Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Renaissance of American Television

     Tonight aired a special 2 hour season finale of the new hit television series TOUCH starring Kiefer Sutherland. What makes TOUCH special is not just that it hosts smart intelligent writing, or that it's focus is on helping people to make the world a better place -- definite rarities in the history of American television (there's a reason why they called it "the boob tube" in days gone by), but more importantly TOUCH is special because it's one of many recently new shows on American television that all share those same qualities. There aren't many of them. At least not yet. In fact only a handful. One handful. Most TV today is still just as shallow stupid predictable mean spirited and intelligence-insulting as it's always been, catering to the lowest common denominator of our great society.
     But things have been changing lately. For a few years. Some might say it started with the premier of CALIFORNICATION on Showtime, where among other things one can listen to some of the best writing on the small OR big screen in recent memory. Take away it's pandering gratuitous over the top sexual content, and the blatant lack of spirit or spirituality in the show, as if there's truly nothing deeper than skin, nor farther than the eye can see, and CALIFORNICATION is downright brilliant at times. Never mind that the show has now been on way too long and both the writers and the actors have become way too comfortable and proud of themselves. For a while CALIFORNICATION heralded a new age where American television was not just for the suburban 9 to 5 set.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Why Memorial Day is Not a Holiday

     Today is Memorial Day. I know this because the local and national news is all abuzz this weekend about it. It’s turned into one of the most popular holidays of the year for most Americans. Photographs and video footage of sun bathers and suburban family barbeques abound and for days we’ve been bombarded by traffic updates and weather predictions. Every now and then someone might make mention of “our brave men and women in uniform”, but for the most part we hear about the great relief it is to Americans coast to coast to have finally made it yet again to this most coveted three day weekend.
     Like many Americans I grew up not knowing what a Memorial Day was. I didn’t actually learn the true meaning of “Memorial Day” until I was well into my late twenties. And quite by accident. But I'll never forget the day that I did finally discover its meaning. The holiday magically appeared out of nowhere as it always did. I wasn’t prepared for it, not ever having children nor “a normal job” and thus never needing to know when “three-day weekends” arise in our shared annual calendar. It wasn’t until I woke up that morning that I discovered that it was Memorial Day. Sure I’d celebrated plenty of Memorial Day weekends with the fam and various groups of friends through the years. But frankly I always got all those three day weekends confused, they always took me by surprise, and frankly I never saw much reason in fixing that. President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day. They came and went, all anonymously blended into the social fabric of the plebeian mainstream society I was trying desperately not to fit into since I could remember. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Importance of Being Nice

          Watching the film ANOTHER YEAR by Mike Leigh. Such a simple film. And through this simplicity so deep, moving and impactful. I dare say I don't think I'll forget these characters. At least not anytime soon. About midway through the movie, the simplest thought occurred to me. How important it is to be a nice person. Sounds simple enough, I know. But  how often do we forget to stop focusing on ourselves and our own needs, longings and desires to remember to be nice to others?
          There are plenty of nice people in the world. We meet them now and then. For me personally I find that whenever I meet someone who seems truly kind hearted, sincere and genuine it has an uncanny ability to stop time for a minute or two and rattle me up. There's just something special about them. They don't come off all preoccupied with themselves. They look you in the eye. They're soft. They seem genuinely interested in you and how you are doing. My mom is actually one of those people. I feel lucky to be able to feel comfortable saying that. But she really is. No matter how hard things get in her life, and God bless her, things have just almost always been hard for her in this life, she still has time for people. She still comes off sincerely interested in how they're doing. She stops and listens. She offers advice that is real advice rather than simply an excuse to be heard speaking. She's a therapist by trade who seems to do more work for free for her clients than for her usual fees. She claims she just can't help it.  That she can't very well "push people away just because they can't pay." Well I know plenty of therapists who can. And do. Everyday of the week.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Who Can You Trust?

