…and then you take a left at the Constitution…

With a highly visible media push, we are seeing a plethora of “new ideas” gaining traction or at least, the illusion of such. They range from reparations, the elimination of the electoral college and how embracing socialism can, amazingly, be considered a virtuous act.

There is even talk of lowering the voting age to 16. The speaker of the house suggested that America’s youth should be allowed to engage in the process earlier, which patently sounds honorable. Latently, however, the motive is obvious; America’s youth tend to vote Democrat. How the speaker of the house presented this with a straight face…

100 years from now, we won’t even recognize the place. Whether it will be good or bad, depends on the way today’s children raise their children and so on. The future should be fine. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

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The Diary of Francis Kelley

The Diary of Francis Kelley

It was after midnight when I was sent to one of the city’s many parks. The main building was a favorite target for vandals and a neighbor had seen someone moving in the shadows. I parked nearby and approached quietly. The large, square concrete structure was dark inside, the outside dimly lit from a nearby street lamp.

I listened for the sound of movement; nothing. Suddenly, to my right, someone jumped from the roof and landed about 8 feet in front of me. He appeared to be about 18 and was staring at me; terrified. In the time that it took him to leave the roof and hit the ground, I had drawn my Glock .40 caliber pistol and had it aimed directly at him, center mass; my finger firmly on the trigger. Oddly, I remember my breathing, it was calm and measured. Time had stopped for us and I was experiencing tunnel vision like never before; complete focus.

As the seconds passed, the tunnel vision began fading, moving outward. I started hearing the surrounding sounds of life again; crickets and a humming noise emanating from a street lamp. Then the sounds of nearby traffic returned.

I asked him his name and lowered my pistol. He apologized for being up on the roof and said he had no idea that I was even there. I believed him. I thanked him for being calm and staying still and he thanked me for not killing him. I walked back to my cruiser and he walked home. I sat in my car, amazed and thankful that this didn’t end in disaster.

To this day, I have no idea why I didn’t pull the trigger.

The Diary of Francis Kelley

 

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. 

Dear Humanity, It’s the Pedal on the Right…

Sometimes, I’m absolutely amazed that we’re not extinct. We really should be. We certainly didn’t get this far in human evolution because of our superior intellect. Most likely, it was just pure dumb luck; think, Forrest Gump.

Whether you believe in the theory of Creationism or Evolution, really isn’t important for this argument. What does matter, is that we agree that we’ve been living here for a long, long time. I’d like to think that after this long, we would’ve learned SOMETHING about getting along with each other. Getting along should be ingrained in us. It should be easy. It’s a “core” thing.

What’s a core behavior? So, you’re walking down a trail and you come face to face with a bear. No one has to tell you that this is a problem. You won’t find yourself thinking, “I wonder if this bear would mind if I scratched its tummy” or “let’s poke at it with this stick”; you just knew you were in danger and “fight or flight” kicked in. You also knew that the odds were bad and that most likely, you were going to be the largest part of the next crap the bear was going to take. Either way, you just knew. We also know not to blindly stick our arm into a deep dark hole or eat 3 day old roadkill. Again, somehow, you just know that this is not a good idea. It’s critical knowledge that’s been passed down thru life experience and recorded deep within our genes.

Throughout our very long history, inevitably, some idiot would do something like I mentioned above, then we would all start to cringe, but refuse to look away, and it would usually end very badly for the person; proving that the odd “gut-feeling” we had, was probably worth paying attention to. It also proves that we like drama. Don’t think I’m right? OK, next car crash, don’t watch as you drive on by.

For the sake of argument, let’s just say that humanity, in some form, has been wandering the earth for 15,000 years. In that time span does anyone really think that someone today could make a mistake that hasn’t been made at least a thousand times already? I’m speaking in a general way; a core mistake. Obviously, playing “chicken” with a hand grenade wasn’t possible 2000 years ago, but tempting the Fates was, and stupid is stupid no matter what year it is.

Pain and Death are great Teachers and we’ve been in their class for eons. You would think that there wouldn’t be any mistakes left to make, that prior generations would have warned us, that our “gut” would have warned us. We’ll they did, it does and we still don’t appear to have learned a thing; nothing. It’s hard to believe that we are capable of the horrible things we do to ourselves and to each other. Maybe we just don’t “get it” or we are simply unable or unwilling to “learn”.

