SOWING SEEDS

5 Feb

sow-seeds

As Spring approaches, and clearly not fast enough..Brrrr, I look at the coming months and think of things to come.  I dare not look too far into the future or I will lose sight of the tasks right in front of me, right now. Today.  But being a person of purpose makes this limited focus impossible to some degree.  I need to know what’s next.  What lays on the horizon? What course corrections do I need to make to achieve my goals?  Daily accomplishments not withstanding, I can’t know these things without taking a peek into my future.  My problem, however, is a propensity to script and therein set myself up for disappointment. But I digress.

I am the lead actor in the movie of my life and I get pissed off on a regular basis because none of the others players have read the script I have written for them.  No one knows their lines.  Not being the person of tolerance I believe myself to be doesn’t help either.  And I wonder why I am angry all the time.  It has been recently suggested, and I have taken notice, that this dynamic exists and the more I recognize it, the more I become aware of the unreasonable demands I put on people…and myself.  So, in this short but sweet submission, I sow three seeds.

One seed of understanding;  What will be will be.

The second, a seed of acceptance; What will be will be.

The third, a seed of hope in sacrifice; What will be will be what I put into it.

I willingly accept that I am not the center of the universe, but I am the center of my existence. I wholly understand all that I do and say effects those around me.  Like it or not, I am a person of powerful influence…whether that influence is good or bad is up to me.  I choose good.

No, I won’t give up these reigns entirely. My character is too big, my charisma is too strong a part of what makes me, Me.   But I promise to quit writing your lines.  I promise to stop getting angry if I don’t like the lines you write for yourself.  And I promise to stop on a regular basis to ask directions if I lose my way.

Back to My Future

23 May

back

I have found myself looking back a lot more lately.  There is a peculiar condition of perspective that makes us stop looking forward at some point and start looking to days past.  It actually begins to manifest itself benignly at first – Sometimes it’s reflecting with friends and family.  Other times it is when you’re learning about someone and they are learning about you.  As this condition enters mastocytosis, conversation takes a different, sometimes terminal direction.   I tend to talk too much anyway, but not nearly like I did when I was younger. Back when I was 20, if given the opportunity, you would have intimate knowledge of my entire existence in a matter of a couple of hours.  Now it seems the stories take longer but the result is the same.  At 43, the process may take a few days.  But if you listen, you will know me.

I fondly recall detail after detail, and as my Uncle Frank likes to say, “That may not be the way it happened, but that’s the way he remembers it.”  I don’t mind at all that I recognize, but cannot control, this flaw of character.  I consider myself a story teller.  My brother Tom calls me a “Wordsmith”, which actually makes me feel uncomfortable.  Wordsmiths are articulate, brilliant and often compensated.  I talk and write solely for my own pleasure and, to me, that just makes me a self-absorbed prattler.  The rub is when I have a captive audience…I can be relentless.  I just hope I am at very least entertaining.  I have had a full and interesting life and genuinely believe that mine are stories worth telling and ones people want to hear…sometimes.  Success in eliciting tears and laughter is my only barometer.  It happens enough to make me dangerous.

My problem here, however, is not my history or my propensity to subject others to it.  It is that I turned a corner in recent months that made looking back to remember more palatable than looking forward to the future.  Today, I resolve not to live in the past and am extremely happy to have caught in time my affliction of rampant reminiscence.  I truly believe if I had not received this gift of clarity, my best days would be behind me.  Lost; Daydreaming about good years gone by.

I still have my stories.  You will still have to hear or read them. But the purpose will be to set the landscape of my past so I can apply these experiences in pursuing the skyline of my future.  I am thrilled to once again hear the question that has driven me for as long as I can remember….What’s next?

The Smoking Gun of Ignorance

16 May

epic

Over the last couple of weeks I have read and responded to a number of heartfelt and disheartening posts made by my niece-in-law, Kim.  She and my nephew Adam run a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “To rescue and rehabilitate neglected and abused Pit Bulls, to educate and advocate the community on animal cruelty and breed discrimination, and to save the life of one Pit Bull at a time.”  Epic’s Pit Bull Rescue, in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, is a labor of love fueled by unyielding compassion.  These two young people, and a healthy network of friends and family, have saved and rehabilitated many Pits and raised countless newborns to be adopted by responsible, loving guardians….Like my 66 year old mother; proud owner of a 2 year old Pink Pit named Jetta.

