Two steps forward, three steps back.

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.   Well, I’m sorry to say this but, either way you end up with a very sour face!

That’s the issue.  We all know that life can be hard, with its ups and downs and its round and rounds, but is there ever a break?  I can honestly say that in so many circumstances, our choices and decisions will often weigh in on the outcomes of our life.  You choose to rob a bank, the outcome will not be pleasant.   You chose to cheat the system, you can be sure that at some point you will be caught and will lose out on the frills.  You play with fire, you get burned.  Simple. I think they call that cause and effect.  But what about the other side of that?  The side that has the negative effects without the cause?  The old ‘two steps forward, three steps back’ syndrome.

Throughout this world are millions of folks who try hard, work hard, play well with others,  and just generally are law-abiding citizens who pay their share of taxes and try to make ends meet.   These are the folks who strive to put food on the table, help a neighbor when they can, and contribute positive to society.  There isn’t room to grumble when the people up the street get a new car and they cannot afford to even keep theirs running smooth.  When you don’t try to keep up with the Jones’ to get the new this and that. Our common folks settle for what they have because it’s all they have.  Just keeping their heads above water and all the other nifty one-liners and sayings to describe our average Joe’s and Jane’s.

What’s missing in the picture of the “average” citizen is the darker maladies that perform their evil within.  “Two steps forward, three steps back”.  You work hard, but it will never be enough. You try to do right, but it bites you in the rear.  You follow the laws but will still be the first to suffer under them.  Try, try, try as hard as you will, but peace will not be afforded to you. Calm will ever elude you.  Gains will be stripped away.   Let’s face it, a backward slide into poverty is your only path.  You don’t have what it takes!

Well, now that the cheery thoughts are swaying back and forth in time to the demise that awaits, ask why do we even bother?  Let’s face it…..our system is made to slowly take from the average good folk and give to the over-greedy wealthy who don’t, but do, need more and more.  Or, give it over to the illegals, the law-breakers, the cheaters, and the undeserving.  “Two steps forward, three steps back”.  Let’s take from the struggling and strip away the remaining good….all in the name of social programs! After all, they are created to give others what the hardworking citizens were striving for but will never reach!  You don’t have to work! You don’t have to pay! You don’t need to read, write, or even speak the language! All  you have to do is be a non-contributing member of our U.S. of A. and we will take from the worker and give to you!

But wait! there’s more! If you do nothing now, we will continue to up the offer!  Now you don’t even need to be a member! Just show up and we’ll give you food, housing, money, loans to start businesses, cars, and the added bonus of free post secondary education! That’s right! Everyone around you that is a positive, hard-working, contributing member of our society and have been constantly striving for just such things will envy you immensely!  You will get what they want and you don’t have to work for it!  So, when you see your new neighbor stranded on the side of road with a broken-down car…remember, you could have ended up like him.. working hard everyday and still can’t make it! “Two steps forward, three steps back”.

I would say right about here is where the comments of exaggeration are getting to be too much…but there isn’t any exaggeration. You and I, average citizens that struggle to make ends meet, work an honest days work, follow the laws, pay our share of taxes and give to society, are being passed up.  Local, State, and Federal governments are giving away everything, including the kitchen sink, to illegals and thieves.  And if they can’t get it, then they will send overseas to other undeserving types.  Even places like the Land of Lincoln, Illinois, is going to give free college educations to illegal immigrants.  Why send them back or punish them!  Your hard-earned taxes are spent not on you, but non-contributing people who are getting the free handouts.

My car finally gave up the ghost this morning on my way to work.  I can’t afford to get it fixed.  I was doing many things wrong.  I was going to my job, making mediocre pay.  I’ve paid my taxes and dues.  I don’t cheat and lie to gain social programs that I don’t qualify for.  I work and honest days work.  I follow the laws of these United States of America.  I even have several applications out for additional part-time work.  I don’t live with excess or luxuries.  I contribute to society.  I’m doing everything wrong to get ahead.

A great song plays at the beginning of the classic television show “All In The Family” called  “Those were the days” by Charles Stouse and Lee Adams.  It plays in my head and in my heart…..

 Boy the way Glen Miller played
Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days.

And you knew who you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man
Like Herbert Hoover again.

Didn’t need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days.

I highlighted those two key lines on purpose. Common Sense says that everybody can pull their own weight. Worked fine before, why not now?  Oh, that’s right!  “Two steps forward, three steps back syndrome”.  Guess the times they are a-changin’.  It would seem that the negative effects to our hard work that we are experiencing has been created.  Created by our elected.

