Absolution series

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Harrison Ford or Wyatt Martin? You Decide

We live in some very, very strange times.  Global warming scares, vaccination nightmares, ammunition bans, the reintroduction of the scarlet letter (against the LGBT community), spring temperatures followed by a foot of ice, and then, there's the stuff that is really messed up.  These certainly are weird and wacky times.

What causes this mania?  Is it more apparent because we have instant news coverage 24/7?  I remember getting into an argument with a gentleman a few years ago about how I believed that the Internet, social media, and the instant access to news and information has isolated us from one another and we haven't the ability any longer to have meaningful community.  He argued that since we have such access, we are able to communicate with people across the globe instantly.  I think my point still stands - video chat and emails are fine, but their not the same as holding someone as they weep and mourn a loss.  Neither is technology in a place where joy can be shared and spread.  I win this argument every time.

I suppose the up side to having instant access to information is that we're notified pretty quickly when elected officials pull their douchebaggery.  But then again, it only serves to piss off most of us with 50 functioning brain cells left.  It's one thing to hear about the idiocy of elected officials through the proverbial grapevine, but when the complete details of their shitheadedness is open for all to see, it's rather embarrassing.  Like in Oklahoma - the state has been the butt of jokes across the nation and we're kind of like that religious zealot cousin who ends up getting caught diddling the neighbor's daughter.  It's humiliating that we allow some of the bullshit that spews from under the dome to flow so freely. 

Then, there's news about Harrison Ford crashing a WWII airplane and being critically injured.  He is an avid pilot, according to news reports, and hailed by his fellow hobbyists with awards and commendations.  I don't mean to be a dick, but let's do the math, shall we?

1.  He's 72 years old.  Not that 72 is old, but it makes you wonder why he was...
2.  Flying a WWII aircraft.  Why?  Not that it really matters, but good heavens.  There are things I cannot do any longer and they have to be sacrificed at the altar of living. 

It doesn't make sense at all.  But, here's a noteworthy story that I promise you haven't heard:

Spc. Wyatt J. Martin, 22 of Mesa, Arizona died December 12, 2014 in Parwan Province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive devise.  The soldiers were assigned to 3rd Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division, Fort Hood, Texas.  Martin joined the Army in August of 2012 and had been assigned to Fort Hood's 2nd Squadron, 3rd Calvary Regiment, 1st Calvary Division, since June of 2014.  He deployed to Afghanistan in June 2014.   (See more here.)

A kid.  50 years younger than a Hollywood star, probably without the star's income level.  He laid down his life for his country and its citizens.  Ford was fucking around in a WWII aircraft.  Martin was deployed to Afghanistan in the same month that Ford broke his leg making a Star Wars movie. 

So you tell me:  Who should be getting the headlines?

We live in a world where we worship Hollywood stars and musicians, but we can't seem to realize that as a nation, we owe our freedoms to men and women like Wyatt Martin.  Martin literally laid down his life for you and me - what is his reward?  Where is his parade? 

Sure, he enlisted, signed up and he knew the risks.  But he was a brave man, doing something that 1% of the population has the balls to do:  Take an oath and stand a post.

It's sad that Harrison Ford was injured and the hope is that he heals and returns to his next movie set unharmed. 

It's more sad, however, that the American people forget about the Wyatt Martins in our midst. 

This is just my opinion, and I could be wrong.  But I seriously doubt it. 


Monday, March 02, 2015

Quit Complaining

Certainly you've heard the saying, "you play the cards you're dealt," and it can easily be applied to emotions, to habits, and even to our own emotional well-being.  One of the places it truly applies (or at least should), is in the political arena.  Multitudes despise the POTUS, others appreciate him or at least don't hate him.  Regardless of which side you fall on, you have to admit that the sour grapes have followed this President from the moment the election results were made official.  I'm not a huge fan of the guy, but it just seems silly how negative people are towards him.

When the left attacked George W. Bush, the GOP wasn't very happy about it and stomped their feet and threw a big hissy fit.  They called it "unfair," and most importantly, "disrespectful to the office of President."  You see, I agree with that.

I served in the United States Navy and I learned very quickly that the Commander In Chief deserves respect because the office warrants respect.  I felt that way when I served, and I have always felt that way.  And the very people who pissed their pants over "W" being insulted are now the ones who are denigrating the office of the President with impunity.

Sure, you can call me a liberal, you can stomp your feet and hold your breath.  I don't care.  If you are insulting the President just for the sake of insulting him, you're an idiot whose gene pool is similar to that found in an Arkansas trailer park. 

