Monthly Archives: June 2012

And in other news …

… water is wet. I’m afraid my friends who are wondering when an epic Jon-rant is forthcoming today are going to be disappointed, for several reasons.

First, I’m not really sure I could start one without ending up saying something that could get me arrested. That’s not the biggest reason but it might be the most practical. I don’t lack the courage of my convictions mind you, it’s just that I fail to see the point of ending up behind bars for no meaningful purpose. I’ll leave the futile gestures to someone else for now.

Next, it’s harder to get worked up into a frenzy when you’re not surprised. Shock tends to stimulate emotion, the only thing that would have shocked me out of SCOTUS today was a meaningful amount of good news. I feel bad for my friends who have been whistling past the graveyard until the bitter end, today has to be disappointing for them and I share their grief, just not the freshness of the pain.

I reached somewhere between the 4th and 5th stages a good ways back, an area between depression and acceptance. I wish you well with Stage 2 (anger) and maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised and something good will come of it. I worry more about Stage 3 (bargaining), already too many people willing to give away the farm for empty promises, please try not to add to the problems during that part, we have plenty already.

While writing this, a friend mentioned the phrase “the America we know” and it actually helped crystalize my thoughts a bit. See, the American I’ve known has been sliding — often skipping merrily — along a path to destruction for my whole life. I’m well into the grief process about the death of an America that I find appealing because it’s been in failing health for my entire time on the planet, death was inevitable. And at this point, honestly, might be a relief. The legacy of a once-great nation, or at least one that has moments of greatness and the potential for more, is tarnished by what it has become.

What it has become is somewhere between pathetic and sickening. More the latter since I’m generally too disgusted by it to feel much pity for it. Funny thing is, it’s all been readily foreseen and foretold since long before I was born.

The most telling quote of all was the first that came to mind. The common translation is something like Every nation gets the government it deserves. Best I can tell credit for that belongs to French philosopher and diplomat Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) who said in an 1811 letter (later published in 1851)”Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite. In fairness, I’m using this somewhat out of the original context but as a single sentence goes it does much to sum up my feelings.

That bit of wisdom is usually misattributed to one of his countrymen, political thinker & historian Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859). His work Democracy In America was published in 1835 and even that early in the experiment he saw the road we would travel:

It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

I’m almost tempted to stop right there, I’m not sure the situation could be summed up any better. But if I stop there then I miss a great observation from contemporary satirst P.J. O’Rourke

And then there is the Tenth Commandment. ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.’ …
The first nine Commandments concern theological principles and social law. But then, right at the end, is ‘Don’t envy your buddy’s cow.’ How did that make the top ten? …
Yet think how important the Tenth Commandment is to a community, to a nation, indeed to a presidential election. If you want a mule, if you want a pot roast, if you want a cleaning lady, don’t be a jerk and whine about what the people across the street have — go get your own.
The Tenth Commandment sends a message to all the jerks who want redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, more government programs, more government regulation, more government, less free enterprise, and less freedom. And the message is clear and concise: Go to hell.

And right about here is where I have another epiphany of sorts.

I think I’m not able to work up a proper rant about Obamacare, SCOTUS, or the other ways to frame this because they’re really not the problem … they’re just symptoms of what ails us.

When you get down to it, today’s disastrous ruling is just the latest of countless steps toward national oblivion, and I’ve actually grown rather okay with that notion. It’s sad, but it’s certainly well deserved.

Between unsustainable & wholly unjustifiable legislation (Obamacare isn’t the first, just the most recent), the various bits of moral bankruptcy that go hand in hand with modern liberalism and the frequent comic absurdities that should insult any rational being with two brain cells left, I see a drunken diseased giant hellbent on finding a way to kill itself. Even more annoying is that it’s a spoiled brat of a giant that’s become (collectively) too lazy to work, too stupid to care and so utterly insane that it considers vices virtues and vice versa.

That brings me to one final quote for today, one that just so happens to also be frequently misattributed to de Tocqueville. The exact source is the subject of considerable debate but the quote itself seems quite apt regardless “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury.

