The Puzzle of Our Existence

In the beginning, the world, as we know it, was created. It doesn’t really matter how, it just was.

And, in the beginning, like a puzzle, the first edge was formed. For the sake of argument, let’s say that time moves in a line from left to right, so it was the left edge.

The rest of the puzzle’s pieces didn’t exist yet, only the first row. But like any puzzle, each piece was in search of the next piece to fill its unique void.

The rules were simple. Two factors dictated the creation of the next piece; Humanity and it’s desires/needs and something bigger; God, Mother Nature, whatever. The second just made sure that the first didn’t destroy the world or itself; that it survived.

Now here’s the deal. Each new piece is not random. The piece before it created the space that only that particular new piece would fit. The prior piece is looking for a solution to what it perceives as a problem and in theory, the new piece solves the problem.

A modern example: Polio is ravaging the world. The desire of its citizens is to end the disease. This piece of the puzzle will only allow one other particular piece to fit; the cure.  Enter Dr. Jonas Salk, the matching piece. He was the right person, at the right time and he was a perfect fit.

A Historic example: What happens when humanity becomes too dense in a confined area? Starvation, unsanitary conditions, war. The World has a problem and needs a solution. The matching piece; the solution, if you will, is usually something horrible that quickly “thins the herd” returning the affected area to levels that are sustainable. The European plague of the 1600’s comes to mind.

The point is, what we receive is usually what we asked for. We just didn’t think it would be so painful.

A tragic example: In 1919, Germany “accepted” the Treaty of Versailles. This once proud country was now on its knees. An economic depression ensued, and its citizens were starving, miserable and searching, desperately, for a solution. They remembered, fondly, the heady days of a great and powerful Germany and they wanted it back.

In 1923-1924, the missing piece of their puzzle wrote a book, and in that book, he addressed the problem and then he offered a solution. His name was Adolf Hitler and we know how that turned out. He was the right person, in the right place, at the right time and it ended in disaster.

The moral of the story: Be careful what you wish for as you may just get it.

What I’m suggesting here is that when enough people perceive that something is a problem, they create a space where only a particular and unique solution will fit. Adolf Hitler, in any other time, would have been “laughed off the stage,” but at that particular and unique time, his piece attached perfectly to the piece before it.

Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt, in any other time, may have never succeeded and been just another unknown name. But they were known, they did rise above, and they were the desired piece of the puzzle for the time and place in which they existed.

Each time we add to our linear puzzle, we must accept the results of the outcome. We, the prior pieces, formed the design of the next piece, insisting that it align with our desires and once found, we provided the opportunity for it to thrive.

Fast forward to 2016. Hillary Clinton could not have won the election. Actually, she really never even stood a chance.

The business of Politics had become synonymous with the words: Status quo, Corruption, Gridlock and Dishonesty. The cries for change were at fever pitch and it was inevitable that the next piece of the puzzle would be someone “different.” That is not to say “better,” just “different.”

Enter, Donald Trump: “The everything else but a politician,” piece.

History will judge President Trump as it judges us all. Bickering over whether he should remain in office is a waste of time and energy. The reality is that he is the President, it is his time, it is his place and we, the People, did create this particular and unique void in which his piece fit perfectly.

Humanity really should be much more careful about what it desires. As each day passes, we are actively creating the environment for the next missing piece of our puzzle to thrive; either good or bad.

 

We choose not who will be good and who will be evil; we choose only to open the door and let them in. It is then that they take root and choose the path that they’ll follow. It is also then that we yield to them our fate.

Michael McCown

 

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Three Hours to Change a Life

In 1975, I was in the 5th grade and was struggling with math. Our class had about 28-30 students and the Teacher, Dona Millan, was a school favorite. When I finished the 4th grade, she was the Teacher that I hoped to be assigned to. I really didn’t know why, other than I had heard she was nice. Fortunately, the stars lined up and there I sat; content but with “math issues.”

Mrs. Millan said we needed to go fishing. There was a lake nearby that had Trout “planted” in it regularly and she kept a careful eye on their “planting” schedule. She called my Mother for permission and later that day, the two of us went to the lake. She carried fishing equipment in her car and soon we were standing on the sandy shore casting her version of a “trout line” into the water. She taught me to tie a “fisherman’s knot” and how to add 3-4 bait hooks to a single line. We fished, talked about everything BUT math and watched the Sun go down. She dropped me off at my house and that was that.

I had just experienced one of the best days of my life.

