Sunday, February 9, 2020

Why I will vote Democrat

  First let me say this is not an argument to win you over to my side. It's not a right or wrong. It's simply my thoughts on why I intend to vote the way I intend to vote. We live in an echo chamber these days. People have lost or it appears to me we have lost the ability to really look at each other. Instead we go to Fox News or MSNBC or political and religious sound bytes to tell us what the other person is really like. So, we have a distorted view from the start. One of the things that I found once I got on social media was how little some folks had spent the past 40 plus years since high school not thinking or really even remembering me. Gasp! The other is how little I have thought of certain folks and how few damns I really care about what some people think that I used to grovel, bow and beg for attention from. So, all of us are in our own inner world and have that feeling that things revolve around us. When in actuality things affect all of us and we are all on our own journey at the same time through life.

Most of us me included. Tend to look at other people as extra's in our own movie. Of course we have to in some ways. I mean if you got excited every time a person wins the lottery but then got crushed every time a human is suffering on this planet then you really couldn't function. So, I try to be a good person in that I try to treat others as I would want to be treated. It ain't always easy. But, that's why it's the Golden Rule instead of rule number five million and sixty six. If it was easy it wouldn't be exceptional.

Anyway, below is why I will vote Democrat the coming election. Please note I didn't say why I'm a Democrat. I wanted to.  But, then I realized that there is a difference in how I view the world and how Antifa views the world. On the other hand there is a difference in how Franklin Graham views the world and I view the world. So, I decided to say Vote Democrat instead of being Democrat although I'm a little left of any Republican that I know. So having to put on a hat in this society I wear a moderately left Democrat hat.

  Abortion: This is the hardest one for me because I see such hypocrisy on both sides of the debate. On the right you have people saying all life is sacred until they get out of the womb. Then no social services and if they are illegal then we should turn our backs on how they are treated and for God's sake don't feed em or treat them as if they are important. If they become Democrats then it's okay to label them and curse at them and make fun of them. They are Godless after all and not part of the frozen few.

 We can't expand Medicaid to help the poor momma get her child to the doctor and keep rural hospitals open. We can't worry that nursing homes are underfunded and over worked and elderly are treated like crap. After all we never get old do we? Our momma will never be in a nursing home. Right? Yeah,  it's a stupid way to act but hey it's how many act. What about the left? Refusing to even admit the being in the womb is a  human or a being. Keep calling it a fetus and never under any circumstance call it a child or a potential living being. Call out hysterics when saying what about the life of the mother. The truth is the life of the mother is and has always been first when on the operating  table. But, jailing doctors for performing a medical procedure? Telling a 12 year old that she will have a baby that also belongs to the man who molested and raped her? Really? If men had babies then you could get an abortion in a vending machine. You know it and I know it so get real.

Still it's a heart wrenching thing to go through and it leaves a scar and I don't think all things being equal there are many women who would choose it. Ironically it's the Republican cuts to welfare programs that make abortion more attractive to some.

  Anyway, at the end of the day I find myself leaning left. Not because I think Abortion is a sacred right of womanhood. But, because women are the ones who have to decide to bring life into the world. Men have made it harder for a single woman to do that and yet I find myself struggling with this. On one hand I truly think women have the right to decide over their own body. On the other I would hope they could understand that life is gift and at the end of the day it's the children that will be your rock and your hope one day as you age beyond jobs and sexuality and career. Still, how could I pretend to tell a woman she should be a mother. Who the hell am I to say that to another human. Now, late term abortion? Honestly? Most Democrats don't like late term abortion either. But, the left and right have both decided on a scorched earth policy of all or nothing. Leaving most  of us in the middle without the bullhorn of the far left and far right. So, yeah I'm reluctantly pro choice.

Finally I have to say this on the stupidity of or at least how stupid the politicians think we are. Many years ago while working in my hometown of Gadsden, Alabama a person was running as pro life for the Etowah County Commission. Really? You will be in charge of the potholes and the Kiwanis meeting on 2nd Avenue. What does pro life or pro choice have to do with it? Still, it gives you the jist of Bama politics and what they think of Bama voters.

Alabama: I was born and raised in Alabama. Some of the most kind people I know are from Alabama. Some of the meanest and lowest people I know are from Alabama. In other words it's just like any other place in most ways.

 But, being from Alabama I have a unique perspective in seeing what a right wing conservative republican majority looks like. Ya know what? It ain't pretty. Now, I often see the mess Democrats have made in California or Detroit as an excuse made by southerners when these kind of comparisons come up. But, I'm not from California or Michigan. So, I can only speak from my own perspective.  We keep electing people that make big statements on God and Abortion and Socialism. But, once in office they play nepotism with state funds and jet mistresses and cuckhold (meaning the gov'na was screwing the dudes wife) hubbies to Vegas at state expense for the weekend.

They refuse Medicaid expansion (not takin' no federal money from them yankee democrats) while rural hospitals leave the state and we suffer one of the highest if not the highest mortality rates of new born's in the nation,

They operate prisons for profit and put people in jail for smoking a plant but let politicians walk who steal from the state. They pay homage to a horrible president who says people in the south talk like they have marbles in their mouths and has allowed Mexico to absorb jobs from my hometown Gadsden Goodyear plant that has been there since 1927.

 I guess that wall has a hole in it when it comes to Donny's cronies lining pockets. When a man votes his conscience like Doug Jones did then he's a traitor. But, when a man like Sessions has his nuts cut off by Trump and then rolls over and praises Trump then he's a brave man. Let's face it Jones isn't going to get reelected in this state so he shouldn't listen to the far right's voices. They are never going to consider him. He won because the Republicans ran a pedophile against him. And he barley won then.

We can't have a lottery because it would be a sin. Yet we can fund Mississippi schools and Jawja schools all day long by crossing the state line and getting tickets. But, as long as a Republican politician only has to say the word abortion to get your vote then he or she has no other worry because he or she knows the average voter in Bama is stupid enough to vote over and over again for anyone who yells abortion no matter how much they lie, steal and throw state money away. So that's one more reason I'm voting Democrat. The republicans have had free reign over my state since the seventies and they have run it into the ground economically.

