In Search of an Honest President

Stay with me on this one.

You’re sitting in the conference room at the IRS where you’re being audited. They ask for your receipts and you smile and say, “My computer crashed and I lost all those documents and it’s just too difficult to go find them. You’ll just have to trust me.” What do you think would happen next?

After the laughter died down the handcuffs would come out and you’d go off to jail for tax evasion, fraud or lunacy or something. But this is exactly what the IRS wants us to swallow with Lois Lerner’s famous lost emails.

I’m a child of the 60’s so it’s difficult for me to blindly trust large, impersonal organizations like governments and corporations. But the last six years have been a steady stream of insulting blows to the American psyche. Trampling rights, destroying freedoms and asking us to believe the outright lies and selfish actions of pompous, unelected, pseudo officials.

In days gone by the sitting American president would take ownership of these problems and see that the villians were indicted, convicted, jailed and removed from our society just like any other criminal.

I’m waiting to see some care and honesty from this president, who has never been my president, but I guess it will be 2016 before the rats have to scurry back in their dark little holes.

Sad and shameful. And we wonder why no one outside the U.S. respects America any longer. How can they, we don’t even respect ourselves.

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Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules for Successful Living

It’s always helpful to remember these thoughts and actions. Thanks to Peaceful Daily.

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three Rs:
-Respect for self
-Respect for others
-Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

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Traditional Media Not Dead to All

For years now we’ve listened to the pundits tell us that traditional media is dead. Well, not just yet, bunky!

Seems an important portion of the population, the affluent making $100,000 or more annually, are holding onto their traditional channels of news and information. That’s not to say they shun online, far from it. But this group is more persuaded by information and advertising in traditional sources than in online sources.

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When will it be about us?

I watched with utter loathing yesterday after the Supreme Court released it’s ruling on the healthcare bill.

Obama talked about how “he” and his “party” felt about this Democratic victory.

Republicans talked about how “they” opposed the ruling and the bill and would repeal it if elected.

Most of the media only reported one side of the story, making it sound like the high court upheld the law instead of totally gutting it.

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The Men Behind #42; Branch Rickey and Pee Wee Reese

  1. In 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, becoming the first black player in the history of America’s great pastime. While violently opposed at the time, his accomplishment later was revered after views on civil rights changed in the 60’s.
  2. From the moment he entered the Brooklyn Dodgers’ locker room during spring training in 1947, Robinson knew that was wasn’t wanted, was reviled, even hated — and all because he was not white.Some of the Dodgers players started a petition that said they would not play with a black man. When they asked their highly respected captain, Pee Wee Reece to sign he said “No way! I’m not signing that.” and the matter died.
  3. As important as that moment in the Dodgers’ locker room was for Robinson, the defining moment for he and Reese was yet to come. In games that first season the Dodgers players watched Robinson quietly endure pitchers that threw at his head, opposing players that tried to trip or step on Robinson with their sharpened steel cleats and a constant stream of personal and racial slurs and insults, even spitting from fans at every ballpark, including some in Brooklyn.During one game, thought to be in Cincinnati, the attacks on Robinson were so fierce and nasty that at one point in the game Reese simply walked over to Robinson, put his arm around him, smiled and turned to face the source of the verbal abuse. The hecklers stopped.”Pee Wee kind of sensed the sort of hopeless, dead feeling in me and came over and stood beside me for a while,” Robinson said in his biography, “Jackie Robinson.”The moment was immortalized in 2005 when a statue of the two was unveiled in front of a Brooklyn, New York baseball field.
  4. The Jackie Robinson saga actually began in 1943 when Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey decided to recruit a black player for his baseball club. Robinson, who had made national headlines in college athletics and was playing for the Kansas City Monarchs of the negro league never imagined the proposition he was about to receive when he met with Rickey in New York in 1945. “Do you think you can do it?”Rickey was to ask Robinson if he would play for Montreal, a minor league team in the Dodgers organization. If he survived that ordeal, he would have a shot at playing for the Dodgers, Rickey promised. It was no small offer and accepting would make Robinson the center of a mailstrom that neither man could ever imagine. But both were ready. Both felt up to the incredible challenge. “Mr. Rickey,” Robinson said, “they’ve been throwing at my head for a long time.”
  5. Through the years both Pee Wee Reese and Brand Rickey would support Jackie Robinson in very different ways from very different positions. Reese, close and personal would be the first to play cards with Robinson in the clubhouse, showing teammates that he was just another guy. Rickey would casually remind reporters and fans of the courageous, even noble way Robinson faced his tormentors, while silently doing all he could to help the besieged player.
  6. There is no doubt that Jackie Robinson with great courage and endurance is worthy of the many honors he has received. It is fitting that his jersey number, 42, is retired by every major league club, and that on games played each April 15th every player wears a uniform sporting that number.For their part, both Reese and Rickey in some small part made Jackie Robinson’s incredible journey just a little more tolerable. His story might be very different without these two men.
  7. On a personal note…For years when my son Nick was in his teens I helped coach a select baseball team comprised of african-american, hispanic and white players. It was an enlightening experience.I always said that our boys were color-blind. They knew they were different from each other, but chose to ignore those differences when we were together. They competed together, lived together, ate together, played together and showed no sign of racial tension.We coaches, on the other hand, lived in the unprotected real world. I was the one white coach surrounded by two black coaches, Mike and Vernard, on a racially mixed black, brown, and white team First hand I saw evidence of bigotry that I thought had long ago died away. And not just from adults but from the young players as well. It was a great lesson for me to learn and a great opportunity for us to teach our young boys about prejudice and how to rise above it. For a white man there were scores of tiny gestures, usually to small to be noticed that appeared when the Monarchs were together.One of the most ironic was our “oreo” play. The three of us (coaches) would stand outside the dugout fence at any ballpark where we played across the country. Location didn’t seem to matter. We stood with me in the middle, flanked by Mike and Vernard. Almost every time an umpire, tournament official, or opposing coach came to us they would walk straight to me and ask their question or make their greeting. Never Mike and Vernard. Never the black coach, always the one white coach. As humans we speak volumes by the seemingly insignificant things we do. So on this day when we honor a man who was horrifically abused for much of his life, we should look at the small things we do every day and ask ourselves what we communicate by those actions. More importantly, we should ask what we are teaching our children, or what prejudice we are perpetuating by these small but visible gestures.Change those almost insignificant gestures and we will finally, truly honor the memory of Jackie Robinson.