This “Teacher” had invested three hours of her precious personal time in one student with a math problem from a class of 28-30. The next day, I worked harder than ever. There was NO way that I was going to disappoint Mrs. Millan. My grades improved and to this day, I smile when I think of her. I later learned that she took as many students as she could fishing and I now understood why her students did so well and why every fourth grader wanted to be in her class.

Mrs. Millan was married and had a family, didn’t get paid extra for her efforts and had a large classroom of students, all anxious for her time. They almost had to drag me, kicking and screaming, from the fifth grade to the sixth.

Today, obviously, times have changed from 1975; schools, teachers and technology. The current dogma suggests that yesterday’s “thinking” is outdated and obsolete and that today’s “thinking” is progressive and improved. My “thinking” is that this “thinking” is “textbook” crap. A Teacher took three hours of her time. My Grand Children are handed iPads and headphones in class. I can hear the excuses already…

 

Tolerance, a double edged sword

I love the words “to tolerate”

Ever Sardonic to the end

Yet so peevishly human

For our existence demands it presence

Thou Valor refuses its aim

As history shows its futility

We endure those who preach it

For tolerance is thought a virtue

And to be intolerant, considered a sin

yet a Tyrant counts on tolerance

For intolerance can do him in

Irony warns against it

As the tolerant rarely win

 

Now, I’m worried…and you should be too.

 

1. There are Nine Supreme Court Justices

2. 4 are considered “Conservative”

3. 4 are considered “Liberal”

4. Justice Kennedy is in the middle and he is retiring.

5. That leaves the Court at 4-4

6. President Trump will appoint a Conservative to replace Kennedy. Then the Court will be 5-4

7. Justice Ginsburg is 85, and is known as a champion of the liberal cause.

8. President Trump has two more years left.

9. In 2020, If a Republican is elected, it will most likely be Trump.

10.  Justice Breyer is near 80 years old. He is also considered to be a liberal Justice.

11. In 2020, Justices’ Ginsberg and Breyer will be 87 and 82, respectively. If a Republican wins in 2020, then Ginsburg and Souter will be 91 and 86 before the next election. 

12. The odds are that Justice Ginsburg will  leave before the 2024 election. The odds are that Justice Breyer will leave before the 2024 election.

13. If the first happens, and the Democrats don’t win the Presidency or the Senate, the Court will be at 6-3, Conservative/Liberal.

14. If the second happens and the Democrats don’t win the Presidency or the Senate, the Court will be 7-2 Conservative/Liberal.

15. The results of 5-4 could be unfortunate. The results of 6-3 could be devastating. The results of 7-2…The Spanish Inquisition. 

Checks and balances is what keeps us, well, Balanced. 

I am a Conservative and this terrifies me. This has the potential to be a game-ender and it’s time to get off your ass. 

A Look in Life’s Rear View Mirror

Another year, another birthday. I’m not a “birthday” kinda guy. I don’t like the attention and would prefer that it passed quietly and unnoticed. This year I was feeling extra-curmudgeonly and spent the day avoiding most everyone, which is almost impossible, because I have the most wonderful family in the world and they know right where to find me. I usually get through the day by reflecting on the past and thinking of what I can do to improve things going forward.

Despite my shortfalls, I know that I’m truly loved by my family. I spent the afternoon examining the details of our past and how amazing it has been. I thought about my little “quirks” as I poured through a lifetime of saved pictures. My life is wonderful because my family is wonderful. Our biggest blessing? A gloriously twisted sense of humor and the ability to laugh at ourselves. When we get together, decorum, manners and sanity, all get left at the door.

After looking through the pictures, I’m left with one thought; Who AM I and what the hell have I done to the kids…🤔

Me spending some quiet time with my favorite Slippers

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…and then there was that one Halloween

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And that awesome sale on cold weather gear

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Apparently, I’m told I know way too much about chickens…

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at least I’m setting a good example for the Grandkids…

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We like to pick a theme for Thanksgiving, maybe Pilgrims or …

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Thugs?

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Last Thanksgiving we all made shirts with Fruit loop patches…

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and oddly, needles terrify me, seriously

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I also cry like a little girl at weddings, ok, my daughter’s weddings…

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My Grandmother, Sister and Nephew came over for a visit. A Christmas card in the making…

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and then there was Austria. I just couldn’t get the Sound of Music out of my head

I am the luckiest guy in the world to be a part of this glorious troupe. Something strange happens to normal people when they cross our threshold. They smile and then head for the kitchen.