Only A River…

It seems every commercial these days seems to start out with “In these challenging times” and each restaurant and car dealer wants me to know the steps they are taking to stay clean along with every news outlet tells me I’m getting the facts (when you think about it, it isnt the best disclaimer.).

While staying home is something my introverted side has trained for forever, occasionally, you need to sooth your soul while avoiding anyplace too “peoplely.” To paraphrase 80s favorites Simple Minds or one of my favorite singers, Billie Holiday, I like to cover the waterfront. The sounds and sites are soothing. You can be out and breathe without having to circle City Hall.

Richard Avedon has nothing to fear from me. I think I have an eye, maybe not talent but an eye. The Unity Island is a great spot to watch the sun check out, international waters rip by, trains overhead and traveling canadians on the horizons, but mostly a good spot to stop and be.

I have come three straight days and got this one. I was thinking about on the first visit and seized the moment this eve.

Happy places are where you make em in this socially distant world. A little further down river and mother nature shows off against the industrial background. Wander but stay 6 feet away.


Long month this week

So, in the stuff I’ve been reading and trying to digest this week.

Rep. Portman has come out for gay marriage with his son’s revelation that he is gay. A homophobic colleague who is slightly to the right of Attila the Hun remarked that the Congressman had principles until it affected his family. Maybe it was the other way around. When it didn’t effect him, it was easy to tote the party line to stay elected. Now that it does effect the home front, NOW it is a thing. Maybe congressmen should get effected by other things and we get answers faster.

A local newscast announced the election of the new Pope with the announcement “We now have a new holy father.” While Western New York does have a large Catholic population, the “we” might have been overstating the case a bit. It was interesting to watch the mechanics of the papal election. I was a little worried when the seagull landed near the chimney. If timing was off, the pope and Dave Winfield would have a link in our times. From the history/current events buff standpoint it was interesting right on down to the unveiling, but I’m keeping this handy guide for reference.


Elsewhere, if John Tortorella gets the boot from New York, the Sabres ought to grab him for next season. But that would be understandable, and that seems to be rather low on the priority lists these days. It’s too bad, because when things are going well, it can be a lot of fun to be at the games, but it’s just been too awkward there of late. A measure of a lost season, more ushering opportunities for us newbs.

A little warm and fuzzy courtesy of a famous colleague:


Occasionally, I can get a good picture.

and a good tune:

Dumb Ass Liberal

It’s funny how fast things can turn negative, like we don’t want to listen to each other. On a friend’s facebook status last night, a discussion about a know nothing radio guest turned into a “brawl.” Another poster said something about the guest was just a “Dumbass liberal” and you call them names they can’t take it.

Being a dumb ass liberal, I pointed out that he should be careful, language like that could make him sound like a “long time listener, first time caller.” Instead he seized on “Careful, of what, see point proved!”

I pointed out that I was kidding, making fun of talk show callers. He insisted he was too, but going for terms like dumbass in generalities doesn’t suggest that.

It resonated with me as some were upset that during Nik Wallenda’s walk, Mr. Wallenda was praying while he walked. I’m not a devout anything, but I admire that. Considering what he was doing at the time, talking to God ahead of making small talk with ABC announcers made sense.

It seems like everybody is for freedom of speech until it actually gets used. It’s a little weird that instead of celebrating diversity, it’s currently the in thing to ridicule it and placidly just watch. Vaguely stated slams seeming resonate and I don’t know what you do about that. Mitt Romney says the President is politicizing a given issue. There is a faction of viewers who murmur in agreement. Just once, I’d like to see somebody respond with, “Of course, it’s an election year, you can’t fart without it being a political statement.”

The original complainer at the top of the page probably should changed the station. Your faith is a personal thing. I respect that. An office mate and I couldn’t be any further apart on matters religious or political, but we get along fine, because disagreeing civily is a good thing, Occasionally you can learn something.

The Politics of Dancing

A couple of years ago, my lovely son and I were walking down Elmwood Ave, headed to a late breakfast and good spots for watching a parade. In front of the church that happened to be, well, ours, three knuckleheads were walking with placards and condemning one and all to hell, since we were the only ones on the sidewalk, one with the megaphone decided I needed reminding with a little extra ire. We kept stepping ignoring the fact that this guy was so blind to his devotion and that I think I could of gotten away with flattening him, but that probably would have been a bad lesson for my son. Our crime in his eyes, wasn’t our brunch selection but eating it in front of the gay pride parade. Setting aside the fact that the parade is one of nicer, everybody is welcome events on the Elmwood Village calendar, the religious intolerance of the megaphone toting goof is probably contradictory to whoever he actually worships.

This came to mind as the 397th Republican Debate was last night and it managed to give me a headache and I didn’t see the whole thing, as once more nothing that had anything to do with effective governing got discussed. While I admire Rick Santorum for admitting that he screwed up on No Child Left Behind, there wasn’t much there there. Mitt Romney’s mormonism has been fair game. Senator Santorum‘s faith has been in some news pieces and all four republican candidates have taken to evaluating the President’s faith, especially with the recent dustup over what Catholic health providers can and can’t do.

