Category: Philosophy

Vietnam redux. The burning of registration cards.

Vietnam redux. The burning of registration cards.

When you attend the funeral
It is sad to think that soon o’ –
Later those you love will do the same for you.

And you may have thought it tragic,
Not to mention other adjec-
-tives for all the weeping they will do…”

But… Don’t you worry!

This past week, as we end the first week of May in 2006, the dust has settled on the news that financially, self-assessed Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2016 Presidential Election. Needless to say, this has people concerned and confused on all sides of the ‘aisle’ and frankly the world. Things are no calmer on the Democratic side of this upcoming conflict. The war of words and ideologies between the supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders becomes deeper, angrier, and more entrenched. Trust me, my spouse and I can no longer discuss the topic of DNC nominee.

There has been some strong rhetoric on all sides of this debate. Once the nominees are formally made. I personally don’t feel that will clarify the situation. It may will exacerbate issues and spawn entirely new developments. There are at least six different groups at play and many different ways this could play out. I’m going to cover the groups, the potential outcomes of the upcoming war of beliefs, and my preferred outcome.

Much of the first half is simply trying to objectively layout the groups. Some of it will seem like routine knowledge. With luck it sets an (at least hopefully) objective tone.

Of the six groups I want to focus on, three are easy, one was formed of a vacuum, one has continually been ignored, and one is entirely responsible.

In order I am talking about: The different supporters of the three remaining candidates, the RNC that lost all opposition to Trump, Voters registered as neither Republican nor Democrat, and of course MSM: Mainstream Media.

We start with Donald Trump and his supporters who effectively poisoned the well. I won’t spend much time on him or his supporters out of irony for the whole situation of the coverage already granted him. Coming from a realm of business based on the fervor and glamour of reality television; Trump seeks an audience. He is akin to Jerry Springer of the previous two decades. Sensationalism that primarily catered to the lowest denominator.

Trump’s supporters have taken up the flame of rhetoric to bring to forefront the most animalistic and territorial hatred in humankind. Violence begets violence. Continual incidents of protestors threatened, beaten, and in instances murdered. A demagoguery nearly repeating the Red Scare of Joseph McCarthy has motivated hatred against Muslims, the LGBT community, Mexicans and intellectuals while embracing religious extremism and mislabeling it as Christianity.

Trump and his allies have managed to quash all competition for the position of Republican nominee for the presidency. While Republican leadership have been honing their process, directives, and principles; Trump has become a rebel against the system. He has rallied the people that the Republicans have been moulding. Effectively winding up a child and then being surprised when Grandfather comes along to take them to a Toy Store and a Candy Store. Suddenly he is more popular. It becomes difficult when the child rebels against the parent because Grandfather understands them better.

The Republican party has perfected the union of the working class in the name of Patriotism and Religious Ferver with the upper class and large scale industry corporations under the mantle of partisan cohesion. They create the message and everyone supports the message. There is no reason for the Working Class to mistrust the upper class as they obviously share those ideals of Patriotism and Religion. Further, there is no reason for the upper class to concern itself with the working class because they have become very effective at portraying those ideals while painting their opposition as being opposed to them thus engendering hate and mistrust.

Trump however has come in with a scalpel and separated these two groups. What was created by the Republicans in the mentality of the Tea Party, spawned the darker side in Trump’s supporters. They have clung onto the new message of not trusting the government. Taking a people already conditioned to mistrust and hate; it was seemingly easy to expand that to the people that created them. This is similar to the success of cults in the 1970s such as Sun Myung Moon’s Moonies.

On the one hand the Republicans are faced with their own core philosophy of “We Stand Together” often regardless of the ways in which they do this. On the other there is a growing fear that Trump is pulling these supporters away in a manner that will fracture or even destroy the party as it is known today. Already these things have been experienced as Trump’s supporters are lining up to voice discontent with the failings of the Republican party. At the same time there are record numbers of life-long, mutil-generational Republican voters who are abandoning the party or worse (for them) converting to membership in the Democratic party. As the primary approaches although it hasn’t happened yet. High Republican leadership are distancing themselves. The living, past Republican Presidents, the last two Republican candidates for the President, and the Republican Speaker of the House have all stated that they will not attend their party’s nominating convention and have offered no or opposing support to Trump’s journey to the White House.

This has not merely affected the Republican Party, but the world watches with a combination of awe and terror. The growing Republican schism is growing to the point that it has added fuel to the growing wildfire on the other side of the aisle. Without a presumptive candidate and the Democratic convention approaching; things have become intellectually violent on the left side.

