Slam.

Our local Mariano’s (supermarket) has a grand piano near the checkout lanes. When I first heard the piano music on our way into the store, I assumed it was some automated thing plunking out the holiday music the weekend before Thanksgiving, which in itself is an irksome thing because the hordes of people at Mariano’s at the time were clearly there purchasing food for their upcoming Thanksgiving Feast, not items for the frenetic exercise we call “The Christmas Holiday”.

I tuned out the piano.

As Earl and I made our way to register six, I noticed that the grand piano actually had an elderly gentleman installed on the bench and while he appeared to be three months away from becoming a Disney Animatronic Amusement, he was actually playing the piano and had apparently been hired to do so by the fine folks at Mariano’s. By the way, Mariano’s is nice but it ain’t Wegmans. Just sayin’.

So as we are standing there in line at register six, the guy is playing lively Christmas tunes on this grand piano, while I’m staring at our impending Thanksgiving dinner and hauling it out of the cart and up onto the conveyor belt. I’m not a fan of Christmas music to begin with but it makes me especially surly before the Thanksgiving holiday. Honestly, early Christmas music is a constant reminder that the joyous time of the year is now force fed to the masses through ads, sales, and constant reminders that you are a bad Christian if you don’t abandon your family at 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving to head out to the mall to buy lots and lots of idiotic things for your loved ones.

As we waited our turn for our impending Thanksgiving dinner to be whipped across laser beams and into bags, the elderly Billy Joel then crossed a line, a very deep line in the white sand, because we don’t have snow yet. He started playing “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music”.

I nearly leaped over registers six through ten and slammed the grand piano cover on his bony little fingers. “My Favorite Things” Is. Not. A. Christmas. Song. Yes, it has been performed as a holiday treasure (not buried, but it should be) for the past couple of decades because it talks about woolen mittens and brown paper packages. Yes, Barbra Streisand croaked it out on a holiday album. Yes, Julie Andrews sang it once with a Christmas Tree in the background on a kinescope black and white variety show in the early 1960s. But the fact of the matter is, everyone knows the song from the movie version of “The Sound of Music” and it’s used to calm a bunch a sea urchins down during a thunderstorm, which is wild in itself because I doubt that thunderstorm was the first thunderstorm to pass through Austria in the 1940s.

It irks me enough to make quote the Reverend Mother, “What is it, you cuntface”.

Do people really enjoy listening to holiday music before its time? I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less, after all, the National Anthem that we are all so worked up about lately is actually a drinking song called “To Anacreon In Heaven”. Said song is about consuming alcohol and sex. I’ve seen brides and grooms slow dance to Whitney Houston warbling out “I Will Always Love You”, a song about ending a relationship. “Born In The U.S.A.” is about the Vietnam War.

A song about calming down during a thunderstorm repurposed to be about the birth of Jesus? Why not.

Climate Change.

Earl and I were enjoying dinner at 6:00 p.m. Central Time. The curtains were drawn and we had a beautiful view onto our balcony and the cityscape it reveals. Here it is mid-November and we were also seeing flashes of lightning. Not unheard of but not very common for this part of the country in the middle of November.

I’ve been paying close attention to the weather for the past 24 hours in preparation for a flight I have planned for Sunday afternoon. Even the aviation forecasts are describing our weather as a “roller coaster” this weekend, with flashes of autumn and winter taking turns in the same day.

All of this has been leading me to think about Climate Change. Even though the apparent position of the United States is that Climate Change doesn’t really exist, I can’t help but notice the weather feel different than it did when I was a kid. A little less predictable. A little more like a roller coaster. As I chug through the last year of my 40s, I do think about the fact that the really bad stuff probably won’t happen until I move onto the next phase of my eternal journey. I worry about my young nieces and nephews though. What are they going to have to deal with when they’re my age? What will the planet be like? How much of the Continental United States will be under water?

