October 5, 2016
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October in a Splint

I love Autumn. It’s my favorite season of the year, and October is right in the middle of it.  Granted, here in California we really have to look closely to see any signs of leaves turning, cooler weather, grayer skies, or any kind of precipitation.  We just have to deal with it and enjoy pictures and videos from the east.  This year, however, I am experiencing autumn differently. My right hand is in a splint.

The reason for this began on a warm day in August.  It was a Friday about 8:30 in the morning.  We had contracted a man to come and clean our windows and carpets, an annual and sometimes bi-annual task.  Nothing unusual, almost routine.  Ahead of time we clear the spaces around the windows for easy access, and clear the carpets of furniture, tables, chairs, etc, to make the steam cleaning easy.  The key word here is “easy.”  Routine.  But this year there was a slight wrinkle in our routine.  Unforeseen and life-changing.

We have two cats, a male named Rusty and a female named Riley.  They are normally docile and flexible to some extent, but Riley can get cranky at times, like when her front claws need to be trimmed.  She can get upset during the brief process and has to be held tightly by the scruff with the paw to be trimmed accessible.  This is the normal extent of her crankiness.   In the past few years, when the cleaning is to be done, both cats are put in the bathroom with their toys, food, water, and litterbox.  When the cleaning is finished and things are starting to get dry enough, the cats are let out and everyone is happy again.   But this day was different.

The bathroom was prepared for the cats.  The only other task was to insert the cats themselves into the upstairs bathroom.  Rusty is always curious so, seeing him downstairs, I took a package of cat treats and shook some out on the carpet.  He came right over and started munching, so I picked him up and took him upstairs to the bathroom, opened the door, set him inside, closed the door and left to find Riley.  Back downstairs  I found the treats, shook the package to get her attention, and shook some out on the carpet.  Nothing.  No sign of Riley so I started looking around and under things and finally found her behind the couch.  I’ve done this before, just move the couch out from the wall and the cat comes out.  Easy.  But instead, she bolted out in a flash and ran upstairs.  All of the doors are closed.  She is cornered, so I gently pick her up and walk over to the bathroom, and, as I release my hold slightly to insert her, she gains her footing by scraping her claws into my skin and takes off.  I am now bleeding in various places on my hands and arms.

I’m now realizing that this is not going to be so easy.  Downstairs I again start looking around and under things.  It’s now after nine o’clock and I’m getting a tad frustrated.  Finally I find her behind the fridge.  Extraction is not going to be easy.  So I shake the (seemingly giant) fridge from side to side.  Nothing.  I push and pull it back and forth.  Nothing.  So my only option is to do this more strenuously, and in the process, the water line behind the fridge breaks.  Water is spraying at an alarming rate.  The cat is out but I have bigger problems.  By the time I get the water turned off the floor is covered with water.  I find towels, dishrags, anything that will absorb water.

So then back to the cat.  She is not downstairs.  I find her upstairs in the utility room behind the washer and dryer.  Same problem as with fridge, but stronger water line and machines not so heavy.  The cleaning man comes in and closes the door.  Being helpful, he shakes, and I grab the cat who, also being upset, rakes me with her claws while biting my right hand.  I toss and she jumps to the counter where the cleaning man tosses me a small carpet so I can wrap her and put her into the bathroom.  It’s now 9:30.  The whole process took an hour.  The two incidents with Riley took about 4 or 5 seconds each.  I am now bleeding from both hands, but mostly from my right hand.  Aftermath:

Later that day I go to my GP doctor and get a tetanus shot and antibiotics.  See him again on Sunday and right hands is swollen and looks bad.  He sends me to an infection specialist who after seeing me twice, sends me to a surgeon, who takes one look at my hand and says: “Surgery.  Tomorrow.”  That was September 2.  I have been in therapy ever since, trying to get control of my right hand so I can play piano again.  I have basically been “shut down” as far as the piano is concerned.  The take-a-way:

Get a dog.  Cat viruses are the worst.  Never corner an animal.  Wear gloves when near anything with claws.  Hindsight is invaluable after the fact.  And, remember that your life can change in an instant.  Be prepared!

