that he was game for anything and really didn't give a shit about what people thought of him. He unapologetically killed himself in front of his family and crew, not to mention all of his fans that watched the show. He stated openly that he wouldn't be around long... "I chain smoke, eat crap, never get any sleep, and have done every drug known to man, that will catch up to you."

And catch up to him it did, he died at 53 with his sons (pictured with them above) learning the family business from him. A blood clot passed through his heart in 2008, nearly killing him, and he took eleven months off to recover. Yet, when he came back to the Cornelia Marie, he fell right back into his old habits. Smoking nonstop, not sleeping, and drinking caffeine round the clock to stay awake and catch crab. He knew what he was doing and said so. Along with his health issues from his lifestyle he also suffered several crushed discs in his back and was on pain medication for them. In one of the last episodes he confronted his younger son when he found him stealing his pain medication from his cabin. When Phil died, that son was in rehab.

These are all things that most people can relate to. Whether its similar stories about themselves, or how they conquered these things and went on, I think there is a little bit of this guy in us all.

July 16, 2010

Come on home

I had a long conversation with a friend of mine the other night. The setting was the same as ever for me and I thought nothing of it...

I was working on a walking stick on the front porch when sounds of an approaching car came down the driveway. I sat back and watched it pull up, park, and then an old friend step out. I had not seen the guy in years, the last I heard he had moved away and started a successful business. I met him halfway to the house, we shook hands and started talking right there. An hour or so later we moved to the porch.

We were drinking tea, the southern way, and James was running around the yard armed with multiple toy guns. As James went from fort to fort in his defense of the yard from bigfoot and zombies, my guest began to regale me with tales from the past ten years or so of his life...

I listened and shook my head as he told me of his travels around the world. I admit, I was jealous. He spun stories of going to different countries and the sights he had seen, he showed me pictures of his kids and built a pretty nice portrait of a successful business he heads. His clothes were just so, his car a mercedes, his home straight from the pages of southern living magazine, and his family looked as if they had all been "carved from cream cheese" to quote a movie. I filled him in on what I had been up to and showed him around the leaky, rusted out home I live in and then we went for a ride through the woods on the kawasaki mule.

It probably took two hours or so for the persona he had allowed to take over his personality to fade away and his true self to return. By the time we were circling the lake on the kawasaki he was laughing the same way he did in highschool. When we were shooting pine cones on the lake with bb guns he was practically twelve years old again. By the time we returned to the porch he was barefoot, had his pants rolled up to his knees, was muddy and looked ten years younger. When he first got there he moved away from the dogs as they jumped on him, but now he was playing with them on the porch, in all their dirty, pond water glory....

I took a piece of poplar out for him, handed him a knife and gave him a crash course in carving, he wasn't bad... He began asking me about town, is this or that still there and such, I had to refer to Julie about what was in town since she now knows the place better than I do now. He wanted to take us out for dinner, but I had already cooked on the grill so we ate on the porch, amongst the dogs... We laughed and talked of old times as night set in and lightning bugs began their dance.

When the hour signified the change of day he began to speak of his troubles. He has an ex wife who is giving him fits about his children and money. His business isn't doing well and he is facing layoffs. He had taken on friends and family in his company and they were now expecting financial miracles from him. He had become the self proclaimed king of bridge burning over the years and had no idea about what to do. His relationships with his kids are far from good. The only way they communicate is via twitter, texting or facebook. Everyone expects him to fund their lifestyles and he has allowed himself to become cynical about it all to the point of becoming an asshole. He was at a complete loss as to what to do about it all... I began to laugh at him.

He looked at me for a second and asked, "What's so funny about all this?"

"What's funny is that you already know what to do..."

He left shortly after that, taking his woodcarving with him and promising to keep in touch. A few days later I got an email from him. He thanked me for listening to him and then told me that he was jealous of me.. I laughed about that...

"You've been married for eighteen years to the same woman, get along with your kids, and enjoy what you're doing."

I thought about that... and it's true. When I was a kid we went out to eat at Bonanza on Bullsboro Drive every now and again, went to the movies, and went on the occasional vacation. We mostly stayed home or went over to someones house to cook out while our parents played cards. We didn't have cable or computers or cell phones. We didn't feel the need to "live in the road" as people do now. Except for the occasional sport or club meeting there weren't many extracurricular activities. Every now and again, these days, we will go to town to get an overpriced coffee or to eat breakfast on Saturday mornings, but mostly we stay here. Boring homebodies... As a family we hang out, talk, debate, watch movies, make jewelry and woodcarvings and exist on a live and let live type of philosophy. It took many years for the drama of other people to be weeded away from our lives, but those that are left are genuine. Over the years I have been called everything but a child of God, and during all this I have learned a few things... Most things that you deal with don't really matter. People who exist on drama, have completely new sets of friends every few years, and create strife just because they can are a dime a dozen. People like that are all the same, whether they are poor or wealthy. Sociopaths who tell themselves their own lies so much that they actually begin to believe them. People who manipulate others around them via money or lies are exactly the same. They only feel better about themselves when they control others and try to make them as miserable as they are. Life is far too short for that.. just far too short, that lesson took the death of my father to learn.

I look at people now who have done things to me in the past, and wonder if they realize that their lives are still full of drama and strife, even though all the people they blamed it on at the time are no longer involved with them. I marvel over people who insist on "finding themselves" and truly believe that they have been different people over the years. You're the same person, you just react differently to varied settings you find yourself in, it's all in what you're capable of handling.

