Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Lakewood Museum Of Discarded Art Autumn 2017 Exhibition

For your viewing pleasure, the Fall 2017 exhibition of the latest additions to the Lakewood Museum of Discarded Art.

This is where artwork by a variety of anonymous artists that I have stumbled upon in thrift stores, junk shoppes, or garage sales is displayed and preserved for posterity because, well, why not?

A few of these are really nice and beg the question, "Why would anyone not want this?'

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Gypsy Who Read My Palm

A very long time ago a rather peculiar woman I had encountered on the midway of the Walnut Festival (held annually in Walnut Creek, Ca) read my palm.

She claimed to be a gypsy, born with mystical powers and possessor of incredible insights.

This woman told me that, due to the firmness of my palms she knew that I was a straightforward person, and because my hands were large, especially at such a young age, I would probably become a very detail oriented adult, the type that over-analyzes situations.

She also said that, due to the large number of lines that criss-crossed my palms, I was probably the sensitive type, and would always be so. 

Se told me something about every major line that crossed my palm - the heart line, the life line, the fate line, etc., but I cannot remember what she specifically said each one meant

What I do remember is that she said that my thumbs, being thick and long, indicated I was a person with a strong sense of purpose.

At the time I was in my mid-teens and had yet to develop the healthy, skeptical attitude I possess now, so I somewhat thought it was cool that she could tell so much about me by just looking at my palm.

I'm still looking for that sense of purpose.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Everybody Wants

Everybody wants to end conflict
                            As long as it's ended 
                                      On their terms

Everybody wants everyone 
                            To be educated
                                      As long as everybody learns 
                                      What they want them to learn

Everybody wants everybody 
                            To get enough to eat
                                       As long as they're eating 
                                       What they want them to eat

Everybody wants everyone 
                            To be treated with respect
                                      As long as they 
                                      Are respectful enough to understand 
                                             Their place

Everybody wants everybody 
                            To be able to earn a decent living
                                      As long as it doesn't disrupt the                                                Hierarchy of the workplace

Everybody wants everyone
                            To be regarded as equal
                                      As long as they know that means 
                                      You have work your way up to being                                               Equal

Everybody wants everybody 
                             To figure it out
                                           As long as the way they figure it 
                                           Is in line with their thinking

Everybody wants everyone 
                            To be free to speak their mind
                                             As long as they watch 
                                             What they say when they are                                                             Freely speaking

Everybody wants everybody 
                            To find a god they can believe in
                                          As long as that god is the same 
                                          As the one they believe in

Everybody wants world peace
                                          As long as it's peace the way 
                                               They want it

Monday, October 9, 2017

There's A First Snow For Everyone

My friend Mike has spent the past 50 Winters of his life in San Diego, California. Which means he really hasn't ever experienced Winter. 

Until today. Snow had been forecast since last Friday, and snow we got. Heavy, wet snow, the type of snow that weighs down tree branches, snapping the less stout.

Mike loved it. Except the part where the temps were in the low 30's.

But then again, no one likes that part.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Meeting Of Someone Considerable

I think I've met someone who brings out the best in me
                 Once or twice over the past few decades
          Someone who sparks the desire in me
          To be the single best 
                           Version of me that I can possibly be

The kind of person 
      I always envision being
Whenever I slow down enough 
     To be able to do some envisioning
                       Of me being the best me possible

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Day In The Strife

He awoke as he usually did 
                           Well before the alarm
Made his way to the kitchen 
                           Where he poured himself 
His usual breakfast of a heaping bowl of
                           Sugar-coated self-loathing

Made sure his hair was perfect 
                          His tie was straight
Before he walked out the door 
                          And climbed into his Cadillac
Man, he really liked the feel of 
                          Being behind the wheel of

Such a powerful machine

He spent the whole weekend looking
                          Forward to Monday morning
When once again he could be king
                          Of all those ungrateful underlings
He sat at his desk with his eyes on the clock
                          As the bleary-eyed tribe walked in

At 8:00 sharp he got up from the small desk
                          Made his way to the coffee pot
Where he would greet the last ones in
                          With a smile of reassurance 
Commenting to himself as the stragglers filed in
                          How glad he was not to be them


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Getting Away With An Extraordinary Level Of Insensitive Racist Invective

So, once again I find myself confused by established and social media reaction to blatant racism.

Recently, an incredibly hate-filled, disgustingly offensive comment was posted on Facebook that was so blatantly based on an ignorant racist stereotype that it resulted in the person who posted the comment losing their job.

The person who posted the comment removed it, but only after a number of people who were offended by the comment expressed outrage, and that was what caught the attention of the person's employer and led to that person's dismissal. 

This person's employer was one of the largest media corporations in the world, and this person's position was fairly influential, being a vice-president who represented the company in legal matters.

