Dave's Journal, March 2012
We begin March 2012 with a low note. Chris's father died unexpectedly last week.
Edwin C. Tree
(A teacher impacts many lives in the community . . . read the full list of "guest book" comments from his friends and students that follows the obituary.)
March 4th: the church service for Ed was standing room only. It taught us again that what really matters in this life is not how much wealth you collect, but how much of yourself that you share with other people and how much love you give away. Chris's eulogy will be remembered for years.
I need to leave this now and move on in my journal here.
I never understood "forgiveness". You did what you did. It was wrong and you did it. We can't pretend that it didn't happen. What you did has to stay on the record.
And I can honestly say that I have said "I'm sorry" plenty of times, but I never expected people to forget the bad things I've said and done. It's always still on the record, and I am not asking anyone to erase it or to "forgive" me. It was undeniably done, or said, by me.
I bring this up because this morning (Mar 5th, 2012) I came to understand what people mean by "forgiveness".
"Forgive me" is admitting that you are guilty of some bad doings. You admit it happened, that you did it and you really are sorry.
"You are forgiven" is the other person (the judge !) saying "Fair enough. Let's put it down here and walk on. If God wants to take it up with you, that'll be God's decision. But I'm putting it down here and now."
This is my annual plug for Sister Wendy (stop laughng, I'm serious and this is not religious stuff . . . it's Art !).
Sister Wendy is the best Art critic, historian, commentator, whatever that I have read, and I have read them all. I pulled her "Sister Wendy's Grand Tour" off the library shelf today and am again in love with her mind.
If you don't "understand" or "appreciate" classical Art, (I don't, but I'm learning) you really owe it to yourself to borrow or buy a copy of any of her books, but this one is really really good to start with. You can get a used hardcover for a few bucks (the shipping charges will cost more than the book !), but check out your library first !
Her style of writing is so good you will not believe this person is a nun ! !
If I had the option to spend a day with anyone, my first choice would be (Christina Aguilera, but ) Sister Wendy would be right up there.
In honor of the 44th President of the United States, Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream has introduced a new flavor: Barocky Road
Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate, and surrounded by nuts and flakes. The vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient. The nuts and flakes are all very bitter and hard to swallow.
When purchased it will be presented to you in a large beautiful cone, but after you pay for it, the ice cream is taken away and given to the person in line behind you at no charge.
Referring back to the Ohio kid who just shot dead a bunch of high schoolers . . . He got the gun and bullets from his grandpa's barn ! His grandparents will not be held responsible for any involvement in the high school shooting !
On the other hand, if your teenager has a party at your house and somehow alcohol gets served, you are responsible for any dire events that evolve from that. If you are a bartender who serves alcohol to a drunk person, you are held partly responsible for whatever evil deeds that drunk does when he leaves the bar.
So . . . . if you are a negligent parent or bartender, what you better do is hand that drunk kid or drunk bar patron a gun and tell them "Hey, look, do me a favor an walk home, but feel free to kill anyone you desire to on the way."
Lord, what's the world coming to . . . Pat Robertson now has decided that he and his brethren have been wrong all these decades, that the hippies were right all along, and that we should legalize pot.
You know . . . some "leaders" are at the leading edge of social evolution (that would not be Pat) and some "leaders" are at the trailing edge (that would be Pat).
Paraphrasing one of the presidential candidates . . . .
"Pat makes me puke." (am I seeing a new bumper sticker here?)
The official grand opening of Cafe Kafofo went well, I think, and Mike and Chris filled the place with their friends who politely gushed over my pictures, so Sunday started out very well for me. Then we (me,Deb, Pat, John) walked the shoreline, and Haymarket and then the North End, where we ate at DolceVita and the linguine in calamari is perfect.
Watched the HBO movie about Sarah Palin and I was very pleased that they did not distort who John McCain is. He did get caught up in the "let's get elected " mentality a bit more than he wanted to, but the movie did him justice regarding his integrity.
Sarah . . . oh Sarah . . . . that's a whole other topic that's been done to death now too many times.
I would like to see the R party recapture control of itself (from the likes of various media morons and from voters who can't think beyond the 6 words on that bumper sticker they read in the Walmart parking lot) and offer us some credible & digestable conservative politics. They need to shake off the media darlings and get serious about what it takes to run this country.