Tick, Tock — Time Stealing

Of the three currencies in life — time, money and reputation, time is the only one that cannot be recovered when spent. So it stands to reason that time is the most precious and should be cherished, protected and used very wisely.

But habits, old or otherwise, die hard. Once we start doing a thing, it’s hard to stop doing that same thing, in the same way.

Here’s what I propose…

View the nonessential things you do in your everyday life as potential time stealers. Yea, I said it! Thieves, criminals, nerdowells. After all, they are taking your most precious currency.

Now simply reevaluate if you like letting your precious time leak away to these activities. Make a conscious decision if you want to allow that to continue or not.

Under the harsh light of evaluation, I suspect you’ll discover a number of habits that you can discontinue or modify and steal back the time you were spending.

Just think of all the things you can do now, all the things you can enjoy now that you have some extra time to spend.

You’re welcome.

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If You Build it, He Will Come

  1. Share

    Thu, Apr 05 2012 15:28:57
  2. April 21, during the first month of the 1989 baseball season, movie goers first heard “If you build it, he will come” and watched Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Cosner) plow under acres of his thriving corn crop to build a baseball field.Crazy? That’s what neighbors and extended family called him. But soon the field was full of ghostly ball players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago Black Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series.

    For some of us, Field of Dreams is much more than another baseball movie. It’s a conjurer of memories. Hot, dusty days on rough, homegrown fields playing a game with friends and neighborhood enemies. Having “a catch” with gone, but never forgotten fathers.

  3. Share
    Field of Dreams Trailer
    Tue, Sep 25 2007 12:38:33
  4. As the story unfolds, Kinsella seeks out Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones) a reclusive author and peace activist. They attend a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, share visions and travel to heartland America’s Chisolm, Minnesota and learn about Archibald “Moonlight” Graham (Burt Lancaster). Archie, frustrated that he never got an at-bat in the majors became the towns beloved doctor and eccentric.
  5. While on their way back to Iowa, Kinsella and Mann pick up a hitchhiker, the young, naive Archie Graham, traveling the country looking for towns that have a local baseball team.Graham joins the baseball players until a medical emergency and his compassionate instincts cause him to leave the field, never able to return

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    Field of Dreams (6/9) Movie CLIP – Doc Saves Karin (1989) HD
    Wed, Jun 01 2011 12:28:16
  7. Bankruptcy and foreclosure face the beleagured farm family and Kinsella has to make a decision whether to sell, or see this through.Mann finally puts into words the essence of the hopeful story.

    “People will come, Ray.
    They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up
    your driveway, not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at
    your door as innocent as children, longing for the past.”