Guns: I was raised in Alabama. My family hunted. I can remember my uncle going out on frosty mornings in Altoona, Alabama and bringing back a squirrel or a rabbit and cleaning it and handing it to my aunt to fry up with the eggs and biscuits. I remember the first time I shot a 12 gauge. It kicked the snot out of me but I hit what I was shooting at. Now later I of course learned that shotguns spread so hitting a close target wasn't that big of a deal. But, you can't tell a 8, or 10 or even a 12 year old that. I felt like I was Dead Eye baby.

 So, unlike many liberals from other areas of the nation guns were not some evil thing that only bad people had. Still, I don't see why anybody minds registering a gun. Honestly having a gun doesn't make you a big man. Any idiot can and often does pull a trigger.

 But, it also doesn't make you an idiot to have a gun for protection or just because you like to shoot or hunt. I think most Americans are okay with registering a gun the same way you register a vehicle. Just common sense.

Automatic weapons? Well, honestly even President Reagan wanted some control over those. But, we seem to be yelling at each other over what an automatic weapon is these days. But, if we stop bowing down to the NRA in a knee jerk fashion and also stop acting as if the average gun owner who registers their weapon is a criminal then maybe we can have an honest conversation.

  So, at the end of the day I'm for private gun ownership but also for registering and having restrictions on firepower when a person is a felon or mentally unstable. I'm not for open carry. Most people aren't.

I have seen y'all when somebody cuts you off in traffic. My God, I'd hate to see some of you with a freakin six shooter at your side when somebody looks at your woman's tits peeking out of her halter top or bumps you in the street. Sorry  but my momma always told me plain talks easy understood so I am just talking honestly and plainly. We also need to be honest about the violence that black folks are doing to black folks in the inner cities and stop trying to be political about it. We need all people of all colors to engage honestly on controlling violence. But, instead we shout each other down and retreat to our echo chambers.

Health Care: This is the one thing I will never understand. I have seen people living in rentals and mobile homes and working two jobs and cursing Democrats. Why? Because Frankie Graham and Rush Limbaugh and Donnie Trump told them that the Democrats are evil and want to socialize medicine. That good health isn't a human right like clean water or shelter.

These same people who can't afford to go to the doctor but vote for people who have lifetime healthcare provided for themselves while denying your right to be treated without it being tied to a job that you are lucky enough to have. But, if you get laid off or the company decides to stop coverage then you are shit out of luck.

If you have a heart attack or get cancer then you will gladly go to the ER and get help and if you can't pay for it let the taxpayer eat it. But, you would never vote to allow someone else the same opportunity to get help. I honestly know people who have done this and then get behind a pulpit and rail against healthcare on Sunday morning.

We don't have to be a socialist nation and go third world in order to make health care affordable. Obama Care on one hand gave me the opportunity to retire after heart issues from a very stressful job. On the other hand I have friends that Obama Care nearly broke with it's demand of penalties and rates.

But, surely we could either fix it or come up with something that will take care of those who are vulnerable and yet not break people who are working hard to stay above water. I think we can. I think Romney and the Republicans had a plan at one time. But, the Tea Party has done to the Republicans the same thing the far left has done to the Democrats. They have bastardized it to special interests.

God: This is personal to me. I was raised a Christian. I will always be Christian in many ways. I no longer believe in an angry old man on a throne. I don't recite the creeds and have a religious test or consider the bible a single flawless book. But, I still have a relationship with Spirit and I still feel there is meaning in my journey on this earth.

But, I don't think we need a big granite Ten Commandments idol in front of the courthouse. I don't think we can go back to a teacher reciting prayer over the intercom. Prayer is still allowed in school It was never taken out. You just can't force a person to listen to your prayer over the intercom.

 I"m so sorry to have to tell you folks but everybody doesn't thump the same bible or take 2 to 6 thousand year old Jewish dietary laws as the rule for living. Grow up. I have my faith and my journey and you have yours. Go to church and pray and read your bible and love your neighbor but stop trying to politicize Christ.

You absolutely have the right to vote and speak up about your faith. But, so does everybody else. By the way. Do an honest search of history and not a Moody Bible Institute search. The founding Fathers were not of one accord born again Christians. Jesus wasn't an American and this land was stolen from the Indian people by hook and by crook. So stop acting like you have the moral high ground. You don't.

Love of Country: Really? When you let a president who can barley articulate above the level of a 10 year old throwing a temper tantrum attack disabled folks and war hero's and even make disparaging remarks about POW's then you say you love the country?

Y'all would have tarred and feathered Bill Clinton or Obama for some of the same stuff you give Donny a pass on.

 You hate democrats and you are for the troops. But, did you know many if not most of our troops are black and Hispanic and loved Obama? Did you know that many of our troops are on the street and don't get decent health care? Do you love Chicago and L.A.? Do you love Iowa, Alabama and Maine? Do you love Democrats and Republicans and Atheist and Muslims? Do you love our gay troops or only the straight ones? You love the flag? Really? Which part? The one at the VFW? What about the one at the San Francisco City Hall? Do you love it more than you love the baby on welfare? Do you think God loves it more than he loves the Mexicans across the border? I don't. I'm sure he doesn't. But, if you love your nation then stop selling it our to Donnie Trump or Hillary Clinton or any other powerful person.

One reason the flag is special to me and I would never dishoner it is because we allow protest in the U.S. that is what makes us different than China or North Korea or Russia. We don't put people in jail for burning the flag. Not because we agree with them. Hell, we would beat their ass over it. But, because we are a free people we have the freedom to protest the flag. It says more about the protester than it does the flag but that is what being in a free nation is about. Having personal freedom as long as you are not hurting or robbing others.

