Higher Ground

People keep on learnin’
Soldiers keep on warrin’
World keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long

Powers keep on lyin’
While your people keep on dyin’
World keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long

I’m so darn glad he let me try it again
‘Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach my highest ground

Teachers keep on teachin’
Preachers keep on preachin’
World keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long, oh no

Lovers keep on lovin’
Believers keep on believin’
Sleepers just stop sleepin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long, oh no

I’m so glad that he let me try it again
‘Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach my highest ground

An’ Stevie knows that nobody’s gonna bring me down
Till I reach the highest ground, ’cause me ‘n’ Stevie, see
We’re gonna be a sailin’ on the funky, funky sound (till I reach the highest ground)
Bustin’ out and I’ll break you out, ’cause I’m sailin’ on
(Till I reach the highest ground)
Just sailin’ on, sailin’ on the higher ground (till I reach the highest ground)

Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Someone said to me recently that I was reinventing myself on this blog, but I don’t see it that way. I think I’m the same person now as I was in my youth, minus the drugs! I don’t think much of who we are on a very deep level changes over our lifetimes. Sure your opinion about this or that will differ, your taste in friends may temper, but the core of who you are will not. You still hold on to the things that brought you joy, you still like the same music, you still follow the same ideals. Were you born with this? To some degree yes, but alot of it was taught to you when you were young by your parents, teachers, and even the shows you watched on TV. You are the cumulative effect of genetics and outside influences in your formative years.

So who am I? I have asked myself that question alot over the last few years, and I think I denied the truth as a way to placate those to whom I feel the most connected, the few that matter in my life. I’ve tried to keep a balance of what they wanted and what matters to me to keep the peace, not ruffle feathers as it were. But I understand now that if they truly care about me, as I’m sure they do, they will accept me no matter what. Here’s a few truth’s about who I really am!

I love hard ass rock and roll. I know many of the songs I put on my blog could be considered mellow, but I am really edgy and heavy metal underneath. Nothing fires me up more than playing Higher Ground at 120 decibels on my new car stereo! I get too loud and curse alot when I’ve had a few, much to the disdain of those with me. I like guns and have many, including an AR15 and a 44 magnum revolver. I don’t like people much and prefer to keep to myself most of the time. I do put on a good show around those I work with, but only 2 have proven to be anything more than workmates. Their loss I say.

My goal for the future is quite simple, get away from society as much as reasonably possible. I’m tired of the social drama you have to go through just to fit in. I don’t care about your kids, your new house, what car you drive or how much you make. I’m tired of all the insecure imps thinking with their genitals, spouting their ill informed liberal opinions about this group or that, trying to impose their belief system on the nation as a whole. I’m not saying you should shut up, you have the right to speak your mind. I’m saying I don’t have to listen to you. In comes the sailboat.

With a sailboat I can have what I feel has always been at the core of who I am. FREEDOM! I won’t be tied to any one place, free to go where I choose when I choose. Free to be the person I so long to be, free to express in pictures what inspires me the most…nature in it’s raw form. Although I can be a little abrasive, deep down I am very sensitive about certain things. Every day I see animals dead on the highway, and every time it bothers me. I can’t watch anything about animals being killed, even by other animals! Nature is what it is, but I’m not fascinated with watching animals die. One of the hardest days of my life will be when I have to put my dog Vinny down in the not so distant future. I’m not an activist by any means, nor am I a vegetarian. If I was hungry enough Bambi would be on the table, but animals should be treated humanely.

I don’t care about the middle east, and I’m never going to visit a Muslim country. They have been killing their own for centuries with no end in sight. Yes it’s sad what happens to the people in war ravaged countries, but it’s their own doing. If they really wanted to end their strife they need to stand up as one and take control of their countries. I’m not against sending food or medical supplies but that’s it. We need to take care of our own now instead of sending our sons and daughters to die in another country. And if you choose to go over to volunteer and get abducted, your on your own…STUPID! What did you think was going to happen?

The only thing in this country that is a right is “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and that’s all. the rest are gifts as we are the most generous people in the world. You are not entitled to anything else unless you are willing to work for it. My father was never without a job, even when it meant working in the cold winters of Maine. He understood what it was to be a citizen, to take care of your own, to carry your own weight. As children we wanted for nothing, we felt secure, and I thank him and my mother for their efforts.

