Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This Memorial day, I placed a flag outside my home to honor the fallen.

I wasn’t out there at dawn, I didn’t’ take it down until after dark, But I have always made sure that it never touches the ground when I’m handling it,  and that the tree out front is always trimmed back so as not to touch the flag while it is displayed.

There are always two other houses with flags displayed on these days, My neighbors across the street, One a Highway patrolman who was in the Army, and his roommate who has a Marine sticker and Southwest-Asia campaign ribbon on his mustang. (I think they’re gay, I’ve never asked, and they’ve never told. It means Nothing).

The other flag belongs to a Navy reservist. I’ve met him once or twice. Never remember his name, but on these days when we see each other there is a solemn nod we give each other. It’s different than the normal wave, it’s hard to explain, but for those of us we know what it means.

There has been a lot of discussion this week about calling our servicemen heroes, not just the fallen but everyone who has served in uniform. This was in part inspired by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes comments.  And it struck up a furious debate.

I served in the Marine Corps Reserves for 6 years, with much of that time active duty either for Desert Storm, or recruiter duty.  I am considered by my DD214 a “Combat Vet” and have a Combat Action Ribbon.

Since 9/11 and the war in Iraq it has become vogue for people to thank me for my service when they learn I am a vet. I am very uncomfortable with that. Because of my service people have called me a hero.  I am Profoundly Uncomfortable with this.

I come from a family that serves; not joining the military was never really an option for me. I was never forced to join; in fact my parents would not sign for a Delayed Enlistment when I wanted to join the Army at 17. My father (USMC 1963-1966, Vietnam) explained to me that it needed to be my choice, and that they didn’t want me holding it against them if I came to regret my decision. My first grown up decision, Thank you Dad.
Service for me and mine is just something we do. I served, my Dad served, My Grandfather served. My Grandfather later told us he ducked a deferment to get into the war because both his brothers were serving and he couldn’t be the one… see himself… ok I just spent a minute trying to figure out how to explain it. It is another example that those of us just know, and I lack the skills to explain it in words. But another who I could share a solemn nod to would grasp it in a heartbeat.

Service for us is just our nature, it does not make us heroes. It just makes us Different. And maybe for those who aren’t perhaps they think we’re heroic. I don’t.

I’ve been blessed to meet some very interesting people. I’ve met  a Higgens Boat coxswain who delivered his troops onto Omaha Beach. I had a gentleman work for me who was a radar operator on one of the Taffys at the Battle of Samar. I met my Grandfather-in-law before he died. He served on the South Dakota though the war, Including the Second Battle of Guadalcanal. I met a man once who was with the First Marine Division at the Frozen Chosin.

These places and battles might not mean anything to you, but for some of us they are hallowed words spoken of with reverence.

And if you had asked every one of these persons if they thought they were a hero they would answer in the negative. They were just doing their job. They did it scared to death but they did it.

Where was I going with this…?

I’ve “seen the elephant”. But the elephant I saw was a kiddie ride out side of a grocery store. Others like the ones above really saw the elephant. They saw Jumbo charging out of the brush. And I in my heart know I have no idea what I would have done in their circumstance.  I hope I would have acquitted myself with honor.

Most of my good friends are ex-military. We tend to flock together. I have a friend who served on P-3’s during the cold war.  They had a double engine fire one mission and almost crashed.

One of the things missed in the collective consciousness of America in peacetime is how many servicemen die. Planes go down, vehicles roll. Someone falls overboard. And a family member gets a knock at the door.
Once when I was recruiting I stopped at a house of a young man we had lost contact with. The look on his mother’s face when she answered the door haunts me to this day. He had left for the Navy a few weeks prior.  

I had a fight with a girlfriend once when she took exception to me always talking about how great people in the military were. (I was recruiting at the time) Basically it was the” “What makes you so special?” My response was simple.

“These are people who put their lives on hold, they give 4 years of their lives to be part of something bigger them themselves.”

Now-a-days I don’t think that makes them special.  Just Different.

