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Archive for the ‘Redeeming Value: Just a Little’ Category

—This blog is dedicated to the newlyweds, Rob and Rick.  Thanks for letting me publish this blog.—

So, as I mentioned in my last blog, I was at a wedding in New York.  My buddy, Rob got married to his long time partner, Rick.  It was my first gay wedding.  I thought about hiding that fact till the end of the blog and even giving the blog a different title.  I would have started the blog talking about my friend’s wedding, describing all the details of the ceremony, and then ending with, oh by the way, the wedding had two grooms.  I had it all mapped out, and of course it was brilliant.  However, I have decided to go a different direction.  I don’t want to bury the headline, but lead off with it, and talk about issue head on.

As it was my first gay wedding, I wondered what would be different about it.  For example, will one groom wait at the front of the church, while the other one walked down the aisle?  If so, would the music begin and everyone stand up as the groom entered the church?  Would it be at a church? Would both grooms look alike, or would one stand out as different?  What would the pronouncement be?  Man and man?  Husband and husband?  Or just married?  What would the official and law binding statement be? (I did not learn the answer to this question until the next day)  And what would the reception be like?  I assumed there would be dancing.  I wouldn’t think two gay men could get married without dancing.  Regardless of your opinion about this subject, THAT would be wrong.  Would there be any flamboyantly gay men there?  Would there be at least one black gay guy?  Hopefully his name would be Longinus or DeVon, spelled DEE-VAWN.  And would I be disappointed if there weren’t at least one flamboyant gay person there?  Would there be a first dance?  And who gives away the groom?  Yes, I had a lot of questions, and every single one of them was answered.  First, a little background:

I met Rob in graduate school at the University of Kansas.  I knew him before he came out as a homosexual.  I was even aware of a few dates he went on with women.  I later learned that he was still in his “discovery” phase of knowing himself.  I would not say that I knew him well, during this phase.  Quite frankly, I don’t feel we truly became friends until he came out to me.  We were having lunch together, and he told met that he needed to tell me a story.  I don’t remember the story, not even a little bit, but I do remember that in order for the story to make sense, Rob had to be gay.  I also remember asking him why did he decide to tell me that he was gay.  And his response was, that fact was crucial to the story.  I said OK.  In my opinion, that was the first day of our friendship.  Since then, we have travelled across country together, we have camped together, we have roomed together at conferences, and we have made an effort to spend time together almost every year.  Leah and I have visited him and Rick in New York and it is an honor and a joy to be his friend.  So, last year, when he described his proposal to Rick and the upcoming wedding, there was no doubt in my mind that I (and if possible, Leah) would be there.  Unfortunately, Leah could not make it.  I am sure we will visit them later, as I am a much bigger fan of New York than I have ever been (more on this later).

Prior to leaving for the wedding, Leah had an interaction with a friend that surprised me.  Her friend made it clear that she was clearly against gay marriage.  She is religious, and knew that we are Christians and assumed that we would not attend the wedding.  Leah of course informed her that I was, and she would too if we could have worked it out.  Apparently, it turned into a heated discussion.  So much so they had to talk it out the next day to make sure that their friendship was not destroyed.  Luckily, it had not been.  But they clearly had run into the first topic where they must agree to disagree.  This concept of God and gay marriage fascinates me and lead to my biggest surprise about my friend’s wedding.

The wedding was surprisingly traditional.  It was held in a beautiful church.  The Episcopal priest did an excellent job.  Rob and Rick walked in together with their mothers.  That was the burning question on my mind at the start of the service.  Rick had purple shoes, which was really the only unique difference between the two.  I will say the shoes were fabulous.  I loved them.  Hymns were sung, prayers were given, and we received a short homily (sermon).  God was clearly invited to bless this union.  And this fascinated me.  Would anyone have been surprised if God was left out of this service?  You would not have to search long to find people who believe in God working very hard to prevent such unions.  It is a subject of great political debate.  Many people have held signs, protested, and fought to make it illegal for gay couples to get married legally.  And in most cases, the argument has been God’s decree that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman.  And yet, there I was, watching a man and a man get married, legally, with what I can only assume was no accident, a traditional, God-invited wedding.  Two people who could have actively rejected God and all He had to offer, actually inviting him to be present.

