How Do You Decide?

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Choices, choices and more choices surrounded by decisions, decisions, and more decisions amidst a complicated landscape of relationships. My mind is overwhelmed as my time is limited yet the thought of sharing and giving remains an innate part of my overall being. Thus, the desire to connect in some type of way (apparently I’m feeling some type of way) is continually vying for my attention and demanding I take action. All actions will result in reactions.

Therefore, how do I decide?

Relationships are a mutha; let alone our relationships with our kids, parents, siblings, friends, etc. Yet, our makeup as human beings relies heavily on our ability to create relationships and sustain them. When you think about it – it is a very selfish act. The intended result is to satisfy the bubbling need to connect which is within all of us. Of course, you are free to live a nomadic or reclusive life and rid yourself of any true human connection.

Most of us don’t want to be reclusive – or alone. Therefore, we find ways in which we connect through church, extracurricular activities, and other social functions. Upon connecting we develop and nurture a relationship with another individual hoping for great things to come. And ultimately we sustain a long lasting relationship in which we can look back over time and proudly reflect on the journey it took to achieve that pinnacle. I imagine a Gandhi like figure sitting atop the mountain overlooking a serene and beautiful valley while mind, body, and spirit are one with God.

But before I become so Gandhi-like, I still need to decide, make a choice; take action as it relates to engaging in a meaningful relationship.

So here’s where I become creative and design a process (I know, it’s so “business” talk).

  1. Be deliberate in my actions and desires. This method is very Neanderthal-like; I knock you on the head with my club, throw you over my shoulder, and wander off into the sunset heading for my cave. A bit outdated (and quite illegal) but the intended result is achieved.
  2. I sit back and wait for a line to form as women anticipate meeting me… (crickets, crickets) Yeah, this has a very low probability for success but nonetheless, it’s an option.
  3. I can always let the chips fall as they may. There is absolutely no control in this method and I leave it all to the “universe” to guide me. What happens if the universe says “No RELATIONSHIP for you!?” (In my Nazi Soup Kitchen voice.)
  4. I can devise a very scientific approach to understanding the landscape of choices and then act on those choices very methodically. Oh, wait, eHarmony and Match.com have the patent on this method.
  5. Pray my way into a relationship. Somehow, I see this as very similar to #3 above, but this “universe” is a true serving God. However, other complications can be debated with this method (religious beliefs, science, etc.)

Finally, as I sit back and think about these methods to become engaged in a relationship the fog clears from my head and I listen to the voice directing me – be still my child. I come to the realization that I can’t force the magic of a relationship but I should anticipate its ability to be present when I least expect it. During this time my focus becomes inward as I rid myself of the skeletons and complexities I’ve created to become a renewed man. This I can live with.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Mr Daniel Will See you now

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The long anticipated opening of the aforementioned movie is opening this weekend – Valentine’s Day. What a display of precision marketing along with the hype to get the women swooning over a storyline older than Medusa. It isn’t anything new about the freakiness in all of us, it just needs to be brought out by the right individual (according to some).

Personally, I wouldn’t put myself in this category because I pride myself on my Puritan attitude and behavior (read sarcasm, folks). But I couldn’t stop wondering what other kinds of movies have been around where erotic SEX seemed to be the focus. And full disclosure – I may see the movie if only to witness the reaction from the audience during the hot steamy sex scenes.

Take a walk with me down memory lane to recall some of these classic sex tales:

  1. Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986) – Synopsis: A woman gets involved in an impersonal affair with a man. She barely knows about his life, only about the sex games they play, so the relationship begins to get complicated. Commentary: I could barely get through this movie because I thought is was awful; however, Kim Basinger was at her prime and that didn’t hurt too carry the movie.
  2. Body Heat (1981) – Synopsis: In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband. Commentary: Good film, good acting, and it was pretty steamy.
  3. Basic Instinct (1992) – Synopsis: A police detective is in charge of the investigation of a brutal murder, in which a beautiful and seductive woman could be involved. Commentary: Sharon Stone is hot, hot, hot. Every man in America waited on the edge of their seat for “leg cross.” Two thumbs up!
  4. Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Synopsis: A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. Commentary: Bizarre movie but it had Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman what more do you need? Besides, it was Stanley Kubrick’s last released movie.
  5. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) – Synopsis: A sexually repressed woman’s husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything. Commentary: When you start a conversation with the word “repressed” the imagination can go wild. This fetish movie had some nice twists to it and it grew on folks.
  6. Caligula (1979) – Synopsis: A film focusing on the rise and fall of the Roman Emperor Caligula. Commentary: If you like movies not only about sex, but blood and guts violence this is your movie. Tough to get through for me.
  7. American Gigolo (1980) – Synopsis: The ups and downs in the life of a Los Angeles male escort who mostly caters to an older female clientèle. Commentary: By far, one of the most erotic type of films specifically made for the ladies. Richard Gere the heartthrob of American movies.

