Always Take The High Road

Always Take The High Road

Life Lesson Five

Take The High Road. You’ll thank yourself later.

People will eventually and more and more often, find themselves in situations where emotions and stakes are high and you’re in a position to do two things. Continue to engage with your adversary as they try to drag you down the low road into the gutter, or walk upwards and way from them politely and with humility and as much grace as you can muster. It’s harder than it should be sometimes, but in the end, it’s always worth it. There is nothing to gain by going low, and a lot to lose, which will be difficult to regain in time. Often it’s respect, peace of mind, and dignity which takes time and effort to build. Not to mention respect and dignity are traits that are relative to the people you choose to associate with or aspire to.

That said, taking the high road is more for personal betterment than something that should be done to impress or even require an audience. It has to do with integrity, which is how you carry yourself and make decisions when no one is around, and you know you are choosing the right path versus the wrong one. Always take the right path, and you’ll have nothing to regret or worry about. There should be reasonable and justifiable reasons for choosing the right path of course, should anyone ever ask. No one should, but if you can’t defend the reason for making the choice made with solid, prudent, sound, intelligent, honest, truth-based responses, then you may want to sleep on it some more or give it some more time before responding or deciding. As you get older, your gut will be able to tell you what’s right a lot of the time, but your gut should always have reasons you can write down to support it.

Police are Good

Police are Good

Life Lesson One

Police are good.

I’m starting things off in no particular order, but this first being a lesson I found myself teaching Cecelia the other day when playing Legos.

We have no lack of legos and Lego people around here, and we enact play situations by building buildings, restaurants, hospitals, playgrounds, or whatever is needed in our Lego village to create a world for our 100+ actors and they can live out their imaginary lives, directed and put into play by my daughter Cecelia.

We have a bucket full of Lego people of all sorts of professions and walks of life, some being obvious as to what gender and role they are, and others not so much. But we do have a policeman. And he was called upon the other day for help.

This made me pause and ask Cecelia what do Policemen do? Her answer, as I suspected, and pass no judgment on, was a typical one, but an incorrect one, and one that should be learned now. I’ve asked some adults related to her the same question and gotten the same ignorant answer. So I wanted to make sure she was provided the correct information so she could approach police correctly and without doubt as to what their purpose is.

Her answer was: “To put people in jail.” which is wrong on every level. Our society today has no small number of adults who believe the same thing. Of course, it firstly depends on whose side of the law you’re on. But even then, that’s a technically incorrect answer.

Judges and the judicial system decide who and for how long people are incarcerated. Not police. And that’s only part of their jobs. This is all supposed to be taught in school and from parents, but the ball has been dropped hard and by many people for a long time on this area, as well as a lot of very serious others that used to exist. That’s why I’m writing this now for my child.

But police exist, in America at least, to help, serve and protect our citizens, and it should be pointed out, usually not asking for a fair amount in exchange a lot of the time, depending on the precinct.

I have friends who were, and still are, police. We have a lot of them in America, and need them. And when you have so many individuals in such a huge group that has to be managed so wildly in scale and scope and style across this land, you are going to have some pop up that aren’t there for the right reasons, some that do their jobs better than others, and some that do it all for reasons all their own. It’s usually a thankless job, and depending who is in the White House, it can even make your job overly deadly and reviled, which isn’t the best perspective to have on people that are just that: people, who stake their lives on protecting strangers from harm day in and day our for no or little thanks or pay or respect in some circumstances.

But when someone has a problem, or trouble comes calling, the first thing they do is call the police to help. And they respond, to manage the situation as they’ve been trained. They are there because they want to help, and have a job to do which is a job you can’t provide yourself, on your own. They show up when trouble is brewing, not to make trouble. And the people that see them as adversaries see them that way because they are on the wrong side of the law. Simple as that. Same as firefighters and doctors and nurses. They are around to help solve your problems when they become out of your control. That’s why we have police.

Andy Griffith was a Sherrif and is more like I perceive the police in general. The person I found myself in trouble with growing up all the time ended up becoming a Sherrif’s deputy. Police are humans, and they want to help. They aren’t infallible, just as I or you aren’t. And maybe out of the hundreds of thousands of officers that are out there, there are a few that aren’t the best people, just as in any large group of any people. But to consider them adversarial means you have been raised on the wrong side of the law. And if you have a problem with them, it usually means you did something wrong, otherwise they usually wouldn’t be there. But they do come around to help when called just as much as when they’re called to intervene. They have hard jobs to do, so the best thing to do is respect that, understand that and appreciate the fact they keep peace and try to keep you and me safe from harm.

