Monthly Archives: October 2013

Freedom and Responsibility

photo (2)

Recently, while reading The True Patriot, I was presented with an idea that resonated strongly with me: freedom comes with responsibility. Seems simple enough, I know, but I realized this disconnect with what I hear all around me is what I find so annoying in people (not all people, you’re cool) and politics.


Maybe I’m wrong, and I hope I am, but I hear more than I want to, “It’s a free country!” preceded or followed by some shitty behavior (like allowing the government to shut down). Yeah, it is a free country, and because of that, we have a responsibility not to abuse that freedom and instead work to maintain it. I recognize this is where the debate starts: how exactly do we do that?


I’m not sure, but I don’t believe we do it by behaving like children and refusing to compromise about anything. I’ve held this uncompromising belief in the past, and some would say not “sticking to one’s guns” leads only to a continual degradation of rights. There are times to stand strong, but without compromise, continual war is all we can reasonably expect.


Utopian? I don’t think so. I’m a little slow, but not so much as to believe all people will agree on any damn thing, but the majority of us, especially the ones chosen to make important daily decisions should be skilled at the art of compromise.


So next time you want to chuck a beer bottle through someone’s window and then drunkenly bellow, “It’s a free country!” or behave like a cowardly, anonymous jackass, spewing hate online behind the shield of free speech, take a moment, and remember that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something. Be responsible with our freedom; help preserve it. Please. Profound sacrifices were made to obtain that freedom, so some minor sacrifices on our part are not unreasonable.





What Would Jesus Do?


I fancy myself a fiction writer, and as such would like to spend this time together engaging in some: what would Jesus do? It’s an interesting question, to me anyway.

Let’s pretend like Jesus (Christ, I mean—the magic Jesus—not the guy who wears expensive cowboy hats every Sunday) was a real guy. From what I’ve heard, he was a bit of a rebel. He rejected Roman and religious authority and preached a doctrine of peace (we’ll get to that in a moment.) He recommended people stop the eye-trading nonsense and turn the other cheek. And when the Romans grew fearful of this freethinker and cried for him to cease and desist, did he? Hell, no. He kept right on going until they tacked him up on what might as well have been a middle finger to everyone who ever doubted him.

I’d love to believe that. I like the stories of Jesus being called “The Wicked Priest” because he fought church dogma and taught compassion in the face of ceaseless cruelty. Buddha (and other Christ-like figures who predate Jesus) would be proud. If that were the whole story of Mr. J, I’d steal one of those “WWJD” bracelets for myself. Unfortunately, however, there’s more.

Jesus, who won’t retaliate if you punch him in the face, will burn your literally GD soul forever if you don’t obey him. Surrender to him or it’s infinity in Satan’s barbeque (naturally, I’m sticking to a literal interpretation of the story—don’t take any of this too seriously.) So, this rejecter of authorities and preacher of peace (hippie) demands total submission or he’ll subject you to endless torment.

God, if He exists, is greater than I am. He should be able to love more deeply than I can. Why then, does He punish His children for eternity? When my children misbehave, I punish them, but I could never find it in my heart to punish them forever.

My point? Maybe a literal reading of the Bible (and other religious stories) isn’t the way to go. They’re great stories (I’ve heard), and like all good fiction, they contain profound truths, but it’s vital to remember they’re just stories. If they’re not, I’m in real trouble.

Mistaking Kindness for Weakness

gg allin

I’ve had my share of anger problems and general jackassery, but I’m a fairly laid-back person most of the time. I try to be polite as much as possible. I open doors for people; I keep my black humor to myself for the most part when I’m not in the bar or at home. I scream and yell in a punk band so I don’t have to when I’m waiting in line at the store.

What I’ve never understood is why being polite, being compassionate, and smiling draws such aggression out of certain people. I saw this behavior a lot in construction: some people would simply hound a person until that person flashed and started yelling or threatening violence. And poof! Acceptance! I don’t think I will ever understand this. Are we no better than a pack of wolves that must continually establish dominance over one another? This ain’t the prison yard, fellas; drop the act. A little basic respect and a smile might keep us from shooting, knifing, strangling, beating, and crucifying each other, at least for a while.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when compassion fails, and immediate, violent action becomes a necessity, but those times shouldn’t be when we pass one another on the sidewalk, or have to work together for a couple of months. I smile because I hate fighting. I hate fighting because I’ve been in fights. Do me a favor, please. Lighten up, and try to check that need you have—and you know who you are—to dominate everyone you don’t fear.

P.S. I didn’t take the above picture—I stole it right off the Internet. I hope I don’t offend the photographer, and I will gladly remove it if asked to do so.



I will tread the Way firmly—with an empty mind and a positive spirit.

I will remain sober, allowing the sun of consciousness to blaze unclouded within me.

