Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday January 26th ~ 2011

I need someone to explain this to me please...

I spent the last week getting to Florida and back so I could teach Friday, Saturday & Sunday of last weekend. I also gave a talk on "How to Find Your Creative Voice in an Over Stimulating World" on Thursday evening at the South Florida Guilds meeting.

During the 2000 mile drive from Albuquerque to Miami I drove through some of the most conservative areas of our country. As I was traveling along I started to see a very interesting pattern. I tend to drive through the center of the country a great deal and most of those states are considered pretty conservative. As I passed through these last few states I noticed something strange.

What has struck me as an odd dichotomy is the very real fact that there are more XXX rated Adult Super Stores in these Ultra-Conservative, Religious Fundamentalist Republican states than I have ever encountered in any liberal state that I have visited

My perplexed state comes from a very real double standard that is being represented. How is it that these states that lay claim to be so morally and religiously superior to the rest of us heathens, have more billboards touting the damnation that a woman will incur is she dares to have an abortion and yet have HUGE billboards for strip clubs that "bare all" & XXX rated video stores with 1000's of the hottest titles and massage parlors that I am assuming are not actually giving massages.

How do the people who live in these states reconcile these two diametrically opposing points of view? Do the inhabitants of these states find it acceptable to have such establishments open for business and having these billboards seen for all who travel along see their moral two-faced lives?

Now here is the major caveat to these observations, to me it seems that the majority of these establishments are placed along the highways so that maybe the locals can claim that it's the travelers that are passing through that visit these businesses. But as I was driving, I actually took the time to take an exit or two and look at the cars in these lots and I was not surprised at all to see that majority of the cars were locals plates.

I find the moral dilemma here a fascinating one for sure. I would truly love to understand how the strict moral right can reconcile this issue for me in a way that does not demean and belittle the moral values that they scream so loudly about.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday January 20th ~ 2011

I do own the Classic black iPod.

I am in Miami after a long drive of 2 and a half days. I forwent my usual book listening routine and I decided that I needed to listen to some music during this trip.

The first day I set my iPod to shuffle and was entertained by a very wide variety of musical selections. Yesterday was dedicated to Tom Waits, his gravelly voice unique view of the world. Today was spent jamming to Prince while I finished up my trip in 80ยบ sunshine traveling south on the Florida Turnpike. All in all a very rewarding musical drive.

I gave my talk this evening for the South Florida Jewelry  Guild and it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and catch up with friends and even a kindred spirit that I have not seen in over 2 years. So.. to say it was fun is an understatement and that are a totally delightful group of people.

I am teaching for the next three days and am looking forward to it very much, it has been a few months since I was in front of a class of students, bending them to my will and forcing them to do what I tell them to do.. (just kidding) I love teaching, it is one of the few times in my life that I am totally at ease.

Tomorrow morning we are tackling the Loop-n-Loop chain and then we will abuse some heavier gauge wire in the afternoon. Saturday's class is the hand forged cuff and Sunday is two Chain Maille Classes. This group keeps me on my toes for sure!

I will try to remember to post some pictures of this weekends class

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday January 17th ~ 2011

No matter how horrific as last weeks events in Tucson were, the citizens of my former city gathered their courage, faced the pain and embraced the people that were injured and who were tragically killed.

The questions that have followed have given me some very important thing to consider. I grew up in a household that had guns my father hunted when I was younger and so I have never been opposed to people that own firearms and hunt.

What I have become opposed to is semi-automatic hand guns and riffles whose ONLY purpose is to kill. I do not care what any "hunter" says, these guns are not about hunting and to say that they are actually belittles the true hunters.

I am now also very opposed to these ridiculous extended clips that can hold over 30 rounds of ammunition. Who, except one who is bent on destruction, needs to rapidly fire off 30 plus bullets in less than 20 seconds?

I found myself pondering many things on this holiday.

So, today we came together as a Nation to honor Matin Luther King Jr. and to remember all that he stood for and all that he fought for.

We lost this amazing man to violence as well as Bobby and John Kennedy and still we have learned nothing as a Nation. We have children going to schools and killing fellow students. We have disgruntled and disenfranchised  people going into their places of employment and opening fire.

How many more tragedies do we want our nation to endure till we see that the ease of access that we so adamantly embrace in our country needs to be rethought and addressed in a sane and reasonable manner and, I am sorry to say, the NRA has got to take a pill and be quiet.

So with Mr. King in mind and in true fitting tribute, I leave you with this final thought.

"Last week we saw a white Catholic male Republican judge murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean American combat surgeon, and this all was eulogized by our African American President."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday January 15th ~ 2011

I am getting ready for a wonderful 2000 mile drive to Miami starting next Tuesday morning. I have a date with the South Florida Jewelry Guild where I will be teaching and giving a talk on Thursday night.

I am getting to drive through a few more states that I have not been through. I have never been through Mississippi, Alabama and I have only ever driven around New Orleans in Louisiana, so I do not think that really counts and I am looking forward to seeing some new sights.

As I charted out my path to Miami I pulled up a map of the US and started checking off the states that I have driven through and I have to say that I have been through more than I had thought.

