Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Maybe it's just me...

Maybe it's just me, but I have a hard time getting worked up over how someone uses their email account. Just like, I had a hard time getting too pissed off over a guy lying because he slept with someone who wasn't his wife. Are those things problematic on some level? Certainly. Do they call into question the honesty of the people involved? To some extent. However, I know that I have sent personal emails from work and vice versa. I may have even checked my Facebook, etc. from my work computer! *gasp!* In my life, I have left information out or over-parsed words to avoid responsibility for my own errors and misbehavior. I'm not proud of these things, but they don't disqualify me from my job.

On the other hand, calling on all Americans to hate an entire religious group; making disparaging remarks about women, Muslims, Hispanics, Jews, and the disabled; encouraging torture of an even more heinous variety than what we have seen criticized over the past decade; and focusing on the pursuit of monetary gain above all else, even when it hurts others would seem to disqualify a person. If I did most of those things, I would no longer have a job. But some people are so focused on avenging a political loss from 24 years ago, they are willing to overlook the evil Racist Cheeto candidate in order to punish the Clintons for winning the 1992 election, and for reminding America that the Reagan years weren't really as super-amazing as the right wingers would have us all believe. It seems like there is an "Anyone But the Clintons" camp who are angry that they can't convince the rest of the world that the Clintons are dirty rotten scoundrels and would rather drive the country off a cliff than let the 1992 election recede into history.

But maybe that's just me.

Monday, June 20, 2016

You mad, bro?

I haven't spent much time talking about the election recently. I won't convince any of the supporters of the GOP's presumptive nominee that they are wrong, as they obviously are. And the Democratic nomination is wrapped up as well, leaving only one possible option for those of us who would like to see our country maintain its freedoms, successes, and place in the world. 

I can't believe, however, that some of my fellow Bernie supporters are seriously arguing that Hillary is just as bad as Trump. (Actually, I don't think that they are serious. I think they are pissed off.) I have never believed in a candidate's message more than I believe in Senator Sanders' message. However, I also know that Sec. Clinton (or a handful of dryer lint) would be a VASTLY better choice than the Racist Cheeto. As the Huffington Post always reminds us, the GOP nominee "regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S."

Only once in my voting life (in 2008) have I supported a candidate in the primaries who wound up winning the nomination. Typically, I have come around to vote for the candidate I believed would do the better job, or at least would not destroy the country. There are times to cast a protest vote, and I have done so in the past; this is not one of those times. There is too much to lose as a nation if the Fascist Pumpkin Spice Latte gets elected. I only hope that my fellow Bernie fans will come around before it's too late.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to do better next time.

Friday, January 22, 2016

You belong to the night...

I'm not used to writing this often, and I wish I didn't have to now. Last week I wrote about Alan Rickman and David Bowie. Today I turn to two other losses from the last few days that hit even closer to home. Both of these gentlemen passed away on Sunday and I heard the news of their passing within minutes of each other on Monday evening; it was not a good night.

The Eagles are one of my favorite bands and Glenn Frey was an irreplaceable part of that group. He was also difficult and unreasonably demanding. And I loved his music.  "Miami Vice" was a touchstone for my generation and the songs of Glenn Frey's that were featured prominently in the show ("Smuggler's Blues" and "You Belong to the City") are two of my favorite '80s songs. Somehow singing along made the 13 year old version of me feel very cool. "The Heat is On" from "Beverly Hills Cop" is a staple of '80s oldies radio. Glenn Frey's solo career provided some high points in the soundtrack of my youth, but the Eagles were much more important. It is fashionable to trash the Eagles music. They embodied the excesses of '70s and '80s rock stars and rich people. They also happened to have some amazing music. While I readily admit that the Eagles didn't break the kind of ground that David Bowie did, I am more likely to sit down and listen to an Eagles album than I am to listen to any of Bowie's albums.  I might never have become a singer if it weren't for the Eagles. My earliest memories of music are of my dad and my Uncle Ray singing together. The songs that stick in my head from all those years ago are songs by the Eagles (even though they didn't do very many Eagles songs together) and Simon and Garfunkel. When I started playing drums in bar bands, the Eagles were a staple. The first harmonies I learned were in songs by the Eagles and the Doobie Brothers. When I started singing lead vocals, Eagles songs were some of my first solos. I love that band, even though it isn't cool. I have Eagles bootlegs from the end of their first run. I am sad I never got to see them in person.

The other gentleman is not someone you have heard of, in all likelihood. Terry Davis was a social studies teacher at Flagstaff High School from 1969-2004. When I was first hired at FHS, Mr. Davis and I shared a terribly thin wall. He was gracious and tolerant of a new teacher with classes filled with rowdy resource students. Gradually, I got better, my classes got quieter, and Mr. Davis welcomed me into the history department when I was transferred in-building in the middle of the year. He was the first person I turned to with questions about policies and procedures, etc. He also gave me advice on buying a house and putting family first. He sat around and drank coffee with me and shot the breeze. He was a consistent voice for the kids who fell through the cracks. Terry was my friend, a mentor, and a wonderful man. When he retired, I got his room. I have taught in room 718 for 12 years and, even though I may be at FHS for another 15 years, it will always be Mr. Davis's room. I loved seeing him around town with Mrs. Davis after they retired, and I will miss him very much.

Thanks for letting me share my memories and thanks for reading. I'll try to do better next time.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ashes to Ashes

Monday morning the world woke up to news that we had lost David Bowie, a true genius. I admit that I have never been a gigantic Bowie fan, but I enjoy much of his music and I certainly recognize his importance as an innovator and trendsetter. My most indelible memory of him was as The Goblin King in "Labyrinth," which I saw in Canton, MIchigan with my cool Uncle Nelson, still one of my favorite people. My lasting impressions of the movie were 1) I was in love with Jennifer Connelly, and 2) David Bowie was the coolest guy on the planet, even when he creeped me out. I was saddened at what we lost as a culture.

This morning I heard the news that another 69-year-old Brit had passed away. My first memory of Alan Rickman is the same as almost everyone else's: "yippee ky-ay..." Alan Rickman in "Die Hard" was a classic 80s action movie baddie and I hated/loved him. Another bad guy role I loved was the Sheriff of Nottingham in that otherwise terrible Kevin Costner movie. He was wonderful as Eamon de Valera in "Michael Collins," a movie I loved but not many others saw. But the reason I shed tears when I found out about Mr. Rickman's passing was his role as Severus Snape. It is no secret that I love the Harry Potter books and Snape is the best character in the books. I loved the way he was written and completely drawn in by Rickman's performance. I am so sad that I won't get to see him in anything else. Even his interviews were wonderful.

Nothing particularly inspirational to say about all this. Cancer sucks and I am sorry that we have been cheated out of whatever else these two talented gentlemen might have produced. I'll listen to Bowie and smile, watch Snape die and cry, and be glad we got the chance to share those moments.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to do better next time.