Category: Other Writings

My favorite quote of the day: “How much respect does a hunter get for gunning for deer with a assault rifle with a 100 round clip? NONE.”

This isn’t about hunting. If you like going to the firing range, Super! I’m happy for you. In fact, I would love to go with my brother-in-law sometime and fire off some rounds. And there are great places to do that, even open air ranges designed for tourists to blow very large holes in junk cars with very big machine guns – SOUNDS LIKE FUN.

Here’s the deal. Those venues are great and they are controlled environments, they hold permits and licenses for what they do (if they don’t, well they should) and that is where a lot of rounds fired off at once can be safely used. However, outside of those places, clips that hold 5 rounds or less should be enough. Keep your assault rifles, just minimize the damage they can do at any given time. I’m only half-joking when I say, “Want to do more damage? Improve your aim!!”

Here’s what I propose – and I’m not the first. Have universal background checks. Want a gun? Then man up and take a psychiatric exam and a criminal background check. Get a qualification exam for the weapon, or class of weapons you want to use. Even our military has to do this, and they don’t own the weapons they use. Why? So they don’t end up killing themselves or their buddies (accept that as a gender-inclusive term “Buddy” please!) Finally, one cannot purchase a firearm without that documentation. Period. Not person to person, gun show, Wal-Mart. NOWHERE in the US.

I see these as common-sense issues. Notice that I never said “Take the guns away.” I just said “Make sure people know how to use the things properly and that they aren’t a risk to themselves or others.”

The second amendment has not been violated here. No one but you and your examiners will ever know why you passed or failed your examinations, and the psych examiners should observe the same privacy rules all doctors/counsellors do: They cannot discuss your condition unless you are currently a risk to yourself or others.

These requirements benefit everybody, including gun owners and their families. How many in-home accidental gun deaths have their been by simple misuse of a firearm, either while cleaning it, not properly stowing it or so many other senseless gun accidents? I’m not even talking about domestic violence or any of that.

Does this solve use of guns in violent crimes? No. But neither does arming everyone to the hilt. Americans still have that un-excisable “pioneer spirit” and too many of us think that we are living in the Old West. Want to act like a vigilante and take the law into your own hands? Don’t. Want to act like a cop, become one.

Stop throwing BS about the second amendment at me – if assault rifles are covered under the second amendment, then so are RPGs, 2mm machine guns, hand grenades, etc. (Grenades and other explosives are stills “Arms”) They all protect the citizens from a potential “run-away government.” Stop getting your scenarios from TV-armegedon shows and fear mongers. Y’all sound like you’ve been watching too many episodes of “Walking Dead!” – BTW the government blows up a large city in the first couple of episodes!

And so a great era comes to an end.

Steve has had a major effect on my life from the day the APPLE II came out.

Our high school had one in the computer class. The “Lab” was a 8′ x 8′ store room between two class rooms. I loved that machine and aced the class. I also acted as a teacher’s assistant for that class. That was the early eighties.

When I was on the Moosbrugger (DD-980) in the Navy, I compiled our department’s Damage Control Manual on a Macintosh (1985.)

And since 1996, Macintosh computers and Apple products have been in my life and helped form my music and art.

The world will be just a little dimmer without the glow of Steve Job’s light of innovation and wonder.

The dichotomy of Fiction v Non-Fiction

How much is social engineering?
How much of it keeps us from reality?
How much of reality is perception?

Media outlets allowing fiction to fuel the story – b/c/o the 24hr news cycle & the fear of being scooped, etc.

Social engineering through desensitization.
Extreme violence, sex, drama, etc.
Extreme comedy, extreme fear, extreme love.
Comparative paradigms – vicarious experience & sensationalization of self destructive behavior.

The fiction of “Reality TV”

Personal “Prisons”

Using the metaphor of “The Prisoner” and how we can be our own jailer or our own liberator
How can we expand our personal walls?
how far into the desert are we willing to wander?
How long are we wiling to tread water?

How long can we do this before the “Rover” of social engineering norms drags us back into The Village?

What aspects of our lives are Pavlovian Social Responses – Cell phones, texting,“Productivity”?

notes –
* Dehumanization of automation
* How much does the interconnectedness of social networking isolate us from human face-to-face interaction?
*Has this kind of interaction fed the media cycle & how the media behaves?
The sudden disregard for electronic archival media & the understanding that facts can be researched more easily than ever before