Today I dug in dirt, yard dirt, pruned bushes, raked, etc etc ... it's was warm and sunny. I say let the next generations worry about global warming and the apocalypse . . . . I like sunshine I like warm.
Okay . . . let's do it . . .
Me like flowers
Me like trees
Me like fuzzy bumble bees
Me like sunshine
Me like birds
Me write poems with silly words.
And lastly (the crowd cheers), todays art work . . . Sugar cane and yuca root through burlap.
Before I sat up in the bed this morning, I said "Thank you (I think) for another day." Then I checked my toes and fingers and eyelids for feelings and proper functionality. Then I sat up and I remembered poor Julius . . . poor Julius . . . it was just 2056 years ago (seems like only yesterday) when he was stopped on his way to the Roman forum and warned "Beware the Ides of March".
Well . . . "beware" he should have because they stabbed him to death that morning.
But, most happily, my day today was better than his was. To the extent, at least, that no one stabbed me to death.
It was grim and drizzly, so I did federal taxes (they owe me money !) and medical bills (GE picks up this particular tab !) and got a letter from SocSec saying my prison enrollment date has been postponed until they (the east coast office) reviews what they (the local office) did with my file that they think they maybe kinda sorta misplaced somewhere. (I set up an account with the federal SocSec website today, because I think that my contribution to the quality of "senior" life in America is going to be the Supreme Court ruling that comes out of this incredible whirlpool of mindless stupidity that I am caught in.)
An aside: businesses f$%# you because they have black hearts and their purpose is to make money for their owners, not to serve you (their customers) . . . the US federal government f$%#s you because they have kind hearts but are overwhelmed with incompetence and (what I would call) "I-don't-really-give-a-sh#t-about-this-if-it's-going-to-keep-me-after-hours".
This afternoon, I got all artsy-craftsy and painted junk for upcoming images. And "got into" (once again) scanner art, which is where you put stuff on a scanner and . . . well, scan it . . and then . . . well . . . make it "art". I decided to recreate a "Gallery X" in cafe photos after I have something to fill it with.
Dave: Hey, G, 'sup?
God: Ugh . . tired, D, long day today.
Dave: Yeh? How's that? Whatcha up to today?
God: I invented Light . . . you know . . . "Let there be light" and (people think) "pff" there's light, but truth be told, it was more work than that. But who's complaining, right? The job's gotta get done, so stop whining and do it I said and then I did it and now there's light.
Dave: You look different now, in the light and all . . . more old and tired than yesterday, before there was light.
God: Thanks, D, you always knew how to make me feel like sh#t.
Dave: Can I ask you , sorry, I meant You something?
God: Oh %$#@#$ here we go again.
Dave: What day is it today?
Dave: Yeh . . . what day is it?
God: I didn't invent day names yet . . . come to think ahead now, I'm not planning to invent day names either.
Dave: That's weird, huh?
God: Why (I'm afraid to ask) is that so weird?
Dave: I cooked chicken tonight.
God: That's a trick and a half, Dave, since I didn't invent chickens yet.
Dave: Okay, but let's look ahead to, say for arguments sake, Mar.16.2012 and imagine that I cooked chicken for dinner.
God: Help me with this, good buddy, where the $%#@$ are we going with this train of thought ?
Dave: Let's just say that I cook chicken on Friday, Mar.16.2012 and somebody ate it.
God: Okay. Let's say.
Dave: Would you condemn their soul to an eternity or burning torment in the raging fires of hell?
God: Not to be picky, but I didn't invent Hell yet either, but let's say that I did . . . What on God's Earth are you talking about? . . . I would never send someone to Hell for eating a chicken.
Dave (turning to Debbie): See . . . I told you !
This was yard cleanup week. Thanks to Mike's pickup I got to clean up the last of the tree damage from the October storm, and also the pile of junk out behind the garage. Four days . . ahhh, make that 3½ anyway. Then took a walk in the woods (picture) and made some pictures, had sushi with Mike, came home and slept like a baby last night.
Today is pond cleaning (and fish counting) day.
The (2002) documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" highlighted the work of "The Funk Brothers" who were the musicians who backed the big Motown artists when "Motown" ruled popular music (you kids can take a nap while I'm talking here.). Great movie documentary in every regard. I saw it a few years back . . . watched it twice and then it faded into the fog of misremembered sh#t that occupies the mass of my missing mind . . . until tonight, when it re-emerged (is that a word?) as I stumbled through Youtube videos.
