Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Untold History of America :: a review

Current Screening: The Untold History of the United States

I eagerly watched the first 3 parts of Oliver Stone's much anticipated new documentary film that were available so far on Showtime last night, expecting some real eye opening moments. As much as I love and admire Ollie, I must confess there wasn't one untold fact to be had in all three hours. I waited and waited for even one tidbit of "untold" fact or detail -- even something I already knew would have been welcomed. But no such luck. Pretty straight forward & by the book U.S. revisionist history. Common knowledge stuff. Especially in comparison to what's commonly already known in the activist community, i.e. Howard Zinn's "A People's History...", et al.

There were grand omissions throughout, such as Roosevelt's foreknowledge of Japan's plans to bomb Pearl Harbor well before it transpired; as if Stone wanted his opening gambit to appear soft and innocuous so as not to frighten away the majority of viewers. One might give him the benefit of doubt and assume his treating the nation's dubious history with kid gloves was a calculated effort to lure more viewers in at the start and hope he will be more even handed and honest in later installments.

In case anyone feels compelled to excuse this fact by asserting that "no one could possibly cover all of American history in a mere ten hours", let us remember that was never the stated intention of this piece; it calls itself "the UNtold history of the United States." Stone and company spend so much time expounding upon commonly known history that they don't leave room for any "untold history." The last thing America needs is yet another book or documentary recounting the same old tired stories that are already solidly founded in the public domain of America's psyche. [see the 30 hour Lawrence Olivier narrated World War II documentary for example].

Secondly, though It portends by its title to be a general history of America, he opens this "American history" in the mid-1930s, a perplexing choice, omitting hundreds of years of the country's most interesting untold stories. That would make sense if the book/film were titled ...: 1935 to 2012. But it's not.

Perhaps most disappointing is the fact that Stone, being an ex-military man himself, focuses 95% of his take on history to covering stories of war and conquest. Contextually, knowing Stone's background, this makes perfect sense. But again it's misleading considering the broad scope of the work's title.

I think the best thing that can be said about it thus far is that at the very least it serves as a pleasant introduction to U.S. military history 1101 covering the years 1935 to present day for the layman. But if one doesn't venture past this work and leaves their learning here, they would be left with mere semi-factual scraps compared to the most important elements of America's untold history.

Like the Beatle's Yellow Submarine film and album, if you could call it that, this is one of those examples of something that held great promise because of the artist and the subject matter (and no small amount of hype by the studio, production company and distribution company), but ended up being far less than expected. One can hope though that the appearance of such a work and the ensuing interest in it by the public at large might inspire others to attempt a similar project who would desire to be more thorough and revealing in the quest to serve the title of the piece more accurately and legitimately. In time I'm sure it will happen. In the meantime this film isn't "bad"; it's a nice start for those who want to gain a modest understanding and foundational knowledge of what's already being taught in America's high school classrooms.

Recommended companion resources: A People's History of the United States, None Dare Call It Genocide, They Dare To Speak Out -- for starters at the least.

All The King's Men

Current Screening: All The King's Men. The 2006 version starring Sean Penn, Jude Law and a host of other notables including Sir Anthony Hopkins himself. this film was for many years considered "the most unsuccessful and biggest flop of it's day" due to the fact that it generated -$48,000,000 in sales, as in it lost over forty-eight million dollars at the box office compared to how much was spent for its budget. But that shouldn't scare you away from it in the least. As with all great things, the unwashed masses are often the last to discover them. Often times years or even decades later. Not only is Penn as always at his finest, proving once again that is the greatest actor of his generation because he is entirely in a class of his own, the screenplay is also filled with better than fine dialogue, intelligent, telling, insightful and ironic all at once. If you've a brain you will hang on every sentence narrated by the Jude Law character, and marvel at Sean Penn's brilliant ability to embody any and all incarnations of humankind during his passionate speeches as a Southern bred hick from Louisiana. Highly recommended damn good art.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dream Apocalyptic

My dreams are becoming increasingly more apocalyptic lately. Granted I've been fighting a plague like sinus infection for over three weeks and thus have more so called medication in my bloodstream than one would need to wipe out a small city, certainly enough to induce nightmarish hallucinations in the pitch black of late night or early morning. Frankly I'd prefer to believe that the cause. But the truth of the matter is that these visions of mass public chaos and death surrounded by dark skies and distant fires burning through city landscapes are not new; they're not symptomatic of my last three weeks of sleep. If anything this morning in particular (it's 6:26am presently) is one of the first nights I can remember seeping through the night in almost a month due to how severe this illness has been, hence I've not actually seen much in the way of apocalyptic dreams lately.

