Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Almost seven decades ago, this little house was built at what was beginning to be a WWII suburb to this little town. A simple little three-bedroom house with not add-ons or adjustments through the years was purchased about thirty years ago as a recluse or shelter from a divorce and the results of a father dying. Filled with leftover furniture and a sprawling lawn, I became part of the suburban culture.
After getting the electricity turned on and the water and gas started, nothing changed. There was a kitchen but little cooking. A single bathroom supplied just enough space to turn around. When the grass got unwelding, I’d use a mower on a long extension cord then only step on it to hang out laundry or take out the trash. A few scrawny bushes and three old trees all in the wrong spots dotted the green spread. What wrapped the house had little personality. The yard work was only a chore and was never used.
Then I met this girl.
Through the 80’s and half of the 90’s, the landscape changed. Trees came down, other trees went in, a constant rearranging of ideas with tons of mulch and stones and timbers and a load full of dirt. I was younger then and stronger and had enough money to become Lowe’s most special person.
So pots were filled and holes were dug and more dirt was needed and beds were raised and more dirt was needed.
And so a dimple in the lawn became a crater. It was called ‘the pit’. Once it was deeper than my head, I thought it might not be healthy to keep digging to China. So a tarp was layered into the hole and filled with water. What was a ‘pit’ became a ‘pond’. Flowering plants, gigantic fish and the sound of splashing water brought a calm to the new design.
Well, the fish died, the water drained and it has been a watering hole for the birds and a breeding ground for mosquitoes for several years. The thought of putting in a new pool or a hot tub or even a swimming pond has rattled around for a while. The thought of filling in the hole would require a pile of dirt and the purchase of a wheelbarrow and many hours of sweat. Been there, done that.
So as age grows on the yard is being de-landscaped. Thinning out the forest and filling in the gaps for easier maintenance has become the goal.
Today, a man and a truck and a wheelbarrow and a shovel filled in ‘the pit’. Whatever was buried down there will be there for much longer time. Whatever the memories of that hole have been filled. Perhaps a flowerbed or grass plot or a small farm may grow there in future years.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, a couple of trees will leave “Puppywoods” and more sunshine will bath the new dirt plot. At a certain point one has to do it or pay to have it done, so while I can afford it, I’ll save my back.
And no one will remember ‘the pit’ but archeologist will dig down and find that blue tarp and wonder.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Trying To Forget

It is just another typical Sunday morning. After a late night/early morning watching the silence with a bottle of wine, I wake to my favorite show, “This American Life” and gather my thought for today.
Or maybe it’s my memory?
The show was called “595: In defense of ignorance” and it was about what we think. Or how we think. Or what we remember. Take a look at the link.
The story that caught my attention was about HSAM or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory.
Hyperthymesia is the condition of possessing an extremely detailed autobiographical memory. Hyperthymestics remember an abnormally vast number of their life experiences.
The word “hyperthymesia” derives from Ancient Greek: hyper- (excessive) and thymesis (remembering). Hyperthymesia is also known as hyperthymestic syndrome and highly superior autobiographical memory.
American neurobiologists Elizabeth Parker, Larry Cahill, and James McGaugh identified two defining characteristics of hyperthymesia: spending an excessive amount of time thinking about one's past, and displaying an extraordinary ability to recall specific events from one's past.
No, I don’t have hyperthymesia or at least have not been diagnosis with it but I’m not going to a shrink to find out. Yet the story did relate to some of my memories.
Many years ago, preparing to go to a summer camp, I was required to bring a trunk to store my personal stuff. Somehow my family purchased a WWII army footlocker and it remains with me now. A sturdy wooden trunk that weights a ton but was used as a coffee table and then just got in the way but traveled with me. It was the storage compartment for my memories.
School and wedding pictures were kept there. Drawings and letters and songs written in a previous time were stored there. Some jewelry and objects that at one time had a special meaning went into the trunk.
I kept a lock on it to keep others prying eyes away from my memories.