Most of the heavy lifting is done solely by Kim and Adam and I know they are thankful to be blessed with the donations that come their way.  This isn’t necessarily an article in plea for donors, but I have every intention on posting their information at the end so you will be inclined to help out after these strong words of encouragement.  These kids do need the help- in physical voluntary assistance and monetary contribution both!

No, what this piece is about is intolerance and ignorance.  This is about people in general and their inability to educate themselves in an effort to draw their own informed opinions and conclusions.  I have spent months prattling on about the under informed voters and uneducated masses that are sadly part of the deciding factors in the direction of our country.  We have discussed everything from socialism, to bacon, to gun control and this is where the similarities lay.  The same wide eyed sheep that gleen all their information on topics like the gun debate from unreliable sources are easily the same morons who believe nature prevails over nurture in the breed debate.

epic2

Pit Bulls are innately far less viscous than Poodles, who were actually the first dogs bred for sport fighting to begin with.  The transition to bull dogs, and pits specifically, was one you would gather came by common sense; they looked the part and could last longer in the ring.  There was more excitement in the mass of muscle tearing each other apart for five minutes  than the flying curly fur produced in poodle bouts that lasted about two.  Pit Bulls are no more likely to rip your face off than an Australian Shepherd.  It depends SOLELY on how it is raised….IT IS NURTURE OVER NATURE.  There is no argument.

 But I digress.  My niece has had a bad day.  She has had a few weeks of struggle in fact.  Adam and Kim deal with the ignorance of strangers on a regular basis and are often quite successful changing peoples’ minds. Sometimes, it just takes a little one on one with a Pit and Human to make that switch…Like with Kim’s mother.  But there are those occasions where you have to deal with the ignorance of loved ones that can’t be swayed.  Years of being fed bad information and clinging to fear will do that to some people.

There is something to be said about silence and I will put this in no uncertain terms;

If you are friends or family with someone who takes the time and spends the money to do something so significant about something they are obviously VERY passionate about…SHUUUTEEE!  Your silence may keep you in contact with someone you care deeply for though you may not always agree, obviously.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Dogs or Gun Control.  And the reason I use them both as an example is because too many idiots erroneously equate Pit Bulls with Loaded Guns…I PROMISE YOU…It’s all in who’s holding them.

Please, if you love Pit Bulls or are simply on the fence in your opinion, take the time to visit Epics Pit Bull Rescue Fanpage at…https://www.facebook.com/epicspitbullrescue?fref=ts   and the Website at http://www.epicspbr.org. You will soon be taken by the awesomeness that is the loving nature of these gentle pets.    If you cannot be swayed?  We don’t need to hear your yappin.

Peace in the Trinity

14 Apr

creation-800_qjpreviewth

Though riddled with flaws and insecurity, I am a good, hardworking & honest man.  My opinions are strong and hopefully I have taken the time to educate myself enough so they don’t come off as crazy or naive.   I choose to write because it is at once a method of bringing others to my way of thinking and therapy for my soul.  The mystery of late is if I actually have a soul to sooth.

The soul conundrum is not one posed by others but an internal question that tears at the fibers of my existence.  If I deny so clearly the existence of God, why then do I grapple with whether I have a soul to begin with?  How can I profess to be “soul” mates with another if I choose to deny the presence of the Almighty?  I know how I was raised and where I come from.  I have read to the Bible, Qu’ran and the Torah.   I am not Pi from a movie I recently watched.  Though I see the purity in his philosophy even though my search for faith always brings me back to the battle between science & science fiction.  But there has been a change.  I woke this morning with another dilemma.  Why  do i fight.  Why do I struggle if the scientific proof is so obvious.

