Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dear Father I Forgive You

Dear Father:

You died many years ago. I love you. And I respect you in many ways.

Long ago you made some mistakes which I know you later learned to regret.

Father, you grew up dirt poor, to an abusive father, my grandfather - who was the genesis of so much heartache within the families of nearly every one of his children, and grandchildren.

Father, you were turned out onto the streets as a young adolescent as your family was struggling to survive, struggling to feed itself, during the great depression.

You even begged the police to take you into jail so that you would have food to eat, and a place to sleep.

This was the America you knew.

Your parents agreed to lie about your age so that you could join the Navy at age fifteen during World War Two.

And when you came back from the war, you didn't have anyone to guide you into going to college, and so you never did.

Instead you hung out at bars, and pool halls, and worked for your father in Springfield, Illinois.

Mother said she married you because she felt sorry for you, but I suspect it is because she was a widow, with two young children - living in a man's world.

She said you quit your job, and she got tired of supporting you, and she forced you to find a better job - and I believe her story.

You did manage in some way to move off the loading docks at Bunn Capital to a white collar management position. This was possible because the U.S. economy was exploding, growing by leaps and bounds - and because you were very intelligent, and hard working.

Even though you never even graduated from grade school you rose above your circumstances - and you became more successful than I have - despite my education.

My uncle told me that you probably saw one of your brothers drown when you were a child, and I can only imagine what that did to you.

And of course your father, my grandfather probably beat the hell out of you often.

You were a complicated man, living at the very end of a highly exploitative time in the United States - and the world in general.

You lived in a time when white men were still able to deny people their rights based solely upon race, and gender.

Father you lived in a time in which men ruled their families, and could do so with full support of a male dominated legal system.

You lived in a time in which women were expected to defer to men, and children were not to contradict their parents - or fear the consequences.

What my great grand father, a traveling fundamentalist minister, did to your father, my grandfather, is a mystery, but I suspect that sparing the rod was not even a consideration. I suspect that the cycle of abuse began at least that far back during a time when children, and women could easily be viewed as the property of men.

So when I heard stories of my grandfather beating up my grandmother, and whipping you to an inch of your life - I was not surprised.

Nor was I surprised to hear the stories that mothers within our family whispered to each other, but with us children around, about the latest violent act perpetrated by this husband, or that - it was after all the 1960s - and the times they were a changing, but not for their generation of women.

My father I am not writing this to expose you as some sort of monster, for you were not a monster.

But I have a right to my own life now, not one burdened with guilt, and doubts, about myself - about my childhood, or my future.

My dearest father, you were not a monster. You played with me, and cuddled with me, and showed me love very often. You had tenderness, and patience, and goodness in you. And I love you, and always will.

Which is why this it is so hard to say what I am about to say - to reveal the secret, the horrible shameful secret - that by taboo, I am not to reveal.

But I shall anyway for it is the shame, and the burden of the secret that has allowed such behavior to continue, one generation upon the next.

First I want to say, job well done for never having sexually molested in any way, any of your children. All of your children have been very forthright about that.

Instead it was the violence, and threats of violence which I must address with you.

Some of the earliest memories I have of you is that of trying to drag you off of my mother so that you would stop punching her, and kicking her.

I was just a little boy, of preschool age, but I had to defend my mommy.

And for that you turned your punches, and kicks to me - your rage knew no morality, no boundary. Physically attacking your own little son was o.k. somehow in your mind - at least in your moments of rage. Somehow you believed that I , a four year old boy, was a real threat to you - a full grown man.

How could I ever grow to trust you? How could ever believe fully that you, the most significant man in my life was to loved without holding back - when I never was sure if you would try to attack me?

Yet, it was not these occasional outburst of rage, and violence which you visited upon our family which had the most profound effect upon me, and those who loved you.

Instead it was the low level, but constantly present, fear of saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing. Never knowing when your rage would take over, or for what reason meant walking on eggshells, and it meant so many many whippings for things I never truly understood.

It was living in the war zone which you made of my childhood that had its greatest effect upon me as a person.

It was your effect upon my mother, upon whom you forced a miscarriage, when you beat her up for saying the wrong thing - when she was pregnant with your child! I wonder to this day what type of relationship I could have had with the sister or brother that you killed before he or she was ever born. I wonder about the soul that briefly incarnated into that little unborn baby only to have to flee your insane criminal rage.

You should have been locked up in a cage, a prison cell, for that act.

It was how you destroyed the relationship I had with my little brother, who had been my very best friend up until the day you vented your rage upon him for running and hiding under a bed - while you used your belt to whip him (while he was trapped under the bed) so badly that every (every) inch of his little body was covered in welts.

My brother was so filled with terror that he seemed to have left that day. I was only a child then, but I know what it is called now. Shock. You took this little boy and terrorized him so badly that he ceased being the little innocent creature he had been, and instead he did everything he could do to please you - for fear of his life - and he was not even five.

