Wednesday, August 29, 2012


  I actually stay away from politics on most of my conversations on social media. That's because like my faith, my politics is kind of complicated. No one size fits all for me. But, I do have some thoughts as we enter this political season. I was born and raised in the bible belt. Etowah County, Alabama. I came to earth in the Baptist Hospital in Gadsden, Alabama in 1957. Born to a young mother still in her late teens and a father who was in Ohio and a step dad who was just as immature as my mother. But, my grandmother on my mothers side was committed to the church. I was raised Christian and I mean bible thumping hell fire and brimstone Church of God of Prophecy and Southern Baptist (Depended on which side of the family you were on) Baptised at 12 or 13 years old at Cherry Street Baptist Church in Attalla, Alabama right down the road from my home in Walnut Park. The years have not been kind to my dogma but my faith in Christ is like an old sweatshirt and pants that I pull on. I may not go out and make a scene in em but they sure do feel good on a cold dark night. Anyway, this is where politics come in a little bit. I honestly wish the world was a conservative shangri la. I wish that all people were equal and that no matter where you were born or what color you were or what sex you were that all you had to do was sweat enough and the money and living and good stuff would roll in. I wish Jesus did send a mighty guardian angel to slay the bad guys if they tried to harm a child or smite the people who would rob the elderly or rape a woman or kill a man. Sadly, that's just not the way the world works.
 Now in all fairness that's what Jesus tried to tell em, but they (meaning we) don't listen very well. The take up your cross and  Father let this cup pass from me and the rich man through the eye of the needle and the teaching of "What you do to the least of these you do to me" somehow got lost. Somehow, it became "God want's you to be rich" and "God told me to tell you to give my ministry $100 tonight and your bills and food will be taken care of brother/sister. Ever think how funny it is that God never seems to tell that preacher that he/she should go downtown and give the first homeless person they come too all the money in their pocket or bank account? Heck, God don't even tell ole Bro Swaggart or Robertson or Baker or Crouch to visit the local soup kitchen unless it's a photo opp for their ministry. Things that make ya go hmmmm. But, I digress.

I honestly think it's vulgar, obscene, satanic, nasty, pitiful that in a nation as rich as this one that health care is a "privilege" of the people that are blessed by the insurance companies as long as their premiums are paid up. I honestly don't see how you can love a child while it's in the womb but cast it and it's young mother aside once it comes onto the earth. I understand about working hard. I understand about standing on your own feet. I don't have a problem with telling a gang banger or a drug abuser or a person that will not work to either shape up or ship out. I do understand that borders are part of being a nation. But, can't we have a humane system of dealing with people who really are trying to take care of their families? Now, this administration does indeed do somethings that irritate me to no end. I also hate the bullying crap about not being critical of the president because that would be racist.

We need to stop the silliness and hold everybody accountable and not worry about race or party. But, on the other hand we have people caricaturing him as a communist that hates America. The fact is that America is changing for better or worse. I worked for the army in Child Development Services for a few years. Many of our servicemen/women were single moms and dads, African American, Hispanic and Asian. Also, Irish and German and Italian. A great melting pot and the myth that all our servicemen/women are true blue conservative republicans is just that. A myth.

 In real life good people don't always have the most money. Good people are not always poor either. But, health care should be about having a healthy society and taking care of all of the people who need it.
One more thing that I wish my conservative friends would think about. I often hear that Obama is spending too much. We can't afford this or that. Yet, where were those folks when George Bush was bombing two third world countries back to the stone age and spending Billions (Not Millions) Billions, everyday?

Take off your blinders folks. It's not about abortion. I love life and I think it's wonderful for a woman to bring a child into the world. But, if men had babies there would be no abortion debate. It would just be a settled fact and most of you know it. If you are gonna demand a woman have a baby then you need to put your money and service where your mouth is. It's not about the deficit. Regan and Bush made a cottage industry of not worrying about the deficit. It's about us vs them. It's about greed and control. The Bush family were in bed with the Saudies and everybody knew it. The Nazi's were helped with Bush money for a short while before World War 11. John Kerry went down the middle of a river in a war zone and was called a coward while George Bush flew jets over Alabama and Texas and was called a hero.

I would love to vote for a good solid republican conservative. My blood and my heritage is God and Country and good Southern stock. But, I'm afraid that I can't do that this election. You see, while they have been telling you to stop the godless commie abortion mills, they have been turning the plowshares into swords. While they have been telling you that health care is a privilege, the middle class has had to mortgage the future to pay for illness because the insurance went away when they lost their job. I honestly don't care if you are republican or democrat. But, please think for yourself and don't get so caught up in the us vs them fools game of political parties.

