Wednesday, April 14, 2021

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

By trial and error
As I watch the George Floyd trial one thing
is certain. Which is that Mr. Floyd faced a
plethora of challenges throughout life. Which
makes it all too easy to judge him for who he
was versus what happened to him that fateful
day. In youth he was a loving son, brother,
and friend who inspired many. A star athlete.
That big guy with even bigger dreams. Then
somehow it fell apart. Try as he might success
was elusive at best. Leaving him easy prey for
an unfair system. One in which any error in
judgement could land you in jail. Or... dead
on the pavement under some white guy's knee.
Against all odds
For some of us life isn't fair. From the start its
obvious that others have an unfair advantage.
Hence try as one might - insurmountable odds
made success virtually impossible. Especially
when the color of your skin defines you. A
prejudicial pre-condition that a WASP white
boy like me can't fathom. Throughout my life
I've tried to understand hate. It's root. What
fuels it. And why some of us are racists while
others aren't. Ultimately finding the there are
no easy answers. No magic solution. Racism
is a stealth cancer that poisons our collective
minds, words, and deeds on a daily basis.
Do you see what I see?
Each and every American lives in some form
of subculture. One based on locale, genealogy,
economics, and race. Thus while some claim
racism is taught. I argue that said scourge is
endemically cultural. A misperception based
one's personal melange of heritage, fantasy,
and reality. Thus when it comes to racism -
one size does not fit all. My misperceptions
being very different from someone raised in
the rural south. Therefore finding an antidote
to said poison is daunting at best. Yet we must
confront and end America's racism before it
destroys us. All of us owe this to ourselves.
Birth rights
At birth all are equal. What happens next is
what shapes our destiny. If you're any hue
other than white you will be judged at face
value. Enabling others to limit your options
simply because of what they see. Not who
you are. Such capricious judgment insures
the odds are against you. Making chances
of success all the more challenging. Now... 
step back and think about it. Who amongst
us doesn't jump to conclusions? Using our
preconceived perceptions of reality to cloud
our judgement. That my friends is racism.
And we must work together to end its reign.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

THE PATH TO PERDITION



The perfect spot
We lived in Minneapolis for four years. Our
apartment sat on the edge of "uptown." Lake
Calhoun lay below our windows. Offering
easy access to urban trails connecting it to
several other lakes within the city itself. My
office was in our flagship store on Nicollet.
Where a statue of "Mary Richards" (Mary
Tyler Moore) stood out front. A few blocks
down Target headquarters was connected
by a network of temperature controlled "sky
ways". That insured year round access and
comfort. It was a very nice place to live.
And we truly enjoyed our time there.
It couldn't have been nicer
That said, it wasn't perfect. On the surface the
city of Minneapolis was nirvana. Where even
winter's subzero winter temperatures couldn't
ruin the buzz. Liberal locals nurtured a vibrant
social and arts community with a performance
to populace ratio comparable to Manhattan.
Yet it was very - I repeat very white.With few
people of color holding leadership roles within
the business community and city itself. Along
with being a bit too nice. I.e. "Minnesota Nice."
A convoluted cultural cancer that enables locals
to avoid facing or telling the truth. Or as a New
Yorker like I calls it - the ultimate "smile fuck."
Leading by example
Within said warped reality everybody played
"nice". Even if they didn't treat all the same.
Hence for generations a cultural time bomb
ticked. Until George Floyd's murder exposed
its underbelly. Transforming one of the nicest
places I've ever lived into a global icon of the
worst in us. Now Minneapolis is the epicenter
of our national battle with racism, prejudice,
and hate. Forcing it's residents to face the evil
within. And if I know my friends and former
neighbors - few are better equipped to lead us
all to a better place. No matter how hard the
journey. And with their help we'll get there.

Monday, April 12, 2021

OUT OF BUSINESS?

Mitch bitch
The other day the Senate Minority leader - 
Mr. McConnell suggested big business stay
out of politics. Well... not actually out. But
rather remain a silent partner. Apparently
it's fine for companies to donate big money
to support political causes. But it's verboten
when it comes to sharing political opinions.
Thus the less said the better. Indication that
the art of hypocrisy remains a highly honed
craft for most politicians. A bit odd given
that historically it's been fine for purveyors
of beans and pillows to vociferously defend
a former President. So why can't money talk?
The less said
Long ago business owners learned that politics
and customers rarely mix well. Hence most
stay away from said subject. Separating their
political beliefs and the purveyance of goods
and services. Not an issue passes of our local
paper when I don't feel the need to respond to
yet another letter to the editor. Yet somehow
I resist. Assuming that narrowing my store's
audience in a small town is truly not a growth
strategy. Meanwhile I continue to write a blog.
Knowing all too well that it reinforces local
perception that I'm a raving liberal leftist. And
a queer one at that. Who can't help himself.
Call to action
The greatest challenge in life is knowing when
to draw the line. At some point good is forced
to usurp evil. Thus the motivation of over one
hundred CEO's of big companies who gathered
via phone on Saturday. To discuss the threat that
limiting voters rights will have on their fellow
Americans - i.e. customers. Along with limiting
their firm's future growth. Knowing that in the
end their customers trust them to do their part
to make their lives and America great. But let's
face facts. Doing so benefits their business. Not
corrupt politicians who rely on their donations
to stay in office. No wonder Mitch is upset!


