Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Fearful Master

Someone recently told me they can't imagine why some people don't vote in the upcoming election and suggested they should move to another country. Apparently, the lack of an imagination causes the brain to swell with self-righteousness. There are multitudes of factors, imagined or otherwise, why certain people don't vote.

The Rigged-System Factor. There is a valid perception by some that the two major political parties have rigged the system to benefit themselves and exclude opposition, and that politicians are in bed with corporate interests. These people have too much integrity to participate in a rigged system, thereby giving it legitimacy.

The Between-Rock-and-a-Hard-Place Factor. These people are convinced the country is in a big mess and don't like it. Since they believe the Democrats and Republicans have perpetrated this mess, they're not going to vote for either of them and see no alternative other than banging their heads against the wall.

The Lack-of-Interest Factor. Some people just don't pay attention to national politics. They feel they have better things to do than concern themselves with such trivial matters. It's not their problem.

The Lazy Factor. Lots of folks are concerned about politics but don't want to take the time and effort required to register to vote, then later transport themselves to a polling place and stand in a long line with strangers for a lengthy stretch of time just to cast a vote. They'd rather stay home and let everyone else do all the work.

The Unanticipated-Unavailability Factor. Sometimes an event, such as an illness or unanticipated travel or a family tragedy or relocating to another area or whatever, makes it difficult or impossible to vote.

The Insignificance factor. These people realize they are tiny cogs in a gigantic system. They assume their participation is futile and are resigned to be subservient to whatever is inflicted upon them by external forces.

The Non-Vote-is-a-Vote Factor: This group does not like the system and/or does not like any of the choices offered. Their act of not voting is an act of defiance, in essence a statement against the system and/or all candidates. Their wish is that no one votes thereby sending a message to the politicians to fix the broken system.

The Ignorance-is-Bliss Factor. Many people view government as a distraction in their lives. They don't want to know it even exists. From their point of view, their lives will go on pretty much as before and don't see any reason to upset the equilibrium of their existence. If you ignore it, it will go away.

The Generation-Gap Factor: There are those who only trust others within their generational bracket. Some older people don't want to be ruled by young fools and some younger people don't want to be ruled by old farts. If there are no candidates within their age peer group, they will not participate.

The Cancellation Factor. When two people, such as a husband and wife, intend to vote for "opposite" candidates, they come to an agreement whereby neither one votes. Since one of their votes would automatically cancel out the other vote, it makes perfect sense to them to mutually avoid the process.

The Evil-Government Factor. H. L. Mencken once wrote, "I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time." Many others feel the same way. Anyone who believes government is inherently evil is certainly not going to participate in the process of selecting someone to oversee the evil.

The Mathematically-Irrelevant Factor. To a person who is mathematically inclined, casting a single vote in an election involving 120 million participants seems like folly. The odds of a single vote making a difference are about the same as the odds of flapping your arms and flying across the Atlantic Ocean, against the wind.

The Anti-Authority Factor. Some people simply have a problem with authority. They were probably spoiled or tormented by their parents when they were young and don't like to be supervised. They're not going to vote for a leader because they don't want to be led. Our prisons are filled with them. The real world is filled with them too.

The Lesser-of-Two-Evils Factor. There are those who strongly dislike the two major alternatives. Democrats want to tax us to death in order to control us from cradle to grave and redistribute wealth. Republicans want to tax us to death in order to police the world and feed the greed. Both are costly, excessive big-government alternatives. Those who want it significantly scaled back have no options except to vote for the lesser of two evils or not at all. And since voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for an evil, many choose not to participate.

The Casual-Vote Factor: Some people are either ignorant of the issues or don't give a damn. That's fine too. An uninformed or casual vote is worse than no vote at all.

Don't malign someone for not participating in a system they deem as unfair or corrupt or irrelevant or repugnant or whatever. Many of them have what they considered to be valid reasons for not being involved. If so, it's their civic duty not to vote.

In this perilous world, there are tyrannical dictatorships or communistic strangleholds in certain countries where there is no vote. Plus, there are other countries where you're required to vote, sometimes with only one candidate on the ballot. These options aren't really options – they're prison camps with borders.

In America, you have a right to vote and a right not to vote.

The human race is imperfect, all governments are flawed, the lack of government leads to chaos and excessive government leads to servitude.

Humanity is a work in progress. We're all in this together. But that doesn't mean we all think alike.

And the sun will rise in the East again tomorrow.


Quote for the Day -- "Government is not reason. It is a force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Lust for More, More, More

We are a country of greedy fools, being manipulated by greedy fools.