A few years ago, I took the lock off and peered inside. Through the cobwebs were high school yearbooks, a shirtsleeve with a song written on it, and some diaries.
I kept a diary from 1964 – 1971. A little black book for each year with a few lines for each day’s memories with tiny scribbles was my memories of high school and college.
I tried to read them and then decided to digitize the scrawling into a text file I could read. Hours of squinting and typing word-for-word transcriptions, I realized some of those brief statements did not fully describe that moment in time.
So in the dark of night, I decided to fill in the gaps. I started writing my autobiography. The words just flowed onto the screen and many a night turned into day before my hands stopped.
Then I stopped writing.
A few years later, I thought about these writing again and reflected that I also wrote songs during this period. The songs were just poems to music that also recorded a moment in time, so I added them to the text.
Then I stopped again.
Recently I sent whatever copy I could find to someone else to peruse and comment without re-reading it myself. Someday I may go back and finish it or it may stand as a memory of memories soon forgotten.
What makes me think of this is being at a time in life of reflection (until dementia sets in) is I remember a lot of stuff. I also have forgotten a lot of stuff.
Perhaps this is why we socialize with friends to try and remember the good times and laugh about the bad? Yet many of the memories did not involve these friends. And some of the friends that would remember are gone.
With very little distraction of life, I have much time to think. And thinking is remembering.
Some nights I can’t sleep remembering. Some nights I wake up remembering. Some days I dwelling in memories and other days I hold them at bay, but they are still there.
For the memories is what we choose to remember. Over the years, I sculpted my memories to what I prefer them to be. I’ve forgotten eight years of living with a woman and don’t understand why? I’ve found notes of other’s journals or had conversations that have taught me a different point of view of history.
Do my memories haunt me?
Some do but that is what it is and I accept it.
Dreams may be the brain trying to rationalize daily activity with memories or at least that is how I imagine it. Faces from the past and the future swirl around on my pillow until I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and change the channel.
So I’ve settled into accepting these little flashbacks and contemplation as a process to understand whom I think I am and who I might have been. At least from my own perspective and evaluation of life, my memories don’t bother me; some I’ve grown to enjoy.
The trunk has been cleaned out except for a few treasures but it is unlocked. There are a few memories that are dreams that bring a smile for it is all a fantasy.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


Poseur (or poser) is a pejorative term to refer to a person who copies the dress, speech, and/or mannerisms of a group or subculture, generally for attaining acceptability within the group or for popularity among various other groups, yet who is deemed not to share or understand the values or philosophy of the subculture.
While this perceived some views in authenticity with scorn and contempt, the definition is subjective. English use of the term originates in the late 19th century.
Aren’t we all poseurs?
As kids, our parents dress us up in little suits and shoes that match the popular convention of the neighborhood we live in. Of course, we are too young to have our own values or philosophy, so we just go along with the game. Besides if everyone looks like each other we will all get along?
We pose as cowboys or fairy princesses to our parent’s amusement but they are not who we will become.
As we reach our teens, it becomes apparent that to fit in with each other, we must form groups of like-minded individuals who dress and talk and walk and adapt a lifestyle and fashion that is acceptable to each other. The blue collar kids might take the pose of Goths or bikers for the street tuffs hold them together. The nerdy kids might for a club or some after school science experiment to acknowledge their intelligence. The sport kids will become jocks or cheerleaders and the rich kids will become preppies and so it goes. Each subculture adopts a reference from magazines or social media and it reinforces the safety of acceptance.
In the teen world, being ‘cool’ is the ultimate compliment, whatever pose you decide on.
As we grow older and actually start deciding our own values and philosophies we may adjust our appearance and experiment with new rituals of being accepted. We may adapt our lifestyle due to dating or peer pressure.
With employment requirements for dress codes and discipline order, we adapt more. Family requires more variations in our personal being so our internal impression of our self does not match the confines of the PTA or the HOA or the restrictions of the country club.
Sometimes we go too far?
Impostor syndrome (also spelled imposter syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.
