Trying not to Hate

Have you ever caught yourself saying: “I just HATE……so, and so…” person?

I’ve been guilty of it a lot. I’m trying to quit saying “I hate” though.

The reason, in my case, is very simple. I don’t know any of the people I have just offhandedly tossed that phrase towards. I…don’t….know…them.

I think for most of the “I hate’s” it has been a dislike, or disagree instead.

After Antonin Scalia died a couple of weeks back, I watched a good bit of his funeral. I saw the love his family had for him, his children and his friends. I certainly had disagreed with him on many things in a philosophical way. But, I did not know the man. I only knew what I knew about him…from articles, videos, televison. I had no idea really, who the man actually was…same thing for some of our current political stock, on both sides.

So, as I thought about it, I thought back about other people in the past at whom I had thrown that phrase.

I didn’t know them.

Of people who I actually knew, actually had a relationship with over a long period of time, I could think of nobody that I “hated”

I have a couple of people who I had close relationships with in various ways who were close….but even now I have let that go…I have let it go..

It’s a word of such finality, and should not be used flippantly as I have used it in the past. As we often use it in our vernacular today.

I have certainly disagreed with a lot of people in politics, in religion, in sports, in all walks of life many times. I should never have said I hated them. I didn’t, and I don’t. It was just something to say.

There’s a huge difference between not agreeing and hating, and we should all think about that difference before we make the statement.

I’m going to try and do better…

Metal Detecting- From 2014

As a long time metal detectorist and treasure hunter I cannot say enough about how envious I am of the two people in California who found the 10 million dollars worth of gold coins while on a walk. I have many coffee cans full of dirty old Lincoln pennies, some of them half eaten up by the acidity in the soil, I have Nestle’s containers full of oddball metal stuff that I still have not identified…some old Civil war lead bullets, some marbles I found while digging up a ton of coke pop tops, and pull tabs (which by the way I took home and properly disposed of) but…the most rare thing I ever found during my metal detecting and treasure hunting career was one single silver half dollar…pristine and beautiful. I saw one of the gold coins on the news tonight…the rare one worth a million bucks by itself…wow. I still look for “treasures” every week at flea markets and trade days…and I have found some nice stuff over the years…but absolutely nothing would approach actually digging up a gold coin from the ground. I would probably just drop over….

From 2016-Those from New York….

If the United States of America is the “melting pot” of the world, then New York City is at the center of the pan. It’s the hot, hot cauldron which has produced many a hero, but conversly has produced many a fiend.

The five boroughs of the great city which was founded in 1626 as New Amsterdam have given us Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman. It has given us Carl Sagan, Lou Gehrig and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Also Anton Scalia, and Harry Houdini. A diverse group of good folks.

There also have come the “Son of Sam” and the Oklahoma City bomber, born in New York City. Many others…good and evil, darkness and light..

The complex interwoven city, with it’s open mindedness also harbors the most secret of secret societies and relationships between people who might at first glance seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum from each other.

Businessmen and mobsters in relationships. Prostitutes and politicians. Rabbis and priests. Strange bedfellows, strange indeed.

Now comes Donald Trump…and the story begins……

There will be more….

The Internet is Good?

So, when two different people “search” Google….both typing in the exact same word or phrase, different information may be retrieved depending on the identity and biased preferences which have been stored for that person. Thus, the idea of “impartiality” of the internet is nothing but a myth, as what people find when they search for things has been slanted by the information which has been stored on what they have looked for in the past, things they have favored, things they have stayed away from, etc.

I think I realized this, but was unable to accept it totally until I read an article another friend posted last night on how the internet was being manipulated by multi-billionaire programmers.

I now must definitely stick to my Dad’s old axiom of believing nothing I hear (or read in this case) and only half of what I see…(and that half being what I see in person)

The age of internet propaganda is going to be a very, very hard road to navigate, full of pitfalls and dead end roads, wrong turns and tom foolery. Good luck to everyone in trying to get through the maze.

If you don’t think you are being tracked and manipulated by the internet just do a simple experiment. Go onto Amazon and search for a product, but don’t buy it. Then see if the next time you get on Facebook an advertisement doesn’t pop up, with the item that you searched on Amazon being right there on your timeline. Same thing for sites like Ebay, etc. Every time we have gone on these huge sites and without much thought, have checked the box that these sites could “share” our information with FB, or any other site for that matter, we have opened a Pandora’s box for ourselves that it will be difficult, if not impossible from which to extricate ourselves.

Survival of the Most Fit and Meanest

Our closest relatives are quite telling. I mean, they are not telling us as in writing us a book or anything. They are not speaking English to us. Maybe a little sign language now and then. Rudimentary stuff. Yes, No…Gimme’ banana. Stuff like that.

99.6% of our genome is shared with Chimpanzees, and now scientists have found, also with Bonobos, (pygmy chimps) although we share a different 1.6% of our genetics with Chimps than we do with Bonobos.