Don’t Rush to Judge People and Circumstances

Don’t Rush to Judge People and Circumstances

Life Lesson Four

Do some mile-walking first

Similar to previous lessons but entirely different, is what to do when it comes time to judge people, and circumstances when making decisions.

No one should go around being judgemental, but there are times when it’s necessary in order to size up things and make choices. Usually, three options should be made: The best possible outcome, the most likely outcome, and the worst outcome. You want to be prepared for all three so that you’ll have options. You always want to have options, and the worst place to find yourself is painted into a corner. Preparation is key to this. It involves training your self to think differently sometimes, but it’s for the best. Such as attacking the hardest problems first, acting quickly so as not to lose out, and asking yourself “if not now, when?”

Everyone in this world is facing a crisis of some type. It might not be a crisis to you, but in scope and scale to them, it certainly is. Crises are relevant to the people who find themselves having to manage them, and what their experience and skill level is handling such problems. As you get older, you go through growing exercises that aren’t fun at all, but they make you stronger and better suited to make hard decisions. The right decisions. They mettle your steel in other words.

I’ve had to handle some hard-core situations, to me. And later I learn about someone else that has just had to handle even worse situations than I did, which helps keep things in perspective. Everyone is fighting some type of personal battle at all times, and you have to keep that in mind. That might be an addiction, going through a divorce, being indicted on criminal charges by people you once trusted and held closely, or whatever. What seems simple to one person might seem insurmountable to another. The case is different for every single person on Earth, and when you consider there are over 7 billion people on Earth right now, that’s a lot of worry and problems at once.

But until you’ve walked a mile in the other person’s shoes, you really don’t have the ability to judge them. People end up homeless for circumstances that may or may not be out of their control, but you have to consider that almost no one strives to wind up in that situation. However, it happens. That doesn’t make them a bad person, or a good person, or any type of person, other than one who may need a helping hand. Everyone needs help at some point in life, and to declare that you don’t can’t possibly be true. No one has survived any length of time on this planet without the help of another person at some point. And that doesn’t make anyone weaker or stronger than the other, it just means someone was thankfully around to help when needed. Asking for that help is something people have a hard time doing, but that might be another post. That tends to have to do with humility, pride, embarrassment, or other factors, but nothing so superficial should put a person in a place they could have avoided.

Humans are full of flaws. One big one is being able to even admit that. But once you accept the fact that no one is perfect and humility is a characteristic to be sought and respected, it makes life easier.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Buy Into The Hype

Don’t Buy Into The Hype

Life Lesson Three

Sleep on it.

This lesson has to do with standards, which you yourself set. Don’t let others set them for you or tell you what they should be. That said, set them higher than you believe you can achieve but are realistically attainable. That’s the trick. Only you will know where your horizon lies, and you have to gauge that yourself with accurate measuring tools, markers and milestones. This is where experience and help from experienced individuals such as parents can be useful. Learn from their mistakes and let them help with setting your sights on target.

When confronted with a decision that’s serious and has meaningful, long-lasting implications and consequences, if you can, give yourself some time to process it. Often your first thought is the right one, but better to be sure by evaluating the choices and the possible outcomes and consequences before making these types of decisions. These often involve others that aren’t even aware they’re in your radius of thought and have ripple effects that have to be contemplated thoroughly. We are in a time now where mind-mapping software can be helpful, to ensure all outcomes are taken into account and plan out what might happen in best most-likely- and worst case scenarios. Doing this arduous, rigorous, but necessary task will help remove regretful decisions later and eliminate hurting others that might not even be involved.

I used to do crossword puzzles a lot. The NYT in particular, which I recommend for building a nice vocabulary and learning some trivia and stretching your brain some, but overall the NYT should be regarded as mostly birdcage liner. One thing I found helpful to complete them was to walk away for a while and take a walk with a dog and get some fresh air and exercise. When I returned to the puzzle, I often found I could solve the remaining boxes with a refreshed perspective. That same is true with small and big problems that arise in life. Walk away for a while and regroup if possible.

 

Don’t Jump on Bandwagons

Don’t Jump on Bandwagons

Life Lesson Two

Be true to yourself.

