Recent Goings On … Books!!

I’ve been sitting on my thoughts over the last little while. Two things i try to avoid, discussion of Religion and politics. The world has so much going on, that I have opinions about, that sometimes, I think to myself, “why bother?”

As a Citizen of the United States, I received my ballot by mail, some time ago. The Dade County Supervisor of Elections is very diligent in making sure all of our ballots arrive with plenty of time, to be sent back in time for the latest election. I filled my ballot out and sent it back a while ago, and got an email confirming that it had been received in Miami.

We did not get the results we all wanted. But that is the nature of the beast, I guess. Too many red voters down south. We watched the returns until the Canadian National News came on, then we went to bed.

It is a very good thing that so many WOMEN won seats in the government last night. That is very gratifying for sure. We are very proud of all the women, and the first two Muslim women to be voted into seats, for the first time in history.

Ilhan Omar, 37, is one of two Democrats to become the first Muslim-American women to enter Congress. She won a House seat in Minnesota.

Born in Somalia, Ms Omar and her family fled the country’s civil war in 1991. She arrived in the US as a teenager after spending four years at a refugee camp in Kenya.

She is also the first Somali-American member of Congress.

Ms Omar will be joined in Congress by Rashida Tlaib, a Muslim woman who won a House seat in Michigan. The 42-year-old is also the first Palestinian-American congresswoman.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former Bernie Sanders volunteer, is the youngest woman ever to win a seat in Congress.

The 29-year-old, a Bronx native from a Puerto Rican family, overcame a top Democrat to become her party’s nominee for a House seat in New York.

BOOKS AND STUFF …

One of my lady readers suggested that I would enjoy Yuval Noah Harrari’s books, Sapiens and Homo Deus. Yuval is a PHD in history. In reading his bio, there are a few letters behind his name.

A while back, one of my friends suggested to me that I read Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. that was a FANTASTIC BOOK ! I love Jared’s voice. I love the way he writes books, and the way he explains his methods and the ways he sees the world, based on his own personal experience.

Jared’s Book, Guns, Germs and Steel, tells the history of the world from the point of 13,000 years ago. He explains all the minutia of the different factors that go into human survival, over the eons. But so much more, Jared discusses the particulars of the land, the axes of that land, whether it is a North South or East West axes, that either makes or breaks each civilization.

Jared goes into great detail. Detail that Yuval does not share with his readers. However he tells stories of those early peoples and how they survived through story telling academically. I found Yuval’s stories great and all, but he lacked the precision data and storytelling that Jared gave us in Guns, Germs and Steel. Yuval writes as an academic, and that’s how I took his book, by the book. He did not engage me as a reader in the story of how the earth populated and grew over the eons.

Jared gives a captivating explanation in great detail of where we came from, how we got here, and how the world became the world it is today, through exhaustive details of every aspect of civilization, which I found captivating and enlightening.

The stories of the first people’s, something that is crucial in Canadian society, I attended a Native Blanket Exercise not long after completing Jared’s book, and through his eyes, while sitting in the First Nations exercise, I knew the story historically, because I read Jared’s book, it made the whole experience for me a much deeper experience as a whole.

Yuval did not share stories like Jared’s. Which sets both books apart in story and scope of subject matter. I do not discount Yuval as a writer of history based on his credentials. But he is an academic, where Jared is a scientist and anthropologist and a student of the world, because he has traveled this world in great detail. That shows in Jared’s books, including Collapse, which I am reading at the moment.

Academics are pigeonholed as writers, because they approach their work as an academic. Which tend to be dry and cold to some, reading an academic treatise rather than a book of exploration and wonder.

Yuval did not capture my imagination enough, and by the end of the book, I wanted to get to the end of the book, soon! However, Yuval has perks in his storytelling. His stories differ from Jared, in scope and academic precision.

Both are great writers, Yuval as a PHD in history, so you could not question his sources or information he provided. I moved from enjoyment reading, into reading a PHD thesis on the history of the world. Written by an academic.

Yuval does have his writing perks as I said …

One very noticeable way in which Yuval writes, is that of his choice of language and who he uses to make points along the way. Most writers will write with a bent towards a neutral voice when telling stories. It is usually the male character who appears in storytelling.

Yuval, turns that around throughout Sapiens … I noticed this little turn right away, and took note that he carried his characters throughout his book.

Yuval always notates a woman when telling his stories.