September 5, 2016
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September Social Identity

What is and isn’t cool has been a factor in all societies since there were people on this earth. We all, either consciously or unconsciously, tend to imitate that or those which we admire.  Sometimes this is a harmless spread of a trend, and sometimes a dangerous escalation of the radical or even a societal virus.  Most of the time these trends catch on quickly and spread like an out of control fire.  The extent is indeterminable.  The effect can be comedic, stylish, bizarre, innocuous or ultimately harmful. Both the cause and the effect are unpredictable. While styles, fashions,  catch phrases, body movements and language itself may not have much lasting effect on society in general, there are other things that may be harmful, if not in the short term, then possibly in the long term.

The glorification of subcultures is prevalent in our global society at this time, and has been evident for hundreds of years.  Outlaws, bandits, highwaymen, gangsters and gangs have been terrorizing societies since recorded history.  They have caused death and misery to large numbers of people, and yet, until printed communication, have been fairly localized.  Their evil ways were in the realm of the fairy tale.  But, as soon as it was possible to spread the printed word, the fantasy started to spread to larger masses of people.  The nascent newspaper found a way to use sensationalism to sell a larger volume by increasing the intensity of each story.  Books, pamphlets, plays, and music found the same formula as a way to increase profit.

Robin Hood, King Arthur and Aladdin spawned Jesse James and Billy the Kid who morphed into the turn of the century gangster and the more modern criminal and serial killer.  This chronology has now permeated our society and affected our attitudes, morals and ethics. The role models for our children have changed to the celebrities of several subcultures.  This has caused an erosion of our whole value system, belief in a supreme being, and even our own constitution and government.  All of this has caused many in our society to live in a fantasy world consisting of a myriad of drugs, attitudes that shift with the wind and political leanings into cults and socialism.  In other words a surrender of the individuals right to think independently.  All of our media are infected.  Movies, television, books, the internet, and all of our communications promote the dark side of life as being exciting, living on the edge, being cool.

The above causes everyone, but particularly our young, impressionable and callow offspring, to fear reality because of an unrealistic view of life.  And being unbalanced makes it easy to be seduced by lies, misinformation and various political aberrations.  Seeing the truth is much more difficult when unbalanced.  So how do we restore balance?

As difficult as it is, we always have choices.  Our young need to understand this.  When we are inundated with misinformation and fantasy, we can still choose reality. We have the right to say no to addictive substances and unhealthy situation.  It is still possible to be an individual and to think and to question the popular trends and authority itself.  It is still possible to “Make your own kind of music,” and to  chase the clouds away and “Let the sunshine” in to our lives. So together let us start turning over old rotted logs and rocks and let light chase away the infections in our society.  Let us glorify our real culture.  Let us deal more with facts than just emotions in our decisions. Let us begin to think again…!

August 1, 2016
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August Adversaries

“When idealism meets common sense and they clash.” (just think about this for a moment)

Respect for law and order has been necessary from prehistoric times through the present. Humans have always needed safety and security and order from chaos and anarchy.  No society has lasted without law and order.

The exact opposite of this situation are the mentally deficient humans who crave chaos and anarchy.  Originally they were banished from the tribe to exist on their own.  We have sensationalized the outlaw in our own society in all of our media: newspapers, books, pamphlets, movies, videos and songs, etc.  This has only encouraged the outlaw to prey upon the innocent.  It has also encouraged those in our justice system such as judges, attorneys and elected officials to be lenient instead of firm which exacerbates the problem. When this is the case, the jobs of law enforcement on the ground: police, FBI, military and various security organizations are made extremely difficult, if not impossible at times.  Our security and safety are assured and supported from the top down.  Citizens support but have no real authority.  Government at all levels support by assignment and funding. Our safety and security need to be the highest priority.