The two candidates in the Democratic arena are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Both are experienced, trendsetters, and innovations in the way of American politics. Their supporters have tenaciously embraced them extolling their accomplishments and views while at the same time ignoring their faults and at worse misrepresenting the truth (or out and out lying) in a “Mine-Good, Yours Bad” manner.

Hillary Clinton is the visibly accomplished politician. To address the elephant in the room (which ironically is the symbol of the Republicans) Hillary is the first female nominee to the Presidency. And this is the second time she has taken this path. In history it is rare for a candidate to run twice over two ends of an eight year run. Her background includes being the First Lady to 42nd President Bill Clinton, where she was publicly known to have the executive ear in cases of legislation, New York State Senator, United States Secretary of State, among other positions.

Trying to be objective, fair, and balanced:

Clinton’s supporters see her muchly first and foremost as a sign of Feminine strength and accomplishment in an otherwise male “Old Boys Club.” As a result, she is viewed as having a thick skin and tough ability to stand to her beliefs and not be undermined for them. She keeps religion to herself, she has experience on Domestic as well as Foreign affairs, and has a judicial background advocating for children, women, and evolving on social justice issues. At core they see her as someone who can repair the Democratic party in government and mend the differences between the parties to get positive legislation moving again.

Clinton’s opposition see her as being part of the legislative downfall through lobbying and other financial incentives. As her political career is long, it carries more skeletons that her opposition views as sullying the wash. She is viewed as overly hawkish regardless of her gender. Clinton is viewed as someone who will not merely fail at uniting the Right and the Left, but more accurately seen as giving the Republicans cohesion in a stated dislike for her. She is viewed as having continually changing stances on issues and insincere of her treatment of groups that she speaks to. Finally, her opposition has lost respect and faith in her spouse, Past President Clinton.

Directly in opposition is Bernie Sanders, the incumbent and decade long US Senator from Vermont. With a US Federal legislation career spanning over a quarter century and a political career that extends over 10 years before that. Sanders elephant is that he is the second Jewish candidate for President after Joseph Lieberman. A self-proclaimed democratic socialist, Sanders has been “Independent” from the two main political parties for 35 years, but has caucused as a Democrat. His political alignment changed to being a member of the Democratic party in the past year. This allowed him to more easily run for President.

Again, in an attempt to be objective, fair, and balanced:

Sanders supporters view him as a revolutionary who has tired of the downfall of the American legislative and partisan system. They seem him as a defender of the middle class, global justice issues, and income inequality. He propagates strong rhetoric against lobbying and fundraising efforts that he perceives as tainting or worse controlling the efforts of politicians. His supporters are (for the most part) young and idealistic, and rallying to the battle cry for tenaciously needed change.

His Democratic opposition holds a very low opinion of Sanders. Above all, his message is viewed simply as political theatre designed to rally troops rather than offer individual situational solutions. He is viewed as having an unrealistic view of financial situations and less realistic, insubstantial solutions. His age is considered a huge detriment to his potential success as a President He is viewed as not appealing to the social justice groups he represents. He is seen as at times offensive to minorities and women and often frankly insulting and counter to their needs. As a result, he is seen as a dangerous candidate for violent and angry rhetoric and behaviour by groups of his supporters.

Caught in the middle are Independents. A group that truly represents the middle of these four extreme corners. Their plight is made worse by having only a partial voice in the process of winnowing the set down to the inevitable pair of gladiators to rise to battle in the American Coliseum. As members who are registered neither as Democrat nor Republican, their voice in the nomination process is limited by the decision of the State that they are in. They also become the largest wildcard in the process.

Finally, there is mainstream media. There is no reason to focus on them further than to acknowledge that as a whole has done more damage to the process than any one candidate, party, or individual supporter can do. They have put a microscope on a boil and turned a blind eye to the suffering. The attention of all winds up further uneducated, oblivious, and entrenched.


And here we are. All the players on the field. Another silence before the next storm.


And of course… finally, the centre of this essay.


So, what happens next?

There are two key elements that set off these paths. First, how does the Republican leadership handle Trump now that he is presumptive with a large following that will take the party in a direction that they never wanted to travel? Secondly, how will the result of the Democratic convention affect the future of their side of the war for the executive office?

In all four cases there have been the same message, “My way or the highway.” There is admittedly a small group that hopes for party unity so that when there are two sides the crowds will have a fair voice (well as fair as it has been) in choosing one of two candidates.

However, when you break these groups into will vote for Trump, will not vote for Trump, will vote for Clinton, will not vote for Clinton, will vote for Sanders, will not vote for Sanders; you wind up creating a very scary Venn diagram for American politics that has not been seen for around a century. There is the very real potential for more than two parties to have equally strong representation. There is also the very real potential possibility for there to be four parties that have formed by the Mitosis of the two mainstream parties.