This is merely my list of titles that I have seen and somewhat enjoyed. However, I am curious as to what yours might be – feel free to add to this list. Otherwise, go out and have an erotically good time at the movies.

Go well and with love good peeps.

You See Red, I See Blue

Irreconable, irreconcievable, irrecon…IRRECONCILABLE!

That’s the word I was searching for! Yes, it is that moment when you can no longer relate to that other person in your life – be it a spouse, a friend, family member or whomever. It is coming to grips with a thought process that may have taken time to mature and eventually accept but you understand where it stems from. It comes from a place that has taken all of your personal experiences over your years of living with the attempt to mesh them with another human being’s experiences in which none of those thoughts are shared between you. It is the absolute discovery of relating – or not relating.

I love sports but you do not and therefore we just can’t have the conversations I have about sports.

It becomes obvious after a while that what we communicate about is entirely out of sync. Many times this is to no one’s fault it is simply how we are wired. I can’t help that I abhor fashion and completely hate shopping. I mean, seriously, how many pairs of shoes can one own? Or I see you are not interested in technology but I’m a geek.

There we are sitting quietly on opposite ends of the room with nothing to say and nothing in common. Our eyes barely gaze at one another because of these differences. We can’t muster up conversation and the air around us becomes tense. With an outburst one of us declares, “I can’t take this anymore! The silence is deafening.”

And so the road to irreconcilable differences begins.

But is it really so formulaic? If it is, is it preventable? Is this a giant snowball we can prevent from escalating merely by recognizing and dealing with the avalanche that occurred to create it?

Or is it merely the way we are wired? A life-long event of equipping us with our desires, turn-offs, our wants, politics, religion (or lack thereof) and needs that fashions us as to who we are? If this is the case we only would hang with those we have things in common with. We would find ourselves drifting to others like us. We would have the tendency to be among those most like us and those that can relate to who we are. Hmm, don’t we already do this and how’s it working out? Maybe we recognize that it isn’t merely searching out for others like us but that we are formed by others in their image.

How would we ever overcome this conundrum? A weird cycle of Catch-22 is initiated when the repetitive life-cycle is repeated generation after generation, time after time, never allowing evolution to take hold and catapult us to another level.

I say “Stop it then!” Don’t allow our differences and our comforts get the best of us. Don’t allow the negativity of irreconcilability seep into our psyche’s and mess up the most advantageous paths our lives can take. Don’t take away our life’s potential or our children’s lives potential with an inadequate substitute due to our challenges to communicate. We should be thinking positively before we step down these negative paths. We need to understand fully what the future might hold as we embrace this life of irreconcilability.

For now, I will like many others come to the conclusion that life may bring me to a dead end and there is no other alternative for reconciliation – therefore thrusting me into a different direction than previously thought. Hope is not lost but the path will change. I just hope this path has the potential as my previous path.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Deflate-Gate and the American Way

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It’s all good until you get busted. What harm is a lil white lie? What if I just bust Nancy on her kneecap taking her out of the Championship Skating routine? What harm is it if I drive at 60 in a 55?

All the above is what we do to gain an advantage or to discredit another. Ultimately it’s all about us. Therefore, the little lies and cheating we do on a daily basis all in the name of self-preservation are acceptable, right?

Yes, of course they are justified. We all can’t be Mother Theresa.

The truth is, whether the New England Patriots altered the air in the footballs or the footballs were sabotaged, many of us try to push the envelope of honesty and integrity. We all try to find ways to gain a competitive edge in what we do whether it be work, sports, or other things. Most of the time we hope many of these, ahem, questionable practices go unnoticed. We definitely hope not to go to jail or be fined for our discretion. Yet, we continue to do it.

You can’t handle the truth!

Probably not. If there are Aliens walking among us I’m not sure I want to know that truth. Or if I dated a she that used to be a he then I’d rather go to my grave not knowing. But if our actions are purely self-preservation then I think the truth has a more relevant place in our lives than not.