Prologue: I get sick and tired of getting those “Don’t Forget 9/11 and who’s to blame for it – let’s go kill the Bastards……..” kind of chain emails.
Actually, I’m sick of all of the crap knee-jerk “send this out or else” chain-email. It’s not as bad as being SPAMMed – it’s WORSE, because anyone who sends them out is HELPING the SPAMMERS by providing countless email addresses out in the open for anyone to “steal”, and that is always what happens. Actually, I’ve counted as many as 120(!) at one time – you know, you have to scroll down for an hour just to get past all of the email addresses before you get to read the actual message? But I always take the time to thank the sender by blind-emailing everyone in the message to explain their “friend’s” contribution to their SPAM email load. Who do you think originally writes those things? If you said “The SPAMMERS” then you win the door prize. These meaningless pieces of junk also contribute to choking up the internet with useless and meaningless sentimentality – sure, there are cute ones here and there, but most of them could be reduced by up to 75% if folks would just trim out the email addresses and blind copy their list of friends…. I recently received a “Don’t Forget 9/11 and who’s to blame for it – let’s go kill the Bastards……..” from a “Christian” person who is very dear to me. This is what I sent to the 30 people whose email addresses I had so graciously (or, more likely, thoughtlessly and carelessly) been given: — While these messages are quite disturbing in the casual, base way they are written to bring about a gut reaction to their readers, with the express intent not of railing about 9/11 but to steal your email address….. (that’s why several of you have no idea who I am, and yet, here I am emailing you – then you wonder why you get spammed all the time – it’s because people insist on sending meaningless, emotional, empty-headed junk with your email in the CC field for all to see, AND COPY FOR THEIR USE, WHATEVER THAT MAY BE. This is the fundamental reason why you don’t see who els I sent this to, though I sent it out to 30 people) …….and though I continually get ignored when I tell certain individuals to respect my email address by blind copying me, I have to get dead serious about the content of the message itself, because I believe it is time someone finally ripped that red, white and blue blankie from your hands. We are not children – most of us – that can simply wave the flag and think everything is going to be just fine – they did it in the streets of Berlin, too, ya kow… It is time someone showed you the reality of how we have all been played for suckers! (are we Americans or Christians? You can not serve two masters!) — The email I received from a caring person only underscores the knee-jerk emotionalism and patriotism we are programmed to feel and express every time the memory of 9/11 is invoked. The American people have been manipulated to behave this way – from the inception of the nation – and it’s time they woke up to the truth: The war on terror (WOT) is a farce. Those 7 words will likely make you angry. If that phrase does upset you, you will likely not want to read the rest of this, but I believe it’s in your best interest to read it. We have been manipulated like a bunch of sheep and this could be your chance to wake up from the sleepy dream of a lie we have been told. If you took the time to read the piece of flag-waving junk that caused me to write this, you can certainly take the time to read this – it’s the difference between reading a comic book or real history….. This is not to say that 9/11 wasn’t a terrible thing – it was, but let’s put things into perspective, shall we? I’m not trying in any way to disrespect the victims of 9/11 or their families. I am not trying to disrespect our troops (I myself served in the Navy.) I do not, in fact “Hate America”, so let’s just set all of those little straw men aside and get serious, OK? The WOT is an excuse to get Americans all riled up to justify murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children in a sovereign nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. Let’s think about this. If I recall correctly, the Lord said:
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies,bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good,and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?do not even the publicans the same? Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Eventually, the government will continue on to a third nation (Iran) on the premise that they are developing and will use nuclear weapons against the United States. All the while refusing to have any real diplomatic relationship with them in order to help ease the tensions, exactly as we treated Iraq, and the unfounded reports of Iraq having ambitions for nuclear weapons are exactly as was Iraq – and we know how accurate that was! Besides, have we provided any nation with any meaningful solution to protect themselves from the US besides developing some kind of WMD? The US has the largest and most deadly stockpile of WMD’s in the world! The “WOT” is the central excuse given as the reason that the American people accept horrible acts torture acceptable if we beat “The bad guys” or “Avoid another 9/11”. I have actually talked to people who said this to me. WHAT???? Since when did Jesus say “Love your neighbor, unless you need to torture them to protect yourselves!” ? I DON”T CARE WHO THEY ARE! If we stoop to that level, then we are become that which we claim to detest! The 9/11 attacks were a great opportunity used as a pretext for unbridled and unending war! Those who make money on wars – and there are a lot of them – stand to make Trillions upon Trillions of dollar in profits off of the blood of our soldiers and, truth be told, the other side’s fighters as well, since they don’t care who they fund or arm – the US was actually caught FUNDING al-Qaida at the same time we are supposedly fighting them in Iraq! (“al-Quida” is Arabic for “The Base” which refers to the CIA database of Afghani freedom fighters that we were training and funding during the USSR invasion of Afghanistan) The WOT gave the US an excuse to invade the two countries that stood in the way of a major oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea, Iraq and Afghanistan. The “WOT” is also the central reason given for the writing of laws that have trashed our civil liberties and brought use dangerously close to a police state! It has been used as a excuse to allow illegal activities to be carried out by our own government for the sake of our “safety and security.” You can be rest assured that nearly if not all of the Bill of Rights no longer applies, thank you very much. You can also be assured that those in the current administration who have sworn to uphold and protect the constitution have treated it like so much toilet paper. Bush on the Constitution: ‘It’s just a goddamned piece of paper’ And yet, we all seem to want to wave the flag and shout “US #1!” right after someone cries “9/11, 9/11, 9/11!” – very much like what the Germans did when someone cried “Reichstag, Reichstag, Reichstag!” Well the reality is, we aren’t #1, unless you say that we are #1 in invading countries that had nothing to do with 9/11 and #1 in failing to capture our #1 “Suspect.” The American govt. has staged or permitted at least 4 individual events and lied to it’s people untold numerous times to bolster support for war. The American government has played a major role in the coups and guerrilla wars around the world for at least 60 years. It was America that overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran in the 60’s to make way later on for the Shah’s and the anti-American sentiment that arose from our actions. It was the United States Government that aided and brought to power a great list of “evil” men: – Osama Bin Laden and the freedom fighters of Afghanistan were created and aided by the US during the USSR occupation of Afghanistan. We armed and trained them – I would say we’ve done a pretty good job! – The US armed Iran (remember the Iran Contra Affair that no one went to prison for?) and later gave Saddam Hussein WMD’s during the war between Iran and Iraq. Yep, that’s right, we armed BOTH sides of that conflict and yep, you guessed it – the WMD’s that we were after in the 90’s in Iraq were the same WMD’s that we sold him and taught him how to make – I would say that the US is either a very bad judge of character or they know how to set up their targets…. The list is pretty long. It is also very embarrassing…. if you thought it was great to be an American – especially when you thought you were the cowboy with the white hat…. The United States is in fact the number one supporter of state-run-terrorism. We funded the group that eventually came to be named “Al Qaida.” We funded the Sandinistas. Many banks and businesses were, in fact aiding and funding the Nazi’s during WWII, even AFTER we joined the war! We have illegally invaded two nations in the name of anti-terrorism, then we helped evacuate al-Qaida after we occupied Afghanistan. It isn’t and never was about “terrorism.” If it was, we would have actually captured Osama Bin Laden by now, not made up fake videos of him threatening the US (BTW, I live in Durham NC, Home of Duke University where the preeminent American authority on Osama works. He has stated to colleagues of mine, that the recent audio and video recordings of him are fakes.) Why don’t the TV and news papers tell you all this? Look at who owns them: Most are owned in part or in whole by government and military contractors. They have a big stake in making money on war! Take some time to view the video below. Zeitgeist Movie Part 3 ZEITGEIST, The Movie – Official Release – Part 3 of 3 47 min 5 sec – Jun 27, 2007 Average rating: (740 ratings) Description: ZEITGEIST, The Movie – Official Release. Part 3: “Don’t mind the men behind the curtain”. Full Film Here Mr. Kevin Michael Tillman – Not Pat Tillman’s Brother….. home page Blog