The outlaw, whether thug, gangbanger, common criminal, white collar or terrorist is a bully. And all bullies have the same misguided mentality.  I found out personally in elementary school that there is only one way to deal with a bully.  Force.  You must stand up straight and not back down.  If you are pushed or knocked down, you must get right back up and confront in exactly the same way you deal with an out-of-control dog:  a folded newspaper or a firm smack on the nose.  And you must firmly back this up with whatever degree of force is necessary.  The best illustration is the character of Ralphie in the movie “A Christmas Story.”  He and his little brother are badgered throughout the movie until he finally snaps and confronts the bully with force.  He is never bothered again.  This same scenario happens in schools, colleges, and workplaces at the state and national level and also between nations.  When the leaders at any of these levels are strong, there is very little problem.  When they are weak, things at any level start to fall apart.

The infiltration of the “politically correct” movement into our society and government has made us weak at every level.  Everyone is afraid to confront and back it up out of fear. And this is the legacy of  PC:  fear of lawsuits, fear of the media, fear of grassroots movements and gangs and thugs, demotion and job loss.  And this is backed-up by fear of, and in, the departments of justice for the same reasons.   Censorship goes hand in hand with fear. Fear of saying the wrong thing or even being accused of saying the wrong thing. Censorship strangles free speech, and fear strangles freedom.

The preceding are the basic tenets of socialism along with liberalizing (dumbing down) education and muzzling gun owners.  All of these tenets very gradually pave the way for the benevolent dictator to enter and fix (control) everything.  Keep in mind that no society has survived the evils of socialism and its inevitable result – communism.  No independent thinking, inventing, art, music or advances in technology have survived this evil anywhere in the history of the earth.

We are creeping dangerously close.  WAKE UP!  We are sliding, edging, being nudged into full socialism.  It is time to stand up and confront the aforementioned basic tenets of socialism and say Stop!  Enough!  We already have laws and a constitution and a bill of rights.  We don’t need a bully or any form of outlaw to show us a better way.  We need to say Halt! Or we will use whatever force is necessary to stop you and your movement.  We the people are singing the same song of freedom as our forebears who fought in our own Revolutionary War.  Yankee Doodle. Don’t tread on me. And now, “God Bless America.”  For ourselves and our children, God bless the United States of America!

July 2, 2016
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July Patriotics

We crave control, but live through a lifetime of changes.  We seek organization and order amidst chaos and disorganization.  Our societies create laws and rules so that our haphazard lifestyles blend instead of conflict.  We have clocks and watches and computers and iPads and smart phones and even traffic lights to create order from disorder.  We have work schedules, sleep schedules, time on and time off, appointments and scheduled meetings… all so that our lives fit together in some sort of harmony.

Disruption causes our problems:  bumps in the road of life, people who disregard our rules and laws and time itself.  These waves cause us to scurry around to restore order both in our lives and in our society.  Restoring order is one of the reasons that we need doctors and psychiatrists to deal with all of the stress that we constantly face.  Sometimes we are successful in lessening this stress or even eliminating it.  Sometimes not, and even though we should always  expect the unexpected, we are rarely prepared.  Our lives are just too entwined and complicated.  There are just too many conflicting vectors from too many sources.  We can only juggle so many things at a time.

Interacting with many different personalities in many different situations is also stressful.  People think differently about how we live our lives and conduct our business and raise our children.  This can be difficult to deal with, but these constant interactions are necessary to continue the smooth day to day flow of our daily lives in our society.  People who drop out:  the homeless, the mentally compromised, the political extremists, can cause major bumps in the road.  To counteract this, the orderly and organized must figure out how to deal with these problems and their inevitable effects.  Bumper cars and pool balls don’t always go where we would like for them to go.

July 4th is our celebration of Independence Day.  The opposite of independence is “dependence.”   These are two basic ways of organizing people on a mass scale.  Both of them imply different degrees of freedom.  While everyone has preferences, freedom and independence are  difficult to obtain and even more difficult to retain.  Differences in these philosophies tend to erode freedoms at such a slow rate as to be almost unrecognizable.  This is the danger in a large society with many different opinions and free speech.  Erosion left unchecked can get to the point where there is no turning back.  All is lost.  Before this happens the vast , largely dormant, populace must be awakened to the danger and encouraged to actively participate in their own salvation.

