Decline of Western Civilization

We are just days away from the election.  I, once again, am stressing the importance of voting.  Some areas have early voting, you should have plans in place for voting next Tuesday or otherwise.

This post is not about any particular candidate, but rather the political climate that surrounds us.  It’s no secret that we have two drastically different candidates, and they both have their share of problems.  Again, I’m not here to tell you who to vote for.  This late in the cycle, I think most people already know who they are voting for.

Our world has become increasingly divisive.  Everything has become politicized.  Words like “libtard” are used on a regular basis for those who disagree with others.  Both sides are guilty of pushing towards this climate of extreme polarization.  Sadly, no matter what is the outcome of this election, this climate is only showing signs of getting worse.

Compromise used to be the foundation of our government, majority may rule but with respect to the minority.  Now, compromise is the dirty word that no one uses.  Compromise and understanding now exist in that middle ground which has become a No-Man’s Land where none shall enter unless they face political death.  Even before the election has been finished, members of Congress are already saying they will continue to not do their jobs and simply obstruct everything that is put forth should a Democrat win the Presidency.  Supreme Court will continue to be vacant.

It boggles my mind that this is the world we live in now, and that this has become acceptable.  Apparently, this is the world we want to live in now, because we are all guilty of creating it.  No matter who wins next week, it seems that things will only continue to get worse until our country grinds to a halt, stagnates, and dies.

Sorry to be such a downer, but this election cycle has been utterly depressing from a variety of angles, and the light at the end of the tunnel is a train bearing down on us.


Be An Informed Voter

The election is nearly upon us, some areas have even begun early voting.  I can’t stress enough the importance of going out and voting.

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, that’s not the point of this post.  By this point in the election cycle, I’m sure most people have already made up their mind on who they are voting for.  Even if you have already decided who you are voting for in the Presidential election, there are plenty of other things on the ballot as well.  You should spend a few minutes and take a look at your area’s sample ballot.

You are already online if you are reading this, simply open a new tab, go to google and enter sample ballot.  You put in your address and can view everything that you will be voting on next month.  Spend a few minutes and look at the issues and candidates, maybe even research the Presidential candidates.  Think about what kind of world you want to leave for the next generations, what values are important to you, do these candidates match up to that?  Forget all the memes on Facebook, the talking head pundits on cable news, and really look at what kind of person we are electing to the highest position in the land.

It’s that simple, spend a few minutes, look at the issues for yourself and come to your own conclusions about it.

We Have Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

It’s another politically themed post, again, if it’s not your thing simply move along.  As the election gets closer, these may be increasing.

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself” – Franklin Roosevelt

FDR’s famous quote is wholly accurate today.  Much of what we see and hear in the media and our leaders is predicated on fear.  We are told of horrible atrocities that happen every day all over the world.  Many have a lot to gain by us living our lives in fear.

I refuse to live my life ruled by fear.  I refuse to live in a world where I feel I need a gun to go to the grocery store.  I refuse to live in a world where I feel afraid of Muslims and other minorities.

Our world is safer than it has ever been.  Crime is down across the country and has been on the decline for decades.  Yes, crime still happens and yes horrible things still happen all over the world, but on the whole, the world is a safer place.

One thing that does scare me is a Donald Trump presidency.  He and his campaign surrogates want us to be afraid.  Their business is to make us afraid of Mexicans, Muslims, and other minorities.  He wants us to build a wall, to ban all Muslims coming to the country.  This is not the country that I grew up in.  These are not the ideals of our founding fathers.  This is not the great melting pot.

“Fear attracts the fearful.
The strong.
The weak.
The innocent.
The corrupt.
Fear is my ally.” – Darth Maul

When we are afraid, when we are told that things are so bad, that we need security and a protector.  We will give up many of our freedoms in the name of security, and once those things are gone, they will never come back.

Republican Hypocrisy in the Support of Trump

Yup, it’s another political post.  That’s what happens when you are trapped in the darkest timeline and forced to deal with the possible prospect of a Trump Presidency.  If a political post is not your thing, you won’t hurt my feelings if you skipped this post.

Republicans, I have a lot of problems with what your party’s agenda, but Trump doesn’t even pretend to support it.

Republican Party: We need to support the Troops!
Trump openly mocks veterans and a POW.

Republican Party: We need to enact laws to control who can use which bathroom because of sexual deviants and predators.
Trump speaks openly of trying to sexual assault a married woman.

Republican Party: Those who don’t pay taxes, don’t pay their share are moochers and takers.
Trump talks about how smart he is for not paying taxes, and due to current tax laws may not have paid taxes in nearly two decades.