When I was in fourth grade, we were told the future would be so modernized that we would have much more free time on our hands than our parents. My father, like almost everyone else in the 1950’s, was working 40 hours a week, 50 weeks per year. I was relieved to learn I wouldn’t have to put in that many hours when I was his age.

But it never came true.

A half century later, we're still stuck at 40 hours per week, with nearly 20 of those hours going to government coffers. The average American family pays more in taxes than food, clothing, shelter and transportation combined. Either we are incapable of being personally responsible for our own welfare or government has gotten vastly out of control.

This is insane.

Yet, politicians continually promise more jobs, more growth, more goodies for everyone.

And this country of greedy fools, which is $10 trillion in debt, keeps falling for it. We keep borrowing against the future to satisfy our insatiable lust for more, more, more.

Guess who benefits from our insatiable lust for more, more, more.

We have created a government that lusts for more, more, more. Its objective is growth. And in order to grow it must continue to encourage people to work, work, work in order to feed itself. And it must continually gain more control over its subjects in order to be more needed by its subjects in order to grow, grow, grow.

We have created a monster that is devouring us. We have enslaved ourselves by our own greed. Yet we are blind, because we want more, more, more.

Guess who else benefits from our insatiable lust for more, more, more.

There are powerful people in high places who manipulate global affairs, profit from global turmoil and yearn for a one-world global government to be controlled by them. These are wealthy bloodlines, international bankers and military-industrial power brokers. They have an insatiable lust for more, more, more. And there never is enough for them until they have complete control over the entire world.

We are pawns in a global game of chess. Fat cats get fatter and the pawns are clueless.

Wake up and smell the roses.

Stop lusting for more, more, more.

Slow down and enjoy your precious leisure time because that's the only freedom you're going to get.

This world is about to implode before your eyes. The only way to stop it is to stop being needy and greedy. Let the rest of the world wallow in it's self-perpetuated madness. You cannot stop the momentum created by fools, but at least you don't have to be part of the problem.

The truth will set you free.

Life is simple. Discover what makes you happy, figure out a way to make it work and do it.

Don't follow the greedy fools over the cliff.

Follow your bliss.

Find your purpose.

Reach your potential.

Experience your magnificence.


Quote for the Day – "The things that people do cannot, under any conditions, be more important than the world." Carlos Castaneda (Shaman)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting Over The Hill

In the movie THE ELECTRIC HORSEMAN, Robert Redford is a former rodeo champion, now past his prime, selling his soul to a large corporation as a spokesman for their brand of breakfast cereal. During a moment of disillusionment with his life, aided by a hefty dose of Jack Daniels, he rides off with a prized horse owned by the corporation in order to save it from being turned into a commercial puppet like himself.

Newspaper reporter Jane Fonda tracks down Redford and the stolen horse, joining them in their journey across remote areas of Utah. Redford plans to release the horse into the wild, freeing it from exploitation. Fonda tags along hoping to get a good news story out of it.

One day, as they’re walking up a formidable hill, Fonda begs Redford to slow down and take a rest.

Instead of slowing down, Redford marches on while telling Fonda a story from his old rodeo days about a cowboy who broke a rib and punctured his lung during a bull ride yet continued competing in his events.

“And he still rode the rankest mare there,” Redford said, proudly.

Fonda isn’t exactly impressed, wondering why men have to display so much machismo.

“It gets you over the hill,” Redford exclaims as he continues trudging up the incline.

Every once in a while we are faced with the option to gut it out or fall by the wayside. Sometimes it isn’t even an option.

In November of 2002, 27-year-old Aron Ralston quit his engineering job to pursue his goal of becoming the first person to climb solo, in winter, all 55 of Colorado’s peaks that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation.

Four months later, he survived an avalanche but remained undeterred.

In April of 2003, having told no one of his plans, Ralston was hiking alone in Blue John Canyon in a remote area of Utah when his right arm became pinned by an 800-pound boulder.

Falling by the wayside was not an option.

Ralston was trapped for five days and out of water before he finally took the only action he could to save himself. He broke each of the two bones in his forearm, applied a tourniquet and cut off his right arm at the point of the break with a pocketknife. Then he rigged an anchor, fixed a rope and rappelled 60 feet to the canyon floor.

After hiking for about five miles, covered with blood, Ralston encountered two tourists and was transported to safety.

It later took a crew of 13, using jacks and a hoist, to move the boulder and recover Ralston’s arm, which was subsequently delivered to the local mortuary. Because of the crude field surgery, doctors were forced to amputate the arm even closer the elbow.