     A member of a Facebook Page I started for Independent Voters asked us to Share an article he wrote. At first read, it seemed obvious that it would make no sense to post it because it has a hard-right, conservative agenda and therefore would not be relevant to a Page dedicated to Independent-minded American voters. But we are posting it as he requested. Why? Because it illustrates exactly what is wrong with the "two-party system" way of thinking in America today. If you ever find yourself asking "can I trust the accuracy of what this person is saying when it comes to government or socio-political ideas?" ask yourself a simple question: are they a Democrat or Republican? If so, if either, then the answer is "no".
     Someone who has deliberately chosen to place themselves in one box that is ideologically illogical over another box that is equally ideologically illogical always has an agenda that is not being voiced, a very specific agenda: i.e. to see "their Party" win. Therefore their ideas are filtered through and skewed by this desire to win. They may believe that "their way" is the right way for the country, so no one can doubt their claim to sincerely love their country and want what's best for it. No one should take that away from them. But their agenda, their desire to see their party win, is what drives their thought processes. Any viewpoints or ideas they share will inherently lean either heavily or at best slightly more in the direction of the propaganda and dogma of their chosen political party -- rather than in the direction of logical pragmatic and rational thought for "what is best". It is no different than if someone voluntarily claimed to be a Communist or a Fascist for that matter. They are all boxes with agendas to win. Not to "do what is best."

     Their loyalty will always be to their desire to be on the winning side, to be right, rather than to what is best for the country they are a citizen of. An Independent Voter is someone who has found their way out of the box. If they freely claim to have no loyalty to any political party but to only desire what is best for their country, then they have a much better chance of sharing information that is unbiased, factual and accurate, as well as offering ideas and viewpoints that are free from indoctrination and therefore perhaps valuable.
     In a very short time, more Americans will register as Independents than either of the two historically traditional political parties in the United States. Soon after that, the Independents will out-number both Parties combined. Of course, what the Independents will do with that majority is still an unknown and up for grabs. But I dare say it will not look like what we have today. And for a variety of reasons that will be a very good thing for the United States of America.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Germany Joins the Personal Expression Revolution

     Last night Princess Little Tree and I were speaking about the incredible shifts we have seen in global democratization over the last two years. Specifically in the context of the book I have been working on along with a few others for the last five years entitled We Are The Revolution - Welcome to the Age of Personal Expression, [we refer to it as PE for short when discussing it]. Years and years of research has been poured into the work, with a host of brilliant minds contributing to it's content.
     We were talking about the last chapter, entitled Dream On, which discusses the ramifications of the Personal Expression Age and what it might bring forth in the near future. How just a few short years ago in late 2007 when we were really pounding out the research (and the hours) I had proposed that the Personal Expression Age has the potential to not just bring people closer together and transform every industry on planet earth in order to make the world a more people-friendly environment, rather than greed, government or corporate friendly, but that in the near future we would see full on peoples' revolutions of entire governments around the world. Bear in mind this was 2007 and the idea seemed absolutely outlandish. A dream. An ideal. A vision of something that could happen, inevitably would happen, but in the "future". We did not attach a date to when this potentiality might come into being. But I was sure that once the PEA swung into full gear that it was an inevitable ramification of the age.
     Of course we were thrilled at the thought of it, but were sure it was something that we would see in the "far away" future. Ten years. Twenty years. It was very much an ideal, as opposed to a formidable reality, at that point. Needless to say, when we saw the first country, Tunisia, go down in what has now become known as the Arab Spring, all of us involved in the project just stood there with our mouths hanging open. We must have spoken about this exact event for hundreds of hours while we paced the room back and forth contemplating and discussing the ramifications of things to come in what we term the Personal Expression Revolution. We knew it would happen, or at least hoped it would; but we didn't know when. That's why we titled the chapter Dream On. The rest of the book is filled with the research about the shifts and changes we were either already seeing take place all over the world in various different industries, or that we proposed would soon take place. But the idea that the Personal Expression Age once in overdrive would transform entire nations from fascist oligarchies into people's democratic republics still seemed like a dream at best.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Good Company

"My idea of good company is the company of clever, well informed people who have a great deal of conversation."
-- Jane Austen

Thursday, May 10, 2012

U.S. Begins Secretly Bombing Yemen in a Third War

Not that it's a huge surprise... But of course the thing that strikes hardest about news such as this is that the American media hasn't covered it at all. Instead all we hear about hear in The States is "who's gonna win the big race..." for President that is. The American media treats that like a sports competition while the government is systematically killing innocent people in a country that most of us have never even heard of, let alone didn't know we were at war with. President Barack Obama ordered the first bombing strike on Yemen in 2009, on a small town of only villagers. The strike killed 46 people, all of them civilians comprised mostly of women, children and the elderly. Five of the women were pregnant. Unfortunately it was only the first of many such covert strikes by the Obama led United States military against the country of Yemen in America's continued "war on terror". The video below is well done and reveals many of the details related to this latest and shocking news.