There remains something pure and true that I cannot deny andI feel it must be Divinity, not chemistry – sorry neurologist’s.  When I am afflicted with the soul scorching pain that I have endured for weeks within years of my life and then have spent years building walls to prevent, how can I deny the presence of God when the existence of a such a soul is so obvious?  How do I explain its undeniable connection to another? I am far from perfect and I know of no man or woman that is.   As I realize my own failures and accept the flaws of those I hold to an impossible standard, I am  able to find peace in the revelation that I am not alone.  There is something at work within me that no scientist can explain.  There is a pain that no prescription can dull in these moments of grief.  There is salvation to be found, but not in the works of Stephen Hawking.  I know I can no longer ignore my error & must concede to Faith.  I have been wrong to fight against this truth for so long and own with regret the damage this war has left in its wake.  The presence of a single soul is proof enough. My Soul. And it is  mine to surrender….  Hello God.  How you doin’?

Graceful Gravitas Before Dick Cheney…

8 Apr

AND CERTAINLY ONE WHO PIONEERED THE GOOD WORK FOR AMERICAS REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE 1970’2-1990′S, NO DOUBT!

Margaret_Thatcher_01

It is with great reverence and admiration that I choose not to go all sappy about the loss of PM Thatcher.  I will simply point out that in the following segments in the posting, you will find a great many principles and standards by which we Republicans define ourselves.  As well, we hold up President Reagan in his greatest hours on these same ideas.  This strong but sensible woman needs to be remembered not just in history books, but in the forefront of our political existence as a model of what can be done and how to go about it with integrity and resolve.  Those are my final words in this piece.  The following is a column by Tim SPanton at THE SUN in the UK dated May 4th 2009, the 30 year anniversary of her being elected the PM.

MARGARET THATCHER stormed to power 30 years ago today. She won three elections and was finally driven from office not by voters but by her own party in November 1990. “Treachery with a smile on its face,” she famously said.

First-time voters at next month’s Euro elections were not even born when she left Downing Street. Yet each week, I receive emails from readers who love her or loathe her.  Baroness Thatcher aroused deep emotions….

Some blamed her for destroying the working classes and introducing an ugly era of greed.

Those with clearer vision know she liberated ordinary workers from the tyranny of union barons like Arthur Scargill who sacrificed his members in a pointless war on democracy.

They will thank her for giving people the chance to buy their own homes, save for old age and offer their kids a leg-up.

Labour attacked every initiative. Then, in power, they adopted the lot – only to let them wither on the vine and perish through neglect.

MARGARET THATCHER became Prime Minister 30 years ago today. [may 4th 1979].

HERE ARE 30 WAYS MARGARET THATCHER MADE BRITAIN GREAT;

1. Thatcherism, with lower income taxes, less government interference and standing against dictatorships, became the philosophy in much of the democratic world after she came to power on May 4, 1979.

2. Refusal to compromise with communism helped bring down Soviet Union.

3. Threw the Argentines out of the Falklands after the invasion in 1982.

4. Showed there is no glass ceiling preventing women rising to the top.

5. Before becoming an MP, helped to perfect a way of preserving ice-creams as a chemist at J Lyons & Co.

History … Maggie’s victory in 1979

6. Maiden speech in the Commons in 1960 was in support of her private member’s bill that forced local councils to hold meetings in public.

7. More than 1.5million tenants bought council homes after 1980 right-to-buy law.

8. Supported issues that surprised critics, such as the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967.

9. Backed Labour bills to ban hare coursing in 1969 and 1975.

10. In Ted Heath’s 1970-74 government, beat cuts that would have meant people paying to borrow library books.

11. Sell-off of state-run firms made them competitive and cut taxpayers’ huge costs.

12. During her 11 years as PM, gross domestic product – the chief measure of national wealth – rose 23.3 per cent.

13. Within three years of taking power, inflation was at 8.6 per cent from highs of 18 per cent.

14. Stood firm on terrorism, rejecting blackmail from IRA hunger strikers.

15. Signed 1985 Hillsborough Agreement in Northern Ireland that led to the Good Friday peace deal.

16. Only PM to win three terms in the 20th Century.

17. In 1988, long before it was fashionable, made a speech on global warming.

18. Kept the Pound by opposing Chancellor Nigel Lawson’s plans to join the ERM and adopt a single EU currency.

19. Persuaded President George Bush to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in 1990.

20. Saved Britain from rule by Neil Kinnock, stepping down from a leadership vote on November 22, 1990, to avoid splitting the party. It helped John Major win the 1992 election, keeping Kinnock out.