Everyone needs to know the price they pay for letting freedom and independence slip away.  Free lifestyle, free thinking, free mobility, etc,  would all be compromised.  The loss of any or all of these would reduce the individual to becoming  a mere pawn in the hands of whatever form the state would take.  Self-worth is squashed and nothing of value can be accomplished by the individual.  Everything is to be done for the state.

So, this is Independence Day.  Today and every day.  July 4th is just a reminder of our responsibilities.  With this in mind:  Wake up! Smell the roses!  Listen to the music!  Tune in to your inner thoughts!  Be a patriot!  Celebrate our freedoms and advertise the fact!  Protect our right to display our flags, and sing the “Star Spangled Banner” and our freedom to do this!  And…God Bless America!

June 1, 2016
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June Generations

Why couldn’t I have known you now when I am an inquisitive adult?  There are so many questions I now would like to ask you all: mother, father, uncles, aunts, grandmothers, grandfathers, etc.  Our family history with your own parents, relatives and friends.  What discussions we could have.  What insights as to why I am as I am.  Why the peculiar beliefs, superstitions and odd behaviors.

Our lifetimes seem so brief.  Neither my childhood nor my adulthood coincide with your own adulthood, and old age erases any possibility of relating as adults.  By the time the idea of relating becomes desirable, you are all gone in one way or another. And I never got the chance to ask “What were you thinking when…………”  We fail physically and also mentally and we also disappear into our own problems.  We disconnect and pull away or just think that the past is not important anymore…. just because it is fading, irrelevant or painful or embarrassing or too loaded with secrets that took so long to bury deeply that it will take too much effort to retrieve them. And furthermore, who would possibly  care anymore?  Is it history when you have actually lived through it?

So much is lost by not communicating with each other: continuity of the family timeline, familiarity of the family itself beyond just our grandparents, and rarely,  our great grandparents.  Even though we are in touch with a great part of the world, we seem to have lost touch with our own personal roots, our relations and our relationships.  Family reunions were once possible and even desirable in the not-so-distant past when families were closer both physically and geographically.  Conversations and games and meals and memories all brought us together.  Meeting for the first time the new members of the extended family by births or marriages wove a tapestry of the common bloodline, expanded by actually seeing and talking to cousins and aunts and uncles that were fading through a lack of familiarity.

All of this seems like  a fictional account of a fictional world.  Something we occasionally experience in a book or a movie. The close-knit family gave us continuity and security, meaning, and a reason for being, through exchange of ideas, the inevitable controversy, and a way to resolve conflicts in a controlled environment.  As desirable as this may seem, it was not perfect.  Nothing in this world seems to be perfect. But when we isolate ourselves from our family unity for an electronic network exclusively, we essentially become self-sufficient little islands, atolls in a sea of humanity drifting close by others, but rarely touching.  And we appear to be drifting farther and farther apart with no reason to unify.  With no evident solution.

Could music fix this?  I don’t think so.  Music is only a symptom of the problem. Music is drifting apart in the same way.  Everyone is doing their own version of what music “is” and in infinite variation.  The only continuity seems to be the addition of video and a story to the music itself.  This provides us with a temporary and illusive sense of “belonging ” in the virtual reality world.  The music and video  control our emotions, our intellect, and even the direction of our thoughts.  This becomes a release from the reality of our lives, and then the security of observing brings us into a new family, a virtual family, and it, like a new drug, can become addictive.  Our beliefs are suspended, we are almost totally vulnerable and ready to accept almost anything.

This concept when it is isolated should be frightening!  Combine this with drugs that already relate readily to certain kinds of music, and then extrapolate and carry this concept to its extreme in our own future, and realize that this situation can become a vastly debilitating cocktail in the near future in our society and culture.  We do not have to think too deeply to envision the very questionable possibilities which present themselves.  A very dangerous situation for our society and our culture.

