Not My Baby

BOB

I have become amused and confused by my generation’s need to seek others to manage their issues.  Appropriately what I consider to be the symbol of this generations issue is the “Baby On Board” sign adorning the back windows of vehicles owned by people either so amazed they did what many do by mistake, or making a declaration for others to abide by their expectations.

The signs started in 1984 when a parent and an uncle were more conscious of how people drove near their car when their precious cargo was on-board.  Since then, about 10 million of the little suckers (pun intended) have been sold.

I get the idea … be careful, precious cargo.  In some ways I can see added value of first responders knowing a child or infant is in the vehicle.  I can also see value in someone acting differently due to a car carrying an infant, but I doubt the second occurs and the first isn’t likely only because in most cases it would be obvious.

These are not the traits I am interested in however.  My generation has become excellent at blaming and casting responsibility even before the fact.  We see this in tort lawsuits.  Tort law is supposed to be about those who act deliberately to harm another.  It has become a money maker when anyone can cast any blame in anyone direction that leads to money, normally those with the deepest pockets involved, which precludes them really being the negligent party.  But we now see the flip side of that when we assume biggest business is the biggest offender based on them having the most money.

The sucker signs are a reflection of the village philosophy.  One I agree with but not in the 80s generation way.  I do believe we need to look out for one another.  I do believe that a neighborhood has a role in the raising of a child.  But that neighborhood, or village, does not have the responsibility of raising that child.  YOUR child.  I am willing to bet your neighbors did not ask if you were ready to help them raise a child before they had children.

Should I drive responsibly, yes.  Should I follow the laws, yes.  Should I consider factors beyond the law that may impact myself or others, yes.  However … the signs themselves are breaking the law in most jurisdictions by making a blind spot.  A blind spot where the driver may not see the vehicle in the near lane before they change into that lane thus cutting them off and causing the other to either brake dramatically or avoid.  This could cause a chain reaction 72 car pile up BEHIND the baby and the oblivious, in many ways, driver never knew.

The good and generous part of me wants to think the sign is about protection of those unable to speak for themselves.  But there is too much evidence to the contrary or at least the intent is poorly carried through.

The blind spot that can be generated by the sign is not small.  The blind spot installed in a car where the rear view mirror is often turned to some degree to keep tabs on the precious cargo the sign is there to protect starts adding to the issues.  This is two steps in the wrong direction.

Usually when I see the sign it is in the rear window of a vehicle passing me.  Now anyone who knows me knows I don’t dally.  Nor do I dilly.  So that means those asking me to be extra careful because they managed to breed, are passing me while i neither dilly nor dally which makes them at least hustling.  (The terms are flying almost as fast as many of those signs)

The number one cause of car accidents is driver error.  Now I know that can mean someone else error and not that of the driver where the child is riding but consider that the child spends all of it’s time riding with the driver and not always around others then the biggest risk to the driver is the driver of the vehicle the child is in.

I have two ideas for those who own these signs.  First, stick it to the windshield facing in, not on your rear widow facing out. YOU are the biggest risk.  I see these signs on poorly modified cars, usually small imports where bumper covers and side skirts have been modified for style and implied speed.  These choices compromise the integrity of the safety that you paid for in these cars.

Even when not, these signs are often in cars speeding by me in a car being driven by someone texting.  Texting is a bad idea anytime one is moving, but to think I am supposed to be extra careful cause you were able to breed and secured the rights to have that child for some portion of time in the custody hearing does not mean I need to be more careful than you, as you swipe left and right.

text baby drive

Also, the many things inside the car that come with the care and maintenance of a growing offspring, are numerous.  They are also usually not secured inside a car. I assume the sign is about preventing an accident.  So if said accident, negligent tort inspiring type or otherwise happens, the most dangerous aspects of the impending accident may be the cargo inside, namely all the stuff that is unsecured in the car.

I also know from asking several (4) people in law enforcement, and numerous parents, that child seats are rarely mounted as designed.  Therefore, how many issues could your own child sue YOU for that you are in the power to prevent yet you invest in a small blind spot generator to ask others to look out for you?

Which brings us to the second issue, stop looking for others to change their lives for you.  If this sign is to brag about being a parent, I’m glad you are proud, you should be but you are part of the problem.  I respect your desire to do all you can to protect your child but don’t expect others to do it for you.  Do all YOU can to protect the precious cargo first.  Do all YOU can and drive defensively.  I’m not saying that you must defend from us, anymore than we must defend from you, but looking outside for the responsibility for the liability that lies within is a losing idea.  It is also my generation’s theme.

That is where I chose to start my perspective on my generation’s obsession with itself.  We grew up privileged and told that the world is our oyster.  To some degree this is good.  To some degree this is how it should feel when you are 22.  But the Yuppie and ‘ME’ generation grew up to become really selfish.  We didn’t invent selfishness but in my lifetime, I have seen it emerge in a way I don’t think it has before.

The second example, a pet peeve of mine…

You sit at a traffic light and look at the bumper or tail of the vehicle in front of you.  A bumper sticker reads, “Look Twice, Save a Life”.  Good idea.  Motorcycles are smaller than cars.  They can be missed in the optical noise of a busy road.  They are also more nimble and thus move differently.

Here are other realities.  Most of the motorcycle riders I see wear no helmets.  Usually these are on Harleys but not exclusive.  I cannot tell you the number of times this year alone I have been passed on the shoulder at speed on an interstate or in a traffic jam by one of these motorcycles who’s rider is too cool for a helmet.  I have been passed down the lane divider stripe at speed and I have watched as, usually a crotch rocket, is weaving in and out of traffic well in excess of the speed limit.  Not too long ago I even saw one slow and go at a red light with three lanes of traffic each way.

I’ll make you a deal.  I’ll look twice if you think even once.  If you ride like a moron I cannot care to look for you anymore than I look for the Semi truck you cross in front of.  I wont and cannot be expected to even once look down my left shoulder for you coming as if it isn’t a lane.  I wont look for you crossing six lanes of traffic when I have a green light.  We will collide and you will likely be crippled or killed.  I’ll also sue you or your insurance.  And win.

I am a good driver.  I have avoided many accidents others would have caused by being more aware then they.  I have also been the issue on occasion.  I also look for motorcycles, by looking in general but not anything special cause you aren’t special.  If you are riding a motorcycle, the best way to stay safe it be where you can be seen, don’t be an idiot and ride the edge of your lane and simply be predictable.

Here is mine and many others perspectives, I will care for your safety as much as you do.  When you are in shorts and sneakers and a t-shirt and glasses and no helmet.  You obviously don’t care for your own safety.  When the woman I assume you care about is on the  un-reinforced seat on the back wearing a skirt and heels and is holding onto the fool in glasses, I care as much for your safety as you do for her safety and she does for her own.

squid

At east the back seat is safe …

I know there is no law saying you must wear a helmet ( I wonder if former Senator Campbell knows how many people he helped kill). If I were in the state legislature, I would propose a law.  No, not requiring you to wear a helmet, but if you don’t, no insurance has to cover your health bill.  There is no law saying you must wear a helmet, there is also no law saying i have to treat you any different than any other vehicle, much less look twice for YOU.

If you cannot be bothered to take the best and biggest step for your own protection on a motorcycle, why should anyone pay for your smashed gourd when you wreck.  We’ll hose off the blood ( or not) and open the lane for more traffic moving onto the rest of their life as your loved one is informed of your decision to die stupidly.

I feel the same way about seat belts so don’t think I am biased against motorcycles, I hate idiots, no mater how many tires they ride on.  So again, I’ll look once you start thinking and not expect others to change for YOUR risky choice.  I don’t care if you wear a helmet, that’s your right, but I wont pay for your stupidity.

WINNING

I’ll say this, the pipes look quiet.