While this particular tragedy was gruesome, Ralston brought much of it on himself. A prudent wilderness hiker would notify someone of their destination and expected time of return. Plus, hiking with a companion is essential in emergencies. With today’s electronics, carrying a cell phone or walkie-talkie would also be wise. And of course, avoid positioning body parts under anything heavier than a Buick.

If unwilling to take these basic precautions, find another hobby such as checkers or basket weaving.

Even though I try to live a simple life, I too must gut it out on occasion. For example, I’ll often get out of bed even if I’m still tired.

A person is the sum of their actions. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and rise to the occasion.

It gets you over the hill.


Quote for the Day – "You are an Eternal Soul, surrounded by Infinity. Virtue is nothing more than the proper use of energy." Bret

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fowl Philosophy

Is there a purpose to existence?

Was the universe created by a supreme being?

Is there life after death?

Philosophers have been pondering unanswerable questions since the beginning of time. It's good work if you can get it, but there isn't much money in it.

One question has haunted philosophers ever since either the chicken or the egg came first -- why did the chicken cross the road?

To find you why the chicken crossed the road, I drank a bottle of Jack Daniels, fell into a self-induced hypnotic state of bliss whereby I became one with cosmic consciousness, and channeled the answer through many famous people, past and present. Naturally, I channeled them alphabetically.

Buddha: "To ask the question is to know the answer."

George W. Bush: "It had good intelligence there was something on the other side of the road that required its intervention -- bring it on."

Dick Cheney: "It was the right thing to do under the circumstances."

Bill Clinton: "It depends on what the word 'is' is."

Hillary Clinton: "It's all part of a vast right-wing conspiracy."

Confucius: "When chicken cross road, road no longer exists."

Rodney Dangerfield: "The chicken don't get no respect – the rooster carries around the picture that came with the wallet."

Albert Einstein: "Perhaps the road crossed the chicken. It's all relative."

Jeff Foxworthy: "You might be a red-neck chicken if your henhouse is a 1948 Buick."

Freud: "The road represented a lifelong journey of sexual repression and the other side of the road signified a desire to be with its mother."

Al Gore: "I invented the chicken."

John Kerry: "First I voted for the chicken to cross the road; then I didn't."

Jay Leno: "I don't know why the chicken crossed the road but if you cross a chicken with an elephant you'll get really big eggs."

Rush Limbaugh: "It was obviously a Democrat and didn't know where it was going."

John McCain: "My friends, the chicken crossed the road because the road needed crossing."

Marilyn Monroe: "What was the chicken wearing when crossing the road? Chanel No. 5, of course."

Barack Obama: "The chicken wanted change."

Oprah: "You go, girlfriend."

Sarah Palin: "The difference between a chicken and a hockey mom is lipstick."

Dr. Phil: "The problem we have here is that the chicken has unresolved issues on this side of the road and by crossing to the other side has found a clever way to avoid them. I would suggest that the chicken cross back over to the original side of the road and take a long look at itself. Then ask itself why it wanted to cross the road in the first place. If there is no positive reason for such behavior, I would suggest it stay put and try real hard not to make the same mistake twice."

The Pope: "Novus ordo seclorum."

Ronald Reagan: "Crossing the road is not the solution – it's the problem."

Jerry Seinfeld: "What road? How wide was the road? Did the road have a center divider? Maybe it just wanted to prove it wasn't chicken."

Martha Stewart: "When the chicken crosses a road, it's ready for the kitchen. Kill it, remove the feathers, gut it, baste it with clarified butter, and bake it for an hour and a half at 350 degrees. Don't forget to save the feathers – you can make a nice decorative bonnet out of them."

Donald Trump: "The other side of the road had a better upside."

Pondering unanswerable questions is an exercise in futility. Banging your head against the wall is also an exercise in futility, but at least you burn off some calories. What difference does it make why the chicken crossed the road? The chicken crossed the road because the chicken crossed the road. Unless you can converse with a chicken and the chicken is inclined to answer your lame question, that's the only answer you're going to get.

People who ponder such things have too much time on their hands. The true question that needs pondering is how to get through life without working too hard at it or breaking the law.

Life is a mystery. Every answer leads to one or more questions, with no end in sight. But that's okay because most of the time the questions are more important than the answers anyway.


Quote for the Day – "A chicken crossing a road is safer than one flying overhead." Bret

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Time Traveler

On November 2, 2000, a person named John Titor began a series of postings on a public Internet forum by declaring that he was a time traveler from the year 2036. On March 21, 2001, he announced he was returning to the year 2036 and was never heard from again. What transpired in between was remarkably strange.