It would be easy for me to think, “eh, this isn’t my problem, I’ll be gone”, but that’s not part of responsible thinking, now is it. We should work hard, give more than we take and do what we can to make the world a better place than how we found it. As “the greatest country on Earth” moves farther and farther away from that goal, tending to one’s selfishness seems to be the goal of the day, I can’t help but wonder what permanent damage we are doing to life on Earth with our collective irresponsible choices.

I hope someday we all smarten up a little bit and start seeing the Big Picture again. It would be a nice change of pace.

Why.

Years ago I was walking into Danbury Fair Mall. Several people were making their way through one of the entrances and a man held the door for the line of six or so people that walked through. I said “thank you” as I passed through, but I had a frog in my throat and it just sounded like a croak. Getting oriented to the mall, the man ran up to those of us in the process of dispersing into our own directions and yelled, “You’re suppose to say thank you! You’re welcome!”. His grandiose gesture brought the gaze of others upon us and we were to feel sufficiently shunned.

This had me wondering, was the man holding the door open to be polite to those of us passing through the entranceway? Was he holding the door open to feel better about himself? Did he need to feel superior in some way? I couldn’t help but think that his gesture was not a gesture of kindness but an gesture of superiority.

I don’t think I’ve ever stopped asking “why”. As a kid I’m sure I was always asking my mom and dad crazy questions like, “why do the power lines always travel in pairs” or “why do they open register 2 before opening register 1” or “why is the first exit in Ohio exit 241?”. I’m always searching for a reason or a justification or a cause for every and anything in the world. Knowing the impetus behind an action or a situation completes my thoughts on it. It isn’t necessarily closure but there’s logic and that brings me comfort. My dad died because he didn’t keep his airplane airborne at a low altitude. There is a second stop sign on the wrong side of the street at many intersections in Chicago because the signs are easily hidden by parked cars. I was the only one of my generation with red hair because the Irish genes on both side of the family met under the right circumstances at the right time to kick off the ginger gene.

When something happens or somebody does something without an apparent logical reason I can be bothered by it. I think that’s one of the reasons why I struggle with some friends and members of my family still being Trump supporters. There is rarely any logic behind anything the Trump administration does. There’s no rationality behind exclaiming Trump is “The People’s President” when the man has never worked a day in life, dodged the draft, openly admitted that he’d sleep with his daughter if they weren’t related, has toilets, heck, complete rooms gilded in gold, has bankrupted several companies, has his own fleet of jets, had his wife imported from the old country and signs legislation that will bring more financial burden to the middle class. In what world is any of that indicative of “a man of the people”.

I can’t figure out why this country is gripped in such hysterics, angst, vengeance, and competitiveness.

If we set aside our egos, stop the grandstanding and take a step back and look at the world around us (instead of focusing on our small speck of an existence we’ve built), it’s really easy to see that we are way off kilter. The only reason I can find for the craziness is 9/11 and the ensuing non-stop wars afterward. There’s lot of chest beating about how we beat the terrorists and we are doing great things in the world, but it only takes a quick glance at the news or social media or the communities around us to see that we haven’t won anything. Watch a rerun of any television show from before 2001 and see how much different we were. Brighter colors. Brighter smiles. Brighter times.

With the constant turmoil of 2017 I have not been able to rationalize any of it, and it’s taking a toll on my psyche. Moving to Chicago has helped a bit; the people here are friendlier, there’s more to do and the skies are brighter more often than they were in Central New York, but it didn’t resolve the logic I’m searching for.

And for a person that needs some sort of resolution or logic or a complete circle of thought to any given situation, I’m ready for these times to end and for us to start acting rationally again.

How Can I?

How can I sit here and write about my life when people have been shot in Las Vegas in the past 24 hours in what is being termed as the “Deadliest Shooting in Modern U.S. History”.

How can I sit here and read about all these “thoughts and prayers” when the words mean nothing if there’s no action. Our government will do nothing to legislate sensible gun control. Is there some sort of macro that just belches out “thoughts and prayers” whenever a news feed detects another mass shooting?

How can I sit here and write in my blog when folks in Puerto Rico are still dealing with catastrophic conditions, trying to recover from one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded? Trump tweets and tweets and tweets. Folks in Puerto Rico are looking for drinking water, food and electricity. Trump tweets. Oh, and he golfs.