There is another issue I have with our two wheeled friends.  Briefly, there was a trend of motorcycles having a flashing headlight to better be seen on the road.  Now, in most if not all states impersonating a cop is illegal.  But for some reason, motorcycle riders seemed to think they were extra special and could do so under the guise of safety … This trend disappeared here luckily.  But this elitism of my ‘Me’ generation is impressive.

I researched it a little and it was solved by the state patrol, with sizable fines for the headlight and a second citation earned an impersonating a law officer charge.  It turns out the law can help help manage but not solve stupidity.  It took the law for these arrogant riders to realize they are not so special they get to break the law.  YOU chose to get on a motorcycle with MUCH higher risks than cars.  Own it.

Stop thinking only about yourself and stop expecting others to pay for your choices.  Motorcycles are very dangerous. You are more than six times more likely to die on one than in a car.  This is NOT because you are being hit by car drivers looking only once for you.  It is because you are around the vehicle rather than in it.  YOU are the bumper.  Your cool do-rag is your roof.  Your 7-11 sunglasses are your windshield.  And the only equivalent to a seat belt for you is that helmet you refuse to wear cause you think you look cooler without one.  Your choice is not my burden.

Oh and for your info, your loud pipes did nothing but make you deaf.  Oh wait, sorry, YOUR LOUD PIPES DID NOTHING TO HELP YOU BUT DID MAKE YOU DEAF!  You aren’t nearly as cool as you think and your pipes are only for thinking you are cool and you know it.  Stop lying.  (if you think I am lying look up Doppler effect or ask anyone who paid attention in high school physics)

Here is my next rant example of the ‘ME’ generation’s attitude towards all others.  Recently, I put several things on craigslist for free to move them onto someone else.  Two things happened that surprised me.

One of them was a wood filing cabinet that a woman wanted and would come by for after work.  I was not going to be home so we agreed that she would pick it up after I left and I would leave it under the breezeway behind the house.  She texted me to tell me when she had arrived.  She then texted me to notify me it was too heavy for her to lift into her trunk so she would return in the AM with her husband.  Ok.

What she didn’t tell me is that she pushed it across the driveway and broke the corner off, and broke the drawer front and somehow knocked a hole in it.  She also left it on the side of the uncovered driveway.  When I arrived the next day, mid day.  It was sitting there in the driveway for me to hit in the rain.  She couldn’t be bothered to return and collect it, or move it, or even own the fact that she destroyed my property because it was on a free list.  Put simply, she was a selfish ass.

After i almost backed into it in the driveway and pouring rain, I texted her and was direct and nice.  “I will be keeping your number and please don’t ever respond to any of my ads ever again.  I now have destroyed property based on doing the right thing and you exploiting something free at my cost.”  She didn’t have the guts to respond.  Typical.  I was FAR too nice.

I did however post the new ad on craigslist with photos of the newly damaged filing cabinet and describing the situation.  She didn’t respond to that ad.

The second thing I have seen is that people, even though they are picking up a free item, cannot be bothered to work to your schedule.  They expect delivery and to arrange a time and then not show up and you be ok with it.  This is SO DAMN INDICATIVE of my generation.  I could not believe when I gave away a dresser and 3 out of 11 responses asked me to deliver it.

This was my favorite one.  “I would love the dresser but I cannot carry it in my car, I know in your ad you say you cannot deliver, but would I suspect it is because you don’t want to and can, so could you deliver it to (address deleted to protect the off spring of this pillar of our society).  Please text me when near, I wont be home till after 6:30.”  That was the FIRST contact I had from that person.

It took me three scheduled pick ups to have someone actually show up to pick up something free.

I also gave away a lawn mower.  The ad said, it will go to donation tomorrow but if you want it and can pick it up today, it is yours.  The first response I got asked if he could pick it up tomorrow night.  No.  Then he said he would pick it up MAYBE tonight.  No.  Again, it goes to donation the next day so I wont wait for a maybe.  It is free, so either commit or get out.  I told him it might be here or not.  He didn’t seem to think that was professional.

The other AMAZING trait I have learned about people via craigslist is this … NO ONE READS A FREAKIN MAP!  90% of the people responding ask where it is located.  If you are not familiar with craigslist it has a MAP on it for where the item is located.  Apparently that is just too much work to either look right or click on location.  But they do have time to ask you.

When asked where I was located, I told two of them, “it is in the ad”.  One said, “that is too difficult”, the other said “I forgot to look, so tell me.”  To the first I said “If reading a map is too difficult, you will never find my house, good luck in life.”  To the second I said go look and let me know if you want to come get it.  He answered, “Just tell me, its easier.”  I waited about 30 minutes and replied, “I used the GPS information on your text packet to determine your location, I then loaded it in my car and put it very close to your current location behind a bush. I then put this new location information in the ad you responded to.  If you  can learn to read the map in an ad it is yours!  Otherwise, someone else will find it instead.”  His answer? “Just tell me and I will walk down and get it, what bush?”

I had no idea how to answer so I didn’t.  I like to think he spent a little time looking through bushes near his home.  But we both know he was too lazy to do that.

Our culture and my generation especially is lazy.  We expect the village to raise our children instead of help and support.  We seem to think any accident is a path to financial liability and responsibility.  We want it our way but seem pissed and confused when somewhere wants it their way.

I know there are MANY great people in the world.  The people I work with prove it.  But the number of lazy people is just amazing.  My generation needs to get it’s heads out of our phones and our children off theirs (they are mimicking you) and go do things where we remember that we are our own responsibility.  WE are accountable for us.  How about this, as many in one of my jobs do, try doing something significant for others and see how good it feels.

Carry a fire extinguisher, you may have to be the one to put out your own fire …

YOUR MUSIC SUCKS

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, David Lee Roth

 

If you were born after 1977 I feel sorry for you.  It seems, of all the things the internet killed, music is among the most dead.  Yes we know that VHS tapes and bulky stereo systems are also but they were on a life cycle of their own regardless and would go the way of cassettes and 8 tracks regardless but with the advent of streaming and downloading music off the net illegally, the financial base of music seems to be gone.

The reason for this is the observation that among many of my God-children and adopted kids (many now adults), I hear them rolling up to my house with my generation of music blasting out their car.  I was asked by my nephew if I had ever heard of AC/DC, and one of my adopted kids desperately wants to see Journey in concert.  She isn’t clamoring to see Justin, no.  She wants to see REO Speedwagon and Journey and Cheap Trick and wishes Phil Collins would tour.

Phil Collins at his best:

 

For those of you who love music today, don’t freak out, I am not claiming that there is no skill or talent present.  There are very skilled musicians, singers and bands today.  But they won’t likely have the staying power of the previous generation.  And for those who don’t know, I am also biased but not blind.  I came of age in the 80s; the last (currently) golden age of music.

My ipod also has Marc Cohn, Alien Ant Farm, Avril (yes), Edwin McCain and Kelly Clarkson as well so I am not totally 80s and before but those represent exceptions.  I like Metallica and they seem to have had the most staying power of the post 80s era.  Dave Mathews was big for a long time and still tours but not like back in the day, but that’s normal.  The idea that I can name these is both a testament to their popularity and rarity.

What’s missing is variety as well as power.

 

Look at it this way, there are very few recent artists that sell more tickets while touring than the nostalgia bands of the 70s and 80s who’s members are in their 50s, 60s and even 70s.

The undeniable, U2 …

 

Now I will also admit, some of these bands have few original members, which means the music itself alone is outselling a modern artist performing his or her own music.

For those of you who missed out on Steve Perry

 

The variety of the 80s was amazing.  In my formidable years I was partially formed to the music of Brian Adams, David Bowie, Journey, Police, Phil Collins (Genesis), Poison, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Crowded House, Talking Heads…

 

… Cindy Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson, U2, Whitney Houston, Van Halen, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Bob Marley, Culture Club, Springsteen …

 

… Def Leppard, Huey Lewis, John Cougar, Rush, ZZ Top…

And we closed out that era with one of the last Mega Bands, GnR.