As time moves on and titles and accolades are bestowed, our society recognizes us for achievements and wealth associated with them more than our personal values or philosophies. Again we adapt.
Author’s note: I’m a poser. I posed as Davy Crockett and Roy Rogers referencing television and movies as my guide. I lived through the 60’s and posed as a hippie. I looked somewhat the part that I saw in magazines and newsreels. I bought whatever was somewhat available in the local Army/Navy surplus store and grew my hair to an acceptable length. I inhaled, so I tried to play all the parts, but I had not conviction against the Vietnam War other than keeping my ass out of the rice patties. By the time I started working for a conservative newspaper I adapted to the business world and earned my pay. Idealism and questions of existence where put aside for the reality of the day.
Was I just faking it? Going along with the crowd that accepted me then following the trends until they changed? Sure! It is called life.
Am I posing now? Well, I haven’t started wearing black socks and sandals or driving golf carts but I’m getting to that age. By the way I dress and act seems I do not need as much acceptance from society. I’ve posed to be in many different subcultures and now have built my own, which I’m comfortable in.
Perhaps limited social interaction is better for some? Acceptance may just become toleration. For in the end, whatever makes you happy is the key.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection

What a topic, but it made me wonder.
I was reading something on NPR and there was a link to a blog called “My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection” I do not know the author and am not promoting the site, but the subject is interesting. I read a few of the posts and got a good chuckle. Though many of the topics were remakes or reissues of some of mine, it started me thinking. For I too have a husband’s stupid record collection.
I started purchasing vinyl around the time of the British invasion. Records started popping up everywhere and the selections were repetitive at best. I found a source to order overseas and had boxes delivered to my front door with the ‘European’ versions on 45 and LP that would not be available in my area for years.
Yes, I am talking vinyl. Back in the day when boys had their electronic toys and the toys were stereos. Amplifier, turntables, speakers and lots of wire were compared like fast cars and hot girlfriends.
As the distributors grew, every week was a trip to the local record establishment to flip through the piles of albums. Sometimes a cover would entice with an unusual graphic or photo and sometimes a new arrival of the lasted issue from a favorite band was gathered up and cherished until each note could be heard and shared with others. If the radio DJ or one of your friends recommended a purchased, another trip to the supplier was like an addiction.
I didn’t fall for the consumption as some of my friends who would purchase every possible version of a particular song or group. Perhaps they are valuable now (I do not check eBay for this stuff) or maybe they are just cardboard sleeves holding a paper wrapper around a circle of processed oil with grooves. Still I bought my share.
And every time I moved, I packed up all the records and lugged them up and down steps to have them close to me. I also volunteered to lug everyone else’s record collection back and forth as they moved. Other than a suitcase full of clothing and a few guitars, these boxes of records followed me from place to place. They defined me.
After the years, I had assisted the GNP by purchasing probably a couple of thousands of these music reproductions. My friends would come over and flip through the collection and we would sample the songs and enjoy the artwork and read the linear notes. Like books on a shelf, they just sat there until someone choice one to spin on the turntable. When my wife moved in she had to accept her husband’s stupid record collection along with my dirty socks and snoring.
A few years ago I decided to play every album I had accumulated over the years. It would be like trying to read every book in the library.  It is not a bad exercise to find out what ‘really interest and last’ and what was just a judgmental momentary lapse of a taste. On my blog I posted some of my results.
Some still last the test of time and some were easily placed in the recycle bin. It is all about personal taste, but taste change. Some have maybe become historical through the media and others faded to lack of play, but when you listen to them so many years later, some still make your foot tap.
This is the same decision that future generations will have to decide no matter what the media is. My vinyl collection has dwindled to the ones that were and are important to the soundtrack of my life. I’ve made mash-ups and mixed tapes, but to sit down and place the black vinyl on the turntable then lean back and enjoy the speakers roar while reading silly promotional stuff on the 10”x10” covers brings such joy.
And after a half dozen of songs the needle will rise and ask for approval to flip the vinyl over and start again. Much like turning a page of a fine read.

