Archive for the ‘Philosophy of Red’ Category

Time For A Little Reckoning

January 10, 2011

Folks, a congresswoman got shot in the head the other day, and some more people DIED including a federal judge and a 9 year old girl whose entire life was bookended by tragedy. Why? Because some unbalanced fucknut took a gun and did the unthinkable. Except that it is thinkable, it is possible, it is something that happens more often that we all ever know, because most of the time the victims are anonymous or unimportant to the public at large.  Even more, this sort of tragedy will probably continue to happen for as long as us humans are still running the show on this here planet.  I don’t know exactly what all the blaming is going to accomplish other than ramping up the hate some more.  Not that it matters all that much; I am pretty sure that even if Barack Obama and Sarah Palin had a joyful hug in front fo the White House at noon on Easter Sunday in front of a joint session of Congress and then everyone went out for drinks and swore forever more to say only kind words about each other, some people out there are going to do heinous and unthinkable things. 

Does this mean that I absolve the Right of all blame?  Well, I don’t think the Right is totally to blame, but you gotta be careful what you wish for, and understand that bullseyes (and they WERE bullseyes, don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, Sarah Palin) can be interpreted different ways by a lot of different (and not so stable) people.  And you on the Left, I’d maybe just sit down and stop being so indignant; Sarah Palin did NOT pull the trigger, and no lawyer can spin it so that it’s her fault, and trying to blame this solely on someone’s politics is probably pushing it.

Maybe later, after I’ve totally thought all this through, I’ll feel a little differently.  However, right now I see this for what I think it really is – some unbalanced person with a past history of threats and (possibly) mental problems that should probably have been addressed long ago, who took a gun and killed a bunch of people and ultimately failing to kill the one person he was really after.  To say that this is indicative of anything more than a crazy person would be a bit disingenous, to say the least.

Small Town

August 31, 2010

My daughter, Erin, is playing soccer this year in an instructional league.  She’s having fun, and expending some of that boundless energy of youth.  What I like about this league is that it’s been around for many years; in fact, I played soccer in this league twenty eight or so years ago.  That seems like a long time, but it’s something that gives me a little sense of place and history as a person.  This is where I grew up and learned and now I am passing some of that to the next generation.

Another thing that it brings up is the comfort level I have with things that are familiar, and the familiarity I enjoy with so many of the things around me.  I live in the same town I grew up in.  My kids will go to the same middle and high schools that I attended.  I never think of my house as particularly old, but it was built in 1954, the same time and in much the same design as the house my parents have owned for forty years.  I used to hang out in the same bar in which my parents met as twenty-somethings.  The beach, the playgrounds, the town hall, the stores, all part of my past and my future as well.

This is not to say that I haven’t explored the area a little.  I’ve been in the city more in the last two years than I probably was from 1990 until 2008.  My friends are a little more spread out, and I don’t get lost anywhere north of Blasdell. I never moved away, I never moved back, I don’t have the frame of reference that some people have who have lived in a huge city or a hundred miles from nowhere.  Some people would say that my lack of experience with other areas, other paces and styles of life, is why I love Western New York so much.  Somehow, I don’t think so.  I like seasons, lakes, twenty minutes to everywhere, and running into someone I know all the time.  Maybe I’m missing out on somewhere else, but I don’t think so.  Right here seems just fine with me.  Sure there’s parts that I don’t like: politics, taxes, sparse job market.  But I think I’d rather take my chances with that, than start fresh somewhere else.  That’s my opinion, and that’s all it is…

Hot Air

August 11, 2010

It looks like I made the paper again; this time, in an article about electric costs and air conditioning.  It’s been interesting to look at my usage this summer, especially once I saw that my bill went up something like 59% from July to August.  Also interesting, and something I plan to take more advantage of, is that the utility companies have a lot of information on your usage that you can actually download into a spreadsheet and analyze at your convenience.  I plan to do this more, especially with the electric and natural gas bills.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to go about this, or if there’s any software out there to help track this stuff, let me know.  hopefully some analysis and conservation will save me some cash for more fun things…like mortgage payments!