 

We also had the bands that came of age in the 70s and either kept on keepin on or modernized like The Stones, Doors, Elton, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Chicago, Pink Floyd, The Who, Aerosmith and of course, Queen.

The most powerful performance possibly ever, live, in front of the world.  By the man who defined presence…

 

I dare anyone to follow that.

We too had sprinkles of ‘classic rock’ then such as Buddy Holly …

Where it all started…

 

The Beach Boys (who I saw live twice, once against President Reagan’s wishes) set my life in motion, The Beatles, The Kinks, Simon and Garfunkle, CCR, Bob Dylan and one of my all time favorites, Roy Orbison.

Oh my summers …

 

Something happened in the grunge era.  Music variety died.  Music power died.  Anger prevailed and it was exhausting and boring.  The 90s was not an era of rock, it was an era of modern country.  For those that don’t know, the 90s country music wasn’t all about getting drunk.

And the lesser known but amazing …

 

Music is the soul of the words poorly written that are the narrative of an era.  These bands defined when I fell in love the first time.  The first time I stepped out on my own.  The first time I felt loss to the core of my soul.  And when I truly learned who I was, good and bad.  There is music to every memory for me and some of these are those memories I hear in the sound track here.

And …

and the beautiful …

 

Each of the songs above represent a woman of the 80s for me.  Each one taught me, loved me, made love with me in one way or another and they are each amazing.  I learned from them I could love and care deeply, I could imagine having a home, and I learned about sex.  Not a bad era.

The list above is impressive and incomplete.  What is not said there is the power of the music of the era.  Music is the era’s narrative.  The music of that era was the backbone of so many of its movies that today are or are becoming classics.  The same music, unless iconic to one movie like Simple Mind’s Don’t You Forget About Me, is continuously being recycled.

Iconic

 

As mentioned, Simple Minds from The Breakfast Club, Danger Zone from Top Gun, Road House, Dirty Dancing, Ghost, even Young Guns all had hit sound tracks then based on music of the era.

I could also talk about the amazing record sales.  They had to invent new classifications for these bands.  There were albums that debuted double platinum.  There are albums like Van Halen 1984 and 5150, Michael Jackson Thriller, ACDC Back in Black, Springsteen Born in the USA, GnR Appetite for Destruction, Prince Purple Rain, Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet, Def Leppard Hysteria, Motlet Crue Dr. Feelgood, U2 Joshua Tree, Madonna Like a Virgin,  Journey Escape, ZZ Top Eliminator, Billy Joel An Innocent Man … all standards today, iconic and monsters still …

THE 80s icon …

 

I remember when Journey, with Steve Perry came to town.  They were there Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  They sold almost a half million seats in one city in one stop.  Then they moved on to the next city to do it all again.  They weren’t the only one.  They invented arena rock.  They invented stadium concert tours.  They invented the tour bus caravan and the tour PLANE.

By the late 80s there hair bands had learned how to dominate and took it as far as it can go.  I respect that.  I learned the limits of racing by exceeding the limits … It takes guts and although we can look back at these..

And wonder if it went too far … no.  It was an age of excess and individualism.  I love these guys.

These bands brought us torn jeans as fashion, spandex, cut off Ts, they made long hair for men fashionable again (I had it) hair gel and aqua net were of the era as well and luckily most of the look is gone, although the torn jeans have returned with the current generation claiming it as original.  Also, the bands of that era have not apologized for the spandex to my knowledge …

In this era and to this music I did much more than chase women.  I raced.  I didn’t race on a track yet, although that did start in 89, this was the other kind.  The dangerous kind.  I street raced and played and to the anthems of Poison, GnR, Quiet Riot, AC/DC , Boston, Twisted Sister and countless other hard driving bands of the era, I turned up the stereo, spooled up the V8s and threw my life to chance in exchange for adrenalin rarely felt since.  I wrecked a few cars, I rolled one three times, I ran from the cops on more than one occasion, more than five … and all by turning the stereo up louder…

 

As I write this, I am in a restaurant that is playing almost entirely music from the list above.  The day that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper was immortalized in Don McLean’s song, American Pie as the day the music died.  It was reborn in the 80s.  It may have died again in the 90s.  But like the rebirth after Buddy Holly died, there will be another but I do wonder … if I was lucky enough to come of age in the greatest age of music.

I am so lucky to have these and dozens more songs as the sound track to the most powerful years of my life.  I loved to some of these songs.  I cried to some.  I almost died to some.  And they are all in my DNA and to the artist who made them, sweated over every chord, every word, every pause in the chorus … to those who first stood in front of a crowd and sang from their heart and soul and hoped their dream would take flight, I love you.

And finally, one of the original classics

 

Lets hope Rock and Roll find’s it’s feat again and for God’s sake, start having fun up there again!  But until then, the 80s are here to rock you and remind you, life is about living, not about anger …

Lasting Marketing

boom

Going back to WWII, there was even then a war of propaganda.  All wars start with lies and end with lies.  Why we fight is not the reason why we start to fight. How we rationalize a war has little to do with what the war is about.  We can often connect lines of logic through time and events and support the public perception of why.  This is helped when the press is either fed or willingly tells only select stories.  But the press is not the only component here.

Today, we talk about lower taxes being the key to economic success, even though every example is only a success for a short time and leads to recessions.  Also, it is impossible to always lower taxes so it cannot be the only answer, but it is the popular answer since we only care about today, fuck our kids, tomorrow doesn’t matter.

Today we talk about a war on terrorism, when other parts of the world see us as the terrorists and we have experienced almost no terrorism from foreigners.  Today we focus on illegal immigrants and VERY expensive answers rather than immigration reform which would make us money.  What we seem to focus on allows others to look proactive and give permission for action.  Action that is not based in the true goal.

On August 6, 1945 the US Army Air Corps dropped the first atomic bomb from a plane.  This wasn’t the first atomic detonation.  The “Gadget” was the first atomic device that was detonated on July 16, 1945.  The bomb over Hiroshima was the second detonated, named “Little Boy”, a name taken from the Maltese Falcon.

Prior to this, there had been an extensive bombing campaign both in Europe and Japan.  The US public had been growing tired of the war and the loss of life.  The reason for extensive bombing was to reduce the more publicized loss of US lives on the ground.  I wont fault this, this is sound strategy.  But due to the growing public exhaustion of death tolls, both American and enemy, there was also an extensive propaganda campaign regarding precision bombing.

Precision bombing in WWII was a myth.  It wasn’t until smart bombs that precision bombing really existed and that was not until the 1990s.  If we could really drop bombs “in a pickle barrel” from 10,000 feet in 1942, we’d not have as much need for guided bombs today.  This was marketing, propaganda, to lessen the exhaustion on the home front and sell the myth of saving lives through superior tactics and technology.

What was being sold was this, we would only hit vital war resources and thus cripple Germany’s ability to wage war while sparing as much as possible the German people.  Nice concept, but not possible then.  How do we know, simple … the deadliest bombing campaigns of WWII include well over 10,000 dead civilians.  The most immediate causalities is from bombing Tokyo in 1945 where over 100,000 civilians dead.  Where was the precision?  Where was the saving of lives?  There was efforts yes, but not results and the US military knew it.

All of the US bombings in the top ten used the Nordon bomb site, one of the most secretive instruments of WWII.  It wasn’t as good as advertised.  Not close.  I theorize the reason it was so secretive was that as it was being sold as a precision instrument the US military was using for accuracy and also saving lives and it wasn’t able to do this job and thus it must be kept secret so no one knows it does not live up to the billing.  It was good, very good even.  But pickle barrels were never targeted.

The Manhattan project, something my family is directly connected to, was unknown by the US citizens until August 6, 1945.  It was to that point the most secretive project in US history, and for good reason.  Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima in order to force Japan into surrender and to prevent an estimated then, 100,000 US causalities from invading Japan.  Today that number is often quoted as 1,000,000 lives.  Lies grow like inflation over time.