Check Please!

Passing from the Age of Ignorance to the Age of Stupidity

How long to the point of no return.....

I may have mentioned before that I am somewhat of a fan of history.  History was often a “cause” word back in school.  It would “cause” you to cringe, “cause” you to roll your eyes, and even “cause” you to skip (out).  Funny how we look back on those times and think to ourselves “if only……”!    Sadly, the up and coming generation is missing out on that realization of “if only”!  But, even more regrettable is the aspect that many of the elders within the country’s borders have never really had the “if only” moments.  What is the “if only” that I’m referring too?  It’s that magical moment where you regret a situation, realize that this type of thing has already be done, documented, and passed on to future generations to learn from, and guess what….you were not one of them!

Well, c’mon everyone!  We have all been there. We slid through history classes just to get to the other side.  You and I both know that the thought of learning something from the past always generated that old question: “what has this got to do with anything I wanna be when I grow up?”  There it is in a nutshell. Admission from all who dare confess that we did not see an ounce of significance to the teachers’ lessons.  Greek and Roman blah blah blah….. World War huh? Blah, blah, blah…. The what crash of what year? What? The civil who movement? A wall came down? So?

Back in the days when I had the once-in-a-life-time chance to live in Europe for a few years as a young lad, I was given an opportunity to see things that many here in the U.S. will never see in person.  What I saw was my introduction to a realization that things that occurred in the past greatly affected the future.  That future was the here and now. The immediate moment.  Not only did it have a major impact on the small, but also the grand scope of everything around.  Standing in large, grown-over craters or next to collapsed-in concrete that once housed munitions and warriors of a past generation gave me that realization of reality.  This is real. This impacted the landscape, the people, the commerce, the politics, and spread throughout the world!

But, wait! If this single facet of reality from the past affected our present, what about all the rest of the history lessons in school? Those are events that impacted the world around me as well?  Those past happenings are there, documented and supported by the remnants of its’ people, places, things!  Oh, the a-ha moments that wake us up and get us smelling the coffee!

The understanding that washes over you when you come to see history as a great lesson to learn from is immeasurable! Yet, at the same time we come to realize a sadness that derives from that understanding as well.  If we look at archeology and what that science does, you first note that each dig starts at the top and works downward.  Dig and find the remains of a people, a culture, a history.  Dig further and you discover a new people, culture, history that lies above another people, culture, history.  Stacked on top of each other through the centuries of events.  It is well documented that entire cities are existing on top of entire cities. Did we just bury the past?  Did we try to ignore history by sweeping it under the ‘new’ rug?

In many instances, we have.  And, as we see so often, we never learn from that past because it is now “out of sight, out of mind”.  Instead, we give the past a name, put it in a book of history knowing that many will avoid it during the years of learning.  That generation will leave the institutions of learning, leave the family nest, go out into the world and begin to make changes.  Missing out on the opportunity to learn of history so that they can learn from history and avoid repeating history.

In this modern era of high technology and super-fast information, the only thing that is being taught is progressing to the next level.  The future history books will label our recent past the Age of Ignorance, sadly followed by the Age of Stupidity.  Common Sense says that we are doomed to repeat history if we do not learn from history.  The results of this can be seen far and wide, and also in our own backyards.  It would seem that the dumbing down progression is in full sail.  And those of us that shake our heads in saddened disbelief each and every day watching the ‘up and coming’ clueless, have to share with Mr. Clemens in saying “the trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.”

Spoken out of sheer frustration.  Spoken out of utter madness.  Spoken out of deep sadness.  Our country is on the brink of disaster, not only in the political arena, but religious, technological, business, and personal because we have set aside the past, buried it with our own greed and want of power. We have become so self-absorbed that anything or anyone around us is deemed nothing but a threat and a nuisance.  We don’t have time or care for little things anymore because we are too busy.  And that tiny piece of history that seemed insignificant, yet greatly spread to affect us, even today, is happening again. Filled with the same negativity and vile narcissism that was cause for other sad footnotes in history. Is no one learning?

Really? You just said that?

So many people throughout the world have been scouring the internet for news and information regarding the senseless mass murders that took place in Norway.  There are lots of news, photos, video.  Stories from survivors, relatives, political figures, famous, not-so-famous….everyone has an angle to this horrible event.  Everyone, including the extremists. Who are the extremists?  Is it the fanatical militants that thrive on hurting other who don’t follow their beliefs and standards?  Are they the terrors that exhibit a lack of sense?  Perhaps they are the narcissists who are compelled to thrust themselves into any and all happenings so they can see their name? 

