Monday, August 1, 2011


It was the summer of 1975...lotsa of firsts that summer for me. My first "real" job working at Dunkin Donuts, starting out mopping the floors, taking out the garbage and cleaning toilets. My dad said "always leave things cleaner than you found them" so after walking a hundred miles in the early morning one way..well at least two miles...the customers were treated to shining floors and spotless urinals. Another first was in the form of food...not a donut first Whopper from Burger King. Up to that point it had been McDonald's all the way...but this flame broiled beauty was something else! Dropped to me casually be a Dunkin co-worker my fast food boundaries expanded in one bite. The summer of 1975 was also the first time I really got the shit scared out of me by a mechanical shark named "Bruce."

The old Will Rogers Theater in Chicago was the place to be so me and my buddies talked our parents into early allowance, went to the movies unprepared for the carnage that took place off the coast of Amity Island, the haunting "dun dun dun dun dun tah..." when the shark was getting ready to strike, the naked swimmer in the opening scenes and the guy's head popping outta the wrecked hull of a ship with his eyeball missing..aieeeeee!  We hid in the theater and watched it four times in a row, getting more and more scared every time. It was great. That movie changed the concept of the "summer blockbuster" kept more people out of the ocean, and pools and bathtubs than ever before and made superstars of Spielberg, the late Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw and launched Richard Dreyfus into "Close Encounters." I built a replica of Quint's boat the "Orca" and shark frenzy was everywhere. T-Shirts, games, knock off movies (Tentacles and Tinterora) JAWS became a cultural phenomenon. I bet I have seen it more than 50 times.

Has not worked out well for sharks however.

The summer of 1975 saw a huge increase in people killing sharks because of the movie. Shark fishing has always been around but I guess humans needed to cash in even more with shark fishing expeditions that began to wipe out the supposed worst offenders, giant great whites, the formidable tiger shark and the tenacious bull shark. In the 36 years since JAWS the oceans have been seriously depleted of its top predator because people want to have shark fin soup, trophies on walls and supposedly safer swimming

I was reading a great book by actor Ted Danson called "Oceana" about his growing up on the coast of California and learning how important the ocean is to human the oceans die slowly...that which depends on the oceans do too....that uh...would be us. It's "Shark Week" on Discovery and for the tenth year millions will watch sharks do what they other fish and unfortunately an occasional human that enters their world. While its devastating..its also more likely to die of a bee sting or auto accident than being consumed by a Great White.

Humans have a propensity to project human qualities on the animal kingdom..making sharks for example "evil" or "bad." Sharks are just being they have for millions of years. Same goes for snakes, spiders and every other beastie that lives its life thru instinct. To paint sharks as savage "man-eaters" leaves out one simple but important fact. The only chance you have to be eaten to go into the water...and that is a choice we make once we leave our world and enter theirs.

JAWS is a great movie, its meant to entertain...and evoke emotion. It's too bad that humans have slaughtered these magnificent creatures in record numbers to somehow quell an inner fear that lives in the deepest part of our internal oceans. We are a) not the only species on the planet-we just act like it b) not the smartest species on the planet we just act like it and c) not God...we just act like it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

3,285 Days...

I have been in more than my share of scrapes in 53 years, some I started, and others I finished. When I was 19 a severe electrical accident nearly killed me and I could not write for a year which knocked me out of college. On a less noble note I had more fights in the military when the liquid courage flowed than I care to remember, once getting beat on the head with a table leg in a full out brawl with some Marines in Boston that had me doing extra duty when I returned to the Coast Guard Air Station in Chicago after the Senior Chief got wind of my antics. I have been thrown out of bars and have thrown guys out of bars, once bending a biker dude backwards over a fire hydrant and it was only by intervention that kept him from being a permanent part of the pavement. Two weeks after my marriage in 1986 my then wife and I were hit broadside by a drunk driver and I was pinned in the wreck, narrowly surviving again. In my prime I could bench press 500 pounds and be it business or pleasure I never stood down from any man nor beast, holding my ground firmly to what I thought was right. By all accounts I have endured with crooked fingers, a knee that locks up a neck that constantly cracks and a nose that never gets enough air after being broken more times than I remember. My scarred hands hurt when its cold and my knees ache when its hot. Big deal.
If you look up the word “tough” in the dictionary however you will not see my picture there-you will see my daughter’s face.
Amanda Lee was born with a kidney defect that is common enough-reflux-which allow toxic urine to flow backwards into her bladder. Most kids grow out of this, Amanda did not. Right around her 2nd birthday the reflux was diagnosed, and the treatment was an ongoing bombardment of antibiotics and tests that created a lot of sleepless nights. Right before her fifth birthday surgery was planned for the reflux that was not correcting itself, a simple outpatient surgery that would fix the problem and give Amanda a normal life. I was on the phone in the kitchen in our little townhouse when the other line rang in. It was the doctor informing me that in addition to correcting the reflux, Amanda’s right kidney had to come out. It had grown toxic and was making her sick. In addition her left kidney had much less function and needed to be saved. Nothing prepares you for that news…no matter how tough you are.
The hours in the waiting room were agonizing for mom and dad. In the end the surgery went well and in no time Amanda rebounded. Check-ups and medication were still a part of the routine and everything went good for about eight years until the age of thirteen when her body began to change, and the little left kidney got tired of doing so much growth work. Beating the odds I turned out to be the best donor (both my dad and grandfather had kidney disease) and on July 18th, 2002 I prolonged my daughter’s life by donating a kidney to her.
That was nine years ago today.
In the 3,285 days that have passed since that morning at Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin I have watched the toughest person I know go thru tests, drugs, doctors and pain with nary a complaint. No questions of “why did this happen to me?” She is proud to show off the long scar that runs down the right flank of her body when the doctors took my really big kidney and put it in her small body. She has slowly become one with the organ that gave her a new life and I have not missed one day in nine years spending a least a few minutes in gratitude for the miracle. Amanda will soon be 23 and if she takes care of herself odds are that kidney will last the rest of her life.
There is a list that you are placed on when in need of an organ, upwards of 100,000 names are on that list waiting for a kidney or a heart or lungs. Every day people die waiting in line because for the most part we have not accepted our own mortality and the thought of becoming an organ donor means admitting that someday we will die. That list could be reduced greatly by simply signing a donor card in your state. Humans, greedy as we are seem to want to keep everything to ourselves even if we can’t use it anymore even our organs. Sorry to break the news to you-but none of us lives forever-but- we can live on in another by simply being tough enough to sign a donor card.
I did what any father would do and if I could grow kidney’s inside of me and hand them out as Christmas gifts every year I would. I remember the families in Madison that had been on the waiting list for years knowing that someone had to die in order for their son or daughter to live. More and more “angel donors” are popping up, people that are not related to the person in need but feel moved to give a part of themselves, be it a kidney or liver to help a stranger in some cases survive. Giving in such a way might just be the most Divine act any human gets to experience outside of the birth of children.
Life changes come in ordinary moments, when you least expect it and not prepared for it. The lessons that come with those changes are not something you can study for prior to the event, they are learned as a result of enduring through a change. I don’t see Amanda every day like I did when she was little. She has her own life now, working and in college, living six hours away and thriving. Those times when I do see her on my routine stops her eyes shine and her smile lights me up and I see a beautiful, talented and amazing young woman with a 53 year old kidney inside her helping her to live her dreams.
It’s been 3,285 days. Be an organ donor.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The People's Court

This is all Judge Wapner's fault- and Rusty Burrell his trusted courtroom bailiff. Doug Llewelyn the on the scene reporter is to blame as well. Back in 1981 when M*A*S*H , Dallas and Magnum P.I ruled the tube some really smart producer had the idea to get a retired judge to decide small claims with a camera in the courtroom. "I know you have both been sworn in and I have read your complaint" the white haired, black robed Wapner would say and for 30 mins America had access in a pseudo-courtroom and other people's business. Matter of fact for 12 years we could peer and pry into stolen television sets, bounced checks and dogs that did their business on the neighbors lawn and Judge Wapner would dole out the justice. Too bad the concept did not die out when the show was cancelled in 1993.

The list of "Judge" shows is too long to list here but its safe to say that Judge Judy took the concept to a whole new level. Part pit bull and part Jewish grandmother on steroids this feisty troubadour of justice sliced and diced the litigants verbally like none before her. One look from JJ and grown men peed their under drawers and even her own sex was not spared with comments like "its because your a stupid woman" or "did your mom send you here to piss me off?" Once again America loved it because in a world that seems so unjust- watching someone, somewhere get their just rewards was satisfying. Too bad it did not stop there. Now judges with baseball bats and judges with beauty queen looks and judges with deep accents and judges with best selling books are splayed out making sure the scales of justice are ...uh....maintained.

Some smart producer thought "Hey lets have an entire channel dedicated to millions of people sitting around watching other peoples business!" Court TV was born! Just like any good marketing move producers know that human brains have a hard time separating what is and what is not real. Meaning that you could watch a court case unfold before your very eyes, listening to opening and closing arguments and get emotionally involved in something that...A) you had no control over and B) it did not matter what you thought either way-because you are not on the jury. Audiences ate it up....and of course the OJ trial was brought right into our homes in and we learned that sometimes gloves don't fit like they used to.

