Thursday, January 31, 2008

I just read on that the courts sentenced Michael Devlin, the dude who was busted for kidnapping in January 2007. This guy had kept the first kid he nabbed for over 4 years and then grabbed the second kid, but was sloppy. They raided his apartment a few days after the second kid was lifted. He was sentenced to 74 life terms in solitary. I never understand multiple life sentences. I mean if you were a cat I could understand 9 life sentences, but 74?!?

I question the logic behind a life sentence as opposed to death. He has to spend the rest of his life alone. Sitting in his cell alone, eating dinner alone, showering alone, excersising alone. What a drag! How is keeping him alive a benefit to anyone. From what I've seen it appears this guy got a pretty stiff sentence. This guy didn't kill these kids. Now, I realize that people have been sentenced to life and eventually been proven innocent. So, there is the chance of putting an innocent person to death. I don't know the answer. Spending the rest of your life in solitary confinement would certainly be a worse fate than death. It will definitely cost John Q. Public more as well.

I thought about this a little. It would be awful to be alone for the rest of your life. I like to be alone at times, but not forever. The article said that he would be able to have visits through a glass wall. But he will never have interaction with a human again. Boy, you would get to know yourself pretty damn good. I think I would have imaginary friends. I would have conversations with me, myself and I. I think your mind would go numb. After a while, I think I'd rather be dead. I guess that's the punishment...wishing you were dead.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I started to write several blogs since last Tuesday, but just couldn't complete them. I think it's where my head is right now, incomplete. I'm trying to be very cautious about the steps I take towards the future. My mind is closed for inventory. As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I see mid-life as a great opportunity to make the second half very cool. The first half was good, I want the second half to be better.

In the first half I reached some of my goals, and then let go of them. I think I tried to reach too many goals. I want to be more secure about my direction this time around. I need to focus on things that are right in front of me, instead of dreaming so much. When you're young, it's great to dream. Now I have to work on things I can reach instead of chasing a wisp of smoke.

I learned a great deal in the first half. Like a good football coach, I want to make the right half-time adjustments. It's going to be hard to make some easy decisions. I'm going to go back to my original plan and rely on my strengths. I'm not going to let others steer me down a path I don't want to travel. I need to spend some time alone...thinking.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My father, rest his soul, always said, "you will have to do things in your life that you don't want to do." I've repeated that statement to myself and others many times. This has been a standard with my kids for years. This message is one of the bricks in my house of life. It has guided me through some tough decisions.

Lately, for the first time in my life I find myself questioning the logic behind this statement. It makes perfect sense for a 3 year-old who should try eating the peas on his plate. It makes sense for the 12 year-old who should finish mowing the lawn before going fishing with his buddies. It even makes sense for the 20 year-old who should show up for work at his new job, even though he got drunk the night before. Does it make sense for the 50 year-old who should continue working a job he really doesn't enjoy? Did it ever really make sense?

It's a shame that we get caught in the trap of life. It makes me realize how important every decision we make in our life is. One wrong move, or worse, two or three wrong moves, and your dreams can fly right out the window. Now all you can do is stare out that window and watch those dreams float safely out of your reach.

This is why I want to make sure that the decisions I make from here on in to the finish line are the right decisions. I'm not ready to give up on my dreams. I need to sit myself down and plan to make my dreams come true. Every step is critical. I don't have time to start over too many more times. But, I do have one more time!

Monday, January 21, 2008

We hosted an adoption celebration Saturday at the homestead. We wanted to share in the joy of having Jordan officially one of the clan. Somewhere around 50 people showed up. This crowd of crazies ranged from folks in their late 50's to kids in the early twenties. They all have at least one thing in common... Jordan. I think everyone had a great time. Jordan hung in until about 2:00 am... he must be one of us.

It's been quite a while since we've had a party like that at the house. In the 80s, we had parties like that once or twice a month. It was cool that some of the people who came to those parties twenty-some years ago, joined us for this bash. It's those friends that keep us in Sioux Town. Lord knows there aren't many other reasons to stay. But the friends we've enjoyed for the past 30 years are worth the trip.

