A Father’s Day Thought.

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On this special day, It’s time to publicly forgive my Father for things beyond his control. To say our relationship strained is an understatement. He died from complications of Cancer treatments in 1985. I was home on leave from the Navy for the passing of his physical body. What made him a person was already gone. How does one feel when someone who holds a title so import and cultural powerful dies a stranger? It’s something I’ve struggled with until 5 years ago. An adult rewritten the hurt of the inner child and teenager with new knowledge of the how or why. I remember the moment.

It when the news of Junior Suah’s suicide brought into the light of the NFL dirty secret. I had watched him play with a reckless abandon absent in the sport at the time. It had been a fleeting dream in my childhood in the Texas football religion. But large kids become interior lineman. The anger of injustice never fueled my play. Bad coaches and bad teams. It was the bitter dregs of next time. My father played the same position in the 1940s. Which is at the heart of our uneasy relationship.

When I became the keeper of the family pictures after my mom passed, I saw them with different eyes. The bunker mentality created by my father’s unstable personality meant these captured moments have no emotional connection for me. My memories are of the times of temporary escape. The man who played the role of my father was not the boy he was. Life can do this without added conditions of brain injury. He was writer. Report for the school paper. Active in the community youth center. Officer in multiple school organization. In the ROTC. With Hollywood looks, a very popular boy in social circles. And a star football player. And that was the killer of his dreams.

My grandfather moved the family to the boomtown Houston was becoming. He was a man who worked with his hands. Whatever feed the family in the Depression and Dust Bowl years. Then his son starts having blackouts. Missing school. Painful headaches. Classic symptoms of a concession. Interior lineman in leather helmets. Medical advice of the time was a drier climate.  His lost year. During which Pearl Harbor was bombed. The former ROTC member is now 4F. The defining moment of his generation passes my father by. The last picture of this handsome young man was from Hawaii 1942. He has a DOD tag on his shirt. My Father is smiling. An expression I rarely experienced outside in the private life we shared,

This is where the mystery that was my father starts. He was married before. A life he never spoke of. It was both my parents second marriage. A barren one until my adoption in 1964. Those pictures of a smiling open dad are equally unknown to me. Compound all this was increasing depression, Bi polar was an unknown thing in the 80s. Didn’t every teenager think daily of hurting themselves or dying?  That was the reality I saw on TV. Isolation became my companion. Still is on many days. The medication helps the crazy but not long standing behaviors. Didn’t every father and son have a violent argument during their teen years? A rite of passage from childhood to something else. Those were some of my thoughts waiting for a husk of man who I should have feeling for die in the next room?

After the funeral, I returned to the Navy. An action taken to escape that man. My ship was geographically has far as I could find. Guam. Deal with the grief? Didn’t have time. Came back to Houston by default. I hadn’t planned that far ahead. All I wanted was out. Military life was a bad fit for an adopted boy who was like his father in temperament and interests of his younger self.. Writer. Loved the theatre and plays. The stages of grieving happened about the sometime my chemical imbalance went into overdrive from stress. It has taken years to except small bits of the role he played in my life. The past 3 years of concession research to understand the profound mental and physical dangers from concessions, has allowed me to put all the pieces together..

Many letters filled with hurt and anger. Now I’m at peace with a relationship never possible. Living in a community filled with fathers and sons that stay in one place for decades has helped me create a different framework to hang our difficult relationship. On this Father’s day, I very publicly forgive mine for being a man unable to be the person he desperately wanted to be. William Mathis Lipscomb was a prisoner of an inner life that trapped him in life contrary to his bass personality. He provided for his family. Played the role of respected community leader. And died wondering why someone could love him. His spirit still inhabits the world. The Jewish tradition that a person still lives so long as someone remembers their name strikes me as good guide to healing. Now you know his name. A flaw man dealing with his demons who did the best he could. That is the best lesson I learned form My Dad.

A Quick Word of Thanks

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It seems I’ve reached 100 likes for my ramblings. That my writing has found some resonance in a larger community is surprising and humbling. Most of my time is spent writing on the old fashioned media of pen and paper lately. Ideas or thoughts strike at odd times. Generally when driving or waking up. Thank You for putting up with my sporadic posting.