A little girl died in 2008 and it made headlines but then with the ever changing news cycle it was lost in the shuffle until some really smart producer and a no-nonsense host began telling us that we need to watch this now and that its important and that someway somehow we have a say in how it goes. Phone lines were jammed during the trial with every sort of opinion of what did or did not happen by people who only knew what they heard on TV and as we all know-that is what matters most. My guess is that some really smart producer went to some really smart sales manager and said "Look at these numbers, imagine what you can charge for a 30 second commercial now!" It happens because that is what this game, in the end is all about from the media side of things. Pundits, talking heads, reporters and others all weighed in but the truth is...none of that ever mattered because 12 people had a decision to make-and even if you watched the trial from beginning to end-your voice really did not count in this...even if you felt it did. Was the young mother guilty? Will there be a movie and book? Will justice ever be done?

Every day in this country 5 children die at the hands of their parents or caregivers from abuse of some sort. That is 1,825 every year and a majority of these might make the third page of the paper and then is forgotten. Why did the Caylee Anthony case become so viral? Why do we know the names of people that most likely will never be a part of our lives? What is so interesting that viewers would watch hours of boring detailed testimony without any chance of weighing in on the decision? Because the media powers that be have us hooked in deep and they know it. My guess is that in a month from now-there will be a new tragic story or sensational courtroom drama that plays out and once again the blond bombshell host and the usual cast of characters will pick it apart. I predict a new round of outrage be it politician or celebrity, missing child or corporate greed and we will lap it up like hungry hounds, just like we have been trained to do.

The death of a child should never become a media circus, but that is what we said we will watch starting in 1981 when other people's business became our business. The purpose of this blog is to reach for Higher Ground and my only thought in that direction is to take the time that might be spent on watching other people's problems, no matter how enticing and engaging, and become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Go visit the elderly and read to them. Volunteer your time at a shelter for abused women or children. You can be around people that need some light in their lives, some justice to be done on their behalf and you won't have to be sworn in to make a real difference and change a life that has been forgotten, abused or mistreated.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


In 1977 George Burns was chosen to "play" God in the film "Oh God!" and was hailed as the perfect representation of the Almighty. His sidekick in the movie was singer John Denver who was hailed as the perfect representation of a "regular guy" who was kind of middle of the road when it came to his faith. God Burns shows up to tell Denver he has a message to spread and needs his help. After Denver reluctantly agrees to be "the messenger and not the message" his life gets turned upside down and all sorts of wild events play out as the masses and media cannot grasp the fact that God has returned, picked a supermarket manager to be a modern day Moses and the opposition to "the message" lands Denver in court. Experts in the form of modern day theologians and preachers dissect Denver's efforts and in the end, God finally comes into the courtroom, does a few magic tricks and disappears. The movie ends with more questions than answers. For a movie done about 35 years ago the underlying theme still stands. God gets a bad wrap for starting wars, allowing hunger, divorce, layoffs, 100 plus years of Cubs losing seasons and tsunamis.
God is also the most often used word when damming or blessing someone, having an orgasm or instilling fear when it comes to making a deposit in church. Tough gig..the God thing. I have alot of questions I want to ask God, so I put in a request and God said five questions would be a good start. So I have posted the questions and answers for your consumption.

ME- Thanks for your time today God..I appreciate it.-
GOD- No problem really- but I am on a time constraint-keeping an eye on some fault lines.

ME- So my first question is....frankly...the world seems to be going to Hell in a hand basket. Whats the deal?
GOD- First- you could never fit the world into a hand basket-secondly Hell is not what you have been told it is. Third-there is no deal. You can do whatever you want-just gets a bit tiresome when you use your free will and choice to screw things up and then either a) blame me or b) ask me to fix it. Either way you are missing the point and the truth of what I AM.

ME- Huh OK...second question why do so many people think you are a man? Are you a man?
GOD..I am a man. I am a woman. I am a child. I AM WHAT I AM- like Popeye said. I am the wind, the water, the wood. There is no place that I am not- unless you decide that I don't belong. Men wrote about me so they made Me in their image...its the other way around.

ME..Hmmm OK so why do so many people, mostly politicians and TV evangelists use the word God to either instill fear or ...well.. instill fear.
GOD- Choice. What will you be? God Fearing or God Blessed? Its a control thing-an illusion of power. Someone that appears to know more about me than the person they are speaking to holds the power over them. True evolution would be to find ME within YOU and then listen to inside-not outside. I come as standard equipment at birth and free of charge. The only price you pay is when you don't listen.

ME- that.
GOD. I get it right most of the time..
ME-OK question you really care if your name appears on a sign, or money or pledge?
GOD-Next question.
ME...Excuse me? Sorry God but ...
GOD- Last night in Las Vegas someone lost their home and entire savings by betting lots of green pieces of paper with a dead president on it and "In God We Trust" printed on it. That same night some drug addict rolled up a twenty dollar bill and snorted coke right past the "In God We Trust" and a little later a hooker gave a guy oral sex for one hundred bucks with "In God We Trust" while she moaned for money "Oh God baby give it to me." Want me to continue?
ME- I get it.
GOD..Good..the most important place to put me is in your heart...everything else is a bumper sticker to me.
ME- Last question..
GOD..Thank God..uh no pun intended.
ME..Wow..does prayer work?
GOD...I don't know.
ME..WHAAAAT? How could you not know? cannot get any closer to me than you are right now. You cannot buy me closer, pray me closer or bribe me closer. So to pray "out there" for me to do something on your behalf is counterproductive. You want me to cure cancer? Stop smoking or filling the air and water with filth. You want me to send you more money? Keep the flow going by giving what you have to someone else first. You want me to improve your marriage? Quit trying to fix the other person and work on you. You want me to end hunger? Then remove the dictators from office that keep grain on the docks. You want me to end suffering? No way...because then you would never know how much I really love you when you get through it. You have everything in the world you could ever need to create a life you can imagine. Its not easy-but not supposed to be. Time for you all to grow up a bit and understand this. What you put out comes back, what goes around comes around and if you always do what you have always done, then you will always get what you have always got.
ME...thank you...very much...
GOD-thank you ...all of you because its through you that I braille the world. You are my eyes, my ears, my hands and my heart.
GOD..Yeah I know cool huh? Gotta go...wanna catch the rest of the Cubs-Giants double header.
ME..Uh God...could you possibly help the Cubs..ya know.
GOD...Ahahahahhahahahahhahahahhahahaha. NO

Monday, June 27, 2011

Follow the leader...

When I was a kid we played the game "Follow the Leader" and in case you are a product of the techno age and not well versed in staying out until the street lights came on or drinking water from a public fountain or only having four channels on the tube let me enlighten you.

First a leader or "head of the line" is chosen, then all the kids line up behind the leader. The leader then moves around and all of us had mimic the leader's actions. Any players who fail to do what the leader does are out of the game. The last person standing other than the leader is now the new leader. The leader of course can do anything they want to and everyone has to follow it or they are toast. I can imagine an adult version of that game but that's for another blog.

We have had some great leaders in our history...none really come to mind...but that's not the point. With the advent of technology and information there is no shortage of leaders...or followers. Recently motivational guru James Ray was convicted of allowing three of his "followers" to die in a "sacred sweat lodge" and eighteen other "followers" were carted off to the local ER. For all the good Ray might have done in the world with his books and seminars he will end up in prison with followers of a different sort I suspect. Its seems we have as many "life coaches" as we have lawyers and while there is great value in being a coach there is a danger in becoming a crutch.

Be it the President of the United States or the leader of the local PTA or leader of the pack, its in some of us to lead, to get out front, to put it on the line to boldly go where we have not gone before. Leaders according to my old friend Maj. John Buccarrelli are not born-they are made and becoming a leader is a choice. So then would be following a choice. In politics there is no shortage of wannabe leaders that spew all the right words and some wrong ones that give the appearance of leadership. Emulated by thousands that think like they do they are lifted above the followers like a modern day political Pied-Piper and shout from the bully pulpit "Follow Me!" Leaders need followers and vice versa-its a parasitic relationship that only works if the host stays healthy-and if not then both the host and the throngs of followers die off. Hitler thought he had a good idea and so did thousands of other frontal lobe missing countrymen. Its only when a group with a better idea came along and did something about it that things changed.

True leaders understand the relationship between them and their followers, they understand that the objective is to empower those that follow in such a way that they become leaders as well, in their own lives. Another may teach or tell but each has to do the work on their own. True leaders never get swallowed up in the adulation, they say "we" more than "me" and they understand that with great power comes even greater responsibility and conviction.

As more and more Presidential hopefuls jump on the bandwagon and throw out "God Bless America" more than Kate Smith ever did we have to consider the actions they have taken in the past and what they are asking us to mimic-and just like the kids game someone is going to get booted out. Might be Gingrich or Bachman or Mitt or Tim and then only one will be left standing. Most likely won't be James Ray. We are all flawed human beings that often masquerade as perfect human doings and when the inner and outer don't line up the headlines have a field day.

Good leaders are scarce, the best plan of action might be to follow yourself. I have always said that its important who and what is going on in the White House but its far more important who and what is going on in your house.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I had never seen the movie "Transformers" until just last week. I was ignorant of the fact that the movie was based on the toys my son had played with just a few years before and I also had not been one of the millions that watched Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox escape annihilation at the hands of the evil transformers-about all I knew of the movie was the "Bumble Bee" Camaro that I had seen at a car show. So you will have to excuse me from the details of this flick and the predicted stream of sequels that have followed.

Nevertheless the concept of transformation has my attention and just because you are not turning yourself from a souped up eighteen wheel diesel tractor-trailer into a flame throwing, missile launching, Armageddon raising robot does not mean that you cant be a transformer, matter of fact if you are alive then transformation is not only your birth right but also a rite of passage for humans.