This is what that person posted on their Facebook account. It is their personal reaction to the Las Vegas Route 91 music festival shooting of Oct 1st:

Screen capture of comment made by Hayley Geftman-Gold that I lifted from Brandon Morse's Facebook page (made necessary because I do not have a Facebook page)

So, Hayley Geftman-Gold publicly exposes herself as an insensitive racist who believes:

1) It is okay for an employee of a major media corp. to use an
    offensive slur ("Repugs") when referring to members of the
    Republican party.
2) Country Music fans are most often Republicans
3) Republicans are gun toters
4) Gun Toten' Republican Country Music fans deserve to die 

After reading her comments (and the comments from others who I will have to assume share her views), I searched the internet for reactions from the media pundits who usually post reactions to ignorant racist comments made by public personas.

With the exception of a Washington Post article written by Mary Hui (that features Hayley Geftman-Gold's mea culpa, as well as five or so paragraphs that use the tragedy to address the political battles regarding gun control), I couldn't find much.

Chirp freakin' chirp. One million five hundred and thirty thousand results on good ol' Google for "reaction to Hayley Geftman-Gold Facebook post" and barely a single word condemning her behavior from any of the major media outlets, and not much from the usually easily outraged social media users, either. 

To be accurate, there are a large number of reactions from irritated or outraged conservative commentators on message boards and individual blogspots, but those are to be expected.

What I was looking for was the same level of condemnation (and frequently, vituperation) CNN, the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, or any of the other large media outlets usually post when an undeniably racist comment is posted by a public figure. 

But I could not find nary a one.

Which I find odd, because if you put "reaction to Terry Frei Facebook post", in the good ol' Google, you get one million, five hundred and sixty thousand results, the first three being from the Voice Media Group owned alternative weekly newspaper Westword, the Washington Post, and USA Today, followed by links to other major media outlets such as NBC news, the NY Post, the NY Daily News, the Sporting News, the Huffington Post, Breitbart, the UK's Daily Mail - hell, even Fox News. 

All of them soundly condemning Mr Frei, some to the point of evisceration.

What was so hate-filled and disgustingly offensive that former four-time Colorado Sports Writer of the Year Terry Frei wrote (on Twitter, not Facebook) that not only cost him his job and his reputation, but resulted in a smearing of his character on various social media sites that was ugly beyond description?

On Sunday, May 28th 2017, Terry Frei posted the following on Twitter after Takuma Sato won the Indianapolis 500:

Terry Frei's tweet from May 28th, 2017, which I lifted from some anonymous person's screen capture from Twitter, as I do not have a Twitter account of my own.

Is that tweet racist, or is it the honest reaction of a man who wrote a book entitled "Third Down And A War To Go", about his father's four years of military service in WWII, flying 67 unarmed missions in the Pacific Theater as a member of the 26th Photo Squadron?

For those that are not up on their history, 76 years ago the country of Japan declared war on the United States, and the Pacific Theater was the primary location of most major battles between the U.S. and Japan. Those battles took the lives of over 200,000 U.S. military personnel.

The uncomfortable feeling Mr Frei tweeted about should no doubt have been kept to himself, but it did not in anyway express a disregard for the person who had won the race or a disregard for that person's race, creed, color, etc., and it certainly did not advocate any form of ill-treatment of that person, and it certainly did not disregard the value of diversity in sports or society as a whole. 

However, it was written by a white male, the importance of which the social media shite storm that followed made very clear.

For Mr. Frei was immediately labeled a racist white male conservative Republican on several left-leaning websites, which he is most definitely not (and which is as racist a stereotype as any stereotype can be, but there doesn't seem to be a big rush to point that out by anyone)

Mr Frei is as far from being a racist as any human could be, and is a lifelong liberal Democrat. 

However, that apparently was of little interest to the haters.

Terry Frei was fired from his job a day after he posted that comment. 

As Hayley Geftman-Gold was the day after she posted hers.

However, that's where the similarity of the reaction to their statements ends.

For Mr. Frei was also soundly condemned in the national and international press, and was roasted on social media for being uncomfortable that a citizen of a country that declared war on the U.S. 76 years ago, (which resulted in his father having to face death nearly everyday for four years and which I point out again, resulted in the  deaths of over 200,000 American military personnel), wins an iconic American sporting event which takes place on Memorial Day weekend, the specific holiday on which America remembers and honors those who have fallen in defense of the country,

Sure, Hayley Geftman-Gold lost her job, but somehow she escaped criticism or condemnation from nearly all quarters.

What conclusions can be drawn here? Is it the blatantly obvious one, or is there something more subtle?

What could I possibly be missing...where is the usual hue and cry from the major media about this women's comment?

Is it because she is a lawyer and has threatened to sue for defamation? Is it because she was a fairly high-ranking member of the media and has the silent support of other fairly high-ranking members of the media? 

Someone please explain to me why Mr. Frei was pilloried and Mrs Geftman-Gold has not been.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The FooI In Me That Wants To Believe

There's this fool in me
Fighting to believe 
In life and love and manna from above
There's this fool in me
Who just can't see
What everybody else apparently does with ease
That fool, with his cuss'd insistence on proof
That fool, with his cuss'd persistence for the truth
He's going to get me in trouble someday
He's going to get me hurt
Probably won't stick around for the fight
Not a chance in hell
He'll make it sober through the night
There's this fool in me
Fighting to believe
That all the effort, all the work
Will be worth it

Monday, October 2, 2017

A World Of Angry Misanthropes

Days like today it's hard to believe the world is not being overrun by angry misanthropes.