There is no need to complain about the President because I blame the GOP for his election - both times.  During the first election, the thought was that Clinton would be running and would walk away with it.  The strategists and overpaid consultants thought that McCain would be the best one to run against Hillary, therefore, the full press was on and millions were spent branding him as the "experienced and mature" choice for the GOP.  Unfortunately, he turned out to be three IQ points above being a completely senile moron and his running mate?  Sarah Palin?  Really?  Dear God in heaven.

During the last Presidential election, we in the GOP went in the direction of cash - yet another result of greedy, asshat consultants who wanted a piece of the massive Romney pie.  So, who did he pick as a running mate?  Paul Ryan.  Who?  Exactly.  Romney's massive wealth combined with his complete inability to connect with the average voter may have made a lot of money for consultants, but the aggregate result was four more years of President Obama.

And the GOP deserved to lose.

In the next election, the GOP will be pushing the mega-bucks star Jeb Bush.  And the GOP will lose again.

The GOP cannot expect to accomplish anything by putting up candidates who are either nuts or rich bastards.  It's insane and the GOP needs to shut the hell up and stop complaining.  This is the GOP's fault, not the "evil liberal Democrats."  All the energy being spent gnashing our teeth at this point is nothing more than political masturbation - it feels good, but produces no results.  It's time to start seriously vetting candidates and stop swallowing the gruel GOP consultants are shoving down our throats.

Of course, this only my opinion and I could be wrong.  But I seriously doubt it.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Folks in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arizona don't really care much for snow.  It reminds them, I suppose, that winter is here to stay, forcing thoughts of flip flops and shorts out of the mind.  But there is a peace, a quiet solitude that comes with the snowy weather - even vehicles on the road have their sounds muffled, quieted as though they are paying homage to the fluffy white substance falling from the sky.  It's in those moments of quiet that we have an opportunity to reflect, do some navel-gazing and get to know ourselves a little better.

Or, we can hide from it.

I find the snow falling to be hypnotic.  I'm not really sure why or how it happens, but there is a sense of the divine in how the trees are covered, how the fields are coated, or how the moisture fills the air.  For me, there is a presence of the divine that is unmistakable, encompassing the totality of my being.  I know that sounds a little New Age-y, but there really is nothing like it.

I can recall when I was an avid hunter that I would sit in the blind, or the tree stand watching and waiting.  I have to confess that there were a couple times when deer came by and I let them go just so I could watch them playing or trotting around in the snow.  Hogs, on the other hand never made it - they are just hideous critters and ham is so delicious...  But anyway, the tree stand became a little sanctuary out in the middle of nowhere.  I'm not much of a praying guy, but I remember having plenty of conversations with the Creator when sitting in one of those stands.  It just seemed pure, undefiled.

I can understand, however, why my friends in Oklahoma despise the snow.  It is a complete turn-around what we experience in the summer, and the contrast is dramatically stark.  Driving in the snow here in Oklahoma is difficult too because it's ridiculously obvious that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is about as screwed up as Congress.  To their credit, the County Commissioners and city governments have it under control - as least in Oklahoma County.

We run across stuff we despise on a regular basis, and more often than not, that thing that makes us want to bite someone's face was put there to show us that yes, it makes us want to bite faces - it forces us to examine ourselves and dig deep for the root cause of such anger and ire.  Well, it does if we want it to.  Sometimes, if feels good to wallow in the anger and rage - even though it's not the right answer.

For me, the solitude can be a scary damned place to be.  I don't really like much of who I am and what I've become, but I own it all.  My failures, my shortcomings, my sins if you will, are all on me and no one else.  That's what the snow can bring to us - that necessary solitude that requires everything and nothing of us.  Introspection sucks, but it's days like this when the pain is worth it.

Of course, I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt it.


Monday, February 16, 2015

New Leaf, Same Tree

We have all heard the expression, "turning over a new leaf."  I've often wondered what that truly means.  How does one actually turn over a new leaf as opposed to an old leaf?  Wouldn't it make more sense if one turns over an old leaf?  Those questions and plenty more reverberate through what's left of my magnificently simple mind these days.  I mean, seriously.  What the hell is that platitude all about?  It signifies something that is unattainable, elusive, and taunting.  There may be new leaves, but guess what?  It's the same damned tree.

