Sunday, November 15, 2009

Re-telling of a story

Human history is not easily digested on a day-to-day basis; for some reason it seems to change as time marches on with different interpretations. This process just pushes history into the fictional arena. It is no longer about the facts of an event, but how the event was interpreted? Every event ever recorded has been done so with bias either ever so slight to wonderfully wicked. This is fact, not fiction. So how does history re-invent itself? How does it change?

New evidence uncovered can be one way that history can be changed, or improved. Personal narrative and cultural artifacts add to our understanding of what has happened. These personal stories help us make connections between our own lives and the lives of those that came before us; and we can find the differences and similarities.

I've been reviewing the Constitution and have grasped the idea that it is a "living" document. The framers of the Constitution, particularly Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, created a document that was somewhat vague, but brilliant. Through their words they left the future open. They may have seemed like tall-drinks-of-water with wigs, but they had the foresight and the complexity to realize that the country would go through tremendous social, economic, and political changes in it's future. Because of this forward-thinking philosophy we still have a document today that applies to today's issues. Some things are antiquated, such as the 2nd Amendment's right to bear arms, however, most of the document can still be used today.

It is important to realize our place in history; our impact on "us." Humans have been conscious of their impact for about eight-thousand years, this is when we started keeping track of what we did and why these events were important. we've gained steam over time and find ourselves at a point where personal narrative and artifacts are recorded and preserved on a moment by moment basis because of technology. I know this seems like an essay for an anthropology class, however, I'd like to begin a dialogue, or monologue, of how we can put in place the foundations for philosophical and intellectual stimulation for the future; that is, what do we, or should we have the foresight right now to set up for human kind in the future; just as Jefferson and Madison did 233 years ago? What should we make crystal clear? And what should we leave conspicuously vague?

It is clear with the population rising, global warming threatening, and the conflict between traditional societies and modern societies coming to a head, that this world will see more conflict first, before things settle. What is the ideal solution to these issues? I'm not sure, however, using the instant collaboration that modern technology affords us could be an asset to coordinating helping our fellow human.

Again I've asked many of questions and have only come up with some vague answers, if that. As I ponder this last sentence I know that the solution lies is action and not reaction; in building and not lounging.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The paralyzed horizon

The mind and body cannot function without one another; they compliment, fight, and love each other. They work as inseparable partners tracing a path to some unknown destination. But yet there is that disconnect; that rare moment when the partners fail each other; when the body is light and strong, yet the mind sobs uncontrollably; when the mind is clear and relaxed, yet the body aches for sweet rest. Have you ever experienced that time during sleep when your mind is awake, but your body is paralyzed? Its fleeting, the relationship doesn't allow itself to fail. I feel like that all the time. I'm disconnected, sometimes I think from everything. But the relationship tells me I'm not; I'm honed in, ready. Where does loneliness take place? Is it a physical or mental piece? or both; probably both. I've let music and poetry steal my emotions. I'm conquered by honesty and truth, I'm devastated by deceit and misplaced anger. Innocence makes me weep because I no longer experience it. Life makes me think that I've lost the ability to brake. Love makes me yearn for it. Society makes me ill beyond belief. People impress me with their innovation and insight. I'm lost, paralyzed by my own fear and laziness; both have existed through eternity, my burden, my handicap, my job to figure it out. Sometimes I'm happy I'm me, sometimes I pine to be someone else; someone who makes it look easy. The vibrations from the bow that glides along the strings resonates in this membrane, both Mozart and Jimmy Page take turns strumming against my skull. Non-sensical rambling, the diarrhea all over this page means nothing to me now, nothing, just a bunch of garbage being emptied out so sanity can have a peak at what its missed. Peace. Love ya. See you in my paralyzed place.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Questions with obvious answers

I fall asleep and dream that my wife and I fight over some insignificant issue. The fight turns ugly and I ask her if she wants us to be over, I expect her to say "No, we'll work on it." But my expectations are wrong. "Yes, I'll call the lawyer and have the papers ready tomorrow." The scene ends with us in a dark, lawyers office where nothing is happening but everybody feels the heavy tension that has engulfed the room. I remember this dream although I have not woken up.

What was that?

I wake up in my not so cozy seat to feel the train rocking back and forth, violently, like it does habitually. I have that same thought that I do whenever I wake up on the train--"This is it! The train is going to fly off the tracks. I hope it won't be too painful. Maybe I'll survive if I'm quick enough." My heart pounds against my chest as though it is knocking on my bedroom door like my mom used to do to wake me up to get ready for school.

Where am I?

I look in the mirror and notice a touch of grey and a thicker face. I look at a recent picture of me and the person smiling back has crow's feet wrapped arond his eyes. My knees need WD40 every morning. The sand in my hands seems to be trickling faster than usual and I can't find anymore to pick up.

Who am I?

My heart strains to make things perfect for my family. I don't want to fuck it up. I question every act, every decision, every step, but yet I know there are gaps that have eluded my conscious thought. I want to be the perfect worker, but god damn it, who the hell knows how to do that? Fuck it.

How do I do this?

I have ego; its unavoidable. The words that I words are as imperfect as I am>mssing an "i", wrong punctu'ation. That's ok. The words are for my own benefit anyways and will probably remain unread, just like the product manual for my broken toaster oven--random, I know, but fuck it.

Can you pass the box of tissues so I can dry my crocodile tears?