Bottom line is I vote my wallet. I don't vote abortion or climate change. I don't vote at the end of the day for the self proclaimed party or man or woman of god.

 I vote the same way I choose a dentist. I vote for the one who can give me the most relief with the less pain.

 Right now health care wise and Social Security wise and Medicare and even Medicaid wise that's Democrat. If I were in a higher tax bracket I might change my mind. I might not. I don't know. I do know that I would find Trump a very low class human being and that's no lie. Trump said he fought to get rid of pre existing conditions while at the same time his administration was fighting the Democrats in court to maintain pre existing conditions. He lied. Gasp!

The republicans have been trying to dip into and cut Social Security for decades and they are still trying. Yet, some of y'all just blindly accept them because they are so called anti abortion. You need to wake up. You've been had. Now, at the end of this I doubt I've changed anybody else's mind. That's okay. There are plenty of things I could say about liberals and problems I have with Democrats. But, right now I just wanted to put down the reason that I am voting Democrat in the national election.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hotel California

  I grew up in the era of rock. Long hair and loud guitars and gravely vocals. I also grew up in the era of the Country/Rock Crossover and loved groups like Poco and Pure Prairie League and vocalist like Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne. But, my favorite group was the Eagles and Hotel California was and is my all time favorite album. So, I decided to take a little trip down memory lane by listening to this album from my youth. My Senior year in high school and now in my "senior" years some forty four years later.

   I have often wondered about my youth. It seems like I was so young just yesterday. I still remember hearing the title track "Hotel California" for the first time. I was at my cousin's house in Oneonta, Alabama and heard it on the radio. Back then we were surprised when anything came on the radio. No blogs, internet or twitter. No social media at all. Hotel California by my favorite band just came on and I knew the Eagles had a new album. They had recently parted ways with one of the original members Bernie Leadon and this Joe Walsh dude from The James Gang was now playing with them. This was my first listen to the new sound. I bought the the new album as soon as I could get to the record store. I should say the new 8 track because that's what I bought. I was blown away. I didn't have to be told what that warm smell of Colitas was although I had never heard it called that before. I can still hear the drums and the steady guitar. I didn't realize just how well Walsh and Felder were blending until I saw video of it.

Then came "New Kid in Town" which was more of the old Eagles crossover style. Country Rock. The feeling that the old was about to be replaced with the new registered with my young mood. It always seems as if there's a new kid in town and you can't keep up. I really was a hopeless romantic back then. Hearing it now over 4 decades later I no longer have the view of the innocent youth. I still think the song holds up. It still highlights the final days of the California Sound to me. "They will Never Forget you Till Somebody New Comes Along." 

"Life in the Fast Lane" this one said that the band could rock and get a little jaded when it wanted too. I was really into the way Henley sounded on this. Now, all these years later as I listen to it I'm reminded of a Quetin Taratino movie. Back then I really loved the guitar and the slide and the double barreled shotgun sound of the guitar at the pivotal moment. Now, I find myself thinking this really is a great album. I know some people snicker when they talk about the Eagles in relation to Zeppelin or even the Dead. But, while I agree that Led Zeppelin was genius I had just as soon listen to opera music as Grateful Dead. It's about the same in excitement for me. "Eager for Action Blinded by thirst. They didn't see the stop sign took a turn for the worst.

Wasted Time. Now this was different. Full orchestra in the background. Henley doing the soulful jazzy blues singer. I really liked it and the range of Don's voice on this shows out. He had the pipes and was really underrated as a great voice. These days I find this song has so much more nuance and depth than the stuff you hear today and most of what you heard back then. You can't beat Hank Williams for a story song but you could do worse than Henley singing about Wasted Time. "The hours go by like minutes and the shadows come to stay."

"Wasted Time Reprise" Kind of an odd selection for a rock album with a new bad ass guitar player named Joe Walsh. But, it's a nice interlude in the middle of the album. Even now years later I see rainy evenings and falling leaves and can almost feel the fuzzy alcohol buzz of my youth when I hear this.

"Victim of Love" Here we go. Crank it up Joe. Don is in full throat and I was picturing the girls I knew. Especially one from my misspent youth. "Well I heard about you and that man. There's just one thing I don't understand. You say he's a liar and he put out your fire. How come you still got his gun in your hand." Listening now over four decades later I still think this song rocks. I can see faded jeans and cruising cars when I hear this.Great song.  I could be wrong. But, I'm not. 

"Pretty Maids all in a Row" This one is the first one with Joe Walsh on lead vocals as an Eagle. This one is special for me. Back then I knew Three young ladies from West End High and they were ladies. Don't let my talk of my otherwise misspent youth confuse you. But, we spent some times in the small town of Altoona, Alabama running up and down the roads in our youth. Two of them passed way to soon. I was able to finally tell my remaining friend from that trio that I always thought of them when I heard Joe Walsh sing this song. So, now 44 years later I think of Cindy, Donna and Sharon.

"Try and Love Again." Randy Meisser reminding everyone that he had a killer unique voice and the Eagle were never the same once he departed them. They were still good and my favorite band. But, they were different. Back then I was so young and crazy and this song was resonating with me. It still has a pull now mainly because it's the last great stand of the voice of Randy Meisner in the Eagles lineup. "Right or wrong what's done is done. It's only moments that you borrow." 

"Last Resort" Haunting piano opening and the tightest vocals you can find. Back then I don't think I thought as much of the polticial views and the ravages on the Native lands that we had. But, Don Henley put it well. Now over forty years later I've actually been to Lahaina and I've seen the West and the scrub land the government banished the Navajo to in Arizona. This is a beautiful song and it still holds up. "They ever brought a neon sigh that said Jesus is Coming." They brought the white man's burden down. They brought the white man's reign." 

I really love this album. I have certain albums that I can remember where I was at various times when I heard the album. "News of the World" by Queen, "Rumors" by Fleetwood Mac and "The Grand Illusion" by Styx hold a special place in my little rock and roll heart. But, this "Hotel California" is the album I would take with me if I had to be on an island with no other music for the rest of my life.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

I'm not saying it was Aliens

  But, it was aliens.

