Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Whirlwind of Dangers

OK, by a show of hands, No Johnny you can’t go to the bathroom, ready, how many believe that this world is a dangerous place to live?

 Kaitlin, why are you sitting on the floor? Your bottom hurts; ooh well that makes perfect sense.  

What kinds of dangers do we face?  

 Don’t just yell out, raise your hand. 

 Juan? Your right, robbers are dangerous.  

 Emma? Fire, yes what kind of fire? Ooh the huge kind, do you mean the kinds of fire the burn houses and lots of land?  Yes good.

Anyone else?

 Paul? Toranados. 

 You mean Tornados, and yes they are very dangerous and many of you are probably away of the recent storms that caused many to lose their lives when a mile wide Twister, that’s another name for a tornado touched down and destroyed an entire town, killing 25 people some as young as you.

A similar discussion was had during a fourth grade class yesterday and some of the events above were real, like the girls sitting on the floor.  Also what was real is the devastation of these winds, both cold and warm that begin to mix, both vying for position, churning the air into a mass of confusion until at some unknown reason those winds decide to cooperate with each other, the cold moving down the warm moving up and the circular movements of both create a funnel of rapidly moving air that at times can reach speeds of up to 300 miles per hour.

No one really completely understands why they form or how they dissipate but we do understand the devastation of these common events, especially within the designated areas we call Tornado Alleys and the extreme loss of life to those saddened soles and families in the recent events in Moore Oklahoma.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire community and for a speedy recovery.  Keep in mind this is their home, their place of memories, why not rebuild, most chose to rebuild after a disaster for that same and very simple reason.  What we need to instill within these areas of risk is the need to build smarter, my hope is that they do.  The other factor is trying to learn more about how and why these disasters occur. 

Years ago, and I’m  beginning to believe almost everything in my life was years ago, especially as I get older, but in this case it was years ago that I read an almost forgotten Sci-Fi story about Tornado hunters, a group of intrepid aviators that would literally seek out and destroy tornado's before they could cause any real damage.  If I remember the story and this was back in the late sixties or early seventies, no not the 1870….Billy do you want to go see the principal? Then sit down and be quite.

These flyers would fly above the circulating air, high above the top of the funnel cloud and with pin point accuracy drop a bomb ( I thought it was a small nuclear devise) right over the center of the twisting cloud and torrent of air.  The bomb would go off and with the blast the churning air would be disrupted and the dangerous twister would be no more.

What I’m curious about is such a concept really possible?  With our current level of targeting and varied ordinance capability could we essentially blast a tornado away?  I’d be interested to know what the ramification of such an attempt would be.  I think we all understand what would happen if they missed but I also know bombs could be triggered to detonate within certain parameters like atmospheric conditions, height or pressure and with those safeguards could we use such a devise to mitigate the destructive influences of these killer storms?

Tornadoes are not the only earthly risk we face, in California we are often reminded of the shacking power of even small tremors and most believe that the “big one” is inevitable and one day millions will awake to find the calming splash and serene waves kissing the shore off the coast of inland San Bernardino and places east like Fresno and Menifee.  I’m on a hill so I might be totally surrounded by water, maybe I should think about buying a boat.

 This world is a dangerous place.  Even without the terrorist, the despots trying to take over the world I think the world has enough power to maintain its supremacy and superiority.  It makes you wonder, no matter what we attempt, how hard we try to disrupt our world, this world will most likely have the last laugh, just look what it can do.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The point of it all....

After years of traditional medicinal attempts to curb some pains and discomforts I’ve concluded that in the west they really don’t have a clue.  With exception of some major advances in medicine like heart transplants and the ability to diagnose rare diseases the western style medical care is lacking and with it the essential aspects of what makes life worthwhile.

I do believe that western medicine is helpful and to some extent has created the illusion of an almost God like persona that solves the unsolvable and cures the incurable, raising men from near death and even from clinical death, restoring limbs even if those limbs are prosthetic .  Western medicine has made astounding advances. However, those issues solved and the myriad other problems tackled by our medical system must be balanced with the harm and destruction associated with the overall health scheme now present in most industrialized worlds.

With cancers still on the rise, heart disease still the number one killer, with pesticides and hormones on all our food, genetically engineered food and processed sugars it’s a miracle that we’re actually living longer and in some accounts healthier lives, go figure.