Now that I've drooled all over the keys and have slit my wrists so my melodrama has poured all over the soulless bits of manufactured plastic and metal I feel much better. I've let myself release this anxiety and I'm able to "see the forest" from where I'm standing; and its a beautiful forest. Its amazing what a little perspective can bring-sight. Fuck it, I need my glasses.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


From my last post. There was an article in the paper about a recent discovery of an ancestor of man; I want to say that it was 4.5 million years ago. So if we've been around for millions of years, but this advanced technology in communication and medicine has really only been around for less than 100 years we still really don't know the true impact on society, more specifically the human being as an evolutionary project.

We can see the impact of these advances in the environment around us: global warming, international trade, vacines, twitter. But what about internally? How is it changing our evolutionary road? Our hunter/gatherer mentality that has been conditioned into our being for millions of years?

Since there is less need for physical, or even mental to an extent, competition, maybe the next step is to be collaborative, instead of combative. The Start Trek scenario where everyone works for the greater good since there is no need for conflict and competition here on earth. This hypothesis suggests that there is an actual change occuring. This knowledge, however, may not be attainable for hundreds or thousands of years. So what can we learn, theorize, or philosophize about now, today? I guess just direct observations about how life is different and the same as it was pre-industrial.technological revolution--a simple venn diagram. More to come.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Survival no more

For millions of years mans basic purpose was to survive and procreate. All of our social, economical, and political structures were created around this purpose; survival. Today there are still some people living the survival paradigm, but there is also a good portion of the population who do not live in this paradigm anymore.

Some of us live in a society where basic needs are satisfied without much effort or suffering. This is due to medical and technological advances. We have entered a new phase of human history that is unprecedented and a little unreflective of the times. Since most of our social, economical, and political structures have been conditioned to revolve around the survival mentality, what happens now?

We are focused more around the want, rather than the need. So how does, or how will our common structures change? This is a pretty significant shift considering where most of our history has been focused. So whats the next step? What is a practical way of thinking about life that revolves around this new paradigm, rather than the old? Its almost like how do you react to the butterfly when we're used to dealing with the Caterpillar.

What is ever present in this new society? Technology and rapid communication. These things have sped up life, ideas, and have changed how we view different parts of the world. Is mythology dead because of this? Has fantasy flown? I will revisit this soon.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In Orbit

I don't remember the first time I heard the word, but I remember that tucked in a place between consciousness and unconsciousness it remained for a very long time. I had this thought that we, as human beings are like worlds that are dense and thick with matter and that have objects that orbit them. I feel as though we all have this paradigm of the things we know that are in the light and in our line of vision, things that are there, noticed, but unrealized, in our peripheral vision, and things that are unknown, i.e. on the dark side of the moon.

I feel as though this theory of metaphysics, for me, has made its way from the peripheral to the "in the line of vision." The Oxford dictionary states that Metaphysics is "the theoretical philosophy of being and knowing." I've heard and seen the word hundreds of times, but like a scared child afraid to go into a dark room I never ventured past the pronunciation.

I guess that starting point to this issue would be weather you view metaphysics as as random or planned phenomena. If it is planned the solution is simple; you are because of a plan and you know because of a plan.

If you believe that metaphysics is a more random occurrence, then I think the solution is a bit more complex; if there is one.

Random being occurs when the right elements, temperature, and timing line up in order to support life. Then the environment and chance contribute to whether or not a species is going to be intellectually sentient of itself. I'm no mathematician, but my guess would be that the probability of these things happening is pretty small, maybe minuscule. That being said, if there is such a thing as luck I think that we humans may have stumbled upon it. Reflecting on this, it seems nonsensical how we behave as a species, i.e. seeming to destroy more than we create.

The knowing part seems like a conundrum as well. That is we are able to know that most of us use only 5% of our brains, but we aren't able to figure out how to use the other 95%. So we know, but not really. I think that a human that used all of his/her brain might observe our species and either laugh, cry, or being violently ill at our shortcomings and/or what we spend our time being concerned with.

I'm exploring the cliched "tip of the iceberg" so bear with me on my journey. I've found it helpful, though, to write my thoughts down in order to see the trees in the forest.

Friday, September 25, 2009


"Its not about the destination, its about the journey". This quote has been used over and over by many. I'm not sure of its origin, but I think I really get it now. I understood it before, but now I GET IT.

I was blessed to have been born with somewhat of a above-average intellect (I'm not trying to be boastful), however, I, for a long time, lacked any real drive or motivation. I allowed myself to get by with any real effort.

Throughout High School and College I relied on my intellect to get by, but then my bubble burst. Almost from the first day of law school I realized this was a whole different situation that any I had encountered before. My world was turned upside down.

Instead of relying on intellect I turned to hard work, I was super-motivated, but more out of fear, than some drive that originated from deep down inside me. In this experience I worked harder than I had ever worked and barely survived.

I finally made the decision to be a teacher. The first four years of my pedagogical existence was based on raw survival skills that included little intellect and little motivation, but more of a flight or fright decision making scenario.

I presently feel that I am at a place in my life where I can combine inborn talent, with learned motivation and hardened by survival situations to be the person that I always fantasized I would become. I've turned that romantic person from a fantasy into a classic reality. This is my evolution, my journey.