While the current Democrat and Republican party manifestations fundamentally disagree on nearly every debatable topic, there is one thing that they stand in true unity on. The absolute polarization of America with a Two party system. Upon investigation the requirements of a third party candidate to get representation, respect, media attention, or any momentum in the electoral process one discovers that law has formally been stylized to almost entirely prevent it.

However mainstream media has naively thrown a Molotov Cocktail into the system. With unprecedented coverage of Trump combined with unprecedented under-coverage of Sanders; both counter-establishment candidates have been given a strong backing against the two parties that they seek to change. On the one side Trump’s followers are reveling in a recognized state of, “Finally, we have the voice people don’t want to hear.” On the other Sanders has rallied a following of people who perceive they have ongoing truth that their voices are in fact silenced.

The voices whether one agrees with or disagrees with them both ironically say the same thing. “Change it, we feel you are doing it wrong and telling us not to believe what we do.” As the traditional parties both find themselves wondering whether backing the popular candidate or opposing their popular candidate will help or harm their party as a whole.

On the Republican side with Trump gaining the nomination presumptively, there have been examples of opposition on the Republican side with matched fervor of opposition to the Vietnam War. Quite simply, people are burning their registration cards. From a party to be known in support of war, for individual members to take a symbolic action reflective of those who opposed government and war is a very deafening statement. Further, if the Party changes the rule to push out Trump, his very wide support base will probably and actively move to take down if not destroy the Republican party as we know it. The GOP is in a “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” state. Ironically how our Congress is currently viewed.

On the Democratic side with Sanders ‘not’ presumptively gaining the Democratic nomination, there has been perceived favouritism played to his opponent. His supporters are matching the fervor of opposition, but for the opposite reason. While the Republicans are losing membership over who is getting the nod. The Democrats are being threatened to lose membership because of who is not getting the nod. The Democrats are being buffeted between the blessed and supported candidate and the upstart rival who’s very wide support base will probably and actively move to take down if not destroy the Democratic party as we know it. The Party is in a “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” state. Ironically how our Congress is currently viewed.

One could almost say that the major political parties are finding itself the victim of a touch of political and ironic Karma.

Of course, in the midst of all this there are the independents whose true voice is yet to be heard.

Looking at how this can play out there are the two obvious post primary potentials

  • Trump vs Clinton
  • Trump vs Sanders.

This then has the following possible complications:

  • Trump overturned for another Republican nominee
  • Clinton nominated under visibly suspect conditions
  • Sanders nominated ignoring the fact that he ends reasonably behind in pledged delegates.

In the cases above, both parties are left with extra need for culling back together a sense of party unity. In the case of Trump, we have already seen the seeds of anger, revulsion, and defection. In a party that has prided itself on having everyone fall in line with the message, finding party unity is somewhat foreign. In the case of the Democrats, the battle between Clinton and Sanders has been more verbally vicious that the primary between Clinton and Obama. In 2008 the party was afraid of being unable to unite the party. With Sanders we see disenfranchisement, revolution, and reformation.

In both camps there is a growing shadow of “We’re taking our ball and going home.” The advantage of having everyone down to two sides is that it makes it far easier to predict the path and compensate. Once the choices exceed two, the votes become a sacrifice from one side or the other. In the case of a third candidate appearing in the final race to the presidency, that third candidate is considered a spoiler. The candidate takes enough of the votes away from one candidate to give the third candidate the majority when otherwise the voting would have gone against them. It is through this that one can see how Ross Perot took Bush Sr’s votes from him giving Clinton a win for the Democrats while Ralph Nader did the same to Al Gore giving that Presidency to Bush Jr. Again… perhaps political karma.

All three candidates (and then adding the trasitional Republican party) all have a large compliment of voters that are saying “My person or else.” As a result, both parties are facing a distinct fear of not recapturing party unity. As is the nature in this, all parties are blaming the other for not ‘playing ball.’ Slogans such as “Trump or Bust” and “Bernie or Bust” have come to the forefront. A recent poll by politico in early April stated that even 15 percent of Clinton’s supporters wouldn’t vote for Sanders.

Is Trump spoiling the Republican vote? More than likely. Voting against Trump is one of the few things that Sanders and Clinton agree upon. Many independents are leaning in agreement with not supporting Trump as well as a large percentage of the Global community. This is a fact the Republicans are very aware of and are seemingly still looking for an answer. President Obama stated that we’re all waiting to see if Cleveland (where the Republican Convention will be) manages to ‘get out alive.’ One reporter described the convention as “The Mistake on The Mistake on the Lake” (Personal note, I am from Pittsburgh, so I am unashamedly unbiased and amused by this.)