I’m a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  I have mine and you have yours, and sometimes they are similar and sometimes they differ.  irregardless, they belong.  My worry is that some opinions are loaded. Loaded with sharp, stinging objects that hurt, maim, and/or destroy.  These types of opinions are flung far and wide without any regard as to what damage they cause.  Many of these opinions are likened to homemade explosives.  They are purposefully and with clear objective, made to inflict harm.  But, why?  Why would someone deliberately create an opinion bomb?  Simple answer is they have to.  The creators of these weapons are so hell-bent with malice and judgement, that they long for their extremist views to be a flood washing away the denizens of everywhereville. 

One of the recent articles that I read through regarding the devastation that occurred in such a beautiful county, was the thoughtless meanderings of a “commentator”.  This individual has a propensity of casting his name into every and all situations….whether for good or bad, doesn’t matter.  As I said earlier, I believe that every is entitled to opinion.  After all,  that’s why we have such extremist politics.  That’s why there exists extremist religions.  That’s even why television has become so extreme. It comes down to the old line ‘one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor’.  Fine.  Exist. But……

If you are going to make a remark, comment, or cast a thought out to the people who might be paying attention, be sure that what you say is defendable….not reprehensible!  Open your mouth and words come out. When that happens, it is likened to the bullet fired from a gun….you cannot take it back.  Sure, apologies up one-side and down another can follow, but the damage that happens will be a sustaining damage.  As a ‘commentator’ to events of the world, some (and I’m still not sure why) may look to your for that understanding that you may have.  Careful what you say. You are not immune to the potential backlash of those that don’t like your opinion.

So, why does there have to be such extremist view?  Some of these views exist only because the gentler words didn’t get enough of society in an uproar, so folks like Glenn Beck have to take it further.  Shock jocks have done this type of extremism for years and eventually people with sense get sick of it.  Well folks, we are waiting for that to happen here! 

I’m not just picking on Mr. Beck and his brazenly stupid comment that he made regarding the innocent children slaughtered mercilessly at a summer camp.  I’m picking on every news media, blogger, figurehead, and person of ‘fame’ that has a passion for opening up the mouth and spewing venom…..and for no purpose or value to society. None!

Television is filled. Radio is filled. Papers are filled. Magazines are filled.  Filled with the stuff of destruction. Not to build up and encourage. Not to support or share compassion.  Filled with the venom of the likes of Mr. Beck.  Where fact less rantings can be pushed into the faces of those who actually care.  When stupidity and ignorance can become common-place and trash-talk can be acceptable….even in the shadows of human tragedy, then it’s no wonder that common sense has left the building.   When the likes of lunatics are allowed to degrade humanity and spit on the potential of a decent society….well, then hope for good fades fast. 

I picked on Mr. Beck due to his most recent moronic comments.  I often cast my dismay with other extremists such as Whoopi Goldberg, whose tirades are the examples of lunacy.  It’s not that these folks, and the others like them, are so great in numbers….it’s that they are allowed grand platforms to cast these opinion bombs.  Why? Does it make the platform provider that much more money? Is that what this poison is about?  If it is….may I make a suggestion:  Get Out Of The Business!  Making money on the backs of murdered children is not welcomed!  Making money on inciting racial tensions is not welcomed! Making money fueling hatred is not welcome!

It wasn’t that long ago where a pat on the back, a warm smile, or even an endearing hug solved so many ailments….in the world.  Mr Beck….you really could use a hug.   Common Sense says.

Who knows where the time goes

Time....where no man has gone before.

Each and every day, time progresses and we continue to measure that progress through mechanical and emotional means.  I look at the clocks and think “where has the time gone?”.  The calendars show large groups of time coming and going. Events that once seemed like yesterday, now have to be recalled from the recesses of our minds’ memory banks.  Time flies, time goes by, time, time, time….

I’m finding, as are so many of my cohorts in life, that time is moving as usual, but at a seemingly much faster rate!  The marked anniversaries of events approach and our first thoughts seem to be “was that really that long ago?”  Why? What’s happened between then and now? Are we losing our minds or our times?  Why does it seem to be only a couple of years, when in fact it has been twenty?  We spend time watching young ones playing with innocence and disregards for the worries of today, and within a blink of an eye, BANG! Now they are taking pictures of their children, our grand-children. Time? Hello? Did a beat or two get skipped? Hello?  How is it that the news media shares the anniversary story of a major event and we sit in dismay at the ‘time’ that is announced?  This time-speed continuum might be fun for the youngsters waiting with anticipation for the age of driving to come upon them, or the expectant mother-to-be wanting to get the kid out now, or the sick and anguished waiting for the final rest to be rid of the pain. As for the rest of us who really are not in any type of hurry, that time-speed continuum can just take it down a few notches…..some of us are struggling to keep up!