I'm not sure what the next step is, but that's OK. Becoming self-aware of how the past has made me into the person today, and being self-conscious of the person I am right now is, I know now, an essential part of me being me. So here's to the journey, for the destination means there's an end and I'm not ready for that just yet.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


When my daughter cried last night at around 12:30 am for water a certain thought hit me. It was one of those that you better write down or you'll try to remember it in the morning with not luck.

I had this thought of a person, who from birth, experienced the same stimulation, was exposed to the same stimuli every day of his life. One day, maybe in his late thirties or early forties, the stimulation stopped. What would happen? Would he go insane because he was so conditioned to the experience of the repeated stimuli? or would he survive?

On the other hand, would we be anything without any stimulation? Probably not. Its how we respond and experience stimuli which shapes who and what we are and become.

This made me think are we, you and I not in that controlled environment, exposed to the same stimuli everyday unknowingly. We've created this safe paradigm where everything fits. This is why the unexpected provokes a heightened emotional response. My question is, if we consistently exposed ourselves to new stimuli would we expand our paradigm, thereby expanding our understanding of reason and how the world works? This seems rhetorical. Of Course. But how realistic is it to push the limits of our own reasoning or experience all the time?
Or what specific types of stimuli could help us positively expand our understanding and reasoning in the way that we want it to? But I guess if we don't know the end result of certain stimuli we don't know what the destination is. But I think that this is how all news ideas are created, trial and error; create a hypothesis and test possible solutions until something works.

More to come.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blind Faith....Literally

I've been reflecting on the purpose of ideas lately. Thanks to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" , which is taking me an unusually long time to read, but that's OK because its like savoring a rich piece of flour less chocolate cake. Sorry, diets will usually cause food analogies.

Anyways, to jump tracks for a second (I'll connect them in a second) I was playing some music for my kids today as they jumped on the bed; a favorite past time of ours. I put on the song "Can't find my way home" by Blind Faith; a brilliant Eric Clapton collaborative album that I was addicted to when I was about 15. Although I've listened to this song hundreds of times one of the lines finally clicked.

"I just thank God for time". How is our actual existence even decided. Is it an organic, chaotic chance occurrence or by design? Who do or what do we thank for being sentient beings? Is it God? That would be an easy answer.

A Romantic answer to this dilemma is simply yes, in God's great design we exist because he/she/it has deemed it so. But where is the evidence but in scripture and long ago iffy witness accounts?

A Classic answer to the dilemma is that it is an organic chaotic chance existence. The simple evidence that I see is the creation of life by humans from flora and fauna creations to cloned beasts of burden.

This Classic/Romantic discord comes from "Motorcycle Maintenance." Its the difference between what is and what if, basically.

So we burst into our own individual existence for a limited period of time to survive, procreate, and die, right? Then why are we given the ability to perceive logic, appreciate art, feel pain, live love, indulge in emotion and contemplate concepts beyond our current realm of reasoning?

"Zen and the Art" talks about expanding our realm of reasoning to assist us in being able to answer some of the more difficult problems that confront us in our modern society where a good number of us don't have to worry about the basic rules of survival anymore. This makes sense to me, but how do we expand the realm? Which way do we go? Laterally? Horizontally?

If anyone can contribute to this conversation, please, its time to move it forward, or in a different direction.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Profoundness and glimpses

Being a teacher gives me the opportunity to take serious time to reflect on life. My job is supremely challenging, rewarding, and humbling. It gives me the opportunity to have insight on the changes of adolescence, which is the most vital intellectual, emotional, and social time in one's life. That being said, that is not what this post is about. I also get time off; that is not a swipe at anyone and my tongue is not out. Just wait and see.

I believe that is a power greater than us, or parallel to us; something unseen or maybe right underneath our noses ready for us to see. Paradigm shifts have occured at various times throughout history; big ones are rare--the earth is round, it revolves around the sun, the germ theory, certain physics theories, etc...Many small paradigm shifts happen daily; societal and personal. Our minds shift as to how the normal world works. What is that next great aha moment?

I feel as though there are hints as to the next great piece of knowledge all around us. People says things non-chalantly that I've caught lately that make me think that our dimension is rubbing up against another one ready to reveal the next secret.

This sounds crazy, but I beleive that a higher intuition is the next stage in human development; an unspoken communication. I think we get glimpses of this communication from time to time; almost like flashes of lightning.

A storm is brewing and getting closer--sshhhhh, listen.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I've been staying far away from anything intellectual for a few weeks now. Holding any kind of rational or progressive thought at bay; it's like I'm waiting for the right moment. As these words flow I had no intention of writing them as I casually decided to write a post.

Life seems to be like a comet sometimes, circling the universe, leaving a trail of dust and ice. Observing from afar what no one else can see. It zips along at an incomprehensible speed, following a perfect path.

Sometimes I feel as though life is flying by just as fast, but thats the way it is supposed to be. My cliched drink in the moment quote is relevant here. What is important here? Now? What feeds the heart, brain, and soul?

As humans, we are just a dew drop of time, yet we imagine our lives as so much more, as we should. But the thoughts, emotions, relationships must mean something. When I look into my wife's loving eyes, or my childrens' adoring ones I see the meaning. Thats it. Its the connection to others.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


What is reflection? It's simply seeing yourself in a mirror. How often do we really look at ourselves in a mirror: Maybe to brush teeth or if we feel something on our face that shouldn't be there. Sometimes I look into a mirror and see a person who I don't know. Who am I? Where am I? Where have I been? Other times I'll look into a mirror and really recognize the face staring back.

