TRUE BELIEVERS …

If most professing “Christians” actually met a true Christ follower, they (we) would be annoyed and bothered by that person.

Probably a great deal.

Would we really want to hang out with the likes of Peter or Paul or Stephen or John the revelator?

They were weird. Uncompromising. Extreme. Infuriating. Unreasonable. And it got them tortured and killed in creatively horrible ways; stoned to death, beheaded, crucified upside down and boiled in oil.

Do any of us actually believe in anything that strongly?

Michael Irvin, Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame wide receiver, used to famously say, (when talking about becoming a champion), “all it takes is all you got.”

He has 3 Super Bowl rings. So he should know.

His point was, if you really want to achieve that rarified air, it will cost you everything. And if you decide to truly be a champion, achieving that goal is just a matter of how much you are willing to sacrifice.

I saw a couple of posts, last week, regarding what you should be willing to “give up” to follow Christ.

It has been my experience that most of those telling people what they should give up, usually conveniently leave out things they themselves don’t want to give up.

What if following Christ meant something as simple as giving up ice cream? Could you do it…for the rest of your life?

What if it wasn’t just the obvious things like drugs or alcohol or porn? What if it were something seemingly harmless, like hot showers or your favorite sushi?

Why would that even be a thing? Jesus wouldn’t ask someone to give up something that benign. Would he?

The point isn’t what you’re giving up. The point is where is the line for you?

And what will you justify keeping in your life?

Contrary to popular teaching, Jesus never actually sought out the rich young ruler, to actively coax him into giving all his wealth to the poor. This story has been mis-taught for generations. 

Had the young man not tried to impress Jesus by touting all his piety and probing the Savior, for more things he could “do to be saved,” Jesus may have just left the kid alone and let him enjoy his stuff. But the punk just couldn’t leave well enough alone. He had to keep asking how he could be more of good dude.

See, it wasn’t about the wealth. It was never about the wealth. This is what people miss. It was about Jesus calling the kid out on his own bullshit. It was about Jesus throwing down the gauntlet to someone who thought he was going to get a pat on the back for doing everything right. 

This is what virtue signalers have done since the beginning of time. I don’t have any true, meaningful relationships with any black people, but I blacked out my profile picture to show I’m not a racist. I don’t have any adopted orphans, but I vote for pro-life candidates. I don’t want to give up the private jet, but I purchase carbon off-sets. 

But Jesus and Mr. Irvin had similar advice for people like that …

If you’re serious – and I mean, really serious – all it takes is all you got. 

Later, Jesus proved that nothing the rich, young ruler could have ever done would’ve gotten him into the kingdom of heaven, anyway. Because it took more than selling off goods. It would take the sacrificing of an actual life. A supernatural one, at that. Jesus was just making a point…you can’t do enough. So stop acting like you can.    

It’s easy to ask – sometimes, even demand – that other people sacrifice.

In the realm of the political, there’s that old chestnut of asking “the rich” to pay more taxes. Because, after all…screw them.

But sacrifices look less and less attractive as they get closer to us. When it comes to what we need to give up or contribute, nobody really understands our predicament or our issues.

“How can they ask this of us?!? They don’t know what we’ve been through.” Yes, sacrifice is always easy to ask someone else to do. It might be the easiest thing in the world. 

We’ve spent the last two years being lectured to and berated, over things like wearing masks and getting certain vaccines.

And yet, in study after study, one of the leading causes of severe disease, with Covid, (right behind age – which you cannot do anything about) has been weight.

It hasn’t been talked about a lot, because we don’t want to offend people who struggle with their weight. In fact, we now want to “celebrate all body types” and stop fat shaming people.

I’m all for not beating up people who struggle with weight and not making them feel bad about themselves as a person. But are we serious about health and science or are we just saying things we like to hear coming out of our mouths?

After my own personal battle with Covid, I lost 60 pounds and went on a fitness rampage. I asked myself, “how bad do you really want to beat this thing? How safe do you really want to be, going forward?” 

For me, that meant big, BIG changes. It meant giving up things I had grown to love…like bourbon. But I digress …

Whenever someone severely overweight asked me to “mask up,” I (for the most part) did it out of respect. But I completely disregarded their actual seriousness about the disease.

Because if you are really serious about not dying of Covid, you won’t be posting anymore pictures of that banana split, on Instagram. You won’t be hitting Five Guys on the weekend. You won’t be joking about your “spare tire.”

If you are (or were) really serious about surviving that virus, your first order of business should’ve been to lose 20 pounds. The science was (and is) as clear as day…

All it takes is all you got.

The latest sacrifice we’re all being asked to make, is that of paying more at the pump (and everything downline, affected by the pump) in order to support the people of Ukraine. Most of the people asking everyone else to do this, can afford it. But what happens when we get to things they can’t afford?

I completely support anyone on earth fighting a tyrant for their freedom. I, too, agree that Putin is a thug who should be beaten.

But how much to you really support the Ukrainian people?

You’re asking me to pay more for gas. Okay.

What if I ask you to vote for a presidential candidate who would liberate them militarily?

Is that a reasonable ask?

Is asking you to send your son or daughter off to fight too much? How about you, yourself? Are you ready to fight? 

What if re-electing Donald Trump was the answer? Would you do that to liberate Ukraine?

What if it was something more simple like giving up Netflix or Spotify or YouTube?

Would you be willing to do that for the Ukrainians?

How about giving up your job or your career?

Why would any of that be necessary?

It might not be. None of it…including paying more for gas. But, when it comes to the war in Ukraine, where is the line of enough’s enough, for you? When does your heart stop bleeding?

We are very quick to assign sacrifice to others. But where is the line for us?

I’ve always found it interesting that the people who claim that the world is overpopulated, never seem to commit suicide. Clearly they believe that THEY aren’t the “extra” people. Other people are the extra people. But “overpopulation” implies that there are unnecessary people here. Who and where are they? And what are we prepared to do about it? 

THEY – the ones calling out the problem – are apparently necessary. 

That’s the very nature of asked sacrifice.

It never applies to you.

R

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SOTU …

I used to hate watching the Lawrence Welk show.

In fact, the only time I ever watched it was when my grandmother or aunt made me. 

Lawrence seemed like a nice enough guy and, yes, there was music and I was a musician, and so why wouldn’t I be excited about it? I wasn’t excited about it because the music was from another time, for a different generation than me. 

Everybody was wearing a tuxedo or a ballroom gown. They were speaking with some thrown upper crust dialect I didn’t use…even though we were all from the same culture. They were all old and stodgy and stuffy and feigning some high society reality nobody from my generation related to or cared about. 

So, in the space of just a few decades, Lawrence Welk and his show, went from entertaining the hell out of people like my grandparents, to leaving someone my age staring at the screen, blowing Hubba bubbles, with stone apathy. 

Now, speaking of stone, Sly and the Family Stone, on the Midnight Special? That was my jam. It was real and funky and colorful and exciting and every time he sang Thank you fa lettin’ me by myself, I was right there with him. 

My grandparents didn’t get it. 

We all know that guy at church who talks one way until he prays. Then he fakes some weird “sacred” voice. I never understood that. Hey bro, God heard you talking just a minute ago, about the game and the stupid field goal kicker who missed the 30-yarder. You think lowering your voice and sounding more reverent is gonna make a difference, now that you’re saying grace over the pizza?

Anyway …

The State of The Union speeches have pretty become much like that prayer or the Lawrence Welk show. I don’t watch them. I haven’t in years, no matter who is in office. 

It’s all the pomp and pageantry and officially addressing this person and that person and the way the press acts like this is some miracle of democracy and blah blah blah, that just makes me tune out completely. 

This speech is an outdated idea. It’s basically an infomercial for a sitting president. Then, the other side gets to do a rebuttal and yada, yada…we all pretty much go back into our corners and believe what we want to believe.

The only SOTU speech I remember deliberately tuning into was the one G.W. Bush gave after 9/11. That speech was the only one I remember ever seeing where the nation actually got pertinent and new information that we all kinda needed. 

It was the first time most of us had heard the term Al Qaeda. It was the first time we’d actually gotten some clarity on the whats, why’s, and hows of our national tragedy. And we needed our CEO to map out the strategy for moving forward. 

That one I understood. All the others have been the lovely Lennon sisters singing Mr. Sandman. 

See, we don’t need the president to tell us what the state of the union is, anymore. There was a time when the president of the United States knew things about other parts of the country and the world, that we didn’t know. 

We needed him to relay those things to us and tell us how he was going to respond to those things. We needed to be reassured that this thing or the other thing was going to be addressed. 

We actually needed to know the state of the whole union. 

I would imagine SOTU addresses were pretty important when my grandparents were fighting WWII. They didn’t have as much information back then. But just like the foxtrot on Lawrence’s show, that’s now an outdated notion. 

Nobody has to tell you the state of the union. You know what you’re paying for gasoline. You know what you’re paying for groceries. You know if you are safe in your neighborhood or not. 