The reason we know that the invasion would not cost that many lives is that we had total navy superiority, almost complete air superiority and the mainland was not guarded by 100,000 prime and well fed and trained Japanese soldiers.  Japan was mostly populated by the old and the young and the female.  Okinawa and Iwo Jima were Japans last real breaths.  Kamikazes were not an act of extreme patriotism and fanaticism.  Most of the pilots were told if they returned they and their families would be shot.  Most Kamikazes also never reached their targets.  Some were fanatics but the presence of any is not the rule of all.

The invasion of Japan would take time and preparation and the idea the Atomic bomb could end the war earlier was real.  The idea that it could prevent an invasion was real.  It could and did save American lives.  But it was not to prevent a blood bath, it had a wholly different purpose.

Go back to the start of 1945 when the bombing of Japan really took root.  We bombed so many cities, over 100, and some nearly to the ground.  We bombed industrial cities and ones that had little industrial purpose.  This was to help destroy the war machine but that machine by that time was largely broken. It was to break the will of the people.  Fair enough.

But here is the interesting part and how we know we only had two atomic bombs to drop.  There were only a few major cities left un-bombed.  Left pristine.  Ignored by all American bombs until they were not.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki were deliberately left un-bombed by orders starting in Jan of 1945.  They were already the targets of the atomic demonstration.

We needed a clean target to measure and demonstrate the effectiveness of the atomic bombs.  This was also advertising.  Advertising for who?  We’ll get to that.  We knew the bombs should work, since we tested one.  We didn’t test both kinds.  The two we dropped were different.  One we had already tested, the other we had not.

We did try to prevent human deaths in the bombing though.  We did not need to see death tolls to measure effectiveness.  We actually warned Hiroshima of the coming bombing.  Few left.  Most of the city was as it had always been at 8:15 am.  By 8:16, the cold war had started.

The Potsdam conference had taken place in Germany and the initial test of “the gadget” had taken place while it was gong on.  President Truman until that point had been hoping to get Russia to attack Japan.  He did, but by the end of the conference Truman knew it would not be needed.

Ironically, Stalin also knew the gadget had worked but not because Truman told him, because his spies had.  He had many spies in The Manhattan Project and he knew as much as Truman.

Russia and the US were already starting to stand off over gained territory in the war.  Russia didn’t want to give any won territory back, whereas the US and England wanted to give it all back.  This was the first step of the cold war.  All major US leaders knew Russia would be one of the next problems.  Gen. Patton wanted to continue on from Berlin to Moscow.

For those of you who think if he had it would have solved many issues, you are wrong.  We woulda lost or at least not won and lost millions of US lives in the process.  Russia lost more people in the battle of Moscow than we have lost in US history of war.  Those of you who think Russia was weak are fools.

Hiroshima was a demonstration to Russia where we stood with atomic weaponry.  We were far ahead of Russia or Germany or England, all of who had been working on the same technology.  Germany had been ahead of us but British special forces and our bombing knocked out the resources needed.

So historians and the general public who have read some, think that the atomic bombs were to prevent US loss of life in the invasion of Japan.  There is a grain of truth in that beach of propaganda.  But in reality is was to measure the effectiveness of our newest weapon and to show Russia how big our … um … bomb was.

It likely did save lives.  It did save American lives.  It didn’t prevent wars.  It might have prevented some wars though.  It only took the Russians 4 years to catch up.  That may be when the real cold war started.  Yet the Korean War started the following year so they did not prevent wars.

We can look at this event in a different way and it makes more sense when you understand that we detonated the bomb for far more reasons than to end the war.  we were demonstrating our technological superiority and likely stalled Russian aggression.

Lets take one last look at this issue in a more modern context.

We see Russia as a threat sometimes, ok, they love to posture and did invade the Ukraine, kinda … Since WWII, Russia or USSR has invaded 4 nations.  We have invaded 10.  We love to see North Korea as a threat, yet since 1950, North Korea has not invaded or attacked any other nation.

We love to see them as a threat because they may have developed nuclear weapons even though they have never demonstrated them publicly.  In the meantime, do you have any idea how many atomic tests and detonations have taken place on the planet and by whom?

 

There are 7 known nuclear nations.  South Africa developed the technology but dismantled theirs when they joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which we and Russia have also signed.  North Korea we already discussed and I do not count as part of the 7 known.  There are also 5 nations that have US nuclear missile bases including Italy, Turkey, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

The known US active Nuclear arsenal which has been inspected by many nations many times, is set at about 1,800.  There are about 7,000 decommissioned but not yet destroyed missiles.  Why so many?  Cause liberals wont allow us to dispose of the material and not allow us to build nuclear reactors which can use some of the material, so there it sits…

But answer me this Glenda Lou … why are we scared of North Korea? Can you name the 7 known states with independent nuclear weapons?  I’ll give you the US and Russia.  England is an easy guess and anyone with some savvy will guess France.  All correct. China is also an easy guess but often forgotten.   How about India and Pakistan?  Did you know they had them as well?  Did you know Israel very likely does?  And not because we gave it to them, they developed them on their own.  So why are we scared of north Korea … No one rational is.  But it is great propaganda to justify military build up.  N.K. is not a threat to us as I mentioned in my previous article.

https://5280nup.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/its-not-as-simple-as-pro-or-con/

We seem to be the worlds authority on who should have nuclear weapons yet we are the only nation who has used it in anger on an enemy.  At the time, it could have been seen as a war crime.  Mass targeting of civilians with a non conventional weapon.  We sold it well and we won.  If it was Japan that had used it we would have put them on trial.

We tend to make a deal out of other nations that possess biological weapons or chemical weapons.  Yet ironically, the US has examples of every known bio toxin and chemical warfare ordinance known to man.  Are they in weapon forms?  Yes they are, we have many examples of this to prove it.  Who says we can be trusted?  Who does the prosecution?  Us.  So were exempt yet we lie about it all the time.  Lets take a look.

We try to sell ourselves as the policemen of justice, we aren’t.  Agent Orange was not a myth, is it real and it killed up to 350,000 people.  It caused birth defects for a generation and almost destroyed an ecosystem.  That was us using chemical warefare on an enemy in the 60s and 70s.

In Fallujah in 2004 the US military used white phosphorous on Iraqi civilians.  Is it a bio ordinance, no.  Is it a chemical ordinance, yes it is.  It is a gray area used to excuse the choice but they targeted almost entirely civilians, so I call crap on that excuse.  This was a news story everywhere but in the US.  Still believe the press is free or liberal?

In 1988 the US was supplying Iraq and Hussein with intelligence in their war with Iran and knew they were using Sarin, mustard and nerve gas, and helped them know where to aim them, including on Kurdish civilians … their children are what we call ISIS today.  We reap what we sew.

BTW, if you think the above is ok because you hate anyone with dark skin, be brave and honest and unfriend me on FB now.  You are of no use to me.  I wont miss you.

Now lets bring this home.  The US government still wont say what they were releasing from building roofs in the 1950s in St Louis’ prominently black neighborhoods where a cancer cluster followed.  It is classified.  So I am sure it’s nothing bad, right?

Need we mention the Tuskegee experiment?  I hope not.

Lets get much closer to home.  In 2011 the police fired tear gas at the occupy protestors of Oakland.  Tear Gas is prohibited by the military as a chemical war agent.  So if it is against the law in war, why is it ok to shoot against US civilians by our police?  Why do they even have it in inventory if it is a war crime to use?

Shall we go on or shall we simply accept that the US IS an expert on chemical warefare since we take part in it often against foreign combatants against several international treaties and we fire them at our own civilians and lie about it.  So maybe we are the worlds policeman because we are the experts on using them and lying about it, but you likely heard it here first.

So all this distortion of truth makes me wonder one question: What will our children discover about us now, that we deny because we wont apply simple logic and do some research that is not that hard with Google Scholar and foreign news sources?  If you want to know I would do so before access to foreign news agencies is by fee only, paid to the US Govt.  Think that’s a silly concept, you need to read more about net neutrality and why it is under threat.