But these are all just surface observations. Where is that person who weaves such intricate dreams that it takes a lifetime to figure them out? Where is that person whos waking moment is touched by fleating genius...."I'll have to remember to write that down later...."

I try and look in the mirror and figure out who that person is staring back at me. What have I changed into? What have I become? Sometimes I really don't know.

There is a scene from a Tom Hanks movie, "Joe verses the Volcano", where Tom Hanks has a free pass to buy whatever he wants for his trip. A limo is driving him on his spree around town. The limo driver is a very affable, wisened gentleman. At the beginning of the spending journey Joe asks the limo driver a series of questions about what he should buy, specifically, what style. The driver turns to him and says something to the effect of "Listen, its taken me my whole life to figure out who I am, and there are still some questions, so for me to tell you your style isn't going to happen."

I know its a very surface scene, but its always had a deeper meaning for me. What is real? The only thing I know that is real right now are the plastic letters that I press and the walls around me; that is my scene. I feel conflicted, satisfied, but wanting more. My family is my world, I know that, and without them I would spiral, crumble, and die. That is what I know at this moment. Will it change? It already has in that moment.

I hope the next time I really look in the mirror I see more that a stranger, more than a scruffy face, more that two wanting eyes staring back. I don't know what I want to see, but I know its more................

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Journey waits for no one.....

The Journey waits for no one.....

I've been thinking lately about how fast life goes, the components of life, what's really important and what's not. This blog is more like therapy than some artistic expression of my soul, although sometimes I hope that it comes across as that--it depends on the mood of the moment.

The Journey waits for no one.....

As often as we replay scenarios from our life in our heads and try to figure out what went wrong and what went right we begin to lose focus to what is right in front of us. I am by no means perfect, but I do like to think that I have perfect moments; when I make my wife laugh, when I know an answer no one else knows, when I save my son from the monster in his room, and when I rescue Pink-Puppy for my daughter. Hitting a home run, passing a test, having the girl say yes, achieving that goal, those are all part of perfect moments. I feel like I've lost most of mine.

The Journey waits for no one.....

I would run, ski, do a reverse lay-up, and have no fear being tackled in a football game. Now I am tender going down a six-inch step. The pain the accompanies my knees seems like it will be along for the rest of the journey. My son asks me to play leap frog, "Sorry buddy, Daddy has a boo-boo." Flash back to my Dad only playing catch with me for ten minutes before his elbow aches.

The Journey waits for no one.....

"You're brilliant" "You're special" "You have the whole world ahead of you!"........"You're average" "You failed" "You didn't get in!."

The Journey waits for no one.....

If there is a God, did the almighty do this on purpose, that is, show us what the good, perfect life is, dangle it like a golden ring, and then pull it away. Ouch, slapped in the face by the reality that is life; the hardship, the pain, the sadness, the loss of hope.

The Journey waits for no one.....

I watch my kids rejoice in bubbles. Bubbles. When did I lose my fascination with Bubbles? I wish I could still belly-laugh at Bubbles. I wish I could pretend to be a fireman, doctor, or repairman. My life is for my wife and children. I live vicariously through them; their pleasure, their pains.

The Journey waits for no one.....

I feel as though I am always waiting for the next....what? I want to enjoy the now, but sometimes I don't know how. I feel as though when I finally catch up to the next it will be too late, I'll be too old. I used to make fun of or complain about old people, but I realize that in a blink of an eye I will be there too.

The Journey waits for no one.....

I want to start living, really living; for my family and for myself. I want to make their journey worth it; worth being on this planet, worth living this life. How do I start? I start now........

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Past, present, and future

I have made mistakes in my life as has everyone, its just part of life; big, small, life changing, and insignificant. The past is the part of the book that's been written. We often dream of what if it happened differently? How would my life be different now? Or would it be? Is fate attached to our decisions or does free will guide us, or is it a bit of both? A sort of Dungeons and Dragons type of existence. However life works, the fact is that the past cannot be changed; it just is. In fact, it is no more. So why does it haunt us like a creaky knee from a high school football injury? I guess human nature warns us to think again before going into the poison ivy patch; we remember our past scars with searing brutality sometimes. Sometimes these scars are ever present reminding us of that mistake, that pain, that wrong decision.

The present rolls through us like waves at the beach; sometimes so serene and calm, sometimes severe and deadly. The reality is that this is the part of the equation that is inescapable; it is who we are in the moment, not in the previous moment or the next one. Watching my son and daughter romp in their little pool, with the sun looking and the wind kissing my lips, that was my beautiful present, until it quickly and predictably slipped into the past.

The future is full of expectation, hope, fear, and uncertainty. It is sometimes the place that we live because the present and/or past are somewhat undesirable. Or it is the place that we fear because the present and the past are/were so serene, and we don't want it to change.

All I really know is this--in this present moment I am good at being a Dad, a husband and a friend. I am a decent teacher, writer and artist. I am healthy, but my joints are aging quickly. I am good with stress. I am good at having grand ideas, but not following through on all. I rely on the hope that everything will just work our as long as I'm a good person and a hard worker. I am naive to how to proceed in certain situations, and brilliant in others. I'm 32 years old and in some respects I feel my life is over, and in some respects I feel my life has just begun.