You can see, in real time, videos and posts from people in war zones. You don’t need the president to come on TV with a scripted speech and give you the rundown. You don’t need David Muir to explain it all to you after the fact. You don’t need any of that. All that stuff is a formality that basically adds up to an evening of sub par entertainment. 

Last night, as the president was doing his thing, I saw some people live tweeting and posting while it was happening. And it was basically a parlor game. It was fodder for the right and fodder for the left. If you were one of the 80 million plus who voted for the man (insert partial eye roll here), you were probably finding things he said to be comforting and positive. 

If you were literally anybody else, you probably saw some form of frailty or weakness or contradiction or whatever.   

I dare say no needles moved in either direction.

I overhead my mother-in-law watching The View, this morning. And it sounded exactly the way I thought it would sound. They were all clearly part of the 80 million plus. 

Trump gave those speeches too, but he (at one point) considered not doing them at all, for the reasons I’ve listed. And I wish he hadn’t, because that was the whole point of him, in the first place; to break with convention and point out the absurd. 

And we have gotten to a place in our country (and, indeed the world) where we need new traditions and approaches. One of the things tearing at our fabric, right now, is that we are bursting out of certain brick-and-mortar conventions. We have more information than we’ve ever had. We know what the news is before the evening news comes on. We don’t need any more rituals and rites. We wear shorts and flip flops to church, now. 

It’s a new day, with new information and new knowledge about how full of shit everybody is. But the government isn’t keeping up. It never does. 

This is why truckers start a convoy in Canada and regular moms storm school board meetings. It’s why a simple phrase like “let’s go Brandon” becomes a national mantra in less than a week. 

We all know the state of the union better than the president does. 

If I were to ever be elected president (which will never happen – I will make sure it doesn’t), I would not have an inaugural ball (that 100 million dollars can be used elsewhere), I would probably not pardon the stupid turkey, and I would not give SOTU speeches…at least not the way they’ve been given in the past. 

If I were to give such a speech, I wouldn’t write it out or print it or hand it to anybody in the room. I’d simply go up there and speak from my heart for about 20 minutes and force the press, the country, and the other side, to actually listen and think on their feet. Because if something is going to compete with Netflix and Hulu, it had better have some real entertainment value. 

And I would simply be honest about where I thought we were a a nation and where I thought we could do better. And I wouldn’t simply let my writers couch everything the way writers couch things. I’d straight up tell you why the gas was the price it was. And I’d level everybody about the conundrums of making decision on behalf of 350 million people. 

And I’d give the Twitter trolls plenty to pounce on. But they’re gong to pounce, anyway. Why not make it interesting.  

As it stands, the SOTU speech is just an outdated, scripted relic that nobody actually cares about. Most people only watch it to make fun of it. It’s basically the Lawrence Welk show. 

Now, if they had Sly Stone do the intro music for the next one? THAT I would watch.             

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23 AND ME …

Roots. 

I was glued to the screen. 

Although, at 9-years-old, I didn’t really get the point. In my pre-adolescent mind, I foolishly thought this story was just about a guy finding his ancestral identity by researching his bloodline. And the burgeoning history nerd in me simply couldn’t get enough of all of it; Chicken George, Kunte Kinte, and the entire family.

Also, Alex Haley was from Tennessee. So, that alone made me feel a weird kinship with him. 

When he said, “I found you! You old African …” I sat there in front of our 13-inch black and white TV, and cried tears of joy with the rest of America. We were rooting for this guy (pardon the pun). We were all in on the journey with him. And I didn’t know anybody, in my white circle of friends, who was hoping those old slave owners would somehow end up with some sort of redemption out of it. 

We weren’t pulling for the slave owners. We were pulling for the enslaved. 

And I can say this honestly, without hedging in any way: the race of the people we were following seemed incidental. It was about the story.  

But for black people, it wasn’t just about a good story. It was about “the black experience.” 

More on that later …

I was so inspired by Roots, and the entire field of ancestral study, that I did become a full-on, card-carrying, unashamed, history geek. And I started doing my own family tree research. 

Where did come from? What was my lineage? Who was my Kunte Kinte?

My family  – at least the ones I knew – was this strange mix of different personalities, shapes, sizes and skin tones. Some of us were kind of dark skinned. My father and grandfather were definitely dark skinned. 

My entire life, people who didn’t know him, thought my father was from Mexico. And I can’t tell you how many times people IN Mexico (whenever we were across the border) would just come up to him and start speaking spanish. 

The pigmentation of my father’s skin always led to speculative conversations about his talent. And then that would trickle to my brother and me. 

“The Hamms have soul. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have some black in them …” is something I have heard more times than I can even count. And I’ve heard it from white people and black people alike. 

I had a lot of black friends. My own wife (who actually is Mexican) has told me for years that one of the things that attracted her to me was my “black” attitude. I have no idea what that is. But I’ll take whatever it is, as long as she was attracted to me. 

But I digress …

Armed with all of this curiosity, swirling speculation and abject ignorance, I began my own family research. I started by talking with my grandmother. And after the first conversation, was faced with my first identity crisis. 

Apparently, my last name wasn’t really Hamm. It was something like Wilks (she thought). See, my grandfather’s father (Papa Hamm) was adopted by a German family named Hammershmidt (or something like that). 

Nobody really knew the deep details of the story. All they knew was that this German couple was childless and had migrated to the Nashville area. And this little baby was placed on a tree stump outside their cabin. They then took him in and raised him as their own. Mrs Hammershmidt originally thought he was an unusually large bird’s nest until she got closer and realized it was a newborn baby.

That is how he got his name “Byrd.” 

He passed that name to my grandfather, Leonard Byrd Hamm. By that time, they had shortened their last name to Hamm. And people knew my grandfather as L.B. his entire life. 

So, where did this Byrd Hamm guy come from? Blood wise, I mean. 

Some speculated that he was the result of an affair, by Mr Hammershmidt himself, with a local prostitute and she simply returned the fruits of their union to his rightful home. 

Because the man was so dark skinned, it was also speculated that the prostitute was either black or brown skinned. That fits nicely into the “The-Hamms-have-soul-so-they-must-be-black,” narrative. 

And, for a few years, I actually kinda liked that idea. It made me feel a little better about my maddeningly splotchy, pasty white skin.

But as I got more involved in life, and realized that not every person who carried my bloodline carried my same gifts, and as I travelled to more places, and read more books and met more people of different races, and then married someone of a different race, and then adopted someone of a different race, and then found out she was missing a piece of a chromosome and got plunged into the world of the human genome, I realized that skin and race are very, VERY small players in what makes someone a person. 

Somewhere in my early 20’s I stopped the search for my own “old African.” Because I understood that none of it really mattered. I was here. Now. And none of my gifts were about what ran through my veins. 

Yes, I hate to break it to you, but music doesn’t “run in your blood.”  It fires in your brain…and in your soul. And whatever traits seem to appear as “racial” are almost always “cultural.” 

One of my favorite things ever put on film, is the episode of South Park where they’re starting a Christian Music Band. They tap their black friend, Token, to play bass. He tells them he doesn’t know how to play bass. But they insist that he does because he’s black. Then they hand him a bass, and low and behold, he can wear it out. 

It’s hilarious because it’s absurd. But it plays on all of our well-established stereotypes…which are incredibly ignorant. 

So, for Christmas, my sister-in-law got me a 23 and me kit. 

I haven’t thought about, nor cared about, my family bloodline in decades. But I didn’t want to be rude and tell her that. So, I spit in the little thing and sent it off. 

It came back last week. And, as it turns out, I’m 78% English and Irish and about 20% French and German. 2% undetermined.  

In other words…I’m whiter than printer paper. 

No Cherokee found (which we know for a fact is there). No African found. No Mediteranian found. No latin found. Just straight-up white boy.  

But am I really? 

See, what makes me Regie Hamm isn’t just about my DNA. What makes me me is the hundreds of nights I fell asleep under church pews, to Pentecostal thunder. What makes me me, is the years I spent in “black church,” hearing Hammond B-3’s screaming and wailing. What makes me me is the part of my hearing I lost in my right ear, in Utah, playing with a Mexican brass band standing over my right shoulder for 10 nights straight. 

What makes me me, is the night-after-night repetition of hearing my mother and father sing and pray and preach. 

None of that stuff is about your cells or your hemoglobin or your mitochondria. It’s about your experience; your culture. 

Many years ago, a very famous record producer (a black man) was cutting a lot of my songs. He didn’t know me and had never met me. But he sure was recording me. 

He and I finally met at an award show, and he was visibly shaken. The first thing he said to me was, “Man, I thought you was a brutha!” 

I smiled and said, “I AM a brutha!” 

And I am. I’m just one with splotchy white skin that burns really easily in the sun. And even though my DNA test says I come from England, history tells us that the “English” weren’t really there until a bout a thousand years ago. So, I’m originally from somewhere else. So are you. 

If you go back far enough, we are all related and we all have an old African in our past. 

Every race on the planet can reproduce with every other race. That means we are ONE race. Our colors and physical characteristics are incidental. And, by the way…they’re nothing to be proud of in and of themselves. Because you have no control over them. 

