15 September, 2004

There are three standard times when the Ceremony of Taps is performed.
I capitalize it, because I understand the need for ritual, and I respect this ritual above most all others.
Ritual gives us actions to perform when thought is difficult. Action is the enemy of thought. I read that somewhere recently, then I saw the movie.
I am not a fan of action without thought but ritual, Ceremony, goes a bit deeper than mere avoidance of thought; trying to kill the thoughts. Ceremony is a rational postponement of thought; it breeds a state of Zen in times when that state is difficult to find.
Ceremony makes our hands busy, without thought, in order for us to keep acting when the mind is whirling.
The most often used Ceremony of Taps is at 2300 hours on a military base. It is the signal that the sentries used to give to those who were not on duty. It was the signal that we could sleep soundly, because someone, My Brother, was guarding the wall. I was safe. People have forgotten this, but that is where that ceremony started.
“Gone the sun, day is done”
Hit the sack. I got your back.
The second most often used Ceremony is at a military funeral. Taps is played during the Flag Folding Ceremony. I used to do those while I was in the service, perform as flag bearer; it was my responsibility to acknowledge a loved one’s service to our nation. It was supposed to be nothing more than an additional duty that I pulled while we were on Red Cycle. BUt after my first, when I was still a private, I never heard Taps the same way.
I bet most people who pulled the duty didn’t respect the Ceremony. Or perhaps that is my cynicism. I felt quite often that soldiers did not take their duty seriously. Life is a game, it is true. It is to be enjoyed, that is certain. But there are times when it is necessary to put one’s game face on and play seriously. During the Ceremony of Taps is one of those times.
We weren’t supposed to show any emotion, I suppose, but every time, as I folded the flag, the tears rolled silently down my face as I thought of what Taps represented in this case. A soldier fallen, usually after discharge, but one who had served their country. Most of the people I folded flags for were WWII soldiers, veterans of Normandy and the march to the Rhine. They were holders of the Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, and a host of other medals. Never a Medal of Honor winner, because those were folded by field grade officers, not just a crusty old staff sergeant.
The most poignant version of the Ceremony is for a soldier who falls while still serving. It is the roll call. The First Sergeant calls out a number of troops, who answer giving indication of their presence, and then he calls out the name of the fallen.
“PVT Jefferson”
“Here First Sergeant”
“SPC Mulcahey”
“Here First Sergeant”
“SSG McAnarney”
“Here First Sergeant”
“SPC Nash”——-silence”
“SPC Brian Nash”——-thunderous silence
Seven seconds after the second roll call, rifle or cannon are fired in volleys of seven, three rounds each. At the sound of the last volley, Taps is played.
The soldier now answers roll elsewhere, in Fiddler’s Green.
In Memorium
1SG Utt
Taps, Iraq
Mortar Attack
June 27, 2004
Happy Veteran’s Day, America.

14 February, 2004

Music rave: Triumph

Not a chance I can say it better than them; I will let their lyrics speak for themselves. 
I will say that the bands of the seventies and eighties had great names. Read these words and tell me that Triumph is not a fitting name for this band. Rock On!
Hold On, by Triumph
Music holds the secret
To know it can make you whole
It's not just a game of notes,
It's the sounds inside your soul
The magic of the melody
Runs through you like a stream
The notes they play flow through your head like a dream.
Like a dream

I sing this song for the common man
And for the people everywhere
I bring my song into the world
And I sing it everywhere
The simple truth lies waiting here
For everyone to share
So hold on, and I will take you there

The daily routing takes your soul
Lost without a trace
It holds you down and turns you 'round
And puts you in your place
Another day, another dollar. Another pretty face
Another chance to lose yourself in the endless race

Hold on. Hold on to your dreams
Hold on, even though it seems
Everyone around you has their little schemes
Listen to your heart, and hold on to your dreams

Can't you feel the magic? I can feel it everywhere
Can't you feel the music? There's something in the air
There's a celebration deep withing a song
Celebrate this feeling, you know it can't be wrong

Hold on. hold on to your dreams
Hold on, even though it seems
Everyone around you has their little schemes
Listen to your heart, and hold on to your dreams

Caught up in routine,you've got to break it
Time won’t wait for us, we’ve got to make it
Fate gives you the chance, you’ve got to take it
Take it!

Hold on. Hold on to your dreams
Hold on, even though it seems
Everyone around you has their little schemes
Listen to your heart, and hold on to your dreams

Just hold on, people. I wish I were the Messiah. (not really) 
I wish I could save your souls. (slackers, you can do it yourself) 
All I know is how to shine a Light on where I have been. (it only shines backward, I am walking in the dark, also) 
You can make it. (at least this far) 
I did. (so far)
Happy Valentine’ Day, people. I love you all.