I miss the young me, I had all the answers back then.

You ever see “Saving Private Ryan”? You want to know the one scene that gets be every time? Actually it’s two parts, but it really is the same scene.

End of the movie,  Captain Miller lays dying. His last words are to Private Ryan. “earn this, earn it”

And the first part of the movie. Where the much older Ryan asks his wife to tell him he was a good man.

That is the scene that goes through my mind every time I see someone thanking someone for their service. That is what I feel when I went through my day last Monday. “Am I earning this?”

And I think the next time someone thanks me for my service. I’ll answer them not for myself, but answer them as the representative of those people who are not  here.

“earn it”

Well that was cathartic. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

“You need to demand a level of respect from people. If you don't receive that respect, you fucking walk away”

These words came out of my mouth yesterday when I was standing in my kitchen yesterday. They weren’t directed at anyone, they just came out. I do my best thinking with my mouth open and I think that some of the stuff that spews out can be pretty good.

Respect was the theme for the day, and I repeated this line to at least 3 other people and each of them noted that they were in a position when they felt they were not getting the respect they are due. So let’s discuss respect today.

Respect is described as:  “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability

Broken down the key phrase is "Esteem for or a sense of the Worth or Excellence of a Person.

Broken down to its root it is “A sense of the worth of a person.”

Respect ultimately is a social attribute that is granted to a person by others. It is a value granted to an individual by another based on their culture and things the members of that culture hold in esteem.
Therefor a culture that holds education in high esteem will grant greater respect for an educated doctor then a fast food clerk without a high school diploma.

We as a culture (western culture) as a basis of our beliefs hold each individual to be worth of a measure of respect based on them simply being a human being.

Our social mores instruct us not to disrespect others, and this manifests in courtesy which is based on behavior mores.
For an example, playing music loud enough in public to disrupt others is rude, rudeness shows disrespect.

A CH (Complete Human) shows courtesy and respect to others, by doing so we recognize the worth of the other person. And the outward manifestation (social courtesy) is a sign that we are acknowledging to others that we recognize their personal worth.

Now we broke down the definition lets discuss the respect goes wrong. ****
In the majority of situations all persons are accorded a simple measure of respect. If you are currently NOT in this position read the first line above and get yourself someplace else NOW then go back to reading this.

I want to talk about the next level of respect that goes above simple courtesy. The respect you earn. Earned respect is the respect you receive for your actions not just your being.

The aforementioned doctor has earned respect because of the time and effort she has made to earn her degree, she is also accorded a measure based on the perceived intelligence one must have to become a doctor, (Perceived mind you, I’ve met some complete morons with PHD’s). This respect is based on the person’s accomplishments. Here in the west we do not grant much respect for a person’s family, respect in the western world has traditionally been earned, it is another topic of discussion to go into “Royal Families”.

But the Doctor can also be a philanderer, or a liar, or embezzle funds. These actions reduce the respect they earn. And some sins are so great that any other respects due can be washed away.

It used to be that the value of a man was partly measured in his behavior. The Mechanic who worked hard, was a true artist in his craft, a good family member could be looked on well in his community, while the greedy banker could be a man of scorn.

But now we focus on the Appearance, not on the action. And the first appearance we look at is perceived wealth. Look up something called a $30,000 millionaire. These were people who were buying the appearance of wealth all while living in squalor. They drove a BMW or Mercedes while wearing an Armani suit with a Rolex watch and lived in a cramped 3 bedroom with other roommates.

These individuals are attempting to earn respect by displaying the outward material appearance of success.

It is because people no longer respect others for their actions that this paradigm has been allowed to take hold.

The social markers of respect worth accomplishments are now readily available to all. Wealth used to be earned, the Rockefeller was a man who created his empire, the Carnegie was a true “Self-Made Man” Today any trust fund baby can match an Entrepreneurs material possessions with a charge card.