I say go find your own “Roots.” It’s a mildly interesting parlor game. 

But don’t be surprised if it all shows that you’re just a human being.  

R

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MY ANGEL, MY TEACHER …

I’m not as angry as I used to be. 

I listen more. I have empathy where I used to have contempt. It’s a lot easier for me to imagine myself in someone else’s shoes. Almost too easy. I want good things for people I don’t always like. I’m patient. I need less. I’m more thankful for every small kindness shown to me. 

And music …sweet, mysterious music …means more to me than it ever has. 

I’m tired all the time. My body is a wreck from years of interrupted sleep, causing schizophrenic cortisol levels. I can’t verbally formulate sentences as fluidly as I once could. Prolonged periods of extreme stress do weird things to a person’s brain. I make a living with my brain. And some of it has been sacrificed and compromised. 

I can’t remember the last time I bought new clothes…or cared. My hair must stay utilitarian and easily managed. I don’t know what it looks like most of the time…or care. My work schedule is sporadic at best and most of the time an afterthought. I am a slave to a maddeningly regimented schedule. And if I miss one beat of it, someone could get injured, or even die.

All of the above can be said of and about my wife, and probably more. We share all of it.  

All of these things we share are the result of something called Angelman Syndrome, a disorder that afflicts my 19-year-old daughter. 

Angelman Syndrome is a deletion or mutation of the 15th maternal chromosome. It was named after British doctor Harry Angelman, who was the first physician to catalog symptoms and treat people with this disorder. 

The “disorder” means that my daughter cannot speak. She cannot use sign language. 

She cannot bathe herself or feed herself or brush her own teeth. She cannot put on clothes or take them off without assistance. 

She cannot use the bathroom without assistance. And it sometimes takes up to 20 or 30 minutes for her to do it, because there’s a protein missing from her brain that makes her body forget how to perform basic, primal functions.

This missing protein, or out-of-balance protein (or however you want to characterize it), also causes sporadic movements and actions that may or may not be in her control. So while you’re washing her hair she may try to slap you or grab you by the hair. 

She may try to snatch a picture off the wall while you’re trying to get her dressed. She is completely unpredictable in movement and function and could damage herself or an object, or you, at pretty much any time.  

Imagine, if you will, a fully grown person who can walk and grab and destroy, but who still acts much like a newborn. That is close to the actual physical functionality of what my daughter deals with every day of her life. 

I don’t write about my daughter as much as I used to because she’s a young woman now and I want to respect her privacy. She faces incredible challenges every day. And as I watch her struggle to perform basic tasks like holding a fork or trying to brush her own hair (which she cannot do, but she tries to anyway), I realize that it’s not my place to discuss her private struggles just for the sake of “awareness.”

But on days like today – Angelman syndrome awareness day – I make the rare exception. Because someone out there might need to hear it.

We didn’t get her diagnosis until she was 5-years-old. Her lack of motor skills and inability to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time (when she was little – she sleeps well, now) was attributed to everything from Cerebral Palsy to Autism to simply “being slow.”

Three genetics tests later, we finally got her properly diagnosed. I wish I could’ve read a blog like this when she was 2.

Anyway …

The prevailing wisdom is that she knows she is like she is. And that breaks my heart…Every. Single. Day.

This morning, at 6 am, she was frustrated with what I had on TV. She used every sign she knows (which are only a couple) to tell me what she wanted to watch, but I couldn’t get it. And it brought tears to her eyes. 

My JOB is to “communicate” and yet I can’t talk to my own daughter about something as simple as the TV channel. This happens a dozen times a day, in almost every facet of life. 

Last year, my wife and I were supposed to go to court to get legal guardianship of her again, when she turned 18. Covid kind of messed the scheduling up. But soon, we will begin the process of setting up a life plan for someone who requires assistance in everything from getting out of bed in the morning to going to bed at night.   

Between those two actions she will require someone to be watching her every waking moment, so that she doesn’t play with knives or touch hot stoves or rip up mail or smash a TV screen with a blunt object or a hundred other things that could injure her or someone else. 

As an FYI – she has actually done all the of the things listed above.    

Friends and colleagues don’t always understand why I’m not more available to them; why I can’t just jump in the car and go meet up for a beer without it being scheduled days, sometimes even weeks, in advance. And then when we are having a beer, they continually ask me “how I do it” or say things like “I could never handle what you handle.” 

I get very uncomfortable in those conversations. And I don’t like having them. I’m not a hero. I’m not a super dad. I’m a man trying to raise a daughter. Nothing more. My wife and I are trying raise her with dignity and honesty as best we can. 

But while we’re trying to teach her how to choose between two colors…she’s actually teaching us more than we could’ve ever imagined.

She’s teaching us that lots and LOTS of things don’t actually matter. She’s teaching us that an honest smile means more than a fake Saturday night. And that if you’re going to love, love all the way. Anything short of that is not love at all. It’s something…but it isn’t love. 

She’s teaching us that life is too short and sweet to get angry at political Facebook memes and linger in arguments. 

My daughter wants everyone to meet and hug. She wants everyone to speak politely. And if a conversation gets heated around her, she will cry. 

She smiles at everyone…the less attractive the better. She is prone to positivity and wants to laugh more than she wants to cry. She’s content with enough. She’s grateful for anything you give her and excited about it. She doesn’t have the luxury of a refined political point of view. And honestly, I think that’s a blessing for her. 

If you play some cool tunes and dance with her, she will find something about you to like. 

She can settle a person down, who might be having a difficult time, by a simple touch. And they used to sit the troubled kids next to her in class, when she was in grade school.

One of those kids still says, to this day, that she changed his life. I know how he feels. 

We could all take lessons from her. I do. Every day. She is quite simply, the best person I know. 

Those afflicted with this disorder are often referred to as “Angels,” (obviously because of the name “Angelman syndrome), but also because despite the round-the-clock caregiving they require, they bring something angelic into the world. At least mine has. 

Angelman Syndrome is a horrible thing, in and of itself. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. And the fact that my precious girl has to live with it makes me keep my fists up to the world. And I will fight for her until my death…literally. 

And then I can only hope and pray that someone will step in and take my place. 

I recently broke my arm. And the reality of something that run-of-the-mill; something that should just be a painful inconvenience, turned into days of planning and lining up caregiving subs and even turned into a funding campaign that kind of took on a life of its own.

And the outpouring of love and support, from people who don’t even know us, has been nothing short of miraculous. 

But people seem to feel something special in everything surrounding my daughter and her story. She manifests things into the world I could never imagine. And it has caused me to re-think everything ever believed about who and what is important. 

If you think there is some sort of hierarchy of minds and talent and that it’s all about IQ and that only certain kinds of people can change the world, I should introduce you to someone who has never spoken a word or produced a single dime of income or “contributed to society,” but who has changed lives and careers and created jobs and affected school boards and inspired books and songs and shifted cultural landscapes.

I’m actually including a pdf of my book, Angels & Idols, for anyone who wants to read the incredible story surrounding her and the American Idol song she inspired, Time Of My Life. It has been optioned to become film and possibly even a streaming series. 

What my daughter can do with a smile is light years ahead of what I can do with words or music or anything I’ve ever accomplished. This is proof of that.    

Maybe there will be a cure someday for her condition. They say it’s theoretically possible. And I would love nothing more than to have a conversation with her before I die. I’m sure the first words out of her mouth will be, “Dad, if people only knew how much you cuss around me in private, they’d be appalled.” 

All I know is while we in the Angelman community are fighting to make our children whole, they might just be making us whole in the process. At least that’s the case at my house. 

And in my life I can honestly say that I learned more from a “damaged” Chinese orphan than I leaned from everyone else I knew, in my 35 years of life before her. 

People are always looking for angels. Well, I live with one. So if there’s a heaven, I’ll know exactly what to look for when I get there.  

R

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THE BOOK:

BROKEN. NOT SHATTERED …

Taking the dog out for the last time of the night, I stepped on the top step of my deck (wearing a slipper) and didn’t realize it was a solid sheet of ice. 

I went flying in the air, Home Alone villain style, and landed on the lip of the second step…left arm first. 

I felt it break in half. 

I thought I was moving it but when I looked down it was just dangling. Very weird experience. 

It’s a clean break but excruciatingly painful. 

The worst part of something like this is the fact that I handle most of my daughter’s physical care; baths, bathroom, breakfast and putting her down. 

All of those activities require strength and agility. 

So this sucks for Yolanda (my wife) as much as it sucks for me. 

However …

I’m in better health and have better conditioning than I’ve had in years. 

So, I’m going to actively heal as quickly as possible. Gonna use nutrition and rest and fasting to see how much I can speed this process along. 

Human growth hormone goes through the roof when you fast. And I need all of that I can get, to help this bone regenerate. 

I spent the time in the ER re-setting my mindset from one of pain and anger and negativity, to one of gratitude and prayer and positivity. 

It could have been WAY worse. In fact, I could’ve hit my head and died. 