21. Promoted self-reliance, hitting out at people who expected others to solve their problems in a 1987 interview.

mpu

22. With privatisation, created new shareholders with a stake in the country’s wealth.

23. Is wrongly seen as dividing the country. Topped a poll as Britain’s greatest post-War leader last year, with 34 per cent of the vote.

24. Changed Labour, who dropped plans for nuclear disarmament, scrapped public ownership and stopped kowtowing to the unions.

25. Made Britain competitive in world markets for the first time since the 1930s.

26. The Iranian Embassy siege of 1980 was ended by the SAS on her say-so. Britain then escaped similar terrorism until the rise of Muslim suicide bombers.

27. Saved Hong Kong from a communist makeover in 1997 by negotiating a deal that obliges China to leave the economy unchanged until 2047.

28. Won a rebate from the EU that since 1984 has given us back £3billion a year.

29. Top earners paid 98p in the Pound income tax in 1979. By 1988 Mrs T had it down to 40p.

30. Beat union power, making it possible for The Sun to shine at its new HQ in Wapping, East London, in 1986.

Know When To Hold Them

2 Apr

LLfish

Being boarded by the Coast Guard is bad enough.  Having illicit drugs discovered by an overzealous 19 year old ensign with a 9 millimeter strapped to his orange jumpsuit is suicide.  So you don’t bring them.  But all of us, including the Skipper, were wishing we had taken the chance in the middle of our 3rd day in the fish.  By day four;  Coffee, Kool Aid and candy bars were no longer enough.

It takes about 2 weeks of regular work to rig a long liner for a black cod fishery.  Another 2 weeks on the back end to clean the boat and skates for storage.  The 5 days in between are spent chasing your share with a fish-finder and in 1992 GPS was rarely commonplace, even in your EPIRB. You tacked your course and pushed a button to manage your sets.  You took turns at wheel watch on the way to the Fairweather grounds and if you were lucky you made it to Yakobi Rock at Cross Sound before anyone else.  We were Longliners, glorified troutmen.   On the OC we were deckhands in the pitch of night with a spotlight on the mast and buoyed anchors in the water.   My home for 2 months a year was a 72’ schooner.  My share was around $30K. I was 22.

The funny part is, $6000.00 a week doesn’t quiet fear.  You either have it or you don’t.  Those of us that didn’t, came back when the call came that Halibut was pitching for $2.10 a pound.  The wheels start turning and your already spending money in your head long before you pull your sea bag, Grundens and duck boots out of the blue tote in the garage.  You quickly forget the pain in your wrists.  An ache so bad that the Skipper has to duct tape a knife and scraper in your hands so you could keep hold of them.  You faintly remember him standing on the hatch and hand feeding you Baby Ruths and pouring Kool Aid down your throat because you can’t stop to eat.  When you’re in the fish, you’re in the fish.  No beach in sight.  No rack in the Fo’c’sle.  Not today, maybe not tomorrow.

At noon the horn goes off and the chute rattles while baited hooks are flying into the sound.  Thousands of beckets are hitched to 5 miles of groundline.  By the time the last buoy hits the water we are already turned back to retrieve the first set.  The Skippers eyes are fixed on the horizon to make sure our line wasn’t gouged or crossed by another in the fleet.  Our eyes are fixed on the deck to stave off sea sickness if we’ve been too long off the water and lost our legs.  Here we go.

The Skip sidles up to the first buoy and reigns it in, slipping the line on the sheave.  The sun quickly slips away.  We aren’t night fishing on the Arkansas river.  We are 8 miles out from Bingham Cove, our only safe place to hide if weather comes.  This boat only does 12 knots when it’s not full of ice and fish.  An hour is a lifetime when you’re being chased by a tempest.  The first 2 nights we filled the front and both sides of the hold and we still have 3 sets out. Day 3 we are still awake, barely, and have no idea why we say we want to keep going, but we do.  We’re in the fish.