Yes there are those to whom we should strive to take care of, those who through no fault of their own, cannot support themselves for one reason or another. I don’t think anyone would deny them food, clothing, shelter or medical needs. But today’s society has become a feeding ground for all those who are not willing to put forth the effort, those who feel they are entitled to these things. I for one am tired of paying for you, so in the future I will work only enough for me to live so I can pay almost no taxes that go to those who abuse the system. I will do my part for those that deserve help through voluntarism and direct help. Their is nothing more satisfying than looking into the eyes of someone you have helped in a direct way. It’s all the payment you need.

No, I’m not reinventing myself. I’m embracing who I really am without the worry of being judged, without apology for the things I hold dear. As I strive for my Higher Ground I feel a great relief in expressing what I feel is my life’s work, my true purpose in this world. I wish to bring another perspective of what life has to offer, another view of the world around us. I want to put in pictures how I see the beauty around us that so many take for granted, the quiet side of our existence on this planet called Earth. If we could learn to live with nature, go back to a simpler time, I think we could understand what it means to have a better life worth living.

PS: On another crazy note of who I am…I get my first tattoo’s in a few weeks!

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Fragile Lives, Shattered Dreams

When we were young the future was so bright
The old neighborhood was so alive
And every kid on the whole damn street
Was gonna make it big and not be beat

Now the neighborhood’s cracked and torn
The kids are grown up but their lives are worn
How can one little street
Swallow so many lives

[Chorus]
Chances thrown
Nothing’s free
Longing for what used to be
Still it’s hard
Hard to see
Fragile lives, shattered dreams

Jamie had a chance, well she really did
Instead she dropped out and had a couple of kids
Mark still lives at home cause he’s got no job
He just plays guitar and smokes a lot of pot

Jay committed suicide
Brandon OD’d and died
What the hell is going on
The cruelest dream, reality

[Chorus]
Chances thrown
Nothing’s free
Longing for what used to be
Still it’s hard
Hard to see
Fragile lives, shattered dreams

The Kids Aren’t Alright – The Offspring

I was just sitting in a truck stop restaurant having dinner and I overheard two young women, both in their early 20’s, discussing their lives in the booth behind me. One woman was very animated in describing her unhappiness with her relationship. She went on and on about he did this, he did that, he never this or that. I thought to myself how silly her complaints seemed to me, but is it just because I am male, or because I’m much older?

Why when her friend said just leave him and she countered with “but then I’ll have no money or car” did I feel like she just didn’t get it? She didn’t seem to realize how petty and shallow that sounded. Is she just that immature or does she see relationships as a way to get things? Is her self esteem so low that the thought of going it alone seem beyond the limit of her ability?

I will admit I was very much like her when I was young. My self esteem was so low I really didn’t understand my worth in this world, the value of my life was lost in the simple thinking of day to day existence. Without a goal, without a plan to achieve it, I was open to the influence of others looking to use me for their gain. Just as that young woman was using him for his car and paycheck, he was using her for sex most likely. I hope she wakes up sooner than I did and realizes the benefit to the world she could be if she just believed in herself.

I think the dreams of youth can be inflated by pop culture, social media, ideological professors, disconnected parents and other outside influences that can cloud a young and fragile mind. Too often we read stories of young “Snowflake” millennial’s that can’t adjust to the world outside of the collage cocoon, no “Safe Space” to run to so they wont be hurt by words or ideas they don’t agree with. Just because you have a degree in some social science dreamscape does not mean you will find a six figure salary your first day after graduation, or ever for that matter. I don’t feel bad that you now have a huge student loan, it’s your responsibility to pay it off not the government or the taxpayers. Welcome to the real world!

I don’t feel you need a degree in this world to make a difference. We all do our part to make things better in some way, even something as simple as holding the door for others has an impact. You don’t need a degree to check on your elderly neighbors instead of thinking “Meals on Wheels” or some other agency will insure they are fed and safe.  All the big ideals of Globalization has caused us to ignore the people in our small sphere of influence. We forgot what it feels like to truly help another individual on a personal level. I’ve done this in the past, and I’m going to do it again.

Every time I see a politician or celebrity on TV talking about this government program or that charity, how the children will suffer or the homeless are dying, it really makes me mad. I wonder if they ever directly bought some food for a poor family, brought a homeless person into their home and fed them? You can bet that NEVER has happened! No, they donate their time for the adds, hold a fundraiser for a charity, or just write a check. They go back to their gated community and congratulate themselves on how they made the rest of us look uncaring and mean spirited.