It could’ve been my dominant arm. It could’ve been several bones. It could’ve been my wife or my son. 

There’s just so much to be thankful for in this. 

It’s also going to laser focus me on only the things I can DO. And eliminate the distraction of of things I can’t. 

So, I started talking through, with Yolanda, things I’ve been putting off or have been too busy to get to. 

This is going to help me with that. 

Lastly, it might take my focus off working out, for a minute, and re-establish it in more important things. 

We don’t give up in this house. We can’t. We don’t whine. We don’t spend a lot of time in pity parties. And this is going to be okay. In fact, it presents an opportunity for miracles and growth and learning something new. 

First lesson: double check stairs for ice when it’s sub freezing and has been raining for 2 days. 

As of the writing of this post, I’ve had surgery and already begun the healing process. We did a little GoFundMe campaign, to raise some funds to help out with bringing in outside caregiving, etc. But right in the middle of it, realized that there was controversy surrounding that platform. We have since ended that part of it. 

If you are interested in helping us in this regard, though, I’m posting our Venmo and PayPal accounts. The outpouring of love and support has been absolutely overwhelming. We’ve had offers for foot trains and rides places and even caregiving. 

We decided this was the easiest and sleekest way to accommodate those who want to help. And it has allowed my wife to take a leave of absence from her work (for a little while) and allow me to basically lay around and heal. 

But as of today, my left hand is working better than expected. So, I’ll be back typing again in no time. All of the outside help has allowed that to happen. And we can’t thank you all enough. 

I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress. And please continue to stay funny. 

I broke my “humerus” bone. You can’t just leave that laying there …

R

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ALEXANDRIA AND WHOOPI …

The fire that destroyed the library at Alexandria, Egypt, in 48 BC, is one of the great tragedies of the world.   

Some say it changed the balance of the world’s knowledge and threw mankind backward hundreds of years. We will never know. But the point is that burning or erasing knowledge is always a net loss for the human race…never a net gain.   

See, we can’t know where we are in all of this, if we don’t know where we have already been. And if we continue to try and erase certain things or re-frame everything in the human story to our liking, we never get to the truth. Not really.

We only get glimpses of it until the next group of people with torches shows up, who only want certain things known. 

I’ve never understood the idea of purging knowledge or culture. If what you believe is truth – and I mean, real truth – it will survive everything that’s thrown at it. It will never be able to be hidden. It will continue to rise up and cover all the darkness around it. 

And if it’s not real truth…well…why in the world would we want to believe in something like that in the first place?

One of the first things I read about, in my social media feed this morning, was the story of a local pastor who is about to have a book burning. A book burning? Really? I honestly didn’t think we still did things like that. I mean, surely we’ve grown past the need to throw perfectly good books on a bonfire. Haven’t we? 

But I suppose some still have the need to not just NOT read a book, but to show the world how much they’re not going to read it. 

I’ll never forget the year I asked for the book, Dianetics, as a Christmas gift. My father (the minister) looked at me funny. But all he said was, “Be careful with stuff like that.” Never did he ever encourage me to burn the book. 

I only wanted to read it out of sheer curiosity. It was being advertised all over the place and I simply felt that I was out of the loop on something. 

It only took me reading the first three chapters to realize that it was all hogwash, written by someone delusional and probably mentally deranged. I put it down and eventually lost it somewhere along the way of several moves. 

But I didn’t burn it. And if someone found it and read it and it helped them in some way, then good for them. Sometimes nonsense helps people. It seems to have helped Tom Cruise. Hard to argue with his success. 

Anyway …

The foundational cornerstone of liberty is the free exchange of ideas. Without that, we don’t really have liberty. And that means putting up with a lot of things you disagree with. 

If you’re not up for a world of constant disagreement, you’re not up for liberty. 

Yes…you get to believe the moon landing was faked. Yes…you get to believe the world is flat. Yes…you get to believe in Bigfoot. Yes…you get to believe pretty much whatever you want to believe. That comes free with every membership into the freedom club. 

And here’s the great thing about freedom of expression – someone else gets to try and convince you of how wrong you are. And all the ideas get to compete. And at some point, enough people will provide enough verifiable information, that hard, irrefutable facts will emerge. But as long as nothing is ever challenged, we will never know if those “facts” are irrefutable or not. 

That’s why we need all the information out there. We need to see who the crazy people are. We need to see who the racists are. We need to see who the cowards are. We need to see who is bought and paid for and who isn’t. 

We can’t get to the truth if we don’t know who’s hiding behind what tree. This is why cancel culture is so sinister. You might take someone out of the public eye – but you’re not ending their life. They continue to breathe and live and move around and talk to their fellow human beings. 

Just because you get them out of your line of sight doesn’t mean they stop existing. 

That’s why ideas must be challenged and taken on…head on…instead of simply being silenced. Make your case. Show your proof. Back up your argument. Convince me. Don’t tell me to shut up and trust you. 

This week, Whoopi Goldberg said some things, on The View, that have gotten her removed from the air. 

In my opinion, taking people off the air, over things they say, is just a high-tech way of burning books. And what is happening to her is the exact opposite of what should be happening. 

See, I STRONGLY disagree with what she said. She basically said the Holocaust wasn’t about race, per se. It was more about man’s inhumanity to man. Well, yeah. And Hitler was a big meanie. We get it. 

But I want more information. Because her comments seem to imply some other form of racism I’m not aware of. And I’d like to know what the hell she’s talking about rather than her being silenced. 

She said something to the effect of both the Nazis and Jews being “white” races, so it wasn’t really racism…or something like that. And that seems like some new definition of racism we should all probably hear more about. 

I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s as much bullshit as Dianetics is. But if this woman actually believes that, shouldn’t we all know that? And shouldn’t we all know if there’s a new way of defining racism? 

This is what’s wrong with this country. We don’t don’t talk anymore! 

First of all, I don’t know why she committed such an unforced error about Nazis, of all people. Nobody ever went broke bashing Nazis. They are literally like storm troopers. You can do pretty much anything you want to those guys and get zero blowback. No need to cut them a break for anything. 

Just say they were horrible racists and move on. You’ll get applause. But she didn’t do that. And I’m curious as to why.  

Look, here’s the deal on the merits…

If you asked a slave owner, in 1840, if he cared what race his slaves were, you might – MIGHT – get the answer that he only cared about getting the labor done. He might not care if they were Africans or Asians or whatever. It was a system of commerce, first. And American racism has pretty much always been based in pragmatism. 

If you don’t believe me, read up on the Chinese and Irish indentured servants who came here to build the railroads (my family members being among them). Or maybe closer to home, check to see if you actually care who picked that tomato you’re about to eat. Or, even more to the point, if you care who assembled that iPhone you’re reading this on, right now. 

THAT is man’s inhumanity to man. Or, at least, man’s apathy toward another man’s plight. 

But if you asked a German soldier, in 1940, why they were killing Jews, they would look you dead ass in the eye and say, “Because they are an inferior race.” 

That’s as racist as anything can get. They freely admitted it. They told us what they were doing. They were like, “yeah…we’re racists. And we believe we’re right about it. Hear us out …” 

And, yes, those kinds of movements need to be put down. Hard. And we did. But it got out of hand so quickly because so much of it was able to be done in the shadows, for so long. 

I say get the racists out in the open. Get the crazies out in the open. Get the partisans out in the open. Get the snake oil salesmen out in the open. 

Let’s hear them. Let’s expose them. Let’s challenge them. 

Look, we’ve all been watching Whoopi Goldberg for decades. We don’t all agree with her, but we know she’s probably not leading some clandestine race war from her basement. 

Rather than having her removed from TV, I’d like to see her be forced to debate a week’s worth of Holocaust experts or family members of survivors or…just…someone like me. 

THAT is how we learn and grow. Not by being bound and gagged for some ill-informed, off-handed comment. There’s far too much of that going around right now. 

How about a little grace for people? How about some room for them to learn and maybe even come around to a better way of thinking? How about we become idea gladiators again, instead of idea…well…Nazis. 

I want to hear what the experts who go on the Joe Rogan show have to say. I also want to hear what Whoopi Goldberg has to say. And if I decide I don’t want to hear it, anymore…

I. WILL. TURN. IT. OFF.  

I sure wish we had that option with the Alexandria library, instead of it just being burned to the ground. 

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OKAY, BOOMER …

“Don’t trust anyone over 30.”

Wasn’t that kinda the mantra of the baby-boomer, rock and roll generation? Yeah, I think that’s what they all preached…until they all turned 30. 

Volumes of books have been written on the baby-boomer generation, their effect on the world and how it turns. They created every major financial bubble in American history, from coon-skin caps to rock and roll records to credit cards, to (now) retirement funds and social security, which they’re probably going to break in some way…but I digress.  

Their parents lived through (and won) the biggest war in human history. They were glad to be alive and just wanted to go home and spoil a house full of kids. So, no generation before them was ever more doted on and catered to than boomers. Well, not until Millennials (don’t get me started on them). And all that Doctor Spock child rearing turned them into a generation that demanded things and manifested things and soared to amazing heights never before seen. 