Transformation is usually by choice or by chance-often times both. The choices we make both consciously and more often in the unconscious state of being lead to the chances we take and even more choices we make based on those chances. Sometimes life just plain sucks..just about everything sucks. If  you choose to leave your job- or your jobs leaves take a chance and make the mental leap like a some air borne acrobat waiting for the next trapeze to come along-in the form of a new job and as you hang there in mid-flight transformation begins to take place. Every manner of fear comes to test does every manner of faith. The situation begins to squeeze you in ways you never had been squeezed, just to see what comes out of you....the real "juice" of transformation is in the circumstances you helped create and now endure. The process is remolding you, from the inside out and that is a process that is ongoing no matter where or who you are. Choices contain great power..and don't be fooled -not making a choice-is still making a choice.

It appears that life has a personal blueprint for each of us, somehow tied into our soul growth-for what might trip up one has little effect on another. The transformation process is disguised as illness, divorce, job loss, stress, racism, name it- the opportunity to be transformed lies dormant in each and every brick on our personalized yellow brick road.

I enjoyed the movie for the dazzling special effects and the good vs evil plot while predictable worked. What I really liked was the message that you cannot judge a Camaro by its stripes no more than you can judge a life by the challenges it holds. Both are built to get you somewhere-and rest assured the transformation is just the way it is. What you do with that transformation determines how far down the road you go...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Root Cause

When I was in high school biology class with the one and only Ms. Dettmer I can clearly remember her holding up a jar filled with water that had a plant with an extensive root system filling the glass and in her thick German accent saying "Dis plant vould not live vitout da root system! Do you zee dat everything in nature has itz roots! Every ecosystem dat has adapted to zee environment has roots you can zee and zome you cannot see! Every food chain from da smallest plankton to da biggest vale is all about a root system!" Now Ms. D had a bit of trouble with the English language and my German at the time was limited to two hours a week, mostly because Heidi took German too but I got her drift. Everything in life has a root cause...everything... and as I have gotten older and more observant I see that the root cause of every challenge is where true and lasting change can take place....but first one has to have the courage to dig thru alot of dirt to get down to the nitty gritty of what is...and why it is...what it is.

For humans, our belief systems are like the branches of a tree, shooting out in every direction according to what we believe to be true. The world is filled with forests that have all manner of tree in them, each vying for their place, the nourishment and to keep their roots intact.  For example-take a look...a hard a real hard look at the roots of your political views. If you are dirt honest with yourself the chances are that how you see politics is something that you observed, learned or heard growing up. As a kid growing up in the 60's and 70's in Chicago my dad was a dyed in the wool Daley Democrat..Hizzoner the Mayor Richard J Daley had been in power for many years and the talk around our table is something that fed my roots-that Chicago was the greatest city in the world...that its the city that works...that if you needed a new garbage can the alderman was a call away...and to be a Daley Democrat..well...that's just the way it was. So my roots grew and grew and got connected over and over again...a belief was born. When Daley died and others took his place over the years, I could not BELIEVE it...did not match up with what my roots told me was the way of things. The city would fall apart...the alderman would not take a call...what then? Of course the city did not fold, the garbage got collected and eventually a new belief formed...not everything I believed was true...unless I made it so. It took years to begin to form new roots, new beliefs politically and go against the grain as it were when I felt it time to do so. Roots are neither good nor bad...they are just roots.

Each of us is governed by the roots that we have sunk deep into the fertile soil of our minds and by doing so we have acted on those roots as if they are the absolute truth-even though they are only true because we continually think they are. Someone has roots that said they should always clean their plate because there are starving kids in China grows up to be overweight and may not even really understand why. A marriage falls apart after one partner's beliefs are rooted in feeling not good enough because of birth order and spends a lifetime making that belief true, even though they once again end up miserable and no matter what the other partner says or does cannot change the behavior so deeply rooted in perception kept alive by belief. Every racist has its roots...every Christian...every..body has their roots..Sometimes these are toxic roots that have to be dug out over a long period of time, for if left deep in the soil of the soul, they continue to send negative, non-life affirming branches into every area of life. As the season to tend the yard is upon us you can mow down all the dandelions and it appears they are gone-but give it a few days and bang...there they are again. Pulling them out by the roots is the only way to truly change a it your yard...or your life. Every problem our country has...and every problem in our lives..have their roots...that if go unexamined or unchallenged or unchanged...creates havoc in our lives. You cannot fix a problem at the effects of have to be at the root cause for transformation to take place.

But alas most do not want to pull out the roots...because it hurts so frigging much. For the most part humans would rather endure the short fixes that appear to solve the that change nothing in the long run and it only increases the pain that comes from being afraid to do the ultimate root canal...on the soul and the unwillingness to dig in the dirt creates pain that radiates out to every branch and every leaf. Its good to remember that the roots that need to be pulled out...aren't yours anyway..they were fed and watered by someone else in the formative stages of life. So you don't have to blame yourself...or even those that encouraged or discouraged the growth pattern that no longer serves. Your only mission...should you choose to accept it is that the spade is in your hands..and no other. No one else can dig out your roots for you. Not even Ms. Dettmer.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Believe it or Not

When I say that I am "blogging my way to sanity" you can rest assured that its a true statement. We live in a world that by all accounts-  appears to be slipping from sanity-to insanity. Webster's defines insanity as a "mental disorder" but thats as far as it will go. I suppose we would need a collective "sane zone" that would be determined as a place that is mentally stable or at least a code of conduct or movement that is accepted by the masses-a group of people number to be determined- that agree upon a basic course of human action that allows for each to express themselves-without doing harm to another. Harm of course would also have to be in the eyes and ears of the one being harmed-because each of us have our own built in lines of sanity that we adhere to. What determines the lines? Belief.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. He was shot in the head twice and once in the chest by an elite Navy Seals team while he was living in Pakistan. Apparently his public persona needed him to be on the run and living among caves and bombed out camps to keep his terrorist followers motivated that he was just like them-even though nothing could be further from the truth. He was the son of Mohammed Bin Laden a wealthy businessman and his mother was Mohammed's tenth (10th) wife-the lovely Hammida al-Attas. Mohammed was off to his 11th wife so Osama's parents divorced and he was then raised with three half-brothers and one half-sister when his mother remarried. Little Osama was lost in the shuffle.

Osama was raised as a devout Muslim. From 1968 to 1976, he attended the "élite" secular Al-Thager School where  Osama studied economics and bussiness adminstration at King Abdulaziz University. Some reports suggest Osama earned a degree in civil engineering in 1979, or a degree in public administration in 1981. Other sources describe him as "hard working,"but having left university during his third year without completing a college degree. At university, Osama's main interest was religion, where he was involved in both "interpreting the Quran and jihad" and charitable work. He also wrote poetry. No really..he wrote poetry but then again so does Charles Manson.

Somewhere in all of this-a belief was born that the only way to set the world right and restore the Muslim world was to eliminate threats to it-anything that did not fit his version of what had been written centuries before had to go-and like most who confuse force with power, he was able to enlist young Muslim men that live on less than a dollar a day that salvation and favor would be found by becoming an "Army for Allah" and set about using humans as mortars for his crusade. On 9/11 his fate was sealed as the mastermind of the attacks on US soil which placed him on a list of men that throughout history changed the course of life as we know it. Hitler, Stalin, Hirohito, Leopold..take your pick. All those names and more have two things in common- 1) Somewhere along the line their wiring got crossed and they began to see the world from an insane perspective and 2) They all brought about their own demise by their beliefs and for the most part never thought it would happen. They all felt they were above their actions until sanity and perservence took them out, some by their own hand others by a Navy Seal.

The world is a better place without Bin Laden, but by no means is it safer. We can do the celebration "we got em" dance but truth is right now-somewhere out there is another Bin Laden or Timothy McVeigh who isnt getting enough attention or parents are divorcing or is getting slapped around or molested or whatever. It might be seeing the photo of Bin Laden who they believe died in a sacred jihad and is now banging away at 70 virgins is just the thing needed to have one of them say..." I want to be like him..."

I had never heard of the 70 virgin thing until after 9/11 but could imagine how some kid with nothing and longs for something would think that blowing himself up in the name of Allah would guarantee him a ticket to some serious skin would not think twice. Heck I had people I have known all my life believe that President Obama was born in Kenya and no amount of proof could change their minds. Every belief we have is constantly reinforced by our behavior-unless it is changed...and of course the only person that likes change is a wet baby.

Bin Laden died 65 years later to the day that Hitler pulled the trigger on his Lugar which has some wondering about the connection between the two. While the differences are obvious, Bin Laden at 6'5 and left handed with a serious kidney problem towered over the 5'6..uh left handed one testicled dictator. Wait a minute..65 years...Bin Laden was 6'5 and Hitler 5'6 both left handed...both sported some sort of facial hair..and had problems in the same basic anatomy set up. Hmmm..sorry for the detour.

Bottom line is that we live in a world of beliefs that have been either handed down from generation to generation or are born in an instant when in a moment someone takes an old belief and applies it to a new flying planes into buildings or executing millions of Jews. Both Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler had another thing in common-they both believed what they were doing was right. Both have followers that still believe they are. We believe differently. We remain sane.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rome, USA

"We are up Shit Creek"...sorry... but I always wanted to start a paragraph with those words. Up Shit Creek is usually followed by "without a paddle" indicating that there is some situation we are facing that is akin to floating along in a river of excrement of some sort and the solution is not within our reach-we cannot extract ourselves without a paddle...we cannot navigate our way out of the situation we have gotten ourselves into-either individually or collectively. Five minutes or less of the morning news confirms the fact the humanity is in serious trouble from environmental disasters, economic collapse, political scandal, war, famine, religious intolerance, and the best contestant being kicked off America Idol...Shit Creek is a real place with real problems and someone somewhere either forgot to give us a paddle, took away our paddles or we gave up on using the paddle and have decided the effort to paddle one more time is not worth it...of course Shit Creek winds its way to Shit City and you know what that's all about.