No we can't feed everybody and we have to have borders. But, we should have a humane way of treating those who come across just to make a better life. We could also have less prison overcrowding if we had more truth in sentencing. Drink a few beers and get caught starting a fight? Well, we will either take you home or put you in the tank for a few hours and turn you loose. Get caught smoking a joint in your own home? We will lock you up for that and you will be in jail a lot longer than if you had robbed or hurt someone. What ever happened to community service for non violent crimes? What ever happened to prison for violence and not giving parole once you take a life? Also, how about every crime is a hate crime? See, I told you I wasn't a knee jerk liberal :-) I think it's just a much of a crime for a white person or a male or a Christian to be killed as it is a gay person or a black person or a Muslim to be killed. We need to value all people equally and knock off the victimhood.

 My main worry is the decline of the middle class. Make health care available to all and you fee up a man or a woman to find a job and work from a place of peace. Right now we are working to try and make sure that if that chest pain turns out to be more than heart burn or that bump turns out to be more than a mole or skin tag that our family and our finances won't be completely devastated.

Anyway, that's my rant for the day and I'm honored if you took the time (agree or disagree) to read it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Keith Richards: Life.

  I recently read the autobiography of Keith Richards of Rolling Stone fame. As I get older I'm finding that reading about the icons of my youth is a great way to ponder where I've been as well as catch up on those that inspired or repulsed me or entertained me along the way. I am always pleased and fascinated by the way different types of artists and music inspire creative people. If you were to simply think about the Rolling Stones as caricature you would think of them as a bunch of shallow silly rock stars. While that would not be entirely untrue :-) it would miss the mark as most generalities do. Richards talks about every kind of artist and writer from Motown to Nashville and it's amazing how diverse the results and the inspiration is. I have a album of Hank Williams covers and Richards is doing "You win Again." He is at home with Rock, Country or Reggae. I listen to the radio (not often) at at times these days and I feel kind of sad for this generation. I know I sound like an old fart. But, hear me out. Back in the day when my old home town, Gadsden, Alabama and nearby Birmingham were playing what would become "classic" it was very diverse. We might hear the Eagles or Zeppelin or Grand Funk and then hear Gladys Knight or Otis Redding or Willie Nelson or Linda Ronstadt next. These days everything is segregated. I wonder if we will have anymore Richards, or Dylans or Al Greens. At least for a generation or so. Because there seems to be no real appreciation for the common thread of the roots of music these days.

 Anyway, I realize I haven't really reviewed the book I started out talking about here. I do recommend it to all the classic rock fans of my generation. Also, to younger folks to see how much interaction and inspiration a diverse group of people had back in the day. :-) There are times when the book could use a stronger editor and it seems to kind or wander from time to time. But, overall a good honest look at the life and times of a "Guitar Hero."

Thursday, August 2, 2012


When I was a child I had a dream that I have never forgotten. So, to start this experience in the blogsphere I thought I would relate it. First let me say this. My only dogma is "To treat people (all creatures really) the way I would want to be treated." Since, this dream has Christian themes I did want to say out front that I am not a fundi of any kind. If you are then that's fine. If you don't believe in anything, that's also OK with me as long as you don't come at me with the condesending smirk that some atheist have these days. No, it doesn't make you more scientific to spout jargon and act as if going to doctor is hypocritical for people who believe in God. Yes, I am well educated but no, that's not why I'm still a believer that we are more than chemistry of the brain. Also, if you come at me and say "God is an angry old daddy in the sky" then you will also be angry at me. I don't know for sure exactly what/who "He/She/Spirit" is. But, then again I don't really know what I am. :-) I appear to be in human form at this moment. But, am I in the brain? Am I the foot? Am I the liver, since it has chemical reactions as well as the brain?" Anyway, back to my first post and the reason I call this blog "Stairs of Life." 

I am 55 as of this writing so I don't pretend to completely remember a dream from early childhood. But, this is the part that has stuck with me over my lifetime.
I am at the foot of some stairs. There is somebody with me. This person with me says "Walk up the steps and every time your foot makes a mark you are that much closer to God." I started up the steps and would look down as I walked. I would see a "mark" or a footprint every time I took a step. I was getting closer to God. I made it to the very top and heard (as I remember) If you make a mark here then you "belong" to God. I stepped up and looked and I saw the footprint.

This dream has never left me. I have not been a saint and have been drunk and dirty and stoned and a lost puppy many times in my life. Especially my youth. I have doubted (still do at times) if there even is a reason for us being here. But, I hold to this dream and this assurance that I do belong to God. It holds me when fire and brimstone preachers call me a sinner or an enemy of god. It holds me when "skeptics" say I'm not logical and dead is dead. It holds me when I think of the people I've lost and the people I wanted to connect too that I just didn't have the opportunity to really know in this lifetime. Anyway, if anybody reads this, then thanks for taking the time. Hope to see you around cyberspace. :-)