It also gave them a type of hubris that made them think they could do all the drugs and have all the sex and drink all the alcohol and eat all the food and use all the resources and burn all the fuel and basically do whatever they wanted to do, without any consequences. After all, it was all about breaking free from convention and moral orthodoxy and tapping into self-realization and free love and turning on and dropping out and blah blah blah. 

The boomers really did change the world. You gotta give them credit. They were one of the the largest waves of humanity ever born at one time (hence the name “baby-boomers”), they swept the planet with new attitudes and ways of doing things, and they refused to take no for an answer. 

Their grandkids, Millennials (don’t get me started on them) are actually a larger wave of humanity than the boomers were. And they, too, come to the table with an intractable way of seeing the world. They’ve had a lasting impact. No doubt about it. 

But, between the bombastic self-importance of boomers and the precious hand wringing of Millennials, are the awkward middle children of modern history… Generation X-ers. 

My son, a “Gen Z-er” calls me “boomer” because he doesn’t even recognize Gen X as a thing. And, admittedly, our generational ethos is that of kinda staying to ourselves and being completely “over it.” 

By the time they were in their mid 50’s, baby-boomers had already produced three U.S. presidents. We Gen X-ers are in our mid 50’s, now, and have yet to produce ONE president. 

Maybe it’s because we see the absurdity in doing that job for $400 k. Maybe it’s because we simply lack the charisma and naked ambition it takes to win that election. Or maybe it’s because we are all so naturally self-effacing, we can’t imagine having the balls to actually believe you could do that job. 

Either way, my hunch is the presidency will probably be occupied by boomers until they literally die off. Then, it will jump right to a Millennial – where laws will be enacted to give the losers of every Super Bowl the Lombardi trophy as well. After all, they played the ENTIRE game…just like the winners. They are just as valuable as the winners and should be celebrated as such. Like I said…don’t get me started on them. 

Anyway …

The greatest generation had a rugged elegance to them. They knew when to exit and shut up. 

Johnny Carson saw that he was missing a step, so he literally disappeared from public life and didn’t allow any more photos of himself to be published. 

When Ronald Reagan knew he was being overtaken by Alzheimer’s, he wrote a farewell letter the country and rode off into the sunset. 

Not boomers. They just re-attach their diapers, grab some ice cream, and keep acting like they’re in control of everything. Because, you know…they’re them. 

Again, you gotta hand it to them. They’re not short on confidence. Even if they’re completely wrong about everything. 

In the spirit of that misguided generational confidence, Neil Young announced, this week, that you could either have him or Joe Rogan on Spotify. But you couldn’t have both. 

I honestly chuckled when I heard this. Never mind that he’s really, REALLY late to the party when it comes to boycotting Spotify, and that he’s doing it for the wrong reasons (abject theft of content is the idealogical horse he should be riding. But that’s another blog for another day), it’s just amazing to me that these kids still think they drive culture. They still think we’re listening to them. And they still think we care what they think. 

Apparently, Rogan not toeing the party line on Covid has Mr. Young all up in a tizzie. And he’s not having it! Ol’ Neil says Joe is spreading “misinformation.” 

Okay, daddio – let’s look at the merits …

Joe Rogan has had almost every major expert, in every field related to Covid, on his show, to discuss all aspects of the virus. On one day you can hear Sanjay Gupta and on the next, you can hear Peter McCullough. Hell, you might even hear the guy who actually INVENTED mRNA technology. 

I got the vaccine. Was it the right decision? I have no idea. And guess what…you don’t either. But I made the decision based on a free flow of information I receive from places like Joe Rogan’s show.

I’ll listen to Heart Of Gold on an oldies station.  

Joe may not have been my first choice as the representation of my generation. He might not always be the smartest guy in the room. But unlike so many others, he cops to all of that and has experts show up to talk to the rest of us plebes, about pretty much everything. 

He isn’t doing anything other than what baby-boomers railed about what everybody should always be doing, for decades…pulling the curtain back on everything. 

See, my generation may still be a bunch of Adam Sandlers and Molly Ringwalds, wearing ironic t-shirts, listening to Blink 182 records, watching Friends re-runs and rolling our eyes at literally everything. And our contributions to the world may only be the mockumentary, the slow clap and biting sarcasm. But the ONE thing my generation is better at than any generation that came before us, is recognizing and exposing the absurd

And, my friends, never before in human history, have we needed that ability more than right now. It’s Gen X’s time to shine. And Joe Rogan is part of what’s happening now when it comes to exposing the absurd.  

Boomers always loved to go on and on (and on and on) about the evils of McCarthyism and the corrupt power structure and taking it to “the man” and speaking truth to power and all of that…until they became the power structure; until they became “the man.”

Now, we all have to keep our mouths shut and do what we’re told? Come on, hippies. Did you drop all that acid for nothing?

I can’t imagine that Neil Young believes he’s going to have all that much influence over Spotify, all by himself. But maybe he’s hoping to start an avalanche of artists following suit, and creating that most boomer of all endeavors…a mass protest. 

And they’ll finally end that damn war in Vietnam! 

That might happen. But the truth of it is, you can’t have MISinformation until you first have information. And we’re still getting it when it comes to Covid. They rushed a vaccine through a ten year process, in ten months. They waved FDA rules to get it out. 

There is no such thing as “misinformation” with something like that. There is only information we have to add to the stack of stuff that we may or may not know…because it’s all still experimental. 

In that environment, the more voices the better. 

And if you’re on the side of the status quo/party line, you’re simply not where it’s at. At the risk of sounding like a cock sure boomer…you’re just nowhere, man.  

Neil Young is leveraging his career and body of work in favor of official government policy. He’s on the side of the old guys telling us it will all be okay if we just fall in and do what we’re told. He’s trying to use his influence to shut down the free expression of ideas, and casting his lots with the rule makers. He’s trying to help prop up “the man.” 

And there ain’t nothing – and I mean NOTHING – less rock and roll than that.   

R

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QUIET RESIGNATION …

You ever get that quiet resignation?

It’s just a peaceful understanding of how things actually are and what is really going on and what types of charades are being performed. And you decide to simply not participate anymore. 

That’s kinda where I am. Let me explain …

I am a topical blogger. That means I write about everything from pop culture to politics, railroads to religion. I’m not shy about my personal beliefs and I usually hold forth. 

I don’t hate anybody and I wish success, abundance and good health to everyone…even those with whom I disagree. 

I’m an unashamed Libertarian, who would rather talk about ideas than people or events. I do not endorse political candidates and I rarely get on anyone’s cult-of-personality train. 

This week marks Joe Biden’s first full year in office. As of the writing of this, he is about to hold his SIXTH (yes, I said 6th) press conference (in 12 months), where he actually takes questions from “journalists”. 

I haven’t written a lot about Mr. Biden, because quite frankly…I’m just tired. 

The pandora’s box that was opened in 2020, revealed so many things and illuminated so many hidden secrets, it feels like a lot of us looked inside and just got that quiet resignation I’m talking about, where your heart sinks and your stomach tightens and you just go, “oh…we were right. Crap!”

Sometimes, someone close to you says or does something that breaks the trust between you. And you realize you can’t move forward with them. It’s not a fight. It’s not dramatic. It’s not even worth spending a lot of time thinking about. 

You just go, “OH…I get it. We can’t be friends anymore. Okay…I see, now.” And you just move on. 

That’s what this quiet resignation feels like. I’m not up for an argument. Not interested in jousting online; going deep into the comments section with a pseudo intellectual, sporting a Bachelor’s degree in applied cultural dynamics and pulling down a cool 28K-a-year at their middle management position. 

I’m not going to post needling memes that rile people up (on either side of whatever argument). I’m not trying to throw red meat to my base audience, in order to get the likes and shares and “spot on!” comments in the ensuing threads. 

No, I’ve pretty much had enough of all of that, now. 

I’ve also had enough catering to those on “the other side of the aisle.” 

My wife has always asked me why I keep so many “friends,” on my friends list, who just pile on unmercifully whenever I post something political that they disagree with. My response was always that I wanted to be open to all sides and all points of view; keep my beliefs agile and guard myself against falling into dogma.    

Yeah…I’m done with that. Tired of nonsense. Fed up with ignorance. Just, done. 

I haven’t watched the news (from ANY source) in a solid year. I don’t really care about it anymore. They’ve all lost credibly with me. We know what they did and what they hid and what they pushed and what they pulled. 

See, we live in a world where it’s hard to keep information squelched, now. Things go viral too quickly. Videos and documents get shared to easily. And we’re onto the gate keepers. 

We know there were fingers placed on the scales to tip the 2020 election. I mean, my God, Time magazine ADMITTED IT! ALL – every single one – of the big tech guys copped to actively hiding the Hunter Biden story – the story I maintained, from the beginning of the 2020 campaign, was the most important story anyone could cover. 

And, no matter what side of the political divide you come down on, THAT is election tampering. Period. 