Again I've become the Rambling Madman. To wrap up, I can't apologize for my past mistakes anymore, both to myself and to others, it is what it is and cannot be changed. I feel confident in the present, confident that I will not repeat those mistakes, confident in the love of the people in my life, and I am hopeful that the future will bring great and wonderful things to myself and the people that I love the most.

Monday, June 22, 2009


What is tension? The simplest thought I have about tension is the rubber-band. Not a very hot topic of conversation or center point of a novel, but the simply, lowly rubber band can explain alot. Rubber bans can be strong, weak, resilient, and dry out; but if enough tension is added to that wonderful band of rubber it, of course, breaks.

Sometimes you can feel the tension in the air; like an invisible force that everyone in a certain area is affected by; blood-pressure up, adrenaline pumping, senses alert. Tension; what will the outcome be? Will the band break or hold?

I remember the day after 9/11 I was driving close to my apartment and another car cut me off. I honked, gave a middle finger, and yelled some expletives. The other driver got out of his car. I got out of mine. Tension. We cursed at each other and then stared each other down, like gunslingers. The tension eased. We both got back in our cars, hearts pounding and drove off.

This past Father's day I was driving my family to dinner when we stopped at a light. I was simply having a conversation with my wife and the kids were sleeping in the back seat. No tension. I looked over at the lane next to me and saw two men get out of their cars and walk towards each other threateningly. Tension. I rolled down the window instantly stung by a stream of curses and, yes, tension. I said "Guys, relax!! Its Fathers Day, you don't want to fight on Fathers Day!"--no reaction, the tension was rising. I tried to quell the situation again, but to no avail. Chests started bumping. Tension was almost at it's climax. I quickly put the car in park and leaped out of the car, forcing my way in between the two men. Tension say "What do I do?" I push the men apart and look into both of their eyes "Guys" I say in a soft tone, "Its Fathers day, relax." The rubber band relaxes with a sigh. The men don't utter a word, they just give me a tired frown and walk to their respective cars. Tension-0, Madman-1. I climbed back into my car and continued the journey.

Tension can be hidden in a glance or a whisper, it can glide across a warm breeze or a snowflake. Tension can be as clear as the nose on your face and as plain as a crinkled brow. It can punch you in the face or cut through you like a well thought out insult.

Two rams jousting, two sharks circling, its out there. How do we deal with it? How do we resolve it? It is part of us, it spurs us, it is part of Darwin's survival of the fittest. Just a thought. So next time you pick up the little piece of rubber I hope it has some extra special meaning to you.

Friday, May 22, 2009


The Oxford definition of power is: (n)(3) dominance, mastery, rule, command, ascendancy, sovereignty, domination.

Why would I write a post about power? Because power, and the use thereof, surrounds us and is part of our lives everyday whether we know it or not. From large uses to very subtle ones. From tangible to intangible. From real to imagined. This post could turn into a doctoral thesis or a research book; how does power affect our everyday life? Do we even know it affects us? How does each of us use power and respond to other peoples' use of it?

This is just one of the topics that has been attached to the membrane for sometime and has not figured out a way to detach until this moment. Humor me!

There are obvious sources of power: money, political esteem, weaponry, brilliance of mind, use of manipulation, and unusual physical attributes-to name a few. We are all witness to these sources of power; whether we recognize them or are just conditioned for them to be a part of our life that there is no such recognition, is inconsequential.

The face to face conversation where both participants make eye contact and the first one to break that contact unofficially gives in to the other superiority. The swagger and confidence of a person who knows they just have it. The failure to acknowledge a challenge that results in the unacknowledgers silent win. Cliques; whether in reality or cyberspace.

Why discuss power? It is part of the human condition; part of our hard-wiring. This is why we don't recognize or acknowledge it all of the time; because its such an essential part of our makeup, i.e. second nature.

Your history lessons are all about power; who overcomes which conflict? Entertainment, from drama to comedy, is all about power and conflict. Our sports, our jobs, our relationships, all about power--who has it and how do they use it.

Power can be draining, but I think it is what keeps our species evolving. Without power, without these daily conflicts we would idle, we wouldn't know how to move forward and conquer the small battles.

I think the trick is how we each handle our daily experiences with power; the old flight or fight situation. Do we need to win every little battle? Probably not, its probably an impossibility anyway. Food for thought. I'm interested in your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Memories, condolences, and obituaries

Well its been almost a year since I lost two people who were very important to me. I had watched both my Nanny and my Great-Uncle age quickly over the last few years; shadows of who they once were. During June of 2008 both past-away within twenty days of each other, one barely mourning the other. I know they needed to comfort each other in death as they had in life, so it was sort of fitting.

I haven't dealt with it, haven't really reflected on it, or remembered a whole lot about their deaths or their lives; I don't feel guilty about this, just a need to do this. I loved both of these people dearly, their were an important, character changing part of my childhood and early adulthood, until both started to deteriorate. They were the part of my childhood that made me feel safe, comforted, like a warm blanket just out of the dryer.

My Nanny would give you anything you wanted, and all she asked in return was to have a little attention thrown her way, maybe a conversation or a card game. She had her strong opinions, but in the end she loved all. I will miss her for as long as I shall live and will eagerly wait to see her in the after life. She loved her family and her family loved her. I hope she is with my Grandpa and Uncle in peace.