We’ve almost made it folks, just a little further to go. Today we made considerable progress toward that end … and we have no one to blame but ourselves for allowing it to happen.

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Ready to Rock (weekly playlist)

For the Spotify list there’s 3 new songs in, 3 dropping out, and 6 songs unavailable.

Missing songs:
Headlong Flight – Rush, Man of Constant Sorrow – Charm City Devils,Soldiers – Otherwise, Let the Sparks Fly – Thousand Foot Krutch, You Waste Your Time – Mark Tremonti, This Is Gonna Hurt – Hoobastank,

New to the Spotify list this week:
Here & Now – Seether, I Miss the Misery – Halestorm, Living Like A Runaway – Lita Ford

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
This Means War – Nickelback, Piss – Pantera, Victoria – Eve 6

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s brand new music from 3 Pill Morning, Rustbucket,and Texas Hippie Coalition.
You can find it at this link

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Ready to Rock (weekly playlist)

For the Spotify list there’s 2 new songs in, 2 hits dropping out, and 6 songs unavailable.

Missing songs:
Headlong Flight – Rush, Man of Constant Sorrow – Charm City Devils,Soldiers – Otherwise, Let the Sparks Fly – Thousand Foot Krutch, You Waste Your Time – Mark Tremonti, This Is Gonna Hurt – Hoobastank,

New to the Spotify list this week:
Backlash – 10 Years, Wait For Me – Rise Against

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Hurricane – Theory of A Deadman, Love Bites – Halestorm,

For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s brand new music from Lita Ford, Halestorm, Seether, The Treatment and more.
You can find it at this link

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Father’s Day 2012

I’ve never been real big on holidays, as I’m sure those who know me can tell you.
I guess I’m just more of a do-it-365 sort of person. I try to cover the major one’s as best I can so as not to hurt those around me unintentionally but for the most part, and especially for my own role in them, I’m pretty content to let them pass as blandly as possible.

Every once in a while though I find myself giving them more thought than usual, today seems to be one of those times.

Yesterday morning I attended the memorial service for the son of a family friend. Among the tributes paid during a very heartfelt service was a quote referenced by the local pastor, who told a story from the life of author Robert Louis Stevenson.

It’s said that, as a young boy, Stevenson was fascinated by the lamplighters who made their way down the street with torches & ladders lighting the street lamps. When asked why he watched with such delight, Stevenson is said to have replied with great enthusiasm about the men “punching holes in the darkness”.

That imagery stuck with me through much of yesterday, I couldn’t help but think what a wonderful way to be remembered that is, as a person who brought light into darkness. That general notion seems to have coalesced this morning, helping me understand the role or at least one of the roles that so many father’s have played.

I look no further than my own father, a man who has punched quite a few holes in the darkness for me. Lighting the way as an example of how to live up to your potential or your responsibilities rather than grab easy excuses. “Too tired” didn’t seem to be in his vocabulary whether it came to throwing a ball in the yard or finding time to read and study his Bible. While I may not be particularly adept at following his example, it’s certainly not for the lack of having it put before me for an entire lifetime.

I think of my grandfather, usually just Pop to me. The practical matters he illuminated included the mysteries of driving a car (without killing myself or anyone else) to firing a gun (again, without killing myself or anyone else). Those are pretty big pathways to light for anybody, especially a boy who wasn’t necessarily gifted in either area. And even if I don’t always manage all of the aspects as well as I’d like, there’s was no more influential person in shaping the sum total of who I am. Give him credit for some of the good parts, I’ll take the blame for the less appealing parts.

I’ve thought of my father-in-law, a kind & gentle soul carried around by a physically large man. His peaceful appearance belied a determined fighting spirit that inspired and amazed during a prolonged illness. He punched holes in the darkness of those challenges that threatened to overwhelm us all. There also isn’t a day that passes where my wife doesn’t miss his punching ability, an uncanny knack to find just the right words to inspire her to overcome some pesky professional problem, whether through skill or simple perseverance.

