So, Dad and I went hunting…

DadRand 74So, Dad and I went hunting…

My first hunting trip remembered…with two very interesting pictures…taken 39 years DadRand13apart.

Bridalplasty–the new vanity that makes you want to turn away.

As social commentary goes; we get to stand on a podium and shout out our disgust–so for a new low–I have to discuss a new reality series that makes one want to hurl chunks, perhaps from past athletica bolemia battles or present alcoholic overdoses, but more than likely over the new generational loss of self esteem.  And I am not a proponent of the “self esteem” propaganda that brought North American academic scores to a new low back in the 80s and 90s–that, was just bad schooling practices.

I’m talking about the self esteem one should have in the early flower of youth when one can look in the mirror and see some sort of benefit to being who you are–as nature created you.

This new television series, called Bridalplasty, is not only distasteful to watch as each new episode’s winner gets to undergo some unnecessary elective surgery–they get to lay back and heal from their surgical wounds–while gossiping about the character of each of the girls who become “bottom brides,” because of contests of taste, fashion or style.  C’mon, girls, why don’t you get on your bikes and ride?  Freddie Mercury, of Queen, c’mon you can remember–the little bisexual fellow with the big voice?  Even the showman of the ages might laugh at the ludicrous lengths these girls, many of whom are absolutely gorgeous just the way nature made them, will go to acquire the “perfect wedding day.”  Poor Freddie didn’t care about his overbite–he just let the show go on.

Even the hostess tells the eliminated bride of each succeeding episode that “she will not have the perfect wedding–tho’ her wedding day will come.”  That final farewell might be enough for one of these girls to jump off a bridge and not into matrimony.  From Wikipedia we read, “A 2007 Swedish and US longitudinal study found that women who get cosmetic breast implants are nearly three times as likely to commit suicide as other women. No notable increase was seen in the first 10 years after surgery, but 10 to 19 years after, risk was 4.5 times higher, and six times higher after 20 years, compared with the expected suicide rate.”

Is it not enough that we have to watch these easy to produce, cheap replacements to good story writing, television series without having to watch young brides-to-be battle it out for the most surgery in these social Darwinistic showdowns?  Survivor, Biggest Loser, American Idol and all of the rest of these “survival of the fittest” serials are not helping our society.

It has become a dog-eat-dog world on “reality” television and now it’s biyatch on biyatch bride in a pursuit of percieved perfection?  Someone needs to counsel these poor girls about the droopy paths that overblown, plastic breasts will take as they reach into poverty and can’t get back on some game show for the reconstructive surgery after a few years pass them by.

Honestly, body sculpting, shaping and improvement can occur with a little hard work in a gym, on a hiking path or in a pool.  Get some shape by working out instead of requiring some high-paid surgeon who has no interest in saving lives, but rather in making a mighty dollar quicker.

Check out the first surgical stories of pumping up the tatas at or

  The cast of Bridalplasty.

Another proponent of my disgust issues an opinion with more pictures and sadder tales at

Citizens are members of this planet…

The world we live in has changed.  We may find it difficult to blindly be patriots to our countries…we have become patriots to our planet.  The lines we have drawn with borders may have worked up until now, but they no longer seem to be working to a progressive intent.

The planet is running out of resources no matter how deep we drill.  My evidences of that are the oil burning in the Gulf of Mexico, the volcano in Iceland (or course, that’s a natural drilling) and the drilling for human blood in Afghanistan and Iraq (and other places not publicized by the news media). 

It is time to take stock in what we believe our planet, and human beings, need.  Does it really need the black lines that human beings have drawn, or does it need a revolution?

My friends we should be proud of the place that we were born…but how many of our planet’s citizenry are not?  We should know that there is a safety net for each of us as we strive for our calling, our success…our fulfillment.

For me, I was born in a northern town, moved to a big city, got educated…moved to a foreign city called Pasadena…got an education…then I moved back to a northern city…then moved back to the Los Angeles basin for a time…worked as an apprentice…then moved to a foreign northern city…worked hard as a carpenter, had a family, enjoyed the middle years of a person’s life…then went through a spiritual, personal crises…then moved again to a northern small city.

That’s when I started writing, and thinking, and realizing how much humankind still has to learn.

We still don’t have it right.  This country thing though…it has to be rectified.  Patriotism is the beginning of war…think about it.

One country goes to war and its citizens say, “It is my patriotic duty to serve my country.”