Instead of always seeing His, or He or male representatives, Yuval uses the Female identifier She and Her. His attention to this very little detail, becomes a very big detail in this book. I found it very interesting that he used this format in his writing.

These two books, Guns Germs and Steel, and Sapiens, are similar.

Yuval being a PHD in History, I read his book as an academic. Having degrees in Religion and Theology myself. In retrospect, I enjoyed Guns, Germs and Steel much more.

Yuval’s storytelling was really good. But I found his stories glossed over many things that Jared spoke about as important. Where Yuval’s stories are academic in reach, and factually correct, I wanted more out of his text.

The only reason I finished the book, was that I had committed to reading it because one of my women who read this blog suggested it to me. So I wanted to do it proper justice.

If I had to choose who I would read again, hands down it is Jared Diamond. With that said, I bought two more Diamond Books…

Collapse … How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, and
The World Until Yesterday … What We Can Learn From Traditional Societies.

I’m really enjoying Collapse.

Once again, Jared’s voice is fantastic. I love the way he writes and the detail he goes into about every subject he writes about so well. He not only uses his scientific work, but work of other scientists and writers, to shed facets of light on subjects that can be rather dark and/or unknown. 

I also picked up a book called Children of God, written by Lars Petter Sveen.

This book is a story about the child and adolescent Jesus. I’m always on the look out for Jesus books. I have read several really good book, one by Reza Aslan, was a fantastic book about Jesus.

Stories about the child or adolescent Jesus do not exist, because there are no stories written about him, during his young life. Every book that is written has to employ side literature, scripture or old papyrus scrolls that still exist in modern days.

Anne Rice took a stab at this topic a while back. So I also have all of her books in my library.

DARKNESS in MONTREAL

It is very dark in Montreal right now. With the clocks going back an hour, by 5 p.m. it is so dark, you’d think it was really 10 p.m. at night.

They tell us SNOW and a lot of it is coming, soon … Upwards of 15 cm will hit the ground come next week. Right now, it has been raining incessantly, for days and nights. It is a bit nippy out. And it will only get colder when the snows finally appear.

I’ve bought some new cold weather gear, gloves and a pair of warm boots. I’ve been updating my wardrobe for a while now. My reason when shopping is that if I buy it, it has to be able to be worn all four seasons and not just in warm weather.

My Hockey under gear warm layer works very well. Last winter I went to a professional hockey shop here in the city, and purchased thermal under gear that I wear as a base layer, along with special base layer clothing.

Some of my favorite clothing makers have great base layer and warm weather gear for both men and women.

Much more to come, stay tuned.

Thanks for the book recommendations.

If you are going to read any books, JARED DIAMOND should be at the top of your read list.


Tuesday: Significant Horizons: Valerie Plante

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Sunday was our municipal elections here in Montreal. The incumbent mayor Denis Coderre was facing an uphill battle against newcomer Valerie Plante.

I voted for Valerie Plante. She won the mayoral election.

Denis Coderre spent million upon millions of dollars on beautifying the city for the 375th anniversary. He cashed in on the E – Race which stripped many business people of business when their terraces were rolled up for the entirety of the race prep – race day – and race tear down. Millions of dollars lost in revenue and sales.

Traffic is a nightmare, that is, if you drive, which I do not.

He could have spent much of the monies he spent on beauty, on the actual citizens of Montreal, who need more help than they (read: We) are getting.

The vote was stacked against him, as Sunday wore on. In the end, Valerie Plante won the vote for mayor here in Montreal.

I could not be happier for her.

She has made some serious promises to the city, and on November 16th, she will be sworn in as the First Female Mayor of Montreal, in 375 years.

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Monday night we celebrated 72 years of Monday Central, as a meeting. Monday Central began by the esteemed Dave B. Who’s story appears in the Big Book.

Gratitude in Action – Fourth Edition – page 193.
The beginning of Quebec Sobriety in 1944.

After several early incarnations and locations across the city, one of those locations was right up the street from home at the Old Forum location.

Where rent was $10.00 a week, but he meeting was asked to leave that location when members were found up late after hours playing cards and having fun …

I guess late night card playing was against city rules back then.

My friend Yves spoke. I know his story, having heard it previously. Monday night he spent an inordinate amount of time on the transience of life, back in the day.

What does a fifteen year old kid, upon leaving home, do with his life ?