The Funk Brothers knew their sh#t. No glitz, no tinsel. Old, beat-up pros who played the "background" (I could spit venom when I hear that phrase) and handed the glamour boys and girls all the fame. (You should watch the movie.)
Joan Osborne (not a Funk Brother) has been one of my on-again / off-again favorite singers. She dresses like a rag lady and doesn't own a comb and her intonation is not up there anywhere near Ella's (whose is ? ), but Joan delivers very dynamically (is that another word?).
Anyway . . . for you funky pleasure . . . The Funk Brothers and Joan Osborne drive home a classic Motown song.
Listen to those guys ! !
This topic comes from my personal photo-forum experiences, but I also see the same disease in other places. The need to "win" a debate, as opposed to the simple intent to express your viewpoint and hope that someone out there actually listens to you ( ! ) and thinks about what you just said. Very similar to being in a party group conversation with a lot of (more or less - most often, less - informed) people spewing their (what should I say) thoughtless, careless viewpoints into the atmosphere (but it's not so bad at the party because everyone else is, more or less, as wasted as the person doing the spewing).
People don't actually want to exchange ideas and consider whatever the other guy has to say. People want, and need, to "win" arguments, debates. And nowadays everything is an argument. Every discussion is "an opportunity to win". No one actually cares or even understands that complex topics aren't "right or wrong" . . . "Who won this argument?" . . . and most often it is the person who yelled the loudest or was the most offensive or the snarkiest. Actually knowing stuff doesn't mean anything.
Oh well . . . . so the world turns.
Back in the early 1970's there was a song that emerged from the mass of radio static and stuck in my mind because it was mystical and personal and spiritual and not anything like a "popular hit tune". It came and went, but it's mysticism (don't hear that word much) stuck in my mind, and I found it again two days ago. "After the Gold Rush", written by Neil Young and sung by a small, unpretentious trio called Prelude. I've listened to it now a lot in the last few days and I get more religious every time that I hear it. My own version of "religious".
Maybe you had to be there (mentally), but this song pretty much describes the aloneness (is that a word) and the hope and the spirituality of souls (people) who were hoping that something wonderful and extraordinary should happen soon.
But the song endures . . . After The Gold Rush.
Since I retired and have spent more time out there in the world of people, I've had the impression that everybody is getting stupider, but I am wrong in this thinking. I see people blocking intersections (yesterday - I wish I had my camera with me - how is it possible to create a traffic jam in Leominster, MA ? ? - is that possible? - - the correct answer is "Yes, but really you have to be a F$%#ing moron to make it happen"), shooting someone (20, 30 or 40 times a day, depending on how much territory you include in the survey), people being rude simply because they don't know the person they're being rude to etc. etc etc. And I think . . . what's the world coming to ?
Well . . . I came to realize that the world is coming to what it has always been . . . a planet where 93.6% of the human population is rude and stupid. It's always been that way. I just happen to be late figuring this out.
People say that old people get grumpy. Well, one of the reasons is what I just explained . . . we wake up to the fact that (almost) everyone out there is, and has always been, rude and stupid, but we were too busy with our careers to take notice. The second reason we get grumpy is that for our entire lives, people expected us to be perfect, and now we find out that that while we struggled with trying to be perfect, the rest of the world (93.6% exactly) was having a big laugh on us because they somehow got to wander through life as rude and stupid idiots.
I have another web domain, called tikmark.com, and it's is actually years older than my journal page domain (that you are reading at the moment), davesjournal.net
Tikmarkis where I posted all my engineering heat transfer and AWK computer scripts, along with detailed descriptions of what they are and how to use them and also how you can download them for free and use them as you desire.
Over the years (10? 15?) the tikmark site has had many many hits and lots of downloads, and I have had some interfacing with the AWK cult out of Virginia Tech and they have always been great and supportive in that they publicise my AWK pages throughout that community.