I call bullshit on this one!  Ask Ethan McCord as he went out and performed his patriotic duty.  Ask the soldiers that are returning from Iraq…”How did it go?”  The answers you receive might surprise you.  Check this out

War doesn’t work anymore.  Pride in who we are may be important to us as human entities…but must it be of a patriotic nature?

I personally, after being a “citizen of the planet” don’t believe that patriotism will help Mother Earth to survive long after we are gone.

People are like books…

For any of you not able to read the words of my cartoon cubes?  Move your cursor atop the cartoon…and left click on your mouse.  The cartoon should double in size and you will be able to see exactly what the cartoon is saying…or not saying.

Aren’t we all like books?  Sometimes we are open and easy to read, while on other occasions we are closed, focussed and simply unavailable to pass on information.

People are like books.  We can read each other very easily when we’re happy.  The sentences flow from our eyes and lips.  The exclamation point of a toothy grin is passing on information that is fulfilling to the reader.  We might smile and open up when we see a happy human.

I think the real pleasure in realizing that we are very much like a piece of literature is that we can change.  We can be open and easy to read for a long period of time, or we can be up on a shelf unread for decades.  We can be open, then closed, open and closed again several times during a single day.  It all depends.

Some books are just not read-worthy.  You know how that goes.  You start a book and then put it down never to pick it up again.  It doesn’t appeal to you and it never will.  For each of us, we’ve met people like that.  Maybe we are people like that?

Now, speaking of books, I mentioned early on in this blog that I’d be doing some book reviews…well, here are a few. 

James Michener’s The Fires of Spring is his second novel written in 1949.  The novel shows us how timeless valuable literature with rich sentences and eternal truths can be.  The story of David Harper growing up in the poorhouse under the tutelage of some aged, poverty-stricken, yet rich in characters, elderly men and women while under the guardianship of his tight-fisted aunt is an absolutely astounding picture of growing up in America.

The romantic, coming-of-age story of this young man trying to discover his artistry, his true love and himself is done in such a manner that personally I think Michener made this story more autobiographical than we as the audience were intended to know.  The hero of our story grows up in a town with the same name as Michener’s own birthplace.  The Fires of Spring is a great read with marvelous history lessons, vocabulary and one never really knows what’s going to happen to David Harper till the end of the wonderful early work of one of my favorite authors.

Carole Shields’ The Stone Diaries was released in 1993 and is the only book to win both a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1995 and the 1993 Governor General’s Award.  The fictional tale of Daisy Goodwill Flett is astoundingly beautiful in epic manner of storytelling.  Shields used “flowery” phrasing and poetic sentences to write about this typical woman who loved creative gardening.  The story is set throughout the midwestern provinces and states of America ending in a Florida retirement home, but it is a must read for any aspiring author or amateur writer.

Alan Jacobs’ The Narnian is an incredible tale of perhaps this past century’s greatest, and most controversial, intellectual writer by the name of C. S. Lewis.  Jacobs tells a very insightful story of a man who enjoyed his own company.  Lewis’ friendship with J. R. R. Tolkien, his ultimate conversion into a Christian faith, his strange late lifestyle, his unique upbringing are all analyzed in this most recent biography.  Incidently, JFK, C. S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley all died on the same day…it truly was the end of Camelot.  With the assassination of JFK, you can imagine how little press the passing of both Lewis and famous author Huxley drew.  Kinda like Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson?

Hope you have enjoyed my little turn into the realm of the literary and may your book always be open.

America and Socialism

It has never ceased to amaze me when citizens of America complain about socialist nations.  “We Capitalists brought down the Soviet Union…the greatest socialistic demagogue in history.” 

This statement is simply untrue.  The Soviet Union collapsed from within through bad management, bad production, poor communication (that is too much secrecy between government and the people), small wars, apathy and a weak ruble.  Yes, the competitions of the arms and space races with the United States were part of the puzzle, but isn’t America suffering from bad management during the course of the last 2 decades?  How about the present strength of the dollar?  Is America in an expensive small war(s)?  Aren’t those who don’t learn from the past doomed to repeat catastrophic events?   Hmmm, let’s think about that?

America has firemen, policemen, social security, labor unions, welfare and medicare.  Are not each and every one of these organizations part of a socialized scheme…ummm, a very real capitalistic socialism

In the excerpt below an analyst is quoted after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“What has been learned? Perhaps the best analysis is that of Joe Slovo, writing from the standpoint of the South African Communist Party which played a leading role in the revolutionary victory over apartheid. In his famous 1989 article, Slovo argues that socialism itself has not failed, but that it must develop a real democracy, including for “all citizens the basic rights and freedoms of organisation, speech, thought, press, movement, residence, conscience and religion; full trade union rights for all workers including the right to strike, and one person one vote in free and democratic elections.” To this list one needs to add the free flow of honest information. These are all basic principles of a culture of peace and are incompatible with a culture of war.”

