Archive for the ‘Life In Plaid Shorts’ Category

Politics as Unusual


I was in an online discussion in response to the Bob Costas gun control comments from Sunday Night Football. I did not think his comments were appropriate whether you agree with him or not (and for full disclosure I do not). However, gun control is not the subject of these thoughts.

As the discussion progressed, it eventually became the same back and forth name calling: “Flaming Liberal!”, “Racist, sexist Conservative!”, “Idiot!”, etc. Topics like abortion (which really gets my blood pumping, but again not the subject), civic rights and welfare surfaced. I made a comment about most civil rights legislation in our nations history being introduced by Republicans and often fought by Democrats (which is true, you can look it up). However, the response, while not anything new, really got me thinking.

One person made the point that I couldn’t actually call the Republicans of Lincoln’s time “conservative”. He went on to say that parties have changed ideological standpoints many times through the years. I’ve thought about this before and I know people that were once “Old Line” Democrats that are now Republicans. Again, this is not yet the focus but the background.

I decided to do a little digging. How is Conservatism defined? How is Liberalism defined? Is how they are thought of today the same as how they were intended be? Do the definitions really define the core of what they stand for?

I have always considered myself a conservative. Under Bush I adopted the “Compassionate Conservative” label. Later I added my own “Responsible Capitalism” tag. There may be some Republican ideals I question, but there are some Democratic views that I can never align myself with. But, in this discussion the same thought came back to me as before. When I am around staunch conservatives (90% of the time), all I hear is how stupid liberals are and how idiotic they can be. I have very seldom heard some of these people actually agree with anything a person says after they have found one thing they disagree with. It really is insane. I thought the way Gov. Chris Christie praised Obama was very appropriate and classy. I have heard him say plenty to the contrary (with which I agree), but that was not the moment to do so again.

con·serv·a·tive -

  • disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
  • a person who is conservative in principles, actions, habits, etc.
  • a supporter of conservative political policies.
  • a preservative.

lib·er·al -

  • favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
  • favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
  • a person of liberal principles or views, especially in politics or religion.
  • a member of a liberal party in politics

These are just a few definitions courtesy of I’ve always had very simple definitions: Conservative – Great morals and values. To want what is right. Liberal – Mixed up morals. To want what is someone else’s.

I admit that these are pretty shallow definitions. As I read the definitions, I realize that I like change and I’m favorable to a person’s freedom. Furthermore, I like tradition but I am not exactly disposed to preserving existing conditions. I may have all this wrong (and I’m sure some conservatives will try to preserve me), but I see myself taking on a different mindset. Don’t get too happy either, Liberals. I’m not switching to your side of the room. I’m just not sure what word I want to label myself with anymore. So instead of one word, I’ll use a few.

I’m for what is right. I heard someone say that “rightness” is the extension of God’s character. If change will bring us to what is right, then I vote for change. If we have it right, then I’m all in for preservation. And it’s not either or. Some things should remain and some things should not. I think everyone that is truthful would agree with that, but I want to do this without predisposition or affiliation. I don’t want to assume someone is wrong because we’re not described with the same word. And I will not assume someone is right because we are. I want to love my neighbor and seek Truth. I want my pride to take a backseat to my character.

And just so you know (a little Milespeak right?) I have no problem with how you label yourself. This is not an attempt at a movement or call for a mind shift. It’s just my rant… out loud to myself. I have quieted my inner thoughts for too long.

New Year’s Restitution 2011


My life is not where I thought it would be. I should have a master’s degree, a nicer house, and a decent income. There should be a boat in my garage along with a truck large enough to pull it. Instead, I have one semester of college under my belt and no garage to store a truck or boat. My list of shoulda, coulda, woulda’s is long. I have asked myself many times, “What could I have done differently?” The process goes on and on, but I always come to the same conclusion. My life, no matter where it is, includes my wife and our four children, and the thought that even one “right” choice could potentially mess with that scares me. I love my life even if there is a lot I do not like about it, because it includes them.

I have tried (almost successfully) to stop asking the question concerning my past. It’s over. I cannot change it. I will not forget it. I can only move forward.

I have a bad habit of over-correcting. I’m kind of like that Boise St. kicker. If I’m wide right the first time, I’ll probably be wide left the next… I just hope for a third shot. I began to ask myself, “What should I do next?” The question was not really that different though. I would ask the question as if I had it to do over again. By the time I began asking this question, it had little to do with my career or income and everything to do with my children and wife. I remembered telling Jonathan several times how tired I was and how I didn’t feel like throwing the ball right now. I decided to make up for my fathering deficiencies. But my children were older now and the same things did not apply in the same way. This brought on more depression. I felt like a total failure and that I could never make up for any of it. I even felt that if I read to my youngest daughter every night that would not be fair to the others that I seldom read to.

The question began to beat like a drum in my head and I became very confused until I realized there was a better question. “What should I do right now?” I have put it into limited practice over the past few months, but now I think it should be the question I ask the most. I could approach life with regrets of the past or promises of the future but I will do neither. I will take what now gives me and make the most of it.

The funny thing is this has come somewhat full circle, because “living in the moment” is what got me here in the first place. However, this is different… I will not live with a reckless abandon to what surrounds me. Instead, I will live with a new understanding that I can only act now and must do so with an awareness of everything in my reach.

