Monthly Archives: April 2013

Happy Earth Day 2013!

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“Can earth be Earth when all its trees are gone,
And sudsy waters have become unfit,
And poisoned life no longer greets the dawn
With raucous sounds that death has caused to quit?
Will trees no longer wave, with limbs unfurled,
On hapless earth, that ever in orbit roams?
Will human ego sacrifice the world
To satiate its lust for pompous homes?
Will distant space look down on orb that’s bald.
I now can hear the mother say,
“I was once called Earth.
But now, bereft of mirth, I weep. 
That treeless orb’s no longer Earth”

Can Earth Be Earth? – Garvit Agarwal

Earth Day.

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Accidental Dumbass

Paisley is the dark-eyed White guy on the right.

Paisley is the dark-eyed White guy on the right.

The pop music world here in the U.S. has been abuzz (somewhat) about a new duet by country and western singer Brad Paisley and rapper LL Cool J (real name: James Todd Smith, because you know most rap singers can’t use their birth names).  The song, “Accidental Racist,” is Paisley’s allegedly bold confrontation of the South’s deep-seated and lingering racism.  If you listen to the media rhetoric, you’d think Andrea Bocelli and Leontyne Price had gotten together for a world tour.  Now, I’d drag myself off a death bed to see that!

I’ll be up front and admit I’m not a big country and western music fan – despite being born and raised in Texas – and I don’t care much for rap or hip-hop.  Paisley and J make a cute couple, but that’s about as much as either has going for them.  I haven’t heard many songs from either man.  But, if J’s singing is like his acting, I know Bocelli and Price have nothing to fear.

Paisley has come under the proverbial fire for his previous displays of the Confederate flag; an emblem of the “Old South” where Negroes and Indians were sub-human critters.  Looking at Paisley, I have to wonder if some Negro or Indian didn’t sneak into the main house of his family many years ago.  I mean, seriously, if you look at White people from the “Old Country” (e.g. Europe), they are nowhere near that dark-haired or dark-eyed.  Not even Southern Europe!  They just aren’t.  But, I’m nitpicking.

Many White Southerners are still trying to redefine the Confederate flag as a symbol of some ancient noble cause; what they call state’s rights; what the rest of us normal people call stupid.  The southeastern quadrant of the United States didn’t try to secede from the Union 150 years ago because of excessive taxation, or the charming “state’s rights” mantra.  They wanted the freedom to keep Negro people in shackles, right next to the cows and mules.  But, damn!  Some of those old White Southerners won’t let go of that myth.  They’ve been fighting the Civil War for all this time and still haven’t won!

Paisley apparently hopes to make us all realize that his inherently racist actions and statements aren’t deliberate; they are – as the song implies – purely accidental.  In other words, that silly White boy didn’t know what the fuck he was doing!  Hence, the innocuous placement of the Confederate flag on his tee shirt; a shirt that was probably sewn by a Chinese 5-year-old.

If I think about it, much can be said of the term “redskin.”  Who would guess the name “Washington Redskins,” for example, would make Indian people see…well, red?  It’s just a name, right?  Wrong!

It’s really amazing how stupid people can be.  Several years ago, while working as a customer service representative of a bank’s wire transfer division, a man asked me my name.  When I told him, he replied, “Oh, well, let me speak to someone who speaks better English.”  When I told him no one in the department spoke better English than me, he angrily said, “So, what do you have there?  A bunch of dumbass Mexicans?!”  I told him to close his account and hung up on him.  Back in 2006, a young White police officer who stopped me for running a yellow light asked if I’d ever been to prison “with a name like that.”  I got his badge number and filed a complaint with the Dallas police.  But, nothing ever came of it.  President Obama once said he knows what it’s like to be standing outside a restaurant, waiting for a valet to bring him his car, when a White person thinks he’s the valet and asks him to retrieve their own vehicle.

Accidental?  No, none of it is.  People really do know what they’re saying or doing in these situations.  They just haven’t thought much about it and what it means.  That’s no accident.  It’s ignorant.

Oops!  I forgot that was still there!

Oops! I forgot that was still there!

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Find the Hero!

John Cole 041813

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.  It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

Arthur Ashe

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Best Quote of the Week

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“That’s what you’ve taught us, Boston.  That’s what you’ve reminded us – to push on.  To persevere.  To not grow weary.  To not get faint.  Even when it hurts.  Even when our heart aches.  We summon the strength that maybe we didn’t even know we had, and we carry on.  We finish the race.”

– President Obama, during an interfaith service for victims of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.

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Worst Quote of the Week

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“If babies had guns they wouldn’t be aborted.”

U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, on his new campaign bumper sticker.

Well, that just makes a whole hell of a lot of sense!  But, wait!  He might be onto something.  Babies holding guns – not much different than politicians holding guns.  I mean, at least babies are too little to know what the hell they’re doing; while most politicians are too little-minded to know what the hell they’re doing.