Back when Romans were on a binge to conquer the world they boasted modern day technology like..roads..sewer systems...public baths...made great contributions in architecture...and of course you have Rome to thank for the NFL..coliseums that holds thousands watching our version of gladiators at battle. For nearly one thousand years Rome ruled the world...but fell apart not because they did not appease their Gods or were overrun by the hordes of heathens or from some great plague carried on the back of rodents. Rome fell not because of the walls that kept enemies out was the enemies within that ended the great civilization.

Edward Gibbon wrote the classic "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" and in that work pointed to five main causes of breakdown in the Roman society that led to the collapse. Lets see if any of what brought Rome to a fiery end is taking up space in America today. 1) Families began to fail and fall apart due in part to the changing of societal norms. 2) Taxes were pushed higher and higher over time and used on superficial programs instead of maintain things like education and infrastructure.3) The over promotion of sports and the increasing brutality of the games began to shift focus from the lessons of sport to the business of sport. 4) Decadence became acceptable, from screwing in the streets to massive became a focal point with lead to the 5th factor-a loss of connection to a higher power that was pushed aside in favor of the gods they had created..wealth at all costs...trinkets, idols and estates..."things" became more important than "truth."

The parallels are so obvious I would be wasting time to point them out. Technology has given us access to all that spelled the end for Rome at the push of a button. In 21st century America we think we know everything because we have everything-and even when we have what we want- we want more. We lust for what we do not have..and so often fail to be thankful for what we do. The 1st step in making our way out of shit creek is to accept that we put ourselves in Shit Creek-and for a species that has a hard time admitting to just about anything being our responsibility that's a tall order.-You are responsible for your part.  The 2nd step is to understand we already have the paddles but... why should I use mine if other people aren't going to pitch in an use theirs? Paddle anyway-The 3rd step-take someone with you-not by telling them-forcing them or berating them-but by example. 4th step-Shit Creek exists because we keep filling it up with all sorts of crap-politically and professionally and personally. Stop adding your shit. Finally the 5th step is simple. If you want to stay out of shit creek choose the people in your boat carefully. Birds of a feather and all that...not easy to do in a corporate environment-or even the people you hang with-but you have a choice. Its not falling in shit creek that will kill you-its swimming in it every day that will take you out.
The Romans thought they were invincible. They were wrong. Start paddling.....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Growing Pains

When my son Andy was about 12 or 13 he used to wake up in the middle of the night agonizing about the pain in his knees. His cries would of course bring dad to the rescue with little to offer in the way of relief and I would say "Andy, you are having growing pains-meaning that someday you will not be the height you are now but much taller. In order to become your full potential you are going to have these pains now and then." Later on I came up with a novel idea called "The Magic Towel" that I created and insisted to both kids that it held the secret to pain relief. When the pains came I would take out the cloth that was nothing more than an old kitchen towel, and wrap it around their knees until the pain subsided and then it was back to bed for me.

I am reminded of growing pains when it comes to the current (current meaning ongoing for the most part) budget "crisis" in Washington. We are all in pain on many fronts, at the gas pump, at the grocery store, in our schools and in no longer foreign lands as we remain in Afghanistan 11 years and counting not to mention ongoing operations in Iraq and support in Libya. The pain felt by our soldiers and their families is the same pain they has always been dealt with by those who serve. Woulda been great if the "War to End all Wars" had actually worked but once humans found out how much can be made off a government contract (uhh 7 billion dollars for an engine on an airplane the does not exist) the war thing became a profit thing... America is in serious debt with more zeroes than I care to count. The last time the checkbook had some extra cash in it was in 2000-when Clinton left office (Bill not George.)There are of course are those that cite somehow the previous administration of Bush (George H) had a ripple effect making wild Bill look good for the 8 years he was in the big chair-but the bottom line is that the jobless rate was about 4% and there were more jobs than humans to take them when Willie left. The next 8 years GWB rode in like a Texas Tiger and by the time he left 2009 we had deficit of 1.3 Trillion due in large part to 9/11 and chasing down the still at large Osama Bin Laden (how does a 6'5 bearded turban wearing kidney dialysis patient who is the most wanted man in the world still run amok?) Afghanistan-Iraq and a host of other wonderful joy filled excursions (main street bailing out Wall Street) that all have to be paid for by US. So Pres O enters the fray 24 months ago and tries to bring some sort of civility to the squealing two legged that we elected up near the Potomac and despite his intellectual yearnings the kids on both sides of the aisle have decided not to play nice and the government as we know it might end up shutting down...or it might not. Both sides of course have "THE RIGHT ANSWER" and blame throwers on are full blast. All this is causing pain for our soldiers, their families whose paychecks (meager as they are) might not be worth the paper they are printed on and not to mention that if they shut the lights off in DC most of the animals in the national zoo will not get fed (lions and tigers will I am told-so they don't end up eating the zebras in the next pen.) So as MSNBC and Fox line up their respective go-to talking heads on how both sides are right- I had a thought....

Lets get a magic towel! Yeah we could go out and buy a bunch of towels and head off to the nation's capitol..march past the Washington monument.. "I cannot tell a lie.." and right past Abe in his really big chair "A house divided cannot stand" and then over to the Senate and House and in the midst of all the "the other side is causing the American people undue pain" blather simply take the towels (not big ones-a hand towel will do) and gently..ever so gently shove the towel into the rear anal area (or ass) of our elected officials. This will do one of two things immediately.. 1) Won't have to hear anymore "America is bankrupt and I KNOW HOW TO FIX IT BUT YOU DON'T" crap and 2) It will force them to stop speaking out of their asses in use other parts of their anatomy-perhaps their ears to listen twice as much as they talk.

There are no easy answers here. It took alot of incidents-some unseen-some foreseen and even more behind the scenes (how many mobile homes purchased at triple the going rate for Katrina are still unused?) to put us in the financial pickle we are in. What is needed is a commitment from both sides to find common ground and chip away at the debt in a way that causes the least pain possible. For every government cutback-someone loses a job. For every social program that goes unfunded someone misses a meal or after school program. For sure there is waste enough to go around but the biggest waste is the time spent by Democrats and Republicans trying to use this issue...and come to think of it every issue- as a proving ground for their ideology.

We are a very young country by world standards-and growing up as previously mentioned is not without its pains....but one day we have to learn to stand on our own two feet and get past what hurts and accept the fact that the only way to become a grown up is to start acting like one.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Its Just A Buck

Its been awhile since I have lost so much shoe leather on a city street. This past week in New York has me eating more and losing more weight at the same time-one cancelling out the other to a degree which is my next book..." Walk Your Ass Off"....and as I cruise up and down the narrow streets of The Big Apple I am struck by the diversity of cultures, the push and pull of the crowds, the vendors with music blaring selling everything from Statue of Liberty erasers to half price tickets to a strip joint to the high end stuff like cameras and computers. Its how they make a living and live their lives...every day of the year. As I watch the sea of humanity devour the concrete I wonder how all this happened...watching a cabbie nearly take out a delivery guy on a bike or high school kid tell me that there are some fine young breasts with my name on them for only $25 bucks at the peep show has me wondering if we are really the greatest hope of the planet, the top of the food chain and the most intelligent life in the universe or are we just another species that procreated and got outta control and took over our host planet like so many parasites. Sometimes seeing the Divine is a hard thing to do when all around you is chaos, stress, despair and pain.

I was heading up 8th street from an early feeding and making my way through the drizzle and wet wind, stopping once in an Army/Navy store looking for a ball cap to prepare for the predicted shitty weather tomorrow. Nothing suitable so off I go toward the apartment I am staying in and just as I round the corner going to 52nd street I see a sign that says "What the F**K its just a Buck.." and seated next to the miniature billboard is a woman...a young woman covered in coats and assorted blankets with various bags strewn about and a medium sized black Labrador dog in a half sleeping bag next to her. In front of them was a small red dog dish with a few coins in it. People hurried past her ahead of me, making sure not to look too long and all the while the seated woman was doing what appeared to be a crossword puzzle. As I made my toward her my instinct was to dip into my pocket-grab the change leftover from my meal and deposit it in the dog dish. As I came closer The Voice says.."just watch."

I made my way past her and stood in the drizzle watching her and the dog from about twenty feet away. I watched they way people looked at her...this young woman who is someones daughter...this young woman who might be a sister or auntie...this young woman...who has chosen on some level to sit in the rain with her dog and do crossword. Some looked at the sign and laughed...others shook their heads and most just did a quick downward glance as if they wanted to make sure it was a person they did not know from another time. One guy dropped a few bucks in the bowl..and went on his way. Then a cable TV truck pulled up on the street behind her and two guys got out. They talked on the sidewalk about some cable problem and then one guy got back into the driver seat and started doing paperwork-the other guy went into a building. Then it happened.....