So, if we are to retain any semblance of our humanity, we need to watch carefully what we view, and listen carefully to what we hear.  The future our own families and the families of our friends may fade, falter, and even founder in the footsteps of our forebears.  So, remember:  Forewarned is forearmed…!

May 2, 2016
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May Matrices

May reminds me of my growing up in the forties and fifties in Ohio.  My grandmother’s acre lot was in full bloom with many species of flowers, trees of all sorts and various animals. In a word, “teeming” with life.  My home was next door in a half-acre lot.  On this lot was a basketball hoop (regulation height), horsehoe pits, wickets set up for croquet, net for badminton, bale of hay for archery (with a target to distract us from aiming at small furry animals,) and a rudimentary baseball diamond.  Sports also in full bloom.

During my childhood, life was mostly outside.  My three siblings and I played outside all day, coming inside only for lunch and the occasional bathroom “pit stop.”  By the end of the summer each year, I was well-tanned and almost brown with bleached hair from the chlorine in the public swimming pools.  There were fences between all of the yards in our neighborhood, but there also were gates or just openings in the fences for kids to walk through.  In the spring and summer, kids of all ages wandered from yard to yard looking for things to do.  Our array of possibilities in sports allowed any number of participants from one to whatever, so there were times of great activity, and downtimes when we had to occupy ourselves with alternative entertainments.  The hose was very popular at times.  Drinking, sprinkling vegetation (and sisters), chasing small furry animals, etc.  (this was not a good time to be a small furry animal)…

With no electronics, how did we ever survive?  Our imaginations, our competitive natures, and our love of the outdoors helped a lot.  We were social and gregarious to a point, but there were inevitable disagreements which led to pushing or shoving, but we always seemed to work things out.  Without adults intervening.  How did we do this?  How did things get worked out among kids running around loose all summer, left to themselves.  Did we turn into our version of “Animal Farm?” No… we used common sense for the most part.  Elementary reason.  And a lot of this developed as an adverse response to how we observed adults interacting badly and frequently.  In self-defense we developed ways to interact which were better than what we were surviving under adult supervision, by using “common sense.”

We didn’t need laws from some mysterious entity to tell us to work something out.  We needed something immediately. A resolution that worked for all who were involved.  And, of course, there were bullies!  This happened when someone, usually older, tried to take over and dictate to the rest of the smaller kids using force if necessary.  (sound familiar?)   In these cases, we needed someone even older who understood peacemaking and balance of power, etc.  (sound familiar?)  Still we worked things out without adult intervention. Usually…

Our varied sports also taught us rules and discipline.  Relationships taught us a give and take attitude.  A neighborhood with many varied ethnicities taught us respect for each other, and all of this was both personal and healthy.  All of this transferred to music.

I started as a beginning trombonist playing with small ensembles, then small bands, then marching bands and orchestras, and I found that my previous experience in playground relationships and sports discipline was invaluable.  Working together (group), controlled aggression (dynamics), standing up to bullies (trumpets & drums), following the director (rules), playing an instrument while marching in time to the music and making left or right turns (as a group), or countermarching (working as a unit), all came together and made sense.  So what does all of this illustrate?  E Pluribus Unum.  One (unit) from many (players).  We learned and we loved it.  And there were no laws that told us we had to do this “or else!”  This, my friends is democracy and freedom – in action! At the outset.  Discipline.

Contrast this with the way our present society is headed.  Our own personal circumstances.  Think about this.  Are we on the road to a “better place?”  Or “idiocracy?”  Are we approaching a real breakthrough in societal interaction?  Or a break-up?  Think about this…!

And when you have time to think about it in those rare quiet moments, go to the internet. Type in billsvarda.com, and choose some tracks to listen to while you meditate.  Which illustrates (even though it is a commercial), that we can use music to improve our minds and our society.  Love the vibrations!  Love the rhythm!  And, above all, love “common sense!”

April 1, 2016
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April – Sentience & Rationale

It’s Spring!

Rebirth – animals, plants, things under the earth becoming conscious and experiencing consciousness for the first time. All that becomes living will have different lifespans, different timelines with which to do things within this conscious period. After which each, also at different times, will fade and die.  This is life.  The only one we know.