Busy, busy times we live in!  While the localized issues of today rage in our backyard, the general issues of today flourish within the communities, the major issues of today build-up globally, all these things happen and we seem to be missing out!  Are we becoming so obsessed with more and more events going on at once that we lose out on the simple things?  Are we craving for more activity in an over-active life?  I think that a simple check of current trends within the health community will show that we really are gluttons.  Gluttons to the need for more busy, busy, busy within our realms.  But, wait! There’s more! If you hurry now, you can effectually create a wave from the center of your pond to ripple out into the community, then the nation, and subsequently the whole planet!   Share, spread, fuel!

BRAKES! Why?  Why this need? Hasn’t anyone heard of the very sage-like statement: ‘Too much on our plates”?  Hello?! We don’t have very big plates to begin with, so continuing to heap mounds and mounds of more stress, anger, hurt, anxiety, pain, anguish, confusion, and a host of other words onto that small plate we have been assigned in life, is utter madness!  The time-speed continuum is being fueled by this type of behavior.   We are so focused on creating more clutter that the truly important events in our lives fade back and are now blurry at best.  We blame the time-speed continuum for taking away that special moment when in actuality, we took it away.  We buried it under a mound of busy clutter.  It’s that comedic bit where they open that closet and loads of junk, stuff, things, items, whatever you want to call it, come crashing down around us.  Do we really find the item we wanted to see?

I have become fond of the word “shiney”.  I use it in many situations where I want to point out the futility of people trying to focus on one thing and seemingly drifting off to another, then another, then another, until finally they are miles away from the starting point.  That shiney that we give in to so much these days is that desire to have it all, at once, without the slightest regard to things we already have had….such as the important events we want to memorialize.  The shiney’s of our desires have been the creation of the time-speed continuum.  We are not settled for the simple, basics of life.  We crave that closet full of “stuff”.  We need more and more projects and schedules and plans and things, things, things, to keep us “busy”.

Common sense once told us that too much of a good thing can be detrimental to our lives.  That common sense was clear in flagging us to when we were starting to get overloaded.  There comes a time when that shiney is actually our Achille’s Heel and we end up losing……everything!

A great song that was shared with the world long ago (so it seems!) contained the title ‘Who knows where the time goes?’.   I borrow the beginning verse to share with you how simplicity has its beauty.

“Across the morning sky, all the birds are leaving.  But, how can they know it’s time for them to go?”

They know when to leave, before the winter’s fire.  Why? Simple….they don’t fuel the time-speed continuum and lose track of the important things.  They have amongst them: Common Sense!

And, now a word from YOUR sponsor…(oh, woe is we….)

I was on Facebook this morning and there are many who like to ‘repost’ various statements of alarm or cause….asking for you to do the same and show support and solidarity.  I’ve never been much of a follower in that respect, with the exception of the following:

Salary of the US President. ..$400,000 . Salary of retired US Presidents …$180,000. Salary of House/Senate…$174,000. Salary of Speaker of the House.. .$223,500. .. Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders… $193,400.. .Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN IRAQ $38,000… I think we found where the cuts should be made! ( NOT OUR TEACHERS OR SOLDIERS!)

There is a level of validity to that statement that someone shared with the “Facebook” world.  Valid in pointing out, once again, that this nation is on the verge of financial ruin.  My state is in shutdown, the federal government is facing virtual “foreclosure”, and taxes and fees continue to go up and up.

So, in my usual calm, cool, and collected manner, I recommended that we don’t keep ‘reposting’ these comments, but that we should consider calling up the morons, I mean representatives.  The folks we elected that are supposed to be representing the people.   The ones that are stealing your taxes to use for stupid ‘pet’ projects instead of using them for important stuff that dang-near every American, who has two or more brain cells, supports…like education for our children (teachers), military support to protect us from the ‘crazies’ who like to blow up everything (including their own people), and our own citizens…folks here legally and hard-working trying to survive…not the sneaky bastards that are scamming the system and getting benefits they do NOT deserve!