A dialogue between John Titor, who claimed to have been born in 1998, and those who corresponded with him via the Internet lasted about four months. During that period, Titor answered every question put to him. He even posted pictures of his time machine and its operation's manual.

Titor also revealed the future up to 2036.

In 2011, the United States was engaged in a civil war, primarily between big cities and rural people. This had dramatic effects on world governments. It ended in 2015 when Russia attacked the United States.

In 2015, a world war (involving the United States, Russia, China and Europe) killed 3 billion people. The environment subsequently became infected with disease and radiation. This condition forced people to gravitate into small communities, ranging in size from 1,000 to 4,000 people, where everything was more centrally localized and community oriented. The early new communities were formed around colleges and universities. Food and livestock were grown locally, and a massive effort began to clean up the environment.

In 2036 (present timeline for John Titor), Omaha, Neb., is now the Capitol of the United States. The country is divided into five geopolitical regions, based on their economic and defensive strengths. Each region elects its own president, with different terms of office in different regions. Democrats and Republicans no longer exist; there are now over 10 major political parties. Local governments have more control.

Other conditions in 2036 include:

1) Everyone works together to keep the community strong (avoiding work is frowned upon).
2) The elderly and orphans are highly revered and looked after by the community.
3) Schools are no longer a political indoctrination system but rather help children learn how to learn.
4) Medical treatments are more advanced but used less often as people now die when it's time to die.
5) Solar energy is the major public source of electricity.
6) Safe water is a highly valuable commodity.
7) The American flag has not changed but there is debate about altering it from 50 to 5 stars.
8) There is no more income tax or nationally subsidized welfare.
9) There are fewer cars and more use of horses and bikes.
10) A high-speed train system connects larger communities.
11) Hats are more common, flashy colors are less common and clothing is more functional.
12) Computers still exist and are much more reliable.
13) Football remains a major sport.
14) Rock-n-roll has survived and is archived on the Internet (which also still exists).

In a certain sense, I too am a time traveler. I've lived in many locations in my life, including Minneapolis, Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and many other smaller towns in 11 states altogether. In 1992, I moved to the Ozark Mountain region of northern Arkansas where I soon realized I had also moved back into 1957.

Time travel is easy. All you need is a strong desire to escape the present and a bit of imagination.


Quote for the Day -- "I've been on a calendar, but never on time." Marilyn Monroe

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seven Presidential Candidates for 2008

Sometimes when making decisions you have to be creative. Based upon three unorthodox methodologies, here are the basic characteristics of some of the presidential candidates in the November election.

Personality type is one of 79 categories based on the characterology of a person’s first name. Astrology relies on a person’s date and time of birth. Numerology defines traits based on a numerical conversion of a person’s full name (the first number within the parenthesis is the basic character, followed by their subconscious desire).

The following are candidates for the office of President of the United States in 2008, listed randomly by osmosis.

LIBERTARIAN PARTY – Robert Laurence (Bob) Barr, Jr.
Platform: Less government, more individual freedom, a free economy, an end to the war on drugs
Personality type: Cavalier Prophet – Open-minded, self-confident, strong emotions, self-control
Astrology: Scorpio (11/5/48) – Resourceful, loyal, dynamic, unyielding
Numerology: (2, 3) – Tactful diplomat with affection for others

Platform: Balanced budget, reduce national debt, oppose free trade, term limits for Congress
Personality type: Reigning Presence – Spontaneous, strong-willed, private, emotional, king of the castle
Astrology: Unknown (X/X/25) – age 83
Numerology: (9, 1) – Humanitarian with a desire for independence

Platform: Nurture economic interests, a strong military to police the world
Personality type: Warrior Monk -- Intelligent, demanding, stubborn, thinks he’s smarter than everyone else
Astrology: Virgo (9/29/36) – Observant, reliable, inflexible, cold
Numerology: (6, 3) – Protector with affection for others

Platform: Consumer protectionism, reduce corporate influence in government, environmentalism
Personality type: Generous Heart -- Very active, nervous, independent, belligerent, irritable
Astrology: Pisces (2/27/34) – Compassionate, devoted, oversensitive, insecure
Numerology: (7, 8) – Deep thinker seeking wisdom and perfection

DEMOCRATIC PARTY – Barack Hussein Obama II
Platform: Tax & spend on social engineering, large government will solve all problems
Personality type: The Grasper -- Desire for power and influence, self-assertive stubbornness, controlling
Astrology: Leo (8/4/61) – Confident, ambitious, pretentious, vain
Numerology: (1, 9) – Individualist with a desire for philanthropy