God I Miss Her

Every man needs a romance … THAT romance …

That romance that scares your mother.

That romance that makes other women a little annoyed but also a little jealous …

She needs the be an attention getter.  She needs to wrap herself around you and remind you you are safe, but also know that she could kill you.  There is only room for one.

You have to be willing to put it all in and expect it all from her.  You have to know that no matter what, no matter how long it takes, if you give it all, you will get it all.

For a time in my life I was the most alive I have ever felt.  I have touched on it since but not like then, not predictable, like when I knew it was about to happen.  Sometimes it didn’t work out but as I got better at it and more prepared, those moments of life made the waiting between all worth it.  All the work and time and effort and scars made those times, those amazing times so worth it.

These times will likely still go down in my life as I get older as some of if not my greatest moments.  When life slowed down.  When everything made sense.  When I was in control.  When even the confusion of it all was beauty in chaos.  I walked towards the heat and the danger.

It excited me.

The heat could be amazing.  Overwhelming.  I didn’t care about the sweat, it was part of the allure.  It personified the power.  It defined those moments.

Sometimes it felt dirty.  It was wet.  It could consume every sensation and every part of my body.  Never before or since have I put so much of my body to use all at once and consumed everything I had.  Sore muscles, thirsty, exhaustion, the overwhelming desire to go faster, longer, harder … GOD IT WAS LIFE.

After a while I added music to it.  Not just any music, power driving music.  you know, THAT music …

When i did …

it ALL came together …

like nothing before or since…

Then, only on occasions … but then … it was perfection.

The noise, the motion, the power all dominated all my senses.  There was room for nothing else.

No one else.

It could be so overwhelming sometimes it could even bring me to tears.  When done, there was nothing left but that feeling that something amazing just happened and the world had changed a little.

Afterwards …

Afterwards I would strut.

God I miss racing…

runoffs 98

It’s Not as simple as Pro or Con

I have been called many things in my life.  They vary and that’s fine, I have been many people in my life.  In the opening innings of a new Republican administration we are once again on the verge of another war, or escalation or police action or whatever term is PC now in the non-PC Presidency.

I worry that we so easily go to guns.  I worry that lives are not valued enough.  I worry that we go in with our soldiers in response to aggression or an affront and have no clear objective or exit to know when our soldiers will no longer be asked to die.  If we have no clear end, there should never be a beginning.  If the objective is a lie, such as a recent war, then that should be considered treason by the people of this nation.

I get that Presidents and politicians and governments lie to its people.  I get it.  There are some times when they should never.  The reason to go to war is one of them.  The objective of that war is another.  If not, then they killed our soldiers with lies and did so knowingly and deliberately.  If that isn’t treason I don’t know what is.

But lets assume the next action is true.  I want you to ask yourself before hand, how many of our soldiers should die for this war.  We don’t know loss like other nations do.  We have no concept of what it feels like to lose more people in a single battle, than we have currently deployed in our armed forces.  There are numerous battles in the 20th century that had more deaths on one side, than we have had in our nations history.  We don’t know loss like other nations.

Also, I want you to consider what the objective is.  Do we bomb North Korea?  If we do, to what end?  They vilify us with no cause.  Yes we fought them a generation and a half ago but that’s old news.  That war ended 60 years ago, and they didn’t lose.  If we bomb them is it to convince them were the good guys?  You cannot kill someone into friendship.  That’s like beating my neighbor so they invite me over for parties.  Is it about removing the leader?  If so, bombing wont do it.  We have to invade.  We have to conquer.  We have to occupy.  Are you ready to occupy yet another nation with no clear end in sight?  You don’t remove leaders of nations with bombs alone.

What are we scared of there anyhow?  They have yet to show they can launch anything remotely close to … anything.  Much less us.  They have likely detonated a nuclear weapon.  But that’s a far cry from being a nuclear power or military.  I have yet to see proof that what they have detonated underground was a true nuke.  It could have been A LOT of TNT and radioactive material to make it look nuclear.  They are NOT a threat.

Also, we overlook the obvious.  Yes they have launched missiles towards Japan.  Some say to provoke us.  Some say to attack a protectorate of ours to provoke us into action.  No.  That can’t be it.  Why you ask?  Simple.  South Korea.  South Korea is easily reachable for them and they could attack it with ease.  Yet they don’t even try.  The largest deployment of US soldiers overseas is in S. Korea.  If he wanted to provoke us, our military is only a couple dozen miles away, yet he fires in the other direction.  He is playing games.

How many US soldiers should die due to a dictator playing a game? A game where no foreigners have yet to die.  How many US soldiers should die because a man who looks like Tweety Bird is a big mouth.

tweety bird

How many US Soldiers should die for him?

The other direction our new leader may send our soldiers is Syria.  The man who claimed to know more about ISIS than the generals, should have a hell of a plan.  It should start with what we know if you listen to more than Fox News.  We caused Isis.  Isis used to be the Kurds.  The same people we long ago armed and trained to help fight for their freedom as they were being oppressed by Saddam Hussein.  Then we forgot them.  When Hussein was killed and removed from power, we just moved on and the oppression continued.  We helped make Isis.

Are we to blame?  No.  Are we the cause?  No.  We are part of the reason for them to exist though.  So does that mean we should sit by and not care?  No.  But it is a symbol, a hint, a clue of the issue in the middle east.  There is no end to war there.  They were killing one another over what God you pray to and how since long before this nation, or most nations, or Jesus… There is no end.

Remember the movie War Games?  No matter how many ways The WOPR computer played out the game, there was no win.  No matter what happens in the middle east, there is no balance.  There is no win.  There is no obtainable objective and there is clearly no end.  If we go to war in Syria, it is not to win.  It is not because they are a threat to the US.  So you have to ask, why are we doing this if there is no end?  Someone profits but it isn’t the US soldier.  They die.

Do you know how many Americans had been killed by ISIS prior to us going there to stop them?  None.  ISIS was and is regional.  They are small time on the world stage.  They are the definition of no threat to the US.  So how many American men and women in our armed services is it a good number to die for no threat to us? How many American men and women should die when there is no obtainable objective to military action?  How many US soldiers should die when we cannot win?

If our President knows more about ISIS than the generals, he should know the simple lesson the WOPR learned from Tic Tac Toe.  The only way to win is not to play ….

I HATE wars.  I HATE them.  Yes there are amazing feats or heroism and amazing stories of overcoming.  But that’s no reason to have 1,000s of our sons and daughters die.  I am VERY pro soldier because I am anti war.

We are in a very pro soldier era now as a backlash by the next generation after the generation of Vietnam.  I get it.  The odd thing is I don’t know a single soldier that wants the praise the public seems the need to heap on them.  Most have told me, “I did a job I signed up to do, I got a paycheck and an education opportunity, I’m not a hero, I was a soldier, now I am a worker, and a parent and a spouse and your neighbor.  Treat me with respect like you should anyone.”  Amen.

I respect those wishes and don’t fill my need to feel patriotic by forcing praise.  They deserve respect, yes.  They deserve support when needed, yes.  WE ALL do.  But most just want to move on or continue being the soldier they chose to be.  I support them, by HATING wars that kill them.

I have been called anti-soldier because I am anti-war.  I am PRO solder and pro American and pro Human, because I am anti war.  Call me anything you like.  But if you feel I am anti soldier because I am anti war…I know all I ever need to about you.  Change the channel …

My Jeep Wave

Military Jeep

There are many who wont understand this or care about it.  That’s ok.

I saw a Jeep Commander today, stock, nice highway tires and rigid mud flaps.  On the rear window were three phrases in the form of stickers.  “GO TOPLESS”,  “Land Rover Recovery Vehicle” and “I Drive Over Things” … No, just no.

