Monthly Archives: July 2010

because here is the problem

When we say things that lots of other people say, and in the same ways that we hear it from others we are doing a couple of different things.

When we say things like, Pa and Ma Ingalls really bring a lot to the table (they truly do) or S’quatch is making six figures now (doubt it) we aren’t saying anything very specific.

When we express ourselves in these strictly generalized concepts we are sleeptalking. We might be awake, but our minds are elsewhere, leaving our mouths to chug along without us. These bereft little husks of words with all the flavor sucked out all kind of say the same thing, I am standing here, but I’m not really into this.

We get there honestly. It’s OK. Things get used up and we replace them or remember them fondly and move on. It isn’t anybody’s fault. The table as metaphor is probably as old as tables or metaphors. It is the gathering place, the spot where battles are planned, our anchor in times of celebration and grieving. Believe me, I understand the table. However, the table is not the only place of production or value in our lives. What about the fields? What about the ramparts?

The true greater concern is with these other words- a lot. A lot only specifies a sizeable quantity. There is no value attached. I can think of many things I would not wish brought to my table, especially if it were a lot. Acrimony, steaming piles of dung*, Syphillis, and termites come to mind.

I made six figures today. They were: 3 killer whales, 2 Monster Trucks, and Spider Man. I quit drawing in the 5th grade so I am mortified by my lack of artistic progression but without question, I made six figures.

We could argue that come on Juancho,we all know what those things mean. It’s just like shorthand, or slang. You need to back off the pain meds and get some sunshine (both of which I have already done), but it doesn’t change the fact that we understand each other less every day if we don’t say what me mean.

Come on. Spit it out.


*Cold piles of dung too for that matter

Language Rant

Do I like it when people ask themselves a question then provide the answer like this? No I do not.

Do I think it makes the questioner seem arrogant and smug? Yes I do.

Does it suggest the questioner is so smart tha they know what questions people want answered? Yes it does.

Does it prohibit actual dialogue? Yes it does.

I hear this going on everywhere and I am certain that it is further evidence of the dumbing down of America and our reluctance to communicate effectively.

Do I think that you care? Probably not.



It was just a few years ago the Dogboy was watching the tour in a lazy-boy with a piss bottle and an erector set sticking out of his leg. This year it was me stove up with the the tour to live for, and now? Nada. I don’t even have the erector set to play with.

It’s over. When all was said and done it was two good friends having it out for bragging rights until next year. Two good friends surrounded by millions of dollars and euros, almost two hundred other guys with their own ideas about winning and losing, but it was always about these two riders, sworn frenemies.

Wrecking Ball- Big Worm
Juancho- the jersey in front of him- all of you bastards.

Who’s your best frenemy? Who keeps you strong?

Your BFF (Bloodthirsty Frenemy Foreva!)


Sunshine Skyway

The old bridge, which collapsed in a collision with a barge in 1980 was much closer to the water and it had lots of reassuring steel caging around the center of the bridge. The bridge now is about 200 feet over the water at its highest point and it has the same side rail that you find at your local interstate on-ramp. Why? for 244 million you think you could get a little protection. I guess they didn’t want to obstruct the amazing view, if you are stupid enough to take your eyes off the road and look. Still, a pretty incredible structure don’t you think? Far more impressive than a pyramid.


Raise Every Voice

Hey locals, I could really use some help. I need to find 2-4 gospel singers of any denomination, who would be interested in collaborating in a live performance for a Master’s of Fine Arts graduate student. The commitment is minimal, a couple of rehearsals and a show. I suppose they don’t even have to be gospel singers, just singers willing to wear a robe. If you know anyone please pass them my email or get in touch with me.

Thank you for supporting the arts.


Going to the Well

I realized over the weekend that the leaking well at the site of the Deep Horizon Oil Rig has been seeping into my subconcious. Baby Jessica, Wife Swap, Third way politics, it is all about the well. How will we ever get out of the well?

6 more weeks of sling and brace. The pain is not so acute, but it feels like somebody put it together wrong and packed it in broken glass. I keep meeting people who are dealing with much greater trauma than I am though, so for your future reference, a busted shoulder is not a big sympathy-getter. It’s just inconvenient.

Time to hit the road. I have a cat-sitter so don’t get any ideas.


The Dangerfield Effect

What are some of the most underappreciated icons in America? What things, people, or institutions most transcend our divisions and define us collectively as Americans? Forget the obvious relics like the Constitution, what are the most overlooked artifacts of our nation? What do we take for granted?

I’m working on something and I really need to know what you think here.