I was watching a show on History Channel the other night with Cindy and my son Fox. For all you X-File fans if there are any left. He was named after the lead character. Anyway we were watching the History Channel show called Ancient Aliens and I love that stuff. Not because I'm a true believer. I'm not. But, I've always been fascinated by so called "fringe" stuff. From my childhood I loved reading about ghosts. In my teen and young adult years I loved reading about past lives and flying saucers and psychic abilities. I can remember loving comic books and superhero's and sports. But, there was something about a ghost story that I loved. So, there I am with my wife and teenage son both who are really and truly not as interested as I am in this stuff. Oh, okay. They not only are not interested they flat out don't believe in it. Still, they humor me when this particular show comes on. I think my son thinks I'm a space cadet. I told him I was thinking of attending the meditation classes at the Unitarian Church. He said "Attend it?" You could teach it. Anyway, I have to admit that made me proud. I'm glad I've impressed him in some way.

  Hey Mr. Spaceman. Won't you please take me along. I won't do anything wrong...The Byrds "Mr. Spaceman."

I was watching the show and people were being interviewed and mentioned and I was familiar with them. I mean familiar the way I'm familiar with the classic rosters of the Atlanta Braves or the 70's legends of the Crimson Tide of Alabama. It's a little nitch that I've found over the years and as I watched I realized the names meant nothing to my family but I was completely literate in the culture of the so called fringe and strange. Names like Jacques Vallee, J. Allen Hynek, Phil Klass the cranky skeptic, Barney and Betty Hill and Stanton Friedman. Whitley Strieber and Doctor Jeff Kripal, Grant Cameron and Stephen Greer and Bob Lazar and George Knapp, Skin Walker Ranch and Coast to Coast AM and Art Bell. I thought "wow, I'm a nerd in this stuff." I'm in my sixth decade of life but I'm still awed by the night sky and the possibility that we are not alone. As the ancient alien announcer would say "We have never been alone."

I thought that they were angels but much to my surprise. They climbed aboard their star ship and headed for the skies...Come Sail Away...Styx

 Now before my more skeptical friends call the men with the butterfly nets to  take me away. I'm not a true believer in UFO's. I love the pop culture and I have read enough to know there is something more than hoaxing going on and yet I'm not at all convinced that flying saucers are real. But, like I said. I love reading and watching and talking about this stuff. I haunted the Gadsden Public Library in my youth reading stuff and browsing authors on these subjects. From Edgar Cayce to Ruth Montgomery and later Shirley Maclaine. Not because I was a true believer but because I enjoyed it and also because I was searching for the thread. What was real and possible? Mixed in was a healthy dose of bible belt religion and honestly I know I sound flip. But, I'm not. The prayer and discipline of my Christian upbringing has seen me through some hard times and although I don't identify with any religion these days I still have a foundation from my youth that gets me through the night. But, this isn't going to turn into a serious religious discussion. At least I don't won't to go there. Not in this post.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ..."Hamlet."

One of the coolest books I've read this past year was "American Cosmic" by D.W. Palsulka. Doctor Palsulka is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is also the chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. She relates talking with scientist who have actually found metals and materials that have extraordinary makeups and she also relates a visit to the Vatican library and archives that was really interesting. She recounts Carl Jung and even Saint Teresa of Avila. Also, the work of John Mack and others and comes to the conclusion that the UFO movement is actually mimicking the rise of a new religion. Technological and modern but still has religious elements such as guru's and authorities and myths. Really interesting stuff.

Another book that I got into this past year is "Forbidden Science 4 the Spring hill Chronicles, The Journals of Jacques Vallee 1990-1999"
  Jacques Vallee holds a Master's Degree in Astrophysics from France and a PhD in Computer Science from Northwestern University. He was the character the French scientist in Close Encounters of the Third Kind was based on. I have found some really good stuff for my Kindle this year and these journals of Dr. Vallee are really interesting. He kept a journal during his travels around the world pertaining to ufo and other paranormal topics. He tends to think the UFO phenomena and other anomalous events fall into the interdimensional and multi world realms. These journals are an interesting inside look at some of the events and topics that he has interacted with over the years.

I also recently read "A New World" by Whitley Strieber.
This was a really interesting account of Strieber's intense meditation and interaction in visions and dreams and he says actual experience with people and creatures that are part of a larger reality. He lost his wife but talks of a spiritual connection with her that has survived death. No matter what you think of his experiences you have to admit his intense love for her and his intense belief that they are still connected. He has some interesting confirmations provided by other people that you either believe or you have to accuse him of lying. I don't know about his experience but I'm pretty sure he isn't lying.

I'm also in the middle of a book on Ingo Swann by Raul daSilva about the friendship between him and the physic Ingo Swann. Fascinating account of remote viewing and intuition about Ingo Swann. Mr. Swann was a wealthy person but lived in an apartment in New York City in a building that he owned. Yet he would go out and live in the streets to experience homelessness for weeks at a time. He worked with scientist in remote viewing and was a really fascinating person. It's a quick read and gives a lot of background on a person that claimed to remote view the moon and described Jupiter in 1973 at the Stanford Research Center with Doctor Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ. Swann was able to describe the planet Jupiter three months before the Pioneer 10 and 11 in 1973 and 74 and Voyager 1 and two in 1979, The information was accurate and you can find some of the results on and other sources on the internet and in books.

Are you awake? Or are you asleep?...guided meditation on my space cadet journey.

  Sometimes. Not often but sometimes. I have lucid dreams and flying dreams. The other night I was dreaming and I needed something up high. I simply floated up and got it. It felt completely natural and when I woke up I felt like I really had the ability to float up. Now, I understand it was a dream. I get that. I could float in this life if it weren't for that pesky gravity. But, I really do think we are more than this life. I've said I'm not religious and I'm not. Not anymore. There are reasons for that and this isn't the time or place for me to go into them. But, I still maintain that Christianity has the most awesome proposal of any religion bar none.