How can I sit here and write in my blog when Trump is basically saying that diplomatic efforts with North Korea are futile. He really wants to bomb that country. I’m very worried that it will bring about the end.

How can I sit here and write in my blog when it feels so futile?

We used to be better than this. Hope, prosperity, striving for peace – it all seems like a rapidly fading distant memory.

War.

I was daydreaming during my morning walk, thinking about the new Star Trek series I mentioned in my previous blog entry. I can’t help but think that in the 1960s, fans of the original “Star Trek” watched the show in part because of the promise of a bold, kinder future. People were looking to escape away from the political turmoil of the late 1960s. This is in stark contrast to the “reboot” movies in the Star Trek universe and now the latest series, “Star Trek: Discovery”. All of these new looks into a once familiar universe are based upon strife and war.

My realization today was that we have a generation of young adults coming to age that have known nothing but a United States at war. These young people have known nothing but political strife, chaos, threats, and terrorism their entire lives. Entertainment, in an effort to connect to the young average viewer, is now honing in on all of this war. They’re entertaining us with the very turmoil that we should be trying to escape from.

What a very sad state of affairs.

When I think about the future I see bright colors. I hear articulate phrases. I hope for harmony. I hope for peace. Our “entertainment” doesn’t show that universe and I fear it’s because it’s not what people want anymore. I worry that a generation of Americans that have known nothing but war will always seek out war. 

Peace seems further away than it ever has before.

#TakeAKnee

I wonder how many of these folks carrying on in support of 45’s tirade about taking a knee during the National Anthem would have scolded the Colonialists for taking a stand against the British Monarchy. Tea anyone? Admit it, every one of those free thinkers, you know, the ones that wrote the Declaration of Independence, were not afraid to protest. They took a stand in what they believed in. They were not afraid to think. They were not afraid to go outside of the box. Anyone that scolds that sort of behavior, especially in these extremely divisive times, is at the very least short sighted. This is not about protesting the American flag. Don’t fall for that. That message is part of Trump’s blathering, extremely UNPRESIDENTIAL rhetoric. This is about protesting the narrow-mindedness of what’s going on under this president. If you’re fine with racism, homophobia, unnecessary violence against minorities and prejudice in general, you’re not part of the solution.

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Another Rant.

This could be my last post on Facebook but it probably won’t be because apparently I can be some sort of masochist.

Rant time: It’s “nice” that Facebook can barrage me with a constant stream of horrific memories of 9/11 on September 12. I mean, why be timely when you can relive the sad desperation of that horrible day over and over again, day after day, to garner more ad money for this service? 9/11/01 was a tragedy, no doubt, and some of the posts I read yesterday were quite touching and thoughtful. But today is September 12 and I strive to move forward with my life. But Facebook, in all its “infinite wisdom” wants me to wallow on sorrow, just like the barrage of Father’s Day ads I see every year, even though I have told Facebook several times that my father is deceased. Why am I still on this thing? I really have no idea other than everyone seems to be afraid of venturing outside of Facebook these days. To share is to Facebook. Most folks like echo chambers and their news fed to them by Facebook. I seek. I search. I learn. If you want to contact me, text me. Email me. Follow my idiotic tweets. Read my blog. Heck, if you’re shy and don’t want to talk to me, I’ll set up a free voicemail account and you do the same and we’ll exchange voicemails. Write me a letter. Step outside of this walled garden of growing idiocracy, there’s a beautiful world out there.

What?

I did a search of Twitter on “Irma Landfall” to see the latest tweets about the strongest hurricane in history. Amongst a wide assortment of charts, facts, and speculation, this little gem of a tweet popped up.

Again, I ask those that think “God will handle this”. ISN’T IT GOD’S HURRICANE TO BEGIN WITH?

It’s CLIMATE CHANGE. The climate is changing and it isn’t for the better.

The Age of Aquarius has morphed into the Age of Idiocracy.