These are socialist writers analyzing the collapse of socialism.  Are the answers to curing the ills of the Soviet failures not the same answers for curing the soon-coming and present ills of American capitalism?  The Soviets built an industrial military complex that couldn’t sustain itself.  Does the United States of America not have an industrial military structure that can no longer be sustained by the American taxpayer?  NASA is becoming more privatized in this decade.  The military budget of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…1.05 Trillion dollars…go to  to see these numbers rising.

Last night I watched an Arizonan senator accuse a U. S. president of having “divided loyalties” because the senator didn’t believe that Barak Obama was born in Hawaii.  The senator claimed he couldn’t believe anything that he saw through the worldwide web, ergo…Barak Obama is from Kenya. 

What the hell is that? 

Stupid, on top of blind…added to dumb with dumberer?  Weren’t the credentials of the world’s “most powerful man on the planet” checked out before he even began to run for the highest office in the land?  I think so.  What point am I trying to make here?  Now we’re seeing poor communication between government and the people in America.  I could go on…but I won’t.

So with a rising national debt, poor communication, a shrinking dollar, mismanagement of governmental representatives (oathed to office to do “for the people”) and poor production/services becoming ever more prevalent in America’s present reality are we about to see a collapse of capitalism that will certainly be as dramatic, if not more so, as the Soviet Union’s collapse…and for the same reasons?  You can answer that and vocalize your opinions.

Recently New Yorker editor David Remnick wrote a biography of America’s not white enough…not black enough president, Barak Obama.  The book is entitled The Bridge.  I would offer up a hope that America’s present leader can bridge the apparent gap of polar extremes between the left-wing Democrats and right-wing Republicans.  America’s push for success must start first with a culture of peace requiring that each side move to the center of the cube and start pushing towards a direction that they both can agree upon.

When Climbing in the Dark…you might not reach Enlightenment.

In 1984 I had the incredible opportunity of visiting Europe for two weeks and then crossing the Mediterranean and spending about six weeks in the nations of Israel and Egypt.  I was 22 years old and ready to climb the mountain.

I was a part of a few dozen college students and archaeological tourists that were given the distinct honour to visit various biblically mentioned archaeological and historical sites from the far north of Israel to the southern expanse known as the Sinai peninsula.  This included some recreation like snorkeling in the Gulf of Aqaba, floating in the Dead Sea and, more theologically, climbing what many have claimed was the holy mountain called Sinai.

Our greatest honour was to dig at the site of the ancient City of David.  But that’s another story.

This is a story of climbing Mount Sinai during the dark hours just before sunrise and ascending to the very top of this reportedly hallowed venue.  I was only a year and a half into my newborn resolution to a faith/cult and the passionate fire that burned in my belly was reaching a climax with the excitement of rising to the top of this holy mountain, watching Old Sol rise and begin bathing us in the illuminating rays of the Middle East’s summer heat.

The climb to the top of this famous mount is not as arduous as one might think.  There are two paths that may be taken to reach the peak…we chose the steeper route that takes approximately an hour to ascend.  The 3,750 steps are a more direct route called The Path of Moses (Siket Sayidna Musa.)  This path is also called the  steps of penitence and is located in the ravine near the St. Catherine monastery with beginnings in the 4th Century A. C. E. by none other than St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great.  The monastery’s true name is The Monastery of the Transfiguration connecting itself to the Burning Bush incident that Moses reports in the Old Testament.  The proclaimed descendent of the burning tree is growing in the courtyard of the monastery.  This bush is a unique member of the rose family called Rubus Sanctus, which grows in the Sinai thereby lending a certain credence to the  claim of this burning legend to believers.


The photo above shows the almost moon-like landscape of the course of The Path of Moses as one nears the top the mountain.


This is what our group saw when the sun rose upon us as we stood atop what could be the ancient Mount Sinai of the Old Testament.