This was not a real Jeep, this was a jeep, and he clearly does not understand what go topless means in the context of a Jeep.  Now I am just as supportive of anyone for going topless.  Maybe we all should but this is a reference to convertible (hard or soft top) Jeeps, not Commanders.  For him to go topless would require a sawzall or torch or a Smokey and the Bandit ‘I’ beam across the road.

The “Land Rover Recovery Vehicle” made me giggle (yes really).  This Jeep couldn’t follow most Land Rovers.  It had no recovery gear or winch or D rings or anything that would aid in anything other than jump starting a dead Land Rover at Park Meadows.

The last sticker, “I Drive Over Things” is one I can get behind.  I can see this Commander driving over to the bar, or over to the mall, or maybe over to a 30 year class reunion in LoDo.  This one I can make right in my head, but not the way it is meant in regards to a Jeep.  He doesn’t get it.  He is part of the Jeep culture like I am part of the cowboy culture when I put on my Cowboy hat.  I would not wave to him from my Jeep.

The Jeep wave is the idea that Jeep owners wave to one another as they pass on the two way roads.  Some are militant about if you do or don’t.  Some have rules.  I do as well, more or less.  They aren’t hard and fast rules, just guidelines.  Or whims …. Whatever it is, this is my look on it.

The Jeep is the evolution of the military multi-use vehicle invented by Bantam Car Co.  During WWII they were made by Willys designated MB and the same or similar vehicles made by Ford were designated GPW.  Rumor has it, the GP part of that Ford designation is where Jeep came from, GP, pronounced Jeep.

When they were turned onto civilian use after the war they were designated CJ, supposedly standing for Civilian Jeep.  When turned to civilian use they were barely different than the indestructible military versions.  Often they lacked doors, tops, seat cushions, heaters and even windshield wipers!  They were the definition of utility.

They were sold to farmers to replace horses mules and tractors.  They were sold to people who worked in construction and to people who were going into the back country.  The point here is that those who drove them, drove them for the utilitarian purpose rather than style or comfort.  This spoke to the driver.  They were similar in their intent, which was different than anyone else since the vehicle was unlike anything before.

For approximately two decades the two door, small and formidable Jeep CJ was the only Jeep made and sold.  They became more driver friendly and road worthy but they were still utilitarian.  They still reflected the owner.  Until the International Scout and original Ford Bronco, there was no competition.  When these Jeeps passed one another on the road, somehow, sometime, the wave developed in recognition of these special owners.

I have owned a 79 CJ5.  A 98 Cherokee.  And currently an LJ.  I don’t wave to every Jeep.  Number one, in Colorado there are too many.   Secondly, Jeep has recently made many models I do not consider to be a Jeep at all.  If your pride and joy is not one I typically wave at, I don’t apologize.  I wave to a purpose and use, not a brand.

Jeep TJ

My Jeep is not meek.  It isn’t a mall queen.  It isn’t stock and cleaned all the time.  The interior is dusty and there is dirt in the rubber floor mats.  Usually, it only has a bikini top on.  In other words, it is quite true to the original intent and utility.  I don’t consider a Jeep Compass to be utilitarian, nor a Patriot, nor a current Renegade.  They are cars made by a Jeep company.

I wave to the intent and ability of the vehicle to do what I do more or less.  I wave to modified and TRAIL USED vehicles.  Typically, these are Wranglers or Rubicons or Cherokee.  I may also wave to a Bronco or Toyota or Land Rover too.  I draw the line at a Samurai and it’s cousins.  I don’t wave to pick ups, other than one Ford Raptor I know of.

In other words, I wave to the intent and actual use in the theme of the original Jeep.  Heated seats and leather door skins are not that intent.  Nor are 16,000,000 lumens of light on a Suburban.  A Rubicon with painted fenders and armor-alled tires on 22s is not original intent.  Most of the Jeeps sold I don’t wave to.

If this doesn’t fit your expectations as you drive by me in your Commander, I really don’t give a Yugo.  Current Renegades look like Fiats.  Current Cherokees look like a bumper car.  They wheel about as well.  Maybe they should wave to Rav 4s, not a trail rig.  I’ll wave to the JKUR on 37s that has armor with scratches and a winch line that is not perfectly wound on the spool.  I’ll wave to a first gen Bronco with the top off and the fender corners chewed a bit form the mud tires.  I’ll wave to the Ford Raptor going up Holy Cross.  I wont wave to your Jeep Commander even if you drive over to me.

 

The Art of Myth Promotion

 

Ford T

There are a few people in history that have done well for themselves in the context of their reputation, self made or not, making themselves into myth more than man.  Oddly, they were already impressive without the fictionalization we have bestowed upon them or they themselves promoted.  Edison, Ford and the old west.

 

Henry Ford was a success in every way.  He was an odd duck with unpopular views depending on the era.  He is the recipient of myth and legend and giant status.  There are things that come from him, and quotes credited to him that he likely never said.

 

In reference to the Model T, which is at the center of three myths, Henry never likely said, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.”  There is one basic reason he would not likely say this, the Model T came in eleven colors.  Not only did it come in eleven colors, but in the first 4-5 years, black was not offered.  So unless Mr. Ford was unaware of his own production, which seems unlikely, he would not have made such a a statement.

 

Another myth is that he sent his engineers to junk yards to examine broken down and warn out model T cars to see what was not warn out in order to make it more cheaply.  There is much evidence for this investigation but not that that exact reason.  Ford manufactured the car as cheaply as possible not to maximize profits but to lower the price.

 

The investigation was to see where costs could be cut to lower the cost of the car to the consumer.  Ford had no need to maximize profits to the extent that he made them poorly, he made over 15,000,000 Model T cars.  And there are still tens of thousands of them on the road today.  For them to be 100 years old and still running, many virtually unmolested or rebuilt, they could not have been made cheaply.

 

The last myth was not likely of his making and likely came after his rise to wealth and fame.  He in fact did not invent or even perfect the production line.  He was the first to apply it to the automobile but far from the first to use the method.

 

The Chinese divided labor into specialized stations on the same object a long time before the industrial revolution that is credited with the production line invention in some circles.  This is a reflection of Eurocentric history writing where Asia is usually not even considered for their contributions to medicine, industry, art, metallurgy or warfare which often preceded Europe by decades to centuries.

 

It’s well documented in the book, Wealth of Nations and was employed in European armories long before Ford and his Model Ts.  As many who have read me may know, I also tend to work from distant to close when discussing how something is wrong or perceived inaccurately.

 

The Springfield Armory in Massachusetts employed production line design and interchangeability of parts long before Ford.  In the time of the Civil War, they so perfected this approach they increased their productivity of Model 1861 rifle by over 300%.  Ford didn’t invent the production line, he was the first to apply it to something as large and complex as a vehicle, which was inevitable.

 

Thomas Elva Edison was a legend of a man.  He was in the middle of the industrial revolution in the United States as well.  He wasn’t the inventor he was purported to be.  Either by his own promotion which is likely, or by others and history, he was a manager of minds, not master of invention.

 

Edison had a great deal of intelligent men working for him.  Edison likely had ideas, and likely inventive ones.  But he himself, managed minds and manipulated perception.  His famous victim was Nikola Tesla.  Many of the electricity claims Edison has been credited with was actually the result of Tesla.

 

His likely most famous invention he is credited with is the light bulb.  He did not invent the light bulb.  His workers invented the marketable light bulb.  He had bought one of hundreds of the existing patents for light bulbs and through many trials, found a way to make the filament last long enough to sell.

 

Edison managed inventors and took credit for their work since the work they did was under his employ, and thus his property.  In a more modern counter example, Walt Disney hired very creative people to put his ideas into realities.  Walt had little idea how, only what he wanted in general.  He hired the people to make his visions work.  We don’t credit Walt with the invention of all the technology within his lands and worlds.  The difference is, Walt promoted his product as a product of Imagineers.  Edison promoted himself.