Spring –  the first of our seasons.  Growth, any growth, needs food and water in order to exist.  Continued growth needs continued sustenance. Some of earth’s life-forms are mobile and some are immobile – stuck to one place on the earth for their entire lifespan. Mobility, obviously, has nothing to do with consciousness.  But while conscious we make the best of whatever situation in which we find ourselves.  Our entropy seeks the light, upward mobility, anything to extend life and consciousness.  All life seeks its own survival whether mobile or immobile.

We as humans not only have consciousness, but sentience.  We also have mobility, the ability to reason and, of course, opposing thumbs.  We have a huge advantage over all other life.  Given these assets, we should exist in a veritable paradise, except for an additional factor in our consciousness – free will.

With consciousness, mobility, sentience (the ability to feel or perceive), rationality (the ability to think or reason), opposing thumbs and free will, we now have the ability to make choices, and the most basic choices involve good and evil.  When our reasoning first develops, we have the dawning ability to realize the difference between right and wrong.  Parents or mentors help to guide us in this.  Included is an innate ability to recognize that hurting someone or damaging something is wrong; that taking the possessions of others is wrong.  But we now begin to realize that we are able to make choices.  We can continue to do something even though there are consequences, or we can stop and change direction.  This development takes a different amount of time for each person.  Some of us “get it” very quickly and some struggle with this concept for their entire lifespan.  Each of us is given this gift of consciousness; few of us really appreciate it.  We have the unique ability to affect our environment and our fellow travelers in a constructive way.  Choice governs our lives and and with this choice, we experience a craving for the light or for the dark.

Our arts sometimes mirror this process and sometimes influence it.  Music consists of frequencies (vibrations that connect to feelings and emotions – sentience), and rhythm (regularity or organization which connect to reasoning – rationality).  It has played a part in the development of every society and civilization that has existed on the earth.  The creators of music throughout all ages have made a choice for light or darkness.  The listener also has had to make a choices for light or darkness, the lofty or the mundane.  Do we listen as food for our thoughts, organization of our emotions, or relaxation for our consciousness (more complicated patterns)?  Or do we listen to the more simplistic, primal rhythms and vibrations for our baser emotions?  We make these choices daily.  Music isn’t exactly brain food.  But it can be used as brain healing, a diversion from a complicated and stressful lifestyle, or to create an atmosphere either to support or deny reality.

Our listening should be discriminating.  It should also keep in mind our delicate consciousness, sentience, mobility, our ability to think and reason, and most of all – our expiration date!  Music is our ultimate connection to the universe.  The universe, whether macroscopically or microscopically is connected with waves and vibrations and pulses.  When present they are the essence of light.  When missing they are darkness.  While we may never harness the music of the spheres, we may eventually learn to appreciate its beauty.  All religions look forward to the light.  Music is our connection to life after we fade from this existence.  Let us listen intently each day of our lives. Let us appreciate this great gift that we have been given.  Let us choose the light –  in our lives and in our music!

March 2, 2016
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March of the Malleable Mind

During this month of March, within nine months of our next presidential election, we are experiencing fierce debates, rebuttals by candidates and the media (print, TV and online), with everything being geared to sway the minds of people to a certain way of thinking.  After being inundated with large amounts of this information, we the people then form our own opinions and then make comments in order to insert our own opinions into other minds. And so on, and so on…  The volume of additional information on a daily basis is also enormous and inescapable.  We are inundated with ads and sales offers, politics, deals, coupons, new products, food, drink, vacations opportunities, etc, etc.  We experience constant input constantly.  This same process happens daily and monthly from year to year, our minds expanding and contracting with the endless information that we absorb, process, and then either retain or trash. No area or subject is immune from this process.  All categories are presented and picked apart as our minds are touched by whatever means that we experience. Our malleable minds are constantly expanding and contracting.