We all know that Ghislaine Maxwell is harboring some secrets that could shake the foundations of the world. But they won’t be shaken. We know they won’t. 

We all pretty much know that the virus (that shall not be named) probably got out of a lab, where a select few, with access to funds none of the rest of us can get access to, were doing some things they probably shouldn’t have been doing. 

And we know they will never be punished for any of it…because…you know…it didn’t happen (wink, wink). 

It’s been pretty well established that the Russian collusion accusation that caused this country to spend over 50 million dollars and hold countless confessional hearings, was basically created out of whole cloth and run by an untouchable cadre of government-protected individuals who will never answer for any of it. 

These things, along with, like, a half dozen other revelations none of us wanted to know, have caused some us to just go numb and start closing doors.  

And so, as our dear leader gives his SIXTH press conference in, 12 months (did I say 6th?), a lot of us just nod, keep our heads down and walk through life as best we can. 

Personally, I made my life smaller; focussing on things I can control, like my diet and exercise and daily work, rather than the bigger issues. I’m keeping it more micro and less macro around here.

And to be clear, none of this has to do with Donald Trump (for me, anyway). Trump was merely a cautionary tale; a canary in the coal mine of the establishment. 

And the establishment made it very clear: don’t fuck with us. We will destroy you and everything you love.

That’s because all living organisms have a prime directive to survive at all costs. And THAT is why you have to be very careful about how big you build a governmental beast (or ANY kind of beast, for that matter). Because no matter your politics, that beast will find a way to eat. 

Today it might be eating the other side. But given enough time, it will find its way to your side.  

During the Trump years, people were big on the word “resist.”

I honestly had no idea what they were resisting. I guess peace and prosperity just makes some people say “eww.” 

Now is a time, however, when there are actual governmental things trying to be put in place that could make one want to resist. There are serious things to push back on. 

But, if you’re like me, you’re tired of the inflamed debates and heated exchanges. You’re simply not going there anymore. I’m done entertaining the ridiculous. 

The principles we’ve all always known to be true are playing out right in front of us. The shelves are empty. And when they’re not, the prices are too high. People are weary. Whatever this is…isn’t working. And it’s losing support at an almost record pace. 

I don’t do bumper stickers. But if I did, mine wouldn’t say “resist.” It would say, “Resigned.” 

You won’t get an argument out of me. I’m just going to smile at you and wish you well. When I see my president on TV, I’m just going to quietly change the channel and say a silent prayer for his soul and his declining health. But he means almost less than nothing to me. 

We, who favor freedom and checked government, were right. And you, who favor statism and expanding governmental power, were wrong. And it’s playing out in real time, right before your eyes. 

Nothing else needs to be said.      

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RACE TO THE TOP …

The agent couldn’t have been nicer. 

And he accommodated us as best he could. But we’re at the mercy of a system. And that’s okay. We’re used to it. 

But it does get you thinking …

See, my daughter, who was adopted out of China almost 20 years ago, is disabled. They tell us she is eligible for some sort of Federal government assistance. She is missing a piece of a chromosome and is unable to function in society as a “fully abled” person. 

She’s non verbal and requires 24-hour-a-day care. She has to be assisted in the bathroom and bathed and fed and clothed. Imagine how it was caring for your 2-year-old. Now imagine that just being your normal existence for the next two decades or…well…forever. 

In her entire life, we’ve never gotten any government assistance for her, except what the county provides through the school system. We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to cover the costs of her care, for her whole life. 

But my business fluctuates and floats and it would be nice to have something just for her as she progresses into adulthood. 

That’s why we were on the phone with the Social Security agent…who couldn’t have been nicer.    

Unfortunately for us, we have to provide the Social Security administration with a proof of citizenship certificate. This is something we’ve never had to provide for her before. 

It’s about $1200 to get a proof of citizenship certificate, even though she was sworn in a citizen, in Los Angeles, California, the day she set foot on American soil. And even though she was officially re-adopted two years later, in Chancery court of our county, and we have all that paper work, it still doesn’t count.  

We have every document you could ask for, regarding her life…except that one piece of paper they need. 

And you know what? That’s okay. I believe in legal immigration and following the law and going through proper channels. I’m interested in some types of confrontation, but I’m not interested in getting sideways with governments and their agencies. 

If this is what’s required, then it’s what’s required. And the money is incidental. I suppose people need to be paid for pushing paper. So, I get it. 

But here’s where I do get a burr under my saddle …

As I was on my daily walk, processing the morning’s new information, and listening to the news, I heard the president (in a news report) say something that piqued my interest. And the more I thought about it, it kinda made me angry. 

There was a report on the new Federal voting laws that are trying to get passed in the Senate. And the president invoked a few names from history, to send his message to the congressional voters. 

The names were Bull Connor and George Wallace and Abe Lincoln and such. And it was clear that the brush this was going to be painted with was one of civil rights. 

Apparently, minorities need more time to get absentee ballots in than those in the majority. And it seems that it would be a violation of some kind for those in a minority to have to produce an ID in order to vote, than those in a majority. 

This type of rhetoric is so outdated and retreaded it’s almost laughable. 

See, for this to truly be a civil rights issue, you have to start with a basic premise: that white people – particularly white Republicans – are afraid of the numbers of black (or brown) people who will vote against their interests. So, they must find ways to repress those votes and keep them from being counted, in order to maintain power. 

I think that’s about the size of it. 

The problem is, historically those have been tactics used primarily by Democrats. But never mind that. The theory has some other problems as well …

You have to believe that ALL black people vote a certain way and ALL white people vote a certain way. You have to believe that black people and white people are fundamentally opposed when it comes to politics. 

And that, in and of itself, is about the most racist thing I can think of.

You also have to believe that being a minority in America makes it more difficult for you to procure certain documents. That is, again, an assumption based solely on race…which is essentially a racist mentality. 

Let me tell you what will is difficult…

Needing a bridge loan from your bank, to get through the holidays, but not being able to get it because they haven’t given enough of those types of loans to enough minorities, that year. 

That’s a real oversight regulation put in place by Elizabeth Warren. It’s to ensure that white men don’t get preferential treatment when it comes to lending. And it really happened to me, a few years ago, when three different companies froze all my royalties because they were all being sold at the same time.  

The irony is it didn’t just affect me. It affected my Mexican wife and my Chinese daughter…the same daughter who now has to prove her citizenship to get SSI benefits. And that leads me to this …

Personally, I am getting sick and tired of being called a racist every time I turn around, if I happen to oppose something or support something, politically. I think it’s probably a good thing to show your ID before voting. 

Why is that racist?

I think states should run tight ships when it comes to ballot harvesting at election time. Yes, every vote should count. But every vote shouldn’t count twice. Also, intentions to vote are not votes.

There is a process and it should be fair and transparent. 

Fairness and transparency isn’t something only people of a certain race (or even political party) want. And wanting it doesn’t make you a racist. 

Eventually, this big baseball bat of racism, that some use to bludgeon their opposition into submission, isn’t going to work anymore. See, I have several different races living under my roof and yet I’m told I’m a racist if I don’t support an open southern border. 

Why? 

I am LITERALLY in the process of jumping through immigration hoops, as I type this. That’s the world of bringing someone into this country from another country. 

But I’m supposed to also, simultaneously, support a world where none of that is honored and we all look the other way and just act like it isn’t happening?! Why does my daughter not get the same leniency as those who might just walk across the border from Mexico?

Is it because she’s Asian?  That’s it, isn’t it?!? It’s because she’s Asian. 

Hopefully you can see how ridiculous the above sentences sound. Of course nobody cares that my daughter is Asian. It means nothing to the system. What matters to the system is her legal residence status. 

Nobody cares about my wife’s Mexican blood (except me, when I piss her off). I’ll really be glad when people stop caring about my pasty white skin. Because none of it matters. And none of it should matter. 

The problem is, once race is taken out of the equation, and we start looking at other things, some people are going to go broke or be out of a job…or start losing elections.    

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22 THINGS WE SHOULD RETIRE IN 2022 …

22. ANTHONY FAUCI

There’s a famous story, here in Nashville, about a guy who wandered into a recording session and started making suggestions on a track being recorded. All the musicians thought he was part of the artist’s team. Maybe from the label. Maybe from management. Everybody just listened to him…until the suggestions started making no sense, whatsoever.

Finally, the producer (who had been out of the room) walked in and said, “um…dude…who ARE you? And how did you get in here?” 

I think we’re all to the point, with Dr. Fauci, where we’re saying, “Um…dude…who are you, why do I keep seeing you on TV? And why do you have so much power over my life?” 

You had a good run, doc. But you’ve been too wrong or too confusing, too many times. We can get nuanced information faster from other sources, than you can impart the standard CDC talking points on the evening news. And you’re too closely tied to too much that needs to be investigated, now. Time for you to exit the session. 

And while we’re on the subject of investigations …

21. THE IDEA THAT THE VIRUS DIDN’T COME FROM A LAB 

If you still think the virus that has turned the world upside down for the last two years, came from a cave…you’re living in one. The information that discredits this theory is all pretty readily available and pretty widely accepted…except by those who were involved.