And I'm certain you did the same thing to me. For this I could hate you, and should, but I won't.

But it was that moment, of not being able to stop you - of fearing for my life, of looking at my sister - both of us crying, both of us knowing that you were insane, and that mother was out shopping - that we were at your madman's rage.

We were just children, but if we could have we would have made you go away by any means on that day.

It was the generalized, and always present level of anxiety which I learned to live with, and even ignore, which had its greatest impact upon me.

It was not being able to be honest with my friends about standing in the snow in my bare feet and pajamas in the darkness of a winter morning - while you searched for a plank of wood big enough to "bash my brains in" (your words) when I was only twelve - and listening to the calls of my mother that I should come back into the house so I could get ready for school.

It was the effect that growing up in that kind of environment had upon my ability to concentrate - or to even consider a future - growing up in a war zone so to speak.

It was that effect which being labeled as a "bad child" by moronic school officials who never knew, nor probably would have cared, what was happening until finally a school counselor asked. Yet in those days, that is as far as it went. Confirm the abuse, but remain silent, so on it continued.

This was the America that I grew up in.

It was the raging temper I have within me, that has taken a lifetime of struggle to tame, and decades of study to understand.

I look at your influence, Father, upon my siblings, and I know that your illness has reached into this very time, and has harmed marriages which you never even lived long enough to see.

I see my own timidity, my own lack of self esteem, my own addictive tendencies, my own depression, and I know where my lack of self trust, and the lack of trust I have in others came from. I know why it took me so long to believe that anyone would ever accept me, or want me to be their friend, or coworker.

I see the damage that you did.

But unlike some within the family, I have chosen to forgive you.

I believe I understand you in a greater context of history, and psychology - a field I spent years studying because of you.

And it is that understanding, that has allowed me not to hate you, but instead to love you. Hating you, would only harm me. Hating you would only be denying the you within me, something I can not risk doing.

Loving you, but hating your sin, so to speak, allows me to grow.

You did not have the advantage of an education, and you grew up in a time when whippings, or slapping a wife around was considered acceptable. The culture you grew up on was a highly exploitative male dominated age - and add to that your being mistreated, and neglected as a child and it becomes clear how you became the damaged goods that you were.

I also can not deny that in the last ten years of your life you calmed down, you began to grow as a man, and you found religion. You even told me that you loved me. You were growing up, and it took you until you were in your forties to do so. Your final years were in fact your best years.

That is not to say that you were perfect then, but I was too big for you to beat up, and sadly we both knew I could beat you up by the time I was fifteen. The problem with raising your son mean, is that he learns about defending himself - father. Yet, I could also see that you were growing - in a way that was not dependent upon fear. That is what I believe, and that is why I prayed for you, and your soul to be forgiven - that is the best memories I have of you - for you were not a monster, you were just a man struggling to become the better man you wanted to be.

And I can empathize with that.

If you had lived, I believe that you would have become more of the kind of person you should have been all along - the kind of person you would have been if only you had not been abused yourself as a child, but father, you just ran out of time, and died before you had that chance.

And now I have told the truth - I have broken the silence, I have aired the dirty laundry of the family for the world to see. I did not do so to destroy you, but to let you continue to grow through me - for you are not dead - you are in me, and I will take you to the next step father.

In the end, it is your children who choose how to look back, how to re-spect you.

It is your children who tell your story.

Some of your children say you were insane, or hate you, but I do not.

I love you father, and I forgive you, and only through this process of loving you despite the abuse you put upon me, and only by forgiving you - can I love the you within me, and forgive the you within me. For in the end, you were the single most important man in my life - you were my father.

May God forgive you for your sins, and grant you entry into Heaven.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tornado Warnings For Central Illinois

Date May 30th, 2008 - Thunderstorm Which Came Through Jerome, Illinois

I got the date wrong, I've been on vacation all this week, and I didn't know it was May 30th.

The warning siren is several long blocks away. These are new sirens which replaced the older ones damaged by the tornadoes that came through Jerome two years ago. They are VERY loud - which is a good thing.

I'm not sure but I believe this video includes a very short lived funnel cloud. There was some rotation in the clouds as they were coming over town. One low hanging very fast moving cloud lifted up very quickly as it hit the city.

This cloud lifting effect often happens as a city is usually warmer than outlying areas since cities are lined with roads, structures, and parking lots - all of which retain heat. Rising heat from a city creates a protective thermal bubble which lifts clouds up as they move over a city - thus reducing the incidence of tornadoes in urban areas.

Note the short tree in the middle of our yard. That tree was once very tall - as tall as the other trees which I show to the left of it. But another very large tree came smashing down upon it two years ago when a tornado came right through our neighborhood.