I've very recently undergone a little bit of change myself.  Month after month I've experienced excruciating physical pain on virtually a daily basis.  I've had my medication switched, added to, increased, and juggled like bowling pins at a circus until I'm at the point where I have to keep a spreadsheet to remind myself what to take and when.  I had hoped that someday, I would see the clouds parting, the sun shining down on my face, and manna from heaven would fall on me and I would be pain free and happy.  I quickly realized that I was full of crap. Those things happen in the storybooks, but even Christ himself pointed out how difficult life would be and is. 

Then, my brain just kind of snapped. 

I can tell you when, how, or why it happened, but that doesn't really matter, it just did.  Part of who I am simply shut off with no warning, no signs of what was to come.  On one hand, the feeling was sad, deeply depressing and bolstered with unadulterated rage.  On the other hand, it was miraculously freeing.  It felt as though a big bag of bricks were taken off of my back, that the load was a little lighter.  Things that were out of focus before, became crystal clear.  That which was clear, became blurry and less important than they were previously.  The things in my life that I truly need were apparent for the first time in decades, and the emotional vampires in my life just had to go.

I've been told by the handful of close friends who really know me that I've become darker, less patient, and more intensely determined. It's really not the case.  It's true that I am more determined but that darkness they are seeing is merely a zero tolerance policy for people in my life who have attempted to suck the very soul out of me.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I've come to the realization that there are no happy endings in this roller coaster ride we call life, so if you want to call that "darker," have at it.  Reality is that all life ends the same way - death.  The romance portrayed in the movies is nothing more than the wild imaginations of estrogen-charged men and women who have more time on their hands than they do sense.  They entice us with the visages of what happiness is supposed to look like, create a story line around their fantasy, and then the consumers are asks to devour it like a starving man at a Chinese buffet.  They hide from us the fact that love is always imperfect because it is perpetrated by imperfect creatures.

Love is patient?  Bullshit.  If you've ever loved anyone, you know that there is never perfect patience.  There is only ONE love that is entirely patient.

Love is kind?  PoppycockLove is a demanding, overbearing landlord who was set up camp at the gates of our truly black hearts.  This landlord is mean and cruel and the master of deceptionWe often hurt those we love, and that's not really kind, is it? 

Love does not envy?  We are human beings with a hardwired sense of desire for more.  We all envy every day.   One of the "big ten" is all about not coveting what is not ours.  Guess what?  If humans weren't designed with this fatal flaw, the Commandments need not have been written, and a few thousand years later, the crucifixion would have been for not.

Love does not boast?  Seriously?  Look at the pabulum spewed all over social media by people who are supposedly in love, but secretly, they are looking over the others' shoulder for something or someone better.  The facade, the act is quite convincing but to say that love does not boast is like saying politicians don't lie.  If you find truly unconditional love, grab it.  It's very uncommon.

Love is not proud?  God have mercy.  "Look at my wedding dresss."  Or, "Look at how beautiful my wife is."  Or, "My wonderful wife bought me this or that." Love is the ultimate act of pride because your bullshit proudly meshes with someone else's bullshit, and the aggregate result is a molotov cocktail of over inflated egos.  Just be honest about it for a change.  You know that there is truth to what I am saying.

It's all bullshit and the sooner you realize it, the better off you will be.  It took me 50 years on this planet to realize it, I don't plan to waste time like I have.  Take now for right now.  Embrace it.  Cherish it.  Let the warmth of this moment right now consume you, because that shit doesn't last very long.  Forget "turning over a new leaf," embrace the whole totality of the tree in the here and now.  We are finite creatures, separated from the rest of the primates by the ability to use cutlery and our penchant to screw each other over.  That's life and you better like it as it is or you will find yourself hurting, aching, longing for something that was never yours in the first place and never would be.  The impossibilities are limitless and are all encompassing.  In this case, losing is winning and winning is losing. 

Don't get me wrong; we still have to smile our little smiles to the outside world, regurgitate the platitudes of contemporary culture just so we can fit in and go unnoticed.  The ones who can see the real you are the fortunate few within your clan who share common interests and have reached the same stage of enlightenment. These are the people with whom we should spend time.  They are people who understand us and are willing to take us flaws and all. 

There are a few exceptions to my observations, but they are as rare as an honest televangelist. Life is short.  Don't waste it on people who would just as soon kiss you goodbye as they would visit you in the hospital. 

Of course, this is just my opinion and I could be wrong.  But not this time.  Welcome to the new and improved 400lb Gorilla of Oklahoma Media.