The information is out there. 

And speaking of information being out there …

20. EXCUSES 

Never before in human history, have we had access to more information and more knowledge on how to get our bodies in shape and beat metabolic issues, than right now. If you want to do it, you can do it. It’s 2022 for Pete’s sake. You can figure it out.

And, when it comes to weight loss, one thing has gotten totally figured … 

19. SNACKS

Whether you’re an old school calorie counter or a new school insulin regulator, between-meal snacks basically wreck your New Year’s goal of losing those extra pounds. Adding daily snacks either A) adds unneeded calories to your count, or B) spikes your insulin and shuts down fat burning. 

Either way, snacking isn’t a good idea. 

The 6-small-meals-a-day/keep the metabolic furnace burning/never let yourself get hungry philosophy is as outdated as bell bottoms. If you’re not playing first base on a little league team, you probably don’t need snacks. 

And when it comes to what you don’t need … 

18. FANCY EXERCISE EQUIPMENT

It is now pretty well established that you don’t really need any “equipment” to get your body in shape. Nor do you need expensive diet programs that require you to eat this or that processed energy bar or protein drink. 

If you just exchange everything you drink in a day, for water (or sparkling water), walk an hour a day, and don’t eat after 7 pm, you will be a different person in about a month. 

If you want to build muscle on top of that, body weight work is proving to be what the old folks knew it was – effective. 

Start doing pushups, pull-ups and air squats everyday. If you just do those few things, you won’t recognize yourself by summer. You don’t need that new fangled wheel type thingy or those cool straps or that big machine, that will just be taking up space by March.

Doing some simple things and being consistent, might just get you close to where you want to be. Consistency always beats fancy. And before you know it, you’ll be as hot as that Tik Tok girl. 

Speaking of Tik Tok girls …

17. TIK TOK DANCE VIDEOS TO NEON MOON

Ladies, you all look lovely in those videos. And I’m sure Brooks and Dunn are ecstatic about every video posted. But just about every woman in America has done one, now. It’s basically the Macarena. 

Let’s at least find another song. And, of course, by “song” I mean “thirst trap.” Because those aren’t going away anytime soon.  

When a clip of your booty can get 11 million views, you have found a new career. TV Networks would kill for those kind of numbers. 

And that leads me to this …

16. NETWORK TV

I can’t even remember the last time I watched a show on a major TV network. Streaming services have taken over the entertainment space. And they do TV better than TV ever did it. 

Over the holidays, I saw a major Network actually advertising a couple of its new shows, ON a streaming service. They called one show “the next Superstore,” which I have never seen and didn’t know was something we compared things to. 

The other one was called “this generation’s FRIENDS.” And, of course, the cast was all black (anytime you see the phrase “THIS generation’s” in front of anything, rest assured everybody will be black. Because Hollywood is REALLY trying to make up for lost time). 

This is what Networks think people want. Hey guys, you’re about a decade behind…maybe more. That’s why you are no longer relevant and should be retired. Roll yourselves into the streamers and catch up to the rest of the world. 

We’ve already seen FRIENDS. I’m pretty sure my grandkids will be binging it on Disney Plus, one day. 

And speaking of Disney Plus …

15. THE BEATLES 

Nobody – and I mean NOBODY – loves the Fab Four more than me. Yesterday is my all time favorite song. I own everything they’ve ever put out. They are, without a doubt, the greatest band of all time. 

But we’ve heard the songs. We’ve seen the concerts. We’ve read the books and seen the movies. Now, after Peter Jackson has taken us into the inner sanctum of the musical creativity that shaped the modern world, we’ve actually gotten to watch them write and record classics.  

We totally get it: John was the visionary. Paul was the genius. George was the dark horse. Ringo was the work horse. It’s all out there. Every little detail has been poured over. Every rock has been turned over. We’ve squeezed about as much juice out of Beatle lore as is possible.  

The two remaining Beatles are in their 80’s. Well done, lads. 

Let’s just all enjoy the music, now, and let these guys retire in peace. 

While we’re talking about finding peace …

14. CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM 

I was all in for the first 9 seasons. But we get it, now. You made a hundred million dollars off Seinfeld, so all you do is play golf and twiddle your thumbs. You were the inspiration for George Costansa and say things nobody else will say out loud, and it gets you in uncomfortable situations. Ha. Got it. Okay. 

Seinfeld, being the consummate performer, had the good sense to say goodnight while everybody still wanted more. We’re about two seasons past that on this particular send up. 

In this season, by the time it was spoofing Trump’s “perfect call,” I was yawning and knowing EXACTLY what the next move was going to be. 

Also, that perfect call ended up being pretty damned important, in light of Hunter Biden’s laptop information. 

See, this show is supposed to be about a guy who will say what all of us are actually thinking. And this year missed the mark by a mile. 

If they really wanted to write a scenario that summed up what we’re all thinking, they should’ve created a scenario where Larry becomes president of his HOA and despite his horrible people skills, actually does a pretty great job…because he asks the uncomfortable questions. But then a group of HOA snobs use a flood of impossible-to-substantiate mail-in ballots, to beat him in the next election. 

And every time Larry tries to point out the inconsistencies and the corruption, he gets banned from some social media platform for violating community standards.

Then, after Larry gets replaced, the neighborhood declines into a shit show, because the guy who beats him is merely a figure head and proxy for the group who is out to get Larry ousted, and clearly in the first stages of dementia.

And, for no particular reason whatsoever, that leads me to this …

13. JOE BIDEN

I would like to personally congratulate Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama on no longer being the suckiest presidents of my lifetime. Our president’s latest plan to fight Covid is for us to Google where the closest testing station is. Google. It. 

MMkay. 

I don’t know if presidents can just step aside and say, “Sorry guys…this was a bad idea and it ain’t working. I’m just gonna peace out …”

But..um…bruh…It ain’t working. 

I guess that’s why so many people are constantly chanting, “let’s go Br…”

You know…the thing. 

Speaking of things not working …

12. AWARD SHOWS

In 2021, EVERY award show (from the Oscars to the Grammy’s, to everything in between) registered it’s lowest ratings in the history of itself. 

Yes, we’re all incredibly weary of being lectured to by “the winners” in life. And that probably has a lot to do with nobody watching these shows, anymore. But even the CMA’s got their worst ratings of all time. And those guys are all super nice and non-political. They love mama and trucks and just want to spread love and beer. 

The basic truth is that nobody cares about awards and award shows anymore. Giving out awards is actually turning into kind of an antiquated notion. Kinda like smoking. Sure, we all used to do it at one time. But we learned and grew and got better and realized that it was pretty much nonsense. 

*Full disclaimer: if I’m ever again nominated for nonsense, I will go and hope I win and completely deny that I ever wrote this*

And while we’re talking about nonsense …

11. LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

Greg Gutfeld is single-handedly destroying all the Late Night Jimmy’s of the world, because he has rejected the artificial premise of the host being an objective agent who has guests on to “talk” about 

themselves…and everybody is friends and they’re just shooting the breeze and “oh, wow, you’re in a new movie?…I had no idea!!” 

When, in truth, we all know that all the parties involved are basically just doing the business of selling us new music or new movies or new books. Yawn. We get it. And it’s an outdated artifice. 

But now, the hosts have all tipped their political hands. They’re in on trying to get us to think and vote a certain way. They’ve shown us behind the curtain one too many times. So, the jig is basically up. And we 

don’t care to participate in the farce, or the not-so-subtle political game, anymore.

We’d all prefer these beta males to just man up and do straight political shows, like Greg does. Just be what you want to be. But they know they can’t hang in that world. So they keep pretending they are 

comedians just doing political jokes. Even though the jokes ALL seem to run in one direction. 

You guys are all really well liked by the power. Congrats. 

But unfortunately, if your name isn’t Greg Gutfeld, you’re doing late night TV wrong. And we’re all on to your BS. 

While we’re on the subject of BS … 

10. DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

I don’t know what time it’s actually supposed to be. What is the REAL time? We artificially move it back and forth every six months. 

Can we finally just pick one and stay with it? Is that too much to ask in 2022?

Or are we all going to continue to be victims of someone else’s bright idea from a long time ago? And how long ago? Who actually knows???

And speaking of victims …

9. VICTIM STATUS

Never, in the history of mankind, have more people been available, trained and willing to try and help you get through whatever it is you’re going through, than right now. We are bending over backwards to help 

people of every race, age, gender and national origin, be seen and heard and healed of whatever has been ailing them. 

It’s time to get out of the safe spaces, get on with the healing…and get to the business of life. 

And while we’re at it …

8. FORCED “DIVERSITY” IN TV COMMERCIALS

We get it. Sometimes a completely-against-type black guy marries a sort of masculine Asian girl. Sometimes a pasty white guy, with red hair and a hipster beard marries a black woman older than him. GOT IT. 

Sheesh. 