I attempt to carry myself in a way that I can be proud. I have always been wired this way. I try not to judge someone who does not but it remains a challenge. Ultimately, if you are unethical or somewhat dishonest in the decisions you make then you should own up to those things. I do drive over the speed limit. I understand the risk by doing this and I accept it. That does not make it right either. Therefore, shame on me.

Own up to those questionable instances where you are not as forthcoming. Or is this just human nature and we cannot overcome these things unless we lived in a Utopian society? If this is the case then it does sound like a cop-out. And if it is a cop-out who do we have to blame? And who decides what white lies are acceptable?

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Our dilemma as a society is we live in a world where people are less willing to take responsibility, people are constantly pushing the limits to fairness and equality, and many of us are driven by doing things that can be interpreted as ethically questionable. However we choose to live our lives we only have to accept the truth – and that’s how we each decide to live out our own lives. Only God will judge us.

But make sure you just don’t get caught.

Go well and with love good peeps.

My 2014 Year in Review…

I survived.

That’s pretty much it. I made it through. I didn’t croak, end up on America’s Most Wanted or beaten down by a rogue cop.

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I survived.

As you become older and presumably wiser you actually look at longevity as the ultimate measure of success. No more of the foolish thoughts that I will live forever, take caution to the wind or let the chips fall as they may. Clearly life doesn’t care about my longevity or yours – death does not discriminate (although being rich has its perks in minimizing this risk I’m sure).

I survived.

As some of my brethren’s lives were snuffed out at the hands of evil individuals perpetrating as police officers I continued to live my life. As loved ones fell to disease and other ailments I found myself looking to make life changes, however, not timely enough to escape the constant hurdles of health life threw along my path. I was acutely aware of these challenges and I thought to myself, “I survived.”

I witnessed by way of CNN the peculiar disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, the capsizing of a South Korean ship claiming the lives of hundreds, the emergence of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and their terroristic ways, and the continued antics of North Korea. There was also the quiet killing of thousands along the Gaza strip as well as the collapse of the Ukrainian government.

However, I continued to survive.

I saw where we landed a probe on a comet with the joint efforts of the European Space Agency [ESA]. Meanwhile, while the country was in an uproar over domestic violence and child abuse Bill Cosby was about to be crucified for past indiscretions (rightfully so). The world kept an eye on America’s racial divide as an NBA [National Basketball Association] owner was booted out of that exclusive club. The Ebola virus was on the verge of kicking off a real live (or Walking Dead) Apocalyptic future – thank God it did not come to fruition.

Yet, I still managed to survive.

Germany was out winning the World Cup after a long absence and celebrations ensued across the globe. Sochi’s Winter Olympics proved climate changes are real as experts continued to warn of global warming albeit to pessimistic minds. The popularity of the 2014 Super Bowl continued to thrive as the world watched Bruno Mars croon his way across the stage. My thoughts drifted to an upcoming baseball season proving to be a farewell tour for DerekJeter.

And I was still surviving.

Same sex marriages prevailed across the land. Pot smokers rejoiced as prohibitions for recreational uses were lifted in two states. People came and went in and out of my life. I endured challenges of health and wellness while the Affordable Care Act and the State Exchanges became operational. I had the pleasure of watching my kids grow another year and I laughed and cried with family and friends. I sat back and reflected on 2014 and through this I thought…

I made it. I survived yet again and for that I am thankful.

Go well and with love good peeps.

Check out CNN’s Year End Review for further information.

Confronting the Bully

A strange thing occurred this morning as I walked my offspring to school. We ran smack face-to-face into a kid who has been bullying my boy.

I only recently found out about this bully who is older than my 9 year old and much bigger. As with any bullying story the described bully tactics made me angry and even fearful for my child’s well being. My very reason for the school drop off this day was to ensure the school was acting appropriately. Little did I expect to encounter the young thug and his cronies.

My son didn’t point out the bully to me, we just walked past him. However, I could tell by looking at my son that this was the bothersome kid. My son kept staring straight ahead as we beelined for the door. My daughter was with us and her involuntary signals gave the perpetrator’s identity away as well. And I was beginning to fume.

My kids ran off to the lunch room as I made my way for the office. I expressed my frustration and displeasure about the previous incident and demanded it be handled correctly, otherwise I would handle it myself.