The subject of God even came up in the car as we drove to the reception.  It made me wonder if God was discussed in other cars as well.  It also made me wonder, what was a more positive message of God’s love, this wedding with two grooms, or the protests and opposition preached in churches across the land against gay marriage?

The mayor was at the wedding, which I thought was odd.  Later, I discovered that it was he that pronounced them legally married in the state of New York.  I think this had more to do with the church, but I am not exactly sure.  I meant to ask, but never got around to it.  (After Rob read this blog, he offered to tell me, but I have not talked with him other than texts prior to publishing this blog.  Sorry, it will have to remain a mystery to my readers until I call Rob) Possibly the Episcopal Church has not resolved their guidelines for gay marriage considering the new state law.  Oh, by the way, I am almost forgot; the mayor was wearing a kilt.  The church was called the Episcopal Church of St. Mary in the Highlands, which made me wonder if the whole town had major connections to the Church of England.  It does.  I also wondered if the mayor was wearing a kilt traditionally, i.e., going commando.  What I could say about a kilt, going commando and a gay wedding is just too much, so I will stop here.

After the service, we headed to the reception location.  It was at a very nice old house/inn.  Appetizers were ready immediately, which was nice, but almost too much food.  I had to monitor myself, as I would not have been hungry for dinner.  Also, the two best words in any wedding, “open bar”.  Dinner was nice, and it was fun to see friends that I have not seen since getting my PhD.  Also, there was a lot of dancing.  And of course, the required playing of “It’s Raining Men”.  Quite frankly, I would have been disappointed if I did not hear this song.  the funny thing is, this is the only song that guys did not jump on the dance floor first.  As a matter of fact, no one moved until a bunch of women jumped on to the dance floor and started dancing.  It was almost if the gay men in the audience felt that they did not want to be a stereotype.  I think it would be like me going to a buffet and avoiding the fried chicken until last.  It’s not that I don’t love fried chicken, I just don’t want to appear to be a stereotype.  And I certainly would not put watermelon and fried chicken on my plate at the same time.

There was only one flamboyantly gay person at the wedding, at least in my opinion.  He reminded me of Cam on Modern family or Nathan Lane’s character in The Birdcage.  No black gay guys (sad clown) and I don’t know if anyone was named Longinus.  The dancing was great, and quite frankly, the most dramatic dancer was the DJ.  An odd fellow, who was having a lot of fun, perhaps too much fun.  He clearly was dancing to the beat in his own head.  It brought me joy.

No throwing of bouquet or garter.  The group was divided into single men and women and the grooms threw books.  Not the best idea.  One woman got smacked in the head with a book.  I thought it was funny, but I also thought, this is why the traditional throwing of the book will never take off.

All in all, a great wedding.  I wish the best of luck to Rick and Rob.  I love you guys and may God Bless your marriage.  People may have a problem with this last statement, but that is their problem, not yours.  I also learned a very important lesson:  When I think about how people discuss homosexuals in politics and religion, it makes me understand why so many people are against the church.  After the wedding, it got me thinking, maybe a lot of people are rejecting God’s people and not God.

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I spent a little bit of time exploring upstate New York.  Not really exploring as much as taking the long way back to the airport.  Here is what I learned:  New York is GORGEOUS!  I mean BEAUTIFUL.  I have been to New York several times, but never out of the city.  I had no idea.  This may be the most beautiful state I have ever seen.  This may be the biggest secret in the United States.  And I just told you.  I’m just sayin …

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So, it is a sad day.  It is a sad day that I knew would come one day.  It came yesterday.  My son has received his first experiences of what it means to be black in this country.  My son is in sixth grade and I recently discovered that a kid in his school has been using racial slurs against him.  The situation makes me sad, angry, and unfortunately, unsurprised.  I knew this day would come, and quite frankly I am more surprised that it hasn’t happened earlier.

We had a conversation with my son last night.  Talked to him about some of my own experiences, and gave him some advice on how to handle this situation in the future.  We also told him that he is a great kid and let him know how much we love him.  Other than that, I wasn’t exactly sure what to say.  My first reaction was to advise him to kick the kid’s ass.  I told him this, but informed him that I was not completely sure that was the best advice.  We did advise him to make it clear to the kid that he was not someone to be messed with, but to do so within the confines of his comfort level.  At the end of the day, we settled on informing the teacher if an incident happened again.