I’m in a mixed race marriage, myself. I’m all for a society where everybody has a part to play. But for the love, people…it’s just a car commercial. You don’t have to squeeze every “type” into every frame. We can literally see you checking the boxes. 

Can you see us rolling our eyes? 

And that leads me to another thing…

7. RACE

With all the new epigenetics research being done and new breakthroughs in nueroplasticity studies, we are, almost daily, seeing a new study that reads, “everything we know about metabolism is wrong” or “everything we thought we knew about DNA is wrong.” 

Basically, we’re finding out that our genetics doesn’t play the role we always thought it played in everything. It doesn’t lock us into what we thought it locked us into (see #20). 

As these new findings emerge, it makes race (and DNA, in general) less and less of a factor in pretty much everything…except what we decide it’s a factor in

Race is obviously a thing – yes, you are of a certain race. It obviously informs who you are…like your hair color or eye color does. 

But, unless you have a genetic disorder (such as my daughter’s case, where she is actually missing a piece of a chromosome) it doesn’t account for much more than that. 

In a world that is currently actually considering Critical Race Theory – a theory that asserts that literally EVERYTHING in your life is a result of your race (which is a pretty complicated case to make in 2022) – we’re learning, from good old science, that race only means what we want it to mean. 

Has it shaped our history? Of course. Has it left people out? No way to argue against that. Race has a tortured history on this continent (and every continent, if were being honest). And nobody is trying to gloss over horrible things that have happened to people because of their race. Nor should they. But at some point, you have to ask the big question: so, now what?

If we keep making things about race, they will keep being about race. It’s a vicious cycle. And nobody has the market on racism cornered. If race is a part of your daily thought pattern, you’re not yet free of it. 

Maybe it’s time, here in the early 2020’s, to get free of something that means so little in the general scheme of things.    

And maybe – just maybe – race will stop being a factor, when we…well…stop making it one. 

Then, maybe we could get to that little thing one of the world’s greatest visionaries talked about, a long time ago…the content of character.  

And speaking of science …

6. THE PHRASE “FOLLOW THE SCIENCE” 

We all know, now, that the word “science” should just be replaced with the word “money.” 

And speaking of following money …

5. HILLARY CLINTON

“I’m not gonna just bake cookies and just stand by my man like Tammy Wynette,” was the quote I remember the most. 

As a Nashville songwriter, I get my back up when people start making fun of Tammy and her iconic song. Not on my watch, sister. 

But then, after “her man” proved to be not only a philanderer, but possibly (probably) a sexual predator, she kinda stood by him…like Tammy Wynette. 

She overreached in 1993, trying to completely overhaul the American healthcare system, from an UNELECTED position, ushering in the Newt Gingrich revolution. 

She got more delegates than Barack Obama, in 2008, but then LITERALLY handed him the nomination at the convention. She lost to Donald Trump in ’16, blowing a double digit lead in the polls. Then she wrote  a 300 page book about why it happened. It could’ve been one page that simply read, “I didn’t campaign in Wisconsin.”

Anyway …

She completely missed the #metoo movement, mainly because she had put up with all the shenanigans by her husband and possibly by those around him. She misread the room when Trump was running. She’s been wrong more times than Al Gore trying to predict when all the ice will be melted. 

And we thought (and hoped) that maybe she’d have the good grace to simply ride off into the sunset. 

But I recently saw that she now has a “Master Class” available to purchase. Unless it’s on how to destroy a Blackberry with a hammer, I can’t imagine what she’s going to teach us…masterfully.  

Only baby boomer progressives in Hollywood would still think anybody cares what Ms. Clinton has to say. At least her husband – you know, the guy who actually WON twice – knows when to get out of the spotlight for a minute, and not wear out your welcome.  

Speaking of wearing out your welcome …

4. TIGER KING

You couldn’t have come at a better time. You got us through some weirdness, for a hot minute, by exposing us to something weirder. 

But I’m sorry, ya’ll. One season was enough. We can’t do multiple seasons of Tiger King for the same reason we can’t shoot Jaegermeister and eat brownies till we pass out, every single night. It was a one time thing.

Fun? You bet it was…ONCE. 

But the world simply can’t handle that much crazy on a regular basis. 

Speaking of crazy on a regular basis …

3. MASKS 

The Bangladesh study is pretty clear. M-95 masks work pretty well at stopping droplets and maybe curbing a percentage of people from catching a virus. Cloth masks, however, like the ones so many people are required to wear in order to work directly with the general public…are basically worthless. 

In the end, viruses do what they do…they spread. Then, they mutate. Then, they spread again. And they mutate again. And so on and so forth. 

Masks are never going to stop that progression in any long-term, sustainable, meaningful way. And we can’t wear them for the rest of our lives, everywhere we go. 

Although, I’m sure the above comments will be fact checked to death and probably get me banned from one thing or another. 

And that leads me to this …

2. FACT CHECKERS

Two important law suits were recently filed (and won) by John Stossel and Peter Schweitzer (respectively), regarding “fact checkers” taking down their content. 

As both reporters were able to prove, their content was NOT non-factual. And in Stossel’s case, the fact checkers had to admit that their problem with his factual content was based on opinion. Not established 

fact. 

This should be the end of “fact checking” on anything calling itself a “platform” from here on out.  

What we’ve learned is that sometimes fact checkers simply want certain facts to be facts…even if the facts they want upheld are not even established facts…yet. And that has led to more confusion than if they would’ve just left everybody alone and allowed them to share whatever they wanted to share. 

We get to the truth only by allowing more information to come to light – not by curating information like parents trying to keep their tweeners from seeing an R rated movie. 

Just because you’re wearing skinny jeans, an ironic sweater (buttoned all the way to the top), drinking an expensive latte and driving a hybrid, doesn’t mean you can’t still unknowingly be a staunch fascist. 

Fascists always think as long as THEY are controlling the right people, then THEY are not really fascists. They always think they’re part of the solution…until one day they wake up to find it has descended into a “final” one.

I recently saw some commercial where a young social media exec (dressed much like the person in the sentence above) was talking about how they are trying to handle this issue. He was so earnest and kind in his demeanor. He said something to the effect of, “without regulation, we’re just trying to find a good place to land on all of this.”

I yelled back at the TV, “There already IS a good place to land! It’s called freedom of speech!”

And, speaking of getting banned, if nothing else dos it, in this piece, it’ll probably be this ONE word …

1. COVID 19

Now, let me start by saying that I’ve had this virus. And it almost killed me. It almost killed my daughter. And it DID kill several of my dear friends. 

I have never taken this lightly or been flippant about any of it. I cancelled my career, stayed home, socially distanced, washed my hands like I had OCD, wore the masks, took the vitamin D…and got it anyway. 

Because…well…see #3. That’s what viruses do. 

And then, after I recovered, I started the most radical life shift imaginable (dropping 60 pounds in the process) to make sure I didn’t end up in the hospital again, over an unforced error. 

Then, when the vaccines came out, I got the most potent one on the market, even though that action actually alienated some of my friends. But, I took an “all of the above” approach to the whole issue. And I didn’t make any of my decisions without doing extensive research and talking with medical professionals about all of it. 

I did almost nothing but health research for all of 2021. I have read more studies and looked at more graphs than I ever wanted to, in my lifetime. I have talked to doctors and nurses on a regular basis. I’m in a text group completely devoted to finding and sharing new information on this very subject. 

So, I don’t say this lightly …

As of the typing of this, there are more confirmed cases of Covid in America than at any other time since the pandemic started. And those numbers are probably going to double, very soon. But we are now to a weaker – albeit more infectious – variant. And that’s actually a good thing. 

By the time they get the “O”s, in the variant rolodex, that usually means the organism has weakened and adapted to the type of host it wants to live in. 

See, that’s how it works.  

Every living thing – even a virus – has the prime directive to live. So viruses would rather not kill their hosts. By the time they adapt and mutate and figure out where the sweet spot is, they’re easier to get and give, but they also don’t make you as sick. 

This is when “pandemic” becomes “endemic.” I remembered it from science class by just remembering the root word, “END.”  

That’s when we basically reach what they call “herd immunity.”  

It doesn’t mean you can’t still get it. It doesn’t mean you might not still get pretty sick. It just means the worst is behind us, and now it’s going to be a seasonal annoyance we have to factor into our day-to-day lives…like a cold or the flu. 

Most of the news we’re getting about the Omicron variant, is good news. It seems to be milder and easier to kick. It also seems to provide immunity from the other variants – which is amazingly good news! 

***This is not medical advice or expertise*** but it seems like we’re about to turn the corner on this thing. And good f#8king riddance! 

C-19 has had its 15 minutes…and then some. 

It has turned the world upside down and inside out. It has crashed economies and created new fortunes. It has shifted power and changed the dynamic of almost everything about human existence. 

We will forever see the world through the prism of “before Covid” and “after Covid.” 

If we can live with what it has now become…it’s time for the “after.” 

If I’m not right about any of these other things, I pray I’m right about this one. 

Either way, here’s to a great – and healthy – new year …

R   

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