GREEN PARTY – Cynthia McKinney
Platform: Protect the environment, promote social justice, nonviolent resistance, anti-corporate
Personality type: Dazzling Seductress – Idealistic, expressive, goal-oriented, materialistic, inner conflicts
Astrology: Pisces (3/17/55) – Compassionate, devoted, oversensitive, insecure
Numerology: (3, 4) – Expressive speaker with tenacity of purpose

Platform: Repeal the income tax, oppose abortion, state's rights, nonintervention in foreign affairs
Personality type: Tenacious Champion – Self-control, melancholy, cold, not moved by the plights of others
Astrology: Taurus (5/3/52) – Persistent, patient, stubborn, self-indulging
Numerology: (4, 6) – Practical builder with a desire to give advice to others

Name characterology, astrology and numerology may not be a very scientific approach for choosing a leader but it’s probably better than believing empty campaign promises or going along with the voting herd.

We live in a hostile world governed by imperfect people trying to guide an imperfect populace through an uncertain future. Choosing an imperfect person to guide us through the uncertain future is an opportunity that only comes along every four years.

And there are plenty of imperfect candidates to choose from.

Quote for the Day – "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, its an instrument for the people to restrain the government." Patrick Henry

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Third Party Option

In November, the citizens of the United States elect a new president. The current mindset, reinforced by the media, is that there are only two viable political parties, Democrats and Republicans. However, there are always several third parties added to the mix.

Political third parties have made a major impact in the past.

The Liberty Party was formed in 1840 to abolish slavery. Although unsuccessful, they did exert influence leading to the abolition of slavery a couple of decades later.

The first war on drugs was against alcohol. In 1892, the Prohibition Party was formed in an attempt to eliminate alcoholic beverages from society. This policy was eventually adopted in 1920 and repealed in 1933. During prohibition, as with the current war on drugs, criminal activity skyrocketed to meet public demand.

Collectivism was a popular concept in 1900. The Socialist Party was introduced with a platform including child labor laws, unemployment compensation, a national Department of Education and a graduated income tax. Twenty-four years later, socialists created the Progressive Party seeking a takeover of large corporations and the railroads by the federal government. Eventually this coalition became supporters of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Teddy Roosevelt won 9 of 12 Republican primaries in 1912 but they gave the nomination to William Taft. So Roosevelt formed the Bull Moose Party and ran as a third party candidate. The Democrat Woodrow Wilson won.

In 1980, conservative Ronald Reagan opposed liberal Jimmy Carter. John Anderson, a disaffected Republican, ran as an independent on fiscal conservatism and social compassion, winning seven percent of the vote.

Ross Perot formed the Reform Party in 1992 and ran as an alternative to Bush #1 and Bill Clinton. His major issue was balancing the federal budget and opposition to free trade. He had impressive poll numbers early (20%) but soon faded after scoring high marks on the screwball-o-meter.

Third parties can make a difference. Here is a list of several alternatives to business as usual.

1) The Libertarian Party – believe in less government and individual liberty. They want a free market economy, a voluntary retirement system, to end the war on drugs, and a hands-off foreign policy.

2) The Green Party – proclaim to be environmentalists who believe in human rights, social justice and nonviolent resistance. They dislike corporate-dominated society and actively participate in political protests.

3) The Reform Party – main issues are balancing the budget, trade restrictions, campaign reform, lobbying reform, congressional term limits and a new “paperless” tax system.

4) The Natural Law Party – vow to bring smart people together to resolve problems and make contingency plans to prevent future problems. They call it a common sense approach. To some it sounds a bit vague.

5) The Constitution Party – want to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations, abolish congressional pensions and foreign aid, eliminate paper money (coins only), and phase out Social Security.

6) The American Party -- support Biblical and constitutional principles of life, liberty and property. Oppose global trade, gay rights and illegal immigration. Support school vouchers and the return of the Panama Canal.

I didn’t include the Socialist Equality Party, the Socialist USA Party or the Socialist Worker’s Party. If you yearn for wall-to-wall government confiscating and redistributing wealth, you can always vote for the Democrat.

I also didn’t include the Anarchists who want zero government and unlimited freedom. If you yearn for wall-to-wall chaos, you can always move somewhere where there is no government, such as Neptune or Pluto.

Of course, many of these political parties won’t be on most state ballots. Apparently those in power don’t want the American people to have more than two alternatives – they might do something rash, such as voting for a political philosophy they actually believe in rather than going along with the herd.