Republican Party: Family values!
Trump has been married 3 times.

Republican Party: American jobs!
Trump runs a company that has outsourced work outside of the US.

Republican Party: Illegal immigrants are taking American jobs.
Trump has hired migrant workers in his hotels, paying them well below standards.

Republican Party: Christianity!
Trump doesn’t even seem to be able to cite a simple biblical verse.

This isn’t even going into the seemingly limitless problems with Trump, his poor business practices, lack of knowledge for the job, numerous lawsuits, bankruptcies, and more.  Republicans if you support Trump there is a word for you, Hypocrite.

Stuff I’ve Written – Live Your Dreams (part 5)

In the past, I’ve shared some of what I’ve written here.  It may be good, it may be terrible, but I need to get it out into the world.  If you like what you read, let me know.  I’ve been posting this story in installments and this is the final chapter.

Live Your Dreams (part 5)

Two more weeks passed as John continued to refine his novel.  With this draft he let Stephanie review it again and he emailed a copy of it to his brother, Pete.

Pete wrote back three days later.  “Hey little bro, this is really good.  Where did all this come from?  Glad to see that you are putting your time off to good use.”

John and Stephanie both agreed that it was time to send his manuscript off to an actual editor and to start submitting samples to publishers.  At night they would talk of what should the cover art be or joke about who should star in the movie.

During the day while John would write, Stephanie was beginning to worry.  She had picked up as many extra hours at work as she could.  John being home all the time helped with the cooking and chores, but the financial stress was starting to wear her down.  His unemployment had run out, and their savings was dwindling.  He still applied for jobs but wasn’t getting any call backs.  She was hesitant to bring it up with him, he was in a good place and she didn’t want to ruin that.  He had been there for her while she finished school.  She felt it was her turn to be strong for him.

Tuesday started as most Tuesdays started now.  They slept in until it was time for her to get up and get ready for work.  He got up with her and watched her leave.  He went in the study and worked for a few hours.  At 3:00 he stopped, went outside to get the mail before making a small lunch.  He was halfway through the living room when he stopped dead in his tracks.  A small white envelope in his hand, the rest of the mail fell to the floor.  The letter was from one of the publishing houses he had submitted a sample to.

He gingerly put the envelope down on the table, still unopened, grabbed his phone and texted Stephanie. “I got a response, what should I do?”

“Open it silly.”  She responded several agonizing minutes later.

“Do I have to? Should I wait for you to come home?”  John was pacing the living room now.  Excited to see what it said, but also terrified of what it might say.

“You can wait for me if you really want to.”  She responded.

“Good, I’m afraid of what it might say, either good or bad.”  He knew he was not going to get any work done today now.  He turned on a video game to take his mind off the letter, but he could still feel it there like it had a magical power to it.

At 7:15 Stephanie finally came home.  John was getting a bit frantic with nervousness.  She came in to find him pacing the room with the controller in his hand still trying to play the game, unable to sit for even a minute.

“Oh thank god you’re home!”  John tossed the controller down, gave her a kiss and put the letter in her hand.  “Open it, I can’t.  I just can’t.”

Stephanie laughed at how ridiculous he was being.  “Okay, I’ll open it, but you need to sit down and relax.”  She opened the envelope and read the letter inside.  Her smile beginning to fade.

“What? What does it say?  They hated it right?”  John was back on his feet.

“I’m sorry sweety.”  She began to read the letter aloud.  “Dear Mr. Miller, we thank you for your submission but unfortunately we are not interested in publishing your work at the present time.  We wish you the best of luck in your career.”  Stephanie came over and put her arms around John.  “It’s okay, rejection is part of the job.”

“I know, but I just had this feeling like things were going to turn around for us.”  He put his arms around her.

“Take the night off, relax with me.  We will watch something fun and cheer you up.”  Stephanie walked them into the kitchen.  “Now what are we going to do for dinner, I’m starving.”


Two days later, another rejection letter came in.

A week later, two rejection letters showed up on the same day.

As the days stretched into weeks, more letters would arrive.  All of them saying the same thing.  John’s heart was crushed with each one.  It became harder and harder to pull himself out of bed each morning.

Even though they didn’t talk about it much, John knew how bad their finances were.  He went three days without a shower, and hadn’t shaved in nearly two weeks.  Stephanie worried everyday when she left for work, what shape he would be in when she got home.  She never saw him go in the study.  She would call him everyday on her lunch break and she could hear the TV on in the background.

John knew he was sinking into depression.  Daytime TV is full of depressed people and people who have failed at life.  However he saw no way out of it.  His writing had failed.  No one was calling him back about the applications he had turned in.