When we see the flag atop our final buoy, we have been awake for 4 days and eaten nothing but what the Skipper thought would keep us going;  Sugar, caffeine and carbs.  The sun is slipping away again and now Bingham is 10m miles east and Dicks Arm is 13 miles north.  We’re in the middle of the Fairweather Grounds and I will soon wonder what fool named it so.  Soaked to the bone by freezing late May sea water I can keep my balance only by holding onto the hatch.  Having tools taped to my hands makes this increasingly difficult.  The first breaker hits the bow like a bitch slap as if the cold deep Gulf is telling us to turn around, we don’t belong here. The Skipper fights to keep the bow in the swell, because if the boat gets turned sideways and we get caught in the trough, we are done.  Not just fishing…but done. The following waves get bigger, easily half the size of the boat but vertical, and break down on top of us with crushing force.  As each one comes, I lay my upper body over the top of the hatch to make myself as flat as possible.  The rope around my waist is nearly useless when I get pushed into the bulwarks and almost overboard.  This is the perfect storm but it is not the story of 5 Maine fishermen, it is the Alaskan fishery.  It’s were the big boys dance.

The sun comes up and the La Perouse Glacier barely catches enough light to shine bluish white on the northern horizon. As we get closer to the inlet, diamonds dance on shallow teal water.  It’s beautiful country.  We tack back to Hoonah to pitch our fish.  When I walk up to the cannery to cash my draw there is a message waiting for me.  My brother in South Carolina had called every cannery on the Gulf to see if we had made harbor before the massive storm he saw on TV hit.  We had not.  When I called him to tell him we made it to Hoonah with a full boat and a fat check he had questions.

“Why would your skipper take that chance”? he asked.

“We all voted to keep going”. I said

“Why would YOU take the chance”?

“We were in the fish”.

I have always been a glass half full kind of guy.  I don’t remember the fear of that night, though I am sure there was plenty.  But so long as my life is full of fish I will remain absent fear and forge on to fill my hold.  Life’s too short to count them as you catch them.

ONE TRUTH

21 Mar

stronger

Regardless of your political affiliation, one truth stands out beyond all other truths; all men are not created equal.  The most profound and over used words in the Declaration of Independence are true in the spirit of opportunity, but not in fact of actual being.  Some men are smarter than other men, stronger than other men, funnier than other men and craftier than other men.  It is true that some crafty men can excel within their field to achieve wealth beyond the smarter man that chooses a pen instead of a hammer, is he equal in intellect? No.  Just because a bodybuilder is propelled to the highest office of state legislation, is he equally equipped to wield the power of his office as a man who has devoted his entire life to the service of the law? No.

We are not equal.  But we do have equal opportunity should we choose to persevere beyond our innate qualifications, educate ourselves and keep our side of the street clean.  I know better than most the cost of making  my fair share of poor decisions and a few  sizable bad decisions.  My credit sucks.  I have a record.  But I don’t allow the limits of former foolishness define who I am and where I am going.  I have persevered, compensated and overcome.  I still do on a daily basis.

The One Truth is what guides me in my ambitions and what directs my daily course.  I am not equal to some men, but yes, better than some in many regards.  The American Dream is tightly tethered to Survival of the Fittest.  I know this and carry no delusions about entitlement.  I am entitled to only what I work for and the measure of my reward is directly proportional to my effort, quality and purpose.  I am part of a machine that, no matter what anyone tells you, is driven by the almighty dollar.  Even in its flailing state.

“One People?  It’s a myth created by Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson is an American saint because he wrote the words “all men are created equal.”  Words he clearly didn’t believe since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He was a rich wine snob who was sick of paying taxes to the Brits.  So, yeah, he wrote some lovely words and aroused the rabble, and they went out and died for those words, while he sat back and drank his wine and F’ed his slave girl. He [Obama] wants to tell me we’re living in a community?  Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America you are on your own.  America is not a country, it’s just a business…Now F’ing pay me.”(Killing Them Softly, 2012).

Yes, America IS A BUSINESS.  Any employment of other ideas is woefully flawed in its ambition to serve those who choose to consume rather than contribute.    Even in the conscription of all to do their equal part, there remain those willfully taking instead of giving under the guise of illness or ineptitude when their true affliction is simply indolence.  I prefer to act as a cog in the wheel of capitalism in `America the Business` than as host for able bodied leeches in any form of a national community.

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