In the situation my friend has found himself in he was dealing with people who put all of their stock in pictures. You can't just go get something you need, it has to be just right, whether it's a car, clothes, furniture or what have you. People who allow their possessions to control them in other words. Well, appearance would be more accurate.... the perfect picture, yet with no soul. These people can not create, they can only imitate or destroy.

I know I'm simple, boring, and predictable, but my life exists with no drama and I feel satisfied. So when you find yourself run ragged and feel exhausted because you just can't seem to get everything on your plate caught up, when you feel like life has thrown you out of the plane without a parachute, when you just simply can no longer deal with the bullshit.... come on by and enjoy a pitcher of tea on the porch. It doesn't cost anything and we might just solve all the worlds problems before the night is over...

July 06, 2010

Getting the Fear

It's always been things not looked for that have frightened me the most, the unexpected. I was hanging out at my parents house late one evening when I saw a strange person. My cousin was spending the night and we had been playing basketball. My brother, my cousin and myself were finished with the game and we made our way over to the patio. The only light on was the one that illuminated the driveway, it cast a dim glow across maybe one third of the patio, which is a poured concrete slab that runs the length of the back of the house, about twelve feet wide. We were sitting around the table at the edge of the light bouncing the basketball around while making fun of each others performance during the game. Someone passed the ball and it bounced off of my foot and rolled toward the dark end of the patio. I ran over to get it and was talking to the guys while I was doing so. I bent down to pick it up and glanced up, only to look directly at the silhouette of a person sitting in a broken chair that had been discarded to the far end of the patio. I stood straight up and cocked my head to one side in curiosity, seemingly paralyzed about what should be done. We had been suffering strange occurrences lately via people stealing gas and attempting to break in. My first thought was to call for my dad. Without warning or thought I began to walk directly toward the figure. That was the strangest walk of my life, I was totally overcome with fear and had to will each step. When I was close enough to discern it was a slender male figure, he got up and ran around the corner of the house towards the front yard. I stopped and called out to my brother and cousin. We spent the rest of the night listening, in complete terror, at open windows for the return of the prowler.

Shortly after we had moved out here I was with my parents one evening at church. We left and I rode on the back of the truck home. I was sitting in the corner directly behind the driver's side when we pulled into someones driveway. My parents had stopped off at a neighbors house to talk about something going on at church. Exiting the truck, they told me they would be done in a few minutes and we would then head home. I sat there for a while listening to crickets and frogs in the darkened woods. I had my left arm up on the bed of the truck behind the cab when I simply looked through the window. The most hideously contorted face of abject horror was staring back at me. I tried my best to scream, but no sound would come out. I was completely paralyzed with fear. I could not take my eyes from from this creature. The thing was just on the other side of the glass from me, I was looking face to face with death itself. It was night, the only illumination was from a street light casting everything into shades of black and white. For a full twenty seconds I knew it was my time to die. Then I realized it was the neighbors pekingese when it stuck it's tongue out and began to pant. Waves of relief washed over me with the thought that I had cheated death.

I was walking down our drive way late one night a while back when something huge jumped from the woods, landed directly in front of me, and made the most horrible grunting sound I've ever heard. It began to run towards our home and I could do nothing but stand and stare as I was so riveted to the spot with fear. When it rounded the curve in the driveway and was hit by the porch light I saw that it was a deer. But I had a few moments of not knowing, and believe me I had elevated that deer to the heights of a huge creature of some hellish origin by the time it took shape in the light...

I have always been fascinated with the topic of fear. I've seen most movies that deal with it. I spent a large portion of time when I was younger wanting to work for Tom Savini and even have a copy of Dawn of the Dead autographed by the guy. Yet, I have never been truly frightened by a movie. I tend to like movies that aren't violent but more scary, like The Changeling with George C. Scott. It's the fear that's addictive, more so than the gore. Charles Manson used to make his followers break into a random house and then stand in the living room completely still as the people that lived there slept. He called this "getting the fear." He said that you are only truly aware of your surroundings when you are in a complete state of fear. The rush of adrenaline heightens your senses to be sure...

I read an article many years ago that I have no trouble buying into. The topic of the piece was automatic repression. Imagine something so outside of the realm of possibility happening to you that it simply erases itself from your conscience thought as soon as it occurs. Someone you know for a fact to be dead walks into the room as you're watching television and sits down on the couch next to you. You simply look at that person then continue channel surfing without missing a beat. I think that could be completely possible.

I listened to my niece telling me that her daughter had a conversation with a member of the family after he passed away. I listened to her not with skepticism about what she was saying, but with a slight cold chill, because at the same time this happened, I was listening to James talking to the same person while he was asleep. The conversations they had were eerily similar.

Have you ever been asleep and awaken suddenly, and you weren't sure why? Have you ever really felt the presence of someone in the room as you were lying in bed? Have you ever seen a loved one right after the time of their death? Did you ever think you caught something out of the corner of your eye, but you just weren't sure?

Earlier I sat down here to write a post about this past weekend. As I sat here one of the dogs brushed my leg and walked under the desk towards their hiding place behind the couch. I pushed the dog away with my usual annoyed grunt of, "Get on.." Then looked over toward the front door, as I did I noticed that the dogs are all asleep on the floor. I have counted them about a dozen times since I started typing this, and yes... They are all accounted for. For several seconds the wires under the desk swayed back and forth from whatever it was that walked behind the couch. I can't decide if I should get up and leave, risking certain death from an attack by this demon behind the couch, or just sit here and continue to rapid fire type about shit that scares me...

Yes.. I have the fear....