And so to my point of the cube grenade at the top of this entry.  During the course of our climb in the dark to the top of the holy mount a young woman who was to become my sister-in-law injured her knee.  I took it upon myself to almost carry her to the top…no one was going to miss this encounter with destiny.  Many a young man asked to assist us because they could see the sweat trickling down my face as step by step we climbed while the young woman nursed her knee.  We tried every means of transport from piggy-backing to crossing hands with another young fellow to allow her to sit on our human arm chair…nothing worked but to wrap her left arm around my neck and establish each stone stair with care.  Her pain seemed alleviated by this method to a greater degree…and we made it to the top.

As we stood on top of the darkened monolith, I waited.

I looked for some sort of sign.  I had climbed the steps of penitence with another human being depending on my inspired strength and now it was time for contact…verification of the chosen…evidence.

There was no burning bush, no still small voice.  There was only Old Sol rising through the haze that covers the landscape above and below and then evaporates into oblivion as the temperature rises.  For me, I had climbed the mountain.  I couldn’t scream to an eternal spirit to show his existence, I couldn’t wait for 40 days and 40 nights to hope for some sort of enlightenment.  There shining beneath the ever-increasing heat of the sun stood seven peaks surrounding the sacred mount and the Wilderness of Sin where the ancient tribes of Israel are reported to have wandered for 40 years.

Sarah’s New Weapon of Choice…WMD…and someone’s going ballistic?

Don’t you just love this?  Quiet…peaceful…serene Sarah Palin trying to get a tan with no interruption…gently bathing by the stream and celebrating her complete embrace on femininity, grace and elegance.  Now, IF…IF…this was the real Sarah Palin…would she make an incredible President in 2012?  Let’s see if we can understand who Sarah Palin really is.  I thank for this lovely portrait.  Sarah Unveiled?

I was going to draw a caricature of Ms. Palin with a nuclear weapon tucked under her arm with the caption, “Sarah Palin discovers her new firearm of choice.”  I reconsidered after googling Photoshop Sarah Palin and found this gorgeous pose of a woman we really need to fear…she’s dangerous.

Can you imagine Ms. Palin being the leader of the free world?  Can you see her diplomatically discussing the future of Afghanistan with wisdom, kindness and gentleness?  Could Sarah Palin be the president that keeps to the Oval Office motto, “The Buck Stops Here?” Do you think President Karzai would even give her an audience?  I don’t know…just asking a few questions.

One pundit on CNN last week.  “Sarah Palin is the best weapon the democrats have in winning re-election for Barak Obama in 2012.”

Who is this firebrand of a feminine icon in America today?  A quick bio from 2008 is somewhat illuminating.  (Check it out at

John McCain couldn’t keep her on a leash.  Newt Gingrich spoke of being the party of yes in the Republican Convention being held in New Orleans and Ms. Palin does an about face saying she sees “nothing wrong with being the party of ‘NO!’”

I do not believe she even knows what will come out of her mouth next.  Loose Cannon?  Do you think?

Sarah Palin stands to make anywhere between 10 and 20 million dollars this year from her various book, television and speaking deals.  This is a very shrewd woman when it comes to making money for her family.  She knew that completing her final term as governor in Alaska would not be as lucrative as striking while the iron is hot and stumping America for all its worth.  So Sarah Palin is fiscally focussed when it comes to her own family’s income.  That is a fact.

However, during her run at the vice presidency her own party criticized her for being uneducated, a shopaholic, geographically challenged, along with other unattractive labels that will continue to crop up from her opponents and cohorts alike.  Ms. Palin is not a chameleon…anyone that can urge the Republicans on with statements like, “Don’t Retreat…RELOAD!” will surely set off a wave of verbal, if not physical, assaults in the not too distant future.  She is a forty-something, middle American with an agenda for success…That is Sarah Palin.

The questions that Americans are going to have to ask? 

What is Sarah Palin’s definition of success?  Victory at all costs is probably the correct answer…her own personal victory. 

Does she want to lead America into a fiscally responsible position where the interest accrued every three minutes on the national debt isn’t $18 million?  Does she simply want the media attention that sabre rattling creates…much like Ann Coulter…but with a lower level of intellectual banter?  Does Sarah Palin have an actual agenda?  No…she doesn’t.

Sarah Palin is the embodiment of the ultra mom hangover that continues to invade the 21st century.  She is Stepford wife2.0.  She is Annie Oakley with a WMD tucked over her shoulder.  You watch!  This cliché of Uber Matron is going to blow something up…besides her own delusional ego…and if her continued rhetoric of firearm fury doesn’t set off some home grown terrorist militia to take some sort of ridiculous action against an administration that is trying to clean up a mess that has been forty years in its development I would be very surprised.