My Uncle Jerry made everybody laugh; that's what I remember him most for. He was the consummate perfectionist; a mathematician for the Pentagon, who fought under Patton and always pressed as to what happened to the two missing points on a math test when I received a 98. He was that rare person who could tell an absorbing, meaningful story, while at the same time have you in stitches relating to his many life observations. He would always start out a conversation with me be reminiscing about a story that I was too young to remember. He would always say "My David" like he was my guardian angel in life, not a Great-Uncle separated my miles and years. He always had a scratchy beard, but I never shied from his kisses or hugs. I miss him so every day.

About two months ago I had a dream where there was a white light right behind me and in front of me was a mix of brown, black, and greys. I came to a woman sitting in a chair with two men standing on either side of her and various people in the near background. I knelt down and it was my Nanny, a younger version sitting in the chair flanked by my Uncle and Grandpa who were both smiling. With happiness in her voice she told me that she was doing fine and that she was with her husband, brother, and family; at this point I realized that the people in the background were relatives and ancestors from years ago. This dream was not contrived or planned, in fact I question if it was a dream at all, or a glimpse into another 'place.'

I know I could never do justice to two wonderful people who lived long, full lives, in a few simple paragraphs, but I needed to do something. May their memories live on through us--Peace.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Windows to the Soul

I believe we all have a soul; some kind of eternal energy or being that transcends life, death, and everything in between. As humans we are constantly changing, evolving, adjusting to life and the challenges that we all face.

I often try to peek into peoples' souls by glancing at their eyes. Most of the time I see something; at least a glimmer. With my 'munchkins' I sometimes do the Larry David stare that implies me wanting to extract the truth from a certain wayward situation.

I did that today to a 'munchkin' who seemed a bit beside herself. The result of my peek was nothing. I felt as though I was peering into a cloudy marble; their was no entrance, no humor or curiosity would help me gain my portal.

I had never experienced this denial of the soul, not even a brief glimmer. This 'munchkins' soul must be wrapped so tightly in fear, anger, and helplessness that the light is almost non-existent. Its makes me sad to experience this, even for the briefest of moments, for this 'munchkin'.

To be lost and forever scarred and scared at such a young age; and to know that this is probably the tip of the iceberg, for I'm sure there are others just like her. She may torture me for the time that we spend together, but I'm sure that it is nothing compared to what her own mind and experience have done and still do to her.

So for all those children, and people who are lost, or wrapped so tightly in their own fear and loathing that they can't see the worth in life, I will say a prayer for you and try to send some positive karmic thoughts to try and break that emotional traffic jam. My tears will be sent to try and clear yours.

In the words of the great Chris and Rich Robinson:

Soul Singing by Black Crowes. Artist: Black CrowesAlbum: LionsTitle: Soul Singing
Written by: r. robinson & c. robinson

"I've been downCascading and blue w/out a sound
Now i've traded my black feathers for a crown
So feed me milk & honeyLay me downLay me down
Look around
Show me holy places not yet found
Let's disappear and we'll hide underground
We'll get high and we'll feel safe & sound
It comes around arayayayound
Chorus:You got my soul singing my soul singingYou got my soul singing my soul singingYou got my soul singing my soul singingYou got my soul singing my soul singing

Home bound
Tired of tired of running town to town
Tired of my heart turned upside down
Now my life's a smile not a frown
The soundThe sound."

Lyrics contained within subject to US Copyright Lawsand are the property of their respective authors & Black Crowes, artists and labels.Commercial use prohibited. is a not-for-profit resource. All advertising proceeds are used to maintain its servers.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


To start off on a topic that I did not wish to cover this post might not be meant to be, considering I typed it on Microsoft Vista and tried to cut and paste it onto this format and it disappeared. And it might have been the most brilliant piece of writing thought of and conveyed to an audience in about the last 3 seconds.

I haven't posted in a while and that's OK. It is shame though. I often wake up on the Long Island Railroad, jarred awake by the shaking of the cab, making me wonder if this box of metal, plastic, and rubber could jump off the tracks plunging us into certain death. I've come to realize and analyze that at this moment I put all of my anxieties and fears into that waking nightmare.

As life rushes by I contemplate all the usual philosophical questions that have been thought countless times over by countless people. I do believe in the collective unconscious and I believe that I don't contemplate certain issues because those issues have already been resolved by the collective. If your following my train of thought, thank you, and no pun intended.

I think of how I spend 5 hours a day, 25 hours a week, 100 hours a month, and 1000 hours a year riding public transportation. That's roughly 24 full days a year being shaken, not stirred by a metal box, my ass molding into pleather seats. Alot of contemplation, book reading, and sleeping. Observing the human condition. I wonder what it would be like to spend the next 20 years commuting; that would be about a full year and a quarter of my life spent on public transportation. I hope there is no transportation in the after life, or that they invent a transporter machine soon(my small ode to Star Trek). I guess its better than spending time in other even less glorious situations.

Rewind to my subway ride. As I enter the less superior utilitarian iron box I slump into a hard plastic seat, exhausted from having seventh graders pull off my finger nails one by one all day. I slather the anti-bacterial liquid onto my hands and pretend that it is a shield from the diseases of the world. I whip out my book and begin to read. My brain tired my concentration wanes and I seek the solace of observation.

I peek up just above the rim of the book to see who my fellow travelers are. Everyone from young to old, coal black to stare into the sun white, faces as scared as the moon, and as smooth as the porcelain under your feet are on display. Not many are smiling, most caught in their own membrane contemplating different or similar subjects, no one knows or do we?