No, unfortunately these visions are not new or recent enough to be conveniently dismissed as drug induced reveries of a tortured mind and sweaty body fraught with illness in the middle of the night. What prompted me to awake this morning, and these are just quick notes to remember the event so I can go go back to sleep for at least a few more hours, was a scene much like an industrial area, large and sprawling with blackened skies and dark grey smoke billowing from nondescript tower like structures, giant industrial smoke stacks or chimneys perhaps for as far as the eye could see.

There was a group of us, seated and standing, waiting for something, though it doesn't occur to me now what we were waiting for exactly. Most of us strangers. There was an elevator that I and several others were trying to go up and down in quickly as if in an emergency; often times it didn't work and we were frantic with worry, many were shouting and panicked. One such time that we were able to go back up and return to the floor level successfully we encountered a mass of bodies of our friends on the ground, many of them dead and maimed, others nearly dead and moaning in pain, all of them blackened and bloody. We were upset by the discovery though not surprised in the context of the dream.

One interesting image to remember: a local music promoter who was showing his wares -- hand drawn show posters and new demo albums of artists he represented (it was a dream after all and I am in the music business; I can't remember the last time I had a dream that didn't contain subconscious referenced to or remnants of the music industry). He was seated and I was standing. I remembered meeting him in a dream from a few nights ago; it was as if he were part of a scene I was new to and was just becoming a part of. He showed me the album cover to a new group he particularly liked -- though in retrospect it was more of a music video than a still image. What struck me was that there were two giant bird like statues perched on top of the tallest buildings in the skyline of a decayed cityscape, again plenty of dark sky and smoke billowing from stacks scattered throughout the horizon, the birds were like ancient Egyptian eagles or phoenixes, with long beaks and giant wings though tucked under so they were tall and slim. More like standing guard as if the city had been seized already, taken captive in a war and all that remained in this embattled city were these bird statues standing guard as a sign or warning that whatever it was that we were fighting had already laid claim to this place, the statues a sign of it. The musicians themselves were the angry voice of the peoples' rebellion of yet another fallen city under siege by darker powers than anything we've ever seen in our lifetimes. It was an ominous image. The only one he told me thst symbolised that what i was seeing belonged to this specific musical group. Both giant ststues faced East. A darkened city except for intermittent fires burning everywhere and lots of smoke.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Holy bejesus we just heard all these fierce animal howls and cries outside. It was clear our dogs were fighting w something. These were HIDEOUS sounds. We opened the doors and Alistair came runnin in scared half to death; but not Penny. I ran out and heard all this tumbling and crying. I knew Penny was in a bad fight. I ran back in yelling "Where's my gun!?! Give me my bow and arrow!" No dice. "Grab a pan!" my wife yelled. I ran and got two big sledge hammers and ran out to save Penny. But I heard all this hissing and fighting. Realized I needed more than hammers. I forgot i had mace right at the door. Two feet out and I saw a pack of giant raccoons sitting up on the railings on our deck and another fighting w Penny! I started yelling and slamming the hammers on the deck making loud gunshot sounds which scared them away. Penny finally ran in covered in blood & smelling like dead animal. Lesson learned. Don't not have a gun handy. It's too scary to be that vulnerable. Heart is beating a million miles an hour! I'm all for assault weapons bans but gun control is out of the question. If we ever allow the government to take our guns away, the only people who will have guns will be the bad guys and the rest of us will be sitting ducks.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

So Now What? Secretary Romney? Or Can the States of America Become United Once Again?

Two major events happened in American history yesterday. Tuesday November 6th, 2012 saw the official release to the public of the new Ed Hale and the Transcendence album The Great Mistake, one of the tastiest catchiest collections of garage-pop and celebration-rock of all time... and one other thing which for some reason escapes me at the moment.... Gosh what was it...? Hhhhmmm... Oh yeah, that's right... the United States held another General Election, which among other things voted to keep President Barack Obama in the White House for another four years. Some would call that a great mistake. Though in the circles that our little awesome team runs in, both here at home and abroad, this outcome was not only expected but met with joyous enthusiasm.

