Friday, September 3, 2010


It's been eight months since my last post. You'd think something would have happened in my life that would give me fodder for some interesting blog post. But you'd be wrong. However, I've had several friends undergo some serious changes. One friend and her family moved from Denmark (after ten years) to New York City. Another changed careers, from a scholastic environment to a more traditional business one. Another friend split from his wife with their relationship heading toward divorce. My in-laws nearly drowned in a boating accident. My sister moved to Texas with her husband to Fort Bliss. A friend of mine bought a REAL fixer-upper, his first house purchase in over twenty years. A woman friend of mine so dreaded turning 40 she nearly had a nervous breakdown, and now that she's passed that milestone, has embraced it and started a blog discussing her newfound appetite for life. And, me? Well, I'm just the same. A straight line. Like the Seinfeld episode when George's life is on the rise, Elaine's is plummeting and Jerry loses a $20 bill only to find a replacement in an old coat. Even. Always even. I've always wondered what it would be like to live a life full of excitement and drama. But I don't think it's meant to be. With Hurricane Earl about to slam into New England, I realize I will never be a part of those swirling winds and sheathing rains of life. I will always be the eye of the storm. Steady, boring, calm. But a safe harbor which my friends can always rely on.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Who am I?

“. . . it is memory that makes us who we are; without it we
are forever trapped in the moment, with no window on the past
or the future.” H. Lee Hagan.

Is this true? Are we only our memories? I’ve always thought the present was what defined me, my current actions in a particular circumstance. But the present is infinitely small. There it is. Gone. There it is again. Gone. It’s too small to measure. By the time you agree on the present it’s now the past. And although the future is infinitely large, we can not define ourselves based on something that hasn’t happened yet. So, maybe this is right. Memories make us who we are.

However, it’s been scientifically proven that our memories are fallible. Much of what we remember has been distorted through time, altered by prejudices, and siphoned of detail. So, our memories of ourselves are not what really happened. What REALLY happened is gone. We are not what we remember. What about others? Other people have memories of us which define us through their eyes. But we can’t count on them, their memories of us are just as bad, just as jaded. Who are we, then?

I have an image of myself, of the man I was, and the man I became, but it is false because it is based on the flimsiest of truths, memory. So who am I? I come back to the present, no matter how small a time that is, as what defines me. It’s not necessarily what I have done, but what I’m doing that makes me the person I am. And although what you have just read is in the past, and you may not remember it exactly, in this season of giving and forgiveness it is not the ghosts of the past, or the spectres of the future, but the people and the actions of the present that define who you are.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Absolute Power

It's been awhile since my last post. The summer here in Maine has gotten hot and humid and I haven't done much writing. It's hard when your sweaty hands stick to the keyboard. But I have been thinking. I'm become fascinated in our "politically correct" world about the power of absolutes. In an age where Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" has become an anthem of behavior, why do people get so riled up about certain absolutes?

pro choice v. pro life
democrat v. republican
paper v. plastic
black v. white
spy v. spy
Christian v. Muslim v. Jew
gay marriage v. civil union
gun control v. guns v. no guns
death penalty v. life in prison

You would think, given our tendencies to "tiptoe" around issues that we would all be on the fence, but of course that's not the case. These issues and others like them elicit fierce, intense responses. Why? I wasn't able to come upon an answer myself but did find one in the current book I'm reading, Life, Inc. by Douglas Rushkoff. He says:

"The result is a world in which a few educated experts compete against one another for the "blink" decisions of uneducated and unthinking human beings. Under such a system, the corporations with the most money would presumably have access to the best psychological technicians, and would direct and control an otherwise unwieldy populace. Even if the best psychologists turn out to be well-meaning manipulators who work for nonprofit organizations instead of for-profit corporations and lobbies, they're still pushing people toward automatic, ill-considered, and often angry behaviors. That these techniques depend on isolating and targeting individuals, psychographic segments, or, at best, consumer tribes is irrelevant. The more we can be made to respond to hot-button issues, the more selfish, fear-based, and individualistic will our behavior be. And it may even feel to us like an exercise of autonomy."

We are, in our gullibility, being forced to choose sides, being manipulated to regard the other view as heresy, and being directed to ignore and despise another person's opinion. It is being done on purpose, and we are letting it happen. Don't let it happen to you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Offensive language

We live in an age of political correctness. Everyone walks on eggshells afraid to say anything that might offend another person. Soon words like Policeman, Fireman, Garbageman (okay maybe not garbageman) will be altered to remove the “man” part. Changes are already underway to many textbooks doing just that. For example, Founding Fathers has been discarded in favor of Founders or Framers. Snowman is now snowperson, jungle is now rain forest, and grandpa went from senior citizen to older person. When did senior citizen become offensive, and what part bothers the older people, senior or citizen?