To be fair, lets define the word: Learn:
“To gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught”

Let’s check the boxes; It appears that we’ve acquired knowledge, we’ve studied, we’ve had experience AND that the prior generations HAVE “passed it on”.

Clearly, I’m missing something here. With all of the wars, cruelty, self-destruction and hate around us today, how exactly, have we evolved since the biblical times of Genesis or the days of the Cro-Magnon Man? Maybe if someone would have just written it all down so that we would have a guidebook, or maybe a list of suggestions, say 10 or so, on things we should or shouldn’t do, to get along with each other and then passed it down…

Bottom line. Our ancestors have shown us what has worked and what hasn’t. We live in the shadow of so much history, yet we ignore it’s lessons. Our language is full of clichés and idioms that try to warn us; Once bitten, twice shy, Those that do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it (Santayana), War is Hell, Cruelty is contagious in uncivilized communities (Jacobs) and We as Human beings, have the capacity for extreme cruelty (Nyong’o).

I’m beginning to think that we just exist day-to-day. We are not growing, learning or evolving as a species. Humanity is like a bunch of monkeys trying to drive a car: Their all in turning the wheel and honking the horn, fighting over how to make it go, but none can agree on anything, so they just fight amongst themselves and go absolutely nowhere.

So, please, remind me again, how have we survived this long? Oh, that’s right; pure dumb luck.

 

What I learned From the Playground Bully

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During my childhood, the playground bully was a staple; usually ruling recess with an iron fist.  While I went to great lengths to avoid his and at times her attention, some days it was my turn in the barrel and that was the accepted reality of the times.

The bully’s of my youth were usually larger, meaner and more comfortable with confrontation than I was at the time. Their reputation usually preceded them with anecdotal stories which were relayed from student to student and thus the bully became larger than life. That was the playground. That was life. We survived and moved on.

As I look back, I realized that the bully’s of my childhood and the people who confronted those bully’s, taught me volumes about existing in the real world beyond the playground.

1. Size Matters: You don’t run your mouth to someone twice your size and expect to walk away unscathed.

2. I learned very early to think strategically: To get from A to B required a plan of action in order to avoid a confrontation, especially when I knew they were looking for me.

3. You learn to think quickly and measure your words: Every utterance had the potential to either provoke or calm the situation.

4. You learned diplomacy and the ability to reason your way out of trouble: I learned the importance of “engage brain before mouth”. I also learned how to reason with the bully, which rarely worked but was worth trying.

5. I learned team work: When the bully would go too far and it became time to end his reign, I learned early that by joining with others and confronting the bully, he would ultimately cave and run.

6. I learned to respect bravery: Every once in a while, someone would say “no” and square off with the bully. Win or lose, I admired the one who was brave enough to say “no more”. Their singular action usually started a chain reaction, in which a group formed and drove the bully away.

7. I learned compassion: I also learned why they were a bully. Their home life was a struggle and they were generally unhappy and acting out. I also learned that most bully’s would rather have friends than enemies.

8. I learned to choose a side: Either you were part of the bully’s circle or you weren’t. I learned the value of compromising with those who disagree. Everyone has their own problems, wants and desires and you learned, to whatever degree, how far you were willing to tolerate their position . The bully affected us all: either you were with him, which made life easier, or you were against him. Either way, you chose.

9 I learned to adapt and to cope: The playground  was your world now.  It’s not like you can just leave, so you learned to make it work.

10. You learned who you DIDN’T want to be like in life: In the presence of a bully, who you are, is defined relatively quickly. I wanted to be the one who “stood up”.

I remember two pivotal events in my life that formed a core belief that I still live by to this day.

The first occurred when I was about 10 years old during a Boy Scout meeting at a park. We were surrounded by eucalyptus trees when we heard the sound of a boy screaming for help. We spotted a large tree house and saw older boys hitting him with belts. I was stunned at the cruelty. My next door neighbor, Renée, immediately went to the tree, climbed it and the older boys began suffering her wrath and were jumping out of the tree in all directions, running for their lives. She then returned with the greatful boy who was without a shirt and covered with welts. She was my hero. We all just stood there with our mouths open, including the other adults; she didn’t fail to act, she took charge.