Whether or not we handled the situation perfectly as parents remains to be seen, but the situation saddens me.  It leaves me with this simple lesson to all parents that might read my blog:  Teach your kids to NOT be racists.  How else do kids learn these types of repulsive behaviors?  If you are a parent and you are reading this blog, and you are thinking, “My kid would never use racial slurs against another person.”  My question to you is, “How do you know?”  Have you talked about racism to your kids?  Have you discussed the reality of differences and the fact that these differences are to NOT be ignored, but respected.  Never say to me, “I don’t see color.”  We all see color and just because you don’t have a white hood in your closet does not mean that you have not treated or reacted differently to someone simply because of the color of their skin.  And trust me, although you did not recognize it, the other person did.

I am not looking for white guilt, and I am certainly not looking to encourage you to find your local minority and give them a hug.  I would hate that.  Give me and others like me, the same respect, attention, acknowledgement, and subtle reactions as you would give anyone else.  Do your best.  You will make mistakes, but when you do, apologize for it and keep trying.  Don’t sweep this under the rug.  Don’t ignore it.  We are ALL racially biased, and until we acknowledge this fact within ourselves, we will never change.  But most of all, teach your kids these lessons.  They will not learn them if you don’t.  Teach your kids to defend these principles.  Silence is the same as endorsement.  This is true of all ages.  Do not accept racist behavior in your presence.

I am sad.  I am angry.  My son is awesome and nothing nor anyone will take that away, but he has been scarred.  And as someone who knows exactly what it feels like to be attacked because of the color of my skin, it is a scar that never heals.

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If you’re a parent, talk to your kids about racism.  You might think that they would never get a racial bias from you, but if they get it from somewhere else, are you going to know?  And more importantly, will you do anything about it?  I’m just sayin …

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So, the title of today’s blog may be confusing.  I also could have called it, “Be Careful What You Wish For”, but I thought that was too cliché.  Nonetheless, I am often confronted with getting what I want, only to find that I really didn’t want that, or more specifically, that particular version of what I got.  For example, I wish I had more friends, but I hate it when people talk to me.  I am going to share two stories of my life that illustrate this dichotomy that I live with everyday.  Both stories occurred yesterday.

My son and I went shopping.  We were looking for a velcro strap for his leg.  He rides his bike to school and the weather has been cooler lately.  Since shorts season may be leaving us soon, we needed something to protect his right pants leg from the bike chain.  While shopping, I saw a woman who I recognized from church shopping with her two kids.  She was directly in the path of where I was planning on walking and I foresaw an impending forced hello and meaningless conversation about something irrelevant.  To avoid this torturous situation, I turned down an aisle and pretended that I did not see her, and hoped, or at least assumed that she did not see me. So, my son and I continued our shopping and went down an aisle, turned the corner, and BAM, there she was right in front of us.  She then, proceeded to walk right passed us, along with her children and did not say a word.

What?!?  How dare she not say hi to me.  I know she saw me.  What kind of person walks by another person that they recognize and not say hello?  That’s not very Christian.  I was upset.  I can’t believe she would just blow me off like that.  I almost turned around and said, “Hey! Lady! (Because I did not know her name, although I probably should have, since I know her husband’s name)  I know you know me!  You better recognize!  What would Jesus do?  WWJD!  WWJD  Bee-yotch!”  OK, the bee-yotch would have been too much, but you get my gist.  At least I had the common decency to duck down an aisle and attempt to avoid her all together, but I guess love and kindness is truly dead.  Yes, I know, I need help.

The second event took place after my son’s football game.  My son is 11-years-old and plays in a youth football league.  His team plays other sixth grade teams in the region.  My son has a physique built for football.  He is 5’6″, weighs at least 140 pounds, size 10.5 shoe and is strong.  He mainly plays nosetackle on defense.  The problem is, well, it is not really a problem, but one obstacle to football greatness is his lack of a single aggressive bone.  He is the nicest kid you will ever meet.  The phrase gentle giant comes to mind.  The truth of the matter is, I want him to do well in football.  And without much effort he plays a lot during the games, but he is not first string.  His coaches know that he could be the best player out there, but they have not been able to tap in to his aggressive spirit.