  8. Share
    Field of Dreams (5/9) Movie CLIP – People Will Come (1989) HD
    Wed, Apr 04 2012 17:27:00
  9. “The one constant through
    all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army
    of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased
    again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part
    of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be
    again. Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”
  10. In the end, Kinsella meets the ghost of his long dead father.
  11. Share
    Field of Dreams (8/9) Movie CLIP – Ray Meets His Father (1989) HD
    Wed, Jun 08 2011 06:45:46
  12. I have made two pilgrimmages to the place in Dyersville, Iowa where much of the movie was shot. It’s a tourist attraction that even today draws thousands of visitors from around the world.
  13. My first visit was with a dear friend, Bishop Keith Ackerman. Father/Bishop was my priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal, a small Arlington, Texas church before he became a renowned leader in the international church.The second visit was even more special. My son Nick and I spent a week traveling through Missouri, Illinois and Iowa, watching major league games in St. Louis and Chicago, and minor league games in all the small towns. On the actual Field of Dreams we played a pick-up game of baseball with visitors from Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. Afterwards, we melted into the cornfield beyond center field, just like the ghost players and Terrence Mann in the movie.

    Nick and I still talk about that time together.

  14. Share
    A Catch With Dad – Field of Dreams (9/9) Movie CLIP (1989) HD
    Fri, May 27 2011 20:33:36
  15. Field of Dreams ends with Kinsella having “a catch” with his father while hundreds of cars converge on the field. “He” came, and “people” came.Last year I lost my dad. He loved baseball, especially his Detroit
    Tigers. When the Texas Rangers made
    it to the World Series in 2010, Nick and I got him an official World Series cap. He
    was buried with that cap.

    Baseball’s popularity may have waned some in the face of fast-paced sports like football, basketball and soccer. But America’s pastime has never really diminished.

    My dad and I didn’t agree on many things, but baseball was something that brought us closer. A common ground where we could agree and disagree, talking about teams and players and the hope of their futures.

    Baseball is a game that’s meant to bring people together. Friends in a hot and dusty sandlot. Boys and young men in the heat of friendly battle. Fathers and sons.

Go back to another time

Adam Crack, the Fire whip at Scarborough Faire

Adam Crack, the Fire whip at Scarborough Faire

All you squires and ladies, rogues and wenches, it’s time to pull out the period clothing of linen and leather and strap on those sharpened weapons for another renaissance faire.

With an April 7 weekend opening, we’re just weeks away from the annual Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival (http://www.srfestival.com/) just south of Dallas, Texas.

If people watching isn’t your thing, then maybe falconry or glass blowing, weapons making, pottery or a myriad of other arts and crafts will wile your time.

No, so maybe entertaining actors and acrobats is more your taste. Don’t get too close to Adam Crack and his fire whips. (I hate the smell of singed eye brows.)

Why do people do this, we asked last year. Most said to escape into a different period where time ran slower and the world was easier to understand. The King and his subjects, the queen and her court, colorfully dressed ladies and warring men all add to the feel of the scene.

For me, a photographer, it’s being surrounded by such color and pageantry, daring and speed. So much to see, so much to capture.

Enjoy.

Peace, Man

In February, 1958 Gerald Herbert created the symbol iconic of the 1960’s hippie culture and the American peace movement. The peace sign.

A graphic artist and peace activist, Herbert saw the symbol as “The representative of an individual in despair, with palms outstretched outwards and downward.”

Soon the symbol was everywhere in many countries and came to be the mark used by numerous causes, most notably the U.S. anti-war movement.

The peace symbol is also called St. Peter’s Cross and is said to show the upside down crucifixion of Sr. Peter by the Romans.

So after 54 years the sentiment still holds true and the need is certainly there — “Peace, Man.”

 

Time Out!

Head pounding, ’bout to explode. Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

BOOM!!!

Do you ever get the feeling that there’s just too much going on? That sinking, helpless, quicksand kinda feeling?

Well, don’t fret. We’re all living that nightmare.

So here’s what we do… Pick a time when you can steal an hour (yea, I know you’re really busy, blah, blah, blah) and turn everything off.

No, I mean off, not just silent. OFF and out of sight. Put phones and tablets in a sock drawer. Power down the computers. Put the cat out and take the phone off the hook.

Now, do something, anything, you like to do. Read a book or magazine (yes, the ones made of dead trees), meditate, draw, write, sip a glass of wine, ponder your navel, twiddle your thumbs. Do anything you can do alone or with an accommodating friend, but it must be in quiet solitude.

Breathe. Relax. Enjoy.

Rinse and repeat at least once per week.