By that I mean if you think about it. For God the creator of the universe to actually put on flesh and participate in this crazy dance of life and death. Horror and disease. To actually do that out of love? Maybe that's why even though I can't hang with the fanatisism and self rightous b.s. and the angry blood lusting God of the fundamentalist I still consider the spirit of Christ to be awesome. Awesome in a way that the cold fatalistic religions of the East and the crazy blood thirsty god of Islam and the cold sterile scientism of the modern age can't match.

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians...Mahatma Gandhi.

I know the feeling Mahatma. I really, really do. But, I digress. This is about fun stuff and odd stuff and even possible stuff that seems too far out to be real and yet has real evidence that it might be real. On some level.

I read a book about a child who remembered (allegedly) being the baseball great Lou Gehrig. Now, honestly I'm not sure I buy it. But, I do think some of the child's statements and the way he knew some details of old time baseball were provocative. There are better cases and stronger cases for sure. But, I'm a baseball history nerd so reincarnation or not I enjoy the old stories and history of the game. I also found the Gehrig story interesting because the child remembered being a player that while a great name had a tragic death. He died of a disease that was later called Lou Gehrig's disease. It is actually called ALS and it is a horrible debilitating death. It destroys the body and traps the person in a prison of their own flesh until they are finally released at death. There is still no cure. I found it odd the child would  remember "if he actually does" that particular player's life. There are easier and more exciting and longer past lives to remember especially if you are making one up. Of course a two or three year old child is more than likely not trying to fool anyone for fame and fortune. That doesn't mean I buy the story. I have reasons that I don't buy it because I know someone by way of the internet that has some knowledge of that particular case and they have backed away from it. Even though they absolutely feel that reincarnation is real.

Not in entire forgetfullness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come. From God who is our home...Intimations of Immortality...William Wordsworth

  I can remember as a child we would get the Weekly Reader. We could order books and I was always ordering either something like 13 Alabama Ghost or some other "scary" themed book. Either that or a sports hero book such as Jim Thorpe or Wilt Chamberlin or Babe Ruth.

I remember one book about Wilt Chamberland and it was called "The Gentle Giant." I think the writer was trying to make people appreciate Wilt back in a time when America was even more ( hard to believe) racially divided than it is now. So, he tried to make Wilt into an angel. Which wasn't fair to Wilt who was a human being just like the rest of us. Anyway, he said that Wilt would sometimes not dunk the basketball in order not to hurt the fingers of his opponents. Now, it didn't take long for even my innocent young butt to see through that one. Wilt was a competitor and he would flat out slam that ball into the goal and you fingers be damned. As was only right by the way.

I say that to say this. I understand that we all have things that we like to believe in. Things that keep up from going crazy with fear and grief. So, I can only hope that I'm willing to face the honest truth about life. But, I don't think the honest truth is hopeless or soulless. I don't think the universe is insane or an accident.

The arc of the moral universe is long. But, it bends towards justice. ..Martin Luther King Jr.

So, yeah I will keep watching the skies. I will keep dreaming that I can fly and hoping in the possibility of a world and existence where I can. That doesn't make me deluded or silly. It's something that fully agrees that I'm a flesh and blood human or at least that I am in a flesh and blood earth suit in this physical environment. But, in my deepest being I'm still me and I Am a part of the eternal and so are you. All of us and everything has meaning. So, I choose to see this as an adventure and a journey not a destination.

Two lizards on a rock in the desert. One says to the other "There it is again." That feeling that I was someone called Shirley Maclaine in a past life...Farside Cartoon.

 Your only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it...Robin Williams.

I think I'll let my little spark shine.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Talks with Spirit

I had a talk with my Guardian Angel. You know I like to take stock at the end of the year. Where I've been and where I'm going. So, Spirit and I had a talk. I thought about what to call a Guardian Angel. Spirit came to mind and I almost decided it sounded too much like a name you would give a horse. But, then I thought: "Why Not?" Spirit is what we believe ourselves to ultimately be. We pray to the Holy Spirit or sometimes to spiritual universe so I guess calling my Guardian Angel "Spirit" is okay. I also use the pronoun "He" but I don't mean it as if I've talking biologically. I fully believe spiritual reality is beyond a male/female label but I'm not crossed over to spiritual reality fully yet so I have to use what I can. Anyway the conversation is ongoing and sounds something like this.

 I'm not really sure what to think about the nature of things these days. After all I had heart surgery last year and I don't remember any great spiritual events during my time on the table.

 Spirit: "Well, you woke up didn't you?" Yeah, but how is that spiritual? Spirit:  "It's all spiritual." "you have thought that spiritual is an airy fairy floating around as a blob of luv but in reality spiritual/biological/mental they are all just life in different states or vibrations for want of a better word."  Me: Well, I did have some weird stuff going on. I remember in high school I went out for football one year. I w\sh I had stayed and played but I didn't . Anyway I remember we would do a drill called bull in the ring. I bet  they can't do that now but this was back in the dark ages of 1974 or so. I was in the middle of the ring and extremely near sighted but had to remove my glasses. So, I pointed at the blurry blob of players and the one you point at charges you. He really came in a blur literally. I remember hitting the ground so hard that the world shifted. Turned upside down and then flipped back as if in a cartoon or something. 

Well when I woke up from heart surgery I remember seeing the sink on the ceiling. That's how I knew my body had really been through some trauma. Not to mention my brain. 

Spirit: "Yes, but if you had of been in oblivion then there would have been nothing left of you to wake up. So, trust me. I had you." If you had not come back to conciousness you would still have woken up embodied. You would not have been obliterated and you wouldn't have been absorbed into some void." 