The people in this little cow-town are definitely the strength. When the powers-that-be realize this and capitalize on it, the quality of life will improve. I'm not sure exactly how to go about this, but events like Riverssance and Saturday in the Park are a good start. Supporting local businesses with the same enthusiasm that an "Olive Garden" gets would be a good step. I think we overlook the good people in this town. Hopefully, this will change and our little town will turn the corner and become the cool place that it has the potential to be.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We have had some weird shit going in Sioux Town lately. A 25-year-old guy killed two little girls while "casting a spell". He said something went wrong...really! This "witch" admits to killing them...accidentally of course. He acts like he should be excused because he didn't mean to strangle and stab these little girls, he was practicing his religion. He says he is a witch and he practices the Wiccan rituals. Well, I'm sorry, but that's no excuse to kill someone. To top it all off, he set the house on fire to wave off the bad spell, or something like that. Thankfully, the fire was stopped before too much damage was done.

Now, here's the weird part. On the local newspaper's website, dozens of people commented on the news article by defending Wicca!!! There are locals who say this report is an attempt to put Wicca in a negative light. This blows my mind! I would have never guessed there were so many witches in our little burg. Who knew there might be a witch next door. I mean, I have lived next to some freaks, but never figured them for witches.

Thank God, level heads appear to be prevailing in this matter. His bond was set at $50,00 which should keep this nut from freedom for quite a while. The local justice system has charged him with murder. I hope none of the witches in town cast spells on the jury to cloud their judgement. I'd hate to see this guy found innocent.

Keep your bat wings and eye of newt under lock and key!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Over the last few years I got involved in the bar business. Spending many hours behind the bar, I met some very interesting people to say the least. I've also made some friends, and probably some enemies. Whether you're tending bar or just managing things, some customers feel the need to tell you their life's story. Sometimes it's just that day's events, or it may be a childhood experience. It comes with the territory. I always listen and express a degree of interest.

One of these barflys told me a great deal about himself. I think a very small part of it was true, but it made him feel good to paint a grand picture of himself. He wasn't hurting anyone so I listened and simply smiled and agreed with him. He flew to Hawkeye games with coach Ferentz, finished a round of golf at Augusta with Tiger and became personal friends with Michael Jordan...or so he said. I just listened while he sipped his Grand Marnier on the rocks. He was always alone. He was always drunk. He was always grinning.

Today I saw this guy's obituary in the local paper. He died at his residence at the age of 57. It really made me sad. There will be no services, he is survived by his mother, two sons and their families. He would be very disappointed in the obit. After the flamboyant tales I've listened to for the past 2 years, the author of the obit did not share in this barfly's imagination.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I was visiting with a friend on NYE and we began fondly reminiscing about some of the drum circles we had joined in. They are wonderful! If you've never sat around a large drum with several people armed with "beaters", you haven't lived. It is an, a soul-opening experience. I have sat with strangers, and we hugged afterwards. I had the joy of sharing rhythms with a young lady in our group and it was so cool to see the light in her eyes when the last beat fell. She thought we were crazy at the onset, but felt the rhythm shared by the group and truly understood. The best "sessions" have been with good friends. You can feel each other. You can learn about each other. Regardless of who you sit with, you'll know them better when you're done. You'll feel closer to them after sharing a rhythm.

I want to get a drum. There are many times that it would be the perfect way to spend time with people I meet. I've written previously about sharing colored chalk drawings on the sidewalk, which is a great way to know people. The drum is different. It's like talking to each other without saying a word. I think I'd like to drum alone some time. I'd like to hear what my rhythms have to say to me.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy Wednesday everyone, and welcome to 2008! Remember the eve of 2000 when we all thought the world as we know it was going to change forever? Boy were we hood-winked. Millions of dollars were spent in preparation for... uh... nothing as it turned out. Now, here we are 8 years later, and things keep changing as slowly as ever.

We went to a couple of house parties on New Year's Eve. People's enthusiasm is interesting. It's really just another day. It's cool that people have a new sense of being as the year changes. I've been very optimistic on December 31 for the last 3 years, only to realize that it's just another day. Nothing changed, except the date we write on checks. One of these years, things might actually be shockingly different. I was reminded this December 31, that things can always be worse. I'm very thankful for some of the things that happened in 2007. I'm also very disappointed in some of the events from 2007. I guess that's life.

I had a personal enlightenment in 2007 that keeps me awake nights trying to make sense of it. I got to know myself better and boy is that confusing. I realized that I'm not at all who I thought I was. A lady friend of ours was lamenting NYE night about her 19-year-old son. She says he's lonely, she things he's trying to find himself. For some reason, she questioned whether he is gay or not. I shared with her the fact that I'm 49, and still finding myself. I don't think that means I'm gay.

As we get older, every day, every month and certainly every year makes us more aware of our mortality. A good friend of mine tells us to give thanks every day. He's right. We need to give thanks everyday for the chance to start over. That's why I think NYE is just another day, with the promise of a new start.