Is Sanders spoiling the Democratic vote? Also, more than likely. With a fervor of skepticism over perceived irregularities in primary voting, a feeling of seemingly disenfranchising manipulations from the Democratic National Committee, and with a feeling that the opposing Democratic stands as a paragon for everything they want to fight against; Sanders supporters have stated a political intent to ‘go down with the ship should it sink.’ The same poll stated that 25% of Sanders’ supporters would not vote for Clinton. There are even numbers suggesting that a clear majority of Sanders voters might give their vote to Trump. Anger breeds anger.

Is Clinton spoiling the Democratic vote? And yet again, more than likely. With rhetoric that goes against Sanders supporters rather than finding common ground, the wedge grows and the number of votes she risks losing. She strongly embraces the system as it is and is more likely to work from the inside out. However, this is also the view opposed by both her opponents. Amusingly here, the otherwise Hawkish Clinton is stepping back into a position of peace. That is a pleasant piece of political irony to contemplate.

If the Republicans split the Party by blessing a non-Trump candidate, this will abundantly split the party and most likely the Democratic candidate will win the election. If the Democratic party can not find it’s way to unity against a Republican Party supporting Trump… The Republicans will likely win.

Typically, two is a balance and three is a tie breaker. In the case of a single spoiler this is not the case. However, the unique potential facing us is that both parties may in fact fracture giving us four parties.


Trump and his supporters move forth to become a “Totalitarian Republican” Party

Trump clearly stands for filtering out the masses and playing on their fears, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) to raise their anger and bitterness. While extremist, it has a huge following.


The GOP as we know it become the “Reformed Republican” Party

The GOP now with a free pass to have a “Rebuilding year” as termed in sports, would be able to migrate back from the brink of the Tea Party and false religious fundamentalism. Socially they could pull their platform back towards the centre while the economic views would still favour the legislators.

The separation between these parties would break down the Right’s most treasured possession, Gerrymandered voting districts.


Moving towards the Left we reach the “Centrist Democratic” Party

In a huge blow to those who grew up before 2000, the Traditional Democrats and Republicans would move so close to each other than on occasion they would caucus as a block over legislation. The old lines would still exist on many topics… but they’d get resolved far quicker. Both parties would be in strong support of Lobbing efforts and slow on cases like Citizen’s United.


Finally, we have the the DLS: “Democratic Liberal Socialist” party.

With an eye for revolution and a seemingly unchallengeable ethical basis; the DSL would be the most unswerving in their ideals. This would be an interesting political rubber band to the Tea Party. One entrenched group against social freedoms, the other an entrenched group for social freedoms.

But the real question comes down to how this can all happen without making things worse. As a bi-partisan system breaks down… So does in essence the electoral college. The entire US voting process has been called by many domestically and internationally sufficiently and critically damaged that it needs to have UN oversight in the same way other countries do.

In my opinion, a manner in which to remove the threat of spoiler candidates as well as reduce disenfranchising voters would require a few steps that would be viewed as infinitely disastrous, an abhorrence, difficult to perform, and yet have positive benefits:

  • Complete US Voter rolls. Every US Citizen is on a role. They can send in a vote to a state or regional location. It carries a voter number. They can vote in person. Many people would prefer not to be on file with the government. This is of course most easily carried out in this country by not being born.
  • Election day is a Federal Holiday. Only essential responders should be asked to work and at that in overtime paid shifts to guarantee them a vote.
  • Voter assistance. Door to door assistance with pre-election day voting for often disenfranchised voters.
  • Voter education. Each citizen on voting rolls should receive a booklet. The book summarizes the positions and issues available for vote. Each vote should have either an objective description or the position or the proposed legislation. In the case of a position, each candidate should state their platform. Other candidates should then be able to make statements against the candidate. Finally, the candidate may offer rebuttal but only in self-defense. For legislation having a statement in support, against and rebuttals on each side.
  • The adoption of Hare-Clark voting.

Hare-Clark voting is designed to remove spoiler voting as well as to fill multiple vacancies without disenfranchising voters or causing one candidate to spoil the vote. The candidates are stack ranked. To illustrate let’s use an election where Jones and Brown are running on the Green and Yellow party Ticket. James who was in the Green Ticket with Jones decides to run under the Orange party. Jones may have been likely to defeat Brown. However now, James and Jones will likely split those votes and Brown will win.

With Hare Clark the voters rank their preferences. One can vote for any or all candidates in order of their preference to win. So one could vote: James, Jones, and then nobody else.

The voting count is reduced until the number of the candidates exceeds the number of positions by one and then the majority wins.

The reduction is done by giving the lowest voted candidates votes to their second choice.