I remember some odd dreams. I saw names of staff written on a board in the hospital room. You know like Head Nurse, Technician, Doctor. I was kind of out of it and decided it looked like a baseball card lineup the manager presents to the ump before a game. Before you know it I'm dreaming of old days like from the thirties and baseball and even predjudice that some people fought in order to play the game. Weird stuff. 

Spirit: Well, your consciouness was not really as firmly connected to the body as it usually is and you were manifesting some old memories and books and thoughts without a lot of filter from the brain.

Then I had this thought. I was like an amoeba or something and lived for a short time and died. Then I was a little more present and lived a hard life and died. Then I lived again as a peasant or a worker or something. Then I lived a short hard life and died. Was that pure fantasy? Evolution as I or life evolved? I just don't know but it seemed a little different than the baseball dream. Although, I don't know how much.

Spirit: "Well, you know spirit or consciousness is primary. So, biological life mirrors consciouness. So, if biology evolves is it that strange to find that spirit evolves? What goes around comes around." 

You mean reincarnation? 

Spirit: "Oh look."  
Me: What? 
Spirit: Do you remember dreaming of flying the other night?
Me: Yes, I remember. I was walking and decided to get something that was out of my reach. I just floated right up to it. When I woke up I honestly felt like it was a part of me or an ability that I have always had. That we all have. But, at the same time I knew not to go leaping off of a building because gravity ya know.

Spirit: Yep. That's kind of like your question. There is a time and place and even a reality to it. But, this isn't the time or place and you're not really able to understand it in it's entirety right now. After all whole religions have started up because someone got a little "enlightenment" and thought they had the whole thing figured out. It just ends up with war and anger and priest or monks or rabbi's or inmans manipulating people. 
Me: In other words you're not going to tell me.
Spirit: Not now. But, keep asking. Keep searching. If you could know it all then God would be a much different entity and not really much more than a super hero instead of the very essence of all that is.

Me: I get tired sometimes with people trying to tell just so stories. I see people trying to tell other people how they should pray or making fun of them for praying. I hear people taking up for powerful politicians as if the rich and powerful needed defending. I think people treat God like that too. As if God were some poltical party that if you don't defend then "he" will get kicked out of school or government or he will get angry at all of us little necked apes and wipe us all out.

Spirit: Sometimes you just have to let people be who they are. Don't be afraid to speak your truth but at the same time you have to allow others room to be human. To make mistakes and learn and grow at their own pace.

Me: Well, we live in a really screwed up world. I remember being in a social work class at Hawaii Pacific University once. A person spoke up and said that maybe this world was hell. I kind of agree. 

I remember reading "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis. In it the citizens of hell are traveling by bus to a shining city. They are on the outskirts of heaven. But, they can't enter. For one thing they don't know that they are in hell. They won't admit it and they refuse to wake up. It kind of reminds me of this world sometimes. The churches want political power and will praise evil men in order to be granted access to power. Meanwhile children are raped and women exploited and the poor go hungry. Then the church's wonder why the atheist mock their version of god and why they find it so silly for this group of people to claim some kind of spiritual advantage in a cruel and seemingly random world.

Spirit: That's true. But, there is a plan.
Me: Really? What is it? 

Spirit: It's to continue to evolve. People worry about global warming and they worry about making a young woman have a child that she isn't willing to take care of. Meanwhile they cut taxes that would have allowed her child to get medical treatment and food. They worry about the world warming up while people are in slavery in China and Korea and parts of Africa and being slaughtered. They worry about gun control but yet are afraid because of political correctness to call out the leaders of communities in Chicago or Baltimore where people are killing each other. They criminalize a person who smokes a plant that comes out of the ground and instead of putting money into mental health and social services they place a larger burden on law enforcement to do the work of social workers and nurses and yet law enforcement isn't trained to do that. But, it's growing pains and people often hit rock bottom in their own cruelty and ignorance before they are able to climb back up out of the muck.

Me: So, people today have their echo chambers. I know I'm not overly religious these days but it reminds me of a place in the bible. It says that people heap teachers to their own ears. That reminds me of the internet and social media. People get into groups such as "conservative, liberal, religious, atheistic, black, white and so on." Then they sit around and swap horror stories about how evil and stupid the other side is.

Spirit: "Yep." 

Me: Well here I am coming to the end of another year. It seems like God put it on fast forward a few years ago and now time flies by. Back when I was young a year seemed like it crawled past. Now, I have a hard time holding on to it long enough to live and get things accomplished before another day ends.

Spirit: It get's easier"
Me: Really?
Spirit: "No, not really."
Me: Thanks a lot. 

Spirit: :Hey I'm here with you."
Me: I know. So honestly. Thank you.

Me: I'm going to do a meditation tonight and I hope I can clear my mind enough to listen to you.
Spirit: That's wonderful because I constantly speak into your spirit and dreams and day. We just have to keep tuning your ears.

Me: Let's do this again soon. I need to listen more and I really do want to get ready for this part of the journey. The road behind me is winding way back there. But, the road ahead looks like it could be coming to an end soon just over those hills.
Spirit: Maybe, but maybe it's just about to branch off to a bigger highway.

Matthew 11:15 He who has ears, let him hear.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Allstar's meet John Records Landecker

  I happened to wake up at 1:30 in the morning and decided instead of trying to go back to sleep I would just get up and check email. That got me to thinking about how I used to deal with middle of the night sleep issues in my youth. I think now that my generation may be the last of the real rock radio generation. I always had a radio by my bed and it was often tuned to WLS in Chicago with John Records Landecker spinning the hits. Now, I grew up in the deep south as they say up nawth. But, I also grew up in the era of the AM radio giants. I would get tuned into WLS because at night they allowed certain stations in the nation to crank up the signal. I remember going  to school the next day and hearing my friends talk about listening to Chicago the night before.
 If you were cool then you listened to the radio once the adults were in bed. It was a habit I kept throughout my twenties and into my thirties. I would listen to talk and news stations like KMOX in Saint Louis and also a Cleveland station and a New Orleans station. I was rocked to sleep by the sounds and voices coming out of the radio. I was then woken the next morning by the sounds of the local Gadsden, Alabama stations signing on. When I heard WGAD in Gadsden sign on then I knew I had made the journey and was now safely back home. 