Sunday, April 11, 2021

7th Day Surprise: DETOUR


WHERE AM I?

Yesterday was the first day in a decade
that I didn't publish a blog entry.

That's not an omen that I'm ending said
stream of consciousness.

Rather it' proof that I'm a bit distracted.
Which while all is good, is quite a lot. 

So don't worry.
The end is not near. 

Rather I'm working through another transition
in my evolutionary journey.

The best is yet to come.




Friday, April 9, 2021

FUTURE TENSE

Change for change's sake
If you're an old curmudgeon like me - change is
challenging. All that we want is that everything
remain as it was. Smooth, stable, and within the
realm of established expectations. Yet rarely is
life that easy. In that the continuum that within
we exist is evolutionary by nature. Forcing all
involved, even those most resistant to adapt to
whatever comes our way. Thus even if all that
we want is for nothing to surprise us, almost all
that old is new in our never ending spin recycle.
A process which not only affirms how good we
have it. But proves how much better change fo
change's sake can be. So why be future tense?!
To each their own
Confronted by forces beyond our control we
each react in different ways. Consider the
Covid 19 pandemic. Some followed the rules.
While others rebelled or ignored said threat.
Much the same as how folks handled Donald
Trump's term in office. Somehow most of us
survived. The end result being that we're if
nothing else a bit wiser for the wear and tear.
Fortunately it seems that steps to bolster the
economy are working. And life as we know
it is slowly returning to "normal." Which has
me cautiously optimistic. Assuming the end
is near how can't our future be bright?! 
Tabula rasa
Here in Lewistown Montana change on the
horizon. Real estate is booming. Hence few
homes are on the market. Meanwhile several
big buildings downtown are in the process
of being renovated and revived. Signs that
our community is alive. well and growing.
Which in part is the reason we are moving
and expanding C+V HOME. Into what was
once a Mexican eatery is about to become
a chic enclave of antique, vintage, and new
gifts, furniture, and home accoutrements. 
Further indication that change is good. And
that we can all change for the better.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

I OWE WHO?

Show me the money
This morning I read that fifty five corporations
who made a profit last year paid NO - I repeat
NO corporate income taxes last year. Whereas
back in the fifties through seventies they paid
up to 50% of their profits. A fact this taxpayer
finds shocking. Especially given that for many
years I myself paid over half of my earnings
to the government. So I just can't understand
why anybody who is elected to represent "we
the people" would ever fight a fair increase in
corporate tax rates? Who do they think pays
their salary?! And why should big business
pay next to nothing back to our government?
Free ride?
Nobody likes to pay taxes. Yet said necessary
evil keeps things going. While I never enjoyed
working for half my going rate - I embraced
said responsibility. Yet knowing others don't
has me feeling a bit of a fool. In that it seems
that the "smartest" folks - including former
Presidents and corporate powers evade and
escape said fiscal duty legally. Leaving us to
pay their way. So help me understand how
that's fair. America's crumbling roads and
bridges give a vast fleet of Amazon, FedEx,
and UPS trucks a free ride on a daily basis.
So why can't they pay their own way?
Trunk line
Call me a liberal. Consider me a socialist.
But I consider any politician who argues in
favor of big business my worst enemy. The
challenges of modern business are many.
Thus those who are successful leverage
any advantage they can. It's been said that
the winner takes all. However that should
not be via an unfair advantage. Hence like
it or not, it's time that big business finally
takes some responsibility and pay their due.
Meanwhile our responsibility is to insure
that our elected officials put US first. Not
those funding their re-election campaigns.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

SPRING IT ON

A new day is dawning
Even here in Lewistown Montana there is no
doubt that spring is imminent. Every morning
I monitor the progress in Frank's garden. Post
a Coronavirus winter of our discontent we've
somehow survived. Life is starting anew with
the rebirth of perennials and plethora of weeds
already sprouting. All as the lawn gets greener
on a daily basis. While our lilacs, apple, and
Canadian choke cherry trees are heavily laden
with buds working hard to pop. Which means
any day now we're likely to have some sort of
blizzard. After all it wouldn't be springtime in
Montana without another white out or... two...
Fresh start
Amidst said spring awakening we're reminded
that cliches often prove to be anything except
trite. As the sun grows warmer it naturally puts
a spring in one's step. Post being trapped in the
house for months, a breath of fresh air is certain
to invigorate. And given what's going on in our
gardens one must admit that yes, April showers
absolutely bring May flowers. Seasonal shifts
have us all doing what comes naturally. Thus
spring cleaning is all about exiting the old in
order to welcome the new. Even if many claim
they "don't do windows," little is as rewarding
as viewing one's world via a crystal clear plate.
Hope, faith, and charity