The initial voting is:

  • 250 James
  • 300 Jones
  • 400 Brown

James is low vote, so we rule him out, but look at his voter’s secondary choices.

  • 175 Jones
  • 25 Brown
  • 50 (No second choice)

The votes still go to someone they choose. As a result:

  • 475 = 300+175 Jones
  • 425 = 400 + 25 Brown

James is not a spoiler candidate. People can have more faith voting on their candidate without initially voting for a ‘lesser of evils’ candidate and moreover.

This doesn’t assist ideological unity, but it reduces a feeling of being disenfranchised. Quite simply the idea of similarly aligned candidates cancelling out each other in favour for true opposition is removed.

In anything over a 2 member race, this is the most honest and transparent way to count an electoral vote.

This of course means that is very unlikely.

All of this comes down to how the parties will behave as their respective conventions come down to the wire. This also depends on how the parties progresses past the primary into the general election race. This leaves the public watching each party attempt to not lose the bulk of their support through concession and unification…

Amusingly, very few people are considering (at this point) if after the general election there will be any chance of federal unity, popular mandate, or further lack of faith in the government.

Granted it may be argued this has been missing for about 25-50 years, while others may suggest it’s been going on closer to 240 years.

To the candidates for the US Presidency in 2016:

Have fun storming the castle. It’ll take a miracle.

“We will all go together when we go.”

Study the past“Never Again!”

These words have been used in the past 70 years since World War II ended. During that time, millions of Jews, Gays, “Gypsies”¹, and their supporters were put to death. Most were killed for their beliefs, some by association, many simply because of who they were.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of Godwin’s Law (of the internet):

“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1”

The invocation of Godwin is used to prevent one side or another to equate evilness or incorrectness with the “Ultimate representation” of ‘Evil’ and/or ‘Wrong’ which for the lifetime of the Internet has been Hitler and the Nazi regime.

The problem with Godwin is two-fold. First on a direct level, secondly on a meta-level.

Directly, the use of “Hitler” and “Nazi” by equating them to “Evil” divorces us from the reason. In general this empowers the words “Evil and Wrong” and trivializes Nazism and the acts of Hitler as merely the natural or unnatural ‘limits’ of the definition of evil. We could just as easily say that anything good would inevitably equate out to Firefly. Eventually the context is lost beyond, Firefly was ultimately good.

I am a 47-year-old Jew. WWI did not affect my immediate family (at least without being removed by 2-3 degrees of cousin-hood). They only had the Russian Pogroms to deal with, and even then this is distanced by 2 generations from me. However, despite a lack of direct contact with these atrocities, I still have personal context as to the horrors done to my race, just as readily as even the most affluent person of color has to the horror of Watts, segregation, or slavery.

But there is a frightening and even more dangerous side to misusing the idea of Godwin’s Law. There is a tangible danger in the invocation of Godwin as a means to diffuse or worse avoid a needed conversation. This is especially the case when that conversation is in true comparison to what Hitler and Nazism represented.

There are many well-defined terms for the actions of the Nazi regime as created and directed by Hitler. All of which are put as off limits by misusing Godwin’s law if the comparisons strike to closely.

Genocide, Eugenics, Racial Superiority, Totalitarianism, Authoritarianism, Fascism, Radicalized Nationalism.

As a result of misusing Godwin’s law… there is a growing fear to confront these topics. Godwin gives a safe blanket to prevent us to from ever believing that we’re heading down the same road as has occurred in the past. Hitler… It could never be as bad as Hitler.

We forget that in 1938 Hitler was viewed in Time magazine as “Man of the Year” Consider at that time, that discussions concerning the most “Evil man in history” might have referred to Pizarro, Caligula, Ivan the Terrible, Nero, Rasputin, Torquemada, or Vlad the Impaler. Does the legacy of making Hitler the “ultimate evil” reduce the crimes of Pot Pol, Idi Amin, or Osama bin Laden?

By wrapping society in the safe blanket that we have seen the ultimate evil and it could never be worse condemns us in an instant to be granted the wish of being wrong. Even in the movies we know better than to posit “At least it couldn’t be any worse”

In 1938 people were singing the praises of Hitler. At least the media was. Hitler was a sense of nationalism to a very battered country. And nobody disagreed with him or his burgeoning government. Granted, by 1938 Hitler had given more power to the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the people that opposed him and his government were evaporating quickly. By 1938, Hitler had already been in power as Chancellor for 5 years. His popularity started building as early as 1927 from his policies and beliefs on a unification of all German speaking lands, the distrust of all Jews and any governing that gave the people any power. Any policy he didn’t approve of, was inevitably dismissed as part of a Jewish Agenda/Conspiracy. After 10 years of this… The US still said he was “Man of the Year.” After 3 years of bloody war, the US hadn’t entered. Not because of isolationism… but because we hadn’t decided which side we were on. Hitler was courting the US as an ally, and the bombing of Pearl Harbor made the decision easy.