It's no secret that the two parties in control, Democrats and Republicans, have collaborated to drive this country into a $10 trillion national debt with no end in sight. Democrats want a large, all-encompassing government to manage society whereby the central bureaucratic apparatus redistributes the wealth and shepherds its subjects from cradle to the grave. The Republicans want a strong, powerful government to keep the global economy churning at full capacity and impose itself on the rest of the world as self-appointed global cops.

The Democrats offer us Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Obama is a charismatic young lawyer whose only real experience seems to be a couple of years as a community organizer in Chicago. He has the most liberal voting record in Congress and a costly, oppressive socialistic agenda of an expanded federal government. Biden is a 6-term senator who was caught cheating in law school.

The Republicans offer us John McCain and Sarah Palin. McCain is an honorable military man from a military family who graduated near the bottom of his class, 894 out of 899, at the U.S. Naval Academy and would continue our costly, mettlesome policy of being self-appointed global cops. Palin is a popular governor from the state of Alaska who shoots guns.

Those who want neither of these two costly, intrusive alternatives have other choices, one of which is to vote for the candidate of a third party that shares their preferred notion of the function of government. Or they can simply bang their head against the wall until the pain exceeds the mental anguish.

Choose wisely. The future you save may be your own.


Quote for the Day – "A primary duty of every citizen is to defend their liberty against their government." Bret

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bronko and Muffy

Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski was born in 1908 and grew up on the family farm near International Falls, Minnesota, where he ran four miles each day to school.

Muffy was my ex-wife's Shih Tzu, a small dog that looks like the business end of a dust mop with all the charm of a wolverine having a bad hair day.

In the summer of 1926, the University of Minnesota football coach made a trip up to International Falls to recruit a player. When he got lost, he pulled over to the Nagurski family farm field and asked a young lad for directions. Bronko raised the plow with one hand to point the direction and quickly became the object of the recruiting trip.

On January 3, 1990, Muffy and my ex-wife, whose hobby is buying things she can't afford, had unexpectedly stopped by my cactus ranch in Arizona, basically avoiding various creditors hot on their trail. Between the two of them, Muffy was the only one who was properly house trained. They stayed just long enough to consume everything in my refrigerator and dirty every dish I owned without having to wash one.

Four days later, on January 7, my ex-wife and Muffy departed for parts unknown.

It was the same day Bronko Nagurski died.

I never saw Muffy again.

Bronko Nagurski was 6 feet 2 inches and 235 pounds of brute strength and awesome tenacity. As a senior at the University of Minnesota in 1929, he was named a first-team all-American at both fullback and defensive tackle, the only player in history ever so honored at two positions in the same year. As a fullback with the Chicago Bears (1930-37), Nagurski once bulldozed his way over the goal line, knocking one defender unconscious, breaking the collarbone of another defender and crashing into the wall in the back of the end zone where he cracked several bricks.

In 1985, I was living in Topanga, California, a bohemian enclave in the mountains near Los Angeles, when Muffy and my ex-wife showed up on my doorstep for similar reasons. One afternoon, Muffy and I were sitting on the stoop when a pack of nasty dogs came strolling by, prompting a menacing snarl from one of us. At first, the five large dogs were bewildered by a seven-pound wad of dog hair harassing them. But Muffy soon joined them and led the pack off into the hills to mess with various critters like rattlesnakes and mountain lions and DEA Agents. The pack returned a couple of hours later with Muffy still in the lead. From that day on, no dog in Topanga ever messed with me.

When Bronko Nagurski retired from football and later from professional wrestling, he opened a gas station back in International Falls. Once you bought a tank of gas from him, you never bought gas anywhere else – he screwed the cap on so tight, no one else could get it off.

Bronko is the perfect name for a powerful fullback, considered by many to be the greatest football player of all time.

Muffy is not the perfect name for a perpetual snit fit that leads packs of nasty dogs into the wilderness.

My ex-wife had a knack for overlooking the obvious and solving problems by avoiding them. I took her everywhere but she always kept finding her way back.

Bronko and Muffy are both gone now but my ex-wife remains on the loose somewhere down in Texas, probably still dodging creditors and overlooking the obvious.

I sure do miss that dog.

Quote for the Day – "As I travel, on life's pathway.... Know not what the years may hold.... As I ponder, hope grows fonder.... Precious memories flood my soul...." song lyrics by J.B.F. Wright

Friday, October 3, 2008

11:11 -- The Purpose in Life

In 1982, I was living in the Hollywood Hills overlooking Universal Studios. I had recently been divorced, was doing occasional computer programming contracts and writing screenplays trying to break into the movie business.