13 February, 2004

My worst physical injury

I haven’t had a whole lot of injuries; I am a cautious person; comes from playing around with stuff that can kill a whole bunch of you real quick if you let your mind wander. I got my ankle smashed in an armored door of a rocket launcher when I was 18, cause I wasn’t focused. That taught me quick; and the lesson could have been worse. I would have to say that the worst injury I ever sustained was a bicycling accident I had when I was seventeen and training for basic.
I rode my 10 speed about 15-20 miles a day, and in the summer, I didn’t wear much but shorts and sneakers. They didn’t have those spandex monstrosities back then, just some gym shorts that gave enough room in the legs without my nads falling out and riding alongside me. I was coming around a corner and I guess that I had the tilt a bit too extreme. I like to play like I was in a race, and so I never stopped pedaling, and I would drop over like I was on a motorcycle going around a tight curve. Well, you don’t have to pedal a motorcycle.
One of my pedals must have struck the ground, and it caused the bike to halt on a dime. I am still not sure how it happened, but all I can remember was peddling my little ass off one instant, and sailing ass over teakettle in the next.
I must have landed on my head, and then skid along on my back for a while, I don’t know. I must have been out for a pretty good bit of time, cause there were people around me when I woke up; and there weren’t any near when I was last present inside my body.
So I wake up, and there are all these people standing around me, asking me if I am OK; I don’t feel much, cause of the shock, I guess. I remember being extremely embarrassed more than anything else; here I was a grown man and I wreck my friggin bike in front of all these people, now I am laying here on the ground with my schlong hanging out and blood dripping out the back of my head.
Head injuries don’t hurt that much, but they bleed real nice. I remember gashing open my skull with a claw hammer when I was about six, hammering the shit out of a nail for only a six year old knows why. I just said Ow (I didn’t cuss back then, I was six) and continued gleefully banging the shit out of the nail. It wasn’t until I went inside that my mom screamed and I realized it wasn’t sweat running down my neck. I think that injury was worse on my mom than it was on me; I must have looked like Carrie right after the bucket got dumped on her.
So anyway, I am laying there, thinking what a schmuck I am and trying to nonchalantly put my dick back in my shorts without that little old lady noticing me and furthering my embarrassment. I finally convince them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me, nothing hurt but my pride, and a little bump on my head, and they let me up. I get up, dust myself off, attempt to regain as much of my composure (little) and dignity (none) as I could, and I get back on my bike to begin the trek home.
I ride past the hospital, because I guess my body is still, like, “shh, don’t tell him, he’ll freak out”, so I don’t notice that I am sucking wind. I must have looked quite a site riding down 23rd street with blood coming out of a hole in my head and what was left of my back.
As I got closer to home, the shock started wearing off, and I start thinking I may have been in error riding past the hospital, but I figure, I got no ID, no insurance cards; and it is just a scrape; they would laugh at me at the emergency room; nurses are way cute, and I didn’t feel the need to further my embarrassment in front of sexy women in cute white outfits. So I continued home, growing more and more aware of how much pain I was in.
I have quite a high threshold for pain. We use to do the most idiotic things with cigarettes to show how tough we were. I still have scars proving what a jackass I was. But I was the head jackass, so what the hell..
So I’m feeling pain, and noticing it, which is very disconcerting. Usually I can turn it off or tone it down. It is all about rerouting the signals; I tell my body to quit calling 911 once my control station has been made aware of the injury. But this pain hurts; like in a way that I can’t turn off; that sort of pisses me off.
So I get home and go inside. The kids are all outside with the babysitter (she’s sunbathing; and it didn’t even occur to me to ogle her, I was really feeling the pain, I guess, to miss a chance to ogle the babysitter). I holler, they don’t hear me; I am down on my knees now, trying to keep (unsuccessfully) the tears from coming out. I tried to bang on the window to get their attention.
I succeeded in putting my hand through the window; now my hand is bleeding, too, and I have a big gash alongside the ridge with shards of that flimsy window sticking out. But, the new pain gives my mind something else to think about. They heard the window break, and came running inside; saw me lying on the floor in a puddle of blood; I was trying (unsuccessfully) to be cool, but it is tough to do from the fetal position.
They called the neighbor and he took me back up to the hospital that I had passed about a half hour before. Took me in to see the cute nurses who did not laugh at me but took me back into the ER and sprinkled cocaine all over the hamburger patty that was left of my traps and lats; they then proceeded to take about a pound and a half of gravel out of my muscle tissue.
The head wound wasn’t bad; just a slight concussion and nine stitches. The back they couldn’t stitch, cause there wasn’t anything left to stitch together; so they treated it like a burn and just dressed it once it was clean. Ah, the feelings of having raw muscle scrubbed with an iodine bristle to stave off infection showed me how little control I had of the pain response. The cocaine worked great, initially, but it wears off fast; it is exceedingly difficult to wimper and quiver in a manly way, but I did my best.
Happy Friday the 13th, everyone. Stay safe.

12 February, 2004

The Promise: a Benediction

Michelle Mays is a singer songwriter out of Oklahoma City. I have had the pleasure to meet her a couple of times, as well as hear her perform live at the Mabon Festival organized by Oklahoma Pagan Association (thanks, Salem and Europa, we had a great time).
She has a song, titled, The Promise, which moves me very deeply. I consider it a benediction, and I use it as such in any public gatherings I am officiating. I love to use music in my rituals. Music and drama are the base for my rituals, because I think that Art can touch people on a much more fundamental basis than can mere dogmatic practices.
The litany of a Catholic Mass was a beautiful thing, back when they were done in Latin. Latin is a gorgeous language; it is a shame that they no longer use it as much. It takes effort to learn a dead language, and that effort is transferred into the force of the Words. That is why I always write my own spells; for the few I have ever done.
The Power has to come from inside us, it cannot be purchased or borrowed. The effort put forth to make a spell rythmic and lyrical translates directly into the Power of the spell. Same with writing in runes. Runes aren’t magick, in and of themselves; it has to do with the effort put forth to use them; the intent.
I’ve been thinking about what moves me, one of the last essays for Terp that I am writing. Music, among other things, is a massive Force in my life. There is nothing quite like hearing the glorious notes that someone has written to go along with their insightful prose. The music alone is awesome (wouldn’t it be great if Straus and Wagner had had an electric guitar or two to add to their compositions?)
The songs of Michelle Mays are some of the finest I have ever heard; the messages are clear and concise and surrounded by a melody as sweet as the song of a robin in the spring. I would like to share the lyrics to The Promise, because I have never been able to write anything so well. I can shamelessly plagarize authors and artists better than me, cause I am not publishing this or turning it in for credit.
So, there assumes a Promise has been made by each of us; in the Summerland, we set out the obstacles and instances of our lives, in order to learn the lessons necessary for our evolution. I, personally, think this is my last incarnation; this is based on some dreams I have had, some astral work I have done, and some hallucinations from way back when I thought I was Aldus Huxley or Carlos Castanada. This puts a little pressure on me to get it right.
I also think that we are on a Cusp, with a capital C; in which our actions as a people will determine (and they always do, but the waiting is full, now, and lack of action is also an action, grok?) the survival of us as free entities.
But anyway, there was a promise made to do what needed to be done; think about the story of Anyone, Someone, Noone and Everyone. Michelle Mays wrote a song about it, wanna here it? here it goes…
The Promise, by Michelle Mays
You can see the traces in how we once lived, In the forms of the Mother and the Old Ones.In caves and silent places, beyond the reach of progress,Reminders are waiting there for us.
In harmony and balance,In simplicity, there is Order.Remember the promise you made.
The Mother has awakened after Her long sleep,The Old Ones are reclused no more. They've come back to find their guests running rampant, wayward seed.Dividing all Her children and polluting all the Earth.
In harmony and balance,In simplicity, there is Order.Remember the promise you made.
The Mother has awakened, there is no turning back.What awaits us? Who can say.In these new times can we stand the test, or will our memories fail?Will we be part of Chaos, or Order?
In harmony and balance,In simplicity, there is Order.Remember the promise you made.
You’ve been called to a task, you really have no choice.The Mother has called your Name.It’s not a game, or a dream. It’s a part of who you are.Remember the Promise you made.
In harmony and balance,In simplicity, there is Order.Remember the promise you made.
In harmony and balance,In simplicity, there is Order.Remember the promise you made.
Now, imagine that set to music. Simply lovely, and yet haunting; like a lament.