He travels from Coast to Coast to Coast, drinking, drugging and getting into all kinds of trouble.

Upon settling in Montreal, finally, and gaining employment at the Old Royal Victoria Hospital, he meets his match in a doctor who tells him straight, that he really needs help, and this doctor, in his own way, saves my friend’s life.

In January, 2018, he will reach twenty-nine years.

I am thirty-two days out from my Sixteenth anniversary.

I will celebrate on the 14th, seeing that the ninth falls on a Saturday. My best friend is coming up for our main celebration on the 15th. at the Friday Night meeting.

My friend Juan in just a week away from his 3rd. Anniversary on the 11th of November. He will pick up his chip the following Friday at the Friday Night Meeting.

The weather is turning cold. Very cold, Very quickly. We will Dip into the Minuses later this week, and snow is even on tap, if all goes according to Environment Canada.

More to come.

Barack Obama’s Dreamer statement

Barack Obama

Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules.

But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.

Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.

That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country.

We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up. Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.

But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?

Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.

It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.

Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated. It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.

What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation. That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union”

 

Joe Biden’s Dreamer statement

Shortly after Obama released his statement in response to the White House decision to end DACA, Biden issued the following statement on Facebook:

Imagine a young girl, age 4 or 5, traveling with her parents into the United States as they make the hard decision to pursue a better life here. Imagine that child growing up as your student, your co-worker, your friend. Because of the president’s decision today, she now must live in fear that she will soon be thrown out and sent back to a country she has never known.

This story speaks to the experience of roughly 800,000 people known as DREAMers here in America today. These children didn’t choose to come here, but now many of them are grown with families of their own. They’re paying taxes. They’ve joined the workforce. They went to college. Some of them joined the military. Now, they’ll be sent to countries they don’t even remember.

These people are all Americans. So let’s be clear: throwing them out is cruel. It is inhumane. And it is not America. Congress and the American people now have an obligation to step up and show our neighbors that they’re welcome here, in the only place they’ve ever called home.

 

Wednesday: The Dollar Store is selling STUPID

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Have you ever shopped at a Dollar Store ? They are located all over Montreal. There is one around the corner from home, another in the mall up the street, and what ever neighborhood you are in, it is a forgone conclusion, that YES, there will be a Dollar Store in your neighborhood.

Now, If you are familiar with a Dollar Store, most everything in the store costs a Dollar. Except those items with Two Dollar Stickers on them.

But let’s go with the Dollar, its cheaper.

I have an observation to make …

They are selling STUPID at the Dollar Store. And if we are honest, STUPID rules the day, and it’s all over the web. It makes the News, It makes You Tube, and it makes the National News at night.

I don’t know about you but, Stupid is all over the place. Especially if you live in the United States, and you are stuck watching the Greek Tragedy, that is the U.S. Government and its STUPID leader … (Read: He who should not be named).

The RICH want to get richer, off the backs, health and well being of those who are NOT RICH. We’ll give tax breaks to the rich and jam a Healthcare Bill through that takes millions of people OFF healthcare, just for shits and giggles.

STUPID !

I watched a You Tube video today about a young couple, expecting a baby. They have a channel they wanted to PIMP OUT and get more views. The boyfriend grabbed an encyclopedia and she grabbed the most powerful semi automatic hand gun that is on the market. A .50-calibre Desert Eagle handgun

He believed that the encyclopedia would STOP that Semi Automatic Bullet from tearing apart the book he was holding.

From One Foot away, she fired said gun, the bullet went into motion, traveled through the book, and killed him. She is facing charges of second degree manslaughter.

STOOPID !!

If you have a Twitter Account, Face Book, Snap Chat, or any other Social Media Account, it is probably true that at least one person, or maybe more, has Stupid as their Default mode of communication.

This past weekend. I went on a HUGE un-follow spree. I culled my Face Book, and destroyed my Twitter page. Because let’s face it …

Social Media = STOOPID !!!

It just astounds me the level of Stupid that is playing out today. I think people have just lost their frigging minds.

I’ve always been told that I should engage my brain before I open my mouth. And as a writer, we are supposed to TASTE our words before we spit them out.

And finally, if you don’t have something NICE to say, Come sit by me …

10 points for the reference …

Better not to say anything at all, if you have nothing nice to say.

The U.S. President watches Fox News. And he Tweets at 5 o’clock in the morning.