Evil… is a relative and flexible term. In ‘entertainment’ we have moved from black and white into shades of grey. In life we talk about all of one ethnic group as evil, while a person who kills 10-15 people as potentially misunderstood.

Terrorism isn’t the act of destroying our bodies. It’s the act of destroying our souls and our wills.

It’s time to stop using Godwin as a crutch. It hides facing a potentially terrifying future which as a path that we’ve travelled down in the past. Stop using Godwin’s Law to excuse debate. Godwin didn’t want it.²

Words aren’t meant to be thrown around. Words are meant to represent something and to be as used as tools, shields, and weapons of truth for what they mean.

“Never again!”



1: A racial slur unto itself

2: “I Seem To Be A Verb: 18 Years of Godwin’s Law” – Mike Godwin;

Candles of LoveMy dear spouse, Heather​ and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day. Nor Mother’s day, Father’s Day, etc. Many of these are toted as Hallmark Holidays. In other words, they are really designed as economy motivators to promote capitalism.

I saw a story on the news last night that “Winter Storm Neptune” (They’ll name anything) that this weather may be economically damaging because restaurants, florist, and a myriad of other retail outlets will lose business. Business based on self perpetuated false need. This is the day you are supposed to show love, that is the day you’re supposed to honour mothers or fathers. And of course don’t forget to buy your unreasonably, overvalued diamonds from the slave trade they don’t tell you about.

My issue is companies that create products for reasons they don’t care about. They sell flowers but they don’t give a rats ass if it’s out of love; trying to save your ass; or hoping it will be an easy in for being a sexual predator. This extends to diamonds as gifts, fast food, and super cheap retail that abuses their employees.

My take on all these holidays is similar to how the Jews treat Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is not the day you spend in Synagogue to assure you don’t sin. Yom Kippur is when you atone. It’s the day that you recognise, admit, embrace, and pray to do better over your failings for the last year.

I saw an interesting post that St. Valentine was pretty much killed and his body violated and we celebrate that with Pink Hearts.

Today… talk with your loved ones and ask them not what you can do today… but what you can do for all of next year.

To me… Love means “Not having to say ‘I love you'” It is a simple fact that you and your loved ones know. If that fact is ever weakened… you realise it and then you find the ways to make it better. Let me assure you… The Addams Family love each other dearly… In their world they throw knives at each other on a spinning board. (THAT is so hot)

I love my family. (ALL OF THEM) I also love the lovers that I rarely see. I also still love many of the people that I am no longer dating/in a relationship with. We parted because of situation. We parted because of difference. But I remember what made them special in my heart. And I love the people who truly do not know the depths of affection I have for them. (Let’s see how many friends freak out over this)

Today, I am away on personal business. I miss my family very much today, not because the vicious egrigore that is Valentines Day tells me that I have to. I do it because I always miss them when I am away from them. Today it’s just essential to step back and hold a shield and a sword to this day and say… You Are Not The Boss Of Me.

Aiden, Heather, Susan (and even David and Kelita) I love you so very much!

Joy, Jaisan, Jenn, Jade, (and people wonder when I talk about my Js)  (and in no specific order) Megan, Cristen, Carolyn, Stephanie, Andrea, Carrie, Kayla, Kori, Liz, Cyn, Lainie, Illy, Tess, Lynne, Erica, Holly, Kristie, Carleen, Cindee, Courtney, Deborah, Sooj, Ken… I will always love you. Even if I’ve never been able to, or had the opportunity to.

(I would never try to dare to put this list into order) Betsy, Prose, Joanna, Joa, Ananael, Winna, Barbara, Rebecca, Alex, Elissa, Deena, Dena, Emily, Erin, Erin, Hannah, Brianna, Gale, Jennifer, Amy, Michelle, Michelle, Nicole, Sandra, Kylie, Kris, Lecion, Pixi, Blue, Shira, Maeghanne, Maggi, Chrisa, Alice, Amanda, Kathy, Kathy, Kathy, Kat, Kate, (And people wonder why I’m a Kat person) Martha, Melissa, Melissa, Marie, Marie, Rubiee (And ’ember and even Nessa), Sami, Zoe, Holly, Mindy, Laurel, Kristina, Anne, Karin, Judy, Stacey, Al, Patrick, Adrian, and even Amy… And so many more that I can not think of. (And trust me, I resent myself for each person I haven’t thought of)

You will probably never know how much I have adored you; wanted to tell you how much I could love you, have grown to love having you as part of my life; have been privileged to begin to know you; have wanted/want you to be closer to me; could lay on a bed and just hold and talk with you (maybe while stroking your hair); could lose myself with you; and/or many other things (Not necessarily everyone of these for each of you… Sorry guys… Kinsey isn’t wrong about me) But if you’re ever honestly curious ask me.. I’ll be honest back to you. There is no need to ever feel the need to return my feelings or feel threatened by them. They simply are what they are… And I am in fact happy with our interactions… though it’d be nice to see and interact with each of you more often.