I only felt somewhat satisfied as I left the office back out into the frigid Chicago Fall air. Thoughts were running through my mind on how me and my family came into this situation. I was not bullied as a child and I didn’t understand why kids did it. Heck, I even came to the defense of the bullied souls back in the day. However, the only thing that mattered to me now was my son’s safety, and no disrespecting bastard of a kid was going to cause issue with my boy.

Then it happened. It almost felt like time paused for a moment as the Universe (or maybe God) cleared the path for me to confront the bully as I left out of the school. He and his partners were still outside talking. He was looking directly at me as I slowly approached him. I knew it was him.

Without hesitation I pardoned myself into their conversation and I began talking. I asked him if he bullied my son and he sad yes.

I said to him, “listen my man, we all need to be sticking with each other ya know? My son needs friends and doesn’t deserve to be harrassed. He’s a good boy and needs someone to be a leader not a bully. Can you be a leader to my son and others instead of picking on them? Can you be that person they look up to instead of fearing? Man, I’m counting on you to be better and do better, my man. Can you do this for me?”

The little boy was intensely focused on me as I spoke to him. His eyes were a beautiful soft brown and his complexion was smooth. I could tell he really wasn’t bad at all, just misguided and probably mis-parented. I felt for this little sixth grader.

He looked at me and shyly stated “yes I can.”

I said, “Thank you. I know you can.”

All the while I kept a fairly stern demeanor not wanting to show all of my cards. I wanted him to know I meant business yet I was willing to work with him. I asked each of the boys their names and said I was counting on them to be better and to befriend my son.

I’m not sure where my talk will take them but I hope it resonates in their souls and they understand the role they were playing as bullies is not as becoming as the role of a leader.

Go well and with love good peeps. For real.

PS – Let’s stop bullying. Support your local efforts to putting an end to this nonsense.

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A Future Conversation under Mended Hearts

Hello there.

Hey, how ya’ been?

Not sure, I have had a lot on my mind. I’ve been thinking lately about our years gone by and of the pain and misery we have suffered. It’s been confusing.

Yeah, I understand; me, too. It’s like the pain never subsided but merely took a back seat to life. Not so much that it was gone it just…or rather we just…became numb; perhaps?

That’s probably it. I just want you to know –

Wait, I already know. You don’t need to say anything. I know you. I know us. And I finally get it. Maybe I didn’t at first but I do now. Yes, it took a while and life continued to go on but I do. I only wonder what would have been had we, you know, stuck it out. I just wonder. I’m not regretting because I understand, but I sometimes envision what that life must have looked like in an alternate universe. It looked…promising and pleasant.

Well, sure, but it was a really hard time; a most difficult time to overcome. I had darkness surrounding me from all sides. I didn’t even know which way to turn. It was scary at times and I wanted to just disappear.

You said that before. Move away and get as far away as possible, to another country or island. Yeah, I remember that. At the time it sounded somewhat enticing but it wasn’t realistic or practical. But hey, we all have thoughts that take us out of our current situations. Even to this day we have thoughts.

What about you? How’s life been?

It’s been good. I feel good. I am in pretty good shape considering I still have poor drinking habits but I exercise regularly and it keeps me going. Health wise, I’m doing okay.

You look good I must say.

You ain’t too bad yourself.

(Laughter)

(Then a period of silence)

Life is an interesting thing. People come and go. Some people go forever and ascend or descend into the afterlife. Others…remain. I’m always curious how those that can remain in our lives over the years do so. It’s like they are just there. When you turn around and look up they are there. When you get angry with them and after a while they are just there. It’s a beautiful thing; dedicated friendship of sorts.

Yes, it goes beyond family. It is like the people put in our lives are angels guiding us to be better, do better, and want better.

Yes, I feel ya’. Except the people put in our lives can range from positive to negative depending on your level of spirituality. I suppose any interaction should be weighed accordingly.

What were you listening to when I walked up?

Alicia Keyes. Old school slow jams.

Look at you! A renaissance man, finally, huh?

I suppose.

(Laughter)

Listen, I have to run. My wife is expecting me to pick her up in about an hour.

Yes, I understand. She’s a lucky woman.

No, I’m a lucky man. Well, maybe we’re both lucky.

Love is an interesting thing.

That it is. It was nice to catch up with you. Give my love to the kids. And take care of yourself. It was nice to see you. Your smile is always a nice smile. Keep that look – it looks good on you.

Go well and with love good peeps.