Doing it for love…

September 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, I went ahead and pulled the trigger today, resigned my position here in Kansas City, Missouri to take on a new and amazing challenge with a firm in Englewood, Colorado.

There was a time, some years ago when this wouldn’t be such a big deal.  Offer me a new job, a new challenge, well smack my butt and  call me the Poster Child of Change, I was there!

It’s so very, very different now.  As a Husband and Father I thought about the risk, the effort to move a home, the challenges my family will face in order for me to be happy.  It’s true, a person can deny and bury their own needs if they think it necessary to protect the people they love.

But when you’re grumpy, stressed and distant are you really protecting the ones you love, or are you projecting.

In the end, my wife is embracing the change, even though she will have to recreate a whole new nest,  find new friends and adapt to a whole new environment. 

This isn’t the end, it’s a new beginning.  Say I can see a new house from here!

Categories: Change, Family, Life

…and there’s no you.

Everyone has heard the cliché  There’s no ‘i’ in team…”  although sometime later Michael Jordan pointed out “…there is an ‘i’ in WIN.”   Earlier this year I was struck by similar truism, “There’s no U in teamwork.” 

Feel free to use it…

Categories: Ramblings, Society

The Legend of Qwe Chuāking, Nèijiù Shuòshì

Have you heard the legend of the young Moanin Monk, Qwuit Chuākāng ?  Many westerners have not, but recently millions of digitized scrolls were uncovered in China that are bringing his story to light.  We endeavor here to share with you, The Legend of Qwe Chuāking, Nèijiù Shuòshì *.
 
Born to Jewish Missionarys  in 1898, Absolm Chaim was orphaned  in 1900 when his parents were killed at a Chinese Take Away during the Boxer Rebellion.  A Blind Moanin Monk, Master Po Thien, a noodle consultant to the original Panda Express, rescued  young Absolam and returned with him to the Moanastary in Shanghai soon after.
 
Master Po Thien renamed Absolam Qwe Chuāking, in honor of the Swallows that frequented the Moanastary’s outdoor Food Court and Massage Chair emporium.   Although entirely unfamiliar with the Hebrew concept of Teshuva or repentance, it wasn’t long before Master Po Thien recognized Qwe’s natural and innate ability to easily engender quilt in others.  Along with Moanin Master Kan Plain, Master Po Thien started Qwe on a path that would culminate in greatest guilt trip  known to man, The Green Movement.
 
Their relationship was the stuff of Moanin Legend as evidenced from a Moanastary scree written in 1910.
Master Po Thien: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Tom: I hear the sigh of the water, I hear the harping of the crows.
Po: Do you hear your own guilty conscience?
Caine: No, Master.
Po:  Dung Beetle, do you see the lamp and the matches ?
Caine: Yes Master, do you wish me to light it?
Po:  No, I will just sit in the dark.
More than 1,234,567.12 Moanin records were recently handed over to WikiLeeks.  These were extensively reviewed and indexed using Giggle Content Search technologies, well at least 3 have.   Our staff has been pouring over  these records, using mostly beer to do so,  and we’ve translated the text from the native Hakka Pu dialect indigenous to Shanghai to English.  What follows are a few of the translated Moanin proverbs.

“All can know guilt as guilt only because there is innocence.” Master Po Thien
“Be nothing, and you will have everything to gain from others.” –  Master Po Thien
Sigh rather than moan. Whine rather than Cry.  Look aside rather than glare,  for guilt is precious and cannot be replaced.”Master Kan Plain
“To utter a guilty truth is to give it force beyond endurance.”Master Kan Plain **
“Yet it is sighs which blind the man.”Master Po Thien
“When a man can’t see squat, he does no thing.”Master Po Thien

Needless to say, the translation of these ancient tombs is a labor of love.  We hope to publish more shortly, at least before we sober up.  We’ve learned that after Master Po Thien was murdered by jealous scion of the Chinese Court, Khan Tem Peht, Qwe abandoned the Moanastary on a quest to achieve remorseless enlightenment and to seek out his mishpokhe vortsl ***.   The records seem to end when in 1929  Qwe finally locates his long-lost brother Chuck  in the West Hollywood Convent of Guilty Pleasures where he had been imprisoned  by the infamous Sisters of Nunjitsu and  the Penitents of Contrition.