What bothers me the most is that he doesn’t seem to care or mind that he is not better.  I have on more than one occasion got mad at him for not, in my opinion, playing his best.  He also doesn’t seem to be bothered when the team loses, which is rare, but this might anger me the most.  How can you not want to win?  This is why I no longer go to his practices.  I do not want to ruin the experience for him by being one of those dads.  But, this year, I have been quiet.

Yesterday, his team was behind the whole game and ended up losing 26 to 12.  My son played one series and that’s it.  After the game I was furious, but again, chose not to say anything to him, nor his coach.  I really don’t want to be that guy.  While driving him to his mother’s, I noticed that my son seemed sad.  I asked him what was wrong.  He told me that he was disappointed that he didn’t play much and sad that the team lost.  He looked like he was going to cry.  OK, I did not want THIS.  We talked some more, and I suggested that next practice he ask his coach what he can do to improve and therefore play more during games.  He said he would do that.  And I hope he does.  I am excited for this, but it is crucial that I let him find his own way toward finding self motivation.  It is less about what I want, and more about what is best.  I want him motivated and to care, but not to be overly sad about every defeat.  It’s a fine line.

A quick addendum; I normally sit by myself at his football games because I really don’t know anyone else.  I am sometimes upset that no one sits next to me, or says hi.  Yesterday, I sat next to one of my son’s friend’s parents.  I hated every moment.  It’s not easy being me.

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Last week I drove to work and parked my car in a parking lot that is about 300 yards from my building.  As I am walking a woman starts talking to me about how nice it is to park in a lot that’s free.  Then ponders how many people know about this free lot and wonders if it will always be easy to park in that lot.  She introduces herself, and then asks a whole bunch of questions about me.  Luckily for me, she did not work in my building and I had to cut the conversation short to go to my office.  Who does this?  She talked to me like she knew me.  She talked non-stop and in my opinion tried to make a conversation way too personal for a first-time, you-are-a-stranger conversation.  You know what is weirder?  This happened to me twice this week.  This kind of stuff happens to me ALL THE TIME.  Why?  Why?  Why? And how can I make it stop?!?  I’m just sayin …

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So, yesterday was my blogiversary (July 6).  Leave it to me to miss it.  To all of you that have been reading my blog, thanks, you are awesome.

I am currently in the mountains with my son doing research on yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris).  Look it up.  The new picture on the front page of my blog is a marmot, but a different species, Marmota olympus, the Olympic Marmot.  But of course, I am sure you already knew that.

Brett and I just got back from a long hike.  We went up to 11,000 feet and then walked back for several miles.  The last half mile was in snow.  Yes, you read that correctly, snow.  It took a long time and he did not complain once.  I plan to post pictures soon, but not today.  We will spend the rest of the day in our cabin relaxing as it kicked both of our butts.  When I got back, Brett went to the bathroom in the main office and there was a guy sitting in the lobby of the office.  He asked me if that was my son.  I said yes.  he was very impressed that I was able to get my son to come to the mountains with me.  I told him that the impressive part was that I do not force him to come.  He comes willingly.  The man said that he hopes one day that his son will want to hike the mountains with him, but is concerned that technology and girls will win over father-son time.  He told me I was very lucky.

The conversation with the man in the lobby reminded me of one very simple truth:  I am very lucky.  I love the fact that Brett is with me, and hope he will want to come to the mountains with his old man for many years to come.  Regardless, I plan on enjoying this while I can.

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When I first started this blog, I promised myself I would do it for a year.  I have done it for a year.  I also thought that only my sister would read it, and although she is a fan, I apparently have others as well.  Pretty cool.  My goal for next year?  Less redeeming value.  I’m just sayin …

The following is my first blog on http://www.sincejuniorhigh.com.  Enjoy!

Does the World REALLY Need Another Blog?

Welcome to my first Blog site.  I started out publishing notes on Facebook, and my sister convinced me to start a blog.  So, why am I blogging.  First of all I think I have interesting things to say.  You may disagree, but I don’t really care.  Which brings us to the second reason I am blogging.  I enjoy reading my own thoughts.  So, even if no one ever reads this blog, I plan on enjoying it, and if you do too, bonus buy.

