Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Dream*

I have a dream. A dream that one day there will be nothing.

No race. No color. No religion. No country. No tribe. No creed.

A day when people are judged for what they have done and not condemned for who they are.

A day when we are all just people. Citizens, not of a country but of a world.

A day when rich defines our spirit and not our wallets.

A day when we awake from our beds hungry for life. Not lie in pain, hungry for a meal.

A day when the tools of war are laid down and peace conquers the world.

I dream of the day I no longer need to dream.

*dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book of the Month

This month's book is the new work from physicist Stephen Hawking: The Grand Design. Another fascinating journey into
time and space from the world's most well known scientist. Again,
Hawking is able to translate complex equations and theories into
plain detail that almost anyone can follow. A sort of follow up to the Theory of Everything , the book once again focuses on the complete picture of the universe. One we have yet to fully fill in.
Much less a history lesson in theoretical physics, Hawking spends more time discussing the present and what future it is leading to.
Bouncing through the many levels of "M-theory", Hawking gives us an idea of what science is planning and where our discoveries are leading us. The complexity and simplicity of the atom and the strangeness of multiple space dimensions beyond the 3 we see everyday. A fantastic read for anyone curious about the world around them. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not My War

When our adventure in Afghanistan began, like many Americans, I thought it would be over inside of a year. We get our man or we cripple him to the point that the military is no longer necessary. Well, that was 7 years ago.

When we lost Bin Laden at Tora Bora our whole reason for being there vanished. Yet, we remain. Just like Iraq, this mission has warped into some kind of nation building scheme. It was never our intention to "free the Middle East". It was a lie, an excuse from the Bush administration. A banner that both sides, Dem and Repub, seem to carry now.

Years ago, when people were quoting 1984 and speaking of endless wars, I laughed. Called them paranoid. Now, I'm not so sure. It's like our officials have found a golden calf. A permanent distraction. A vial means of keeping the public separated and on edge.

But maybe I'm  paranoid.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You're All Full of Shit

"...the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Those are the words that end our national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner".  Never really liked the anthem. Always preferred America the Beautiful.

Anyways, this line has always bothered me. It's a campaign slogan. A catchphrase. A lie. Can anyone honestly think of a single point in the history of this country in which all it's residents were free? Any period where they all had equal rights? If you don't feel like combing through American history, I'll help you out. You will never find an instance. Not a year, not a month, not a day, not an hour, not  a minute, not a second of equality. What you will find is a long, sad history of discrimination, slavery, and genocide.

None of that sounds very brave. It doesn't sound brave to persecute something you don't understand or refuse to acknowledge. It sounds cowardly. Extremely cowardly. The most blatant discrimination in the country today is directed towards homosexuals. Again,mostly by people who either don't understand or don't care. Simpletons and assholes. It's everywhere too. It's not a blue state vs. red state thing. Unless you are going to tell me that the 45 states that have all banned gay marriage are red states. If so, how did Obama do it?

This whole country is full of shit on this issue. HOW CAN WE CONTINUE TO "DEBATE" EQUAL RIGHTS?! And there has to be more than one side to a debate. Someone to say the lunatic idea and another person to validate by actually acknowledging it. People say, well what about civil unions? Marriage is a sacred bond and blah blah blah God and all that.

And using Jesus to squash equality is so despicable.  Jesus entered the homes and had dinner with some of the most despised people in Judea at the time. Tax collectors, gamblers, prostitutes, "fiends of all perversions". He felt at home with them. He spoke to them as though they were equals. He never, NEVER judged them for what they were or where their life had led them. And the supposed "pious and righteous" people of the time hated him for it. He taught compassion, equality, and understanding. He was a hell of  a guy and I wish people understood him better.(he also preached some crazy shit because he was a doomsayer prophet like John the Baptist before him. But that is another discussion)

But that is really what it is at the end of the day. Leftovers from our Puritan founders. A prudishness and a need to legislate and regulate morality. Everyone does it. Some are just more vocal and visible than others.

Well, I'm out of steam. In closing,

Fuck you America.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Music is the greatest thing man ever invented. Music is defined as the art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. In other words, it is an attempt  to create sounds that produce emotion. It does that. More than any other art form, music produces a wide and varied range of emotion and thought. It is often the art form we tie some of our most precious memories to. Usually the escapades of our youth. It can stir the most listless spirit and clam the most savage beast. An art  and a tool. A weapon and a shield. It means so many things to so many.