If I speak, I will speak the truth, and speak it with compassion.

If I act, the Divine Will—to which I have surrendered this vessel I call “body”—shall propel me.

When I fall, when I falter, I will rise and reconnect to the Tao until I can rise no more, returning then to the Universal Source.

I ask for the strength to live these words so when the darkness of the world clamps its wicked jaws around my children, the light of my living example will spark within them kindred conflagrations, devouring the beasts of eternal night I wish them never to know.

Whoa Gee Motte Kuru No Iasho Ni

Chopping Sticks


I haven’t been conducting myself in a proper manner lately. I’m trying to teach my kids to be upright, straight-talking, compassionate, and able men—and I try to teach them by modeling this behavior for them to the best of my ability. Part of this life curriculum is to never, ever give up. Change tactics perhaps, but never give up.


Not giving up begins with attitude. If I don’t instill in them the confidence to accomplish whatever task they set out to do, then they already lack the tools to succeed. Lately, however, my encouraging statements to them ring hollow in my ears because my own confidence is faltering. I’ve allowed the demons of doubt and acrimony to possess my mind and infect my speech. Suddenly, instead of facing the world in the manner I was taught—like a warrior—I’m niggling and gnawing away at my own spirit, convincing myself I can’t win and the fight’s probably not worth winning anyway.


Well, time to snap out of it. When I was sixteen, we practiced breaking chopsticks with a twice-folded square of paper. After countless tries, the chopstick remained intact. Then I was told to imagine it broken before I took another swipe. This time the paper cut clean through the chopstick. I learned then that thought—intention—carries weight in reality. A negative perception creates a negative reality, and a positive one creates what I want. If I remember to be positive now, despite what my emotions might call out for me to do, maybe I can teach my boys to avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve been stumbling into all my life. It will probably do me some good too.


(I stole the picture off the Internet, but I grew up looking at it in my jujitsu school, and it has been enormously helpful to me. My deep thanks to the original artist, whose name I do not know.)




Release the Chicken!

electric chicken

My youngest son’s favorite thing to do in the world right now is play a computer fantasy/strategy game called Heroes IV. One of the units in the game is a thunderbird, a giant condor that calls down bolts of lightning as it pecks its foes with its mighty beak. My son calls this “the electric chicken”, a far superior name, I think.

Oh that I had an electric chicken! I’d set that sucker loose on those cats in Washington playing chicken with American lives and livelihoods. Assuming the government shutdown and soon-to-follow default haven’t been engineered by the nefarious Illuminati, maybe some lightning bolts in the appropriate asses would get those folks steppin’ and fetchin’, doing what they should have been doing all along—serving the American people, which as far as I can tell is the opposite of what they’re doing now.

As I’ve said before, I despise politics, and I try to keep things light in this blog, but this madness is hard to ignore. Where are the flag-waving patriots now, screaming “America!” between beer belches and providing slurred protests that this is the greatest country in the world? Maybe it is; I don’t know: I haven’t been to every country in the world. But I think we lose those hillbilly bragging rights when our government parties, like two spoiled brats crashing their expensive RC cars into one another, play a game of “don’t flinch” with parts of the government. This whole thing makes me sick, and I wish I could offer a solution rather than just complaint. At least I hope this shutdown shakes people up some. I don’t want my kids to have to deal with a revolution, but when a government becomes a danger to its people, what other recourse is there?

Till Next Thursday Do We Part

pyramid lake

I once did a foolish, terrible thing, rash beyond reason: I married. I never proposed; I acquiesced. The argument was that the baby on the way should have the same last name as mommy and daddy. Take heed young couples—this is not a reason to wed. But I went through with it. There on the shore of Pyramid Lake I committed my life to a woman who looked like she’d smuggled a basketball into the ceremony under her wedding dress in case a pick-up game broke out (I often have a nigh insatiable need to suck at something for an hour.)

We made a go of it; I don’t want to get into the grimy details of that calamity just now, but after four years (or was it four hundred?) it was over. Divorce, though difficult, brought with it many good things. For instance, ex-wife jokes almost always elicit a forced, pitying laugh. Also, I finally came to really understand “The Serenity Prayer” and the importance of acceptance since we had two kids together and there was no way to avoid this new phenomenon in my life, the rise of a nemesis. I figured that was a movie thing; I never thought I’d actually have one. A nemesis, I mean.

The fights went on for a while and then fizzled out (similar to sex between married couples.) I’m glad it happened sooner than later, when it would have had a greater effect on the kids. I don’t mean to deter anyone. Don’t be afraid to commit to the one you love for the moment. Please, get married; take the plunge; prove me a bitter fool. I’ll never grow weary of ex-wife jokes, and I think we need all we can get.