You’d of thought with Melania and Baron residing within the walls of the White House, that the President would mellow and calm down. I at least offered that observation on the day they moved into said house.

Stupid still exists.

I am an 80’s kid. I had a car. I had a dial phone in my bedroom. We had a dial phone in the kitchen. And a cordless phone in the family room.

If we wanted to talk, we’d get on the phone. For me, if I wanted to talk, I visited my friends houses and did things outside.

WITHOUT the addiction of a Smart Phone.

Even if they did exist back then, I’m sure we would have stuck with the old faithful getting together at a pizza resto or other food establishment, because of the resident PIN BALL or PAC MAN or ASTEROIDS game.

There is a PAC MAN game in the Forum, right up the street. You can play for a quarter.

Stupid is as Stupid does.

Right now, there is too much stupid in the world.

And we need to call it out and take stupid out of the conversation, before more stupid does any more damage to the already stupid shit that had transpired recently.

Saturday: Odds and Ends, and Everything In Between

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On my trip to see Alexander, we engaged in serious debate about the state of the world. I am not the best at politics, world issues, and everything in between. Our lives at home consist of one cable news channel, and at 11 p.m. we turn to CTV for our nightly news fix.

I cannot go to bed without the last word coming from Lisa LaFlamme.

I’ve never been totally political, as in, devoted to politics or politicians of any stripe. I’ve always known where I sit on issues of the day. But expanding my brain to other news outlets only began when I moved to Canada in 2002. And over the time I have lived here, I’ve explored other points of view.

Alexander encourages that I step out of my bubble and echo chamber to see the world from other points of view. And this is one reason I love my best friend, because he is from somewhere else, (read:Brazil) and he has world knowledge that I do not. He has a smarts about him that no one I know have themselves.

So I read, I watch, and I listen to other points of view. If you polled me online, I rank in the NDP sphere of thought. But I voted for Justin. And he is proving to be a challenge to me.

Alexander sits on the Conservative side of life. And that is NOT a bad thing at all. Because he forces me to see the world, like he sees the world. He challenges me to spread my vision and take in others words, and not just accept words by people I am accustomed to listening to.

Politics and world events are two different spheres for me. I care very little for U.S. politics. And I do not consume politics like I used to because I cannot be bothered on a daily basis to know or listen to repetitive redundant news about a mad man in the Oval Office.

Cannot Be Bothered.

I spend a good amount of my sober life, buried in books. I learned long ago, while in University, that reading “other literature” that situate itself “around” a topic I was studying, as it went along, was very useful.

Reading side literature around a specific topic whether that literature be fiction or non-fiction, built a world for me to engage with on a wider basis, rather than on a single note in time.

I read, Every night.

There are places in the world that interest me. There are social issues that I am passionate about as well. Issues in the world, and issues right here at home are on my dashboard, quite often. I worry about our less fortunate, our homeless, and our indigenous population.

Because I am in the rooms, I’ve seen so much suffering. Friends of mine, in the program have gone on to work in those specific areas of helping the less fortunate. So I am engaged in their work.

Studying Religion and Pastoral Ministry opened my eyes to World Religions, as well, taking care of those people I am engaged with on a daily basis. I have stayed away from posting anything incendiary on this blog, certain world issues, that I am not clearly well-rounded or well versed on, to write coherently or knowledgeably.

I’ve always been interested in Israel and Palestine. Our Jewish Community here in Montreal served my early sobriety solely. The Chabad organization does work all over the city for many people, I just happened to be one of those people.

During my studies I spent time at the Ghetto Shul at McGill during my Judaism studies. And I often said that if I would become anything other than a Christian, I would certainly be a Jew. Palestine is a new subject for me, since being introduced to that area by a friend who wrote a book on the subject, from a point of view we don’t hear about ever.

When I finished the book, all I could write about was what was in Ben’s book, by the words he wrote. Which began my reading slant into books that were written, on the ground, within the Palestinian community. There are not many in circulation, that don’t begin with a premise situated in Israel, and merely spits on Palestine.

I need to figure out what I know, what I need to know, and where I sit on the spectrum of politics and on the ground situations. I know where I would like to be, but that point needs to be plotted on a map so that I can see it clearly.

Israel and Palestine is such a deep topic with some serious history, people, and problems, that I am unable to touch because of the complexity of the state of that area of the world. But while in Ottawa, I picked up another tome that I am reading at the moment.