I think of so many friends who view Father’s Day with sadness, grieving the loss of their own bringers of light. I can’t begin to do justice to all the candles, torches, and bonfires they provided. I will say that from the precious memories that have been shared with me that I’m confident that those fires still burn, bringing light that extends far beyond the original reach, carried proudly by those who first saw it.

Even as I look back at those lights, I see others ahead. A family friend who recently entered the fraternity of fatherhood. There isn’t a single doubt in my mind about the lights he’ll put on the pathway for his beautiful little daughter. No storm will be too fierce to prevent him from living up to his responsibilities to her, nor to the responsibility he sees for himself. I say the same about another friend who is soon to be a father for the first time. Mere words simply can’t explain to him — yet — what a journey he’s about to begin, but I know that he’s well stocked with flint and steel to light those fires for his son.

Inevitably, at least for the past 14 years, my Father’s Day thoughts turn not so much to celebration as to assessment. While I try to pay tribute to my Dad and the many other father’s who have been the source of so much light, it’s impossible not to wonder about my own role as a parent.

I’ve been blessed with a remarkable child, one that I’m proud to realize is already a better person at his core than I’ve been on my best days. It’s gratifying to see that, to know it, and certainly flattering to hear others praise him and try to give me credit for the person he is and is becoming. Candidly, I’m not sure how much I’ve really had to do with a lot of his better qualities, he seems to have come from the factory with a lot of those things.

I’m more comfortable taking credit for having a strong desire to give him as many tools as possible for the challenges that lie ahead. Whether it’s helping him understand basic concepts like the relationship between work & play, how to compute an Earned Run Average, the Byzantine nature of the global politics (and the realpolitik that goes with them), or just how to figure the distance of a punt under those Friday night lights in your head without missing a beat, I just want to fill that toolbox as much as I can. Or, phrased more eloquently, to punch as many holes in the darkness as possible, the biggest ones I can manage.

I’m grateful for all those who put light in front of me by punching holes in the darkness. With the help of my Heavenly Father I hope to keep those lights burning, at least as embers but always with the hope of a raging flame that lights the darkness. I also encourage every dad out there find those opportunities and throw their own punches, bring that light.

Happy Father’s Day to one and all.

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Filed under General, Personal

Ready to Rock (weekly playlist)

For the Spotify list there aren’t a lot of changes … 6 songs unavailable, 5 new songs in, 3 dropping out (two became unavailable)

Missing songs:
Soldiers – Otherwise, Man of Constant Sorrow – Charm City Devils,Let the Sparks Fly – Thousand Foot Krutch, Caught In the Rain – Hurt, You Waste Your Time – Mark Tremonti, Headlong Flight – Rush

New to the Spotify list this week:
Stone Faith – Colin James, I Gotsta Get Paid – ZZ Top, Comeback – Redlight King, The Other Side – Evanescence, Stay Frosty – Van Halen

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
Biggest Fan – Call Me No One, Fire Escape – Civil Twilight, Boss’s Daughter – Pop Evil,


For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s brand new music from ZZ Top, Brett Michaels, Rise Against and another cool cover, this time from Eve to Adam.
You can find it at this link

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Ready to Rock? (Weekly Playlist)

For the Spotify list there aren’t a lot of changes … 6 songs unavailable, 2 new songs in, 2 dropping out.

Missing songs:
Soldiers – Otherwise, Let the Sparks Fly – Thousand Foot Krutch, Caught In the Rain – Hurt, You Waste Your Time – Mark Tremonti, Stone Faith – Colin James, This Is Gonna Hurt – Hoobastank

New to the Spotify list this week:
Bring ’em Down – Lostprophets, Put Down the Drink – Emphatic (re-entry)

Dropping off the Spotify list this week:
No Resolution – Seether, I Like It – Foxy Shazam


For the larger (nearly 200 songs) YouTube version there’s brand new music from Sebastian Bach and Nonpoint as well as a cool cover from Love & Death (new band for Brian “Head” Welch). You can find it at this link

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