"Hey..Hey..Hey you.." said the man in the van. "Yeah" said the girl. "Whats the long you been out in the rain?" She responded.."Six hours I guess...might be a little more than six hours now." The dog looked at the girl as if approving of the time period. The van man said nothing more but continued to do paperwork.. "just watch.."  A few minutes later he rolled down the window and said  "Hey..girl..Hey you need an umbrella?"....She stopped doing crossword and turned to him..."yeah...yeah...that would be good." Van Man reached behind his seat and produced what appeared to be a brand new umbrella in a sheath..a promotional item perhaps. He tossed it to her..and in one deft move she opened it up, blue and white..."its perfect" she mumbled. She tilted on her arm against the wind and rain..the dog curled itself up tighter in the sleeping bag...the other cable guy came back and got in the truck and off they went. It took me a few minutes to realize what I had seen...what I had witnessed...what I had been taught...what we want...and what we need are two very different things...and we always get what we need...but its not usually the way we want it..."just watch."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Watch The Gap

For the past week I have been ensconced in New York City, sitting on on SiriusXM Radio on the Martha Stewart Living Radio Channel which has been quite an experience since its been 15 months since I sat behind a microphone with any regularity and nearly five years or more since I did the 3 hour a day back to back to back thing on LIVE radio...which is the only way to be...LIVE.

Stayed in Manhattan a couple nights but for the past few days been bunking with friends about 25 miles or so outside of The Big Apple which entails taking a train back and forth each morning and evening. When I am home in Upper Michigan the mode of transportation is by throngs use the railways to commute and its a pleasant 40 minute ride or so right next to the Hudson River which is truly a remarkable landscape to behold. I imagine the first native people of the area living and thriving along its banks, fishing and hunting and its as if I can almost see the smoke from their fires across the river on the bluffs. Incredible.

Of course there are other sites to see, serious graffiti on dilapadated buildings, human refuse and junk strewn along the inner portions of the tracks next to the residential side of the rails, homeless shelters built askew into the stone walls marked with black paint and more crushed glass bottles than you can count. Leftovers from construction projects, dead animal carcasses and piles of unknown garbage have built up over the years like a monument to our existence. We throw so much away...but not really away.

As I sat waiting for the train to do its thing a mechanical voice kept warning me to "Watch out for the Gap"..that half a foot no-man's land between the floor of the train entrance and the platform you are stepping to or from. Its printed all over the train and on the back of the ticket.."Watch The Gap" is the cry of the day and I sat envisioning hundreds of lost souls that somehow became very thin and slipped into the crevice of no return, the emptiness, the chasm of treachery that seems to swallow passangers and never give them back. I guess slipping between a railroad car and a stationary platform could do some serious damage and no doubt a lawsuit of some kind prompted the signage..but "Watch For The Gap" has other applications too.

The gap between what those early people on the Hudson experienced as home and the transit system that now occupies the shores of the river has been filled...and not always for the better. As I look out over the mighty waterway and think of how important this river is, to commerce and transportation, boating and education I cannot help but also see the utter disregard by the latest inhabitants of the Hudson...those that dump waste, chemical and otherwise..rundown buildings and rotting junk heaps along with the most destitute among among that filth.

The gap of what was..and what something we really do have to keep a watch on.....after all the signs have been ignored...that gap maybe something we cannot recover from. If we always do what we have always done...we will always get what you have always got....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Almighty....Dollar.

My experience in reading other blogs is that you can pretty much say anything you want-just like in real life-and don't have to defend or respond to that which you blogged-anything goes and whether people agree-disagree or don't care is up to them-kinda like real life too. So at the risk of ticking off alot of my..lets say...Christian friends or devout believers I want to know why there is a fee associated with connecting to God's favor and blessings? Why is a sacrifice demanded of some sort? Why is it that the upper channels on cable are filled with really loud men wearing really loud suits with really big watches and pinkie rings shouting their interpretation of someone else's interpretation of something that was interpreted thousands of years ago and insisting that unless you send a gift or tithe God might spend more time on your neighbor's prayers than yours?

I am fascinated by the messages that are trotted out to the masses, those longing for salvation and redemption, those lost and lonely and the forgotten and unforgiven...that somehow you have to please God by sending in a check or sowing a seed or as one guy on the tube this morning said "show God you trust him enough by sending in your last dime if need be so God can increase your good a thousand fold." The same man spent four or five minutes converting old Hebrew words into today's language and insisting that " if you use the original word in its root form God will hear you more clearly, thus fixing your problems all that much faster." The studio audience shook their collective heads in approval. 1) The thought that God is male says it all for me-I suppose you could use the argument that "God created MAN in his own likeness and image" as a leap off point for the male dominated God stance-which beckons this question- where does that leave the women folk? No one...NO ONE knows-what gender if any- this incredible force is or is not-seems to me fairly confining to make God one or the other-male or female but that's just me. 2) Trust. To imply that the all knowing..all being...all powerful God of the Universe will somehow "trust you" more if you tape a dime to an index card and mail to a church reduces God to the level of a telemarketer or banker as if there is a ledger somewhere on cloud just left of The Pearly Gates with your name on it inscribed by the Creator... "John...hmmm really wanted to help him and his daughter get thru that kidney transplant thing easier but ya know he never forked over enough green stuff to cover his blessings." 3) Nice to know that God prefers old Hebrew words to all the other languages that people pray to him (or her) in. Going to take a college course on it and really watch the favors roll in. When I turn on the tube and catch one of these God Squad stumpers continually pushing and pushing for more money the concept of "In God We Trust" on our currency takes on a whole new meaning.

For me-if the God these prophets are talking about is as they portray then they have minimized and shrunk God down to such small proportions that God has taken on the human like qualities of judgement (homosexuals are bad and going to Hell) favor (if you give me something I will give you something-there is no free God rides here bub) and anger (if you don't continually remind me that I am God then bad things are going to happen to you- and God will enjoy watching you suffer.)

Interesting to me that the TV pulpit is filled with humans professing to be mouthpieces for the Almighty but have seemingly forgotten to watch their own reruns. Benny Hinn, self professed "soldier for Christ" lives in a 3 million dollar mansion and leases a private jet. Jim and the late Tammy Faye Bakker blew millions of followers dollars on a lavish lifestyle including air conditioned dog houses all the while professing that "God loves givers not takers." Jimmy Swaggart must have forgotten his own words when he was caught with a prostitute...twice. Ted Haggard, President of the National Association of Evangelicals and associate one of President George Bush regularly railed against homosexuals saying that the gay lifestyle was a one way ticket to Hades. Turns out that Ted was testing his theory one could say but meeting with a male prostitute and engaging in lewd behavior on a frequent basis. Nice.

There are many that do "God's work" in the far corners of the world and we hear little of them. They are not boastful or bragging, on private jets or making sure their dogs are cool in the summer. They are not saying one thing and living another...they are not asking for anything but giving much. They become quiet and listen to "the still small voice" and act accordingly. They feed the hungry, they clothe the naked, they hold the sick and dying. You really want to covet God's favor? Leave a bigger tip for your waitress...say thank you to someone that helped you out. Take the coins out of your ash tray and give it to the woman on the street corner. Pick up some garbage. Visit a retirement home and hold the hand of someone forgotten by family..become a Big Brother or Big Sister...if you are really worried about getting good seat in the hereafter..there at least six billion opportunities to be a positive influence in someones life..  that will go a long way to securing your place in Heaven by doing things differently here on Earth. Stand in the sunshine and give thanks for being alive and remind others of the same gift...and you won't even have to do it in old Hebrew...God, wherever she or he or it is...will hear you...and its strings attached.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Core Workouts

I named this blog post "Higher Ground" because to me the notion of a refuge from the lower levels of existence so readily accessed via the media bombarding the humans with images and information most of us can do nothing about is essential to extracting some sense of meaning for being alive. Face it most of us don't really like some part of ourselves and that dark place gets fed by a constant affirmation that all would be well in our world if we just had... "washboard abs." I am amazed by the number of infomercials touting a great waist and girdle to be the transforming force that somehow makes the rest of life's problems all the much easier to stomach...(sorry.) Of course for the models on TV that use these machines they have taken on the qualities of Adonis or Athena from Greek literature and doubtful if they all used the machine they are posing for to get that way...and the mere fact that they have lost a couple inches off their midsection and you could now bounce quarters off their belly button seems to denote that everything else falls into place once you lift your shirt up. If only that were the case!

Before you call me on the carpet for not getting behind a healthy midriff-let me say that I spent six years as a personal trainer so I get it. The core of your body-the midsection-is a very important part of keeping fit-and long before all the gadgets came out to make the workouts "easier" athletes and others knew the "secret" to a fit human machine- so its back to my days in college kinesiology class when Prof. Betty White (no kidding) taught us the meaning of the S.A.I.D principle-or Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. In short- your body-and mine- has adapted to the demand we have placed on it-be it a steady diet of Burger King or Lean Cuisine- sitting on the couch watching the Olympics or doing your own cross-country skiing. Genetics play a role in how you are built-but science has shown that an overwhelming 80% of body reaction and response can be changed by working out-including the Ab-Fantastico machine. What all this means is you don't have to look the way you do-and on some level you are choosing-who you are and be honest-how many times have you tried to lose weight? S.A.I.D means that you have to continually changed the demand on your body- that's why the P90X guy is a millionaire- he took an age old concept-muscle confusion-and put it into a DVD- muscle that get challenged changes-muscle that don't.....don't. Simple- but not easy. Most of us don't want to put the effort in that it takes to make the changes in our life that we crave and we spend billions trying to find short cuts-turning treadmills into catch-alls for clothes and gym memberships are regulated to the bottom of our priority list...matter of fact gyms are banking (literally) on the fact that you will not show up-because most of us lose our motivation in less than a month...Whats all this have to do with finding Higher Ground?