I just cannot read a handful of books and expect to be able to write anything that is worthy of print on this blog, because that would be stupid and green of me.

The entire Middle East is a quagmire of instability, political strife and religious intolerance. And we just cannot say, incendiary things about people we know little about or those points of views or lives that we don’t even care about informing ourselves about, because it is easier to hate outright, then find a point of agreement or understanding.

How many people do you know who really care about the Middle East beyond blanket hatred of those we don’t even know, or care to know ?

Because they are not “Christian?” or “Jewish?”

If we don’t read, or listen to other points of view and study areas of the world that interest us, and take the time to get informed, how can we relate what we are reading/studying?

That is a thing …

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Colorful Metaphors

Any Star Trek fan knows the line from Star Trek IV the Voyage Home, where Kirk and Spock are on a bus, and Spock relates his confusion of people’s use of “Colorful Metaphors.”

I don’t know if it is age, or my sensibilities to certain colorful metaphors and words, used by people I listen to, or something else, but I’ve grown weary of people using certain language.

Since the dawn of the Pod Cast, when I got my I Phone for Christmas, my nightly bed time schedule was shifted when I started listening to Pod Casts. They competed with my traditional book reading time before bed.

Over the past few months, I’ve listened to a number of Pod Cast presenters. And I’ve come to the point that the Ardent Screaming Host, or the host who litters his show with the word FUCK, every other word, I just delete their shows from my phone.

I love me some Bill Maher. But he is incessantly insane. And over the last month, I’ve also grown weary of him as well, because his devolution into insane screaming by the end of the hour podcast.

People who talk on the Pod Cast, are not bound by ethical language rules. Although many men and women, do take listeners into consideration when it comes to words. Others, not so much. I just don’t have the mental energy to listen to people swear and use foul language. It is just no longer appealing.

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Social Media

Over the last year, I have had to unfriend many people from my Face Book Profile. Certain friends litter my time line with shit I am not interested in, and they persist. Others, all they can do is post POST after POST of political bullshit, incessantly.

I went as far as to neuter my feed from showing me anything related to topics I have no interest in. That meant turning certain people off, for my own well being and sanity.

Aside from news online, that I do consume, Face Book and Twitter are two sources of news and current events that I utilize on a daily basis. But I don’t do either on my phone, so I deleted the apps from my phone.

  • I make phone calls on my phone.
  • I listen to music on my phone.
  • And I Pod Cast on my phone.

That’s it.

I am trying to set some news boundaries for myself. I have built a wall around me on social media that is useful, because I have a life, and I am not connected to social media 24/7. That is insane.

I turn on my computer when I wake up, I run my set. All those sites I look at and participate in and when I am done, I just shut off the computer until I need it again, and I go read, or better yet, I nap …

All the time…

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Sober Realizations

I wrote to a friend of mine recently …

I no longer have the desire to engage most people who believe so strongly what they do, contrary to any evidence of acceptance and respect of humanity in others. Religion, like politics, are two areas I intentionally stay away from, because I know who I am, and what I know, and that is good for me. Sobriety teaches me that I don’t always have to argue when it is not necessary to do so.

He replied that this portion of my comment is a post in itself.

I spend my days working with others. I spend a few nights a week in meetings. Only three meetings a week now, instead of my prior, six meetings a week, spread over two fellowships.

I love what I do. Because the men and women I work with are accountable. We are all moving forwards. And that is a really good thing. Because I am not a born leader, however I think I “could” lead. I’ve had time in the past where what I did and what I said meant something to those I spent time with.

You never know WHO you are going to meet or what conversation you are going to have with them, until the meeting happens, and conversations take place either before or after.

I want a clean break going into my fifties.

God has made that something that I work on daily. Recently, certain friends have gone dark, for one reason or another, that I am not understanding at the moment, but it is what it is.

I have a routine that works. I have a life that is fulfilling. I have friends whom I love and adore. And a best friend, second to none.

Discussion was brought up the other night, by someone I trust, when he asked me why I just did not adopt the baby, and give her a father, who wants to be in her life, and someone she can rely on, because I am reliable and accountable to her and Mama.

And my reply was this … I want the biological father to pay his dues like the law states. Because he is a dead beat and a looser. And I want him to pay up.

I don’t want to step in and absolve him of any responsibility towards the baby.

I need to research this before I head to New Foundland in April.