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/feb/13/at-arms-length-are-tattoos-finally-becoming-uncool

Throughout my life, I’ve been a misfit. Didn’t quite fit in with this crowd, didn’t form with that crowd. It’s a search I think every person undertakes whether they want to admit or not, but it’s obvious when you just have a look around. People are always wanting to be different but conform to some crowd. It’s a lizard brain instinct that has to do with birds forming and flying in flocks and moving as one unit I think as fish do in tightly formed schools to feel safe en masse, but ultimately makes them just as exposed as their neighbors are to danger and their other imaginary fears.

Growing up, it’s a nonstop pursuit, to “fit in” but at the same time not relinquish what is ours as individuals and give up what we still cherish, whatever that may be. People try to dress like others, make their har look like others, and go through all sorts of lengths, unsuccessfully always, to become something they aren’t. People buy Harley Davidson motorcycles, and make huge life choices that perplex their spouses and neighbors and family as to what they’re thinking. What they’re thinking is that should they pretend to be something else by adorning themselves with artificial and temporary accessories, it will transform them into something better. That’s my amateur psychological take on it, at least.

The obsession with tattoos is something I’ve watched from the sidelines with utter disbelief. Our whole county, or at least region I inhabit here in the midwest/southern/crossroads/nowheresville area named Louisville, KY, has embraced tattoos and physical mutilation as something that makes sense on some financial and aesthetic level.

I’m not judging others for any reason whatsoever, as I have no right or reason to. I just like people watching and human behavior interests me, individually and collectively. I’m one of the most exotic people in Jefferson County, Kentucky, however, because I have no permanent stains on or under my skin and have no plans to put them there. Slowly, though the entire population has marked themselves with a graphic, or a dozen, that they’ve seen somewhere that under no duress or influence of narcotics presumably, they’ve spent scare resources on to carefully embellish themselves with stain to show the world….something. Each indelible mark surely has it’s own motive and tale, which must be presented by the holder, but is made visible when each time and moment is just right.

I’ve hired creative employees who have sleeves of tattoos and symbols around their head and ears of Harry Potter reason, and it makes no difference to me. Their work is what I’m interested in, and they did good work. Male and female, all tattooed, of different generations, with different impulses that made them obtain their body art. To each their own. Just as now, I hope the majority of the people I am around don’t perceive me in some imaginary light because I choose to not make myself graffiti.

What might seem like a great idea at one time must be thought through with some foresight. Are you going to look back at yourself in 60 years and possibly not think maybe that is an idea that should be given more thought? Same with the reason I choose to wear conservative clothing and dress in a manner that sets time and fads aside. I can look at photos of myself when I was a child, a teenager, a young man, and now an older man and there’s usually nothing outlandish that stares back at me. I don’t follow trends or fads and tend to hold onto stable, foundational, time-tested, structurally sound, reasonable ideas, fashions, music, cars, and everything that surrounds me that I utilize day to day. I don’t give thought to what the media, associates, friends, celebrities or politicians or others that simply have shallow, personal, superficial agendas at stake tell me to.

Listen to your inner voice. Listen to your gut. Listen to your instinct. That usually is what’s right and will carry you the length though life. Not silly fads, distractions, or things that someone else thinks is “cool.” It’s not. Being yourself is what’s cool.

 

 

Life Lessons

Life Lessons

Since I’m around my daughter 50%, or less, of her life these days, there are things which I’ll always feel are important to have her learn, with or without my assistance. The opportunities for these lessons aren’t always evident, and usually, are quick moments when a parenting trigger is flipped and the chance has to be taken immediately or else it loses context and meaning.

cecelia and her apple

APPLE!

These events happen when my daughter is with me or with other people of course. They revolve around her life and are meant to provide guidance as to how to make strategic and important decisions through her life and shape the path she follows, hopefully, more towards personal fulfillment, success, and happiness, and not what lies along so many treacherous but tempting offshoots along that path. The details and shiny things present themselves endlessly through life, and as a parent, I feel it’s part of my job to teach her how to decide hot to approach, engage, or walk away from such distractions or opportunities, and how to distinguish between the two at the very least.

As I embark down this trail with her by my side, apart from her mother and others that inject themselves into her life along the way, I have to be careful and conscious of how they are presented on many levels. But at the core, my will is to have something she can always use to learn from and help her navigate herself through life, which becomes more intrepid with every tick of the clock, I’ve found.