Here's the deal- your life-not just your abs have adapted to the demand placed on it- some of it in your control-some of it not-meaning life beckons us to be proactive and reactive often at the same time. Its a process that says tonight I am turning off the tube and going for a walk...or instead of spending hours online looking up information that is at best used for trivia night at the local bar I am going to take a class and learn a language. Its taking the first step forward in repairing a relationship instead of letting age old wounds fester. S.A.I.D is a principle that is not limited to your physical health but your entire being. One change...just one....becomes like compound interest in your favor if you stay with it and allow the principle to work. The human mind has been trained that everything is fixed in the span of an infomercial-life is not an infomercial. Its the real deal and if you are really lucky and reach the average life span in America of 77.6 its just over 28,000 days you get to create ...a really great career...a really great marriage...a really great friendship...what you do with it is totally up to you...and just to be clear..having a great set of abs only guarantees one thing...a great set of abs.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What did they say...?

I have spent just about 15 years either hosting a talk radio show in various formats from my early days as a one man band-doing it all -from producing, selling, taping, editing, promoting and cleaning the office to the upper echelons of entertainment at the Oprah Radio Channel as both host and producer of programs featuring Dr. Mehmet Oz, Jean Chatzky and everything in between. I took two things to heart when I began flooding the airwaves with my voice and commentary, two concepts that I keep in mind before I ever give the thumbs up to go live on the air. First the old saying of "Before you say a word you are its master, after you say a word you are its slave" meaning of course that with having a great platform to reach people from the bedrooms to the boardrooms carries with it a great deal of responsibility. I am responsible for what comes out of my trap- period end of story. That is true off air as well but for the purposes of this diatribe lets stick to being in the public arena. Secondly it was that troubadour of truth, the guy that some say was a really bad ass (rumored for years to be a Marine Corps sniper) before he was a ....hmmm good ass..the late great Fred "Mr." Rodgers he of the great sweaters and Presbyterian demeanor. Mr. Rodgers is quoted as saying "The space between the host of the show and the viewers (or listeners) is a sacred space and should be treated as such." I like that concept. I have an opportunity to be a part of millions of peoples lives via radio, television, speaking, books and consulting. I hold that what I am bringing to you is for your highest good-and mine too. Unfortunately not all that sit behind the microphone, take up space on television or in commentary feel the same way and its usually some sort of human tragedy that brings out their inner ...asshole. Now to be fair-we all have an inner asshole...and hopefully an outer one as well to take care of natures business. The inner asshole is that nasty dark place that loves to see others in misery, uses human suffering to advance their own beliefs or give platform to the worst inside them. We all have it. We don't all acknowledge it and even some seem not to have the filter to stop the inner asshole from getting out... it was either a) removed at birth or b) they were encouraged to much and paid to much to keep opening their mouth and insert their foot..and too many times its those with the most sway that have have the most say.

Take comedian Gilbert Gottfried who used his "tweet" to say "I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, 'They'll be another one floating by any minute now." and on the televised roast of Donald Trump "He changed so much of the New York skyline he could be the 20th hijacker from 9/11."  Boy that is just knee slapping humor huh? Radio talker Glenn Beck had his own take on the tsunami ravaged Japanese " I am not saying God created this earthquake but I am not saying he didn't. I don't care what you call it Gaia or Jesus or whatever but someone is sending them a message." The devout Mormon Beck seems to have corned the market on what or what not God is up to. This of course is not new phenomenon, as talking heads, pundits and others seem bent on letting us all know that the inner asshole is alive and well, knows no boundaries, political parties or gender. GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee is convinced that President Barack Obama grew up in Kenya and that affects his leadership of America and Democratic Congressman Mike Capuano of Mass. said "There is nothing wrong with throwing a cup of coffee at someone if you are doing it for human rights." Uh-huh...cream and sugar? TV evangelist Pat Robertson spouted that "the feminist agenda is not about equal rights it about a socialist, anti-political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Well that explains everything from bad marriages, successful careers, Harry Potter and Ellen Degeneres all in one breath.

The First Amendment is the right to free speech...but its not free anymore because we pay for it one way or that other...and so do those that open their cake holes...Gottfried loses a lucrative contract..Beck loses more sponsors...Huckabee could lose an election..Capuano loses respect..and for some poor woman trying to find her way in the world Robertson who could lead a flock loses a sheep. We all lose with this type of unfettered rhetoric as it erodes our humanity and those who are really suffering. When Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson compares playing in the NFL for a paltry $10.2 million a year to "modern day slavery because the owners want more from you" I wonder what the descendants of real slaves must think of his comments.

There is a an antidote to the inner asshole..its called "compassion"..and "awareness" and "respect." Concepts that have become less and less important as we hurtle along in the 21st century toward more natural "disasters" that will give those without a filter a chance to remind the rest of us that we do.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Always ask for directions-

I could not have been more proud. My son Andy was selected to the Wisconsin Eastern Conference All-Star team in basketball as a Sophomore. He had a huge year at guard with nearly 350 points and a slew of other stats that ranked him 8th of the top 22 players in the conference out of nearly 500 athletes. Not too much chest thumping from Dad huh? The opportunity for me to watch Andy display his prowess on the court is something I treasure-and the three hour drive to the game with him next to me in the car adds to the magic. Time spent together while he is at college is a rare commodity.

Off we go to Wausau, Wisconsin and I had already looked at the map-you know the old fashioned way like my Pop did. Pull out the Road Atlas-turn to page whatever and follow the little lines to where you want to go. Then you memorize it-leave the Atlas at home and off you go. Simple. As we leave college he picks up his phone that doubles as a radio, television, microwave oven, game board and speaks into it..."Wausau, Wisconsin" and plugs the thing into my cigar lighter in automatic fashion. I think "what the hell is he doing?" Then this mechanical female voice which is a cross between Marge Schott the late owner of the Cincinnati Reds and Rosie the robotic maid from the Jetsons starts talking.."Go straight to business 141 and turn left" Whaaat? That's not on my map. I ignore the directions and drive the other way and the thing starts squawking with more directions...and more and more...all the while he is saying "Pop you gotta follow the directions on the phone..!" We go back and forth..making a couple U turns before the GPS and I agree that we are indeed heading the right way...if nothing else to shut it up. It goes into a brief hiatus and leaves me drive in peace.

As we get nearer the destination the thing starts up again..barking out "turn left in 600 feet" and my own inner map says no way-its a dirt road and I am not going there. I am of course in charge of 2500 pounds of the finest steel on the road and not going to listen to a rebate laden telephone. Finally between the electronic conductor and my son insisting I turn left on 52 south and not 51 south like the Atlas instructed I give in and start listening to this thing-this modern day marvel that has more tracking components in it than the first Apollo lunar module.  52 south takes us to another road and then another and damned if the the thing didn't get us to exactly where we needed to be and calculated the time it would take-and it saved us about 20 minutes. From a cell phone.

Its taken a day to absorb what else happened for me. My own inner GPS- has been off whack for a long time-mostly because I don't listen to its instructions. "Call Bill about the project" nah- "Stop and see Bruce" nope too busy. "Make sure you take your extra keys with you" why would I do that I have AAA? On and on this built in system is constantly trying to correct my course while I keep insisting on using an old map. Its trying to save me time, money, friends, health, career, family, wear and tear on my already over stimulated mind. Its always suggesting an alternate route, a new concept to consider and a solution to my problems-my problems-the ones I create by not listening in the first place. Sometimes when I listen it suggests road to take-that I don't want to go down because they don't look familiar to me or they are too dark or too uncertain. What I learned is every road leads to another one and my GPS knows the destination and how to get there far better than my human mind that argues with it constantly about who is right and who is wrong-a byproduct of watching too much MSNBC. Sometimes the voice is hard to hear and doesn't sound anything like Marge Schott or Alice..but it is there...and always has been.

The Eastern Conference beat the Western Conference, Andy had a great game and we had a great time. As we began to head back home I let the GPS lead the way and enjoyed the trip. About time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday

One of the things about "blogging" is that I can of course state my opinions in a forum that is for the most part nothing more than a reflection of what is going on in my mind at any given moment-whatever happens to trigger a thought that at first gives me pause... ie "President Obama grew up in Kenya" out of the mouth of former Governor Muck Hickabee...or is that Mike Huckabee? See how easy it is to transpose a word or two and give a different meaning?  On the other side of the fence Dems AWOL in Illinois are asking to meet the new Governor of America's Dairyland at the border of Illinois and Wisconsin...near Kenosha, Wisconsin I would guess...perhaps at the Brat Stop to discuss serious pending legislation...really? Kinda like High Noon or...maybe not. The Gov. said put on your big boy pants and come home...elected officials..all of them.

But none of that is really what is on my mind-my brain bucket and all its gray matter and unseen contents is gnawing on a long standing phenomenon in America and dare I say in the world. Fat people...more specifically fat people that are in contests to lose weight..and even more specifically fat people losing weight on television while other people that need to lose weight watch them-trying to lose weight.

First- I am not fat by the standards of any of the shows that air- I have never been fat and most likely will not be fat-as outlined heretofore. These TV shows that feature mammoth sized humans trying to lose the equivalent weight as that of a small dinosaur are not interested in people like me-as participants. So before I mush on let me state that this rant is not about fat people- how they got fat, why they are fat, what makes them fat, the emotional state of being fat or just really anything to do with fat. It has to do with Mike Huckabee...not really just seeing if you were paying attention.