We spend most of our thinking time trying to figure out how we are different or special or unique, but in the grand scheme of things I think that we are all very similar, our misery, joy, sex, fight, flaws..........The only thing that separates us from the other inhabitants of this tiny planet is our ability to reason, and even that if flawed on a daily, or momentary basis. Our ability to choose right from wrong, depending on what acts and words fit into each category.

This life is a constant struggle, but most of us want to see it to its end, and rightfully so, the good times are definitely worth it; we just all wish that there were more to breath in.

Its time for bed; see you all in the collective, and this time, try to bring an original thought, I'm getting a little bored.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pet Peeves

Well now that you all know that I'm so oil-of-olay sensitive to comments here is my shallow post. I have pet peeves as we all do and I'm going to share three of my favorite: the side stander, the non-acknowlegder, and the story-trapper--if I don't have a trademark on these terms I now claim them in the name of Madman. Just to give you a pre-text I will give you a general definition followed by an example, can't help it, it's the teacher in me.

First, the side-stander. definition: This is a person who, while you are in line, any line, comes up behind you and instead of remaining behind you snuggles up next to you. Forgive me but the purpose of a line is for one noun to be in front and the other to be in back. Now I like drawing outside the lines as much as the next person, but not in this situation. Know your place side-stander!!! Which is not next to me, diagonal to me, but purely and directly behind me. Don't talk to me, I'm just not that social. The other day I bought planting flowers at the store with my daughter and while in line a women comes up with her cart and stands next to me. "Get away!" mind of the madman e.s.p.'s to the side-stander. "How much did you pay for those flowers?" side-stander. "None of your god damn business and go check for your lazy self (mind of madman). "$12.95 for 32" Noraml me. "Wow that's robbery!!" side-stander. I nod, "Go scratch!" (mind of madman). I pay and quickly leave the side-stander in her proper place.

Next peeve, the non-acknowledger. Definition: Someone you know, are an acquaintance of, or have had at least a memorable conversation of; basically someone who you have a memory of and who, you know, has a memory of you. The situation is that you encounter this person, try to make eye-contact and even make an acknowledging gesture; the smiling-nod and the nervous wave to name a couple. Again I was shopping with my daughter, now in the supermarket, and I see someone I used to work with in the same isle pushing a cart. I see him and he makes brief eye-contact with me and I make the smiling nod. He turns away and starts whistling acknowledging the chicken stock instead. As I passed him I smiled to myself confounded as to why my attempt was thwarted, not disappointed, just confused. Maybe I smell, that's probably it. I asked my daughter if I smell, she just wanted bubbles. I saw this "ghost of the past" one more time in the store from a distance, him knowing I was there and choosing to ignore that fact, me crushed beyond all recognition (sarcasm of course).

Final peeve, the story-trapper, the one peeve I aspire not to be; I hope I'm not being oximoronish (is that even a word? If yes, I call dibs on the royalties). Definition: person who you meet at any social event that traps you in a pointless, uninteresting story, where you zone out and tell yourself that you must have done something horrible in a past life in order to deserve this torture. Unfortunately I don't have a recent example of this. Let your membranes reminisce.

So there you have it. Maybe these are flaws in me, in others, or just in the human condition, or a little of each, or not flaws at all. Pet peeves, we all have them, things that bother us for one reason of the other, things that in our own tiny paradigms just don't fit or don't seem right.

We are all trapped, happily or not, inside of ourselves, from birth to death, dealing with life's experiences and how it impacts us and the world around us. It can be confusing, exciting, depressing, and crystal-clear, all at once or not at all.....peace.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

When the Bubble Burst

I grew up in a bubble. I didn't want for much, no abuse (that I was aware of), no severely traumatic moments (except the usual), all the trappings of a comfortable suburban childhood. So when did the bubble burst?

I remember waking up in the middle of the night sweating, not knowing where I was......Then I remembered I was working three pathetic jobs having just failed the Bar exam for the fourth time. This wasn't how life was supposed to turn out, things were supposed to be easy, weren't they?

I tried to go back to sleep, peeking at my lovely wife who had all the faith and confidence in me that I didn't have. She would be dreaming of family and love and future, where I was traumatized trying to figure out how to make her dreams come true.

"Where is life going to take me?" I asked my cat, who was the only one awake, and supposedly hanging on my every word. Maybe I was dreaming and I'll really be living the life I'm supposed to be living when I wake up, probably not.

I wipe the sweat off my forehead, the cool breeze hits it and reminds me what reality really is.

Instead of letting the anxiety bind me in the straight jacket, I repeat my mantra "You're a good person, keep working hard and be honest and things will work out." I have repeated this mantra hundreds of time, not letting it slip past the frontal lobe.

I'm slowly drifting back to sleep and as I'm gripped by its paralyzing sweetness I feel a little dampness begin to form against my temple and realize that the bubble no longer exists, it has burst all over me; and this is me weeping for the loss of it.

It's now five or so years later, I have a beautiful family, a secure job, and am truly happy. But I sometimes ask myself would I be where I am today if I didn't have those night terrors? I don't know. I know the bubble needed to break. I know that life is cyclic. And I know not to mess with Karma. That is life.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Human Experience

What is the human experience?