Ok, I will admit that it was more of a soap-box, grand-standing, all-out-vent-party-tirade that I blasted.  But, I continued with the opera:

Let’s stop the greedy morons from continuing to take our hard-earned money so they can send it all overseas to undeserving, hating, terrorists. Let’s get the ‘representatives’ to understand that they are supposed to represent the people…not represent themselves or whoever happens to have an open wallet!  This is getting stupid! My parents have worked their whole life, putting into the social security fund, and now they, and millions more, face possibly no checks? Why? Because of morons who kiss up to terrorists, illegals, special interests, and, oh…..each other! Thanks for throwing away our hard-earned money…ya big dummies!


So, now that the indicators had screamed “no more coffee for you”, I figured that it was time to justify my bellowing with the “common sense” theme for the day.  After all, I have always been a fan of the term.  Common is simply meaning ‘shared alike’ and   Sense is sound practical judgment.  Sharing sound practical judgment.  I like that!

So, onward and ‘somewhere’ward we march.   I want to share some more insight to that term Common Sense.  It truly is a powerful, yet simple term.  A term that describes the water cooler conversations, the commute to work discussions, the vocalizing back to the radio or t.v., the family functions that solve the worlds problems over a few brats and beers.  Common Sense is out  there amongst the people of this great land, but for some reason, is in hiding from the shadows of government hall.  They have denounced its’ power, cut off ties that once existed, and forbade the use of it within their circles.

Well, sadly for them, it wants to make the greatest comeback ever! Hopefully, it will surface before the damage is beyond repair!

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again….

Being a Minnesota state employee has led to a very unique mindset that I never thought would be in my world.  I’ve almost likened the layoff and games of politics to watching the school yard:

“Well, the last couple of weeks at my school (School of HardKnocks…wanted Julliard, but something about money…anyway, I digress..!), has been really tough.  You see, there has been these two groups of bullies that have been causing all kinds of problems for all the students.  Some folks call them gangs, some refer to them as political parties, but I just think they are bullies.

Anyway, they started by taking our lunch money from us (and breakfast and dinner), then making us stand outside in the rain.  It’s been really rough for so many of the students at our school.  But, that’s not the worst part.

It turns out that the trouble-makers that have caused such disruptions in the classrooms aren’t fellow students, but the so-called teachers themselves! I know, right!!!  So much for that whole “lead by example” stuff we were taught!

So, it seems that the two groups of bullies have been fighting against each other and that us students were just “caught in the middle”.  I think they called us casualties-of-war, or cannon-fodder, or some type of branding.  Now I’m sure that the blame-game will commence and each side will say it was the other sides fault that students were hurt.  Then, they’ll say it was friendly-fire, but no one will accept responsibility (which is something we are supposed to do when we make a mistake….learned that at a better school).

My fear, as with so many other students at the School of HardKnocks, is going back to classes.  It’s going to be hard to trust again.  Seeing the cheesy, fake smiles of the teachers/bullies as they try to welcome us back to class….knowing darn well that for each handshake or pat on the back they give us, their other hand is holding sharp objects that could cause deep wounds for life.  (Hmm…sounds like several movies I’ve seen in the past, or maybe I was reading this scenario somewhere before…maybe some history books, or something……).

Begrudgingly, we will be led back to the rooms, like lambs, told to nevermind what has happened in the past, but to look to the future…’cuz they said so! (insert another history lesson here)

At this point, I’m not sure I’ve learned anything positive out of this whole thing other than the two gangs of bullies are certainly not very nice, or trusting, or smart.  Seems to me that all of us that attend the School of HardKnocks would benefit more from different teachers!   I know if we students had acted like that, we would have been punished and even expelled!  Can they teachers be expelled…..soon?

Well, I’ll close for now.  I can’t wait for Band Camp in 2012!  I hear they have some really colorful camp counselors that want to lead us students!!!! I wonder if we will learn anything new there…or just repeat that same thing, again?”

Then again, the school yard never left you needing to file for unemployement when you are “employed”.

This sign is 'not' around any Minnesota government buildings.

Hello world!

Well, this is just the intro. Nothing more, nothing less.  This is where you get to know me, my ideology, and my likes and disdains. Well, hate to break it to you right off the bat, but, I’m going to have to write the prose of me at a later time.

I will say this though….I was once a happy-go-lucky, naive, and simple lad, content within the confines of my ‘happy place’. But, since being enrolled in the school of hard knocks, have become jaded to the workings of failed empires, changing tides of societal mentality, and stupid people behind the wheel.

In other words, I have solutions.  It’s the lost art of “common sense”.  Something that I hope to resurrect. Well, not me alone.  I would love to have an entire mass grow with an urge to “sense” some reality back to society!

We’ll talk later.  For now, fare thee well!