Remember too, it hurts when we do this, but we do it so you don’t have to.

* Nèijiù Shuòshì translates as “Guilt Master” in English or האשמה הורים in Hebrew.
** Some have suggested that early translations of these proverbs appear to have been given over to Rush Limbuagh, Chris Mattews and Anne Coulter.
*** Loosely translated from Yiddish to Family Roots…

Categories: Humor, Parody, Rants, Society, Technology

The Quest for Mediocracy; An Easy 12 Step Recovery Program

I’ve been grappling with the idea that all my ‘conservative’ friends believe me to be a “raging liberal” and thereby patently, clinically and categorically insane; while my significantly fewer-in-number ‘liberal’ friends, consider me to somewhat backward, parsimonious and genetically deficient.  Fruitlessly, I’ve proclaimed myself to be a moderate, perhaps a progressive moderate.  Regardless, if I didn’t agree with some popularized Gorish or Limbaughian commentary, I was outted.

This confuses me greatly.  Needing some perspective, I recalled a time in my youth at High School.   Nixon was running for his second term as President and 18 year olds had been given our franchise to vote.    I registered as a Democrat for three key reasons;  a fondness for JFK,  a fear of Nixon, and I assumed my Mother would ground me for treason if I went GOP.   However, there was only one active group welcoming to us Baby Boomers, the Young Republicans.  Even while admitting that I was a registered Democrat, they allowed me to I join, plan and participate, it was an ideologically agnostic, altruistic and magnanimous experience.

This experience set my expectations and provided direction 30 years later as the Democratic Chairman of Coventry’s Zoning Board of Appeals, a board of seven; four Democrats and thee Republicans.  It was perhaps the most rewarding political experience of my life.   We worked together famously, without rancour or derisive behaviour and we performed extremely well;  we were all so blissfully innocent and preternaturally wise. 

My first bitter taste came in the last year of my second term, when asked privately by the then Democratic Town Council Chair,  if I could somehow ensure that someone with a pending appeal was granted their exception. She feared the Republicans and since it appeared that I had good control of the board she was certain I could see it through.  She was not terribly thrilled when I informed her that;

  • I didn’t control the board we all made an effort to work together.
  • The Republican members were as good and decent as the Democratic members. 
  • My advice, make sure they satisfied the legal requirements, if they did so they would prevail. 

Predictably, the petitioners presented no evidence or justifications and consequently the were unanimously denied their request.  Subsequently, the Town’s Democratic Party apparatchiks  found me wanting and I was asked not to run for a third term. 

That was nearly 10 years ago. 

I came believe that both parties are at their core inherently corrupt, corrupted or corruptible.  The corruption is driving further change in the political landscape. Politicians today are ever so much more derisive, so binary, so monochromatic that we’re no longer permitted to identify ourselves with a recognizable centrist identity.   The resulting rancour and polarization is a terribly damaging affliction affecting our society and our country and even our basic relationships with one another.  

Our past President put it best during his farewell address, that is President George Washington in 1796.

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”   

Old George wasn’t just the tallest rich-guy sporting Rock Maple Dentures, he was damn smart.

I believe that one possible solution is to give the “Silent Majority” a political identity.  To that end, I propose an organization of ‘affiliated centrists’, the politically laid back people who want balanced benefits, common sense morality and their just desserts.  Who prefer reasonable discussion over fevered rhetoric,  humor over anger, serenity to angst.    That organization is the Mediocratic Party, a party of moderation, where under-achievement is acceptable so long as your intentions are good, where we believe in opportunity to fail,  where blind obedience to the left or right is doomed to fail.  A party truly for the concerned independent.  