Years ago I had an incident that literally blew out a disc in my lower back.  After consulting with the doctor it was decided that surgery was needed in order to solve the issue of herniation and the subsequent pressure on my sciatic nerve.  I agreed, but truth be told I had no basis of comparison, no understanding of any alternatives that might mitigate the need for invasive cutting and removal, I trusted the doctors.

The surgery went well with the exception of a few minor details.  When the doctor came to visit, while I was still purely intoxicated with the anesthetics and only barely able to open my eyes let alone have a conscious discussion he told me he accidentally clipped my sciatic nerve and I would probably lose some feeling in my right leg.  I scarcely remember the conversation and when I became aware of the issue other doctors told me (there is that trust again) that I would heal, it takes time, let’s monitor the situation and keep a close eye on your recovery.  I guess I’m still recovering, 12 years later and the feeling is still absent and the issues continue to plague my life.

I’ve learned to deal with it, but the point of medicine is to improve our lives not simply be forced to endure as I did for over 11 years as these same style doctors prescribed hydrocodone, morphine,   and finely fentanyl and each year brought a higher dose and more dependency with a growing need to relieve the pain the associated need for more medications.

I had no idea what my true level of pain was, if my body had progressed toward health or was it worse and all the while the doctors vacillated between giving me more medication and telling me to take a “drug Holiday”, like a vacation from the drugs would revitalize my system and make all things better.  I did decide on that holiday but decided to make it a permanent retirement from their way of doing things, I stopped cold turkey and went through hell for about two months while my body screamed at me “what are you doing, are you crazy, don’t you know we need that stuff?”

It’s been about a year now and I still crave the drugs at times and want the feelings of not caring, knowing the pain was still there but not caring, the feeling of euphoria and the high that made everything so much better, that is until the hunger returned.  I was like some fabled vampire seeking my next feeding and only being able to satisfy those needs with the drugs prescribed.

Let me make something very clear here, I was not considered addicted I was dependent and the difference is quite astounding even though the line between the two is so very thin.  That’s when I discovered acupuncture, or TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine) and the meaning of the word qi or chi, the life energy or for you Star Wars fans the “force”.  

After a few treatments and some uncomfortable but stimulating shocks as the doctor (yes they are doctors) strategically placed tiny needles all over my body with some literally causing an electric shock, the symptoms of my pain and past surgery, the accompanying effects of long term drug use, depression etc… are now in abeyance and I do see the glorious light at the end of a long and very dark tunnel.

In retrospect I should not have had the initial surgery and even remember my body telling me that I was getting better and should have listened to what was being said.

Like the old adage “there is more than one way to skin a cat” why would anyone want to skin a cat but you get the idea.  Stop and look before you cross the road, there are two sides to every issue (probably more than two) and if a doctor tells you that you need immediate surgery, step back a few paces and take a few days at least to consider the options, options that include balancing that life force, that qi or chi and discovering what your bodies potential is before you take that fateful step reserved by Western Medicine to entrap you, ensnare you and make you dependent on what they alone are peddling.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Don't tread on me...

Benghazi, the ill-fated, post home of a now dead Ambassador and four others, who in almost all accounts acted bravely to protect and defend this once almost unknown diplomatic outpost will forever be a household name and remembered as a tragedy that could have been averted. Now that is a sentence, can you do it in one breath?

Benghazi, its name roles off the tongue and creates visions of desert oases and date palms around crystal clear pools of fresh clear water.  Colorful tents and elaborate rugs circle the life giving pool populated temporarily by proud and stalwart nomads that roam the deserts of the lower Mediterranean.

I can see Omar Sharif, turban clad with flowing robes standing amidst his throng of concubines and wives, his sons and daughters and all his possessions, his deep thoughtful and penetrating eyes  staring beyond the horizon, deeply contemplating the universe and all that is, dreaming of the future, knowing the past but living for the beauty of now.

A strange tale for sure but one that many still believe as reality.  Even after the senseless murders of those who served in that once unknown outpost, any dream of a romanticized middle east should be forgotten and replaced with the horrid and inhumane conditions that caused this latest terrorist attack.  Benghazi is now in the history books and will forever be the place of a horrific attack on U.S. soil. 