I think I know what I want of life and of myself. But that is subject to change because sobriety is not a one trick pony.

Shit happens. Life happens. And you never know what to expect when you walk into a room full of your friends and fellows.

You might just learn something you did not know, or realize something you had not before, and it wasn’t until that particular moment that God opened up your eyes and spirit. And you heard something you realized you really needed.

But did not realize you needed it until right then.

This is the filler that happened between the lines over the last little while.

Sobriety is Magic. Sobriety is Miracles. Sobriety is God, it is Us and it is We.

I love the “We” that I am part of today.

No, Mr. Trump, One is Never too Many

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Post lifted from Carmi Levy. Written Inc. London, Ontario, Canada.

A number of my friends have better words than I could ever write.

Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day, and like many righteous folks – Jews and non-Jews alike – I felt the need to mark it in some way. Originally, it was a simple thing, really: A quick screen grab, shared to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, with a similarly simple set of hashtags:

#HolocaustMemorialDay #Holocaust #NeverAgain

However we choose to do so, we mark the day because failure to do so dishonours the memories of those who died simply because of who they were. As a Jew, it is my responsibility to shine the light on racism wherever I see it. Not only because of what happened – and continues to happen – to my own people. But to all others, as well. Because if we stand by in silence, we may as well be party to the atrocities in the first place. Until, of course, they come for us, too. Take your pick of identifiable groups – gays, Latinos, African-Americans, whoever – and think about how easy we make it for anyone to marginalize anyone else if we fail to step in. It doesn’t have to be directed at you for you to take action.

That should have been more than enough. But then the newly minted president (lower-case deliberate) of the United States, Donald Trump, signed another executive order (he really does love those things, doesn’t he?) banning anyone from seven Muslim-majority countries –  Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – from entering the U.S. for at least the next 90 days. The order also indefinitely suspends Syrian refugees from coming to America, and also pauses the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. That last program will be reinstated only following the implementation of a so-called “extreme vetting” process, and even then only for countries that meet the new administration’s yet-to-be-shared criteria for entry.

The irony that Trump would sign such an order on Holocaust Memorial Day should not be lost on any of us. Adding another bizarro element to the story was Trump’s own statement on the day that left out any mention of Jews. Or of anti-Semitism. If these actions don’t make us sick to our stomachs as members of the human race, I’m not sure what will.

During the Second World War, the U.S. famously closed its borders to refugees from war-torn nations. European Jews tried – and failed – to gain admission to the U.S. as the country maintained strict immigration quotas against Jews from Eastern Europe and from Germany in particular. Anne Frank’s family tried numerous times to obtain U.S. visas, only to be denied every time.

A ship, the St. Louis, packed with 937 European refugees, mostly Jews, was turned away from the Port of Miami in 1939 after being similarly denied entry in Cuba and Canada. The ship had no choice but to return to Europe, and many of those on-board were subsequently murdered in the Holocaust. This story loomed large in my upbringing, as the phrase “One was too many” echoed through my home every time my parents saw a news report of another country saying no to those in need.

It sickens me to no end to think of what might have been had xenophobia and self-serving silence not prevailed during that era. Of the lives that could have been saved. Of the entire family trees whose branches would have continued to spawn new branches. Instead, they were amputated right then and there, by leaders lacking humanity. And by everyone else who stood by in rapt inaction and let it happen.

Now, it’s 2017 and those echoes reverberate more strongly than ever. In the actions of a man who dwells more on the size of the crowds at his inauguration than the profound needs of the country he now leads. The question we must ask ourselves is whether we’re willing to stand by in silence. Or do something about it.

One was too many then. And while it may be too many for a certain leader of the free world, it shouldn’t be for those of us standing by and watching this seems-like-fiction circus play out in front of our disbelieving eyes. Unfortunately, this time it isn’t fiction. And this time we’re a little better equipped to get off the sidelines and actually put a stop to this nonsense.

My ancestors weren’t slaughtered so that a couple of generations later we could forget they were ever victimized and allow the entire episode to be repeated. When we say Never Forget, we mean it.

Thursday: Stability amid Turbulence

kneel

 

The year has begun, in our little sober world. And right now, coming off an already turbulent end to the year in 2016, things are not off to a good start.

The roller coaster has left the station, and it is full steam ahead, seat belts are necessary right now, because the ride is getting rough.