How far is enough? Will manhole become peoplehole and won’t that be confusing (especially if you say it too fast) with peephole? What about manslaughter? Does that become citizenslaughter? No, I forgot, citizen is offensive to somebody. And, really what is so bad about a mans laughter? These changes go on and on. There appears no end in sight. And although the political correct police (notice I left off the men part) are deleting words like hot dog (bad nutrition), devil (offends Christians, even though God wouldn’t exist without the devil), and yacht (bothers poor people?), it is the attack on masculine words that worries me the most.

Why is our society so intent on emasculating the written and spoken word? What did men do to deserve this? Right, never mind.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


My mind is blank. I’ve haven’t written a new post in quite some time because not a new thought has come to me. I’m thought-less. This happens to me every once and a while; my brain shuts down any new critical thinking. It’s the summer, so maybe like the rest of America it’s on vacation. A temporary plant shut down and a mandatory leave of absence. I’m bothered by it.

I should be able to write something pithy about Congress’s inability to put aside their individual wants and act for the good of the nation.

I should be able to write something encouraging for the troops who continue to fight against a ghost-like foe with the morals of an anvil.

I should be able to write something scathing about banks who show huge profits only because they have sold off assets and laid off employees; and about Wall Street who finds these gains somehow encouraging.

I should be able to write something clever discussing how I fixed the toilet in room 16. Down goes the whale!

I should be able to write something critical about the Red Sox furiously frustrating ability to leave men on third with less than two outs.

I should be able to write something. Anything. But I can’t. It’s summer, and my mind is on vacation.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Erratica (def: useless data and unanswerable questions)

Why don’t people change the roll of toilet paper? They leave one sheet on the old roll, open a new roll, but don’t put the new roll on the dispenser. When did this become rocket science?

When did it become okay to pass a car(making a left turn) in the breakdown lane?

I'm reading a biography of Woody Guthrie and thinking about the current events surrounding Steve Mcnair and Michael Jackson, and wondering why we allow genius to override basic social decency? These men are not heroes.

When did it become okay NOT to use your blinkers?

Why do some people insist on calling me “buddy” when I’ve just met them?

When did it become okay to use a motel’s towels to wipe down your car, or your motorcycle, or your bicycle, or your pet monkey’s ass?

Why do women always want to know what their men are “thinking?” They know exactly what we are thinking, since we only “think” about one thing.

Men don’t lose the hair on their heads, it simply migrates somewhere else. For example, my head has less hair, but my eyebrows are fabulous.

Is it my imagination or are all the politicians getting caught cheating on their wives, or taking graft, devout Christians? In this regard, The Family is a must read. And why aren’t Christians more outraged by the behavior of the people representing them?

Why do people leave the shower curtain outside the tub when taking a shower?

Why are most people embarrassed about perfectly natural bodily functions?

Does it bother anyone else knowing that President Obama is somewhere in the White House lighting up a cigarette? Or is it just cool? I can’t decide.

Why do Chuck Taylor’s cost $40? They’re made in China now, there is no reason for this.

Why are an overwhelming majority of literary agents women? And, is this skewing what’s getting published?

The older I get, the less I know.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Pool and God

I’m working on the pool and I’m thinking is this worth it? I spend countless hours getting the pool ready in the spring; fixing and painting the deck after a hard winter, cleaning and scrubbing the liner, and attempting to get the chemicals at appropriate levels. And for what? I can count on two hands the number of people who use the pool throughout the summer. I don’t blame them. It is, after all, an outdoor, unheated pool in northern Maine; the water is most often freezing. But I know I can’t get rid of it. The pool will always be here, because people like knowing it’s there.

In the flexuous and unpredictable way my mind works I realized, as I was vacuuming the bottom, that the pool is like God. When pressed, most people, even though they were not religious in the “ceremonial sense” (they don’t read the bible or attend church regularly), would consider themselves spiritual and would say that they believe in God. They may never pray. They may never seek His guidance, but they want Him to be there, just in case. The existence of the pool is the same. Most will never use it, but the pool will always be here, because people like knowing it’s there.

I’m not a water person and so I never use the pool. Even in the most sweltering times I would never seek it’s cool, clear waters for salvation; it’s not my way. And as much as I complain, I would never deny or denigrate others who need to immerse themselves in the pool to restore and revive their souls. Ultimately, if only one person needs the pool or thinks they need the pool, then it’s worth it. The pool will always be here, because people like knowing it’s there.