I’m afraid modern society in many ways has forgotten what it means to be a good neighbor, what it means to help someone directly. Oh there are those who volunteer at a soup kitchen or even join the peace corps and travel to Africa to help starving children. To them I say thank you for really giving it your all. But why can’t you start right here at home? Are not other countries responsible for their own destiny for the most part? Why should we neglect our own while sending billions overseas, sometimes to people who hate us? Am I wrong or does that just seem stupid!

I don’t hold out much hope that anything will change in the near future. Our leaders are so power hungry they are blind to the plight of ordinary people. They are so removed from reality that our voices are nothing but the incessant buzz of a house fly to be swatted. The saddest part of it all is that it’s our own fault. We keep blindly voting the same group back in time after time, even though we complain about the lack of results. Sounds like the definition of insanity to me!

Champagne Supernova

How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Where were you while we were getting high?

Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova in the sky

Wake up the dawn and ask her why
A dreamer dreams, she never dies
Wipe that tear away now from your eye

Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova

Cause we don’t believe
That they’re gonna get away from the summer
But you and I will never die
The world’s still spinning around we don’t know why
Why-why-why-why-I-I

How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Where were you while we were getting high?

Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova

Cause we don’t believe
That they’re gonna get away from the summer
But you and I will never die
The world’s still spinning around we don’t know why
Why-why-why

How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Where were you while we were getting high?
We were getting high

Slowly walking down the hall
Faster than a cannonball
Where were you while we were getting high?

Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova in the sky
Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova
’cause we don’t believe
That they’re gonna get away from the summer
But you and I will never die
The world’s still spinning around we don’t know why
Why-why-why

How many special people change?
How many lives are living strange?
Where were you while we were getting high?
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high
We were getting high

Champagne Supernova – Oasis

I’m sitting in a McDonald’s parking lot in Dingman’s Ferry PA where I will spend the night. Vinny and I have spent many a night in this very spot, and I’m sure there will be many more. It’s quiet, safe, clean restrooms and a Dunkin Donuts (trust me, that’s how they spell it) next door. I LOVE their coffee! Just before pulling in here this song came up on my playlist.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this song, but every time I can’t help but sing it out really loud. It’s really a song about nothing and everything at the same time. Each time I can attribute something from my life to a verse, feel an emotion that leads my back down a path to a point in my life, good or bad.  To me, that’s a mark of another great song.

I see a past full of friends now gone, the ravages of time separating us from people we new well, and others not so. Walking alone I look back to see something I thought would last forever, something true and real, lost in what feels like the blink of an eye. But was it real?

When we are young we think the world is a simple place. Nothing can stand in the way of us because we are right, we know where our destiny lies. We thought we could change the world with just our will, convince anyone of our wisdom and push them to our way. We thought we should run the world.

Summers seemed to last forever, no thought of duty or consequence. We ran head on into things we had no hope of accomplishing, no idea how to think something through and complete our intended goals. We lived in the moment though our aspirations soared beyond our grasp. We ran and ran and got nowhere.

The landslide comes when you realize you have done nothing but waste years of your life in the pursuit of things you never really needed. You lay you head on your pillow and sob, berating yourself for such short mindedness. Having never really followed a thought to it’s completion, your next move is the hardest. Which way to go? This is perhaps the most important moment in your life. This is what separates the winners from the losers.

If you have chosen well your Champagne Supernova starts to come into view. You see a goal worth fighting for, a plan that just makes sense. As you think it through you feel the joy of truly being in control of your life, letting go of past mistakes, forgiving yourself. When you look at life in it’s simplest terms, stop living in a world you will never gain, it’s almost laughable how you were so blind, why you waited so long.

I Am Not Politically Correct…And I Don’t Care

I think this one post will make or break my blog, and I don’t care. I realized the other day that I was doing something I told myself never to do. I am trying to fit in with others instead of being myself. As I read comments on other blogs, I saw people stroking each others egos with compliments like “Well said”, or “Beautiful words” and the like. To me, the posts read like they sat down with the dictionary, and tried to cram as many obscure words into one post as they could, showing the world their complete grasp of the English language but saying nothing. I’m going to write like the laymen I am, and this post will be all me, like it or not.