I think Jesus lacked faith: Conclusion

OK, did you consider the implications? I mean really consider them?
*waits while you go back and do your assignment, slackers*
Oh, the wife wants to play; I’ll finish this later…..OK, so you got a little extra time to consider the implications.
So where was I? Oh yes, I was in Gethsemane, listening to Jesus give an ultimatum to our Father. Yes, I said OUR Father, isn’t that the way it goes? It ain’t, “His Father, who art in Heaven…”. I would have told him to just haul ass to Egypt, like the Magi did that were supposed to kill him in Jerusalem some thirty-four years ago. I don’t think he would have listened, though.
Jesus went out into the desert, and got himself all enlightened. He then came back to try and share with the people the things he now understood. He also stepped on some toes. I think he kind of enjoyed doing that; I think he had a bit of a rebellious streak in him; that is why sometimes he talked all militant, and other times he talked real peaceful like. He also had to get his people fired up, people like Judas, who wanted to fight fight fight. But his real message was about Peace, and how to find it, and where it comes from.
It must have been frustrating for him; the people didn’t want to listen to his words, they just wanted miracles (more wine, Jesus!). Maybe he was tired. It was a huge energy drain on him, I am sure. Energy is Infinite, but Time makes it finite. He couldn’t even get his disciples to understand that the Power was theirs, just as much as it was his. Maybe he thought his words would be understood or valued more if he died first; kind of like how an artists paintings may be worthless while he was alive, but the value skyrockets when they die. Even better if it was a nasty suicide or something. Isn’t it a shame, that, as a race, we never seem to value something until it is gone?
If Jesus had had the faith of the Centurion, I don’t think he would have felt the need to die. He didn’t need to die to forgive sins; that was, after all, what he was fixing to be tried and crucified for, the forgiveness of sins. Remember how he responded when he was accused of heresy after saying to the lame man, “Your sins are forgiven” and the man got up and walked away. He told the Pharisees, “What is easier, to say to a man that his sins be forgiven, or to tell him to take up his bed and walk?” It was easier on Jesus, cause he didn’t have to do anything. He told the dude his sins were forgiven, and that unlocked the dude’s own power, and he healed himself.
Jesus was forever trying to tell the people about the power of I AM, but they didn’t want to listen. They wanted miracles. To take responsibility for their own Power was more than they felt they could do. They just wanted a celestial version of bread and circuses. They didn’t want to have to work for it, they wanted to have the Power used for them. Then they could blame it on God when their life sucked, cause they had no Power of their own. Maybe Jesus thought that it would be easier to just give in and roll with the punches; become the sacrificial lamb.
Maybe he thought that it would be easier to give the people all the miracles they needed to believe him if he was dead and didn’t have to deal with the Time continuum. He should have read the story of the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs, but Aesop wasn’t there with us, in Gethsemane that night, and Jesus wasn’t listening to me.
If Jesus had the faith of the Centurion, he would have known that his death would not change anything, any more than his presence was needed to heal the sick man. Jesus had his own Power, yes. The Power emanated from the Almighty smiter, yes. But it was not Jesus who healed the Centurion’s man. He said so himself, remember? Did you consider the implications? I mean really consider the implications.
The Centurion healed his own man, his faith was the key to unlocking his Power. That is why Jesus chided his disciples, because the Centurion grasped what they could not. I think it was because the dude was a Warrior, and Warriors rely first on themselves, then on their own Sword (which, BTW, is a symbol for both Force, and Restriction, because it is sheathed, most of the time. But I doubt the Centurion was thinking like that; he just wanted his man healed.)
Oh, and BTW, I do not think that the Centurion was ashamed to be seen with Jesus; I think he was more concerned for Jesus’ reputation (gasp! Jesus is helping a Roman!) than anything else. Jesus had already been chastised by his own disciples for hanging out with the whores and gamblers. That is why he said, “I did not come here to heal the healthy, but to heal the sick.” Plus, I bet he was really good at cards.
We all have the Power to Create. The Power of I AM. Jesus told his disciples that everything that he had done, they would do, and more. But did they? I don’t read about too much of it. Maybe there is something about them doing marvelous things in the Dead Sea Scrolls, I don’t know. I had moved on from Christianity by the time those were discovered. I took what was useful, and discarded the rest. I can be inspired, too, can’t I?
I rarely invoke the gods; I evoke them, instead. Do you grok the difference?
Maybe Jesus thought his words would mean more to the people if he did such a marvelous sacrifice. I don’t know. Martyrs are stupid, I think. Why do they think the sheep will follow the shepherd just because they throw themselves to the wolves? Don’t they know the sheep will follow whoever takes charge? Those wolves in sheep’s clothing line he did; surely he understood as much as I. The sheep follow whoever is still around. Look at who is quoted the most: Paul, the homophobic woman hater who never even met Jesus. But he was there, and Jesus was gone. One cannot lead and protect ones flock if one is dead. Ones impact on the world is outside ones realm of control after death, no matter how spectacular or well reported that death may be. Look at the horrors wrought on the world now because of the death of a mere couple thousand people. One may change the world by dying, but it is the ones who are left which will control the change.
So Jesus lacked faith in his fellow man to be able to listen to and understand his words. I am not saying I think that his lack of faith was unfounded; I am just postulating that he had it. But he lacked faith in himself, also, I think. Maybe he thought he had bit off more than he could chew, and was ready to call it quits. Maybe that is why he didn’t phrase his ultimatum the way I would have told him. I would have told him to phrase it so that no answer was a yes, and for the answer to be no, action had to be taken by Dad. What do you think the symbology of his men falling asleep while they were supposed to be on watch was? He gave up; he ignored the fact that the Power was his.
If he’d had the faith of the Centurion, he would not have had to die. We could have went to Monte Carlo and broken the banks and gotten something nice for Mary Magdalene.
Poor Jesus; I’d give him a hug and a cookie, and tell him to not sweat the small shit; but he wasn’t listening to me that night.

11 February, 2004

Mechwarriors of emotion

I said: “What is wrong?”
She said: “Oh, nothing.”
Bullshit, she was fueling a MechWarrior, for sure. I knew this, like I knew the sun would rise.
This is not a current phenomenon in my life, it was in the past. I know the symptoms, now, and I kill the Mechs as I see them appear. If I can catch em; they’re sneaky little bastards. Insidious and pernicious; they latch on to the littlest things and thrive on unfocused Energy and unfounded and unspoken accusations; their life blood is the little white lie; their Manna is ‘sacrifice’, their neighborhood is resentment, their battlecry is, “If they loved me they’d…[insert unspoken need here]”
OK, so I play a lot of video games. But that is what them little fuckers are, and they take on a life of their own, I swear it to Dyonesius. Mechwarriors, if you don’t know the game, are cybernetic organisms that enhance physical abilities past their normal human range. You wear them like a suit. I think that we have an emotional construct that does much the same thing.
Ever notice that an unresolved issue takes on a life of it’s own? Like for some reason you react more strongly to something than it seems reasonable to? Ever notice someone else do the same thing? (this is more likely for us to notice)
This is the Mech at work.
Every time we, for some reason, (usually labeled as ‘being the bigger person’ or ‘compromise’, or ‘life sucks’), give in to a situation without being completely behind our decision, we fuel the Mech.
Life does suck. Embrace the suck. Otherwise, fight it. That is my motto. I can yell at the rain, or I can Dance. I choose to Dance.
But I care less if an Other fights with the rain. It affects me (and let me be honest, that is what I really care about) when they harbor resentments (whether acknowledged or not) against me. Sooner or later, I will be facing a loaded Uzi because i left the friggin cap off the toothpaste. That is unacceptable to me.
I am not the rain, I can change. I might not. I might be the stubborn son of a bitch it is assumed I am. But give me a chance to be stubborn. Don’t decide how i will react, censor me or censor you, and then resent me for acting in the way you merely assume I will. Do not decide that I do not need to know, and then resent me for not knowing.
It is such a simple thing to speak clearly and plainly ones needs. It is such a simple thing to speak clearly and plainly ones emotions. Emotions just are, they are not right or wrong. I am wrong to judge your emotions; I know this. I try not to. But how can I help it if all that is ever given to me to judge by are your emotions?
All I ask is that emotions not be used as argument; they can give weight to argument, yes. But they cannot be the deciding factor, unless everything else is equal. Tell me your needs; I love you, I shall try to meet them. Judge me on my actions; judge my actions by what you have asked for. Have I fulfilled the missions you set out for me? I cannot read minds. I refuse to try.
If I give you tools to overcome my failings (I have many)(remember the sign I gave you to shut me up? It is magick; I have given you power over me; why do you blame me if you do not use the tools I give? What more can I do?), do not resent me if you choose not to use them. It is not important to me to shut up; but I know it is important to you that I shut up when you wish to speak; that is why I gave you Power. I have no wish to drown you out; but I do wish to prove my points. The only thing I know to do is to give you keys.
You, my Love, must use them. I am not likely to. I shall merely continue to be me. I shall not change unless you add your Energy to the effort.
I have a name for it, now. I can kill it. Do not bring your Mechs against me; come alone.