I believe I took this video at 6:10-6:20 in the area which was when a funnel cloud was spotted over Springfield, Illinois by law enforcement (per WICS).


I am adding content to this post as of 8:48 P.M. Central DST, and I'm watching WICS TV 20's continuous coverage of this storm system. They are taking these storms, which have spawned several tornadoes, very seriously.

The tornado warning for Sangamon County has been ended, but now there's a thunderstorm warning, and a flash flood warning in Sangamon County.

Springfield, Illinois and surrounding communities are getting hit by one storm after another. The radar shows a string of isolated storm cells moving in a line for over one hundred miles - and they are headed right this way. So we should expect more storms for hours to come.

Gotta go for now

Reanimus Nocturnus

Reanimus Nocturnus
Reanimus Nocturnus
by Jerome Prophet

When you fall into the darkness
And don't see that shaft of light
When you hear the thunder booming
From your left and from your right

What will be your answer
Will you run or will you fight
Or will you give up quietly
And become a creature of the night

You Have Reached The End
Music - Jack Off Jill/Everything's Brown
Video - Return of the Living Dead 3 - see video for credits

Thursday, May 29, 2008

We Share More Than We're Aware

A Jar of Honey Blood For Your Dreams

The Collective Dream Experience

I was speaking with the spouse tonight. I mentioned how that around sunset I sometimes long to be able to fly.

My spouse responded with surprise, asking, "Fly, why would you want to do that?".

"Yes fly", I answered, "I'd love to lift up above the trees and capture a bit more of the sunset".

"Oh", my spouse said, "That's interesting".

"Haven't you ever had dreams where you can fly?", I asked.

"Yes", replied my wife, "rarely, but many times over the years".

We were both standing in the driveway during our conversation, and I lifted my arms up a bit to shoulder height, and asked, "Someone would be running toward you, and you'd start to take off?".

"I've had dreams like that", she said.

"They would get to your feet just as you take off, but you relax, and you soar high above them", I said.

"Exactly, my dream.", my wife responded.

And then I added, "But they can't get you like they could in the past, when you had the same dreams when you were younger, because you're older now, and you're a more experienced flier".

"I have had those very same dreams", my wife admitted.

My wife and I had not only had the same type of dreams, but experienced the same sequence of dream experiences by progressively becoming better at flying over the course of decades.

How is that possible if dreams are just semi-nonsensical neural processing taking place with the brain of a separate individuals?
The Origin of Common Dreams

Dreams may solely result from internal subconscious processing on an individual level, but I find such a shared subconscious experiences fascinating. Just how is it that different individuals can share the same rich dream experiences? Answers for this question have been formulated over the centuries.

The phrase "collective subconscious" has been employed in an attempt to define a boundary, and an origin for the shared dream phenomena. The source of the collective subconscious, it has been proposed, is sourced in the exposure of individuals to common cultural symbols while in a conscious state.

Just as many bird species have brains already hard wired to build nest, and therefore also possess other related abilities (e.g., locating the right sized materials, and location for building a nest), the human brain is also primed to recognizing speech, and facial expressions.

It is this preprogrammed set of abilities which predisposes the human experience onto a common path. Infants acquire a fear of falling even before the development of language for example. Later in life the fear of falling may be expressed during the dream state as a dream about falling. Dreams of this type may be far more likely at certain periods of brain development, and may be an expression of our neural programming.

Yet, despite these predispositions within the human brain to process common experiences in common ways through similar dreams, I still find it hard to understand how a dream experience can be so similar from one individual to another.

Some have proposed that part of the "collective subconscious" lay outside the three dimensions which we trust as the source of all incoming experience. Some have argued that a portion of what we experience during our dream states are a form of collective interface.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What The Hell Is Hillary Clinton Thinking?

Keith Olberman on Hillary Clinton's References to Assassination
What The Hell Is Hillary Clinton Thinking?

Recently it appears that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has chosen to sneak in references to political assassination - whenever possible. What the hell is Senator Clinton up to? It seems painfully obvious to all but her supporters that the Senator's sly references are a means of suggesting that we Democrats need her to remain in the race, a race she can not win, as some sort of back up in case Barack Obama is assassinated.

Some may argue that Senator Clinton is once again being victimized (she claims there is a media conspiracy working against her), and that her intentions are pure, but her repeated reference to Bobby Kennedy's assassination, in June of 1968, doesn't appear to be a random act, nor innocent act in the least.

A Mystery - Why Senator Clinton Continues Her Campaign
Why Talk Of Assassination Now Senator Clinton?
Hillary Clinton is after all a master politician who is running for the highest office in the nation, and has been for over eight years. Senator Clinton is the product of a lifetime of politics and political campaigning. She is accustomed to watching every word she utters, and to having available to her a set of carefully crafted responses to every question imaginable - and if not, a generic reply which will work in a pinch.