I think at the point this started happening is when the respect model started breaking down. Cities became to being, neighbors became strangers and we were force to look at display **** to make our assessments of people. And an entire generation (more!) was indoctrinated to accept the appearance instead of learning the person.

So back to you and your lack of respect.

The people around you do not respect you because you do not meet their learned qualifications to earn that respect.

You dress poorly, you are out of shape, you speak of silly things, you behave like a juvenile. You do not reflect the current model of a person worthy of greater respect.

This then leads us to understand that respect is a two-way street.
One you must act in a way worthy of that respect and, two you must surround yourself with people who respect your actions.

If you are a hard worker you need to place yourself in an environment that rewards hard work. If you want people to respect you for your morality you need to surround yourself with people who also respect moral behavior.
The boys club that goes out every weekend to play the great cocksmen will not respect the man who stays celibate or true to his wife or girlfriend. Do not surround yourself with these people.

A group that goes out drinking to get shitfaced will look down on the lightweight or the teetotaler.

If you are in a workplace that only rewards the high performer with no regard to the ethics or morals the person uses to achieve those numbers then you are not in an environment that is right for you. Get out.

Or of course you can simply change Your Values, and adapt to your surroundings and be no better than them. A CH does not do this however. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Complete Human

Is Combining growth in your Mind, Body and Soul to create a "Complete Human",  a person who thrives in their current environment, or any environment, because they have developed the attributes and skills required to achieve success. 

I'm getting big on writing mission statements and thesis. (Thesi?) Anyway, the above paragraph is what I wrote to describe the system I think needs to be created. Actually I used it to try and explain it to another. 
The concept is that most "Self Help Books" only concentrates on one aspect. Or if there is a system that does then I haven't heard about it, which means their marketing sucks. 
So I wrote this out, then spent a few minutes outlining what I thought it might cover

                                Identifying stressors
                                Avoiding Bad Habits
                                Weight proportionality
                                Bad Genes?

This line right here 


Covers an interesting concept. I believe that the best scale for real fitness needs to address the above attributes, and there is a relationship between them. So Strength and Stamina is expressed as Power. Stamina and Speed becomes Endurance. (the reason why it's in Red is because I want to replace that word with a better one but I didn't want to get sidetracked looking a new term up. Red text or ****** in my writing is a place holder.) And Finally, Speed and Flexibility becomes Agility. I could probably circle this list by joining Flexibility and Strength But I'm not sure what that would be and I found my self stretching the concept. 
Note: if you feel yourself stretching to complete a thought, you are probably wrong. Let it be. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Class Act

There was some Drama this weekend with Jim Pipkin. He didn't get paid when he expected for a gig, then came back the next day (when they told him to) and found the place was locked and empty.
Things went down hill fast, things were said publicly and what not.

Today Jim posted what really happened and publicly apologized for the issue in a very classy message on facebook. I'm impressed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New goal for the life.

Honestly it's a mobile downer, I guess maybe if people used it to share important or uplifting messages instead of crap it would be more worthwhile, or perhaps it's just the people I know. (shrug).

Today, this morning however dues to an accident of events, one of the first bits of media I was impacted with was this:
Watch this, take 20 minutes...

This is what I need to feed my brain in the morning. Not the latest Geek-humor from George Takai (now dropped) or some video telling me no matter how hard I think my life has been I've apparently been playing it on "easy" Mode because I'm melanin challenged and have a deficient chromosome.

The Troll's Manifesto.

Did you know I"m writing a manifesto? Of course not, I've only told one person about it, and he rarely actually listens to what I'm saying...
Anyway, in the best tradition of manifestos this document is written for the ages. A good Manifesto should have a concrete theme, be it Communism or Unibombing or whatever. It should be literate, and something that can be submitted to a grand jury or formal competency hearing.
The difference between my Manifesto and others is mine is a work in progress. I intend to use the scientific method to create and test my hypothesis and I'll reject that which does not work and ***** that which does.

And of course when I'm done with it, if it works I'll publish it and become Tim Ferris Rich. Booyah!