Tomorrow, the world as we know it is going to change. And we can thank all those deplorable, shit head, alt right, evangelical, don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground, voters, who are plunging the world into CHAOS …

The reports are already being circulated about just what our next president is going to do to Health Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The new administration wants to CUT, CUT, CUT the budget.

Hopefully they won’t fuck us all over at the same time. But there is a good chance that we are all going to be fucked over all at the same time.

People are protesting, all over the place. And tomorrow hubby wants to witness the United States fall into the Abyss of Insanity and I think we need to watch, for the single fact that, we need to know our enemy and know what he is thinking from the very first hour that Monster takes office.

YOU ARE NOT MY PRESIDENT MR. TRUMP. YOU WILL NEVER BE MY PRESIDENT. I DID NOT VOTE FOR YOU, NOR DO I SUPPORT YOU ONE IOTA …

The world is on edge, and people are fearful for their lives, their livelihoods, and for their families. Nobody knows what this maniac will do first. And we are POWERLESS to change anything right now.

If Democrats have half a brain, they will OBSTRUCT, OBSTRUCT, OBSTRUCT for as long as it takes, until our president looses his office. Republicans, during the Obama presidency, obstructed him from his very first day in office.

THE BEST THING DEMOCRATS CAN DO NOW IS RETURN THE FAVOR AND FUCK THE REPUBLICANS RIGHT UP THE ASS…

We cannot allow Fascism and Authoritarianism to rule one of the greatest countries on earth. If we don’t take steps to protect ourselves, nobody is going to do it for us. It falls to the citizens to stand up and tell the new president that he can go FUCK HIMSELF Ten ways from Sunday …

There is so much at stake right now, and all those people who voted for our new president, like I said before, I don’t think they truly know the monster they have released from PANDORA’S BOX …

Let Us Pray …

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January has begun with insanity and turbulence for many people. The call to “stay on the beam” was offered tonight, by a man who was my sponsor for a long time. My friends who had dropped off the radar and are back for another round showed up, which was a good thing. But folks are walking on shaky ground right now, and even though, we are present for them, nobody seems to want direction, which in that case means, until they ask for help, we are powerless to do anything for them.

The only thing that is true is that the only way to maintain stability is to keep showing up and doing the next right thing.

I have friends from other places, and I see them often, who are trying to keep their heads above water, and they too, won’t ask for help or are reticent to say anything, so the only thing I can do is be attentive and present when they are around.

I have people to work with right now that need all of my attention. So adding to the brood is not something I am interested in doing right now.

Yesterday, I had to process a scene and do an extraction of a shit ton of weed from one of my guys homes. Let me tell you, I did not want to carry that much weed into the Metro system last night, so the very first dumpster I came across, it was dumped.

I’ve not seen that much weed since I stopped using weed 16 years ago. And I had it in my hands. Not that I wanted to smoke it, but it freaked me out, nonetheless.

That Mission was accomplished. Crisis averted.

We are all trying to start this year off on the right foot across the board. My guys are the most important investment I have right now, which means I need to have a stable program of recovery for the next little while, which means:

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings.

My old sponsor has been popping up on my mental and spiritual dashboard for the last little while, and he spoke tonight, so that was serendipitous. I spoke to him after the meeting, so we will see where that leads.

Long Sober Folks, are not free of character defects. And they sure as shit are not perfect. And that has been made plainly aware to me over the last eight or nine months.

Over the years, I’ve heard certain statements come out of their mouths that kind of turn my stomach, because they have time, and can still be ignorant and stupid. Which turns me right off.

But the truth of the matter is that ANY stability in program is more useful than sailing my own ship for any length of time, on my own. And I need stability right now. And the picking are slim when it comes to Long Term Sobriety.

From Now through March, people will be coming and going, so the stable of STABLE sobriety will be hit and miss until Spring, and we have to take what we can get for the time being. And if I have to call in my pinch hitters, so be it. That will have to do, because that is what I really need right now.

Old timers might have the time, but I would not trust many of them, as far as I can throw them. UGH !!!

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We have to stand tall right now, and proceed with caution.

The world may not come to an end, but change is coming and we may not like what we get, and we are powerless over the fact that so many deplorable fuck ups voted in huge numbers that got us where we are today …

THANK YOU, YOU DEPLORABLE FUCK UPS …

This is your fault, entirely.

When the first deplorable gets on their knees to Beg for God, God will say:

YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME, BUT YOU REALLY DON’T !!!