I think Jesus lacked faith: Pt 1

Consider this:
I put a gun to my head; I challenge God to make the bullet not fire if He wishes me to live. I pull the trigger.
Who would argue that I was a dumbass?
But that is what Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane, wasn’t it?
See, he was kind of full of himself, there, I think. He was a bit to caught up in the whole “I am the son of God” thing. He should have bounced forward a few millennia and read the book. We are all children of God. It says so right in the bible. Don’t people read the fine print?
Move this cup, my ass.
My concept of deity would answer, “Move the cup yourself, you slacker!”
I have been told that the actual sacrifice of Jesus was necessary to atone for the sins of mankind. Bullshit.
First of all, I will atone for my own sins. Fuck that original sin, concept. Yeah, I have free will, but I am fucked from the get go; kiss my ass. I don’t play when the deck is stacked. I have enough of my own sins without having to concern myself that I was born cause my parents had gasp sex.
Second of all, think about the Centurion. The one Jesus admonished his disciples for having more faith than them. Remember?
As the story goes, a Roman Centurion came to Jesus to ask his help in curing a man of his (the Centurion’s). Jesus, being the all around nice guy that he was, said to the Centurion (even though the dude was a Roman and so ‘the enemy’) that he would graciously come and heal the sick. The Centurion replied that there was no need to be physically present, because he had faith that a mere Word would do the trick. Jesus said, “By your faith, he is healed.” (He then scolded his disciples)
Wow. Think of the implications, for a second.
Jesus didn’t say that he had healed him.
No, really. Think about it.

On futility

I hate feeling futile. I gave up Christianity cause I was told that my works were but a dirty rag to Yahweh. Well, fuck Yahweh, I said. Tell me the best I can do is not good enough? Fuck anyone that thinks that. Would I stay in any relationship that the Other was not satisfied with my best? Hell fuck no I wouldn’t.
I can think. I can choose. I can act.
Condemn me for acting wrong, poor choices, or faulty logic. These I can change, these I am in control of. Tell me my best just ain’t good enough? Well, fuck you.
Sometimes my best ain’t good enough. I can grok that. I can train. I can learn. And if my best still ain’t good enough, I can find a new employ. But fuck, I can’t find another soul. Bible don’t say my best ain’t good enough right now, it says it will never be good enough.
Well, fuck your grace, I don’t want it. I will slap you in the face with the free will that you so graciously gave me, pissant jealous deity. I choose the Horned God, Herne, Pan, Cernunnos; They at least give me a fair shot. They don’t accept excuses. They don’t cater to whiners. They don’t believe in foolish sacrifice.
Sacrifice is a fucked up newspeak kind of word. The only place it is used right is in baseball. But the rest of the world thinks that it is noble to sacrifice, even gave it a fancy word, ‘altruism‘.
In baseball, the sacrifice means the batter gave up a hit for the team to score a run. It means to give up a lesser value to gain a greater value. But in the newspeak of the last two millenia, it means give up a greater value to get a lesser value; that is not a sacrifice, that is a swindle.
Nothing has ever pissed me off more than having felt a need to do something and then realizing there is nothing I can do. I have always sucked at that serenity thing. I have courage out the ass, but wisdom I must suck at. I want to think I can change anything if I try hard enough. Tantra has helped me out, a lot. I am sure I took the long way around the block to come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t worry about all things. But, son-of-a-bitch, why would I have driven myself to be as capable as I am just to sit back on the sidelines? If I stop now, I feel like I have wasted my life; til now.
I am such a fucked up person; but I can still make me laugh. And since it is only rarely that my laughter is that maniacal, high pitched giggle which I can’t seem to stop, I think I shall stick around me for a bit longer. ;c)
Even the giggle is better than the tears; I have always cried most when I am frustrated.
I hate it when people hurt. I want to help them. I can’t.
I hate it when there is injustice, I want to punish. Not my lane.
I hate it when there is a better way, and no one will listen. I am not God.
I am just A god, I am not THE GOD. How silly She must think we are. I hope She gets at least a chuckle out of our idiocy that causes us pain. Perhaps Her hands are bound just as tightly as are ours.
That would be fitting.
Still love you, Mother; You piss me off sometimes, but the butterflies are very nice; thank You.

30 January, 2004

Thoughts on conscientious objection

Recently I had written a letter to Sammy Davis, an alumni from my recent battery.
Today, I got a response.
I can not put into words what this response meant. Yeah, I know, could have been a phantom auto-response; but then again, maybe not. I have no reason not to believe it was Sammy.
Sammy Davis is a holder of the Medal of Honor; his citation would be too long to post here, but I will post it to my web site under the war stories section, as well as the war wounds section, perhaps. It would go in both sections because Sammy fought in Nam, and he is, of course, a strong supporter of MIA activities.
Yes, I do like to make multiple and consecutive entries. It is because I write in phases, and when I write, I write a lot. The restriction to 7500 characters is not to limiting, except when I am in the mood to write. I used to train soldiers every day. It was my life. I am looking for a way to continue that, the training soldiers part, as well as to expand into other areas.
I asked for consideration as a CO, with 1A status, which means they could have used me in a training capacity. I had realized I cannot murder; and my sense of Duty was in conflict with my sense of Integrity. They turned me down, because I said I would defend my country in the event of an invasion. My Sergeant Major had asked me what my actions would be if the request was denied. I was advised to not apply, because it would ruin my career, even if it was denied. (It was my Soul I was talking about, so I didn’t give a damn about my career. Ever have to kill someone that didn’t need to be killed? And you knew it?) I told him I would still be the balls-to-the-wall NCO I had always been. I never considered that they would deny me.
Not only did the fuckers deny me, they acted like I was trying to use my knowledge of the regulations to swindle them. Hell and damnation, I figured, ain’t this just a peach. Here I am, trying to be Honorable, because I know the importance of being committed to my task, and they insult my Integrity. But, smile when it rains, right?
So, I went balls to the wall. Made a good run of it; check out my web site if I ever get it done, I will restrict my bragging to there; because it would take too much space here to list all my accomplishments in the last year of my career. Ok, maybe a little bragging…
Anyway, I went nuts. Diagnosed with PTSD, Acute Depression Syndrome, and Anxiety without Psychotic Episodes. They put me out to pasture. But my unit went to war soon after my breakdown. I feel like I let them down, and a lot of it is because I kicked such major ass in my 13 months as platoon sergeant.
I don’t know if Sammy remembers me from the desert, when he gave me that coin. I remember him, though. And am proud as hell he still considers me a Brother. Now if I can figure out a way to get all this information I have collected over the years to the troops that need it…
Maybe I will write a book.