I’ve approached her mother with concerning situations Cecelia has mentioned to me out of the blue, which was not only tossed to the wayside when retold as folly, but taken steps further and turned into serious accusations, again, against me about creating imaginary situations involving people I don’t even know and planting harmful and strange violent scenarios into our daughter’s head for reasons I can’t even fathom and don’t even want to try to imagine. It renders me as a malicious sociopath, which if were the case, I don’t believe I’d be free to walk the streets, much less have joint custody of our daughter. So the challenges I have before me to help Cecelia hopefully are apparent and real to anyone who ever reads this. It’s a situation akin to having someone drive straight into your car, and then call foul when the situation realistically and by necessity, evaluates their driving and the incidental consequences. You want to help those that are the most exposed by the accident, but the other driver is more concerned about getting out of the situation as best as they see themselves entitled to, no matter what steps must be taken.

Since I take the time to craft deliberate and thoughtful approaches to help Cecelia, and then have them tossed into the trash, that’s not the result I aim for. So I’ve decided to write down my advice to her and maintain them here and in digital storage for her or anyone to use as they see fit. It’s not for my benefit, inasmuch as seeing my daughter grow up to be healthy and happy is my benefit, and not to harm anyone, since I have no enemies of my own I’ve made. Others may see me as theirs, but that’s the situation they’ve created in their own world and something I can’t or don’t want to be involved in. People’s perceptions are their own. I write things down here for the world to read and see because I try to live my life as an open book for others to judge. I have nothing to hide and all I want to be remembered for, or at least one thing is to have been a helpful person, especially as it relates to my daughter and raising her. I’m open to any ideas and suggestions that are available that might be beneficial at any time, which I have stated here, there and everywhere.

So with that preface, I’m going to begin assembling some life lessons for her here that can be utilized and not hidden and thrown away never to be considered or discussed as they normally would between two parents about their child. They are lessons I’ve learned through my near half-century life, and should be regarded as something to think about, act upon, discuss, wisdom to heed, or even dismissed, but at least not without the same diligence I’m using to present them. They are lessons I’ve learned by trial and fire, as I was raised, and certainly aren’t a one-size-fits-all toolbox of remedies. But if I can provide an ounce of prevention to avoid a pound of cure, then it’s working.

Baby Pictures

Baby Pictures

Click here to learn more

I’m taking the opportunity tonight to try and organize my massive media library comprised of photos and videos I’ve taken over the past decade or so, and in doing so, of course, have come across some that are simply remarkable.

cecelia in a box

One, in particular, is a video of my daughter taking her very first steps. I managed to capture it on video in our home one afternoon upstairs while I was watching her. It brings tears to my eyes to watch it now as she’s presently demanding for me to watch her run back and forth through our rooms in our house now and laps all through the basement. Again and again, which I cheer on as if leaning in by the poles by the very finish line of the Tour le France. She knows she’s fast and loves to run, clothed or not. But what’s the most moving thing is that I have so much footage of her from way before she was even born, up until this present day. I’ve always been around her a lot, and took care of her during the nights, giving her bottles while my then wife slept, and I’d work down in the basement through the night and watch Cecelia. And I often watch her through the day and much more, which is why I have a million hours worth of photos and videos of her, her and me, and her and her mother and her and her half-sister. I took her to parks and to farms and we have been side by side every single second we’re able to be (which is a stipulated situation I will never become comfortable with), which I cherish, so I have tons of footage of it all. So that’s what I’m working with tonight.

queen cecelia

 

I take a lot of care, pride and joy in the memories I have with my daughter, and even our family back when it was intact. Cecelia seems to love being able to go back and see herself sprouting up from the very Saturday we went to the hospital to have her, to the next day and each day, week, night, weekend, month, and year we’ve been together and I’ve been by her side every single moment I’ve been able. And hopefully, I can give these assets to her to show her family one day and look back on with as much pride and love as I have for them.

Amazon Tells New York Nevermind

Amazon Tells New York Nevermind

At the last minute, for Amazon to decide to not locate their much-anticipated HQ2 in New York because they were obviously not welcome there by the government and loudmouthed activists, is an example of how insane some situations have become between politicians and capitalists. If you look at the photos of the people who don’t want Amazon to locate there, you have to wonder, how in the world would it even impact them personally? In New York, the people trust the government to make the decisions for them, whether that’s about abortion or economics and finance. Both issues the government was never intended to be a tool to handle for the people it represents. And both times it failed. New York is a collectivist state and allows mob rule to employ a few people to make decisions on behalf of the entire state, much like a socialist state. Much like Venezuela, in fact. There are the people at the top that make the decisions and tell the people at the bottom what decisions they should be making, which is what enriches the people at the top. It’s a fascinating arrangement to watch from afar.

