Free write…

She had said that we needed to write more often.

Not to each other, but to write.

I couldn’t have agreed more, although to type that makes it sound just silly. Like a sliding scale of ‘do not agree, somewhat agree, strongly agree….and COULD NOT AGREE MORE!’

Still, I took what she said to heart and I realized that while it may never amount to much, there is something to be said for getting ones thoughts out of your head and onto ‘paper’. If I were a more talented mortal, perhaps I would draw. Art class was not something that I ever exceled at, and truth be known, in my very early days I was probably the kid who if he wasn’t eating the play dough, was at least contemplating it off in a quiet corner.

In fact, to illustrate the point, one of my memories from an actual art class was doing Paper Mache masks. We were cutting the newspaper into strips prior to dipping it and I can still remember the ¼ page ad for “Smokey and the Bandit” with a picture of Burt Reynolds and a very cute Sally Fields (before everyone really liked her). So that’s what I took away from art class.

Still, as I grow older (at an increasingly alarming rate of acceleration), I find that I appreciate art more and more. Sometimes, I even get to be part of the art. One of my favorite pieces involved a pencil sketch that involved, among other things,  a version of myself and a rubber chicken.

True story, I’m not even kiddin’ ya!

A cliché it may be, but you don’t always find art hidden away in a gallery of faces with no names.

New thoughts on ‘being poor’….

I tend to be someone who digs for the truth in something.

I HATE internet hoaxes (how many times can Morgan Freeman die?), and I will always check out the facts behind ‘based on a true story’ that gets slapped on any movie.

So, yesterday I was so impressed by the blog entry that was republished on Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-tirado/why-poor-peoples-bad-decisions-make-perfect-sense_b_4326233.html) that I threw up a quick post in support of Linda Tirado and her dream of writing a book about her experiences with poverty.

But then….

I kept hitting the refresh button on her ‘gofundme’ page. Her original goal that I saw was $25,000. Then it changed to $29500. Then it changed to $39500. One final change yesterday afternoon put it at $55000, where it has now remained.

I made a comment about this on Huffington Post and received several responses back indicating that this was the way that social media fundraising works. That if I had seen the goal as being $55000 when I first looked, I would have seen the gap as too big to bridge and would have been discouraged from donating.

Well….maybe. I will admit there is a certain amount of psychology to this. But here’s what has really happened for me….

The amounts being changed caused me to dig deeper. I then found entries by the original author that stated the events were ‘taken out of context’. I’m not sure how that is actually possible, as she was the one to arrange the narrative in the first place.

The more I read, the more it seemed details were missing. Piecing it altogether has been a challenge, and I know I have not been entirely successful in that regard.

My thanks to Vera Stone, who left a comment on my original post from yesterday:

Vera Stone says:

Many professional politicians claim a start in poverty. Linda Tirado is well-connected, main contact for College Democrats at Southern Utah University http://www.suu.edu/leavittcenter/resources.html On current LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/lindatirado and previous Bloghttp://scoldedbyparrots.wordpress.com// she wrote of professional political work (10 years) and stated: “I retired when I had a baby.” On her Twitter account then @tirado_linda was “Currently working on a book about small races and grassroots politics” (2011),

I checked the links that were provided. They are accurate.

I now have far more questions than answers.

I do not, for one minute, think that Linda Tirado is scamming people. At least not on purpose. But, her timeline is somewhat skittish, and at the very least, I believe she has been somewhat disingenuous in regards to her own political background and her already being asked to write a book back in 2011.

The sad part is that the next time I see a story like this, I may be tempted to save my $10 and just skip over it altogether. That, unfortunately, is my cynical nature.

My apologies for the original post I made yesterday BEFORE I fully checked it out….

I do wish Linda Tirado godspeed in writing her book, and look forward to reading it when (if?) it comes out…

On being poor…

I was reading Huffington Post at 3am this morning (up sick with the flu).

I tripped over this article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-tirado/why-poor-peoples-bad-decisions-make-perfect-sense_b_4326233.html

The woman who wrote this article, Linda Tirado, is in the process of raising money on Gofundme in order to write a book of her experiences. My $10 won’t go far, but I will at least be a part, however small, of what she is doing. She also has a blog you should check out….

http://killer-martinis.squarespace.com/

VERY inspirational!

I Hope the Iranians Love Their Children Too…

I grew up in the 80’s. Yep. The big hair decade. Say what you want about it, laugh if you must. I know I do when I look back at some of the pictures. But one thing you gotta give the 80’s…. we had GREAT music. Ok, if you ignore that whole “Come On Eileen” debacle. Hell, I could write a whole post just on that!

In search of music on my laptop, I tripped over Sting singing “Russians”.

WOW!

I remember that part of the 80’s very well. The Americans, and by extension, the western world, staring into the abyss with the Soviets. Both sides convinced they were right, that the other side was wrong. Not just wrong, but ‘Evil’. Ronald Reagan even once referred to the U.S.S.R as the “Evil Empire”. All the while both sides built more planes, and tanks, and guns, and missles. Always with those damned missles! Enough to kill every living thing in the world 100 times over! I remember the tensions running high when Poland declared martial law, when the U.S.S.R shot down Korean Air Lines flight 007, when the Americans insisted on deploying the Pershing II missles in West Germany.

Through it all, our leaders more or less kept their cool. Rhetoric was one thing, live ammunition was quite another. They fought their proxy wars around the globe, in South East Asia, Korea, most of Africa and later the Middle East. One of their little ‘bush fire’ wars stills haunts us today.