Benghazi is only one area of contention of the recent past. The entire area of the Middle East is aflame with anger, hatred and terrorism.  Evil minds who hijack the goodness and innovation that used to be Islam continue to plot and scheme using the innocent to create the terror that they thrive on.  They are no different than the other world despots that lead their people toward the inevitable cliff of destruction while they lay in wait, leering over the dead and success of their machinations.  They are the Hitler’s, the Pol Pots, the Idi Amin’s of the world, living on the misery of others and thriving off the death and devastation they facilitate.

What may be equal in severity to the actions of those who commit and plan these attacks are the governments who allow it, the people who condone it and the citizens who knowingly ignore it.  Our own government may be complicit and in a very real sense a partner in the tragedies that took those valiant lives.  For nothing more than political gain it seems that decisions were made and plans were ignored as the flames of insurrection rose steadily over an 11 hour period.

We may never know the real truth and many might not want the whole truth…”you can’t handle the Truth…” or so the statement went from some movie I did not see nor remember but  oh so poignant.  The republicans are fighting for the facts they say, the democrats are fighting to control those salient points and both are engaged in their own fire fight of rhetoric to upstage the other.

The facts are important and the truth is important but when the muddled discourse of so many clouds the issues to the point of obscurity the people as a whole will suffer, for as we try to believe, exhibit faith in those who lead the ability to see makes it possible, all we have left is what they tell us and we all know that what they say is subject to change and then change again and so on and son on….
Benghazi is only one event in a growing number of occurrences that shape our thinking toward the opinions rather than the facts that are so easily presented and changed, leaving most with the foul and distasteful savor of deceitfulness.  Our own government, our elected leaders, our secretary of state and possibly our president, along with both parties are subjugating our freedoms for their political gain.  Freedom requires that truth be mandated and exposed so salient minds can truly decide, but when those truths are covered up, twisted around and regurgitated our ability to decide is compromised and our choices for freedom are lost forever.

Demanding the truth is paramount to our republic and our demands for those truths should exceed the selfish and self-serving, political gains achieved.  Politicians be damned, it’s time to demand that statesmen run for office and time to demand that those in office resign or change their ways to reflect the needs of this call for freedom. “Don’t tread on me” The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden and was used by the continental Marines.

Our new motto should be the old motto, “Don’t tread on me” for like a snake sleeping in the grass I will strike without warning and without respect, releasing my venom to any who disturb my rights and freedoms…  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Too my Wife and Mother of my Children

 With tears in my eyes I listened to the 911 call of Amanda Berry as she excitedly proclaimed her existence and her freedom after what must have been ten years of hell.  The timeliness of this revelation comes in concert with our celebration of Mother’s Day and the real tragedy is Amanda’s mother dying before the news of her daughter came to light.

Not being a mother but trying to play one at home has offered me a differing perspective of what it means to be a mother.  Let me get something straight right off the bat (an idiom that refers to doing something quickly, immediately and had its origins within either baseball or cricket, not the bug but the game in England) I am not a mother, will never be a mother and would not want to be a mother but I am learning, slowly what it means to be a mother and it’s not an easy process.

Being a mother requires a level of empathy that I will probably never develop, I’m not wired to feel that way when my kids or any kids for that matter fall down and hurt themselves.  I don’t have the same level of concern over their safety and often find myself going about my business without thinking about what the “children” are doing, lost in the garage or some other manly place that allows me to retain my masculinity, just assuming that all will be well.

Amanda’s mother suffered daily over the loss of her daughter, as did her father but the level of loss by her mother is profoundly more acute than most men can even fathom.  As males we do feel and we feel deeply for those we love and often for those whom we serve but the differences between men and women in relation to deep and abiding emotions are palpable and to never have had resolution of that loss for Amanda’s mother could only have been described as insufferably intolerable, perhaps the closest emotional connection humanity can have to true sorrow.

It is this mother’s perspective; a mothers love and devotion that we all need to more fully develop.  It is the chiasmic depths of eternal love that helps us to understand our place in life, our past and our future.  It is those feelings that separate us (men and women) from the animals and monsters that plague our natural state, those that would cause us harm and steal away our lives for their own evil inclinations.

I would like to give homage to a relative of mine the one and only Anna Jarvis who dedicated her life to pursuing the dreams of her mother and in the process established “mother’s day” in the United States.  For a full historical profile of mother’s day, click the link: 

As we approach Mother’s Day perhaps we can try a bit harder to understand the pressures of our mothers, our wives and our sisters and daughters.  The history of women has not been an easy one nor have the accolades provided much solace for all that these valiant women accomplish and endure.  One day a year we slow down, start looking for gifts and end up sending flowers or letting our mothers not do the dishes, or completely make the meal, they deserve so much more.