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In Remembrance – Oklahoma City

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April 19, 1995

The 1993 Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas segues tragically into the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building exactly two years later.  Again, the matter has to do with religious extremism, unmitigated hate and White supremacists.  May the Great Creator bless the 168 innocent souls who died in that bombing.  No matter what happens, love always wins out over hate.

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

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In Remembrance – Mount Carmel and the Branch Davidian Siege

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April 19, 1993

It’s difficult to believe it’s been 20 years since that awful day when a 51-day standoff with an extremist religious group culminated in a conflagration and the deaths of 80 people, including 20 children.  I still feel sad for those babies and children, but I don’t have any remorse for the group’s perverted leader, David Koresh, and the other adults who allowed this to happen.  That one event signaled a violent rebirth of the White supremacist movement in the United States and ridiculous questions about freedom of religion and gun rights.

But, this is for those children who had no choice in the matter.

“I am a free spirit like a wind
I bend with the breeze, carefree with the bliss.
I wander here and there,
And finally found a love to share.

Together we had laughter and tears,
For he is my sweet disaster.
With one heart we embraced with love,
The little angel sent by one up above.
Yet laid unto rest shortly,
before we even accept the reality.

On this earth life and love you gave,
But science had numbered your days.
Up above the joys and fears,
You tiptoed and leave.
Mommy is in anguish of losing you our dearest.

The sun was shiny and fluffy on your final day,
Rainbows and butterflies swept our pain away.
Lonely days and tearful nights were not yet over,
Yet mom and dad clasp their fingers together.

One day we will see you again our angel baby
When our time is over you will walk with us merrily.
Someday we will gaze you up high,
Up above the blue sapphire sky.
We will be proud to tell you with a smile,
That we are more stronger because of you…having you even just for a while.”

Athena Ali, Tiptoed Moments

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Psycho Crap

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The death last week of legendary comedian and actor Jonathan Winters invoked a plethora of admirable responses.  Many contemporary comic figures, such as Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, spoke fondly of a man who inspired them in their own careers.  But, amidst the accolades came another type of acknowledgement: that Winters suffered from depression and alcoholism.  I never knew that – and I really didn’t care to hear about it.  It’s become inevitable though in recent decades, especially here in the U.S.; that when someone dies, or announces their run for public office, the media tries to learn what bad stuff lurks in their backgrounds.

It seems to be a uniquely American trend; one I still insist began with Watergate.  When the American populace first heard some of the secret tapes Richard Nixon recorded, most were shocked at the level of foul verbiage that spewed from the mouth of the president.  It may be naïve in retrospect, but at the time, I suppose most people assumed someone at that level of power would speak more maturely and professionally.

But, I remember my mother saying how surprised she was to learn, years earlier, that actress Carolyn Jones wasn’t the angelic figure she often personified herself to be.  That’s the thing with people in the entertainment community, though; they create a universe for themselves and expect the public to believe it’s true.  Pretty much the same can be said about politics.  There’s a certain sense of egotism one must possess to succeed in either venture.  Yet, is really necessary to point out the bad things people have done?

Almost as soon as the local ABC news channel announced Winters’ death, they just as quickly pointed out that he’d battled depression and alcohol.  In fact, that took up half of their brief piece on him.  Here was one of the most talented and ingenious comedians the U.S. has ever produced, and the goddamn news has to highlight the fact he was a recovering alcoholic!

I know what it’s like to suffer from depression and alcoholism.  The two are almost symbiotic; conjoined twins of human psychosis.  Growing up shy and an only child – as I’ve mentioned here before – plunged me into severe states of depression while enduring the tough times of childhood and my teen years.  When I discovered alcohol, it only numbed the pain, but it didn’t make it any better.  It never does.

I’m not proud of those struggles – except to say I got through them – but I certainly don’t want to be remembered for it.  However my epitaph reads, I’d hate to think whatever demons lumbered around in my mind take up much of the dialogue.  We Americans love a good success story, but it seems we also love to see people humiliated in public.  We like to see that proverbial dirty laundry flapping in the winds of fame and fortune.  Or, some do.

I don’t know what it is that compels this society to do that to people.  Are we so enamored with our own potential that we have to snuff out our competition at any costs?  Or, are we just that psychology twisted?  Regardless, it’s immature at best; cruel and destructive at worst.

We all want to have people think the very best of us.  So, as I contemplate Jonathan Winters, here’s what comes to my mind: hysterically funny, innovate, creative, impressive; a man with no equal; a damn good comedian; someone who made me laugh every time.

Image.

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Why the hell not?!

Gary Varvel 041513

I’ve been paying for those lazy welfare fuckers for over 30 years!  I’m not talking about unemployment or social security!  People pay into that.  But, I can’t stand all these people who sit around on their butts – fucking, getting drunk, playing dominoes and trying to figure out ways to take things from the rest of us.  That’s why people are crossing the border illegally from México.  That goes for corporate welfare, too!  We hard-working folks need all the help we can get.

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Thoughts and Prayers for Boston

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May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

May the rain fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

Boston Marathon Bombing.

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