Days like today it's hard to believe in humanity.

Friday, September 29, 2017

She Read The News With Relief & Regret

She remembered the day they met as if it was...well, if she was being honest with herself, as if it was a couple of decades ago, and at a time when she was possibly under the influence of either alcohol or something stronger and illegal. 

He had thick black hair back then that he preferred to keep short, until she convinced him he would look much nicer if he grew it out to at least shoulder length to allow for the natural waviness of his locks to show.

She thought hard for a moment, trying to decide if he was wearing blue jeans or just a pair of dark pants that day. His shirt was yellow, of that she was certain. Light yellow, maybe closer to a wheat color.

 And it had the name of a band she liked screen-printed on the front, but it wasn't a concert tee - it was probably bought at Mervyn's (momentarily she interrupted her nostalgic reverie with the intruding thought, "Mervyns? Wow...is Mervyn's around anymore?").

That was what actually prompted their initial conversation, the name of the band on the shirt. She loved The Who, at least back then, and that particular shirt with the image of Pete Townsend stabbing at the air with his guitar and Roger Daltry raising the microphone high over his head while Entwistle stood off to the side like a statue, and all three of them obscuring either Moon or Jones on the kit behind them, was a truly great shirt.

She wondered for a moment whatever happened to the shirt...she clearly remembered taking it from him. Maybe she still had it in one of the boxes stored in the garage...someday she was going to have to look for it.

"What was I wearing?" She asked herself. "Was it the crocheted dress with the bright floral pattern that I bought in Huntington Beach? It must have been, I can remember him staring at me trying to see if he could see my body through the gaps in the loops."

She forced herself to stop trying to recall the moment they met and looked back down at the newspaper on the table, open to the Life & Culture section.

She re-read the marriage announcement, nodding her head as her eyes scanned the multiple paragraph description of the bride's and bridesmaid's dresses, and the listing of the names of the bride's father & stepmom, mother and husband, and the groom's father & deceased mother.

She stared at the name of the groom for longer than she wanted to, telling herself repeatedly to just turn the page.

It was a long time ago when they shared that little apartment. All those conversations, all those shared dreams, all those plans...all now just brackish water under a burned-down bridge. 

"What are you reading?" A strong voice asked. 

She looked up at her husband as he walked out onto the patio and smiled. "Oh, just the wedding announcements," she replied. "Cannot believe what some of these women consider appropriate to wear on their wedding day. Who in their right mind gets married in pastel taffeta these days?"

"Huh. Anyone we know tying the knot?" She looked back down at the paper as he said that and answered him while turning the page, "No, just a bunch of kids who probably don't have any idea what they're getting into..."

Friday, September 22, 2017

Another Push That Was Once A Pull

Last night a friend of mine informed me that his wife had told him she was filing for divorce.

No marriage counseling, no couples therapy, just divorce.

I know this friend fairly well - he's a nice guy, quite nicer than most, actually. He's a hard-worker, belongs to a church that he actually attends (not that that makes anyone better than people I know who don't), and he is, as far as I know, loyal to his wife. 

I cannot recall him ever saying anything disparaging about his wife, either.

So the news was surprising. 

It sucks to have to go through a divorce, no matter how bad the marriage was - I'm speaking from experience here. My heart goes out to my friend, for he is about to endure a level of emotional pain that can be felt physically, and what makes it worse is, of course, the two children they have.

Divorce is incredibly difficult for young children, and here I'm speaking from the experience of being a young child whose parent's got divorced.

It's difficult for me to judge anyone who gets a divorce though, because I know there are cases where divorce is absolutely necessary, especially in situations when young children may be either subject to abuse or have to witness abuse.

But I still hate divorce, I still hate what divorce does to people.

There is no way I can even pretend to know what it takes to keep a relationship healthy & happy, or hell, even civil when the seas get rough, but I have to believe there must be something, some special, magical thing, that couples who do endure together for decades upon decades, possess.

Maybe it's due to innate abilities that not everyone is fortunate enough to have been born with, or maybe it's a learned skill, a practiced and finely honed skill that anyone could learn if only they had the presence of mind to know it was a skill they knew they lacked, and had the good sense to aggressively pursue the development of such.

Over the course of my lifetime I have known several couples that have faced adversity and hardships beyond the pale, and not only did their relationships survive, they appeared to thrive.

The only thing I have ever been able to attribute the ability of those couples to survive their various ordeals to is the mutual belief that they were a team, and nothing but nothing was going to beat their team.

It's something I have never experienced myself, due to either my inability to commit fully to the team ideal, or to the inability of my partner at the time to commit fully to the team ideal.

That dynamic, that level of commitment, that's the stuff of dreams as far I'm concerned.

To be able to put the team first, to be able to quash whatever selfish desire is pushing or pulling one in a direction that would not be beneficial for the team, that would be a fantastic ability to have.

I know, I know, you're probably reading that and thinking to yourself, "Well then do that, you idiot".

If only it was that simple. 

Seriously, if only it were that simple.