So, like I said, lots of engineers and students over the years have hit my tikmark site and downloaded my scripts and went about their business. I have never ever had anyone send me an e-mail to say "gee, thanks, that helped a lot". But honestly, I put it up for free use and not for pats on the back. (I have myself downloaded lots of stuff from the internet without saying "thanks")
Last week I get an e-mail from an engineer in Chicago who has this big heat transfer problem and he found one of my tikmark pages that would help him. He asked me a few questions and I supplied the answers (mostly where the equations came from and how to use them). This took an effort to find where on Earth I actually got those equations and my old course notes on how to use them. After I found the answers, I e-mailed him the details.
Nothing . . . . nothing . . . nothing . . . I wonder if he ever got my response ? . . .
I send him an e-mail "I assume that you got my answers and that all the stuff you downloaded from my website and I emailed to you was helpful?"
He writes back today: "Oh yes, sorry, it's been a hectic week, yes your stuff is a great help. Thanks."
Not that I need the glory or the glitz and glamour of engineering stardom, but, sh#t . . . what ever happened to professional manners? How long does it take to say "Thanks, Dave" ?
My favorite crime-fighting / fantasy hero is The Batman. (Followed ever so closely by The Sandman.) If only every American city had a Batman . . . oh . . . don't get me started on that.
And . . . there is an extremely great line in one Batman story (It regarded child endangerment and abuse, but I can't recall the title - "War on Crime"??? ). The Batman is talking to a social worker who has dedicated her life to helping endangered children. Batman has just done his usual thing of pulverizing some slimeball and delivering him to the police, and he says something "macho" and Batman-ish and she comes back with . . .
( trumpets please )
You don't fight crime, Batman . . . you fight criminals. You show up after the damage is done, when someone needs to be caught. That's not fighting crime. Crime has deeper roots than just catching the bad guys.
Upon reading that, of course, the little lightbulb sputtered to "on" in my head. . . it does not diminish my admiration for criminal-fighting heroes, but it does make you realize that bringing criminals to justice is too late to solve the real problems - how do you prevent the crime in the first place?
Well, there's this city in Brazil that has a massive child-drug problem. Cool guys selling drugs to kids who want to be cool. Enter The Batman (actually a retired cop ) who walks the streets at dusk and makes the local kids aware of the presence of "Good" out there. There's someone on the streets now, standing right there by your side, who (in your young imagination anyway) is cooler and stronger than the the bad guys.
Kind of closes the loop for me with the "You don't fight crime . . ." dialog. Will the Brazilian Batman "stop crime"? . . . of course not . . . nothing can actually "stop" crime.
Every state has it's problems. This week it's Florida's turn in the tabloid press.
Worse than that . . . it's Florida's turn in my gunsight.
It's on the record . . . I think that every law-abiding US citizen should own and know how to operate a gun and keep it safe and secure. People who violate firearm registration and safety rules (under my administration) will get thrown into a prison in Bolivia or North Korea.
This week, some kid in Florida was being followed by some guy who was badgering him (no uniform, no badge, no ID of any kind, no police emblem on his car . . . . without identifying himself as a police-assistant or whatever he thought he was) and who would not leave the kid alone. It's gets fuzzy about who did what, but very possibly the kid (after talking to a friend on his cell phone) felt that this stalker was a threat to his well being and turned to confront him (? ? ) .Who knows what happened or why, but the stalker then felt that the kid was a threat to his well-being (not thinking for a second that the kid was responding to him as an unknown threat) and killed the kid.
The law in Florida , as it is reported up here, is that a person has the right to "stand his ground" when confronted by an unkown physical threat.
Wonderful . . . all the John Wayne fans are wetting their pants in admiration of the self-defense initiative, but in this case, why isn't the dead kid the one who stood his ground against and unkown threat ? Where does it say that a person has to answer some unidentified person as to "what are you doing here?" or they may be legally shot dead ?
You gotta ask yourself . . . if some guy (or woman) was following and badgering your wife [or husband, daughter, son, grandson . . . . . ] and your wife in a panic, as the guy kept badgering her, sprayed the person with pepper spray and then got herself beaten to a coma but then her stalker walks off because (s)he claims self defense (you wife is in a coma so no one hear's her side of it) and there is this "stand your ground law" protecting the assailant (or is your wife the assailant?) . . . . would you say that your wife deserved to be in a coma? Or would you say that her stalker should be prosecuted ?
Justice Kennedy's vote may be the pivot point . . .
News from Netflix about movies in my DVD queue. . .
whew ! !
Page written by Dave Leo