I am poly, because the love in my heart doesn’t diminish for anyone just because someone else gets a piece of that flame. There are a few people on this list that I have gladly given a piece of my soul to. No matter how far we may have drifted… no matter what has come between us, no matter if we ever talk again or if we find our way back to each other… I would never trade that memory, action, or feeling.

For each of you I have mentioned above… And for those that I am sooo sorry if I have left off the list. You’re existance and falling into my path in the universe makes me what I am. You have all touched me… Some of you I have tried to do the best by, Some of you I have lost touch with, and a few of you, I have been very dumb and horribly hurtful to. For that last, I curse myself for everything I have done and wish I had the opportunity to make amends. One in particular… I will never be able to apologise enough.

Today is not a day of love… it is a day of remembrance, and a promise to be better. Single does not mean alone… Single means accepting and loving and accepting the past… the good, the bad, the unrealised, and the downright horrible) and seeing a bright tomorrow.

I have never been single since the first person I loved past my own family.

I do not celebrate Valentines day. I celebrate love.

Avi-Kaplan-152x152I have to admit, this entire post I owe to Pentatonix and especially my personal favourite member Avi Kaplan. And not just because he looks like my son (No, really, follow that link). Though, if not for Avi, I would not have had such an awesome chat with my son tonight.

We were (as is common in our house) watching Pentatonix videos (and some episodes of Superfruit). We watched “Thrift Shop” and I had no choice but to go to Avi doing the line on Helium. I (like many others) thought of the potential horrors of what it’d be like to hear Avi on Sulfur Hexafluoride. For those unfamiliar… most if not all of us know that helium makes us sound like cartoon mice… or Verne Troyer. This is predominantly because Helium is 6 times lighter than air and the air from our lungs as a result travels across our vocal chords differently. Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) however is 6 times heavier and effectively has the opposite effect on the voice. It gets lower and almost demonic in sound.

So, we’re looking on YouTube at SF6 videos and Aiden spots one about a Koosh ball in Liquid Nitrogen. So now we are onto Science Part 2.

I take Aiden out to dinner and we talk about the boiling ‘water’ and the exploding Koosh ball.

We talk about Solid, Liquid, and Gas. I really have to credit the science he is learning in school already. He has a good understanding of the three states, their differences, and how they transition. He also explained gas by mentioning the O2, CO2 exchange between animals and plants. (Not in those terms,but he understood the basic idea)… So we talked about Nitrogen being lighter than Oxygen on the periodic chart (yay iPhone app) and steel being lower on the chart. And as a result (for the most part) Lighter elements melt and ‘boil’ at different temperatures. After awhile he asks why water isn’t on the chart and I tell him that water is made up of different elements from the chart. I tell him that there is an Oxygen and that an Oxygen is so “large” that it can fit 2 “Hydrogen”. Much like the Carbon is so big that it can fit 2 Oxygen. (Yes, I am well aware, thank you)… He understands what “Di” means from what we’ve discussed and from the word “DiOxide” I explain that Oxide means that the oxygen is working on something else. (Yeah, I know)… He works out that Water is Dihydrogen-oxide. I am very proud that he understands this. I don’t think he will remember these details for school.

At this point I explain that all of this is Science. The Helium, the voice change, the gluing elements together to make molecules, the Nitrogen and how it can be a liquid and boil so fast and why they HAVE to wear gloves. I tell him that there are SO MANY different sciences. Chemistry, Organic chemistry (anything with Carbon), Physics, Biology, etc. He is gobbling it up. I explain that science is effectively learning and finding rules. We talk about di, and tri, he volunteers tricycle. I explain that I have an automatic quadrocycle. He figures out I mean a car. He points out that he isn’t allowed to drive because he’s too young. (We’ll skip the scary math where he joyously and I terrifyingly realise that at 8 he is half way to driving age) I explain rules. I tell him that the time has gone by quickly and the next eight years will go even more quickly. He doesn’t buy it.