 

Edison didn’t invent myth or self promotion or ego.  He is simply a modern example that will likely be forgotten over time, to the degree we no longer recall past self promoters as we focus on our more modern examples such as Ford and Edison for now.

 

Another flavor for myth making is one closer to home for me, the wild west.  Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, The James Gang, Butch and Sundance … they were less than the myth we have manufactured.  Although far from average.

 

The number of kills many of these men have been credited with has been proven to be impossible in most cases.  Not to say they didn’t kill anyone, but the penny and dime novels that largely made the myths, were more fiction than fact.

 

The James Gang was credited with so many bank robberies that they would have had to have a Leer Jet to get from one town to another in order to pull them all off.  Wild Bill was credited with at least one kill that he didn’t perform since it was used as a defense for the man that killed Bill.  The vengeance defense for the killer’s non existent brother.

 

Buffalo Bill’s history was largely written by himself via his Wild West show.  He was accurate for the most part in what he presented and one of the original advocates of the west and it’s native population, but he also had to package the information for his shows so it distorted the perception of the west by making small examples into sweeping generalizations.

 

Butchandsundance

These are not the real ones …

Butch and Sundance were still being blamed or credited with railroad and bank robberies after they had left the nation. Consider the quality of news reports today, ‘if it bleeds it reads’ is not new. When major cities had sometimes 25 papers and small towns had 2-3, there was much fiction then, more than now.  The quality of reporting in the day is not a historical record.

 

Billy the Kid is probably the most mythed of the old west.  He was brazen and deadly but again could not have been in all the places he was reported to have been and thus not done all the deeds credited to him.  Story telling is an art form.  In many cases it is art of creation rather than accurate reflection.  That’s fine, as long as we understand it to be what it is.

 

A great example of how we don’t know often what is right in front of us, is that for a long time Billy the Kid was assumed to have been left handed.  This is based on the most famous of the photos of him in existence.  Then, photos were on glass plates.  The plate was backwards when it was assumed he was left handed.  He was right handed in reality.  Simple fact turned backwards that historians bent other information to fit into.  Making it all wrong.

 

 

There is nothing wrong with myth, The Minnesota Vikings wear a fictional emblem for the Nordic overseas conquerors.  Robin Hood likely never existed, King Richard and his Knights likely didn’t either although people are digging deep on both of those looking for a basis in reality.  I hope they are found.

 

As long as they are understood as colorizations of modern culture, myth is simply context.  As long as were open to the idea that they may be real, we are open to wonder.  As long as we understand the intent of the teller, we can see through the myth to the man or woman they are built on.

 

Myth is either the colorization of fact or the hope of wonder.  Either is fine.  Just like anything else, accept our larger than life figures as potential myth, or be fooled into a fictional character ourselves based on our unrealistic, albeit fun perceptions.

 

 

You Aren’t Who they Say

 

DNA Analysis.

 

Who are you?  Who am I?  Who determines that?  Why am I asking?

 

The modern era is just amazing.  I remember when DNA was mapped.  I have seen Dolly, ok, not literally, but the time she was announced.  My father has had his DNA read to know his history, and thus PART of mine (we’ll return to this)and we have entered the era of Genetic programming our children, determining to a degree who they are even before they are born.

 

We also live in the era of ancestry.com and the not so modern idea of knowing where we came from.  This comes in handy when determining if we should wear a kilt or lederhosen to the next family dinner.

 

Ads for DNA analysis have taken broad liberty in using words and placing ideas.

Ethnicity is not genetic.  It is not DNA.  Ethnicity is about culture and socialization.  Neither exist in DNA.

 

Nationality and tradition also don’t exist in DNA.

Sorry about the horrible quality …

Was she planning to marry a specific DNA type or was she seeking tradition and physical traits?  Cause the physical traits she can see, and the traditions are not DNA.  This ad is miss leading and as the poster implies, racist.  But racist is in these days so maybe I am the one that’s off on that one.

 

Who we are has little to do with our DNA.  DNA does have to do with how we look to a degree though, so the commercial about Italians and Eastern Europeans, which BTW share many of the same genes, is more about the woman not knowing what an Italian looks like, except …. they don’t all look the same do they?

 

Who we are is alot to do with how we grew up and under what traditions.  If I grew up doing many German traditional things then I am ethnically more German than many Germans who emulate American tradition.  (we’ll also come back to this)

This is misleading.  Kilts and lederhosen are cultural, not genetic.  Lets take a more rational look at genes and DNA.

 

Testing will determine what area of the world our genetic ancestors were most focused in a looooong time ago and how they got the genetic mix we still carry with us today enough to determine were part of that DNA profile.  These genes are not specific. They are focused yes but not specific.  They are also not current.

 

As I mentioned, my father had his DNA run. $100 from National Geographic.  His DNA gave a certain profile, but that is not me. That is only half of me.  Ok, that’s half of the genetic pool I am dipped from.  But the point here is that our DNA is wildly varied.  If I came from four grandparents say … from Samoa, India, Central Africa and Native American, who am I?

 

After getting DNA done what if they determine the one from India emigrated from Scotland?  Am I now Scottish instead of Indian?  If I have a pie chart like in the ads that show I am 27% Native American, 24% Scottish (Indian), 25% Samoan and 24% Central African, does that mean I am Native American and should start living in those cultural identities?

 

Ok, so I have determined I am more Native American than anything else but I grew up in Japan and have lived in their culture my whole life.   I buy a new cell phone every 3 months, drive on the right side, live in a tiny cramped apartment and have learned ALL of the social protocols that come with Japanese culture.  Who am I now?  Am I still Native American or am I Japanese.

 

DNA is not who we are.  The best DNA can do is tell us where our very distant ancestors came from and where in the world they are still more clustered than anywhere else.  In the example above, I am culturally Japanese.  My genes have NOTHING to do with that.  In the above example my DNA is too split to determine who I am, genetically.  Does that mean I am genetically no one?

 

In Psychology we explore how people identify themselves.  We never label or expect someone to fall into a type based on things you can measure.  I have worked with a tall, broad shouldered, very muscular and deep voiced cross dressing genetic man who identified as a woman.  Her DNA/genes say man.  She wasn’t.  Her DNA profile would not tell her who she is, she knows who she is.

 

What if I had CAIS?  Who would I be?  Don’t know what that is?  It is a huge secret that would blow many people’s minds.  Sit down children, I’ll tell you a true story…

 

When a baby is developing in mommies tummy, there is not a sex determined until a while in.  The baby is already forming and making parts that can go either way and both share.  This is why men have nipples, cause they are formed before it is known what sex the baby will become!  So, when the baby needs to determine which sex parts to make, it sends out a chemical into the body called androgen.  Androgen reacts to testosterone.  Both boys and girls have testosterone but at different levels.  The amount of reaction the androgen has, determines if a boy or girl is made.

 

If there is little reaction in the androgen, then that would indicate low testosterone and a girl is made.  A big reaction from the androgen would indicate higher levels of testosterone and a boy is made.  Simple.  But what if the androgen is broken and no reaction takes place at all?  Then a girl is made.  What if that broken androgen is present in a baby with high testosterone and would have been a boy if the androgen was not broken?  Then girl sex parts, mostly, are built on a genetically male body.

 

She would not be transgender, not a cross dresser, not bisexual.  This is CAIS.  Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Women like her in this example are women in almost every way.  They have breasts and vaginas and can be very feminine.  These women can also be very athletic.  They are often tall for women, broad shouldered, more muscular and have small breasts.

 

Depending on proportions, I just identified two types of women rather well.  Women who would be good in basketball and super models.  They are women. But they cannot become pregnant because they do not have ovaries.  In this example she has X and Y chromosomes. Genetically, she is male.  But she and others look like women and can in rare cases, be the vary definition of female beauty.

 

So tell me, if we cannot even be that right, know women from men, how can DNA identify our cultural identity?  It cannot.