The next event occurred two years later in junior high school. I was wearing a religious shirt that said “Only He can prevent eternal fire” with a picture of Smoky the Bear on the front. I really liked that shirt but an older kid, who enjoyed picking on 7th graders, didn’t. He grabbed my collar and stretched it almost to the point of tearing the shirt. I was furious and attacked him. At 5’ 6” and maybe 120 lbs, I was no real threat but I did everything but chew his ear off and he actually fled never to bother me again.

Those two events changed me forever; I learned to never underestimate the sheer awesome will and power of a Parent in defense of a child, whether it’s her’s or not. I also learned to never, ever tolerate a bully. You either step-up or you sit down and shut up. Dante reserved the anteroom of hell for those who can’t decide which.

The Playgrounds of my youth were a microcosm of the outside world. After high school, I felt generally ready and prepared for the harsh realities of adult life.

In an bizarre way, we owe a twisted debt of gratitude to the school bully. Unintentionally, they contributed to the overall social development of the students they encountered. Sadly, I do recognize, however, that while some were able to overcome the bully’s existence, others, tragically were not and took their own lives.

Bully’s are a reality of life. They cannot be legislated away nor can they be ignored. I feel our best course is to explore the reason why children become bully’s and try and effect a change on that level.

 

 

Have You Ever Just Wanted to Let Loose on The World With Your Pen? I Did…

Have you ever been stuck behind “that guy” holding up traffic, usually because he can’t seem to talk on his phone and drive at the same time? How about being in line at the store while the person ahead of you tells their life’s story to an uninterested clerk? The inconsiderate guy in the crowded parking lot, his car in reverse, just sitting there getting his seat “just so”. The one in the drive thru ordering for twelve instead of just going in? And on and on… I used to think they were the exception but I’m learning that they are actually “the rule”. People live in a bubble and seem to care less who they inconvenience or offend. To a driver, the car is his whole world and everyone outside, they just don’t exist. Even more amazing is how brave these people are, while they’re locked in their car. You’re expected to yield and be patient. I don’t feel like yielding and my patience is gone. You don’t live in a bubble, this is the real world where the weak get eaten. Tempers are flaring and it’s time for a change. What you do and what you say can have an unpleasant result if, for example, you are “that guy” and decide to ignore the frustrated drivers or worse, run your mouth about how it’s your “right” to be any way that you want and they “just have to live with it”. Usually before that sentence leaves your misguided mouth, someone has had enough and the last thing you remember is being dragged out of the car window by your balls. So much for your opinion. Humans are a violent species and those that foolishly think otherwise, will find their “entitled” behavior less tolerated. Welcome to the party.

We are SURROUNDED by people of ALL shapes and sizes and most have an OPINION, demanding to be heard. By my MATH, 40% have the IQ of a turnip and just smile a lot, the next 20% are ABLE to tie their own shoes AND give an opinion, but really shouldn’t. The next 20% Just CAN’T help themselves and PUSH their opinions on everyone and the last 20% say very little and just WATCH the rest blather on, AMAZED that we are all of the same species. Between politics, the news and just LOOKING around a mall, I’ve arrived at ONE conclusion; we desperately need a plague; it’s time to THIN the herd. Think of it as MOTHER Nature’s forest fire, as we are up to our ass in dead WOOD.

People, YOU are NOT taking care of YOUR business. However, you seem VERY interested in taking care of mine. We ALL know the difference between right and WRONG. Either you choose a path and move forward or don’t and just leech off family and friends. The former is rare, the latter is today’s NORMAL and benefits only you, that’s OK though, as you don’t seem to MIND. But wow, do you cry FOUL when you are described as a freeloading mooch. You feel YOUR opinion actually matters and that the WORLD owes you an audience. You have chosen the path of least resistance EXPECTING great results. YOU are an idiot. Garbage in-garbage out. The WORLD owes you nothing.