A third way

Ever heard of the term “Positive Regard?” It is the notion that those who disagree with you are nonetheless operating from a place of positive intent. In other words, they mean well, but the just don’t agree with you. They might think you are a commie socialist, or a free market racist, but it isn’t personal. They are afraid, and they feel they must defend what they know in order to protect what they have.

Indulging your adversaries the notion of positive regard allows you to hear arguments that are difficult and emotional with compassion and appreciation for the legitimate fears that we all harbor in our chests. The unemployed tradesman says, “Send all the illegals back where they came from!” The hybrid driving mom says, “Stop drilling now!” These are hardened positions that don’t reflect compromise, and they both represent people who mean well, and are scared for the future.

How do you teach understanding? How do you teach people to view their most loathsome political adversaries with positive regard. Imagine you are the former governor of Alaska, just a small town girl from Wasilla. Imagine you are a WTO protestor and you have just thrown a brick through a Starbuck’s window. Imagine you are a farmer, and the only crop you can grow is industrial corn. We all find ways to justify the life we live, and there is usually a grain (or a kernel) of truth in our justifications.

So where do we look to learn positive regard? What do we do to move away from stagnant oppositional defiance? Who are our national heroes of compromise and understanding? I’m not talking about sacrificing principles. I’m talking about strapping on the other person’s shoes and viewing the world from the path they walk.

There are a few teachers out there, my favorite being the goofy, annoying Morgan Spurlock -professional pollyanna.

We could all use 30 days in someone else’s shoes. Whose shoes would you wear? Who would you like to see in yours?


Why we have to do it

There is a barbecue place about 100 miles down the road that I like to visit. I convince friends to drive the old back highway route instead of the Interstate just so we can jump in the Suwanee River spring across the street then enjoy a pulled pork sandwich with slaw and a big iced tea- (mix it like you like it style.)

The place is always clean. They have hot, mild, and sweet sauce. The women who work the counter are always friendly. It’s a small business in a great location. I go there because it adds texture to my life.

This place represents a unique Florida that makes us natives feel better about the whoring out of the rest of the state. I stopped there a couple of weeks ago and they were closed. I was afraid they had closed for good and I experienced a shock of heartbreak. It turns out they were on vacation or something because I passed by last week, and everything was just right. I got the ribs and ate them in the car so I could fling the bones out the window.

Part of the decor, if not the charm, are the homemade signs questioning the birthplace of Barack Obama, the qualifications of Congress, and prominent ads for concealed weapons permits. To his credit, the owner is quite politically active and believes one individual can make a difference in his government.

I happen to agree with him on that.

So. Let’s re-check some facts.

Good barbecue
He owns the place
Has the right to his opinions

What I wonder is, if we were to discuss our differences of perspective. Would I lose my pulled pork sandwich? Would he lose his $8.00 and the goodwill I have brought him over the years? Who wins there? Nobody. That is double losers.

Can you guarantee that every person you rely on shares your values? Are you willing to exile yourself to a community of your peers and your peers only? Will you decline the services of a Hindu cop or a lesbian cardiologist?

In times of crisis will you only help the ones like you? Will you let Sportswoman for Palin bleed out? Will you let your neighbor’s kids go hungry because of the Darwin sticker on the car?

Don’t laugh. Don’t say it could never happen here.


We give up to have

I am not done with this topic yet so for better or worse we forge ahead.

I am the first to criticize a compromise. Right here on this blog I mock hybrids in all their forms. What is a hybrid, but a compromise? Sugar-free chocolate cake, shandals, rap/rock, and bicycles built for road or trail are a few examples of the fizzled balloons of compromise. Underwhelming by design. A desire to honor two ideals guarantees disloyalty to both. I believe the saying used in negotiations everywhere is: you know it’s a compromise when nobody leaves happy.

Sounds like just what none of us want.

So are you confident enough in your ideologies and theologies to gamble on a win or lose proposition? To be awkwardly specific, some of us have painted ourselves into a corner of non-compromise. You know it too. Adhered to a set of beliefs supported by your dogma, your neighbors, your preferred televised programming, the billboards on your way to work, you think you have come to these beliefs empirically, but have you? Is it a coincidence that so many of your friends and neighbors feel the same way too?

Welcome to your marketing demographic, we have been expecting you.

That is not to say that we are not who we are, or that we have been duped by conglomerate corporate governments. Those are comprised of people too, occasionally organized, never omniscient. we have to examine ourselves to find an interest in compromise.

I know there are things we all want. I also know that when you take a crowd away from a bully you find them more reasonable. There is just so much at stake and so much pressure to not give in, we bumble around with our lynch mobs looking to pick off strays.

Are you willing to compromise?

Can gay people get married if kids can pray in school?

What are you willing to give up to have?