Will this be a site where family and friends can catch up with the comings and goings of my family?  Sometimes, but most of the time I will be writing about random thoughts I have.  For example, why Karate Kid 2010 was not necessary and explaining point by point how it is inferior to the original in almost every way (details for a later blog).

Will you be a better person by being a regular reader of my blog?  Highly unlikely.  Will we solve political and philosophical issues?  I certainly hope not.  This blog is for sheer entertainment value.  I plan to post every Saturday night with random posting when I feel like it.  So, what should my first post be about?  How about the name, “Since Junior High”.

So, several years ago some friends and I spent several hours playing video games at Gameworks in downtown Seattle.  It was a lot of fun.  After we were done with joystick heaven, I proclaimed to my buddies “My wrist hasn’t been this sore since junior high.”  This line has been quoted ever since, and has been officially entered into the Witty Line Hall of Fame.  If all goes well, by reading this blog, you will be exposed to such high quality comedy.  It’s gold!  Gold, Jerry!

Now for my first random thought:

Is it really THAT difficult to put a shopping cart back?  Seriously, have you ever been so far away from a shopping cart stall and said to your self, “I’m beat after walking through that store.  I just can’t walk this empty cart with wheels the 20 feet necessary to put it out of harms way.”  Really?  If this is you, your car deserves to be the target of shopping cart derby.  I’m just sayin…

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So, if you want to piss me off, tell me what I can’t do.   I may not even want to do it, but if you tell me that I can’t, I will have no choice but to not only do it, but do it well.  This characteristic is both a blessing and a curse. 

I not only think I can, but I know I can.

On one hand, it has inspired me to excel in a number of things, especially academics.  For example, although I did not grow up in the civil rights era, I still had to contend with teachers that automatically assumed that I could not possibly be as smart as my white or Asian counterparts.

In middle school, we had a special day with our teachers to discuss future classes in high school.   I had a teacher tell me that I shouldn’t take AP (advanced placement) classes because it would be too difficult for me.  I took AP history and calculus in high school, and did well in both.  As a matter of fact, I was given a C in AP history, despite the fact that according to my records I should have had an A.  I talked to the teacher about it, showed him my records, showed him his grade policy and made it clear to him that my grade should not be a C, but an A.  The teacher changed the grade.  After he changed the grade, it pissed me off.  How could a teacher make an error in judgment that allows him to change a grade from a C to an A?  I have been a teacher now for approximately 15 years, and I have NEVER made an error that big.  As you can tell, this event that happened to me almost 25 years ago still bothers me.  It was clear that I was treated differently than my other classmates.  Another example occurred in high school, when for one semester, I was demoted to remedial English.  Granted, English was not my strongest subject, but remedial?  Even the teacher of the remedial English class did not understand why I was enrolled in her class.

I could easily turn this blog into a social commentary on how racism is alive and well and has held many students back simply based on the color of their skin.  I graduated from high school with a 3.9, I am in my high school’s hall of fame for track & field, and I graduated from UC Berkeley, and I still have multiple stories of people telling me that I was not smart enough to do things.  What about the black students that were B students, or C students, or even D students?  If as an A student I still faced obstacles, I can’t imagine what other students faced.  But this is not a blog about race, or not just about race, but about the obsession people have with what can’t be done.

Don’t tell me what I can’t do.  I can do anything, and just because you have chosen to limit yourself, don’t dare put that small thinking on me.  But, why are so many people concerned with other people’s opinions on what they can and can’t do?  And why am I not?  The easiest answer would be my parents, as I believe strongly that they instilled in me my “don’t give up” and the “don’t you dare tell me what to do” attitude.  But I want to go a little bit deeper.  In many ways it reminds me of ‘cultural legacy’ as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers: The Story of Success’.  I actually blogged about this book in My First Book Review.  In other words, do I have this attitude because of my culture?