This doesn't keep her from making mistakes, but it does suggest that we must take a careful look at what she says, when she says it, and carefully assess why she says it.

The Senator's carefully crafted, and repeated injection of references to Robert Kennedy's assassination, after his victory in the 1968 California Democratic Primary, does not appear to be an accident at all. Senator Clinton has made these references at least four times.

The 2007-2008 Primaries have been historic in the sense that an African American, for the first time in U.S. history, is the Democratic front runner. In fact at the time of this posting Senator Obama has the nomination wrapped up.

Politics American Style - Red State Comedy
Americans Fear Another Assassination

As an example, at my workplace nearly every coworker (in my unit) under the age of thirty has proclaimed their intent to cast their vote for Senator Obama. I say "nearly" only because there is one lone twenty something I never spoke to on the subject.

These same twenty-somethings stated that they would not, under any condition, vote for Hillary Clinton. Some even stating that they would rather vote for the Republican candidate in the general election. That is how high Hillary Clinton's negatives are!

One revelation which I found distressing is that these same twenty-somethings have nearly all expressed their fear that Senator Obama would be assassinated if it looked like he was going to win the election. Young voters may be ready for an African American commander in chief, but these same younger voters fear that the rest of the nation may have a problem with racial equality to that point.

Surveys conducted during the West Virginia and Kentucky (rural red states) Democratic Primaries revealed that one in four voters who cast their vote for Hillary Clinton admitted that they would not vote for Mr. Obama because he is black!

This response is coming from the "trailer trash vote" that Hillary has been so desperate to play to over the last two months. Instead of making it loud and clear that she doesn't want that kind of support she has instead slyly worked racism into her campaign!

Politics is a form of warfare, and Hillary Clinton has shown that she is capable of employing any weapon available within the politician's arsenal. While I don't believe Ms. Clinton would ever wish Senator Obama ill will, I don't believe Senator Clinton is who I want as the Vice President of the United States.

Does Racism Matter?
Time To End Your Campaign
While I agree with Ms. Clinton on a wide range of domestic positions, I don't like what I have seen in her character in recent months. Others had warned me of long ago not to trust Senator Clinton, but I refused to consider that there was anything to fear.

If Ms. Clinton knows what is best for her she should call this campaign quits, and begin campaigning for Senator Obama in earnest. Only in this way will she be able to repair the damage she has done to the Democratic party, and to her own reputation.

Despite any calls for Senator Clinton to end her campaign short of the Democratic National Convention it is highly doubtful that the Senator from New York will do so. It is far more likely that Ms. Clinton intends to force herself upon the ticket as Barack Obama's Vice Presidential running mate.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sometimes Dead Is Better

Sometimes Dead Is Better

Many years ago me and my old buddy Pat went to see the motion picture Pet Sematary. We both loved the movie, and were still under its spell so to speak after leaving the theater. We were driving out to his house, and we noticed a road sign pointing to the local Pet Cemetery.

Pat was the owner of a road construction sign company, and it occurred to us at exactly that moment that we could change the sign leading to the Pet Cemetery so that it said Pet Sematary.

We laughed our asses off, and then made our way back to the sign with the needed equipment.

It was dark out, and a little bit creepy, and as we got out and approached the sign there was this rustling and growling sound coming up from the brush just off the road. We got spooked and made our way back to the truck. Deciding at that moment that it would be in poor taste - a rare moment of sanity - or maybe we were just spooked out of our skulls.

I'm a fan of Stephen King, and have read most of his books. I usually don't get nervous reading his stories, but must confess that a scene from one of his books which disturbed me the most is out of Pet Sematary - the one in which the father digs up the casket of his dead son.

Maybe some of the scenes in Salem's Lot were about that scary, but not quite.

Sometimes Dead Is Better

A few days ago on Fox there appeared an article based upon a true story in which a woman who had been pronounced dead, with rigor mortis already setting in, woke up! Oh my god!

How dead does a person have to be to be dead? This person had no brain waves, no pulse, and her heart had stopped! She was DEAD! Just minutes away from being cut up for organ donation. And the next thing you know she's sitting up in her bed speaking.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Pretty & Wonderful Earth

Jerome, Illinois - Tree Blossoms On A Spring Morning - May 25th, 2008

A cooler and gentler Spring has allowed most blooming trees to reach full bloom. Many trees have been in bloom for weeks which is all but unheard of. In Central Illinois it is as if Spring is in slow motion, and while people may be a bit upset over the lack of blue skies, the plants seem to be loving it.

Jerome, Illinois - Tree Blossoms At Sunset - May 24th, 2008

The Earth is a beautiful planet. What an incredible gift to have been given - this garden planet of ours. We all have a great responsibility to protect the Earth - future generations watch what we do now - and it is how we act, or fail to act which determines how we will be judged.

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