It is hard to imagine what last night's victory speech would have looked, sounded and felt like had it been Mitt Romney standing up there speaking rather than His Holiness, the Great Professor, the Stoic One, the Staunch Leader with the Backbone of Steel, President Barack Obama. Though there were little rural counties all over the electoral map of this great country that bled bright red after voting Republican, nearly all major metropolitan areas and big cities stayed true blue and voted to keep the Rational Voice of Reason in his coveted Oval Office chair for another term. As usual his victory speech was a spectacle to behold, not only in terms of the sheer number of people who crowded together all over the world to listen to his words with rapt attention in more community environments rather than at home alone, but also because of the way he speaks, his graceful, near effortless and powerful oratory skills, but most of all to hear the content of his combination of words and to listen to what he had to say.

Not since F.D.R., Kennedy or Reagan has a U.S. President held a people as captivated or spellbound as Obama. The honor is well deserved. One is struck inside by a sincere feeling that he genuinely means every word he says. In the twelve months of campaigning leading up to his re-election, President Obama didn't shift his stated policies or platforms as many are opt to do in presidential elections in order to grab more independent voters or swing states. He didn't flip flop. He didn't swing Right or sway more Left. Love him or hate him, he stayed himself. And that kind of sincerity and genuine backbone is a rare commodity in modern American politics. Especially among presidential candidates.

One could argue that it was one of the many things that guaranteed Obama the re-election. Especially when considering the actions of his opponent. A man by the time this is read will probably be largely forgotten as most losing presidential candidates are -- they don't die, they just fade away into a hazy oblivion, but also a man who shocked the American people and indeed many people all over the world as being so flimsy and shady in his beliefs and viewpoints that even right up to the night of the election most people still did not feel that they really knew or understood who he was or what he stood for. His name was Mitt Romney. And last night's election was as much a referendum to rid our soil of his type as it was to re-elect the current president.

Social Media was abuzz for the last twelve hours from people of all ages, races, nationalities, social classes and creeds excited that once again the majority of America elected a rational voice of reason rather than one of fear and bigotry. Last night I Tweeted that the results of the election were more of a mandate against racism, religious isolationism and radical extremism than pro-Barack Obama. Never before in our lifetime have we seen a political party, as evidenced by the Republican Primaries earlier this year, so antiquated, so backward, so old fashioned, and so extreme in their beliefs. At one point in the Republican Primary debates when the subject of capital punishment came up, the audience in attendance erupted into applause. During another occasion, this strange robotic Tinman-like figure called Romney declared that in order to solve America's illegal immigrant problem he would hope and encourage illegal immigrants of all ages to "self deport" themselves. Though no one was quite sure what the hell he meant by it, on the night of the election, Republican Strategist Ana Navarro stated "Mitt Romney self deported himself right out of this election!"

And so it was with Latinos, who voted against Mitt Romney by a sweeping 76 to 23%; so too it was with women, gay people, Jewish people, Muslim people, non-religious people, college educated persons, young people, African Americans, and anyone the least bit worldly, cosmopolitan, free thinking or progressively minded. The Republican party of today is singularly minded: they are white and Christian. No longer concerned for personal freedom and liberty, as in the golden days of true Jeffersonian Republicanism, they want to ban and regulate women's rights to reproductive health and everyone's right to marriage and family, i.e. as long as you are one man and one woman you can get married and have a family; if not, then you're shit out of luck because they want to stop you through governmental regulation and constitutional amendments. That isn't Republicanism. It's a strange breed of antiquated Puritanical Christian values from the 1500s and wealthy white men who couldn't care less what country they're fucking with as long as they're passing laws that make them wealthier.

It's ironic when looking at the electoral college map in regards to who votes blue and who votes red that the same people who were against a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery one-hundred and fifty years ago feels perfectly content to pass one to ban equal rights for same sex couples. True democratic progress in America seems to always come from the Northeast, the Midwest and the West Coast, from the big cities rather than the rural suburbs.