Who were the winners and losers here? Well, Take Amazon. They lost nothing. They’re still the biggest company on Earth. Take New York. They lost the chance for tens of thousands of high paying -high skilled jobs, billions in tax money, a spike in intellectual capital to move to the place, a flagship hub of commerce to be placed where cities lined up to have the very opportunity they threw away and more. It could have been the beginning of an East Coast Silicon Valley, for better or worse. When companies locate to cities like that they inevitably create opportunities that were never imagined and give back to the citizens in ways never asked. It draws attention and intellectual resources to the spot where they’re located. There’s a reason cities were lining up for years jockeying to be the place Amazon chose. And New York told them to get lost. Because of short-term political egos and power plays. Not for the benefit of the people of New York and any long term success.

I’m not sure how DeBlasio or anyone can begin to think New York is now better off than they would have been with Amazon locating their HQ2 there. Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about business and planning for and funding the future. Much more than anyone in government does. And Bezos might not know as much as they do about how government works, but that may be just as well. No one seems to know how the government should work, and at the same time, everyone seems to know. Northern Virginia was the real winner here, and that will be felt down into North Carolina.

The Queen is Dead Boys

The Queen is Dead Boys

This clip from 1962’s The L-Shaped Room is a right bit of fun:

I don’t bless them
Farewell to this land’s cheerless marshes
Hemmed in like a boar between arches
Her very Lowness with a head in a sling
I’m truly sorry – but it sounds like a wonderful thing
I said Charles, don’t you ever crave
To appear on the front of the Daily Mail
Dressed in your Mother’s bridal veil?
Oh…
And so, I checked all the registered historical facts
And I was shocked into shame to discover
How I’m the eighteenth pale descendant
Of some old queen or other
Oh, has the world changed, or have I changed?
Oh has the world changed, or have I changed?
Some nine-year-old tough who peddles drugs
I swear to God
I swear: I never even knew what drugs were
Oh…
So, I broke into the palace
With a sponge and a rusty spanner
She said: “Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing”
I said: “That’s nothing – you should hear me play piano”
We can go for a walk where it’s quiet and dry
And talk about precious things
But when you’re tied to your Mother’s apron
No-one talks about castration
Oh…
We can go for a walk where it’s quiet and dry
And talk about precious things
Like love and law and poverty
Oh, these are the things that kill me
We can go for a walk where it’s quiet and dry
And talk about precious things
But the rain that flattens my hair…
Oh, these are the things that kill me
All their lies about make-up and long hair, are still there
Past the pub who saps your body
And the church who’ll snatch your money
The Queen is dead, boys
And it’s so lonely on a limb
Past the pub that wrecks your body
And the church – all they want is your money
The Queen is dead, boys
And it’s so lonely on a limb
Life is very long, when you’re lonely

Hope

Hope

All great guitarists, and many not-so-great, name their guitars. B.B. King famously played his “Lucille” and Jerry Garcia had names for his custom masterpieces like “Wolf,” and “Tiger” since that’s what was inlaid in their headstocks. His guitars became incredible musical machines and works of art in his later years. Stevie Ray Vaughn even named his most famous Stratocaster, albeit unimaginatively: “Number 1.” And his red Strat “Lenny.” And what’s left of Willie Nelson’s acoustic is named “Trigger” although “Hunk of scrap wood” might be more appropriate.

So, in kind, I name mine, since my collection is getting to where it should be. Problem is, naming a guitar isn’t as easy as it might seem. It’s like naming anything you care about. It can’t conflict with names of people you’ve come to be, let’s say, indifferent about. And you have to name it something that has meaning. And isn’t lame. Or trendy. Or stupid. That begins to narrow the list considerably.

What I’ve found myself doing, after crossing off the low-hanging fruit like “Jessica,” “Red Molly,” and “Stella Blue” is naming them after girls I personally know. That way I can assign their characteristics to the instrument properly, and it fits. Disclaimer: I’m doing this in fun and with the utmost respect meant for the ladies herein mentioned. And their husbands and special “others.” I think they would agree with me about the positive shared traits between them.

So this guitar is “Hope.” She’s an all-American with a big attitude, bright sound and is perfectly shaped, with stars! She’s also a 2018 Recording King 000 limited edition Bakersfield, which I historically didn’t have any experience with, but couldn’t pass up. I mean, look at the vibrant colors, and the strap is made for it, plus it screams Evil Knevil! It’s one of my favorites and is a blast to play.

Hope