One night, I went to bed fairly early. I was sleeping soundly, having a very vivid dream about a woman with dark curly hair and thunder thighs. She was with a French poodle that was giving birth to four puppies, one black and three white.

All of a sudden I awoke and sat upright as if lifted by an invisible giant hand. My head turned to the left, as if it were compelled by some unknown force, until I was staring at my digital clock.

The clock read 11:11 PM.

Two days later, I was in the middle of a short-term computer assignment in Woodland Hills. For absolutely no reason, I turned around and glanced at the digital clock on the far wall of the office.

It was 11:11 AM.

At that moment, the manager walked into the office and introduced me to a new employee, a woman with dark curly hair and thunder thighs. The new employee told me it was a bad day to start a new job because her dog just had a litter of puppies the previous evening, one black and three white French poodles.

This was a major turning point in my life.

This 11:11 phenomenon triggered a series of remarkable precognitive dreams and continues to this day. My life had been transformed. I became very introspective and started living a more simple way of life.

I moved into the mountains above Malibu, switched from writing screenplays to writing novels, cut back on the computer work and spent much of my time studying metaphysical phenomena, such as the art of dreaming, ancient prophesy, reincarnation, shamanism, remote viewing, auras, telekinesis, parallel dimensions, spirit guides, ghostly apparitions, Edgar Cayce, Carlos Castaneda, etc.

My first novel was about a person who had a similar series of 11:11 encounters that changed his life. I wanted to see if other people were having the same experience.

Over time, I learned that my 11:11 experience was not unique. My first discovery was a commune of 11:11 people in Eureka, Montana, led by a woman named Solara. I had some e-mail correspondence with them, intending to travel there and check them out, but they changed locations a few times and I lost track of them

If you do a Google search on 11:11, you'll get about 300 million hits. Similar events have happened to many other people around the world. Psychic Uri Geller, also an 11:11 person, believes the 11:11 people all have a common destiny but it has yet to be revealed.

I believe 11:11 is the gateway to a higher plane of existence, the key to the mysteries of the universe and beyond. It's a signal that awakens the subconscious mind to the revelation of the greater reality of an ultimate oneness, thereby compelling you to reflect upon your life and seek a higher purpose.

In any event, I was slowly evolving into escaping the rat race of L.A. and discovering my purpose in life. Perhaps this was my midlife crisis moment.

I quit working, sold my possessions, bought a 4X4 pickup truck with a camper shell and acquired all the necessary equipment to become a gold prospector. My objective was to roam around the southwestern USA to find a place to settle down and start a new life of peace and solitude.

Then I left Los Angeles in the summer of 1986, at age 42, with a dog named Shadow at my side, and headed for the hills. I never expected to strike it rich, but I had this romantic notion that the adventure would be the real treasure. If I managed to stumble upon the Mother Lode, it would only be frosting on the cake.

I spent about 8 months moving from one remote location to another in the northern California gold country, western Nevada and northern Arizona.

I liked the Arizona territory the best and spent most of my time there.

At first, I found some nice areas in the wilderness east of Dolan Springs, where I camped among the Joshua trees. During the day, I hiked into the hills, taking samples along the way. At night, I sat by the campfire, staring at the stars, wondering whatever possessed me to live in a big city in the first place. It was a bit like being in heaven.

For the next several months, I camped on the low desert northeast of Wickenburg or up in the mountains near Prescott, depending on the weather. I actually found a few traces of gold now and then, but preferred to spend most of my time staring at campfires and discussing philosophy with Shadow.

It was a glorious experience.

The most important thing I learned was that the purpose in life is to discover the purpose in life.

And in order to discover the purpose in life, you must realize that you are of paramount importance and total insignificance, both at the same time.

You must become fearless in order to become whole. Suffering and injustice can only be overcome with grace and courage. Patience is the key to inner peace.

The most important thing Shadow learned was where all the bones were buried. His purpose in life was to hang out in the desert with some crazed loner who kept staring into campfires, boring him with philosophy.

Eight months after I started my midlife journey, I bought a home in the desert a few miles outside of Wickenburg where I began to live a simpler life. I did occasional computer work, just enough to keep the bills paid. I also continued writing novels and prospected the desert, scratching for gold, eventually filing two mining claims.

Through some fateful circumstances and coincidences, I sold the mining claims for a tidy profit six years later and moved into the Ozark Mountain region of Arkansas where I continued writing and found a publisher for my four novels.