John was falling asleep on the couch watching a heartthrob actor talk about his latest tearjerker movie, he was woken up by his phone chirping.  It wasn’t Stephanie’s ringtone.

“Hello.”  He hoped it wasn’t a call back on an application with how groggy his voice sounded.

“John? Hey! It’s Tommy.”  The voice on the phone identified itself.

“Tommy?”  Slowly the wheels in John’s head turned.

“Sorry, it’s been a few months hasn’t it.  Tommy Jackson, we used to work together.  You were across the row from me until we were booted out the door?  I didn’t wake you up did I?”

John woke up a bit more.  “Tommy, hey.  Sorry I was kinda out of it.  How have you been?”

“I’m good.  I was actually calling you to see if you had a found a job yet, I know it’s pretty rough out there.”

John was awake, but confused now.  “It’s going okay, I haven’t found anything yet, but I’ve got some applications out there.  Why do you ask?”

“Well I remember you were really good at solving some complex problems back at the old job, and I’ve started at a new company and I think we could really use someone like you.  I’m in pretty good with the managers here.  I think we need to get together one day and I’ll let you know all about it.  Would you be free for dinner tomorrow night?  You can bring Stephanie too.  I’ll bring Janice.  Think of it as a job double date.”

“You and Janice? Wow.  Yeah, we can do dinner tomorrow night.”

“Great!  How about the italian place on Main, Antonia’s at 7:00?”

“Sounds like a plan.  See you tomorrow then.”  John hung up feeling confused, but like there was a slight weight lifted off of him.  This was closer than he had gotten to a job in weeks.  He texted Stephanie to let her know.

She texted back “That’s great sweety. I told you good things would come.”


John and Stephanie walked arm in arm through the door of Antonia’s restaurant.

“Have I told you how beautiful you look tonight”  John whispered in Stephanie’s ear.

“Only three times tonight, but thank you.  Again.  You are looking quite dashing yourself too.”  Stephanie said with a smile.

Tommy stood and waved them over from across the room.  “So glad you guys could make it.  John you remember Janice?”

“Yes, we met after my incident with Roger.”  John laughed.

“That was so embarrassing!  It’s funny now, but was so awkward then.”  Janice laughed

They sat at the table, laughed and exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes.  Tommy finally brought them back to the point of the dinner meeting.  “Now, for the reason I called you.  It’s been almost 6 months since we were both let go, and it looks like you haven’t yet found anything.  I was lucky enough to make it into my current position and I know we need someone like you.  I’ve spent the last 2 weeks building the case for my bosses, this isn’t a position open to the public yet.  I’ve convinced them to talk to you first.  I think you would be perfect for the position.  What do you say?”

“What do I say?”  John was trying to hide his desperation, and not seem to overeager.  “I say yes, what do you need me to do?”

“Great news!  Bring your resume down tomorrow morning around 9:00 and we can get an interview going right then.”  Tommy shook John’s hand over the table.  “Now that that’s settled.  I’m starving, I hear their lasagna is to die for.”

The rest of the evening was full of laughs and good times shared.

On the ride home John turned to Stephanie “Was I too eager? I didn’t want to sound desperate.”

“No, you didn’t sound desperate at all.  You sounded like you were happy that a friend was offering you a good job.”  She patted his leg.  “You worry too much.”

John could already feel the burden on his shoulders lessening, but one thought was still nagging at him.  “Do you think I am giving up on my dreams?”

“What do you mean?”  Stephanie asked.

“Am I giving up on being a writer by taking this job?  I’m just worried that I gave it up when things got bad.  Should I have stuck through it and kept fighting?”

“You’re not giving up.  At least I didn’t think you were.  This job, whatever job you do doesn’t define who you are.  It’s just a way to pay the bills so that we can go off and do the things we want to do.”  Stephanie reassured him.  “Last I checked, there was only one requirement to being a writer.”

“Oh yeah, what’s that?”

“To write and to keep writing.  As long as you keep doing that, you are a writer.”

#BernieOrBust and the Democratic Process

This is gonna be a political post, so I’m just gonna apologize ahead of time for that.  If that’s not your thing then feel free to just skip on past this one.  (Reminder you can always see fun geeky stuff over at

It’s all but official that Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic Presidential nominee, it’s been a tight race but it looks like Bernie Sanders just doesn’t have the numbers to beat her out.  Full disclosure, I am a Democrat, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and I am not happy to see that Hillary is taking the nomination.  I am also not a hugely political person, I view politics much like art, I know what I like.  So this is just my views and my uninformed opinions on the subject.  I may be wrong, but it’s how I see the world.

