Sunday, January 15, 2017

What's new

I haven't written since mom died. I mean to. I want to. It's just very hard to do it. She was my staunchest advocate her whole life. Missing her is the hardest thing I've ever had to overcome.

Something interesting happened during this time. The day she died, someone sent me a letter. It has opened a door to a part of my life that now will be explored. There will likely be more about this at some point as well.

Beyond the personal, I've felt a great deal of worry and concern about our collective fate given that we all now are apparently under the control of Vladimir Putin. That doesn't seem a situation that will end well.

Seriously: I just hope we all live through it.

Sigh.

Life is a crazy beautiful mess. It saddens me there are people who don't accept this and instead are motivated by greed, fear, hatred, shallowness and many other strange behaviors that are inherently inhuman. Some people don't want to see to it that other people have a fair shake. Never thought that'd be the predominant thought in this country. The country has an ugly side I thought we were growing away from. But enough, with the aid of selfish political ideologues, foreign intermediaries, traitorous government representatives and just a dash of dumbasses, have managed to hijack the country.

And I don't think anyone can fly the plane.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

No no no no no no no no no

No no no no.

I can't stop what's happening. No one can. It's going to hurt.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Perspective

It's always worth having.

Life is still a work in progress. I learn something every day. I've changed, I'm better. But still far away from what I should be.

It's almost 2 a.m. on an early fall Friday. I feel like we live somewhat falsely sometimes. You're one person at work, one person with your people ... another person with yourself. And being compartmentalized like that means no one sees the "full you." Perhaps you don't even show yourself?

Why?

Fear is one of the worst concepts. It's one reason why old-time religion bothered me: I don't want to be "God-fearing" because I don't want to think of God as something to be feared. We have too much fear and worry.

I read a story tonight about a young man who drove recklessly and killed a 8-year-old girl who was riding her bicycle. Her cousin, 12, was injured. They were playing in the street during a summer birthday party; many family members saw the children run down and the driver flee the scene.

The survivor had a concussion, a broken leg, and severe trauma. The family is emotionally devastated.

The driver entered a guilty plea today and will receive sentencing a few hours from now. It's expected he'll actually catch a break, earning perhaps a 10-year sentence. That seems a little light given the loss, despite his shows of remorse.

Everyone in that story is way worse off than I am. So here's my perspective:

* People are going to be selfish sometimes -- just like I am. I should probably just try and deal with it and rise above.
* Stop whining about stupid things in your life. Is some situation *really* egregious? It's probably not. And it's certainly not like the tragedy with that little girl's family. So maybe my problems are inconsequential.
* Just ... chill. This is easier said than done. But, you have to find a peace with yourself. You need to be better at some things? Then do it. You can't miracle your ass up there.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Found in Translation

I was born in Texas in 1959.

Sometimes I think about what that world must have been like. It was just 14 years after the end of WWII, less than 20 years before it all started.

The "enemy" then was communism, but there were plenty of nearby "enemies." The language I grew up around was vile, but I didn't know that at the time. It was taught.

I heard black people called the following: Niggers. Coons. Jigaboos. Negros. Colored People.

I heard Hispanic people called the following: Wetbacks. Spics. Greasers. Mexicans.

I heard Asians called the following: Chinks. Gooks. Slanties.

I heard gay people called the following: Homos. Fags/Faggots. Queers.

I heard women called the following: Bitches. Cunts. Whores. Sluts. Broads.

One of today's big enemies are Muslims. They weren't then high on the "hated" hierarchy, but there were still some epithets allocated: Ragheads. Arabs. Camel jockeys. Sand niggers.

The worst thing I ever heard about white people was "rednecks." Later, cracker came along, or honky. None of those seemed as remotely offensive as what the previous ones were.

I think about these poisons that were casually placed around my existence as a child, and it saddens me, but it also makes me deeply ashamed that this racism and hate was so prevalent and relatively unchallenged.

And I think about these vulgarities in the context of a man who wants to "Make America Great Again." Great for who?

I remember watching news footage of blacks being chased down the streets by angry mobs -- some of whom were law enforcement. Beaten. Assaulted by dogs. Spat upon. Murdered. Do blacks want that "Great America" again? No.

I remember Hispanics grouped as only "Mexicans" (I was in Texas) and characterized as mooches who were only good for menial jobs in fields, restaurant kitchens, or yardwork (charitably characterized as "gardening"). One presidential candidate broadly characterizes these people as "rapists."

When I look back at all that rampant ugliness, I think about the people in my life now, some of whom didn't have those horrible things on easy display. Do I want my black friends to live in a world where those things are back in vogue? Of course not. But their struggle isn't even over. Despite a black president, blacks are gunned down by whites on a daily basis. Urban blacks are born into worlds where the odds are stacked against them in the womb. Economic disparity favors white men, substantially.

As bad as things are now, it was worse then. "Make America Great Again?" This is as good for so-called "minorities" as it's ever been. No one wants to go back a single day.

Gays can get married in 50 states. It used to be that coming out of the closet marginalized these people who were only guilty of following their hearts and nature. Homophobia, like racism, is alive and well. But at least today, these communities have gotten to share at least a little of America's promise. Do they want to go back? Only if they're given the same respect and rights as white men have always had.

One presidential candidate doesn't want to share those dignities with them. His campaign slogan can be translated as this: "When I was a young white boy, niggers/spics/gooks/fags/bitches/ragheads knew their place, and it was behind us. We were the bosses. Make America Great Again."

I thought he was going to be usurped at the RNC, and replaced by Mitt -- who might have won. Thank the old gods and the new gods that the racists at the controls let it play out so that their demagogue could be put at the top of their ticket. Because their dark heart has now been exposed.