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A condition that I have become too familiar with. All the groups that formed my social network slowly eroded over the past two years. Older men don’t make friends easily. The chapters of our lives offer few opportunities to cultivate them.  Longer hours for stagnant wages. Divorce. Relocating for work. Move to high demand types of work that reinforce isolation in order to met our obligations.  For parents with kids it worse. By over scheduling their lives, we overschedule ours. Then the question of why the nation is politically divided is asked. Smaller and smaller tribal groups gain a larger voice.

My journey back once more begin with changing the type of work I choose. Food service. Specifically making pizza in an old school short order bowling center grill. My old boss found every way possible to fail. Then I got partial blame for his failing. Leaving cash only in a credit world is a challenge. Not a lot of cushion. All of this has become red meat for my depression. I’ve become a leaf on the wind. The swirling storm is making it very hard to do that. If owning a functioning car wasn’t such a necessary, it would be someone else’s problem. Now can’t afford a cheap bike.

Needed to get all this out of my head and journal. Consider this my public soapbox to bitch about a situation of my own making. Not gonna apologize.  Later.

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Movies create illusion through devices that mimic our senses. Namely our most dominate, Vision. The sky is actually clear. First a bit of biology. Our eyes take in images that our brains, of which the optical nerve is an extension. Then interpret the unfiltered light into images. Evolution has given us a structure that see the light passing through our atmosphere as blue. That distinction is a direct result of very small broken bits of DNA. Darwin macro observable differences have been confirmed by the advanced scientific study of the brain. It’s all about survival and safety. Our highly elastic brain create self fulling conceptual judgements.  Experiences build judgement prisms. A necessity in sorting the unchecked flow of visual information collected by the eyes. Sherlock Holmes unchecked. Chaos.

First block is the family. Kids are Mice with huge eyes and ears. A confusing input of conflicting actions, words and behaviors. All flowing through an incomplete matrix assigning priority values. They fill in the gaps with a magical thinking. In adults it’s the contradiction of thought and actions. Do as I say. Not as I do. The human animal continually adds or subtracts from this early world view. Form and function. Welcome to the messy world we inhabit. Unfortunately that need for survival and safety are a  basic during need lost in higher thoughts. Our animal self.  Constructs of morals, beliefs, cultural value and societal bias expressed through language.  Expressing a value set around with clusters form.  Safety by absence of fear.

I watched a movie based on a Discworld book. A series of very humorous fantasy where the rules of the genre are taken seriously.  Death explained to his granddaughter, Susan [Read the books. It’s all perfectly logical] that Justice, Morals or the Hogsfather are cultural constructs of man. They don’t exist except when the majority agree they do. It’s an extension of larger and more diverse groups of humans settling around essential natural resources. Babylon. Rome. New York. Chicago. LA. Is the collective meaning of Justice the same? Here the basic root language ties the original meaning to the culture expression of the a specific word.

Justice. mid-14c., “one whose profession is to plead cases in a court of justice,” a technical term from Roman law, from Old French avocat “barrister, advocate, spokesman,” from Latin advocatus “one called to aid; a pleader, advocate,” noun use of past participle of advocare “to call” (as witness or advisor) from ad- “to” (see ad-) + vocare “to call,” related to vocem (see voice (n.)). Also in Middle English as “one who intercedes for another,” and “protector, champion, patron.” Feminine forms advocatess, advocatrice were in use in 15c.

Has a concept, look at the change from Latin root iustitia “righteousness, equity,” from iustus “upright, just”. Phrases assigned meaning within the culture norms as they existed at the time. Terms outside of the legal codes of the Empire. Lop off the last the letters to get the adverb and adjective form, Just. Who is Just in a society? By whose set of rules? I say it right. See the sword in my hand.

Society is shaped by the evolving Culture. Culture shapes a Society path in and through time. A dynamic which in turn changes the language used to frame a shared concepts. Or in the case of the Internet and social media, exposes the fault lines. Virtual communities tie the disenfranchised together for mutual support. A very real sense of tribe. Then there’s the constant noise of keyboard warriors attacking anything against their worldview. A perceived attack on their core values. Heightened fear. The provocateur Trolls add to the conflagration. Set at of the combustible framework all these noble? conceptual words hang on.

The events of the past 18 months have forced me to find my core values. Those 5 things that I will not compromise on. An exercise I highly recommend. The Constitution is one. In its entirety. The focal point of long contested ideals of equality in a world of Empire and Kings. My oath of enlistment is still in force. This is a personal view shared by many Vets. What that means isn’t. Our personal matrix determines our worldview. Decisions made without thinking during the course of living. Passed on from generation to generation. All built on the shifting sand of concept language interpreted individually.