I cannot find a way around the fact that millions of people actually sit and watch fat people try to lose weight. I don't know the demographic for these types of shows but the image of the family sitting down and getting ready to watch "The Biggest Loser" and lining up a smorgasbord of munchies while tuning in to some massive human eating nothing but a pile of green stuff and sweating their collective nads off confirms what I have long suspected-the human mind does not know what reality ...really is. The advent of television has billions of us watching shows that are nothing more than made up stories..that our mind processes as real. My grandmother used to sit and watch her "stories" every afternoon-soap operas- and talk out loud to the TV set-as if the cast of characters actually existed and were sitting in the living room. Watching a group of fat people working out and sweating to the oldies is not the same as really working out and sweating to the oldies...really..really it isn't. Let me address the inevitable comment lurking ahead.."But its so inspirational to watch these shows...people losing weight..." is my much weight have you lost watching other people lose weight? Inspiration is great...imagine combining that with perspiration....that would actually lead to real...TRANSFORMATION...

And one more thing...about Mike Huckabee and those Democrats hiding in Chicago.....what do they have in common with "The Biggest Loser"...hmmm

Monday, March 7, 2011

Seeing Charlie Sheen

Its near impossible to turn on the tube and not see "the latest and most exclusive" interview or review or rear-view of the on-air destruction of a human being that is so caught up in the manic world of his own mind and that "duh" and "winning" have become water cooler talking points. Charlie Sheen-born Carlos Irwin Estevez is the son of The President from "West Wing" Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez (Martin Sheen) and brother of the dude from "Breakfast Club" Emilio Estevez (Emilio Estevez.) He has been married 3 times, has a few kids and his net worth hovers around 85 million dollars and up to recently he was paid 2 million dollars a show on "Two and a Half Men" to portray a guy that is a basic loser, womanizer, alcoholic and basic bad influence on his brother's son. In other words-he was paid to be himself-which perhaps makes his on air performances so convincing. To be fair-I have a watched about six minutes of the show that has millions laughing at what part of him do we see in ourselves that keeps would be interviewers like British import and late night Larry King replacement Piers Morgan saying things like "you seem somewhat normal to me..."
Perhaps its the part of us that usually falls apart in private. All of us have meltdowns-but not in public or for public comsumption. No doubt listening to Charlie talk about his porn starlets is more fun than listening to some guy from Chicago wishing he could trade places with Sheen...and who would want to? Perhaps its the part of us that is so full of ourselves that we belive our own press clippings... Charlie could actually demand more money per show- $3 million-to be himself for CBS. He might have a point-if he has actually caught on that he is portraying himself-he should be paid more for it right? Maybe what keeps us tuning into the sideshow called "Sheen" is how much we all like to see someone suffer...other than ourselves.
I hope Charlie Sheen gets a second chance-that somehow through the fog of his own illusions and the obvious goading by a close circle living off his resources like so many hyenas pulling apart what's left of the carcass-he rises out of this as a testament to the human spirit and gives pause to so many others that struggle with substance abuse. In America we love to watch someone fall-suffer and get laid open. We also love it when they apparently crawl thru the muck and mire, polished and ready for another shot. I hope he makes it-
I really do.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Only the good die young...

With the headlines filled to the brim on the rantings of Charlie Sheen, the North Korean leader once again threatening war because no one is paying attention to him, Libya falling apart and Wisconsin about to go out of business I wanted to take this space to tell you the world lost someone really important. Someone I had never met-but wish I had.

On one of my frequent trips to a close friends house to basically suck down coffee like a Hoover (vacuum cleaner not the president) and walk through the more spiritual aspects of life and how to possibly apply forgiveness to situations that seem hopeless and ride out the pain that life throws at us in all forms, my eye caught the edge of the daily paper-a photograph to be exact of Hampton Benjamin Waring on the obituary page. He is a square jawed bright eye young man with a slight smile and shock of dark hair and the reading goes on to say that Ben died tragically in a car accident in Dover, Wisconsin on Feb 19, 2011.

Ben was born to Hampton and Mary Beth Waring and attended Superior Central Schools here in Upper Michigan. He was a standout baseball player, track athelete and made All-State and All-Class Honorable Mention his Senior year in basketball. It was at high school he met the love of his life Jessica Shegan-Fox and was in the National Honor Society and active with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Dare Program. Word has it he was a skilled craftsman and great brother to Katie and Joe. Ben spent his summers throwing bales of hay at the mill and working for any neighbor who needed a hand-no questions asked. After high school graduation he attended Michigan Tech-and in his senior year he helped to design a bridge in Soloy, Panama and upon graduating from Tech with his civil/structural engineering degree was part of the bypass project in in Wisconsin. He continued to enjoy baseball and was a tough foe in paintball. He planned to marry Jessica in July of 2012. A great day for Ben including a good pair of jeans and sweatshirt..customizing his pickup truck named "Talula" and eating his favorite food with a large glass of cold chocolate milk. Ben was a remarkable guy who had a real sense of himself and others and had a way of listening to other people's problems and with his down to earth character, he could simplify the issue and show them that they could overcome the challenge. He had a real clarity about life and friends and family say that Ben "got it" in regards to life. He was a great role model for all who knew him.

Hampton Benjamin Waring was 23 when he died.

My spirit leapt just thinking about his incredible young man-untainted by the polarizing issues of the day that knock so many of us off track. His inner compass that brought forth his gifts and his willingness and courage to totally be himself when so many his age want to be someone else. The energy and zeal for living that he lived life with, a sense of urgency about the gift of waking up another day. As I read and re-read about Ben's life I began to question my own mortality. What will be written about me when I am gone? Will it be about the books I have authored or the radio shows I have done? Will it talk about the famous people I have worked with and the places I have been? The houses I bought or the cars I drive? I suppose all of that is in the hands of the final author of my life-whomever that may be.

I left the house and thought about Ben all night. Family and friends were gathering to say good-bye to a remarkable human being, comforting each other in their loss, made that much deeper due to the fact that the Ben Waring's of the world are few and far between...oh they are out there but its not often we hear about them until its too late. I wish I would have known him in life, but its his death that has given me a spark, a gift and a resurgence that brought a little bit more light into some dark corners. I have another day that he did not, I have the opportunity to make the most of it and so do you. I have the paper with Ben's obituary on my writing desk-and there it will stay as a reminder that tomorrow is promised to no one. In a final act of courage Ben had chosen to be an organ donor and his wishes will save up to 50 lives.

The most important headlines seemingly are about mega-stars flapping their yap about how life did them wrong, dictators that were ignored as kids and need to make a mess the world to get attention and how those in elected office often confuse force with true power. Ben Waring knew the difference and in just 8,395 days on Earth accomplished more, touched more lives and made more of an impact than most people I know.

Thanks Ben.

Monday, February 28, 2011

And the winner is....

One billion of the worlds population tuned in last night to watch very wealthy people who spend most of their time playing a role other than themselves, walk a red carpet in expensive dresses and tuxedos and then wait in wonder to see if they are going to win a trophy for their nominated efforts. Outside of the somewhat slit-eyed gaze of the male host and over the top enthuasiam of the female host the Oscars once again prove that the world-or at least billions of people in the world-love a winner-and the "losers" while nominated for their performances have to wait to see if the Hollywood hand of fate will grant them the opportunity to thank their entire family and neighbors in less than two minutes. You can probably tell that I am not well versed in Oscar Land even though I made a last hour dash to see "The King's Speech" so I would know what was going on if I was able to hang on until midnight to hear...and the winner is...

I kinda knew that the male host was the guy I saw in one of the Spider Man Movies and the female host-who mentioned she took her clothes off in a flick (missed that one) was someone I had seen before-but not sure where. Thought the best part of the show was the opening when they were apparently in a dream of some kind and Alec Baldwin ( I know who he is) and Morgan Freeman (ditto) were like their guides or something-very clever. I was lost after that for the most part. So all that aside my thoughts today are not about the glitz, glamor and gushing-but rather how much we love to win-a war..a card Oscar or an argument.

Vince Lombardi the legendary Green Bay Packers football coach said "Winning isnt everything-its the only thing." That pretty much explains how the Packers racked up so many titles in the 1960's-unfortunately for the Coach after he left Green Bay and went to Washington-his teams did not fare so well. They lost alot of games-Coach Lombardi also said that "winning is a habit and unfortuntely so is losing" and that "winners never quit and quitters never win." Kinda of a yin-yang deal there-doubtful that his players in DC were quitters but thats for another time. Sometimes you just lose no matter what effort you put out.

Coach was also quoted as saying that "winning isnt everything-but the will to win is." Now that brings it down to a different if not more comprehensive level that explains the deep need humans have to prove themselves as superior in some way over another. In the process of "going for the gold" as it were we have the opportunity to find qualities in ourselves that can sustain us when the inevitable life losses come our way-and for all those Oscar nominees that "lost" last night-my guess is that not only have they paid their dues to get to the point in their careers that they are recognized by their peers-but also they know the secret to really being a winner. How you accept defeat. My guess is that all of those nominees have "lost" more than they have "won" in climbing the ladder of "success" because while the taste of victory is sweet-its knowing how to lose that creates and builds character that keeps one moving forward inspite of the temporary set backs.

I faded in and out of the brodcast-at one point the hosts swapped clothes and that was...interesting. I caught a glimpse of the tribute to the show business icons that died in the past year and was a bit concerned when the female host introduced the most popular talk show host on the planet by exclaiming "I cannot believe I am breathing the same air as Oprah!" To which I shouted "WE ARE ALL BREATHING THE SAME AIR AS OPRAH" a knee-jerk tribute to my 5th grade science teacher Mr. Zielinski lessons- but no one but the cat heard me.