I was besieged with Tweets, DMs and Facebook Messages last night from friends who felt great relief that we wouldn't be forced to endure four years of yet another numb-skulled Republican White House administration as we did during the Bush years, some of the most disturbing in all of American history. One friend from Florida wrote, "Tonight was a great win for all us women who came out of those binders to stick up for our equal pay and equal rights under the law. The Republican party today is a joke IMO and cannot be taken seriously." Her sentiment seemed to echo most of my generation and the generations below it and above it, entertainers, artists, athletes, public figures, celebrities as well as regular folk; literally anyone with a brain it would seem. Or a heart.

I wrote back simply, "I couldn't agree more K. So many people keep saying it. But even this morning Laura Ingram on Fox declared that "the Republicans do not need to become more moderate in order to win." I'd cynically agree with her. They don't need to become more moderate to "win". They need to become more moderate to even be relevant. If this election was anything (and it was; a BIG thing on many counts) it was a referendum on how out of touch the Republican party is with the majority of average everyday Americans on social issues. The day after the election a Romney Adviser told CNN that "we really thought that we were going to win this race," a statement which if really true goes to show just how out of touch the Republican party is today with the American people. There wasn't an intelligent observer alive in America who had called the election to go to Mitt Romney. From objective journalists to third-party pollsters to Las Vegas bookies, all odds were for another landslide victory for President Obama. Which is exactly what happened.

"The Repub party of our youth used to be all about personal freedom and liberty and fiscal conservatism, not trying to control every aspect of our lives like this new breed is recommending. It's flat out frightening. (the re-election of Michelle Bachman (yes it's true) is a perfect example of how scared rational thinking people should be.) Their mandate should be "fix the economy and stay out of our homes and personal lives." As it used to be."

In an environment when States are now voting to approve the legalization of marijuana and four states approved laws legalizing same sex marriage in one night, you simply can't be more out of touch than the current crop of Republicans. Their platform is so damn confusing that it is impossible to understand the mindset of the people who claim to be registered Republicans. One guesses that a good majority of them were born and raised that way and are simply spewing the same limited government (except when it benefits themselves) and bigoted rhetoric that they grew up hearing from their parents. Whereas the democratic party seems to be precisely the opposite: a cornucopia of a wide range of people who have flocked to the Democratic party from a wide variety of different viewpoints and parties because to be Democrat now means moderation, logic, compassion and tolerance.

But what's good for the goose should be good for the gander. Both parties need to get something: this is not about your party winning or losing. It's about serving the American people and their stated interests and desires. Political elections may appear from the outside to be run like competitive sport; but no one should be so short sighted as to believe that at their core that's what politics is. It isn't sport. It's service. Over the last eighteen months the American people were bombarded from every side by this theme of competition, as if the election were more about "whose side is the best or most popular", rather than what it really was about: which party -- out of at least six -- are most prepared to meet the needs of the people. (This is a topic that is so important that it should be saved for another day and its own entry. But at the core of the subject is the suffocating stranglehold the two-party system has on American politics and how they have slowly fooled the American populace into believing that they are participating in some kind of public championship in professional sports, choosing sides, picking winners and losers, going to rallies and fundraisers... All may be significant aspects of democratic politics during campaigns, but that's where the competitive mentality should end. Once elected, politicians should remember that what they really are are public servants, not winning horses at the Kentucky Derby. The rallying cries, campaign slogans, chest pounding and victory marches should stop; and the business of getting on to the business of serving the American people should begin.

There is a feeling of dire urgency in the air in America right now. Even among all the happy feet and happier faces, most are well aware that there are grave dilemmas facing the president, the senate and congress in their next term. Gridlock is a term that is brought up repeatedly in the media, both before and since the election. One way that all parties concerned can avoid this treacherous outcome would be to truly reach across the aisle in old fashioned Senator McCain style and start compromising to create solutions to the many problems that are facing us as a nation.

We have no guarantee that President Obama has any intention of doing this, even though he announced he did during his victory speech. One way he could surely show good faith in this direction would be to invite former Governor Mitt Romney to accept a cabinet position in his new administration. Not that Romney would accept such an invitation. But if he were serious about his assertions that he would work hard to reach across the aisle in the campaign promises of the last thirty days of his election bid, then he would at least consider it. Not only would it inspire many of his fellow Republicans who allegedly backed his bid for president, one guesses that the whole country --especially the economically anemic Obama administration-- would most likely benefit from it. Be it Secretary of Commerce or Trade or even an entirely new position especially created for him, anything having to do with business and finance could probably benefit from Romney's successful career as a private sector businessman. It would also make one hell of a statement to a very divided American people, that compromise is not a dirty word and that working together is just about the most American thing we can all do right now. Whether or not this will or even could ever happen is yet to be seen. But it should at least be considered. The fear of Romney's political party's draconian stance on social issues would be squashed, and the Obama-Biden White House may just learn a thing or two about how to grow an economy.