Previously posted on ReadWave, but since it is Record Store Day, might as well remind us of the joy of vinyl recordings.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Recently there has been much talk in the news and social media on discrimination. Is this the future or are we turning back the clock?
Discrimination is treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing is perceived to belong to rather than on individual merit. This includes treatment of an individual or group, based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or social category, “in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated”. It involves the group's initial reaction or interaction going on to influence the individual’s actual behavior towards the group leader or the group, restricting members of one group from opportunities or privileges that are available to another group, leading to the exclusion of the individual or entities based on logical or irrational decision making.
Discriminatory traditions, policies, ideas, practices, and laws exist in many countries and institutions in every part of the world, even in ones where discrimination is generally looked down on. In some places, controversial attempts such as quotas have been used to benefit those believed to be current or past victims of discrimination- but have sometimes been called reverse discrimination. In the USA, a government policy known as affirmative action was instituted to encourage employers and universities to seek out and accept groups such as African Americans and women, who have been subject to discrimination for a long time.
The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.
It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.
It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
In English the word “bigot” refers to a person whose habitual state of mind includes an obstinate, irrational, or unfair intolerance of ideas, opinions, ethnicities, or beliefs that differ from their own, and intolerance of the people who hold them.
Prejudice is prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, political opinion, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, or other personal characteristics. In this case, it refers to a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their perceived group membership. Prejudice can also refer to unfounded beliefs and may include “any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence”. Gordon Allport defined prejudice as a “feeling, favorable or unfavorable, toward a person or thing, prior to, or not based on, actual experience”.
Fear an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Fear creates terror, fright, fearfulness, horror, alarm, panic, agitation, trepidation, dread, consternation, dismay, distress.
Intolerance is the unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own. Intolerance is also known as bigotry, narrow-mindedness, small-mindedness, illiberality, parochialism, or provincialism. The word intolerance comes from a combination of the Latin “in” meaning “not” and “tolerantem” meaning “to bear, endure.” Intolerance is not being able to bear or endure beliefs that are different from your own. You may commonly hear of it used with respect to religious intolerance, which is an unwillingness to accept different religious beliefs.
Intolerance, or an unwillingness to accept the beliefs or behavior of someone different from you, is not a quality you want to have. Intolerance is what leads to hate crimes and discrimination.
So I must admit, I discriminate. I don’t want to but I do. I do it everyday.
I don’t like beets.
I walk pass them everyday and often don’t acknowledge their position in the produce section. I don’t ever consider them for any meal. Why this is the first time I’ve talked about them in many, many years.
Sure I’ve had a beet. One of the many dishes my family tried to feed me to increase my knowledge of all food groups, but I never liked it.
Don’t get me wrong. I like root vegetables. Potatoes, onions, even carrots are often on my dining room table but not beets. My discriminating palate just doesn’t choose the flavor as acceptable, so I don’t buy or eat beets.
Beets don’t scare me and I’m not intolerant those who enjoy beets. I appreciate the diversity of all the color fruits and vegetables available to everyone who walks into the door and praise the hardworking farmers who dig the dirt to brings us beets.
So if you like beets, I won’t discriminate against you. I will point out that stain is hard to come out when you dribble. Maybe if fast food shops could create a MacBeet Burger or KFC could fry it, then the beet could get some respect.
I also discriminate against radishes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


There has been a lot of talk recently about faith politics and how it will solve all our problems.
I just wonder what we have faith in?
As defined “Faith” is confidence or trust in a person or thing; or the observance of an obligation from loyalty; or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement; or a belief not based on proof; or it may refer to a particular system of religious belief, such as in which faith is confidence based on some degree of warrant.
So if faith is the belief that when I get up in the morning and put on my shoes and take a step, my legs will hold me up and I can lean forward and walk?
They did yesterday so I believe they will do the same again today. I have faith that I can walk again today and hopefully tomorrow. I truly believe this.