Life is simple. Decide what makes you happy, figure out a way to make it work and do it.

For many years, I thought my purpose in life had been fulfilled, and I could go to my grave with a smile on my face and no regrets. But life goes on and new challenges keep popping up.

I started out with nothing and still have most of it.

My riches are my memories.


Quote for the Day – "The difference between one who seeks to discover their purpose in life and a lost soul is that the Seeker sees everything as a challenge, whereas the lost soul sees it as a blessing or a curse." Bret

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In the Eye of a Hurricane

By the spring of 1964, I had spent two years at the University of Minnesota, majoring in mathematics, vacillating between becoming an architect or a mining engineer, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

That summer, I read a magazine article about computers and how there would soon be a huge demand for experts in this new field. It sounded exotic and potentially lucrative. Being an impetuous young adventurer, I decided to become a computer programmer.

On August 10, my 20th birthday, I stuffed my belongings into the trunk of a 1953 Chevy and headed for Florida early the following morning, where I intended to enroll in Miami-Dade Junior College in Miami, one of the three top-rated computer schools in the country at the time.

Four days later, I arrived in Miami and checked into a cheap motel near campus. It was hot, humid and raining. As far as I could tell, I was the only person in Miami wearing socks.

The same day I arrived, a weather disturbance classified as a tropical cyclone moved off the eastern African coast.

After catching up on my sleep, I went to the college campus the next day and registered for fall semester.

The weather disturbance soon reached hurricane force in the Atlantic and was named Cleo.

There was a pool hall across the street from campus with a lunch counter that soon became my unofficial headquarters. I had spent much of my youth in pool halls and felt right at home there.

On August 22, Hurricane Cleo slammed into the French West Indies, causing 14 deaths and much damage.

I eventually found a cheap place to rent near campus. It had a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. It also had cockroaches the size of sewer rats and enough beefy spiders to make a horror movie.

On the morning of August 24, Hurricane Cleo passed south of the Dominican Republic, killing seven people. Later that day, it veered into Haiti where damage was considerable and 192 people perished.

A couple of days later, I was hanging out in the pool hall, wondering why the place was so deserted.

On August 27, the eye of Hurricane Cleo moved onto Key Biscayne. The owner of the pool hall began chasing out customers and preparing for some sort of onslaught.

That’s when I first learned about Hurricane Cleo.

Dominic, the owner of the pool hall, invited me to join his family and a few guests at his house, a block from the pool hall, for a hurricane party. It sounded better than waiting it out with cockroaches and spiders so I accepted.

Classified as a category-four hurricane, Cleo had sustained winds of 135 mph, with gusts up to 160 mph. It hit Miami at full throttle.

At midnight, I watched a large garbage can blow down the street and never hit the ground. About 1:00 am, the exterior wall of the TV station collapsed during a live broadcast of weather conditions. A few minutes later, the electricity went out in all of Miami.

Not too long thereafter, there was a sudden dead silence. The wind had abruptly stopped and it was no longer raining.

Dominic handed me a flashlight and announced that he and I were going to check on the pool hall. When we got outside, the entire area was flooded with knee-deep water. I followed Dominic to the pool hall, which had about a foot of water inside. It smelled like rotting fish but everything else looked okay.

On the way back to the house, Dominic told me to hurry -- we were in the eye of the hurricane and it was about to kick in again. I was simply a young wanderer from the far north where the lakes have loons and winter temperatures are prefixed with minus signs. I knew nothing about hurricanes or the eye that came with it.

Dominic also told me to watch out for snakes -- another news flash that got my attention. It's amazing how quickly you can move when you're knee deep in snake-filled water in the dark, in the eerily silent eye of a moving hurricane.

We made it back inside the house just as Hurricane Cleo hit again with full force. The closer to the eye, the stronger the winds. And we were on the very edge of the eye just then, with the fierce wind now blowing in the opposite direction as before.

While everyone else eventually went to sleep, I spent the rest of the night waiting for the roof to cave in.

Hurricane Cleo caused $125 million in damage in the Miami metropolitan area. It continued along the eastern coast, mostly out at sea, until it fizzled out on September 4 east of Newfoundland.

Only three disturbances to reach landfall as a category-five hurricane, the most intense category, have ever been recorded in the USA.

1) 1935 – Labor Day Hurricane in the Florida Keys
2) 1969 – Hurricane Camille in Mississippi
3) 1992 – Hurricane Andrew in Dade County, Florida

My ex-wife was also a category-five disturbance once in 1981, but that’s another story.


Quote for the Day -- I'm not lost, I'm just taking the scenic route.