In this process opinions are formed and reformed, then passed on verbally or electronically to other minds doing the same thing:  processing, absorbing, then reprocessing and passing on to or through someone else. Passing on is the end result of the expanding (filling) and contracting (releasing) of information in our malleable minds. Releasing (or emptying) is vital, though imperfect, as a means of keeping our sanity intact.  Because of this malleable mind, sanity itself becomes a relative term, not an absolute.  It is now a matter of degree, a shading of our mind’s inner compass or gyroscope.

We now exist with opinions based on other opinions and facts based on interpretations.  This tends to blur our inner selves (egos) to the point of floating back and forth on a sea of inner conversations:  our now malleable and unsettled mind.  Is sanity now, in any traditional sense, even possible?  Or are we all just floating on an informational ocean with no stability or port or dock, and constantly out of sight of land?   We all tend to look stable even though we are mentally riding the waves, bobbing up and down like corks in different ways, at different times and rates and degrees.  Is any sort of mental stability possible or even desirable since we don’t recognize the disconnect in ourselves or in anyone else? Is there anything that is grounded, that pervades our society, gives direction, provides hope, puts us in touch with our deepest thoughts and emotions to at least cause some degree of unity in our thoughts and feelings?

The only possibility I can see for such a solution is music.

Music transcends time and space.  It is our only source of pure organization, our one direct line to inner thought, emotion and peace.  Music can be our compass and our route to the grounding that is necessary for sanity.  Its electrical frequencies, real and imagined are our only source of release from the constant pounding of inescapable textual information.  In its pure form, music transcends language and opinions.  All musical instruments and voices become vibrations or frequencies that are directly in touch with our emotions and feelings containing cosmic organization that gives us clarity of thought and our only possibility of a mental peace.

Music is the antidote to disorganization.  Music is the healing balm for our deepest wounds.  Music is our only hope for sanity against a barrage of unwanted and unneeded informational data.   Music is the solution.  But… we must actually stop… and listen…really listen…!

February 4, 2016
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February Focus

I was born in a steel town in Ohio.  My grandparents and most of the townspeople in our area were immigrants from all over Europe, and many other places.  They all came for one reason – work.  Make money, get married, raise a family, drink beer on the weekends.  The latter wasn’t one of the best qualities of most of the men I knew, especially when they overdid it, but everyone most of the time got along.  I lived within walking distance of the steel mill, and so grew up with its constant sounds: trains – to & from the mill, the blast furnace, sirens, screechings & scrapings & bangings  – all very loud.  Within this area everyone lived side by side; caucasian, black, asian, european, slavic, etc.  You get the idea, a melting pot.  The town was a mix of everyone as were the schools & churches and everything else you can imagine.  I didn’t understand racism then and I don’t understand it now.

Racism is unnecessary.  It is the sign of a sick and out of control mind whether it is direct or in reverse.  It doesn’t make sense with people living together with the same objectives.   The difficulty is that people who possess these sick minds look like the rest of us, but they seem to be wired differently.  They see other people in a different way, an irrational way.  They should at least have to wear some visible warning label giving normal people a chance to avoid them.  And these people come in all shapes and sizes, ethnicities, religions, genders, and temperaments.  Unfortunately their negativity is sometimes magnetic.  They attract others who may be borderline, but now receive a nudge into darkness.

Where does the initial negativity come from?  How does it transfer to ethnicity?  How do we deal with it or even erase it?  If we think of it as a disease or a virus it is easier to imagine its origin and uncontrolled spread.  Parents and grandparents, cultures with their traditions, even churches can, even unknowingly initiate racism and hate in a much softer version.  Anyone within who feels marginalized or downtrodden or has been ridiculed or is just unhappy with another person or group of people can start this negative ball rolling. And once it is rolling, it is very hard to stop.  Once these hurts and slights take root in small-minded people, a self-serving agenda is formulated which caters to more and more of the same negative personalities and finally we have a full-fledged epidemic of hate which can be manifested as racism or hatred of the rich or the educated or intelligent, or anything other than the self.