Assigned value. Priorities. Personal need or desires. Where it all ends I can’t tell you my friends. We’re all a journey. This is food for thought. To be chewed during those interludes of quiet. That fleeting space where conversation and thought cause us to look up. To ask eternal question without complete answers. Thanks for taking time from your journey to read about mine. Off to read the Constitution once more with different eyes.


Sand in the Gears

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Being poor in a Rich country is difficult. No one plans on losing everything or being homeless. Some I’ve known recently made bad choices from a dealt hand of small numbers and broken suits.  A difference in degrees. Me? Worked because that what I was supposed to do. It’s how I was raised.  Work ethic. American Dream. Except life plays the joker more often than not. Heinlein wrote Stranger in a Strange Land about a human raised on Mars without human contact.  A creative way to look at things through new eyes. That’s my life.

When people talk about a safety net there’s one key fact they miss.  Nets have anchor points to keep them in place. When there was a steady paycheck, there wasn’t an deep questioning about how it was spent.  A basic series of tradeoffs. Going to soccer games meant be a month behind in rent. Landlord was cool so long he had the money in 90 days. Car repair or replacing jeans.  Two individuals being reasonable.  Now? Everything is a spiderweb. Electronic accounts and profiles seem to disappear at the worst times. Overworked state workers have to deal with those who have never used a computer. It only takes one of a limited number workstations to turn 30 minutes into 3 hours.  It’s at that point a person’s true nature emerges.

Unlike the sound bits, most of the 47% responded with an acceptance borne from experience. The knowledge everyone is in the same place. Thank You far out number biting comments. Courtesy cushions the stress. It’s only those out of their depth that feel wronged or have to blame the situation on someone else.  Their illusion of being in control has been shattered. Those who use the Poor and struggling has punching bags have never been in that condition. Charity begins at home. Yes some will game the system. Maybe 5%. Leave the rest of us alone Please. Stagnant wages. Cut hours. Trade agreement competition. Family responsibilities. Just plain stuck. Or worse older.

Popular culture spins an impossible world of perfection. Beauty. Body type. Celebrity. Funny thing. Most of those in the state office are Not that. They are the exception.  Another illusion falls. Read an article about mixed marriages. Not race but Class. The partner raised in the Middle class learned to budget and plan they had a stability where that’s possible.  The Working class partner learned to cope. The unexpected car repair or medical bill had a budget so much fiction. Accept the situation. Move on. It’ll work out or not. That half of the couple has nothing in common with the others friends and family. Clash of worldviews. But the upper middle class partner fits in with the his/her family.  Why?

One group learned a flexibility. A daily exercise in come what may. Underneath is a tension. A pain that has become a background noise. That buzz you can’t seem to place. A constant irritation. A beer or six makes it go away for awhile. It can become a habit. More importantly its a shared interval of peace. A fueled bitch session. You leave feeling not so alone. The universe does revolve you. Your problems and views are magnified. Others are lessened.  What we all forget is that we are much more alike than different.

A gentleman once told me a story from the factory floor. He was assigned a new cowork. A Southern black man with an attitude toward whites. Here was the series of questions he asked. Married? Kids? Mortgage? Go to church? Like sports? All the answers where yes. So we good?  They became best friends. In a era of good wages, their issues were cultural. Today it would be economic. A greater stress. A conflict at the basic of needs. Stagnant wages. Part time workers. While all the expenses of living have gone up. What’s the solution? It won’t be solved by politicians. Or corporations. Or Banks. I don’t have a crystal ball. It hit the floor and shattered. More sand in the gears. I simply keep moving.

What happens when…..

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The past month has been busy. Crazy. Strange. And. Which is the nature of life. My friend in learning to deal with his MS is helping me by passing on things his therapist says. It weird being on the receiving end. My philosophy is to throw insights or lessons learned into the wind. It’s also how my writing happens. The answers to my questions have never been in a single place. It has been a collection of found jigsaw pieces thrown into a mental box. When the light is just right I can see how the edges fit together. My awareness is the critical component. Then there are those 2×4 moments. A change of perspective.

It has been my experience that we all have those people around us who are fellow travellers on a shared journey. Men coworkers have proved invaluable throughout my early separation. Reality checks when the bottom fell out. Where a woman may use a paragraph, they used a series of very short sentences. Been there. Got the t shirt. It gets better. That what I can provide for my friend. Dealing with Crazy. Racing thoughts. Anger.  We both have trust issues. Two loners with two different ways of dealing with the chaos Crazy can cause.