Music has existed almost as long as human civilization. The earliest and largest collection of musical instruments was found in China. Dating back to between 7000 and 6600 B.C. To put that in perspective, the first cities recorded in Mesopotamia and ancient China  sprung up around 5700 B.C. Using bones, sticks, or whatever was handy at the time,  prehistoric man seemed to have a base understanding of manipulating wind to produce sound. Flutes are generally considered to be the first crafted instruments used by man. Percussion following close behind. The original instrument has always been the human voice. Chant and song have been part of our species history since we first began communing in caves.

As civilization progressed, so did it's music. The Ancient Greeks developed choruses and marching bands. Thousands of miles away at almost the exact same time, China too was blossoming into a musical culture. They expressed history in music. Notes flowing from stringed "fiddles" and "banjos", each signifying an unspoken message. The tribes of Ancient Europe told their history through song. Great ballads and hymns telling of  legends and their heroic deeds. The most colorful of which were the Celtic tribes. A plethora of melody and verse applied with loving care to their most treasured stories.

By the Middle Ages, music was the number one art form of the Western world. It was a time of great composers. Beethoven, Bach, Handel, Mozart, and many more. Gifted composers and true "rock stars". Their legacies still influence a variety of composers almost 400 years later. They are the reason the piano is cool. Thousands flocked from the world over to witness their concerts. Every performance receiving a "Super Bowl" type atmosphere.

At the end of the 19th century,music found it's home on a new invention, the radio. For the first time, anyone with a radio receiver could hear their favorite artist with just the turn of a dial. The "music industry" became a real business, producing obscene profits to this day. When records hit int he early 1940's, music was everywhere. Home stereos were the hot item of the time. Record listening parties became the weekend thing to do and the new music style, rock 'n roll was storming America.

At this time, the record companies felt they owned music. That i was a product to be sold. Not an art to be appreciated. When cassette tapes were introduced to the public at large in the late 70's, record companies panicked.  They felt these tapes, combined with a recording device, would lead to pirated music and the fall of the record industry. Yes, decades before Napster, the record companies were ready to sue the public for what they thought was their property. Of course the case was thrown out  and record companies continued to make billions.

By the end of the 20th century, digital  media had become the new staple. It provided cleaner, faster processing music and the public ate it up. The internet carried music into a new frontier. Now new bands had immediate access to a world wide audience without the need for record company advertising. It is still better to have a company backing you but it is no longer necessary. And again, record producers freaked out over profit loss from the peer 2 peer internet file sharers. A battle that is still ongoing. Even though record companies continue to amass ridiculous profits.

Music is in a great place right now in my opinion. The internet has freed music. Not captured it. Every sound a person can imagine is available for their ears to enjoy. Bands now tour more often. No longer relying on immediate record sales. It's the '70s all over again.

The 90's was one of the best eras of music in modern history in my humble opinion. The last decade has been kind of terrible outside of a few acts here and there. But music is still as popular as ever. More money spent per capita on music than any other art form. Every kid in America wants to play guitar or rap  in a band. Music is so diverse and varied in today's world that any taste can be satisfied.

"If music be the food of love, play on." ~ William Shakespeare

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 11th, 2001

I don't know why I got up early that day. I didn't have to work. No errands to run. I should have slept till noon but I was up bright and early around 8:00. So I slid into my usual morning routine. A little wake and bake. I decided to turn on the radio to listen to "The Bob and Tom Show". A typical syndicated morning show. Very funny. They were discussing the possibility of seeing their female newsreader in lingerie when one of them interrupted to announce a plane had hit the World trade Center. It was about 8:50. They immediately began speculating on what could have happened. An accident was the most voiced opinion and a few jokes followed which, on any other day, would have been hilarious.

I turned the TV on and switched to the news just in time to see the second plane hit the South Tower. My heart sank. I knew immediately what was happening. Something I thought I would never see. We were being attacked. I sat down, fell down really, into my chair. Dumbstruck. My first thought was, "How?" followed immediately by the realization that thousands of people occupied those buildings. How many of them have already died? How many more will follow them? Then the thought of more planes jumped into my head. Was that it? How many more planes have they taken over? Is this nation wide? HOW THE FUCK IS THIS HAPPENING?! I was living with my brother and he got home about that time. I was upstairs and didn't even hear him come in. Then I heard,” Holy Shit!' come from downstairs.