In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Never mind why they did it, because in the broder historical context it just doesn’t matter. Because they did it, the U.S got involved in supplying arms to the rebels who fought the incading Soviets. One of those rebels was Osama Bin laden. Does anyone see the connection yet? Because of something done over 30 years ago, we now subject ourselves to full body scans and pat downs at the airport. The Americans have been fighting in Afghanistan for over ten years now, far longer than the Soviets did. There is no end date. The “war on terror’ is the bastard son of the Cold War.

But back to the music of the 80’s. That was the good stuff. New Wave. David Bowie. Michael Jackson. Heavy metal. It was all good. Just writing this takes me back to how awesome that music was! Of course, we had to listen to it on ‘boom boxes’ that, in some cases, required small wagons to kart them around on and devoured ‘D’ batteries like an Anteater on a feast, but we never complained. The MP-3 player was long off.

So this afternoon I tripped over one of those old 80’s songs. “Russians” by Sting. It is from his debut solo album, released in 1985. I remember getting into a big arguement with my Mom (a conservative that would have made Ronnie look like FDR) about this song. She maintained that it was too pacifist, and thank God that the Americans were nsaving us all from having to learn to speak Russian. I for my part, at the oh so smart age of 17, tried to convince my mother that the Soviets took the position they did after World War II because they had been invaded by Germany twice in less than a quarter of a century, and they wanted space between themselves and any potential aggressor in the future.

Both of our positions were over simplified, to say the least. But I digress….

The song, as sung by Sting, is so very simple in nature. The whole premise being, that inspite of this bzarre standoff between the east and the west, it all comes down to one simple fact: the Russians love THEIR children too!

So now it is the year 2012, and everything old is new again. For years, politicians in the U.S have been urging outright armed conflict with Iran in order to prevent them from developing a nuclear weapon. Forget the fact that the Iranians seem to be proceeding at a snails pace. It is no secret how to make a bomb. The recipe is well known. But they do seem to be determined to have one, and there are those in the west who are equally determined to stop this at all costs.

That term, at ALL costs, should never be taken lightly. America can not afford the war it is in now, let alone one with Iran. Their economy has still not recovered from the banking debacle of 2008, and surely could not survive the tremendous shock to oil prices that would be an immediate result of war with Iran. the war would be a long one, and a costly one. Unlike the Afghans or the Iraqis, the Iranians have a much larger capicity to bring that war to Americas shores, something which I really do not think they have thought threw.

In the Cold War, we always had the common sense to step back from the abyss. We need that common sense again, we need to talk, and talk, and talk. We need to stop this before the drums of war overpower the too few voices of reason left out there.

In Europe and America, there’s a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Iranians
Mr. Ahmadinejad said we will bury you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Iranians love their children too

How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy
There is no monopoly in common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Iranians love their children too

There is no historical precedent
To put the words in the mouth of the wanna be President
There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore
Mr. Romney says we will protect you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Iranians love their children too

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if the Iranians love their children too

Chivalry is NOT dead!

I’ve heard it said before that chivalry is dead. I think this is a blatant untruth. Chivalry is not dead, not by a longshot.

It has, however, been replaced.

More about that later.

Chivalry, as defined by Dictionary.com is:

1.

the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.

2.

the rules and customs of medieval knighthood.

3.

the medieval system or institution of knighthood.

4.

a group of knights.

5.

gallant warriors or gentlemen: fair ladies and noble chivalry.

Now days we have to go all the way to number 5 for a fitting definition on the word. Although, in a pinch, I’m guessing that number one could be adapted as well. Still, there has not been much call for Knights and their kind for the past five or six hundred years or so. Gunpowder seemingly took care of that.

It is a sexist word. After all, there just were not that many female Knights and I suspect, with the notable exception of a gal named Joan, the ones that were around were not very good. So, with a profession overwhelmingly dominated by men, I think that it is probably sexist but understandably so.

Now I get that Knights were supposed to be all that. They were the elite, the strong, the powerful. The Navy SEALs of their day. I think we probably give them a bit more credit for being on the side of good, from a nostalgic point of view. The Crusades come to mind as instances where Knights, in hindsight, behaved rather poorly. Of course, it can be argued, they were only doing the bidding of a higher authority (and no, I don’t mean God!).

As Knights became fewer and fewer, the definition of chivalry came more to describe the behavior of a true gentleman in relation to those of the fairer(?) sex. Risking life and limb, opening doors, putting ones jacket down on a mud puddle in order to keep her feet dry. So it wasn’t donning an inordinate amount of scrap metal and chain armor and doing battle with a dragon, but it did the trick. The ladies liked it, and so it went on for hundreds of years.

Now many have lamented that those days are gone, which may be a cliché in itself. They are not gone. They have been replaced, or adapted if you will, to a 21st century definition.

There is no longer an opportunity to open the door for a lady. At the supermarket and the mall, even the bank, the doors open automatically. Anyone who grew up watching repeats of Star Trek knew this day would come.  The doors open for us, our computers talk to us, our cars start on their own and even the ovens clean themselves. Babies can come from test tubes, microwaves can cook more than just hot dogs, and books are now downloaded from your computer.

The one task we had left, that of protection, has been outsourced as well. Security companies guard our  homes from intruders.

Finally, the ultimate act of defending and protecting the female, War, can now be fought using a drone from 5,000 miles away! The ultimate in surrogacy!

No, chivalry is NOT dead, not by a long shot. It has just been modernized, and in the process, man has been left out in the cold!