There will be no party conventions, no dues, no platforms, no PAC, no funds.  We will only wag our favorite flying digits at those shameful ner do wells and extremists that cause us to consume Tums and Prilosec.

Now since it appears that both the Democratic and Republican parties contain constituent extremists, and we should too.  Amongst the unaffiliated extremist wings have been identified;

  1. Those totally “unconcerned” with societal matters, unless it affects the cost of beer and cigarrettes or the requirement to wear a motorcyle helmet
  2.  and those who are wish to demonstrate their independence through lack of committal or feigned indifference.   

Now if you want to join in, simply follow the following steps, or just a few, or just do nothing.   All I ask is that when asked what your belive in adopt a blissfull gaze and say, Moderate, moderate in all things, including moderation…”  For repentant Democrats, Republicans, Tea or Coffee partiers and extreme centrists I suggest following the entire 12 step recovery program.

Step 1. I admit that the typical registered Democrat or Republican is really powerless and thereby unable determine their own destiny.
Step 2. I believe that there is a Mediocre Power capable of restoring us to sanity.
Step 3.  I’ve decided to trust our care to leaders who are  neither charismatic or bombastic;  blissfully so-so but really mean well.
Step 4.  I’ve made a moral inventory of  our county and it scares me.
Step 5.  I’ve admitted to posting on Facebook humorous anecdotes and one liners to mask my true feeling or unfriending  or blocking some of my more extremist acquaintances.
Step 6.  I am ready for God to remove all signs of extremism.
Step 7. I humbly ask that you not burden me with your shortcomings, or at least keep them to yourself.
Step 8.  I have a list and I’m checking it twice.
Step 9.  I belive apologising is for Democrats, proselytizing is for Republicans.
Step 10.  What you don’t know, hasn’t hurt you, just saying.
Step 11.   I gave this a  little thought.
Step 12.  I’ve got a headache, we might just be better off as practicing alcoholics.

To those few of you who have managed to process all of this and are ready to not commit, I grant you all manumission, you are now free to emancipate the country.

Categories: Political, Ramblings, Rants

and they’re OFF!

South Carolina, a state I consider as somewhat serene, cultured and quiet, where people play golf in pastel polo shirts and white-linen chinos, eat crab pots, and enjoy a refreshing toddy on the porch, was one of the more interesting topics this week. 

First, my pal Dan retold a story about a discussion on a Tour of Charleston he and his wife took in  a few years ago.  The guide was relating how a person had to be able to trace their local ancestry back at least 5 generations to be considered a “South Carolinian”.   When asked what you would be considered if you say could only trace your South Carolinian roots back to say 4 generations, the guide replied…”Why you would be “OFF!”,a was anyone who didn’t meet the accepted criteria; anyone OFF wouldn’t be taken seriously and when described, native South Carolinians would describe them as, “well you know, he’s just OFF!”

 Then came the news results and stories regarding the State’s Democratic Primary and the winning candidate, one Alvin Greene, a 32-year-old unemployed and frankly, rather bizarre individual.  Alvin won the primary over a much more  mature well-considered and some say well-known judge and former state legislator, Vic Rawl. 

The losing candidate had campaigned vigorously according to all accounts and while his campaign funds only amassed a bit over 55 of incumbent conservative Senator DeMint’s 3.5 million dollar campaign budget, he was expected to win at least the Democratic nomination.

Alvin Greene won without campaigning, speaking, without staff, without a web site.  In fact he only checks his email once a week or so at the library and doesn’t own a cell phone.

He was also been arrested this past November and felony charges are pending for ” showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student, then talking about going to her room at a university dorm.”

This whole store thing is simply mind numbing, stultifying, and bizarre!  So, given the nature of this campaign, I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting  Mr. Greene’s acceptance speech, in a manner that native South Carolinians should appreciate.

“First off, to the Democratic Party of South Carolina,  I ‘m not gonna back off just cause you got that far off look.   Ok, maybe I bit more off then I can chew with that sweet young thing and we got off on the wrong foot, but once she see’s I’m a bonafide US Senator she might not tell me to eff off. 