I’m really tired. Tired of people being “Offended” over even the smallest slight, intentional or not. No one is willing to truly talk about anything controversial without name calling or mudslinging. I am going voice my opinion in this post, and we shall see if the comments, or lack thereof, prove my point.

This country is completely polarized politically. I think it has always been, to some extent, but the last few years it has become idiotic. We have a president that seams bent on dividing everyone into two groups. Those that agree with him, and the idiots that are the rest. Well I guess that makes me an idiot. I think he’s close to the worst President ever. And not because he’s black, elitism is colorblind and follows no party.

Why should I care if gay couples want to get married? They deserve the fun of a bitter divorce just like the rest of us. But I will also say, why is it wrong that a religious person, due to their beliefs, feel they can’t make a cake for the wedding as they think it would be supporting something against their beliefs? In this country, freedom of religion is part of what makes this country great. By suing those people, and destroying their lives, are you now doing to them the same thing the gay community has been fighting against, discrimination based on race, creed, religion or sexual orientation!

I think abortion is wrong, and I will never change my mind. But it is allowed by law, and laws should be upheld, changed or repealed, nothing in between. If I were president, it would be my job to uphold the laws that are in effect. I can’t pick and choose what ones I feel are worthy. That is for congress and the people to decide. I can express my opinion to the public, but no more. Trying to make law with “Executive Actions” is nothing more that trying to impose my presidential will over the people. Can you say Monarchy!

I value the bill of rights. I am exercising one of those rights with this post. I also exercise another with the guns that I own. I have no problem with the idea of background checks to purchase a gun. I don’t think felons and people with severe mental issues should have one, common sense right? You can spin it any way you want, but a human has to pull the trigger. It is a human mind that decides to kill someone with a gun, a knife or their bare hands. If you make it impossible to get a gun legally, only those willing to break the law will have them. But I do agree that you need to be responsible with them, never leaving them where a child or others can get to them. If someone dies due to your mistake, you are responsible, and you have to live with it.

Social Security and unemployment benefits are not welfare. You and your employer paid into that system, and you deserve the money. Extending unemployment benefits beyond the allotted time is welfare. Someone else has to pay for it. I don’t mind paying for people who really need help. Those that have no way of supporting themselves. But I don’t think you should get anything until you have exhausted all your own means. I don’t think welfare is meant to pay your mortgage or car payments. Sell the car to pay the mortgage. Sell the house and get an apartment. I’m sorry bad things happen, but such is life. You can buy more “stuff” later.

I know I’m not a racist. I don’t care what color you are, what country your from or what religion you follow. All I care about is how you treat me and whether or not you want to be a part of this country. You can’t come here illegally, and expect to be treated the same as all those who did it “by the book”, and then think you can set up your own mini country with your own rules and laws. That’s not how it works. We are a nation of immigrants yes, but you come here with the knowledge that you must integrate into society as a whole. Our laws become your laws. You can’t come here and think you can treat women like dogs, abuse your children and answer to no one. We don’t need new laws, just enforce the ones we have, then modify them if need be. No amount of “feel good” legislation is going to solve the problem. I agree there are many people here that are wonderful human beings. They love their wives and children and want nothing more than to live the “American dream”. To those people I say, thank you for being who you are, but what you did was wrong. If you leave now, you can start over legally and we will speed up the process based on how you were while here. You still go behind those trying the right way, but we will give you special consideration when you name comes up. I think that’s fair. We are not a sovereign nation without enforced borders and strict immigration laws.

There are two things I would love to see happen. A balanced budget amendment and term limits for congress. It’s time the elites moved on and let fresh minds enter. Without term limits, the “Sheeple” of this country fall for the same bullshit every time there is an election. Politicians say anything to get elected, and we all think “This time it will be different” or “He/She needs more time” or some other stupid line. One definition of insanity is doing the same exact thing over, and over, and expecting a different result! DUH!!!

Did you read about the collage in Connecticut that is talking about “Blacks Only” dorms? Are you kidding me? You want to go back to segregation? MLK would roll over in his grave if he heard that! Do we really need special rooms for students so they don’t have to hear something that offends them? Really? I say grow a set, get a life and get over it.

I don’t think we need to “Fundamentally Change” this country, unlike our currant president, but we could stop being so winey, stop trying to be so “Politically Correct” whatever that truly means, and just apply some common sense to these problems. Oh, I forgot. Common sense is not so common.

PS: I’m not running for office. I can’t stand either party!