We talked briefly but I can't remember exactly what was said. He still didn't fully believe this was an attack. Then they hit the Pentagon. It was 9:37 A.M. on a beautiful September day and it was now absolutely clear that Americans were being murdered. I wanted to pick up the phone and call everyone I knew but I couldn't leave the TV.  I wish I had. Just for a moment. Most stations stayed with a continuous shot of the burning towers. People started jumping thousands of feet to their death. What choice did they have? The agony of burning alive or a quick end on the concrete below. People say that violence on TV desensitizes us to real violence. Real suffering? There’s no desensitizing that. I'll never get that out of my head. Never. I can only pray for the mercy of Alzheimer’s.

Then the first tower fell. A giant column of Hell, crashing down on the streets below. I don't know which was more disturbing: the image or the sound. Together it was too much. I had to turn it off. I didn't turn it back on. When the radio announced the second tower had fallen, I just put my head in my hands and cried. Not a big blubbery cry, but the eyes were red. The tears were falling from my cheeks. I was 21. Thought I was a tough motherfucker who didn't care about shit. I cried for the people lost that day. They were my countrymen, my brothers, and they died for no reason. At that moment, I would have burned the Muslim world to take vengeance. I wanted blood.

September 14th, 2001. President Bush gives his "Bullhorn Address" at the rubble of Ground Zero. I was not very political at the time. I knew some dirty dealing had gotten the man elected but at that moment I did not care. "The rest of the world hears you! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!" I applauded. Alone in a room, I applauded. I was the biggest Bush fan on Earth. I wanted action and he did too. I spent the rest of the day watching beautiful tributes from countries all around the world. God bless America.

October 7th, 2001. The invasion of Afghanistan. Even then I knew it was an invasion. I knew what wars were and this wasn't a war. We were going in to find Bin Laden and his collaborators. No one was going to stop us. I thought, "How long could it possibly take to find this guy?" Turns out he might not have ever even been there. Months passed with no sign of him. Many began questioning whether or not he is even there anymore. I, too, am losing my resolve. We were there to capture or kill a fucking maniac. Not police another nation. I was already losing my taste for the President and his next move pretty much sealed it.

October 16th, 2002. After months of relentless campaigning, Bush got the war he really wanted. Congress approved funding an invasion of Iraq. I was blown away. Could people not see what was happening here? Everything the administration said had been refuted. Every bit of evidence they had was circumstantial at best. Are people really this fucking retarded? Then I remembered the O.J. trial. Question answered. This was a "holy shit” moment for me. Pretty much the precise time my interest in politics solidified. When a thirst for knowledge of the world, its cultures, and how we affect them began. I was tired of being told what was right. Foolish for ever allowing it. I wanted to decide for myself. I watched a tape of Robert Byrd's address to Congress on the Iraq war that night. An almost empty Congress. I worried for our country's future.

March 20th, 2003. The invasion of Iraq begins. I expect it to be over quickly. Iraq barely has an Army. Who would resist us? Of course, Cheney said we 'd be "greeted as liberators". Still waiting on that, but I knew what this was. It was a takeover. A power grab by American business interests. A farce. We decimated the place. Never any consideration for what would come after. By the time we finally caught Saddam in December, the country he lost was destroyed.

In May, Bush had given his infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech. By December I had grown to hate the U.S. military. In my eyes they had gone from heroes and protectors to the single most powerful force for evil on the planet. I had seen both sides now and our side frightened me much more.

September 11th, 2010. Here we are. Almost a full decade since that day. Nine long, incredibly violent and crippling years.
I feel this whole episode has weakened us. Not strengthened us. That we have taken pain and multiplied it a thousand times and visited it on those who did not deserve it. Invasions that have evolved far beyond their intended purposes. Iraq having absolutely no purpose to begin with. It still troubles me that nearly 20% of people to this day think Iraq had some connection to that tragic event nine years ago.

What is the legacy we have left? Giant military bases rising above ruined homes? What kind of message is that? We accomplished none of our goals. Bin Laden, in all likelihood, is still alive out there somewhere. Democracy in the Middle East is just as much a dream now as it was ten years ago. There are more graves for children being dug than for "terrorists." America is more divided than it has been since the Civil war.

What have we done?

I only hope our children can forgive us. We have left them a broken world. And scattered the pieces to the wind.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I persist. I remain. Long is the day when death visits.

Put on display, my grief, my sadness, my pain.

You will not have this day. I will see the dawn.

So I say, let my enemies come.

They will break upon me like waves on the rock.

They will know that I am Rage made flesh.

Wrath given life.

I am Fury and I beat on your palace door.

Some truth