A friend pointed out that if Santorum was spouting that stuff that has been in soundbites of late from the front of the train, you’d change cars. The trouble with never ending news cycles is that often there isn’t anything of value to say. You don’t get to be president of the people who agree with you, got to take us all, and not everybody reads from the same book. When the hullabaloo over the government mandating that everybody pass out birth control info wrankled the catholic health system, I sympathize as people should be free to worship unabashedly for themselves, but when you are looking for secular dollars for funding, shutting it is probably a prudent course. To lable this all as “A War On Religion” is a pile of hooey.

With Senator Santorum’s quest for a bible based government, it made me wonder if he has read the whole thing. I have and if it gives you comfort, I applaud that, respect that and will stand with you to protect those benefits for you, but given how it perhaps shouldn’t be taken as gospel, perhaps one particular faith shouldn’t dominate the primary season. Got to be President for all the people in all the churches, not just the ones like yours, doncha know.

Food for thought

Chairman of the Bored

So, the church that I semi-regularly attend decided to put me on its board. I like to think that was intended to be a honor, but I’m thinking currently that my name was 17th on a list with 16 crossed out names proceeding mine.

That alone shows you where the bar is set administratively speaking.

For a congregation that publicly prides itself on openess, welcoming, anything is possible, tolerance, etc., we got issues.

One congregant didn’t get his way during the budgeting process last year and couldn’t even get a cohort, so he has resorted to tantrums so infantile, he has become his own greatest liability. The constant stream of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in his complaints make me spend meeting time looking for a trap door to leap out of, but to no avail.

The budget process hasn’t changed one iota since I’ve been attending and he was alledging that it was closed to members. He didn’t take into account that anything is closed to members if said members can’t get their heads out of their asses to care.

There is an audit committee working there as well. It’s three guys who don’t necessarily work as in concert as they should. I got a very well thought out memo about it, and my reaction was “Now, it’s a problem?” The hell were you waiting for??

And apparently, gossip mills move quick and none of us are ever too far from trying to find a seat at the cool kids table at our seventh grade cafeteria.

People gossip, but don’t have the intellectual inertia to go find anything out. There should be a separate treasurer from book keeper but nobody is stepping up. The out sick office manager should say what is going on, instead of the board looking like they are trying to fire her, which is not the case, just want her healthy enough to work.
Somehow, that turned into the board looking to cut bait.

Makes me think peoples attention spans have gone to hell. Two thirds of a fact is better than none I suppose.

I can’t afford to donate as much as I would like and that typically renders you voiceless except in avenues such as this venue where the names have been omitted to protect the criminally petulant and immature.

The one thing that has been accomplished is the removal of a desire to go. That mental refresher of the service hour is temporarily lost. If I could come up with a better excuse than “I don’t wanna,” I would be out of there.

But I soldier on.

Into the Mystic

You got to have faith.

In what exactly, that is not always clear. One of the Buddhas of my youth posited that “Blind faith in anything can you killed.” A little extreme, but I think he has a point. We need to ask questions and allow for the fact that we aren’t always right. What works for you should be respected, but might not work for me, and that should be okay.

I go to a church semi-regularly that professes to be all-welcoming, but I’ve seen incidents that we are essentially as full of shit as any other faith based gathering. I still kick myself over not stepping up for this young woman who was sitting with her baby. The baby was cooing and charming the pants out of pretty much everybody in the section except for these two old bitties who harped on “there’s a quite room for babies…” to the point where the woman and her child understandable left. Drives me nuts. Church elders kvetch about the teens not immediately diving into the church community once they are out of high school. One of the really bright young women at the church gave a sermon recently about how she needed to look or looks for God in people. I thought that was incredibly apt, as there really isn’t any other place within which to look. You want to see something tangible. It’s sometimes hard to take written word as gospel (pun entirely intended). A former employer wrote of how it is possible to be good, live a good life without cowtowing to a particular diety, and I do think he’s correct in that regard.

George Carlin used to do a great bit about “how the invisible man in the sky that I believe in can kick the ass of the invisible man that you believe in.”

Faith is a personal thing. What is good for you is naturally going to be different for me. Both those goods have merit. But you don’t always get to those ends by the ritual sunday morning gatherings, sometimes I’ve gotten more from the hour long mental holiday than by what has been presented to me.

But that doesn’t define me and your faith doesn’t define you. By the same token, none of them should determine well, anything for anybody, outside of those gatherings. I guess that is a little redundant, but I guess this has it’s roots in my reading opinions about the ongoing Gay marriage debate and inevitably the columnists against would invariably exclaim “the church recognizes…” Well, for many reasons, it’s a good thing there is more than one church.

We first started taking our kids to the church as more of a community thing, so they can see what is out there and eventually drawn their own conclusions. I’m pretty sure that was the same rationale my folks applied to me and my siblings.

So, I’m not entirely sure where I stand other than to believe anything is possible. As Robin Williams said some years ago, “You know God must have a sense of humor, look at a platypus!”