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Third Reich or Just Smells Like it?

Last night in our New York apartment. It is abnormally quiet, my footsteps echoing through the space caused by the absence of so many things that when combined create what we call home. Its a surreal feeling. A bit sad. A bit of a relief. To New York we will be back in a matter of months. But to this home, to this neighborhood, we will never return. Having lived here over five years, its a strange feeling.

Cable and internet have already been turned off. So I am forced to watch a DVD that someone gave me. It's a German movie called The Fist of the Reich. Overdubbed in English. On the cheesy side, which is why I never bothered to put it in prior to this evening. But there seems to be a reason for everything. And so too even with this strange foreign movie about the famous boxer Max Schmeling, I cannot help but feel compelled to believe that there was purpose in my viewing it.

It tells the story of the beginnings of Hitler's Third Reich in Germany. A raucous excitement filled the air of Germany due to the uncanny gift for nationalistic propaganda of the Nazi party. There was also a lot of fear, an under current that there just wasn't something right about them. But still, they were so gung ho about Germany and their ability to rebuild the country to the greatness that they always knew they had in them that most people were willing to over look the uglier aspects of the Nazi's strange predilection for hate.

It was not long into the film that Mitt Romney and this new breed of Tea Party Republicans popped in my head. Right around the time in the film that Germany begins banning Jewish people from staying in hotels or shopping in certain stores. It seemed innocent enough, a simple decree by the new Chancellor that all shop keepers had the right to deny service to whomever they wanted... But it also reeked of racism and exceptionalism. As if the only "real" people that mattered were pure blooded Germans. The linger I watched the more I felt a strong impulse to stop the film and make note of my thoughts.

I couldn't help notice there eerie similarities between early 1930's Nazi Germany and the platform of today's barely recognizable Republican party, the political party that I grew up proud to be a member of. But things have changed. Though their presidential candidate speaks a lot about the economy, he and others like him, and even more so average everyday American people who now call themselves Republican, also speak of other things. Things that most of us find repugnant and frightening. For whatever reason there is a strong current of hate and racism in this new breed of Republican fervor.

Whether it's black people on welfare or food stamps, or poor people who are "naturally victims and free loaders" simply because they can't make ends meet, or women who want to have full control of their bodies, or gay people who want to get married and start families, or Muslim people or anyone from the Middle East for that matter, or even Hispanic people who just "might be" illegal or look it, there is something inherently "wrong" with them according to this new group of Americans who now call themselves Republican. They don't just disagree with the policies of the President of the United States. They hate him. And so too for all of the above mentioned people. Hate is a strong word. But an even stronger feeling. So it is naturally disturbing to any rational thinking person that a single group of people could be so aligned in their singular hatred of so many different groups of people. It appears from the outside that the only reason they hate all these different groups of people is because they aren't white or Christian.

If there were a chance of Mitt Romney winning the White House I would say that America should be frightened. But I dare say that I would bet that the current incumbent president, Barack Obama, will squeak by with the win. But as good as that may be in the short term, we are still left with the realization that America tends to swing back and forth with its election of political parties. Which means that in 2016 we may end up with one of these crazy Republicans in the White House again. Let us hope that by then they've cleaned out the skeletons from their closet. And the racists, bigots, and general haters of all things not white and christian. America was never meant to be a white christian nation. Anyone who claims that it was simply doesn't understand what makes and has always made America such a profoundly enviable country since its inception.

Disagreeing with policies that differ from the party that you support is one thing. Hate for the sake of hate is another. It's a dangerous slippery slope that can create a lot of needless pain and suffering that we've seen countless times before in human history. Whether Democrat or Republican, Green or Libertarian, if we are American we must all be careful that we never allow our great nation to be hijacked by a small group of people whose very platform is built upon denying basic liberties, freedom, or respect to any of our fellow citizens, no matter what the reason. That is the exact opposite of American Exceptionalism. It's hate disguised as politics. And it's been practiced far too long in America. For a variety of alleged rational reasons. But at this time in the evolution of our great country, hate disguised as anything is an easy thing to spot. And it is up to each and every one of us that we never allow it to enter our body politic or our collective consciousness as a people again.