When I ride across a bridge, I have faith. I have faith that the engineers who designed this span knew what they were doing and calculated my weight crossing over. I have faith that those who mixed the concrete and placed the rebar structure were not having a bad day and did not properly follow the procedures that should insure I would get to the other side. I have faith that the many who went across before me didn’t somehow disrupt the structural integrity of the bridge. I have faith that the local civil infrastructural inspections will check and repair on a timely manner before I arrive.
When I go to eat a sandwich, I have faith. I have faith that the wheat or rye or whatever grain was grown on good soil and harvested in the finest manner and shipped to processing with the utmost of care. I have faith that the supermarket recycled outdated products and replaced them with the freshest produce. I have faith that if the sandwich is presented to me at a dining establishment that the server wasn’t having a bad day and spit on it or worst that the kitchen staff who I never see and don’t get the bonus tips aren’t having problems and poisoning me. I even have faith that the plate is clean.
I have faith that when I turn on the facet water will run into the sink (and a real faith that the water is drinkable through 100 year old pipes) and when I switch on the lights the house won’t explode in flames from antiquated wiring.
I have faith the shoes I put on yesterday will still fit and that the bed will still be there when I need to sleep. I have faith that when I put my keys down they will be in the same spot in the morning.
Although all these material things continue to change, we have faith we can repair them or adjust them or replace them to continue our faith in the normal routine pattern of our lives. We believe with enough time and enough money we can continue our faith.
Will we get to the other side or are we just lucky so far?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Suppose they gave an election and no one voted?

Like you, I’ve been overwhelmed with this circus called a primary for the selection of a candidate for the most powerful position in our country yet alone possibly the planet and wonder? When November 8th rolls around and the ballots are open, what if no one came out to vote?
What if the entire population of a sovereign nation was so fed up with the poor selection everyone decided not to make a choice of the least of the worst?
I know some yahoo will go to the precinct and we’ll wind up with another disappointment until we can have at it again.
This whole exercise in our freedom of selection has been frustrating, tiring, and often ridiculous, but our one time to voice our opinion has turned into ridicule, childish rhetoric, and even violence. Is this the best we can do?
All this has been presented to us for our amusement so we can randomly comment with statements and thoughts our grandmothers would not approve of. Is this where we are going?
So I suggest after the dust settles and we have our two (maybe more) selections and neither one of them feel really worthy of running our country, we just sit back, much like we are doing now, and watch to see what happens. No one votes.
Then again if we look at the succession he would be the next president.
And he didn’t even want the position he is in now.
The idea might be good for war too?
Suppose they gave a war and no one showed up?


Accreditation is the process in which certification of competency, authority, or credibility is presented.
Organizations that issue credentials or certify third parties against official standards are themselves “accredited certification bodies”. The accreditation process ensures that their certification practices are acceptable to behave ethically and employ suitable quality assurance.
So someone somewhere comes up with an idea to set a standard for acceptability then forms an organization or foundation or sets up stipulations for others to agree to apply the standard that everyone else must obey. Quality of our food and the strength of steel and the width of our roads and the ingredients of our medicines along with everything else we use or do must have a approval notice before the manufacturer can give a warranty that whatever the product is safe and meets the acceptable standards.
We must be accredited before we can graduate from our schools with a diploma to prove we be smart. Does it really tell the whole story?
So I ponder if someone else must approve everything we eat or sit on or drive, should we also be accredited?
Are we nice people with enough intelligence or common sense to be able to open a door or bath with an acceptable fragrance of soap or know the words to a Beatles tune? Do we wear the correct shoes or shop at the proper shops or laugh at all the jokes to impress the bar partners? Do we comb our hair in an approved manner?
Like making a profile on any site we are describing ourselves for others approval. Do we fudge our height or our likes or even our avatars? Who certifies that?
And who accredits the “accredited certification bodies”? Do I need a Good Housekeeping seal before asking guest over? Should all my food be U.S.D.A. approved or do I buy beyond the expired dates?
Is the search for friendship or romantic connections just a game of stamping your own certification on another as approval? Will you meet their accreditation?