Monkeys and Greater Apes, like the Chimpanzees, are generally not pleasant creatures. Chimps especially will become very vicious creatures as adults. Just think back a few years when the poor lady in New York City got her face ripped off by one of her friends “pet” chimpanzees. Vicious.

My Father in law was a Veterinarian. Dr. L.J. Neurauter. He was an administrator, and after he retired from the Air Force, he ran the BIG primate center out in Davis, California. But he didn’t like monkeys. He certainly didn’t like the Chimpanzees. One time we visited them in Davis, and took a tour of the primate center. “Don’t get too near the Chimpanzee compound,” said Dr. Neurauter. “They’ll throw feces at you, and they are really accurate.” I took him at his word. He went on to tell us how none of the handlers would ever…ever…get in the chimpanzee compound with them out, unless they had a death wish. Vicious with each other, and vicious with human beings. Almost like a hatred of human beings.

Our closest relative, as far as genetics go. I know a lot of people are gonna’ say: “We didn’t evolve from monkeys!”

So true.

We had a common ancestor with the chimpanzees and bonobos about 4 million years ago, and the ancestor who eventually evolved into human beings split off from that common ancestor. I imagine they were pretty vicious animals. Out of the three most closely related Primates, the Bonobos, who are the smallest, are the least vicious. Humans and Chimpanzees….not so much.

Survival of the fittest…and the meanest.

As Anthropology major in college, I took a lot of classes in Physical Anthropology. Dr. Butler. A hard man to please if you didn’t study like you outta’. He once told me that early man was probably a vicious animal, but also a social animal. Conditions of living dictated that families stay together for protection from larger predators. Sabre tooth tigers, Cave bears. You know…all that Jean W. Auel stuff. Eventually families started hanging around together for even more protection. They became tribes. Tribes grouped together and became ethnic groups. Discovered agriculture. Started building small villages, towns, cities. Still maintained the viciousness. The aggression and the primal instincts of those first ancestors.

Survival of the meanest?

For how long?

The creator alone knows, and he ain’t telling.

Start Learning Again

Often when I’m walking around on a day like today, and look up and see our moon, Earths very own personal companion, I am struck by a deep desire, almost a need, to take off up into the sky. I feel like I could just fly up there in the blink of an eye and make a soft landing, and just walk around and explore.

Two things for which I’ve always had an affinity. The moon, and exploring. I know it’s a silly thought to even imagine being able to have an out of body episode and go to our moon. At times I feel as though I might be able to one day, who knows. Who’s to say it’s impossible.

Man once did go there. We once had the technology to go there. Even more than that, we had the heart of explorers to get it done. We saw potential out there, out in the stars. Now, we are mired in the mundane muck of partisanship, which causes us to barely be able to get a trio of people together who agree on any subject, much less to make plans for the future of the survival of the human species.

Where once our schools and universities turned out graduates with high ideals and aspirations, we most often now turn out technocrats and bureaucrats who’s only wish is to line their pockets as easily as possible with other people’s money.

How’d we get this way? That question is less important than how we get out of being this way, and start again anew with people who wish to add and multiply, instead of subtract and divide.

To start again to learn simply for the satisfaction and for the beauty of knowing the truth. The truth must be sought out with singularity of purpose in this day and age. It must be sniffed out with the nose of a bloodhound. Why? Because non truth is so, so easy to find. It lays around on the ground, and on the pages of rags called newspapers, and on internet posts and “news sites” and memes, always conveniently right within reach. Right at our fingertips. It’s an easy, fattening fast greasy food, and it gets gobbled up like grass by sheep.

I know I ramble on and I apologize. I believe there are many more good people out there than I sometimes think. I know our younger generations will be wiser than we old ones. I sometimes think people of my generation got dropped right in the middle of this rapidly changing age of technology, and a lot of us have difficulties keeping track of it. The coming generations will have known nothing but the current and future technology, and hopefully will be able to make it work to their advantage. That’s my hope. That, and a trip up to the moon one day to explore.

Last Touch

This week when you touch someone you love, think about it.

What I mean is to consciously think to yourself, “I’m touching one of the people I love most in the world, and this is how love feels”.

Is this the last touch? Do we ever know. In this world today, there is much uncertainty.

More than anything else, a touch conveys love. If you don’t do it, one day you may wish you had. You may wish you could.

Saying “I love you” while you’re doing it, doesn’t hurt one bit either.

There’s way more than enough hate, distrust, disagreement, and bitterness to go around. We all should try more kindness instead.

It might just “touch” some hearts. Our road ahead is perhaps rocky. Love your family.

The Monster

They all looked around for help in getting away from the vile monster who was trying to destroy them. They cried, yelled and gnashed their teeth as the creature roared and tore at them.

They ran in all directions, but no matter where they went he found them and tromped on them.

…but from the nasty, foul beast they had created there was no escape. They had prepared the nest for his birth, and found that it was a hard matter indeed to dispatch their own progeny.

And yet even as it killed them, they continued to feed it with the same sustenance which had caused it to become so fearsome.