We basically have 80 years of life to suffer and enjoy all. What connects us is empathetic, sympathetic, or envious situations; and that applies to both suffering and joyous occasions.

I had an interview yesterday. Most of you can relate to the interview experience: making sure your shoes are just right (which no one looks at), making sure your breath doesn't smell like stale coffee, and making sure your hands don't have that layer of nervous sweat.

I arrived a half hour early, sat down, heart fluttering like a humming bird. I reviewed all the little tidbits of information that might give me that slight edge, or so I'd convinced myself. I took some slow deep breaths to calm the mind, disillusioning myself into a sense of calm.

"Oh, you're here! Please fill this out, we'll be right with you." I now prepared to have my whole life examined; a mere 32 years disected in a matter of minutes. Would these strangers really see the true me? Probably not, but hopefully they'll get a glimpse.

Like a dream it begins without warning or preface; hands shake, introductions made and slightly forgotten amidst the stifling situation. "What was your name again?" I asked; the first crack in my stoicism appears.

The questions and answers swing by like a awkward pendulum, some expected, some not. The probing of the soul continues, the spotlight in the interogation room, senses sharp, now becoming dull.

"Thank you Mr. Madman!" Is that a real smile, or just courtesy? Its like the end of a first date; is the kiss on the cheek true affection or a farewell peck? Mind swirling like a tornado I get up and leave, hoping not to trip and break my soul.

The next part is the hard part, the ping-pong game of going back and forth between I nailed it and I failed miserably; and no matter how strong some of us pretend to be, we all experience this part.

The human experience often involves periods of time when we sleep on the thorns while hoping for the petals. This shared experience binds us all together for better or worse, probably a dash of both.

Cheers!! Hears to the journey!! May it be long and filled with experience.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rules! Pressure! and More Rules!

Well I've been told not to sound cliche, cheesy, or embarrass anyone. But I love all things French including fondue and naked push ups. And i enjoy Breaking rulesss/

Living with a perfectionist is like being the chief of staff for the President of the United States; let your collective minds wander. My wife is beautiful, brilliant, honest, and the best person that I know. There is a reason that I felt as though we were meant to be together even before we met, and will be together travelling into the great unknown; unless she runs me over with a car. The advice tonight that I will be applying is the "be brutally honest" part. So here it goes, here is my work day at a glance or glimmer, whatever you prefer.

I will use an analogy, subsequently, to explain a typical day in the life commuting to and teaching in Washington Heights, just north of Harlem, in NYC.

I was 10 years old and just got a new dirt bike, it was late spring or early summer, I don't remember which. It was the time of year when the sun rose early and was warm, an ahhhh satisfying warm, and the shade was a cool crisp mist, refreshing and reminiscent of a season past.

I was going to ride this new bike over every bump and ditch in a 2 mile radius as fast as my 10 year old body would take me; this was my aspiration for the day. I sat down on the stoop to tie my shoes glancing at the magnificent new vehicle: the rubber tires with the small rubber icicles still standing from each individual tread, the fresh smell of the grease on the chain, and the unscuffed profile. I was ready, hopeful, as excited as a ten year old boy could be.

My younger sister decided to tag along and followed me as I cut along the lawn at break-neck speed. As I approached the road, my first major test awaited, the shallow ditch before the hard surface; I would turn it into a jump, flying high and landing smoothly........

Over the handle bars, face and forearms meeting asphalt. A momentary slow motion where flesh and concrete were one. In that moment the road felt cold, hard. The moment stretched into the reality that it actually happened; yes, I crashed!

In those seconds after the crash, that time period when I realized that yes I was hurt and bleeding, but no I wasn't seriously injured, the moment balanced itself out. On my knees, assessing the damage, part of me was enveloped in the cool, damp shade and part of me was in the warm, comforting sun and each was reassuring. Each reminds me that the day is still young and will be long, that the scratches hurt, but will heal. I can't wait to see if the bike is ok and I can continue my expedition.

Next time I will open up the membrane and share some real experiences from the Heights with you, rather than stumble about in analogy and memory. I hated the pavement in the moment, but I treasure its memory now.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

maestro primero

No. This is not a spanish blog, not that there would be anything wrong with that. It just feels eerily similiar to the first day I tried to teach pre-civil war US history to my bilingual 7th graders. My brain saying to me, "ummm... even if they understand my ramblings, do they truly comprehend it? Do they even care?"

At least, that is what I find myself asking myself every day, multiple times, "Who cares?"

We all deal with the political bullshit of our jobs, families, and other semi-complex social situations. But...

Are we advancing?
Are we learning anything?
Does it matter?

I contemplate much, forget most, and learn little from these day to day encounters.

Then, as I leave my one world behind and tromp to the iron death box for the roller coster ride down town, I take a break from the adventures and hardships of Lewis and Clark.

I glance at the people who have decided to fill this subway car at the exact time that I briefly inhabit it. Who are they?

Life is taking place: the young mothers are plying their child with cheetos and chocalate milk, all the while texting a life they wish they had. The night shift worker with the off gray dusty carhart and mud crusted timberlands is snoring. His head is nodding like he is agreeing with the shaken, but not stirred dream he's having...........

Okay...that's all I've got for now....

Yes. I have made some errors, and my thoughts have just dribbled out. I will hone my talents and hopefully come back to you soon with a more directed vision of the human soul. Till then, remember evolution is revolution. It has just started.