It’s not like I won Scot Free or got off on Vic’s loss.  So just ease-off and take a load off while I sit on the porch just a chip off the old block, where I might even nod off.  And maybe I’ll just take tomorrow off, I got no boss to tell me off, and  won’t be no skin off your back if I tell you off the cuff just where to get off. 

So I’m not calling this off, and you can call the dogs off.  Don’t try to the bite my head off,  there’s no need to fly off the handle. You’re getting off easy, maybe just off lightly South Carolina, you can;t just write me off!  

It could be worse, you could be Louisiana.”

The lastest new is that Mr. Greene has been certified by the Great OFF State of South Carolina as the OFFicial democratic candidate for the US Senate.  You guys scare the pants off of me!

Much Love,

Tom

Categories: Political, Rants, Society

Is it all about survival…

No matter where I turn it seems we’ve all become, perhaps out of necessity, survivalists; not survivors, but survivalists.   The American Heritage dictionary defines a survivalist as: 

  • One who has personal or group survival as a primary goal in the face of difficulty, opposition, and especially the threat of natural catastrophe, nuclear war, or societal collapse.

It seems to be fundamentally different situation from that of a survivor; which according to the same source is someone who perseveres.  See a survivor’s done it, finished it, defeated it.  A survivalist on the other hand is on the perseverance treadmill, ever vigilant, constantly dealing with threats real and imagined.  The modern survivalist is inundated;  terrorism, BP’s Oil Debacle, the Taliban, the Great Recession, healthcare, identity theft, social oppression  and the cheerleaders of doom and gloom, (not me see Glen Beck.)   Have we evolved from the gun toting, forest deweling, toilet paper hoarding Survivalists and Militias so prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s, or have we all become  more common survivalists, yet more accepted and casually attired?

Consider again the Tea Party;  give Billy and Betty Jo Stump a Smart Phone, a mantra and change the camo into chinos; age them 11 years, add a Sarah Palin badge and viola, instant Tea Party activist!

Lately I’ve been focussed on a new kind of employment the “survival job“.   While I’m far from a coal miner, no need to shake coal dust from my hair, have a Canary at work,  or worry about black lung, I am not what I set out to be.  Neither are many of my friends and acquaintances.   Sometimes, when discouragement sets in, I’ve had to resort to an aphoristic behavior: I read the Desiderata.  It helps me to realize that it’s yet better here in the US then it is in most of the world.  Why else is our primary immigration issue one of influx and not outflow, it’s becuase we have something of value and we don’t want to lose it!  

So maybe as whacky and capricious as those Tea Partiests seem to me perhaps they’re doing some good.  I may just be tired, grumpy and fearful, but I hope to survive being a survivalist, I certainly pray I will.

Much Love! 

 Tom

Please take our poll.

Categories: Political, Ramblings, Rants, Society

Play me a song big boy…

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

I may finally be able to get a chance to perform my orignal blues song,”Booger Blues“. in public for the first time since 1980!  We’ve even written the first new verse in over twenty years.  Here’s how it goes, (no in your head you need to supply the the music, something bluesey, like dum dummm, dummm dummm, dummm…

One day I’s jes driven’ down an ole lonely road,
a workin’ my finger in a boogie load.
I picked and dug,
boogies snot what I gots.
dam boogies hard as ole bubble gum!

<Chorus> I got the booger blues, dem sweet green boogie blues,
I picked and dug but dat dam old boogies hard as ole bubble gum…

Saw the Doctor, man were’nt no fool
done invented a boogie picken tool!
Doctor tells me, says “you’ll be fine..
jes sabe dem boogies, make ya some boogie wine!”

<Chorus> I got the booger blues, dem sweet green boogie blues,
I picked and dug but dat dam old boogies hard as ole bubble gum…

Fill up dat bottle
wit a batch o’ wine
Slap on a label call it
Chateau de neuf Nez 1989….

Categories: Ramblings