Tuesday, April 20, 2021

GUILT BY ASSOCIATION

Open or shut case?
Most of America and much of the world awaits
the verdict in Derek Chauvin's trial. Relying on
twelve of our peers to decide on one man's guilt
or innocence. However said decision will be of
historic consequence no matter the outcome. By
either righting racism's wrongs or... protecting
its legacy. While in theory all are innocent until
proven guilty, George Floyd's death exposed in
horror the dehumanization of endemic racism. 
Thus his death is more than horribly disturbing.
It's a harsh reminder that the cancer that hate, 
prejudice, and derision poisons our democracy.
Therefore we are all guilty by association.
Human decency
Throughout my life I've found that the worst
of times inevitably brings us to a better place.
Hence while I'm certain that our racial rift is
far from resolved - I'm cautiously optimistic.
Now that the worst in us has been exposed
for all to see - there is no escaping it. Derek
Chauvin obviously considered George Floyd
nothing more than a criminal nuisance. The
human equivalent of vermin that needed to
be exterminated. Whereas since his death -
Americans now know George Floyd for the
man he was. All too human as he constantly
battled against his enemy -  racial injustice. 
Free speech
Who knows what Derek Chauvin thought as
he snuffed the life out of Mr. Floyd. Sadly
it's apparent that he felt that his job was to
eradicate a nuisance. Rather than subdue an
innocent until proven guilty human being.
Which in my opinion proves he is guilty of
crimes against humanity. Whatever the final
verdict in this case - America cannot escape
our collective judgement day. Now that our
racism has been exposed it must end. If for
no other reason that in doing so we can all
deliver on the original American dream that
ALL are created EQUAL.


Monday, April 19, 2021

"OVER IT"

Unnecessary nuisance
There are times when you're just "over it."
Whether said apathy is driven by impatience,
exhaustion, or defeat really does not matter.
All that does is the realization that whatever
task or subject at hand isn't worth one's effort.
This morning I had to scape our sidewalks.
Removing a layer of ice and snow from the
prior night's storm. A necessary evil that one
can't escape in January. Yet come mid-April
becomes nothing more than an unnecessary
nuisance. One that good, bad, or indifferent
must be dealt with. Even if the last thing one
wants to do is deal with reality.
Let it snow
The other morning I turned off the news. Said
snap decision occurred post hearing of yet two
more mass shootings the night before. At best
such strategic abstinence is little more than a
temporary diversion. In that life (and death)
goes on. Whether one acknowledges it or not.
All the more motivation to try to find some
good in whatever happens our way. Thinking
about it - the snow this morning was rather 
lovely. Especially the way it clung to every
tree branch. In addition, central Montana is in
need of moisture after whats been a dry winter.
So maybe... said snow was a good thing.
Better late than never
One's view depends of one's perspective. Hence
when stuck beneath a dark cloud all is gloom
and doom. Whereas if one maintains a sunny
outlook it's easy to find gold at the end of the
rainbow. My problem (and I assume yours) is
that there are times when optimism can't stem
a tsunami of pessimism. But what comes next
if one is "over it"? Many a fresh start is fueled
by bitter defeat. What's done can't be finished
until the job at hand is done. Tomorrow this
snow will melt. Watering all the flowers just
waiting to pop. So better late than never the
best is yet to come. Until then get shoveling!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

7th Day Surprise: Saturday's Child


"OFF" DAY 

For reasons within my control
I'm not blogging on Saturdays
for the near future.
Too much to do.
Too little time.
So with apologies...
I'm taking Saturdays "off".

Happy spring Sunday!

Friday, April 16, 2021

A MAN WALKS INTO A...

Fast on the trigger
Why does it seem that every morning is yet
another rude awakening. Today the news is
that some guy drove up to a FedEX ground
facility in Indianapolis. Got out of his car. 
And proceeded to kill eight people, wound
another seven, and then finally turn the gun
on himself. All within minutes. At this point
a motive and the identity of all involved in
unknown. The only thing certain is that his
mode of murder was once again an automatic,
rapid firing weapon. The type designed for
one purpose. Which is to be aimed and shot
as ultimate killing machine. And nothing else.
Killing machine
Since March sixteenth - one month - seventy
Americans have died - two hundred nineteen
were injured (most critically) in FORTY FIVE
mass shootings. The majority involving the
use of high powered "automatic"weapons. If
you don't find the above shocking then you're
more than numb. Whether ignorant, oblivious,
or blatantly callous - it's almost impossible to
not feel a sense of remorse and fear. Due in
part to the fact that where ever one calls home,
it's anything but safe. Which proves that the
odds of you being shot by some crazy person
are against you. Bang, bang, you're dead.
Before it's too late
The first amendment's purpose is to enable
Americans to defend themselves. However
it's highly doubtful that our founders ever
imagined what would be readily available
two centuries later. Today almost anybody
can purchase, own, and carry weapons of
mass destruction. Hence our crisis is NOT
about hunting. Nor defending one's home
against intruders. Our crisis is that it's too
easy to freely and rapidly murder anyone
you don't like. A phenomena thats not only
crazy - but UN-AMERICAN. It's time that
our elected officials stopped the madness!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

WHAT A SCHMUCK

Gone but not forgotten
Bernie Madoff is dead. The Ponzi pyramid
scheme guru who stole mega millions from
fat cats. And in doing so shook the resolve,
comfort level, and faith of the rich. All of
whom trusted him because he delivered
a seemingly reliable return on investment.
Then suddenly it blew up. And their money
along with that annual revenue stream was
gone. Leaving some destitute. Others only
slightly bruised. Over a decade later most
have either adjusted to said deficit or died
themselves. Hence Bernie's exit closes one
of the greatest financial scandals ever.
Criminal intent
How did he do it? First by always delivering
more than was expected. Fueling his revenue
stream by an ever increasing pool of gullible
investors. Second, he made it hard for them
to join his enclave. Knowing that exclusivity
enabled him to chose his prey. Finally he did
it all in public. Defying all to challenge his
firm's role as the industry leader in bespoke
private investment. Building a house of cards
that lasted long enough to become a reliable
institution. That is until the financial arena
beyond his control collapsed. Leaving him
with no choice but to give up and confess.
Who cares?
His two loyal sons were deemed innocent yet
didn't escape the impact of his crimes. Both
preceded him in death. His eldest via suicide
post his father's conviction. The younger died
from cancer most probably fueled via guilt by
association. His widow Ruth lives in isolation
as a permanent house guest with her former
daughter-in-law in Old Greenwich. Hence
Bernie's familial legacy is death, destruction,
and dismay. Causing me to wonder what he
really thought in the end. Was his short term
gain worth it? Or was he too evil to even care.
What a total and complete schmuck.

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!