Hidden Colors


It’s hard to separate the colors. To see them I have to look hard. I have to study. I need to be awake and aware. Apathy cannot win. If it does, everything turns gray – or even black. Patience must carry me. On his back I can explore. I will see with open eyes. I will feel with sensation and smile at the sky. When regret temps, response incites. The ability to respond holds me a willing captive to life as I know it – as I love it. But, not always. I love life: when I care, when I love, when I act. I begin to hate life when I must beg for it to love me back. It’s hard to separate the colors. To see them I must be willing. I have to accept. When I see them they speak to me. Explanation is useless unless they speak to someone else as well. It’s hard to separate the colors. No one will listen. No one wants to see beyond the imagination. Reality awaits if perception can be silenced…


Reality (apparently) is not a constant. “Perception is reality”. Could I please correct this statement? Perception is only a false reality unless you discern and accept what is true. One could argue that “what is” might not matter as much as “what appears”. This argument makes sense when you consider reaction. We react to what we see and feel. Therefore, since our response is real the cause must be also. Example: Ed is driving home late one night. He is growing tired and his vision is getting weak. As he nods he thinks he sees an animal run in front of his vehicle. Ed swerves to miss and ends up in the ditch. Ed’s truck stuck in the ditch…reality. Ed’s walk to get help… reality. Ed’s tow truck bill and repair bill… reality. The animal Ed saw… the moon flickering through the treeline. One could say that Ed’s perception was reality, but that would not be true. His false reality merely led to a harsh reality…


Do you remember Andre Agassi’s Rebel commercial? “Image is everything”. Agassi is one of my favorite tennis players, however, I just never agreed with him on this one. Image is at best a representation of what is real and at worst a deceptive ploy to gain unmerited favor…

New Revelation/Extremes


“With new revelation comes new extremes”. -me. I discovered this about 4 or 5 years ago. First let me define a little bit. I told this to someone a while back and they began to tell me how there is no “new” revelation (Biblically speaking). To agree or disagree with that is really not my point. This is not a Biblical discourse, although this very much applies to what I believe the Bible may say. Maybe enlightenment or realization would be better words.

“New revelation” for our purposes will simply mean to discover a new belief or idea. It could be personal, spiritual, scientific, or whatever. Anything is game. Let me clarify that the belief or idea is new to you, someone else may have discovered it a long time ago. Here’s a couple examples: 1) I didn’t eat boudin until I was 17 or 18. I’m a picky eater and didn’t think I would like. Like it!? I love it! Many of my meals over the years have been 2 pounds of Abe’s boudin and an A&W rootbeer. Man, I was missing out. 2) Drinking alcohol (please don’t send hate mail one way or the other) – For the record I don’t drink hardly ever, but don’t mind people that do. I grew up with the whole one drop is two too many mentality. I think the whole drinking game can be destructive, but when I look at Biblical evidence, I have to acknowledge that God’s intent was not “be careful that it doesn’t touch your skin”.

“Extremes” may not need an explanation, but just in case. We like to test our limits. It’s one of the first things we learn. If you don’t believe that, go hang with a family that has children in the 1-18ish age range. You ever wonder why your kids are always breaking things? No, it’s not because they desire discipline. It’s because we like to push limits and to find those limits you have to exceed them. One definition of extreme could be “reaching the limit”, but I also like one of’s definitions, “exceeding the bounds of moderation”. That’s closer to the thought here. Considering my two previous examples, here’s the extremes: 1) I’ve discovered I love boudin so let’s say I begin to eat it everyday. Now, maybe you are different, but at some point I think I’ll begin to hate it. With moderation, I can keep loving it. 2) Drinking (again – hold all comments until the end please). If your a Bible person (like me), you may be familiar with a verse that says, “Don’t get drunk (my paraphrase).” For me, I can draw a line in the sand. Drinking – OK. Drinking too much – not OK.

So, what does that have to do with “jack squat” (I can hear Matt Foley saying that). Well, for me I have started being more careful when I “discover” something new. If I think something is OK that I used to think was not, I have to make sure and not run with it. It’s easy to get caught up in a new insight and cross a line without even knowing it. We also have to be careful how we express what we learn. When we are “enlightened”, we really feel like enlightening everyone else we know. Instead, how about just starting to live out the new insight. When people begin to notice on their own, you end up with a lot more credibility and can actually make a difference.


I’m writing book about life’s hidden colors and how we all relate to each other. Please, comment and give me your thoughts and insights.

HAPPY 34th


I’m glad you don’t really know me

If you did, my tricks wouldn’t work anymore

I’m glad you think I’m transparent

It helps to pull the shade

You think you see light reflected

But you can’t see the source

I’m glad you don’t really listen

If you did, you could see the truth

I watch with your mouth moving

It helps me hear the lies

I think you mean it

But you don’t know what you’re saying

I’m glad you don’t really get me

If you did, I wouldn’t be alone

My words would make sense

My thoughts could be heard

I think I understand

But I am probably just as wrong

I’m glad you didn’t really read this

If you did, you would know too much

You would see my tricks

They’re not that clever anyway

I’m not going to California

But it sure sounds fun

One Leaf


Tis but one leaf that I should see
Yet so many on that tree
Without the one the tree still grows
With what effect no one knows
Alas! It fails and falls to ground
A hidden gem have I now found
What cause to be should I see this final lasting fate
With no regard or knowledge so to join in that debate
But this one time does beckon me and brings a cause to stare
For I know not what this life has lived but I know that it was there