As some of you know by visiting my web site, I have been working rather diligently on a cycle of songs slated to be performed in the next fourteen months or so.

Most of my previous posts here give somewhat of a picture into why and how I’ve come to take this project on.

I have to admit that I’ve had my days of wondering, “What the heck have I gotten myself into?”

Why do I think like this? Because the gears are all turning and all of the other things that need to be happening are also in play. Triangle Gay Men’s Chorus is eager to work on the piece, I’ve applied for a fellowship from the NC Arts Council – that’s still up in the air, though – and the chorus has made the project part of it’s annual funding grant. So I’m pretty much locked in and it is a bug commitment!

But when I look back and remember why I’m doing it (see the most recent five or so posts) I calm down. In the end, I didn’t get myself into anything. The only thing I did was let God into my life and say “Not my will, but yours be done, Lord!” So what I have to do is live in to that.

But also acknowledge that there is no “I” in this. It is about God’s message, not mine. It is about God’s music and His hand and His Love – not mine. I am not alone in this – not just because I know that my brothers in the chorus and my brothers in Christ and my church are here with me, but above all because I know that His Hand is in this.

I have my moments of dreaming how wonderful the day will be when this work is performed and how people will like it and it will touch them – I, like many other normal human beings, will really want to bask in that as if it were all my doing. That is where many artists go, I think – the human ego loves that. But I will try my best to remember that it is God’s work – I am just the instrument.

It gets tough sometimes when the music or the words don’t happen – or they don’t make sense. That’s when I have to step away from the computer or the piano and go for a walk, or a drive and just stop thinking – stop trying and just let it happen.

So, last week I finished the outline. I know that I have nine songs in the cycle. I even know what those songs are. I have all but one of them in their basic musical score form.

The one I don’t have just happens to be my oldest song. My first love song to my first true love. I have it in a form where I can get it into a score, but to bring it to the current time and arrange it for men’s chorus seems odd for this song.

For me, it is such a personal thing, this one and a half minute tune – Back then, I laid out in words almost every simple metaphor I had for love at the time. Then when the object of my affection died, I added a spoken part in the middle about how he taught me what it meant to be loved and how he was still a part of me and he’d taken a piece of me with him.

That middle section is not to be spoken in the new work, though. Instead, a new set of lyrics will be placed there.

Like all of the other songs, there will be sacred text there. A brief glimpse at God’s love for us. A simple reminder to me that this is not just mine – it is a gift from Him to me and from me to Him.

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