I need some suggestions for going to the following states that I have yet to visit.
Let me know what each of these states has to offer for exploration. I am always up for a new adventure.

1. Idaho
2. North Dakota
4. Minnesota
5. Arkansas
6. Maine
7. Alaska

If I can get to these last few states I will have driven through all 50 states of this nation. Now I have driven in Hawaii but only on the Island of Oahu so I have some more exploring to do there for sure…

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday January 12th ~ 2011

~ Well spoken Mr President, thank you! ~

"I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations." ~ President Obama ~

These words were spoken this evening at the Memorial in Tucson Arizona. I was moved by the entire service and with the cross section of individuals that were in attendance, letting vitriolic discourse take a break for the time being. All who stood at the lectern spoke with eloquence and heartfelt humility.

It is time like these that reaffirm my faith in humanity and that there may be hope for us after all to embrace the changes that we need to make. As I stated earlier this week, it is these moments that matter for us as humans, as citizens of the country and citizens of the world.

We need to do better, we need to exist in this world with people that we disagree with and honor their right to a differing opinion. It is hard, because it is hard is what makes it so worth fighting for but it is what makes this nation an amazing place. 

My one and only partisan statement this evening:

In attendance this evening:
Barack and Mrs Obama - The President and the First Lady of the United States
Nancy Pelosi - House Minority Leader
Janet Napolitano - Security of Homeland Security
Eric Holder - U.S. Attorney General
Jan Brewer - governor of Arizona

Absent this evening:
John Boehner - House Majority Leader -

He decided that attending a GOP fund raiser was more important that showing respect for those that lost their lives and showing that he might actually give a damn.

I am sorry Mr Boehner, I do not believe your tears have ever been heartfelt.

Here is a fun thing to do for the day for a really good laugh!

1. Go to Google Maps - Get Directions
2. Write Japan as your start point
3. Write China as your destination
4. Go to the 42nd point on your route, and when you stop laughing, pass it in so others can laugh as well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday January 11th ~ 2011

Seven Deadly Sins

"Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice." ~  Mahatma Gandhi

Think about these words and the man that spoke them.
This was a man that lived by the practice of non-violent
demonstration and forced an occupying nation to recognize
that the people of his native nation had worth and mattered.

These are truly deadly sins and we need to heed his words.
Why? Because they are the truth and these are words that fostered change!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday January 10th ~ 2011

We Must Choose Peace and NOT the Crosshairs of a Gunsight.

I have not spent a great deal of time on my blog last year, which I am sure is obvious. My thoughts have been focused inwards and my life has been shifted onto such a crazy busy track that even when I feel I do have something to share, I run out of time in my day to write it down in a coherent form to share these thoughts. It is my desire to get back to writing, I have missed it!

This weekends horrific events in my former town of Tucson have rekindled my desire to write and to express myself and I feel the need to share some very real observations that I have taken in over the last decade.

There were real heros in Tucson this past weekend. Daniel Hernandez, a 20 year old intern who is credited with saving Congresswoman Giffords because he chose to stay in the line of fire and not run and Patricia Maisch, 61, who wrestled the clip of bullets away from the gunman.

We honor those who acted bravely and our thoughts and prayers are with those family members and friends who lost loved ones while they were living and practicing our democratic freedoms. 
Just in the first ten of the 21st century their have been witness to some very amazing events that have caused our national consciousness to be united as one and it is my fervent hope that this weekends tragedy rises to that status and causes a real revue of how we speak and what we speak. The rhetoric and hate speech must end and we must restore our civility.

There is no excuse for a member of congress to call our President a LIAR during the State of the Union Address nor is there any reason for a citizen to yell out from the gallery in the House of Representatives during the order of business.

It has to end and we must remember that we are a civilized nation.

Right after 9/11 I remember the feeling that this country was totally united in being a nation bonded together more strongly and we would turn a corner towards a more compassionate and caring nation. I watched as people went out of their way to be kind and considerate and we were just aware of the fact that we live in a world full of other humans and that these people were aware of you in the world.

Those moments of our collective unity deserted our conscious all to quickly as we dulled our senses with the mind numbing tasks of day to day life and we did fail on a solemn promised. "Never Forget".

Then in 2008, this nation came together as I had never seen in my adult life and we chose to elect an optimistic and charismatic African American to the office of President of the United Sates. We elected a man who dared to bring out those qualities in us again and for a short while we as a nation basked in that light once again.

We existed in that glow of awareness and the aura of a conscious knowledge that we must act together as a unified nation and that if we do work together we will be able to solve any problem. But that time passed away too quickly as well, it was over shadowed by hate speech, out and out lies and a right wing TV and Radio media that made a choice to destroy that hope and that light. We chose to let lies and hate take away what we had fought so hard to bring to out of the darkness.

We need to take the events in Tucson, focus the collective nation, demand an end to hate speech and incendiary rhetoric and require that those that say they speak the truth actually do just that! Speak the Truth!
Here is your hero test for the day!

Our nation loves it's heros and yet we forget them all too quickly.

How many of you can tell me what Chesley B. (Sully) Sullenberger was responsible for in 2009 without Googling the name? This is a real test of how much you choose to actually pay attention and to place in your minds Rolodex happenings that we should actually remember.