29 January, 2004

What excites me?

It could be said that I am a very excitable person. If that were said, I would probably say that it is an understatement of the utmost proportions. I think that excitement is the natural state for a rational being. That, or sleep.
Why not live in the world being excited about what one is doing? Isn't it far better to live in the excited blissfulness of a child at play than in the dull drudgery of mere existence that so many of the world seems to crave, and then in self-delusion calling it comfort or security? Why anyone would chain their Selves to a yoke of existence that was not satisfying and exciting, I do not know, when the key to freedom is at ones fingertips.
Jesus said that he would spit out the soup that was lukewarm. Nietzsche said that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. People say that behind every cloud is a silver lining. Heinlein said you can't chain a free man, the most you can do is kill him. Franklin said that a country that trades freedom for security will get neither. The Germans say smile when it rains, cause it will rain anyway. SSG Mac said to embrace the suck.
Taken together, these concepts form a Pattern that is useful. I have tried to break down the basic Tao of the Pattern into a usable system of thought with which to free myself from knee jerk reactions as well as increasing my understanding, which can be gained by embracing situations that cannot be avoided. Since I think understanding is the Tao of Life, the very fact that I can use any given situation to increase my understanding gives me a positive reason to embrace the situation; to live in the Now.
This is the silver lining at it's most basic; it is ALWAYS there, one only has to shift ones focus from what one WISHES to be true, and instead look at the situation as it really is. All it takes is honest appraisal of the situation and acceptance of the Truth. There are generally many more silver linings, but this is the one I use in those unavoidable situations, which can otherwise get me to thinking that life sucks.
Embrace the suck. That is what I rallied my troops around in Albania. Worst fucking living conditions I had ever experienced, and I have experience. It was a good pun, because the mud was so thick and so prevalent that it was literally sucking people down into it to the extent we were recovering them with tracked vehicles. Sometimes life is gonna suck, I think this is a fact, though I cannot prove it. Life has sucked, liable to suck again. The particular manifestation of aforementioned sucking is not altogether outside of our control, but sometimes the Universe will conspire to make it difficult for us to find our happy place, no matter how we prepare. I think there is always a possibility that it is going to rain on the parade.
So, smile, for Pete’s sake. It is going to rain anyway. There are things outside of our control; no use crying over spilt milk, because the past is the one thing that is definitely out of our control. The weather, the fact that I need certain things in order to survive, and gravity; these are examples of things that are largely outside our control. I say largely because there is always Magick. I don’t do a lot of spells, and never felt the need to change the weather or levitate; yet. Cool to play and experiment, but out of respect for Chaos Theory, I don’t use Magick to do things I cannot comprehend the possible effects of.
But there will always be things outside of my control. If they are out of my control, why should I concern my Self with them? A Free man concerns himself with the things he CAN change; sometimes all that is in ones Power is ones attitude, but that is enough. And, like silver linings, there are usually quite a few more things than the basics that one can change, while still maintaining ones dignity, Integrity, and Honor. Betraying ones core values for a quick reward is no answer. Take the hard right over the easy wrong. But do not waste your Power on things outside your realm of influence. Power is limitless, but Time is the Great Limiter.
Worrying or complaining about the situation is not going to change anything. Instead, in those cases, I need to change my outlook, and dance in the rain. The gods will make it rain, it is already set up, like a Clockwork . Who am I to be upset by the Universe? I am but a fly on the windshield, a minor inconvenience but otherwise, my unhappiness and whining will not block the gods’ view for long. And if the manifestation of the gods is my boss, my parents, the police, etc; I am still limited to what I can change.
Accept the things I cannot change; what do the lilies of the field worry for, and are we not more in the eyes of the gods than the lilies? (well, actually, I could debate the value placement, but I was trying to quote Jesus). I don’t believe the gods throw anything at us that we cannot handle; but they also gave us more than enough rope to hang ourselves with, and they are more than willing to let us learn our lessons the hard way. They are good Parents, my gods. Even were I to die, it only means that the time was right, either through predetermination, or because, as a holder of the Purple Heart once said, because I zigged when I should have zagged. But even if I get myself into a situation that could pose a risk to my physical body, what of it? Pain, hardship, discomfort; these are nothing; they are transitory. These are times that one Wills their Self out of the Now, and takes themselves to their happy place, whether it be an Astral Temple, a fond memory, or the comfort of your gods. One does not have to continue feeling the pain or discomfort if one cannot change it. One merely turns off the alarms.
And whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. The strongest steel has been tempered the most times through the hottest Fire. As I said, the gods don’t throw stuff at you to strengthen your soul unless you can take it. We, however, can always bite off more than we can chew. So not all hardships we face in life are part of the original class schedule we set up for ourselves while in the Summerland, some of it is just bad decisions come home to roost. One should take their medicine, grimace with the taste if necessary, and drive on. Worst case scenario, I die and have to start over. Or, I just die and rot in the ground, but then I still feed the flowers.
Whining over spilled milk or milk that is about to spill or milk you are afraid will get spilt will only result in me not enjoying the milk that I have Now. And the Now excites me, and that is the best damn milk I ever had.
We are the only ones who can chain our minds. A slave can have the dignity of a King, and a king can be a mere puppet on a string.
We have the key. That excites me. I like to be excited. I find new things exciting. I love new books, and new Ideas. I meditate and still myself and live in the Now so that I might reach an epiphany, a new understanding, and that will excite me and disturb my calmness, shattering my peace. I LOVE that shit. I love to live on the edge, it is where we belong. Yes of course, on the edge means looking out over the abyss.
But that is from where one starts to Fly…

What interests me?

What Interests Me?
  • Animals, seems like they have more personality than a lot of people, with no facades.
  • Blues, taking pain or hardship and turning it into Art.
  • Computers, they’re patterned after our brains, after all, too bad so many peoples file systems are corrupted.
  • Drama, life is the great Drama, and Thespians bring the great Authors to life. Not bullshit drama
  • Epistemology, just another word for philosophy, except epistemology also gets into the practical applications of thought systems.
  • Freedom,  give me Liberty, or give me Death.
  • Great Work, Magnum Opus; to live Life to the fullest; to Love well, to Dance often, to Drum, to Die in Peace, even if not peacefully.
  • History, repeating it sucks, so I learn from it; few listen, and the UN don’t call to ask my opinion.
  • Ideology, trying to figure out what in the hell people are thinking when they do the things they do.
  • Justice, the Universe ain’t fair, but it is Balanced.  Justice is what We do to make it as fair as possible.
  • Kilt wearing ancestors, my Greats-grandfather Ona might well be the one who told Patrick the legends of the Celts, thereby causing them to be recorded for posterity.  How cool is that?
  • Love, when shone through the prism of Love, all Energy vibrates at a higher frequency.  Increase the Spiral!
  • Magick, merely science that hasn’t been explained.  I aim to explain it.  It is simple, really…
  • Niceness, mean people suck; and most of them don’t even mean to be mean; they are just ignorant or negligent of how they affect others.
  • Outer space, where else am I gonna migrate when the numbnuts blow this place up or make it otherwise uninhabitable?
  • Physics, learn the rules if you want to win the Game.
  • Quiet, of all the sounds, I like that one the best.
  • Resource conservation, use less stuff; Energy is limitless, but when viewed through the Time continuum, it is Finite.
  • Syrnx, enjoyment of the Arts is the worship of Syrnx.
  • Time, the Great Foe; it is so funny that we gave it the shackles to bind us…
  • Universal theorem, the One Truth, expressed mathematically.  Music is mathematical, so I will Drum it, when I find it.  Stand back.
  • Violence, half of our basic instinct; better to know how to do it well when the need arises; funny how the need arises less, then.  But when brute force becomes the standard for morality, again, then shall we see what happens when intelligent force is put into play.  Who is John Galt?
  • Water, may you never thirst.
  • eXotic dancers, OK, so I cheated, but I love the sensual Dance of a woman who does it for love of the Dance.
  • Yoni, ah, the delicate petals of a woman's sexuality.  How nice that there is a yin to the phallus’s yang.  Just think, we could be asexual.
  • Zen Buddhism, to increase the Peace until the waiting is full.
  • What gets me up in the morning?