If for no other reason than this -- and there are plenty more noble reasons to vote for the man, as someone who did not vote for him in 2008, I recommend Barack Obama as President for a second term. The other option is too embroiled in hate speech of one kind or another at this time, one that seems far too serious and far more invested in hate than just speech.

When people who call themselves Republican, or anything for that matter, use the term "Muslim" as an insult, we know we are not dealing with rational or compassionate hearts and minds. And the same can be said with how they speak of black people, poor people, immigrants, gay people or women in general. Maybe it's something in the Kool Aid they pass out at their rallies, but there is something very un-American about a group of people who are filled with rage and bitterness towards anyone who doesn't look act or believe like they do.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Update

"How are things up there? We think about and pray for you everyday. So glad you're okay."
Truth be told it's a disaster area dude. Total insanity. From 40th street all the way down there is no power. Over a million homes still. None of them have water either. For drinking or for their toilets! Almost 200 dead now. Coastal line has been permanently altered/changed they're saying. airports are all flooded. Subways all flooded -- some to the ceiling. Buses wont run. No one can go to work so all the stores and restaurants are still closed. Streets are empty. But there are packs of dogs -- people's pets who are lost and hungry -- roaming the streets and howling at night. It's WEIRD! Think about the hood totally QUIET! Still. Just quiet.

Very few cabs are running still. Drivers can't get into the city. Hospitals have been destroyed by flooding and have had to evacuate. Billions of dollars of damages just to the hospitals alone. Some of the patients are critically ill who had to be moved. Talk about irony. President's been here all week. trying to help. It's SURREAL. And sad.

We got lucky here.... It was very random the damage. Sporadic destruction. In pockets. Our hood just got lucky. Nature doesn't discriminate. Makes no sense. Just hits wherever and whenever. It's hard to know what to feel. Can't say thank God because of the random way we just happened to make it thru unscathed while others got hit so hard. Does God pick and choose who "gets lucky" and who loses everything? Thank God if you make it out alive and curse God if you don't? It just really puts all that into perspective. Sure we are thankful. But what about the others?

Relieved and thankful but sad for all the people who are struggling. Lots of friends still have no power or running water... Or their house is flooded and lost all their stuff. Some lost their cars. Some lost loved ones. Some lost their lives.

They say it's the worst natural disaster to ever hit the Northeast. Especially New York and New Jersey. Truth is we aren't supposed to get hurricanes up here. Experts say its going to be the new normal now because of global warming. That's another issue. One that we have to deal with. But what to do about the naysayers? The ones who still refuse to acknowledge that global warming is happening. More than happening. We're knee deep in it now. Neck deep. And yet many in control still persist in putting "the economy" -- which is just code-speak for profits for large corporations --above environmental health. And they've for plenty of the middle state masses fooled into thinking this is a good idea. The United States reported abnormally record breaking high temperatures in over 25,000 American cities this year so far. What will it take to get the red-staters to understand what's happening? How they're being used as pawns to support a small minority of wealthy people who have no allegiance to any country or population.

It also has really made us all see how poor our infrastructure is here in America. The righties claim that's just liberals media hype. So they consistently vote against any bills or laws to start federal programs to improve our faltering infrastructures. And then this.

And how delicate the balance of our lives are. How dependent we all are on outside forces and technology for our basic human needs. In 24 hours many lost everything. Even the basics like water and food and shelter. It wouldn't take much to decimate the American populace at this point. We are all so dependent on things outside of our control for our most basic needs. With no real survival skills or even instincts left. People are just waiting for federal help. Helpless for themselves. And for food reason. Since WW II we've slowly lost those old fashioned survival instincts and that initiative that we once possessed that made the country so great to start with.

Some people are proclaiming welcome to the new future. Welcome to the new normal. I for one believe that thru this experience we can learn that this doesn't have to be the case. We just need to start over. Take two steps forward by taking a few steps back.

More later. Thanks for asking.