My Mom and the Dreary Days of Winter

“Dreary” my Mom would say as she looked out the window, “such a dreary day.”

Mom used to look out the windows a lot during the Winter, and she hated the dreary, rainy days like we are having lately. She didn’t much like winter at all after Christmas was over and done with. I have to admit, I’m much the same.

On sunny, warm days Mom might go around with her dust rag, polishing the coffee table and end tables and hum some country tune she heard as a child. She could sing on tune and in key if she wanted to, but would never let anyone hear her if she could help it. She would clown around most of the time, and act silly with it when she sang.

She once told me she wanted to be a country music singer when she was a little kid, but her Daddy had made fun of her once when she was singing, so she never sang for anyone after that. It was a shame, because in the unguarded moments when the sun was shining outside, I could hear a spark. I loved it when the sun was shining as a child, and Mom was happy. It didn’t happen too often, because Mom’s personality became dark very early on due to mental illness, and stayed that way off and on until she died.

As far as the singing goes, she had done the same thing to me when I was little also, but probably hadn’t realized it. I had heard Elvis singing on T.V., and stood in the doorway of our home on Simmons street and belted out my version of “Hound dog” Mom burst out laughing at me. I think it was because she didn’t know before that moment that I actually could sing. I was embarrassed. I wouldn’t sing out loud for anyone after that, until the year I was in the eighth grade.

I was in “Glee club” at school and we were singing as a group with band director John Corruth as our director. It was at Christmas and we were doing a version of “White Christmas” I was really into the song, and with the seeming anonimity of others around me singing, I was belting out my best Bing Crosby version. “Hey Bowers” said Mr. Carruth. “I want you to sing the first verse of that song at our program as a solo”. “You sound pretty good.”

My face went bright red, and I almost ran out of the rehearsal area, which was at the front of our Elementary school cafeteria. But…I ended up doing it, and although I was extremely nervous, my voice didn’t break. I went on to do a lot more singing during High School. If it hadn’t been for that one situation with Mr. Carruth though, I may not have.

My parents didn’t come to that program. I can’t remember them ever coming to any of the “minor” activities we did at school. It’s not that they weren’t interested, but it was more that the programs took place during the hours in which they worked. I wish they could have been there sometimes.

As my Mom got older, she was beset by a bevy of health problems which finally took her away in December of 2010.

But sometimes during the dreary days of winter, like the one today, as I dust the bookshelf or the T.V., I can hear her gently humming a country tune…..

The Cost of Kindness

How much does it cost? Think about how many times you have said those words, or heard someone else say them. We pretty much base our whole lives on the asking, and the result of that one question. You may not think so, but we do.

What does it cost, really? The things that we need, and have to have. Food to eat and clothes to wear, and a place to live. That is basically all we HAVE to have isn’t it?

Oh..but there are the things we think we want..or the things other people say we have to pay:
Credit cards (galore!) Taxes,…oh yes there are taxes! I wish I had space to list them all, but I think my space is limited to a few billion pixels of room!! There is always that tenacious gnawing need for money, money and more money. But…

But..what does kindness cost? What about love? Love can cost us some heartache for sure, but when it’s good, it’s good… Kindness may cost us some thought, but it sure seems a heap better than turning your back on someone who needs you. Pity,..whatever happened to that one? Nowadays it seems like it’s against the rules of our society to have pity on someone. God forbid you should show such an outdated emotion. Some people in this country will tell you, if you can’t make it here in this land of the free and home of the brave, you sure don’t deserve any pity! I pity them!

Sympathy and empathy? What’s that? I got a hundred things to do, I got no time for sympathy for anyone else! (What’s the cost though…really?) If we took 2 minutes to bear someone up who needed it, would we really miss our next important meeting or appointment? Can you count the times someone has passed you in their vehicle at a dangerous spot on the road, and almost hit someone head on, but you end up behind them at the 1st red light in town? What could the cost have been for that unintended tie?

The emotions that we were given by our creator, and the ability to apply them to other people, are the most important gifts we have been given. I really feel as though the reason we are here is to be tested to see if we can learn how to use those gifts. Are we failing or succeeding? Are you failing or succeeding? Do we always have to have something we oppose? Do we always have to have something or someone to hate? Is it innate in us as human beings that we cannot just try and love…to love each and every other human being on this Earth with the love of one friend for the other?

So…I have to give it some thought, I have to consciously try harder not to hate, not to covet, not to be bitter. I have to TRY and forgive those who need forgiving. I have to try harder not to argue, not be be sarcastic, not to base what I think of others on a few lines written on Facebook, or by a tag they put on their car, or by a photo they like, or by who they love. It’s not my business to be the boss of mankind. It…is……job! I love to talk, I like to write, I like to state opinions…it’s hard to control myself at times. Is it hard for you too?

What’s the Cost….really? Of being a human being, and not being a perpetual motion machine. Can you count it up? I can’t. I don’t want to even try. I’m tired.