In his book, ‘Outliers’ Gladwell describes a famous psychological experiment by Nisbett and Cohen.  They monitored reactions of people to being insulted.  Students were asked to answer a number of questions and then walk down a long, narrow hallway where unbeknownst to them, another person who was also part of the experiment would whisper the word “asshole” as they walked passed.  The researchers found that it did not matter if you were black, or white, rich or poor, a nerd or a jock, you responded to the insult the same, except for one surprising variable.  If you were from the South, regardless of your background, you reacted strongly to the comment, but students from the North actively calmed themselves when they heard the comment.  The author suggested that the “Culture of Honor” was passed down through generations of Southerners irrespective of almost any other environmental or genetic factor.

I think about the history of African-Americans in this country and wonder if I am the recipient of a “Culture of Rebellion”.  I think about the long list adversities that black people have suffered in this country, but yet have been inspired to create music, poetry, innovation, and various forms of success in spite of the obstacles placed in the way.  Although I would never compare my obstacles to slavery, lynch mobs, nor laws of discrimination, but the fact remains, I have a strong visceral response to people trying to prevent me from doing things.  Can culture be inherited?  If you have a cultural history in which the ‘sky was the limit’ or your ancestors had many options, maybe limitations would not be such a bad thing.  But if your ancestors were oppressed and limited by the dominant culture, self-imposed limitations would be counter-intuitive and very maladaptive to an oppressive environment.  As a matter of fact, under oppressive conditions, a spirit of rebellion would be necessary for upward mobility.  Quite frankly, if you examine history, some of the greatest innovations and social movements have come out of great adversity.   Maybe it is from my parents, maybe it is genetic, or maybe I have inherited a “Culture of Rebellion”, but I am glad I have it and I hope my kids will have it too, because no one should limit their potential by telling them what they can and cannot do.

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A couple of months ago Taco Bell was sued.  The lawsuit claimed that Taco Bell was wrong for calling their beef burritos, well, beef burritos because the burritos only contained 35% beef.  Taco Bell responded to the lawsuit by stating that their beef burritos contained 88% beef.  Soon after the news of the lawsuit became public and Taco Bell’s response, Taco Bell put their burritos on sale for 88 cents.  Don’t think this new price was lost on me, what about you?  Nonetheless, I have accepted the fact that their burritos are 88% beef.  It also makes me better appreciate McDonald’s for stating that their burgers are 100% beef.  Especially since I used to think that this was as stupid advertisement.  I often thought why would they tell me that their burgers were 100% beef? 

Remember this commercial?

What else would it be?  Turns out there are other options.  But here is my problem:  I actually don’t mind that Taco Bell beef burritos are not 100% beef.  But why won’t Taco Bell tell us what is in the remaining 12%? I haven’t eaten there since.  I’m just sayin …

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So, today someone said something to me that indicated that they could predict my behavior in a particular situation.  Yes, I am being vague on exactly what happened.  But the bottom line is, after thinking about their comment, it struck me how people think they can say certain things because they believe they know you.  Does anyone really know anyone else?  After this person’s comment, I wanted to say to them “You don’t know me.”  Interestingly, I often want to say this to people even when they predict correctly.  However correct, predictions still do not indicate that you know a person.

The desire to predict someone’s behavior reminds me of our strong desire to label people.  I know I do it, but I also know that I hate it when it is done to me.  We also want to prove to be people that we have labeled them correctly.  How many times have you said to someone, “Oh you wouldn’t do that.  I know you.”  Or maybe you have said, “Well, that’s how you are.”  Really?  You mean to tell me that you can predict my behavior in any and all situations?  I don’t think so.  But we do this all the time.

To some, I am a liberal, but I promise you, to others, I am quite conservative.  Labels are never more prevalent than in politics.  I think I may have blogged on this subject before, but am too lazy to look it up.  The reality is, being a democrat doesn’t define who I am.  So, who am I?  In many ways, even I don’t know, but here is some information that I will give you, so that at least on these subjects you can say that you know me:

  1. There is probably nothing I think about more than whether or not I am being a good dad.  I know I am not perfect, but I take my parenting job very seriously and if my daughter ends up on a pole, I will have failed.
  2. I think most people are stupid.  I wish I could sugar coat this fact, but I can not.  It is what it is.  However, I try very hard not to make people feel stupid, despite my feelings.
  3. I have an inner circle of people in my life.  If you are in this inner circle, there is nothing I would not do to help you.  It is impossible to lose membership to this inner circle.  You may have decided to treat me different, but I have not.
  4. Lastly, I require the television to turn my brain off.  I am constantly thinking.  I can’t turn my brain off.  It actually makes blogging a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, it gives me an opportunity to share thoughts, on the other hand, I usually have about 1000 thoughts per day and can often not decide which to blog on.  For example, this blog was not supposed to be the blog, but has bumped my blog on my recent near death experience (To Be Continued).