So

On Getting Older, Not Old

March 8, 2010

I’ve often considered what it means to get older.  This means something different to me than getting old.  I think getting old is going to suck, because I generally equate “getting old” with negative things – insurmountable physical and mental deficiencies, resentment of change, an inability or unwillingness to understand or adapt to changing societal norms and technology.  To me old is not a particular age, but rather a state of being that I will avoid, with any luck, until the very end.

What I mean by getting older is something a little different.  When I was young and stupid and doing quite a few things that weren’t exactly in my own best interests I was was often told that as I got older, these things wouldn’t be fun or satisfying or important.  I smoked, drank, drove like an idiot at times, ate really unhealthy food, all kinds of things.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I suppose I expected that there would be a specific point in time where I would decide that I was “older”; that at a certain age or life event I would suddenly know that it was time to settle down.  Of course, a rather significant event did occur – I won’t get into specifics – and I decided it might be good to quit drinking, and if I was going to do that I might as well try quitting smoking as well.  However, most of the things that have changed in my life have been the result of gradual, incremental changes that have often gone unnoticed in the general clutter and hustle of living life.

Every once in a great while I’ll sit and think about the changes I’ve gone through, and wonder if it’s just because I’ve gotten “older”.  Recently, during these moments of thought, it occurred to me that getting older is not a terrible thing, nor does it always mean that you’ve changed in some intrinsic way.  I haven’t “sold out”.  I haven’t conformed, or whatever you want to call it. I’ve come to the realization that getting older is simply refining who you are, growing, learning, and becoming the person you really are.  For some, it’s shedding the brash bullshit facade of youth.  For others, it’s an epiphany and a sea change in their life.  There are those for whom it’s simply withdrawing further into the lies and deceits to the point of no return.    Getting older is permanent.  Getting older is not getting old.  Getting older is a good thing once you can learn to accept it for what it is.

The Great Failed Experiment

February 1, 2010

Hi!  Remember me?  I’m the guy that used to write a post every day here.  Then, through the vagaries of life and children and jobs I kind of let it go.  I haven’t posted meaningfully here in quite some time.  Some would call it lazy, overwhelmed, writer’s block; there are a million different reasons most of which have to do with the sheer scarcity of time.  However, I am going to assign 95% of the blame two things:  Facebook and the HTC Droid Eris.

About a year or so ago, some dipshit (me) thought I should have a MySpace page, to keep up with people in a certain part of the family.  After about 8 minutes of MySpace, I realized I was about 20 years too old for that, and gave up.  I then moved on to Facebook, and that was where all of my family, peers, and old friends really were.  So began the Facebook odyssey. 

I began to rely on Facebook to keep me in the loop.  Most of the people I interacted with outside of work were on there, and it seemed a reasonable outlet for some of my thoughts.  Slowly, I began to fall away from posting on this blog.  Hell, who are we kidding; I basically stopped.  I thought it was OK.  I was still keeping up on local stuff through old friends at WNYMedia.net.  Many of my blogger friends were on Facebook, too, so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.  Facebook became the replacement for my blog-based world, with one small difference:  I wasn’t writing anything anymore, which was OK, because I thought I didn’t have anything to say, or time to say it.

The second scapegoat is my new HTC Droid Eris.  I got the unlimited data package, and it’s perfect for keeping up on Facebook and Twitter, but definitely not for composing anything more than 140 characters at a time.  Also, I can maneuver it with one hand, which is perfect when you’re holding a brand new baby boy.  Everything seemed cool, but I still wasn’t writing anything worth a damn, and it started to bother me a little. 

The big realization, epiphany, awakening, fizzling light bulb above my head, whatever you want to call it, came last night.  Kevin and Kate and Ryan were on Twitter and kicking around an impromptu “blogger” get together at a local bar to watch the Sabres game tonight.  At that time it occurred to me that I couldn’t honestly consider myself a blogger anymore.  That thought pissed me off, and also made me realize that I really missed blogging, too.

So, in order to redeem myself and justify my presence at a “blogger” get together, I am going to try to get this blog moving again.  That might mean a bit less Facebook.  I don’t think Twitter’s going to take a hit because it’s perfect for fun and distraction at any time of the day.  But I will be spending more time here than I have in a long time.  I hope it works.