I don't know why but the sounds of people talking in the distance has always soothed me. When I was a kid I would be in bed and hearing the adults in the living room talking softly would help me drift off to sleep. 

Another trick I had to help me sleep was naming Allstar baseball teams in my head. Some people counted sheep or so I hear. I counted the pitching staff and roster of my all star teams. First the national league and then the American. 

So, here I am and it's now two o:clock in the morning. I'm not sixteen anymore and it's a long way from the 1970"s until the twenty first century. But, just for fun and not using google I'm going to see what my sixty something year old brain matter has rattling around in it. I'm not going to do the present day lineups. I'm going to try and do the allstar teams I would have done to sleep if this were still around the early to mid seventies. Then I might post this blog and go to bed.

  The National League:

Manager:Sparky Anderson: Reds
First base: Tony Perez: Reds
Second Base: Bud Harrelson: Mets
Short Stop: Maury Wills: Dodgers
Third Base: Pete Rose: Reds
Catcher: Johnny Bench: Reds
Pitcher: Tom Seaver: Mets, Phil Niekro: Braves, Steve Carlton: Phillies, Don Sutton: Dodgers.
Relievers: Clay Carol: Reds, Pat Jarvis: Braves, 

Left Field: Willie Stargell Pirates
Center Field: Roberto Clemente Pirates
Right Field  Hank Aaron Braves

American League:

First Base: Al Kaline: Tigers
Second Base: Frank Cash: Tigers
Short Stop: Campy Campaneris A's
Third Base Sal Bando A's
Catcher: Bill Freehan Tigers
Pitcher: Jim Palmer Orioles, Vida Blue A's, Mickey Lolich Tigers, Dave Mcnally Orioles. 
Relief Pitchers: Bill Lee Red Sox, Mel Stottlemyer Yankees,

Now back then I would have named managers and back up's and more pitchers. I would have had more players and my starters would have been different and certainly I have left off many players due to the intervening years and trying to remember on the spur of the moment a long ago era of sports. 

But, anyway at the end of that I would find sleep somewhere and drift off. I'll check this for accuracy in the morning but right now for fun and because I'm getting sleepy I'm going to sign off for now. I'm sure my favorite Atlanta Brave of all time Hank Aaron hit the game winning homer for the national league somewhere in the night. You can read about it in tomorrows version of the "Braves Box" in my old hometown Gadsden Times somewhere between July 1972 and July 1975. Goodnight for now Sports Fans. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Lost a little off the old fastball.

    I looked in the mirror just a moment ago. It's funny because I saw an older man in a baseball cap. Not a bad looking dude for 60 plus years old but not exactly who I was expecting. That happens a lot lately. I still look out of these eyes with the same self I always have but the person looking back in the mirror doesn't have an unlined face or long light brown hair and the youthful gaze or even the silly "I'm gonna be young forever" grin that I remember so well.

 I was sitting outside now that the temperature in Alabama has decided to become bearable and the  sun isn't scorching my skin like Dracula at the beach. I pull out the old Kindle and start to read this old short story in a Stephen King collection. It's his first collection called "Night Shift" and the story is "Last Rung on the Ladder." You, unless you are a Stephen King nerd like me have most likely never heard of this one. No made for TV movies. It's not discussed as one of this best works. Mainly because it's not. No zombies or scary clowns or vampires or crazy writers possessed by evil ghosts from a haunted hotel. But, at the end of that little story I thought "Damn, he was good." Even back then he was good. I think my favorite writer has lost a little off his fast ball these days. He seems to strike out from time to time while agonizing over politics and a certain orange dumb ass in Washington. But, I have to admit that those of us who call him a dumb ass sure do give him a lot of free rent in our heads. Well, I personally don't but a lot of really liberal people lose their minds daily over Da Donald. Anyway, this isn't a political rant and so let me move on.

  I could run a mile in under five minutes in high school. Now, I know that's not track star fast but honestly? How many people can say they broke a five minute mile other than track stars. I was never a track star. But, I was young and healthy and loved that final kick towards a runners high. I couldn't run half a mile these days without the threat of cardiac arrest. 

  Well I'm running down the road trying to loosen my load...Glen Frey. 

I remember when Glen Frey sang that. He had to rake his hair out of his eyes and they looked a little smart alecky and he had that devil may care smile as the rest of the Eagles came on in harmony. Glen Frey from the band who wrote the soundtrack of my youth has passed on to that rock and roll heaven. How the heck did that happen? Just yesterday he was "Taking it Easy" and I was listening with a Pony Miller in one hand and the smell of wacky terbacky wafting through the air.

  I knew a girl who sang the blues. I asked her for some happy news...Miss American Pie.

  One thing about getting older though. You can finally say what you feel and not have to impress anybody or try to do the old mating dance of youth. I read where Oliva Newton John is 71 years old. My God  the last time I saw her she was looking at John Travolta in a certain movie with a come hither look on her young face. He was looking back with a "I'm on my way hither" look of his own. 

  I think I slept through the early 80's. Ether that or I got stoned and missed it. Now I have met a lot of people in my time. I've listened to preachers and I've listened to atheist and I've heard guru's explaining the mysteries of life. I don't do preachers or guru's and I am absolutely not an atheist. I have had enough experience to know that my being is more than my body. Although, there are times when I'm more sure than other times.

  I started this out with the mirror. I remember as a child looking in the mirror. I would think "who is that?" That's not me.. But, as the years passed I got used to "my face." Not pleased mind you but, used to it. 

  So maybe in some future time there will be a kid who looks in the mirror. Say around 20 or 30 or more years from now.That child will look in a mirror and think "That's not me." I don't know who that is but it's not me. But sooner or later the child will get used to it. Then before they know it it will become the "youth" from the past and he will miss it. Just a little. 

And dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep....W.B. Yeats

  I really do wonder if what goes around comes around for real. I have no desire these days to smite my enemies. No "sweet revenge fantasies" I also have no real need to rush to forgive every bastard that ever hurt me either. I'm just at the stage where I live and let live and let God sort it out. It's not a bad place to be really. But, I'd love to run a five minute mile again. 

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead and the white knight is talking backwards and the red queen's off with her head...Jefferson Airplane

Grace Slick who was lead vocalist on that song by the Jefferson Airplane is 80 years old. It's unreal to this eternally young Baby Boomer who grew up with rock and roll. Did we ever teach the world to sing? Oh well. I can get inside my own head sometimes.

In the words of a young Grace Slick who is now eighty years old. "Remember what the Dormouse said. Feed your head. Feed your head."

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I didn't come here (and I ain't leavin')

   So, there I was minding my own business and all of a sudden I emerge here on earth over sixty years ago. With some hazy memories of an old man walking down some stairs and sitting in a chair and then...

Right smack in the middle of the Bible Belt in Ala-damn-bama, U.S.A. to a teenage mother and an absent father and thankfully two grandparents who were happy to see me.  I'm not going to argue the merits of that old time religion because to be honest I have mixed emotions about it. While I have come to doubt the fundamentalist religion I grew up with. The faith and prayers I was taught as a child has saved my sanity and maybe my life on more than one occasion. Still, the false guilt and just so stories of an angry Deity didn't help my sanity. So, I'll call it even and keep going on down the road.

  I've gotten over the need to convince people of anything. So, I don't spend a lot of time trying to prove my beliefs or my political leanings to people. I have come to think of life as a journey and not a destination. This is one part of it. 

Now I've heard there was a secret chord. That David played and it pleased the Lord. But, you don't really care for music do ya? ...Leonard Cohen

  I sometimes think I've seen and heard that secret chord but then the earth rotates and I think I miss the beat. I spent a lot of my early life trying to play the tune that would please other people. As a child you try to say the things that will please your parents so they will give you what you want or at least not (as we say in the south) whup your ass. 

Then you try to please the teacher so you can get a passing grade and move up to the next level. You try to please the preacher so you can be "saved" and join the church. You try to please the girl or boy depending on your gender or preference so you can uhh, well anyway.
You try to please God so that you can get the right job so you can get the right girl so you can have the right uhh, anyway.

Wait a minute. Am I doing the male thing and making this all about getting uhh, you know. 

That's what she said...Michael from "The Office." 

Then this thing called social media comes along and everybody has to make sure that everybody else knows how great "my" family and friends have got it and did you see the picture I posted from my phone at the Olive Garden last night of my salad and bread sticks?

It goes like this the fourth, the fifth the minor fall, the major lift. The baffled king composing Hallelujah. ...Leonard Cohen

  Well, I admit I'm baffled alright. I'm not the king but still aren't we all the kings and queens of our little domains? I sometimes feel out of place and out of time. I think if I could just pop back to around the early to mid 70's I could find something I misplaced. 

  Must have been my hair. I haven't seen that in awhile. But, no that's not it. Maybe that feeling of youth that the road in front of me is longer than I can ever get finished traveling? No, that's not it because that road sure don't seem as long in front of me in this part of the journey. 

and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep...Yeats

I remember youth alright. It was an amazing and crazy and sad and exhilarating time.Some say youth is wasted on the young but I disagree. Because if I hadn't of had the silliness of youth then it wouldn't have been youth.

Don't bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me...Little Feat

I do wish I had paid more attention though. Stayed a little more soberly focused. Not to be extremely serious because life is too important to be serious all the time. I knew a girl in the 80's. I swear I can't remember her name but back then I wuz in luv. Anyway, I remember that she was smart. She said once that she wished she hadn't done so many drugs in her teens because she felt she would be a lot smarter than she was. I understood. Still do.

Not that I was a drug head in my teens. I actually was pretty spaced out without the use of chemicals back then. Still am at times but that's another story.

I know what freedom means to me. And I can't give a reason why. I should ever wanna die...Eagles "Twenty one."

  I don't think we are mistakes so I really feel like we are on an eternal journey back to God, Source or higher self. I personally still pray and so I feel it's a journey back to a personal God or Ground of Being. But, if you don't then I don't think it matters. I highly doubt there is a petty old angry man somewhere marking your name out of a book just because you question reality. 

Sometimes to keep it together, you got to leave it alone...Eagles "Wasted Time." 

  So, I won't be voting for Trump and I don't care if it makes some silly macho type mad at me. Some of you think if you talk in a slow southern drawl and can pull a trigger that makes you a man. It doesn't. Any idiot can pull a trigger.

I also won't be voting for any far left wing social warrior who thinks I am some kind of scourge on the earth and have privilege. Child if you had of lived my life you would be over in the corner in the fetal position sucking your thumb. 
Also, just because I do speak with a slow southern accent doesn't make me stupid or less of a man.

So you can get on with your search  baby. And I can get on with mine... Eagles

  No matter where I go. There I am. 

Says she talks to angels. They call her out by name....The Black Crowes.

I try to listen to my better angels at least some of the time. I do have reason to think they are there. But, I'm hard headed. So, I have to hope my guardian Angel is merciful. Because some days I can feel the hope of forever but, other days it just seems like a play written by an idiot...Apologies to Shakespeare.

I was watching a youtube video recently. Stephen King was asked what he felt happened when we die. I don't know why but we seem to really put a lot of stock in what famous people say about life and death. But, I digress. I agreed however with his answer. He said that he believes we go on. Because we are so cool and it would be a real tragedy if we just stopped. So, he chooses to believe we go on.

I agree. I choose to listen in the end to my better angels. It may seem like a play written by an idiot on some days. But, that's just because the idiots grab the pen sometimes. But, in the end I have reason to believe that a master storyteller has already written an ending that is out of this world. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.