At this point he asks me if I know so much because I am a TimeLord. (Something I purport to him regularly. I love the fact that he doesn’t buy into Santa Clause, but he carefully scrutinises the possibility that I am in fact a TimeLord. (Which between you and me… is in fact true 😉

I explain that of course I am a TimeLord and will demonstrate it for him by controlling time and making it go more quickly. We are at FiveGuys so of course… peanuts. I tell him to carefully watch me. I want him to take in everything I do. I remove a peanut, I carefully shell it, I peel back the paper wrapping around the legume. I pop it in my mouth. He even volunteers that I took a lot of time doing that. I took out 3 more peanuts and put them in front of me. We talk about science some more and how the whole restaurant is filled with science. While we’re talking I eat the 3 peanuts. I don’t rush through it. I ‘take my time.’ As I finish the last one… I interrupt him and show him the pile of shells. He is agog.

“How did you do that so fast?!?!” I explain… TimeLord and I’ll teach it to him when he’s older (as he sure isn’t going to grasp perceptual time as an 8 yr old)

As we head out, he says that he loves being around me because I make things. I know Science. And I answer questions. He says he also loves being around Mommy because I make things out of electronics and she makes things out of paint. (I add: And wire, and boxes, and any other clutter she can find 🙂 I explain to him that there is one thing that she and I made together that I consider the greatest piece of work we have ever made. How we started on it about 9 years ago and finished it just a few months over 8 years ago. We love the work, we look at it every day, we take care of it, we hug it. And with this Aiden realiees I mean him. He said he thought that I was initially talking about something electronic or artistic. I told him, I was.

On the way home he notes that it’s night. I explain that the quickest way from night to morning (when he gets to open his lego advent catalogue) is to sleep. He asks me the ever wonderful question “Why do we dream?” This one I have to improvise on. I explain that the body does not shut down when he sleeps. He takes “body shutting down” to be death. (not entirely wrong). Then I explain autonomic functions. (Breathing, heart beating) Effectively the brain doesn’t sleep. It runs the automatic processes. One of which is to sort thru the whole day. (Yay myelination) I explain that the briain sort of sifts through all the experiences and knowledge and observances like when he sifts thru his lego. Sometimes he gets an idea and scoops a bunch of different pieces together and tries building something but then takes it apart because it wants to move onto something else. He asks why he can’t remember them. I explain that the brain cleans up to make room for the new stuff coming in the next day. “You need more room… so you can get more stuff” – Carlin. I explain that’s why I ask him to clean the room. I even explain that the brain throws things out to make more room. It makes sort of a reference to it, but doesn’t keep the details. He remembers the vacation when we took the picture that’s on my phone home screen. He knows he was a baby, but doesn’t remember anything about his baby pictures. I explain that I don’t remember more than a picture of two from when I was his age. I further it by explaining… I have something like 46 years of stuff in my head. Under my breath I say, “Not ‘like’ 46 years… actually literally 46 years. Sigh. Then we move onto the next question… What about nightmares. He posits that the brain wants to scare the boy and enjoys it. I follow the metaphor with how sometimes the brain finds something it doesn’t understand, or like, or scares it. And it goes into the little structure and you don’t realise how scared you were of it… so it makes for a scary dream.

We get home and he looks at me and asks “How do people make their voices higher and lower?” I tell him, this is a very good question and he should go up and change and I will show him when he comes down. He asks if it’s going to be a video (hopehopehopehope) I say no (awwwww) but I will do it right in front of him. He heads off and I go looking for a rubber band. (Gum band *shiver* for the locals around me) I am unable to find one, but I find string.

Aiden comes down and I show him the string and pluck it. I tighten it and it gets higher. I shorten it, it gets higher. Aiden knows that you breath against your vocal chords to make sound. Now he understands that shorter means higher and stretching means higher as well. The Helium and SF6 make more sense for him as well. I also tie the string into a circle and stretch it like guitar strings. I pluck one and the other vibrates. I also try to demonstrate why singing and speaking on an inhale really don’t work. And then… the coupe on the grass. (sic) I show him the biggest set of vocal chords he has ever seen. I have a huge set in a huge wooden box. I keep 44 pairs of vocal chords. We look into the piano. Aiden notices the short end and the long end. He realizes that the low notes are at the end where the longer strings are. I talk to him about Avi and how his vocal chords are very long and very loose. I explain how stretching your vocal chords in warm ups is like stretching the muscles and loosens you up, so your voice drops. I also explain that since he is growing, so are his vocal chords. And then it’s onto the PeterBradyesque manner that his vocal chords will readjust one year. Likely in about 4-5 years.

By now it’s bed time and I’m enjoying what we talked about…

No… you know.. my thoughts on this kind of a conversation with my son…


“This is freakin’ awesome!”

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