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Friday, September 25, 2015

Kick That Dog!

"He was a quiet man, friendly of course, but not one who had mastered the art of conversation.  To look at him, one would think that he was just another middle-aged white guy with questionable fashion sense.  His mannerisms and body language was always downtrodden.  He avoided eye contact, he spoke in low, soft tones that were both soothing and unsettling.  He lived alone, though his attempts at marriage resulted in complete failure, and he had gotten comfortable with his routine.  He really only had one source of irritation and it was from a coworker.

There are bullies in the workplace and he hated them.  He had spent his childhood at the hands of these brute beasts - coming home from school with his clothes ripped or stolen, his face scratched or bruised, and sometimes missing homework.  When he would return home, he had to face his father who would in turn beat him severely for being picked on.  All of these events would lead to one tragic day.

The workers were on a break where they often went to enjoy some sunshine, the rooftop of the 5-story brick building in the industrial district of the city.  The bully was there and he was again in his top form.  Laughing, poking, and being commanding, controlling.  He was standing close to the edge of the barrier on the rooftop when the bully said something about bedding his mother.  He grabbed the bully and held him in his arms in a bear hug and walked backwards.

When the two of them hit the ground, the sound of bones crushing and breaking echoed off of the other buildings.  Their demise had drawn the attention of neighboring workers who came out to see what had happened.   He had reached a boiling point, the emotional point of no return where self-harm and destruction were merely a means to an end.

It's how many of us live our lives today."  ~ 'Killing Me Softly,' Ron "Gorilla" Black

My mother used to tell me in her marvelously country accent, "Butch, if you kick a dog often enough, eventually that dog is gonna bite ya."  It's a lesson that I've had to learn the hard way throughout my days on this big blue ball.  It's a reality of the human pathos that is virtually unavoidable, regardless of how faith-filled a person may be or even how gentle and sweet an individual may appear.  There comes a saturation point with each of us that pushes us over the edge and we're willing to go down with the ship just to ensure that the kicking stops.

Most recently, this saying was put into practice when the Oklahoma GOP decided to elect a ultra-conservative to chair the party.  People within the party had heard for many years how the grassroots efforts, the development of candidates, and affiliation with the various Chambers of Commerce were going swimmingly - and they were.  The problem is that the core of the GOP is not a fan of the Chamber's agenda at some points.  Apparently, these points are so sharp that it's worth breaking fellowship.

That is what happened when former State Senator Randy Brogdon was elected as chair.  In many ways, the "group think" was most likely punishment for the many years of centrist ideologies and the disdain of the party apparatus who treated the conservatives in the party as dirt on their $695 Salvatore Ferragamo dress shoes.  The Chamber crowd got bit and now, the party has suffered as a result.  There's no need to go over the multitude of mishaps with Brogdon at the helm, but in a way, the party sacrificed itself to get a point across.

How this all pans out is anyone's guess.  

This is just an opinion and I could be wrong.  But I'm not.

Ron "Gorilla" Black

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Right Now

What are you doing this very second?  What is consuming your mind?  Other than reading this blog, is there something that is bouncing around in your mind (or your heart) that needs to be dealt with?

Those are some of the questions I found myself asking after revisiting a Van Halen video from days gone by.  Music itself is designed to stimulate your mind and take you to another place - that is what happened to me.  I watched the video and really paid attention to what was written on the screen.  The goes through a series of scenes with various backgrounds while placing text over the picture.  The writings are sayings that complete the first two words - "Right now," just as the title of the song implies.  

Here are a few of the "Right Now" phrases that piqued my interest:

Right now:

1.  Justice is being perverted in a court of law.
Of course it is.  We live in a fallen world with fallen critters trying to run the show.  Justice today is a far cry from either the Biblical meaning or the intentions of this country's founders.  Do yourself a favor next time you have time off during the day - go the the County Courthouse and spend some time in the gallery of family court proceedings.  It's a mess and you too will walk out of there saying, "justice is being perverted in a court of law."

2.  Blacks and whites don't eat together much.
That statement offered up to us in the 1990s rings true today.  There are racists who exist on both ends of the spectrum but that's truly not representative of our culture as a whole.  In order to really communicate, to provide solutions for difficult situations, we need to be able to just sit down and express our feelings without fear of judgment or presupposed notions.  Breaking bread is a great way to do that.  

3.  Guilt is tearing someone inside out.
Whether it be religious constructs or environmental issues, guilt is a killer.  Guilt turns to angst, which turns to anxiety, which turns to physical ailments, and possibly even to death.  Today, the mainstream of the Christian community finds itself one either end of the spectrum.  Either they are "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law," or they are in the fire and brimstone fear-mongering churches.  The aggregate result of either extreme is guilt and shame.  Today, more and more people are looking for answers and they are taking those questions elsewhere because they don't take the Church seriously because today, the Church isn't serious.

4.  There is a bomb factory hard at work.
True story.  War is big business and as a Navy Veteran, I am rather partial to the Department of Defense.  The situation is dire, though, isn't it?  There are wars and propaganda all around us that no longer takes into consideration the frailty of the human condition and masks it with a jet fighter.  The military industrial complex is alive and well and thriving.  The veterans, however, are committing suicide, becoming homeless, suffering from emotional issues that no one can truly understand unless they have been there, and they are morbidly underpaid.  

5.  Oil companies and old men are in control.
If there were ever any doubt to this revelation, just look at the members of Congress who have been there for longer than some of us have been alive and they have been propped up with cash from big oil, big coal, big whatever.  Their messages finely crafted by the best orators in the world, and their tanks full of fuel, they are often told what to say and how to say it with the purpose of getting their agendas passed.  A man gets arrested for an ounce of marijuana and spends a decade in prison, an oil company spills millions of gallons of crud into the ocean and the CEO gets invited to Presidential dinners.  Do the math, friends, and wake the hell up.

6.  Nothing is more expensive than regret.
We have all done things or experienced things that we regret and it becomes seared into our existence, influencing everything we do and say.  In time, the regret will eat at us, cause us to question our judgment, and more importantly, could cost us our very lives.  I know that my life is filled with regrets and it has cost me pieces of my soul.

7.  Science is building a better tomato.
Genetically modified foods may be effective for producing massive quantities of fruit and vegetables, but that doesn't mean it's any better for us.  In fact, some can be dangerous.

8.  People are working to hard for minimum wage.
Nothing could be more truthful.  My brethren on the right often complain of the laziness of the lower classes and those who receive government assistance, but the truth is that it's what we have created or ourselves, isn't it?  Corporate America has sacrificed the availability of American-made products at the altar of profit-centers.  Profits are good, but what profit it a man that he gain the whole world and lose his very soul?  Imagine that you have only $500 per month upon which to live.  Find an apartment, budget food, budget electric bills (the average for even a small one-bedroom apartment averages $70/mo), and of course, transportation to and from work.  Can't do it, can you?  Think about that the next time you start bitching about the minimum wage being raised - and how about Congressional pay?  They automatically get a pay raise every time federal workers get raises, yet you're not bitching about that...

Again, I ask you:  What is going on in your life at this moment?  Are there family members you need to contact?  Have you told your children that you love them and are proud of them?  Have you decisions in your future that if made incorrectly, you'll regret them for the rest of your life?

We're the greatest country in the world and trust me, I've seen other countries that are hell holes.  We have an opportunity to create real community with one another, we just have to do it.

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

Ron "Gorilla" Black

And here's the Van Halen video...