Is the above list exhaustive?  Of course not, but the reality is that most people do not know me and it is presumptuous to think that you do.  I barely know me.  So, please, please, please do not make predictions about my behavior.  You may be right, but it does not mean that you know me, it just means that you have a label of me in your mind that can’t possibly characterize the whole that is me.

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I got upset at my son, Brett Jr today, because once again he forgot to give us a document from school that needed to be signed.  This document was due Friday, and we just got it today.  This is an old issue, and he knows it.  So, I gave him a talk, signed the paper and moved on.  One minute later, he told me and Leah that he was not allowed to watch TV on Monday and Tuesday.  I told him that I know that he doesn’t forget on purpose and he did not need to be punished.  He said, no, he did need to be punished for forgetting the papers from school.  So, we said OK, no TV on Monday and Tuesday.  My son just punished himself.  That’s crazy.  He is awesome.  Of course, now we have to come up with something to do that does not involve TV.  Well, that sucks!  I’m just sayin …

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Prelude:  I am particularly proud of this year’s resolution.  So read to the bitter end if you want to know what it is this year.  It is a doozy and 99% guaranteed to succeed.  Anyhoo, you know I have been blogging since July?  If you are one of my regular readers, THANKS!  You are awesome!  I still can’t believe people read my ramblings, but I sure do appreciate it.  I plan on doing a Blog Remix before January ends, so stay tuned.

So, it is New Year 2011 and it brings my first major annoyance of the year.  You see, I try to do cardio at least once a week.  I shoot for two, but I do not hate myself if I can only get in one cardio workout a week at the Y.  I usually go when my son is at swim lessons, so it works out.  However, I hate going to the Y in January to mid February.  Why?  It is simple, New Years resolutions.

You see although I only go about once a week, I am considered a regular.  As a regular for the last couple of years I can also recognize the other regulars.  One thing I notice in January is that there is about a 100% population rise in the gym.  It is the only time that I have to wait in line for an elliptical machine.  You know what this means?  About 50% of the YMCA membership is people who only go to the gym one to one and half months out of the year.

It has got me thinking about New Year’s resolutions.  Does anyone keep their resolutions?  Why make them?  Does it give people a sense of accomplishment that they INTEND to be better.  How about just be better.  I am stepping up my workouts because I have decided I would like to live as long as possible.  You would think this is an obvious conclusion, but it’s not.  It is a new feeling ever since my daughter was born and I realized that when she turns 20, I will be 60.  I realize that in this modern medical age 60 is not old, but I think 60 is only young if you are in good shape.  If you are in bad shape, 60 is old.

A friend of mine’s father passed over the New Year’s weekend.  It was a surprise.  He died of a massive heart attack and it got me thinking, tomorrow is not promised to anyone.  So, I can’t rely on New Year’s resolutions to get in better shape, or tighten up the ship (Although I did make a resolution for 2011. See below), the time is NOW.  So, if you have a desire to be better in some way or another, then make it a daily resolution, because we all fall and we all mess up.  Don’t be a yearly resolution person, because tomorrow is not guaranteed, there is only today, and even that might be cut short.

Happy New Year everyone!

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Every so often I have to take a piss in the dark.  It is usually when I go to bed late and I do not want to turn on the lights to wake up my wife or baby daughter.  Luckily for me I almost never get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  That makes me happy as it hopefully means my prostate is still about the size of a walnut.  Anyhoo, I find it fascinating that despite the fact that the toilet bowl is about a foot in diameter, there is no guarantee that I will be pee accurate in the dark.  Which brings me to my New Year’s resolution.  I will get 99% of my urine into the toilet bowl this year.  TMI?  Probably, but the penis does not always shoot straight.  I might invent a penis laser sight.  That be awesome! Who wouldn’t buy that?  I’m just sayin …

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