    What get’s me up in the morning?
    I had a bit of trouble with this one, since I am at a happy point in my life that I don’t have to get up at all; in the sense that I am not on the clock.  My retired pay doesn’t allow me to jet from city to city to celebrate New Year’s in all the time zones, but I don’t really have a desire to do that.
    For most of my life I had gotten up for reasons placed upon me by the state (to go to school) and then for reasons placed upon me by my own decisions which placed my decisions in someone else's hands (enlisting in the Army).  I spent years watching the sun rise because I was still up from the day before or longer; it has forever destroyed my internal clock.  I still am liable to pull 36 or 48 hours straight when I get an idea fixed in my head, and then I will sleep for ten or twelve hours straight; been known to sleep for the whole day.  I think I still average the same amount of waking time that ‘normal’ people average, I just do it in different shifts.
    The last 12 years of my career I was getting up because I expected my troops to get up.  I am categorically opposed to leading from the back; so if I expect my troops to be up, I need to be up before them, to show them it is do-able.  If I expect my troops to work till the job is over, I need to be right there with them.  It sucks wind through a big straw to have to get up after only a few hours sleep; I figured it made it easier if there was a crusty old staff sergeant already up and about with his trusty cup of coffee cracking jokes and kicking the right butts to initiate movement.  It is difficult to lead from the front when the ones you are leading are half your age.  It takes an effort of will.  Or coffee.  Caffeine or willpower; if you don’t have one, you need a lot of the other.
    I don’t have troops any longer, but I do have kids.  They are tougher, in a lot of ways, than troops.  You can’t use reason on them, very often; least not the types of reasoning that work with adults.  Time is meaningless to a kid.  Everything is ‘NOW’.  That is actually quite a good lesson for us adults, I think.  Kids automatically live in the Now; and even though it is a pain in the ass, I can’t fault them for doing something that all the Masters say we are supposed to do.  Kids, like the Mission, don’t care that I just got to sleep.  If they want some time with Daddy, they want it now; and no amount of reasoning will suffice to encourage them to delay gratification.
    So, quite often, I get up because the kids have decided it is time to wake up the sleeping Bear.  And I have to give them credit, if they are willing to risk waking me,  (I am sometimes rather less than cordial before my coffee) it must be important to them that I get up.  I forget sometimes how important just spending time in the Now with my kids is.  They don’t even care what we do, so long as we do it together.  I am reminded of a Calvin and Hobbes panel in which Calvin is trying to get his dad outside to play in the snow with him.  The father, of course, thinks it is necessary and important  to do the work he had brought home.  He realizes, however, that the really important thing (his Son) is outside playing in the snow.  Hard work pays off in the long run, but procrastination pays off right Now.  It is a cliche’, of course, but there is Truth in it.  The Rule of the Oak comes into play, also.
    I wish I could say that I greet each day with the thrilling realization that a New World has dawned, and it is time for me to be out in it.  Sadly, this is both the case, and is not.  A New World  (Order) may have dawned, but I don’t like it much, and so I don’t want to be out in it.  There isn’t a hell of a lot that interests me outside our little world that the wife and I are creating.  I have not seen and done everything under the sun, but I have done enough that it is quite difficult to find something ‘new’ out there.  I do enjoy finding something new inside me; quite often I find it by looking through my kids eyes.  Everything is new to them, and so is new to me vicariously.  I don’t want to live my life through them; it is enough to see the world through their eyes.  They are not yet cynical; their possibilities are endless; the most frustrating thing in their world is being told that it is bed time.  And they wake up with such a passion for life that it is hard not to get caught up in it, if I only remember to let myself get caught up in it.
    I spend a lot of my time in reflection; which is the Right Action for me right now.  In order to evolve, I think it is important to periodically stop and process all the things that got programmed into us without our full awareness.  It is important, to me, to evolve.  If I am not busy growing, I am diminishing.  If I am not living, I am dying.  Interestingly enough, the key to living life with these absolutes is to walk the Middle Path; between the Then and the When.  The Now is the only part of our Universe that we can interact with.  I still love Life; and I still get a kick out of interacting with the Now.  There is so much more Power available to Man when one focuses all the energy into the Now, instead of wasting it on the Then or the When.  Watch a child at play; the focus that a child achieves when lost in play is the Truest form of existence that I know.  I learn a lot from my kids, when I remember that I do not know it all; and accept that they know some things instinctively that I have forgotten.
    I used to get up because the friggin alarm clock was going off; I hated that sound.  It was annoying.  Waking up still sucks; lucid dreaming is such a kick.  But now I get to wake up to a much better sound; one that fills my heart with joy when I allow it to.
    I wake up because I hear the sound, “Daddy”.