Merry Christmas To All

December 24, 2009

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of you and yours a very merry Christmas.  You are all very special to me and my family in some way, and for you presence in my life, I am thankful.  My hope for this holiday season, and for the coming year, is a greater understanding and appreciation for all that I am blessed to have.  My family and friends are priceless.  I have a job with a place that, for all of its faults, is still a pretty damned good place to work.  My wife continues to amaze and enthrall me.  My children are the light of my life.  I am truly a lucky man.

As you celebrate this wonderful time of the year, I hope for peace, good fellowship, and love for all of you.  Merry Christmas!

Off The Leash – Summer Fall Nights

August 31, 2009

OK, so here are some random thoughts for your late night or early morning or when the hell ever consumption and contemplation:

It is August 31st, soon to be September 1st, and the last few nights have already felt like autumn has arrived.  This summer has been a complete failure, weather-wise.  Heh.  Weather-wise.  That reminds me…

Billy Wilder has quietly become one of my favorite director/producer/writers in film, and I probably haven’t even seen half of his movies.  Right now, high on my list of all-time favorites are “The Seven Year Itch”, “Stalag 17”, and “The Apartment”.  I haven’t even seen “Sunset Boulevard” or “Some Like It Hot” so I may not even have experienced the best he had to offer.  Is it strange that many of my favorite movies are older than me?

My wife is going to give birth to my 4th child, our 3rd, and my first son in just about a month and a half.  I can’t even begin to explain how absolutely and all-consumingly excited I am about this. 

Someone I worked with a few years back has passed away.  That’s the second former co-worker to die in the last year.  Neither of them made it past 50.  Damn.

No Margin For Error

August 10, 2009

Pat Kane ends up in the klink after being arrested for beating up a taxi driver and robbing him.  OK, this sounds crazy but barely plausible.  Next thing you know, everyone is yelling for Kane’s head and wondering how a big name dude does something so stupid.  The inevitable “privileged asshole athlete” theme begins to overtake the commentary.  Sandy Beach is calling for him to go to jail (with the snide comment “if he’s guilty, of course”).

But wait.

Turns out Kane and cousin may have been locked in the cab by the driver, who thought they were just a couple college kids who might skip out on a fare.   The driver’s lawyer is now trying to downplay the incident.  Reports that the driver has gotten into spats with customers before are beginning to make their way to the media.  Hmmm.

What this sounds like is a couple kids that are probably a little intoxicated and one of whom is a pretty rich and famous hometown boy ran into a surly cab driver with a temper who was going to teach a couple college boys a lesson.  Then all hell – or, as is seemingly more likely, a smaller incident – broke loose and everyone ends up looking dumb.  People arrested, stories on the news and talk radio and every online media outlet in town, people who don’t know a hockey puck from a doughnut shouting their opinions at each other.  What this so clearly illustrates is that there is little room for error for those in the public eye, or even those who either inadvertently or purposely get caught in the glare of the media spotlight.

As a student of people – and who really isn’t? – I have a few questions.   Is this a new phenomenon?  Certainly the sheer size, reach, and ubiquity of media coverage is at an all time high.  Is it too much?  Are we expecting an level of behavior from our celebrities that is simply out of touch with the reality of their status as human beings, mere mortals, people who were born just like us?  I think that the money accorded these folks comes with an awful and almost unfulfillabe expectation.  Should we dial it back a bit?  Can we?  Or is this the bell that cannot be unrung?

Golf

May 13, 2009

It just occurred to me that I have not gone out for a round of golf yet this year.  I’ve never gone this far into spring without playing nine holes somewhere, or at least hitting a driving range.  I still have no plans to go, though I am going to try for next week some time.  By the way if there’s anyone that would like to get out there, let me know!

It’s amazing what life can throw at you.  Ten years ago I was of the opinion that golf was an inalienable right that I would be exercising every weekend from May until October, with a special emphasis on a week in Myrtle Beach or Phoenix at some point every summer.   Fresh sweet air, a noble pursuit, freedom from the annoyances of everyday life for a little bit, a few beers, friends, what more could one ask for?  