Here in Central Montana, spring is all about
getting back to business. Post a winter break,
our agricultural community is out and about
making things happen. Naturally gamblers,
they know each seasonal step forward comes
with its risks and liabilities. Hence at this early
stage too much or too little of a good thing can
negatively impact the end result. No wonder
most ranchers are naturally skeptical. Fully
aware that anything can happen, they cannot
help but worry and rightfully so. Thus as the
rest of us tiptoe through the tulips, they must
plan for the smartest way to hedge their bets.
There is still time to chill

Which explains why most Montanans approach
spring with caution. Seventy degree days can be
followed by blizzard like conditions. Therefore
local gardeners never plant their seedlings until
after Mother's Day. While it's tempting to turn
off the heat, chances are a deep freeze is about
to hit. Straddled between such seasonal yin and
yang, it's best to enjoy whatever comes our way.
Knowing that all too soon summer will be here
in full force. Bringing with it the threat of hail,
drought, floods, and insects. Which are all the
more reason to seize the moment. And here in
Montana - prepare for the worst! SPRING ON!


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

CANCEL CULTURE?!

Out and about

A lot has been said recently about our "cance
culture".  In that once some one has done, said,
or suggested the wrong thing they are "written
off". A phenomena that is nothing new. From
the beginning of time people have agreed to
disagree and subsequently parted ways. Which
is in essence what divorce is all about. A split
 that disconnects and separates. And in doing 
so, rendering some form of judgement of the
other party involved. Hence I find it more than
odd that many who lean right are now decrying
a cultural crisis. Deeming those whomever begs
to disagree some leftist liberal libertine.
Telling it like it is

Disconnection has always been a part of being
human. For many reasons we sever links. Like
families who disown children simply because
they're gay. Right or wrong such schisms are
fairly abnormal phenomena. And isn't that in
essence what  the silent majority is all about?
A select group sharing common ground. And
unwilling tto give an inch to the opposition.
The only difference being that now another
side is stepping up, speaking out, and cutting
off. Exposing wrongs that all too long were
politely disregarded, ignored, and validated.
So when did turnabout become unfair play?!
Po-tate-toe or po-tahhh-toe

Good or bad has always to some extent been
a matter of opinion. Which is why some opt
to not suffer those they deem fools. Choosing
to not waste our time with folks who simply
won't give us the time of day. Aligning with
those we have a kinship with. If for no other
reason than to gain traction and accomplish
something for the better. Hasn't limiting one's
sphere of influence, circle of friends, and/or 
partners in crime long been the norm? Across
cultural, social, and moral lines. So whether
one calls such lines of demarcation "cancel"
or not - it's neither blue nor new.


Monday, April 5, 2021

WWJD?

I believe in miracles
I'm the first person to admit that I believe in
divine intervention. There have been many
times in my life when "miracles" occurred.
Whether one attributes said phenomena to
a higher being, street smarts, or just luck is
a matter of opinion. This morning I get my
second round of what I consider a modern
miracle of science - the Covid 19 vaccination.
Redemption from a formidable viral foe that
few thought would arrive so quickly. Proof
in my mind that somebody up there is pulling
the strings. Or rather, empowering our best
and smartest to make life better for all.
Where is God in all of this?
Honestly, I can't comprehend how anybody
can't see God's hand in all of this. However
per researches almost fifty percent of white
American evangelicals are anti-vaccination.
Their excuses ranging from "baby bits" are
part of said serum to micro chips that make
people gay being pumped into veins. Even
weirder - that God has chosen them alone
to be the exception to the rule. Speaking to
them directly via some spiritual revelation
only available to them. Which leads me to
the question - if offered the salvation of a
Coronavirus vaccine, what would Jesus do?
For Christ's sake...
One thing is certain. Per the Bible and all
Christian dogma Jesus Christ was totally
human. Hence why would he suggest that
his followers do something that could hurt
them? Let's assume that God (Jesus) sent
a viral scourge to teach us a lesson. And
therefore we should take our medicine? Or
to trust science. Everything I know about
the great teacher is that he rarely told us
what to do. He led by example. Showing
us the path of righteousness. Which for me
is going straight to the Fairgrounds to be
inoculated this morning. THANK GOD!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

IT'S EASTER HOP TO IT!


 

EGGSACTLY

It's that time again.
Here's hopping the easter bunny
bring you lots of
chocolate bunnies, jelly beans,
and HAM!

And if you've forgotten that today
is also April Fool's Day...

the yolks on you!