That shared journey is soon to diverge. Has these things tend to do.  Lessons learned need space to grow. For me that space is toward the edge of the great Journey. That’s my lesson to learn this time around. An evaluation for state services showed high intellect and education but extreme social isolation. Which is something the past 18 months have shown in a harsh light. Except it’s a well known place where I lived for decades. What makes this time different is a realization I have choices. And that is new.

In my past premedication life, long terms plans were lost in the realm of a foreign language. Hope, change and happiness hung out there too. Readers of this small blog were equally illiterate. A mind steeped in a negative brew find the effort involved in learning a new language an exercise in frustration. We see the word. Can pronounce it. But miss the concept behind it. It forces us to redefine a nebulous set of cultural values. An ever changing vocabulary rich with nuanced meanings. Often contradictory.   I found it can be shared experience. A choice hiding in plain sight for years.

It’s what happens when you lift your head up and look around.

US Open Cup 2015

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The past four hours or so have been interesting ones. The Michigan Bucks and Detroit City FC will play in the opening round of the US Open Cup.  For those that may not be familiar with soccer, it’s a national tournament for clubs from all levels of play. Amateurs will play professionals. the Bucks have been very successful, in their 20 years of operation, being giant killers in the Cup.  Detroit City is making their second appearance since 2012. The year of the clubs founding. Two organizations with radically different DNA. That contrast showed this afternoon.

Throughout its 20 years, the Bucks have averaged 600 fans per game. Play inside a metal building with first generation artificial surface. They cater to the old model of American Family friendly soccer moms. Detroit City is being forced to move to a larger stadium due to repeated sellouts. The loss of seeing the skyline from the terraces will be hard. Older organizations still have firsts. Being forced to deal with the demand for tickets by the DCFC  supporter base is one such moment.  People that have a negative history when the Bucks were the only game in town. Both occupy the 4th tier in different leagues. Amateur college players and recent graduates playing the game they love in the summer

Two scenarios.

First the easy way. Recognizing the demand and marketability of this event long in the making, find and rent a suitable venue to easily handle the expected crowd. Understand that having a third party handle the logistics of ticketing, with certain negotiated guarantees in place, is the best way forward.  Immediately arrange with the opponents FO for them to handle their supporter demands for tickets. Including a mechanism to provide more to meet demand. The added expense will be more than met with the greater demand. The match of the first round goes on without any distractions outside of those surrounding a one off match.

This wasn’t the way it has happened. Earlier today the Bucks instigated a two step process for ticket allocation to “prevent outside agents from selling tickets on the secondary market.” They don’t like scalpers. No worries. Except the process isn’t transparent or does the website list a written privacy policy of how the metadata will be used or protected. Trust Us. Many supporters are getting around this by purchasing season tickets for a rival team. AFTER helping sell out the capped number of season passes for DCFC in 85 days. My thinking is 1700.

There isn’t any guarantee or mention of how the tickets will be distributed after the Bucks fan base get theirs. I understand a block of tickets will be made available through the DCFC FO. What’s left over will be General admission sold through the Metro Detroit area at local soccer stores(?).  The Northern Guard supporter group has owned the social media of Detroit soccer from the announcement of DCFC. The Bucks have never been a presence. When your newest uniform release makes national news so will other events.  Comments about the handling of this have been national. Played out with glee on the immediacy of Tweeter.

This subject is at the simmer for now.  DCFC supporters are taking a wait and see approach. That they don’t trust or like the Bucks owner, Dan Duggan, is well known. He will be held accountable for any mistakes. Real or perceived.  This is more than just a soccer game. It’s the US Open Cup. It’s the present versus the past of American soccer’s base. It’s Detroit City versus everyone. Most importantly City attitude versus The Suburban youth soccer attitude. The City left for dead is back. The march is led by the skull mask of the NGS.  IF I get tickets my hearing will suffer greatly.

A final thought. And one driving all the turmoil surrounding this match. Your club getting into the US Open Cup is a big deal. For the supporters, this is a top of the bucket list life event. For those of us who Live and Breath DCFC, this is not a matter of life and death. It’s so much more than that. It’s what Dan Duggan and the Bucks organization have failed to understand. Or worse want to deny us.



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