 

Ethnicity is a combination of how we are raised, how we identify ourselves and some of our genes.  I can see myself as another gender but I cannot see myself as taller nearly as easily.  There are limits.

 

I see myself in a way that does not entirely reflect my sisters extensive work in our ancestry.  She has traced our family tree back hundreds of years.  We were present in Colorado for generations and on two of my four lines, predate presence in Colorado before Colorado was a state.

 

One of our lines was present in the country when the western frontier was what we call today, Tennessee.  Ohio and New York and Georgia play prominently in my ancestry as well.  My genes don’t say any of that.

 

My ten god children get a product of my ancestry and my culture.

Who am I?  I am a Colorado Boy who is highly educated and romantic.  I grew up in the DC area and know politics better than most until recently and spent my best years strapped into a welding mask or a five point harness.  I can sing John Denver and Guns and Roses and I am as good with a pen (metaphorically since I write with a keyboard obviously) as I am with a steering wheel.  I have a spirit animal and I don’t fear death nearly as much as I fear water.  I largely raised myself from 14 and have loved passionately.

 

My genes do not reflect any of that.  My genes would show England, Scotland and Germany.  I’m none of those.  My ancestors who helped shape me were American.  I have no Native American genes in me so I cannot claim Native American, but trust me, I wear my Stetson well.

 

Who are you is the question.  Don’t look to DNA or genes to find who you are.  You are who you were raised as combined with who you chose to be.  You reflect how you were raised and by who but mostly, you are who you chose to become, in spite of your DNA.

 

 

 

 

A Painful Truth About Our Flag

tattered

There are some things that I feel are important to know about our flag and our nation.  Some of this wont be easy to accept.  I will never deny my pride of it, its meaning, its intent and I would defend it as a symbol of our nation I am also proud of.  But there are also truths that need to be understood to know where to place pride and where we may be over stepping our history and our laws.

The US flag became official long ago. Although the nations birthday happened first, July 4, 1776, which I don’t actually consider our birthday, our flag became official June 14, 1777.  However, it did not stay in one form. It is not hard to understand that the number of stars have changed.  But not 37 times.  States were made official in clusters sometimes and official changes in the flag were made in steps.

Some I have seen have had issue over non “current” flags being flown.  By law, any official US flag can be flown in any national capacity.  I have two American flags.  One with 48 Stars, one with 38.  Both are legal and official.

That was the easy part ….

Some people will have a very hard time with this one.  Before WWII, we did not put our hands on our hearts when the pledge of allegiance was spoken.  We raised our right hand just like the Nazis did. This was called by us, the Bellamy Salute.  Hard to imagine I know, but it is true.  This was the policy until June 1942.

bellamy-salute

The pledge of allegiance and the salute, were written by a socialist, Francis Bellamy to help sell flags from his mail order magazine.  His original pledge was this, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, indivisible, with Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and Justice for all.”    This original pledge did not include the phrase, “Under God”.  This was not added until 1954 in a response to Godless Communism.  In other words, when we seem un-accepting of change in regards to something so sacred as the pledge, remember it has changed several times in 100 years and was not part of the forming of our nation.  Nor was it written in pure patriotism, but with a mind to profit.

The pledge also has no official power or role whatsoever.  It does not weed out communists or socialists or any ‘ist’.  It is said like anything else, easily and without hesitation.  It is not a sign or indication of anything.

Here is a list of some of people who took that pledge:

Richard Poplawski, Ted Kaczynski, John Patrick Bedell, Byron Williams, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Jared Loughner, Timothy McVeigh, Andrew Joseph Stack, Duane Roger Morrison, Robert A. Hawkins, Omar Mateen … Domestic terrorists all.  I am not saying we need to get rid of it, I am saying it is simply a gesture.

This era we live in is too damn scared.  This nation is scared of everyone.  Those scared are mostly conservatives, the self proclaimed guardians of patriotism, yet this fear and where it aims is so ignorant of history and so damn scared of anything that is not white, male and rich.  BTW, most of the domestic terrorists who kill far more than foreign ones, are white and male and sorry to say, mostly conservatives although on the FAR, FAR right.  Before anyone screams at me like from a previous post, yes, there are domestic terrorists on the FAR FAR left as well.

But wait .. there is more….

Told ya this wasn’t gonna be easy.

I have posted this many times in many forums and people who know me know I love this piece of history.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

This is relevant to this next piece of official US record…

Currently, flag burning is not illegal in the United States. The Supreme Court of the United States in its decision from 1969 ruled that the burning of the flag is protected by the First Amendment.

I’m sorry, but the recent story of the the FedEx driver and the flag protestor … the FedEx driver should be arrested if you value your rights and the laws.  It is LEGAL to burn a flag.  What he did was first theft and then when he returned, assault.  He is a criminal.  I’m sorry if you disagree with me but the laws are not to be interpreted by citizens and our highest court said what the flag burner was doing is LEGAL.

It is the protection of our rights even when expressed in a way that boils your blood that ensures that when you express yourself, YOU have the same freedom if I disagree with you.    Many Republicans lately have been shitting all over the first amendment.  That is sad and it is an ignorant choice.  You are disrespecting our nation by ignoring the FIRST right afforded to us. The most important right.

I know it is hard to accept but we MUST have the right to express ourselves freely within the laws and flag burning, even if it feels horrible to watch, is LEGAL.  It is the protection of our rights, even when they make our blood boil, that ensures that we will have the voice to speak out when our government commits more atrocities.

“What do you say about a government that goes out of its way to protect even citizens that try to destroy it?

God Bless America.”

For those of you who are telling me how to be a patriot by telling who to fear, and what to do?  I got this.  Step off.  Although I will protect you to say whatever you like …

If I chose to be scared, I’d fear you.

I Have a Dream

mlk

This is a day to mark not just the life and accomplishments of a man, but to remind us of his intent.  I’ll jump right into the deep end.  Some of you hate this day because you hate blacks.  Some of you hate it not because you are racist but feel it is pandering to a special interest group, I guess that special interest group is blacks.  Some of you feel because he was a criminal, he should not get a special federal day.  All of those are valid opinions to a degree because Dr. King would not agree with me if I said you are wrong.

Dr. King …

For those of you who dislike Dr. King or feel the need to discredit him, lets look at a few facts.  He was an American.  He was a Husband. He was a father.  He had a PhD in Theology from Boston University.  That’s not an easy get. He had two bachelors degrees.  One in Sociology from Morehouse University as well as a second Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary.  He was a Baptist Minister.  In 1964 he won the Nobel Peace Prize.  He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal.  His actions in his own and very significant ways helped lead to the 14th Amendment to The US Constitution.  This is the simple profile of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This is not the measure of the man.  He was arrested for peacefully protesting the treatment of blacks in Birmingham Alabama, one of the racist times in one of the most racist places in the civil rights movement.  He was an advocate of peaceful protest.  Sit-ins and the like.  He did not just preach non violence, he actually did the sit -ins himself.  He led by example.

This also, is not my point, here is the pinnacle of my post.  I grew up just outside of DC. I used to ride my bike past the Lincoln Memorial.  I used to sit on the same step Dr. King stood on while he gave his well warn and often quoted speech, “I Have a Dream”.  Just sitting there and imagining the crowd and his cadence and the feeling of being there gave me chills in August.

If you are one of those people I described in the first paragraph, I feel sorry for you.  If this does nothing to challenge those opinions, I again feel sorry for you.  If you cannot understand that freedom is universal and only takes from the oppressors, I feel sorry for you.  If you are one of those I described in the first paragraph I have a question for you … What have you done to help anyone dissimilar to yourself?

That speech is not about taking anything from whites; it is not about race at all.  It is about equality.  About having equal right to dream the same dream for all.  It means the same for each person, no matter your chosen label.  It challenges a person to dream, and his dream is for each dreamer to have equal opportunity to fulfill that dream.

Simple.

Beautiful.

Wonderful.