You do VOLUNTEER for whatever. But you  make sure EVERYONE knows that you did. A newspaper interview? Why yes, please! You seek RECOGNITION while you search for your identity; now you can say you “belong”, you’re NOW a “winner” and you managed to do it with your usual “minimal effort”. Good for you! No, NOT really, now you’re just a RECOGNIZED failure and I also recognize, that you are a sheep on the “let’s feel-good about ourself” band wagon. REAL volunteers are rarely known for their efforts and usually have no financial incentive. They also know what the WORD “altruistic” means. You, most likely, are reaching for your phone to look it up.

I OWE you absolutely NOTHING and I don’t even feel bad about it. The WORLD owes you absolutely nothing either. YOUR mere presence and your words OFFEND me. You are insignificant. You are UNIMPORTANT. You are a PAIN in the ass. That IS life. You feel entitled. You are WRONG.

YOU also feel disrespected. You FEEL that you should be RESPECTED. Yet you’ve EARNED nothing. You’ve DONE nothing. Neither a gun nor MONEY has gained you respect. NOW, you are an armed, well-funded AND disrespected MORON. Instead of RESPECT, I guess you have fear. Congratulations, you’re a thug.

The world’s Population is GROWING exponentially and you, unbelievably, keep reproducing; creating more traffic clogging, waste generating, entitled, little ENVIRONMENTAL disasters.  Now you say you FEEL marginalized. That one is true; you’re actually NOT special. You are but a grain of sand on the great beach of life. Again, NO ONE cares; You have NOTHING to say that I even remotely want to hear. Just play on your phone and sit quietly. Maybe read the National ENQUIRER.

Unless YOU have something IMPORTANT to discuss, DON’T. Be Anonymous, Be quiet. Be invisible. Use that hole below your nose for a BURGER and a diet Coke. If this BOTHERS you, that’s tough and that’s LIFE. Do me a favor and please use that 15 minutes of FAME that you feel so entitled to and SPEND it on a short read from the HEMLOCK Society. It is UNLIKELY anyone will notice the loss and since you will now finally be GONE, you won’t be “that guy” dragging YOUR ass, holding up traffic in front of me. Without you and your ilk, I’ll bet there will be traffic lanes OPENING up all over the place . This is YOUR big chance to do something that ACTUALLY makes a difference . But you won’t because you are a COWARD. Quit STANDING there with your HAND out, you are not a child, you are an ADULT. If you must carry a sign, it needs to say “I SUPPORT Roe v. Wade”. After all, an OUNCE of prevention can go a long way.

I have TWO words for you today: Soylent Green and Euthanasia. (yes, you may grab your phone).

Also, Food for thought:

Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss things.
Simple minds talk about other people.

Where do you fit in? Not that I really care…It just feels good to take a pen and vent; it’s quite therapeutic actually. I feel better already and I recommend it highly. Let’s keep the venting ACADEMIC though. Too many PEOPLE seek their 15 minutes of fame through VIOLENCE and that is NOT venting, that is being sadly, Human. But that’s just MY opinion.

Today, I’m Nero; Let it Burn.

It’s early in the morning and I’d like to turn on the TV. Ultimately though, that would lead to the national news and their dreaded panels or the local news where I would learn whose tractor flipped over or how the local chess team did. Other than that, it’s commercials about erectile dysfunction, Flo selling insurance or someone reminding me of how I should be feeling about an issue, which is frustrating and annoying. Keeping an opinion to yourself, is apparently a “cop out” in today’s world.

I get it though, we are in trouble. As a society, we’ve actually ground to a halt; paralyzed. The media, the people, the politicians; it’s either “this way or that”. Compromising, which used to be an act of meeting in the middle, is now seen as “giving in”; failing to get your way or “selling out” your cause. We are inundated daily with opinions and being forced to choose a side; and that side had better agree with the “popular” position or you will suffer certain backlash from their group. Well today, I’ll be Nero while Rome burns. If me not engaging in this mess matters that much, then burn baby,  burn, we’ll rebuild again tomorrow.

I don’t feel like turning on the TV or fighting with those who disagree with whatever position I have or don’t have and I definitely don’t care whether the chess team won or lost. Today, I don’t want to hear your opinion and tomorrow’s not looking too good either. However, erectile dysfunction is something to ponder, as I am getting older, so I might need to watch that commercial again.

No, I think I’ll just read a good book this morning and watch the sunrise. We’re still allowed to do that, right?