But the fight isn't ever. I don't like the two-party system and hope for its ruination, but in 2016, this is the hand we've been dealt. And there's only one way to play it.

America's always been great. It's why we've made the progress we have. The next step is to give women more of a say in how this country is run. Ann Richards, Wendy Davis, Amy Klobuchar, Gabby Giffords before (sadly), Liz Warren would be great leaders.

Hillary Clinton isn't the best choice -- but in 2016, she's the only choice. Keep America Great.



Friday, April 22, 2016

Me & Prince

MTV first let me know who this weird guy with the androgynous look and the badass guitar-playing was.

"Controversy" was the song, and it was in heavy rotation back in the early days of MTV.

I was instantly a fan. I remember telling someone during my brief time as a college radio DJ that Prince would be a much bigger star than Michael Jackson.

Commercially, that didn't turn out to be the case. Prince sold more than 100 million albums, the King of Pop more than 7 times that.

I don't care. To me, Prince was always better than Jackson. He was a great musician, a great singer, and wrote incredible songs.

Michael Jackson was a great singer and performer. End of story.

Prince was prolific, but I didn't really follow his career after 1990. I don't know why that was. At one time I owned most of his stuff; 8 albums. That turned out to be not even a fifth of his career portfolio.

To me, Prince's best release was probably "Sign o' the Times" -- most people will pick "Purple Rain" and that's a good argument, as is "1999."

I first heard Purple Rain not long after it was released in late June of 1984. I was living in Midland, Texas. I was 25.

25.

Anyway, Midland was (probably still is) a racially divided town in those days, and the black folks had their side of town, and the Mexicans theirs, and ...

I worked with a guy named Wendell Smith. Absolute great guy. Crazy to think his infant daughter is now an adult.

Wendell was a baller, and I played a lot in those days. (25). I was lucky enough to get an invitation to play in his "Sunday League" -- his brothers and friends played pickup games all Sunday afternoon in the back yard of his mother's house.

The court was hard, packed West Texas dirt. The uneven rims were supported by wobbly posts and sported homemade plywood backboards. And ... pretty sure they weren't 10 feet. And totally sure they were of different heights independently. Not exactly regulation.

It was like going to heaven. Purifying.

So Wendell lets me come play. I'm super excited, because these guys were fun, and they were GOOD. Wendell was a gunner. His younger brother was kind of an animal on the boards.

He's the one who brought a boom box (so 80s!) out as we warmed up. That yard was baking under a summer sun but we were young bucks in those days and loved it. He popped in a cassette (!) of "Purple Rain." The movie came out a month later.

This day was well over 30 years ago, and I'll always remember it. The music, playing ball, the sun.

I was young and pretty. Prince was cool ... and hot. Life stretched out ahead like an endless highway.

That last two memories of Prince are his weird set a year or so ago on a Chris Rock-hosted SNL. Because Prince, he was allowed to subvert the typical two-song (one before Update, one at about 12:45 a.m.) show standard. Instead he played an odd, four-song continuous medley that wasn't musically memorable but was ... Prince doing Prince things.

And I remember his epic performance at halftime of the 2007 Super Bowl. Singing "Purple Rain" as it poured down was unforgettable.

Prince is gone at 57. Farewell, sweet Prince.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

M

She's asleep now. She works so hard, and does so much.

Today I got up with the dogs. She doesn't get to sleep in often.

When we happened on that website, talking hockey ... of course, we couldn't know so much was ahead.

A spirited chat became an email exchange became phone numbers became hey what's going on here became ... everything.

Ten years ago today, the rest of the world had to acknowledge it.

***

If I've learned anything this past year, I've learned you have to kind of grab your own destiny as best you can, then hang on while life and reality buffets you about. Honey Badger don't care. Dad's gone. Mom is still here.

So are we. It hasn't always been easy. But it's always been worth fighting for.

Happy anniversary, M.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Meathead Moment

Heading west on Summer Street, the street becomes one-way at Kingston, so you've got to turn left there.

In the mornings — actually, almost all the time — that intersection is clogged with pedestrians. Cars turning left must hope there are limited jaywalkers, because this is Boston, and fuck you, and so they go when they want.

Today I began to wedge through. A meathead mashed his beefy hook against my car.

I've had it with this shit from these people. Crammed on the brakes. As I got out, Meat was there to greet me. I think he may have been a little surprised that I was at least 8 inches taller than he was.

Our "discussion"consisted of him telling me he had the right-of-way. (From the state's RMV handbook: "Pedestrians must obey white and orange DON’T WALK and WALK signals.")

He cocked his right arm as if he was going to punch me. I hope it unnerved him I didn't flinch. Plus, he was so close to me and the car, he couldn't have gotten much behind it. My argument consisted of "Dude, you know you're wrong."

Which, he seemed to be stupid, so he probably DIDN'T know, but, he continued to maintain that he had the right-of-way. After 20-30 seconds of this, I lifted my left hand to push him back a bit. He grabbed my Boston Marathon hat off my head (team spirit!) and hurled it into Summer Street, then hied his ass east.

I sent him on his way with the words "Boston Strong, asshole!" and that was the end of the story. Since I was blocking an intersection, I didn't go fetch the hat. A shame; I liked that hat.

This is a highly representative example, in my experience, of the Boston meathead. This place is thickly settled with them.

Also: As with so many other things in this enlightened state, the fine for jaywalking is laughably stupid. It's ... one dollar. Two, after a fourth offense in a year. Hell, they don't even take away your walker's license.

Anyway, this may have been a "straw" moment. I've set a deadline of end of summer 2017 to leave this place. Life's too short to be surrounded by these cretins.