    Thoughts on the perception of time

    Not complete, obviously; only brainstorming and didn’t want to forget…
    I don’t live by the same clock civilians do. I never did, I think; but for damn certain I do not now. I have always looked at time through the filter of mission accomplishment. I could go 96 hours straight if necessary to accomplish the mission. Coffee, cigarettes, and excitement kept me going. I was a dynamo.
    As I got older, and became responsible for the lives of others, I realized I could not sacrifice my sleep, I had to learn to delegate. If I sacrificed my sleep, I would soon begin making piss poor decisions. And that would be a stupid thing to do; try to do it all and I would fail my men. Learn to delegate, and I could get the required 4 hours at least, cat nap here and there; in order to delegate, I had to trust the competence, motivation, loyalty and dedication of the troops, or at least that of my squad leaders.
    People don’t delegate out of fear that they will be shown up (because the troops did it by themselves or under the supervision of another) or the mission will fall (better to learn this in training, so that the cause can be rectified). People think that they have to do it all themselves, and pretty soon, they have to. And then of course they are martyrs about it. Shut the fuck up, I say to them. I don’t want anyone to martyr themselves, and I damn sure ain’t gonna do it. Mostly, I think people who do not delegate are afraid to because they know in their heart of hearts that they have not done all they can to train their subordinates. There, I said it. That’s right, I judge. Judge me back. I loved the ORTEP; a test the Army of One would shit if it had to take. Test me, test my men, make us better, for fucks sake; don’t be afraid to dig as deep as necessary to root out any weakness in the chain. I wanted to always come back, and my men and I did. Lucky, yes. But we also cut the cards, by training our asses off.
    Accomplish the mission, that is the Primary concern; all Tao should be focused on that goal. And the Tao should be relentlessly reshaped and forged; because the more one sweats in peacetime, the less one bleeds in war. It is just good self serving wanna stay alive instincts to keep myself trained. It is good self serving want the mission to succeed (which means that we win, minimal losses, and go home to make babies) to keep my men trained. There is nothing at all altruistic about my service. I did it for me.
    If anyone benefited from my worth, it was pure icing. I did it because I value the concepts outlined in the Constitution. I also loved to excel, and I loved to train others to excel; and damn we were good.
    But this is about time, right? I digress…
    I don’t work a normal shift, I am a swing shifter. I do a good 60 hours a week of the ‘work’ I set out, still; I can sometimes go up to 120 hours, or sometimes I give myself a vacation. I might go three days in a row, and then sleep for twenty hours, if the mission will allow. I make my own missions now, and I enjoy being the Ops Sergeant AND the approving authority. Nothing quite so frustrating as coming up with a damn fine plan to have it ignored or fucked up by the brass. But, they are the brass; it is their ultimate responsibility, so they have the ultimate say. I am fine with that relationship, or I was.
    Anyway, I have my own clock, it is not related to the clock in the hall. It is internal. I determine my time to sleep, eat, motivate. I do it to accomplish the mission; anytime could be morning to me.
    But, I freaking hate morning. Never saw a reason to get out of bed before the crack of noon, really. I did, cause I had to; and then I did, cause the troops were watching; troops only do what you demonstrate and prove possible, and profitable.
    Anywho….Time…The Great Limiter. I hate the clock. I hate the Gregorian calendar. We made our own calendar this year and will continue to refine it as we get more in sync with Nature at the farm. I think I will use hands of time instead of minutes and hours. We also decided to count our days in the Celtic and Judaic manner, days beginning at sundown and ending at sundown, instead of any other variation.
    I decided to do this initially in order to embrace my roots better; I sold the idea to Hyacinthe. Time is irrelevant; it truly is. The only reason it matters is because we decided it did. Down to seconds and crap; who needs that? On a time to fire, ok, seconds count. When ready fire for effect, ok, seconds count. On a danger close mission, seconds cost lives, as does lack of accuracy. I had no time to hesitate; which is why one needs to be fully committed, or get the hell out of the way. Combat is no time for soul searching. It is too late. Combat is the time to act; and goddess help us if we are not trained to standards.
    But Time, what is it to me? Nothing. Nothing at all. When will planting time be here? I measure it by the moon. When is dinner, I measure it by the sun, or the state of my current mission. I eat when I am done. Time means nothing.
    And then, BAM! Epiphany. The Celts, my beloved Ancestors were friggin brilliant, if they thought about it the way I did. I hate mornings, what a shitty way to start the day, by waking up, and I hate to wake up.
    The Celts started their day by Relaxing after ‘yesterdays’ work (it is evening tide, grok?), then they eat dinner, have sex, party if it is festival, and sleep. These are some of my favorite activities. How brilliant. They didn’t wake up till midway through their day, what is noon to us, merely because they counted time different. They started their day with the best part of the day, then it ENDED with waking up and work, and then one is DONE!, instead of STARTING with these two most un-lazy requirements of life.
    I am simply amazed at the sheer simplicity of this.

    Greatest tool of Internal Communication EVER

    I found my tape recorder recently, the one I used to take to combat with me. It gave me a chance to hear the words, cadence and inflection of my past; it was wierd and wonderful at the same time.
    It was a very formative time in my life, in that I was moving away from my willingness to be a soldier, losing my faith in the military (well, actually the civilian bosses of the government) and their willingness or ability to place me only in a moral fight, and grokking who the enemy was better than I ever had.
    You see, I was learning the language of the Albanians, and plus the translators were A: babes in their own right and B: highly intelligent and C: more than willing to talk to me, and I was more than willing to listen. Great accents, great beauty, great minds. Plus, I am in combat and get to spend time with these goddesses I would have given up a weekend pass to disneyland to be with; hell yes.
    You learn a lot about a people when you learn their language. I was also always taught (and took it further than I was taught) to learn everything I could about an environment that I was going to fight in or fight through or attack. Know what you can, and make a plan to deal with any other situation that may come up, and practice the most likely courses of action. I learned a lot about these people.
    These are the people that I was completely willing to blow up from a distance just a short time ago. They were from a Communist bloc country, grok? They were where I used to AIM, for christs sake, and I grew to love them. All the people there; even the Serbians. They were fighting because they had always been fighting; they knew no different. But they couldn’t see it; how silly it was, and that the buck had to stop somewhere. But it is not stopping. The Albanians are taking their revenge. The tide goes in and out; can we change the tide? Only if one changes the primary cause. The Prime Factor.
    But how to determine that prime factor? That is a good friggin question. Maybe Jimmy Carter can see it, I can not. Maybe just a way to get them to be satisfied with stopping long enough for dialogue; Jimmy is good at that, also. I am not.
    But, the important thing is that it gave me wonderful insight into the working of my mind at a critical time. I applied for consideration as a conscientious objector a short time later. I did this against the advice of my best friend, and priest. He had told me to just go with the flow, not rock the boat, it would destroy my career. He said that the chances there would be another war were so negligeable as to not count. He advised me to be untrue to myself, and to pose as a false warrior. How could I do that? I did no longer believe in the use of war as a reasonable alternative.
    There will be wars, and rumors of wars, and all manners of wars. That is a no brainer and it don’t take a revelation to figure that one out. We are a violent race; we have the capacity to love one another, but we rarely explore that option with as much gusto as we try to take which is not ours, or govern that which not ours to govern, or try to control others ‘for their own good’.
    The Constitution is being raped, I think. Gang raped, to be exact, and the American people are holding Her down. Shame on you! And for those who say they are doing nothing to assist in the rape, what are you doing to stop it? The only thing evil needs to flourish is the inaction of good people! If one is not part of the solution, one is part of the problem.
    I know not any longer what to do to stop the fall. I see which way the tree will fall much sooner than some who are not paying attention to the forest, because they are so caught up in their little leaf.
    Perhaps I am hypocritical, since I have withdrawn; but I think I am merely preparing to reseed after what I see as inevitable. I shall not hasten the decline, as John Galt did, but I shall no longer stand in the way.
    It was odd hearing my first thoughts from years ago on this subject, and the frustration with which I was dealing with the situation. I think I dealt with it OK. I don’t know. I am afraid I let some people down, because I did so well, after the CO packet was denied. I told them I would be just as hard charging as I could be. I did go out with a bang; which is as it should as a Redleg, by God!
    I always pick at my scabs, to see if, as Rudy asked, “Have I done All I can?”.
    I loathe failure, but that is perhaps what spurs me on. I don’t give up in the face of hardship. I WILL accomplish the mission, because failure is not an option. I thought it was important enough to reinforce it on many levels. Whatever I had planned for myself in the Summerland, I hope I am true to it still.
    Try journaling into a tape recorder, sometime, and then just put it away for a few years. Wie das Geist den Wienachten Vorne.