There has been a push among some of Bernie’s supporters that basically says if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination then they will either vote Trump (yikes!), not vote at all, or try to write in Bernie’s name.  This is problematic for many reasons.

The first option is truly the most frightening.  Why would someone who supported Bernie Sanders want to vote for Trump?  That’s worse than chopping off your nose to spite your face, that is chopping off your head.  This just boggles my mind.  Why in the world would someone basically ignore everything that their chosen candidate stand for and vote against them and all their ideals simply because they are unhappy about how the primaries turned out?  This is not an adult way of looking at things, this is how a spoiled child looks at things.  This is breaking a toy because someone said you can’t play with it.  It makes me wonder if they really were following Bernie because of what he said or because he was the hot thing at the moment.

Almost as bad is those who say they will stay at home.  I’m sorry but that is not how the democratic process works.  If you care so much to have your voice heard then staying at home is you putting the duct tape over your own mouth.  Why would you choose to silence yourself just because of the results?  Again, this is not how an adult deals with a situation.  You may not be breaking the toy, but you are taking it home and not letting anyone else play either.

When this election started there was something like 18 candidates (albeit most of them were part of the Republican clown car clusterfuck), so it’s pretty clear that a lot of people had to watch their chosen candidate bow out of the race.  That doesn’t mean that you get to bow out either.  It’s a choice between two now, and I’ll freely admit I don’t really like either of them, but I understand that I can still have my voice be heard by looking at the two of them at seeing which one best represents me.  I’m not saying that you have to vote strictly along party lines, but democracy only works if we are all involved.

Staying at home poses another problem.  We aren’t just voting for a president in November.  There are congressional seats, senate seats, local elections, and various measures and propositions in all the various states.  If you choose to not vote at all, then you are removing your voice from a lot of areas beyond just the Presidency.

The final choice is to write in Bernie’s name.  Not every state accepts write-in votes.  If it makes you feel better to do that then that’s your right and privilege to do so.

Unhappy with Clinton or Trump?  Then you should take a look at the 3rd party candidates.  With the amount of disillusionment among the Republicans and Democrats, it’s entirely possible that we may have a realistic third party candidate.  Something that has not been seen for quite a while.

It’s important to vote.  People have fought, killed and died for you to have the right to vote.  This election cycle has been 17 different kinds of awful, but it’s important to stay involved.  This isn’t like the World Series where you can choose to not watch the Yankees lose in October again.  This is a process and you need to stay involved.  Will the things you want always win out? No.  But that’s life as an adult.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  If you choose to not be involved then you are just letting others speak for you and that is not a democracy.

Baseball: A Metaphor For Life And Failure

I was listening to a podcast this morning, like I do, and the guests were discussing creative careers and life.  The old analogy that the world’s best baseball players fail far more than they succeed was brought up.

I’ve heard this analogy before, and I’ve probably even given to someone at some point as advice, but something about it struck a chord with me today.  It could be that I am slowly trying to push myself into trying new things and projects.  It can be very disheartening to try something and see it fail spectacularly.

The idea that the best person to ever play baseball, someone considered to be of divine heritage, or someone who has pumped their body full of so many chemicals that they are nearly unrecognizable as human, is still going to fail more than 6 times out of 10.  Imagine that, these people do crazy things to their bodies and their futures to still fail more times than they succeed.  They are considered to be Hall of Famers, the best that ever was.  In the world of baseball, if you actually succeeded even half the time, you would be considered a cheat.

Now to take this analogy and apply it to your life, it makes those failures and setbacks seem less terrible.  At least that’s the point of the analogy.

Baseball also has one of the longest seasons of any of the major sports, 162 games and that’s not even counting the post-season.  Football is 16 games in 17 weeks, once a week and you even get one week off.  Baseball is almost every day for 4 months.  Players and teams know they are in for the long haul, you have to keep an eye on the bigger picture, the larger view.

You can’t let yourself be dragged down because of one or two failures.  You have to get up and keep trying.  Take the 162 game view.  Not only do the best players fail more than half of the time, but the best teams lose a third or more of their games in the season.

This thought struck me this morning and I was going to tweet it, but obviously I had more to say on the matter.  Now, if I can only manage to follow my own advice and not get down when a podcast (listen to Fanboys Talking, shameless plug!) doesn’t get the listenership that I was hoping, or that a story I’m working on doesn’t come out quite right.  They can’t all be home runs, today I struck out but tomorrow I get another at bat and another chance.