Amanda Berry became a mother while in captivity, her shining star the result of a heinous act of selfish brutality but the love she has for her daughter is unmolested by the molestation of her birth.  She is a true mother, a great example to all of us.  She has what I can only dream of possessing and will most likely continue to thrive now that she is free.

My advice to all is simple, learn about your mothers and potential mothers and treat them with the eternal deference they deserve.  As men it is our responsibility to guard and protect and in so doing respect and revere those who gave us life and continue to give of all they are so that we might be.  The least we can do is try to do more than flowers, maybe actually try to do the work she does every day for just one day…that would be nice.

And on this particular mothers day I want to let my wife know what an incredible woman I have for a wife. I know this is not wife's day but she is the Mother to my children (10) yes I said ten, all healthy, somewhat balanced and responsible and progressing though life as expected, they are all great kids and I attribute their success and stability to their mother, who has never shrunk from her duty and has excelled in every aspect of motherhood, including putting up with me.

I love you....

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wayward women, but not all bad

The rise of women seeking personal enlightenment and striving to reach that illusive brass ring is becoming a problem and who in their right mind would risk it all for a brass ring, gold perhaps but brass?

Over the past twenty years or so the number of women abandoning their families and more specifically their children has increased, leaving many to wonder why a mother would do such a horrific thing as drop her children off at school and never come back, just like Brenda Heist did Eleven years ago, as reported by CNN.

 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of single fathers has been rising steadily, from more than 600,000 in 1982 to more than 2 million in 2011, some of these are attributed to the death of a spouse but many of these increases are simply the result of women leaving the home and abandoning their children.

We most definitely have a double standard at work here.  Men who do the same and do so much more frequently are often given a pass and are not judged so harshly but perhaps some of that divergent judgment is due in part to the perception of a mothers first and foremost desire, an almost inbred response, an instinctual yearning to have children.  Men have only the desire to make the children and for most men that take’s a few minutes at most, despite the hyperbolistic claims of Hollywood and magazines that give super human endowments to male virility and stamina, the act itself is very short lived.

For women the act of creation is a lifelong commitment and current research suggests that many women, not most but many are having a more difficult time adjusting to societal demands that proclaim the ME is more important than the WE.  

Narcissism is on the rise as well and may be the single most plausible factor to explain why an increased number of women are deserting and forsaking their initial instinctual drive.  Men have always been more narcissistic and conceited, present company exempted of course but we have come to expect men to be jerks when it comes to their wives and families, with countless stories of abandonment and betrayal that it’s really not even unexpected and in some circles its expected leaving the poor penniless woman to fend for herself and family, struggling day in and day out for those meager earnings while her wayfaring husband gallivants around spending his time sewing his seed and creating a reputation, good or bad the man is never judged as harshly as a women who would do exactly the same.

Perhaps if the men were more helpful at home, more understanding and more sympathetic to the plight of their wives those women would be able to tolerate the pressures of home life, find the courage to stay at home and be able to withstand the burdens expected.  

Being one of the lucky men who has a wife who seems to be able to cope is not totally lost on my sensibilities.  With Mother’s day on the horizon perhaps it’s a good time to take stock in what we put our wives through each and every day.  Women, even though they are working more, earning more and taking on more responsibilities away from home have stepped up and continue to do the lion’s share of the work at home. (The lion's share is an idiomatic expression which developed from a number of fables ascribed to Aesop and is now used as their generic statement meaning that the lion will distribute his kill but will keep a majority for himself, they do eat a lot of food those lions)
I know men think their great, like the lion etc… and I know they believe that their all-important, like the king of the castle etc… but in reality who runs the home, who organizes the food, who provides for the children and the husband, it’s the woman.

My behaviors of late have been pretty much societally balanced (a nice way of saying I let my wife do most of the work) and I admit I need to do more to help, weeding the back yard once a year is not enough and if we want our wives to stick around maybe we should be rethinking our supremacy and our superiority and considering how unimportant we would be without the efforts, of our wives, that make us look so good.

An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.  ~Pliny the Younger, Letters…in other words men, keep pursuing your love or your love will decide to pursue another or she may simply leave.