For the "winners" of an Oscar they will be forever be connected to the crowning achievement and be remembered as such. The also-rans will be remembered as "Oscar nominated" which brings with it kinda of "made the playoffs but didn't win" label. As I thought about how winning has been drilled into my head from coaches over the years I realized that in truth the wins and losses in my life have been about even. The drive to be one's best self and the strength to carry on are not only byproducts of victory-they are hallmarks of defeat as well. I have learned that "losing" brings its own gold along with it..just have to dig a little deeper to find it.... Imagine a show where they say...and the loser is...we could all relate to that one.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Disposable Heroes...

It was just one week ago when the story broke that two-time Super Bowl champion and vaunted Notre Dame alum Dave Duerson died in his home at the age of 50. Mr. Duerson took his own life it was revealed - and after being a highly sought after draft pick to the Chicago Bears, playing on the 1985 team and then in 1991 with the Giants in the big show-a string of roller-coaster rides began. Some success in business lead to failures in business. His marriage dissolved and a domestic abuse charge got him kicked off the board at Notre Dame. A staunch defender of NFL veterans and one who linked all the head banging on the field to erratic and sometimes fatal consequences off the field, Mr. Duerson wrote a note to his family asking them to donate his brain to research, texted his kids that he loved them, put a gun to his heart and pulled the trigger. Another Disposable Hero gone.

Football more than any other sport is our version of the gladiators in ancient Rome. The stadiums are filled every Sunday with bloodthirsty fans waiting for the next collision, the next touchdown and the next victory. Its a strange but not new relationship between fans and disposable heroes-they are larger than life and living a life so many fans dream of but never got a chance to experience-so fans do it vicariously through these modern day gladiators.Its a diversion, a business and a game all at once but the cost to the fans and owners is nothing compared to the pain and price these men pay to entertain us. Jim Otto played for years on the Oakland Raiders-matter of fact he is the original Oakland Raider. His courage on the field is legendary-but off the field-away from the eyes of the paying public he suffers much like the gladiators of old suffered after their time had passed. Nearly seventy (70) surgeries on his knees..a $40,000 carbon prosthetic leg after surgery failed to help him keep it. In the last nine years he has had five life-threatening infections surrounding the foreign material in his body. Back when Jim Otto played in the 1960's players rarely made more than $12,000 per year-with bonuses. The Raiders made millions of tickets, television and merchandise.

Pro football is not going away-with bigger, faster and stronger players the chance for career ending and life threatening injuries is only going to increase. Dave Duerson not only lost his life but sadly before that lost his identity in life and applied a permanent solution to a temporary problem that looked permanent. For such a learned man and exceptional athlete #22 succumbed to the worse thing any human can face- the loss of self.

As Duerson and hundreds of other disposable heroes are forgotten except by occasional wafts of football trivia and back slappers at bars talking about the 1985 Bears team new, raw and ready recruits stand to take their place so we can cheer them often to feel better about ourselves and a longing to be connected to something bigger than our mundane existence. I played midget, high school, college and semi-pro football and had my share of concussions, broken bones and noses, a knee that gives me trouble and fingers that are bent in unnatural angles. So I know a little of what I write. Sadly, Dave Duerson will not be the last of these disposable heroes to fight in the arena for our enjoyment and then succumb to the reality we all have to live with. Life-the real contact sport. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What A Fool Believes...

Trying not to make a habit of using song titles for blog titles but sometimes not only does it save me time-but also it fits right in. The Doobie Brothers made it a hit but it was Loggins, McDonald and a couple other dudes the wrote the lyrics..."what a fool believes..he sees...No wise man has the power to reason away...what seems to be is always better than nothing...ta ta da da...etc..." That simple lyric contains not only the key to opening new doors in life but being able to see what is...and what is not clearly-hence keeping you out of the chaos of life. When I do my LifeWorks! Seminars I ask this simple question "What do you believe Christmas is all about?" If there are 50 people in the room I usually get about 40 different answers ranging from "presents" to "headaches" to "joy" to "Jesus" to "sadness." Then I ask them to decided which persons belief is more "right" than someone else...of course it takes about four seconds to figure out that each person's belief is "right" because of the experiences they have had-that supports how they see Christmas. Using that one simple example it takes only about two seconds for people to at least begin to understand what The Doobie's are saying...what a fool believes..he sees..NO MATTER WHAT. We live in a world that dominated and shaped by beliefs-some that work for us-some that work against us-for thousands of years humans believed that the world was flat-it wasn't. Humans believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth-it doesn't. Old world types believed that if  Robin flew in your window someone was going to die- my guess if the window wasn't open the Robin bit the big one. Religion in all its forms is based soley on beliefs-if you believe like us..or kinda like are ok..if not...God is going to kick your hindquarters to H..E..double hockey sticks. Buddhists believe that we keep coming back over and over again (like a spiritual boomerang) to gain enlightenment. 2 billion Christians believe that we are born in sin and have only one or two ways to go at the end-up or down- a really nice country club type place with all our friends or a trip south to burn forever-however long forever is. Purgatory kinda exists for some but not others-like a weigh station for the soul while God decides how long you wait. Seventh-Day Adventists say Jesus is on his way back-New Age believes he is already here. Politics is a bevy of beliefs..The Left says more and the Right says less....more or less...Independents believe its individuals that matter and vote for the man (or woman) not the party. Muslim extremists believe that giving their life up for the greater good ensures that 170 + virgins await them the minute they pull the cord and Lindsay Lohan believes that walking out of a store without paying is ok and Charlie Sheen believes that its alright to have a porn star babysit his kids. Beliefs are like weeds...or trees...or flowers-you that every belief starts somewhere-underground...out of sight for each of us. A word when we are young- an image at a certain time..something touches the nervous system and then the way we see the world..and who we are in relation to that-is locked in place. For years I believed that I could eat anything I want-and it would not affect me-until it did. That's the thing about belief-unless you test it-you never know if they are valid. I for one have no desire to strap dynamite on my body and blow myself into Johnny-bits hoping that somewhere there is a lineup of virgins ready to do my bidding. "What a fool believes" those beliefs that make us act foolish...cannot be reasoned away by a wise man...or anyone else. Humans for the most part would much rather be "right" than "happy"...change is something you do to a wet baby-until life comes along and makes you change. Cancer. Divorce..Job name it. Then we see our beliefs in their full truth-and have to make a decision...why do I believe what I do? Does it serve me or am I just a product of those that have come before me? Beliefs...they shape our world...your life and mine...if they are working for you great...if not...why not? To let go of our beliefs is to let go of a lifelong identity.....image that. "What seems to be is always better than nothing.." Unless its not.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the wall...

The bearded bard Eric Clapton said it plainly in song..."Before you accuse me...take a look at yourself..." It doesn't take but thirty seconds on the tube or radio to be awash in chatter that is a best filler and fodder for the lower life forms to feed on...but its oh so tempting to be pulled into the latest rants and raves from talking heads, pundits and politicitans. As a card carrying member of AFTRA I have to include myself in the electronic landfill called media-albeit I am diligent as I can be about moving the needle to a higher frequency. Recently the "mouth of the south" Rush Limbaugh was quoted on air as saying that "the First Lady looks like she is not following her own suggested eating plan" and "would never end up on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition." Now no one should be surprised at an El Rushbo rant-this is the same guy that said drug addicts were low life pond scum and then later admitted he was an addict himself. But his comment about Mrs. Obama took me back to a show on the Golf Channel in which "the pro to the pro's" Hank Haney was trying to teach Limbaugh how to improve his golf game. Rush showed up in a pair of shorts that looked like a large blanket with two kids fighting under it when he lumbered around the course, a shirt that had some sort of horizontal stripe thing going on that did nothing to hide the considerable bulge and gave the appearance of a well presented river buoy. Even I know that if you are a tad..or alot don't wear something that widens you out...the guy makes 40 million bucks...who let him out of the house this way? Might have been his fourth wife that is twenty some years his junior who was out having tea with Elton John who sang at his wedding which was also an interesting move since Rushie is not big on homosexuals. So whats the point? The man who makes a shitload of money pointing out other people's shortcomings be it in politics, sports or fashion is a great teacher of the "KKK"...not that KKK...rather the "Karmic Kickback Koncept" (I know its not really spelled that way-but its my blog) meaning that what you put out comes back to you...when you least expect it but when it is needed most...if you are aware of it. He refuses to consider other peoples opinions and points of view..unwilling to he loses his hearing and now wears an implant in his ear. He bashes the military moves and stratagies but turns out that he never served-instead getting an exemption for...wait...a Pilonidal Cyst. A pilonidal cyst is an abnormal pocket originating in the skin that usually contains hair, skin debris and other abnormal tissue. A pilonidal cyst is almost always located near the tailbone at the top of the cleft of the buttocks. The term "pilonidal" comes from the Latin words for hair ("pilus") and nest ("nidus"). Bottom line...a cyst on his bum..literally a pain in the ass. I could go on about his lack of serving in any public office of any kind and getting dumped from Monday Night Football due to racist comments but truth is nothing has to be done...what you speak to you create...what you put out comes back..what you focus on the longest becomes the strongest. I get that Rush needs to be paid attention to and when his ego needs a boost he has to say things much like a 12 year old to feed that kid his dad never connected with and the reloving door of women in his life is trying to marry his unfinished business with his mom..but don't let his rants go unrewarded...use his struggles to make your life easier..."before you accuse me...take a look at yourself.." Or someone else will....Fore!