    28 January, 2004

    On common sense

    For all the talk about ‘common sense’ as something which is a good thing, I thought I would share with you my interpretation of where it comes from.
    Common sense is that which we have determined works in a given situation. We always try to loosen to the left (lefty loosy righty tighty) because that is the way it has always worked before.
    We apply common sense to a problem immediately, in order to refrain from thinking the problem through; we are lazy. Me too. Laziest man you’d ever met, right over here.
    Problems arise when we are taught the wrong things, by society or by environment. If my mother always cleans up after me, common sense will tell me I do not have to be responsible for my actions, mommy fixes it. If the only way I can see that I can get respect (a higher need, according to Maslow, and I agree) is to be a gang banger or a drug dealer, what does my common sense tell me to do?
    I have no common sense. Drill Sergeants told me that, and I believe them. I always had to ask questions about WHY something worked the way it did. I can now poor piss out of a boot, but because I read the instructions on the heel.
    I don’t have a whole lot of uncommon sense about some things, and about some things I am downright ignorant. But the things I know, I know because I thought them through; not because it is’common sense’. Call me stubborn, I confess it’s true, but that is just what I call my determination.

    A response to 'Cowboys': Conclusion, and On Privacy

    However, and the most misunderstood thing that I did, probably, was in sending my response to
    everyone that you had forwarded that to. I am sure you must be wondering just what in the heck my
    reasons could be for that.
    Have you thought about the ten commandments? What they mean? How to manifest them in our daily
    lives? Let me just take a moment to reflect on the ninth commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false
    witness against thy neighbor.”
    What this means, to me, is more than just not lying. It actually is not a proscription against
    falsehood in general (I have my own reasons for that, so I don’t (try not to) lie), but against
    speaking falsely against ones neighbors. It means that we should not say things about people that
    are not true, we do not spread rumors, we do not gossip. We should say what we know to be true,
    and on all else be silent, in regards to the motives and thought processes of our neighbors. This
    will ensure that we do not accidentally imply that our neighbors believe or behave in a way that
    is not True.
    Do you see where I am going with this?
    By including my e-mail address in that post along with everyone elses (and I must say that had you
    used BCC, I would not have been able to react the way I did, nor would I have). But you first,
    invaded my privacy by giving my e-mail address to all those you forwarded the message to, as well
    as implicitly grouping me with those people who would be pleased that some senior citizen cared so
    much about our country they just had to make this extremely professional and well spun addition to
    the Net traffic. As I said, I am not convinced that this was not an attempt to garner support for
    the administration. Have you studied the mass media, and the way it is used to mold peoples
    perceptions? The Truth shall set you free, but the mass media is not all Truth. Surely you
    recognize this, or else you would be a consumer driven person who spent all of their time keeping
    up with the Jones’. I do not perceive you as that way, My Sister; indeed, I have faith in all my
    family that you are able to see more clearly than the average American citizen. I ask you to look
    closely at what is going on.
    I will not have untruths spread about me. Implying that I would appreciate what you sent me (and
    indeed, why would you have sent it to me if you did not think I would appreciate it?) implied that
    I believed the same as the creator of the Cowboys document. I do not. I am diametrically opposed
    to what the administration is doing. I support our troops, because they gave up their choice to
    decide, when all is said and done. They trusted America to not send them into harms way for
    reasons other than the gravest threat to our Nation. Violence is to be used sparingly; not for
    the ‘shock and awe’ value. These are the things I have decided are True. I do not think I am
    alone in these thoughts on the use of violence; but America was ‘wounded’ on 911, and like any
    animal, the first thing it wanted to do was to strike back. And so we did. But the striking back
    was not reasoned, and so we lost our status as the good guys.
    And no amount of wearing a white hat will change that. I also like Chuck Norris, at least his old
    stuff. Good Guys Wear Black. The Lone Ranger wore a mask. And beware of the wolf in sheeps
    The only possibility that I have thought of that I have yet to discuss is the possibility that you
    sent it to me knowing that I disagreed. It is fine if you do this. I like to discuss issues. I
    do not think I have the final answers to many of my opinions. I know my opinions are filtered
    through all of the crap in my subconscious. But I have made my Magnum Opus the discovery of
    Truth. My opinions are not arrived upon lightly, and they are not based upon perceptions provided
    for me. They are based on research, experience, prayer, meditation, and above all WORKING my
    But, if you did indeed send it to me knowing that I disagreed, surely you would have assumed I
    would respond in a negative fashion. If it shocked you that I disagreed, I apologize for the
    disruption of your peace. If you thought that it would change my mind, you’ll have to do better
    than that. So will the administration. I stick with Paine and Franklin and Jefferson and
    Hamilton. They would have fought against what this administration is doing. They would have
    condemned the country that allowed the administration to do it.
    Be very careful about thinking that I am unpatriotic based upon my reaction to Mr. Bush’s actions.
    Call my words unpatriotic or my acting on my first amendment freedom to voice my dissent
    traitorous, and you will find that it also does not have the desired result. I KNOW what a
    patriot is. I KNOW what America stands for. I READ the Constitution for kicks. Mr. Bush’s
    father gave me a copy of the Constitution shortly before I fought in my first conflict. I still
    have it, next to my oath of enlistment. The quickest way to be called a traitor in this new world
    order is to repeat the words written by the founders of this country. How sadly ironic.
    I still love and respect you all. However, I know that my views are not your views. I will not
    start a conversation trying to prove that I am right and you are wrong. I am more than happy to
    discuss anything in a nonjudgemental manner, but this, it has been made evident, is likely not
    going to happen. I am a Priest of my religion, a Shaman, and a Warrior. It is EVERYTHING that I
    am, because I have weeded out of the garden of my mind all forms of self delusion, which is the
    original sin. IF you do not wish to know me as a priest, a warrior, or a shaman, then you are
    very limited as to what parts of me are left for you to know.
    But, if my family decides that they do not want to know the why’s and how’s and what’s of who I
    am, then they should be very careful about what they say in their ignorance of the man who is in
    this body.
    I did not come up for Christmas because I knew that my views are not yours. It is no fun for me
    to be around people who disagree with me, unless there can be diologue. If it is your wish to
    ignore my views, so be it. But accord me the same benefit by not sending me your views without
    expecting me to respond with mine.
    My views are worth defending. If they were not, I would discard them for views that WERE worth
    defending. I am not saying that my views are right, I acknowledge I could be mistaken. But I
    KNOW why I hold the views that I hold, and so someone merely thinking I am wrong will not get me
    to change them. Through open dialogue, all parties can win in any discussion or conflict. Just
    like in Chess, there are no losers. One will be proved to have the better Tao, or game, or
    argument; the other will have the opportunity to learn a more efficient and correct manner in
    which to act.
    I hope this clears up any questions that may have arisen.

    Time to iterate

    It has been a while since I have done any serious writing.   Last time was really as I was redefining myself as a civilian from the time I r...