Then I had a daughter.  I got married.  Bought a house.  Had a couple more daughters.  Now I’ve got another kid on the way.  And I haven’t touched my golf clubs in almost nine months.  Life changes in many ways, and I can’t say that the changes I’ve experienced are bad.  I wouldn’t trade my wife and kids for anything, I managed to quit smoking and drinking and lost some weight lately and none of that is bad, right?  On balance,  I have nothing to complain about.  So this is not a rant, just an observation, maybe brought on by the beautiful weather and the quizk glimpse of one of my coworkers showing of their new driver this morning.  Oh, well.

But man, I miss golf.

Off The Leash

May 10, 2009

A couple times a week, I just write whatever first comes to my mind.  Kinda taking the leash of the mind and seeing where it goes, you might say.  I’ve never actually published those posts.  Until now.  I thought it might be an interesting series, called Off The Leash.   And here’s how that goes:

I saw a picture of Patrick Swayze on the cover of some tabloid or other this weekend.  He looked thin, sick, and old.  The same day I read part of an interview with Ryan O’Neal about Farrah Fawcett where he talks about her being bedridden and having lost her hair.  Both are suffering with – and will likely die sooner than later from – cancer.  In the last year, I’ve lost friends and family to cancer.  Cancer scares the shit out of me, scares me to no end because with every passing year it just seems so inevitable that someone else I know is going to get it.  Hell, right now someone I love might have it and not even know.  Not even know.  The healthiest people in the world can get cancer, and people that practically put out a welcome sign for it are never afflicted.  Even though we know a lot of the causes and risk factors and choices that can increase the likelihood of cancer, it’s still so random.  And terrifying.

I think the reason I wanted to write this was some sort of cosmic vaccine.  It seems that the things we don’t explicitly acknowledge – whether through ignorance or conscious denial or whatever – are the things that tend to bite us in the ass.  Maybe by acknowledging cancer I can somewhat inoculate myself against it.  Dumb thought, but what the hell.  I already quit smoking, drinking, and I eat a whole lot better than I ever have.  No sense in not taking another precaution, regardless of the validity…

Alice In West Seneca

May 2, 2009

This evening I went to a stage performance of “Alice In Wonderland” that a couple of my cousin’s kids were in. I didn’t quite know what to expect; my oldest daughter is still a little young to be in plays at school so I don’t really have experience at these events. 

Well, I was absolutely amazed at the ability of some of these kids to perform!  They acted well, sang well, and barely seemed nervous at all.  In fact, it some of the humor that they wrote into the production was the funniest stuff I heard all week.  In short, these kids had a ton of talent!  I shouldn’t be shocked by this, but I think I was just a little surprised maybe that it was that good. 

And then the whole family – me and my wife and three kids and my parents – went to Antoinette’s in West Seneca for ice cream.  Now that’s a good night indeed.

Unrelated Thoughts

April 21, 2009

I have a few things that I’d like to get off my chest, so let’s go!

The presence of Perez Hilton as a judge at the Miss USA pageant says all I need to know about the event.  I can also say without reservation that a woman’s position on gay marriage has no bearing on my calculation of her beauty, poise, or intelligence.  I may not agree with her, but I also think it’s completely irrelevant.

The weather in and around Buffalo, NY at this time of year is absolutely maddening.  Tomorrow night there will likely be a mix of snow and rain with temperatures around 35 degrees.  Saturday is supposed to be 72 degrees and sunny.  Of course it won’t be 72 at my house, since I live within 800 feet of the 38 degree Lake Erie.  It will probably be more like 60.  Oh well.

This time of year also brings the joy of the NHL playoffs, but there are two drawbacks this year.  One is that the Sabres aren’t playing, which decreases my interest in general and makes it difficult to find my true rooting interest.  The second is that since I have DirecTV I don’t get CBC – the Canadian TV channel that carries Hockey Night In Canada and airs a couple playoff games every night.  I don’t have a strong enough antenna to pull it in from across the lake over the air, either, so I’m SOL.