How do we stop this cycle of hate or neutralize it or redirect it?  No one has found the answer yet.  And many have tried over many millennia.  The problem:  race-baiters and people-haters have found ways to make a decent living doing what they do.  In a litigious society all you have to do is point a finger or start a rumor.  True or false doesn’t matter.  Once the ball has started rolling, everyone else is on the defensive.  The more disruption, the better.  And the haters do not want anything to heal because they lose the opportunity for large amounts of income, hopefully with no end.  All of this is made easier in a politically correct society with a socialistic direction which makes it easy for parasites to exist.  The parasite uses blackmail & intimidation as easily as lying and cheating to work the system with impunity.

What can we do to begin a reversal of anything and everything that is based on hate?  There are some proven and time-tested techniques that can reverse negativity and hate.  But they seem so simple, even so simplistic that we lose heart and faith too quickly for the effects to be seen.  Just seeing things through someone else’s eyes for a change can do wonders.  Just listening to someone else’s viewpoint sometimes can cause a change of heart, just because you took the time to listen.  Choosing music that is not based on hate, but something or anything that is positive can begin a change.  Something very small and seemingly insignificant can start the ball rolling that can cause change, maybe not immediately, but a small change in direction that, as it grows, eventually is earthshaking.

Think of the great moments in our lives that involve large amounts of people, but without racism or hatred.  Music:  a great song, show, recording, performance.  Sports:  the winning point, teamwork, exceptional athleticism, or sportsmanship.  Film:  a great story, being moved from laughter to tears and back.  Exceptionalism in science, business, politics, law or government.  All of these in their pure forms are above negativity and racism.  Until there is perversion.  But, realizing that nothing is perfect, we can never stop caring and being vigilant.  And carrying with us at all times the antidote:  love.

January 1, 2016
by admin
Comments Off on January Joie de Vivre

January Joie de Vivre

As usual, the first day and month of the new year bring on a new bout of philosophizing.  This is probably to avoid making firm New Year’s resolutions.  When I do this, I feel like I am sitting on top of a high precipice and gazing down first at the old year we have just left, and then looking ahead to the new year set to unfurl.  This is the time to learn from the mistakes of the past year and to try to eliminate them from the next twelve months.  In order to do this one’s concentration must be honed to a fine edge and be able to weed out all irrelevancy.  This provides a level playing field between the past year and the year to come.  Here are my thoughts:


I believe that most of us have been living in a world that worships make-believe and by doing so avoids reality.  This world tends to also avoid responsibility for its own actions.  Someone else is always to blame.  This world believes that we should be free to do whatever we please without consequences, and the inhabitants of this world don’t care who they hurt or who they cheat or who they best or who they beat.  In this world we are all insular beings built on ego first and conscience last.  I tend to feel the sting of the above, even if I am not totally  involved.  But, just reading a newspaper or watching any television news means that you are somewhat involved.  Just thinking of this should make anyone want to forget the past year and move on.  Hopefully to a much better place by not making the same mistakes over and over again. But we all deal with this day to day. It makes our lives difficult when they should be simple.  This world wants us as new inhabitants, and we make decisions daily to avoid it… “if” we remain thinking individuals with a conscience.  We can do this by re-booting or re-orienting our lives and thinking (deeply) on the first day and the first month of each new year.  We also need to establish or re-establish our “Credo,” our basic beliefs at this time.  Here are mine:


I believe that we are here on this earth to evolve, and that our sole purpose is to evolve.

I believe that we are here to make ourselves better, others better, and the world itself better.

I believe we are here to fix things, to cure and heal things, to discover things, and to discern the meanings of things.

I believe that furtherance is our task and “pushing the envelope” is our duty; growing is our need and drive; maturing is our destiny.

I believe that we have intelligence and logic and instinct; we have a choice between good and evil, and we have the means to know the difference.

I believe that our awareness (our soul, etc.), is meant to join with God when it is separated from our human body, and:

I believe that it is our job, even our mandate, to make all of this happen:

For:   We are the human race.  We come in all shapes, sizes, colors and temperaments, but we are all humans.  And we need to start acting like it.

Let’s all have a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!