It was legal

I was in the movie theater with my favorite person in the world. Before the trailers for other movies we get treated to a barrage of commercials. One commercial makes an impact on me and sends me down a rabbit hole. The commercial has images of women, men and children doing everyday things, going grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning, yard work. The same folks are later seen in the commercial being arrested or hospitalized. Then in bold black letters the words Opioid addiction affects everyone.

The rabbit hole was opioids and the United States. Opioids have been in use in the United States since 1860 when soldiers were prescribed opioids for pain from war injuries. The civil war was going on and injuries were common. The injuries were painful and opioids numbed the pain. Opioids worked well but were and are highly addictive. Opioids naturally come from the poppy seeds and required fields and crops to produce. The difficulty in agriculture was a barrier to entry for production of opioids.

Over the years drug companies that were more concerned with profits than health found ways to synthetically create opioids.

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Capitalism created, morphine, heroine, OxyContin and now fentanyl. All these opioids were and are extremely addictive and one of them, the last one is very deadly. Fentanyl has some of the highest rates of use and highest overdose numbers.

The more I read bout opioids and really any drug epidemic in the United States the more I see capitalism at work. Pure capitalism is profits above all and that is exactly what the drug business, legal and illegal, does.

People and corporations should not work for a profit. Profits should be side affects of building and supporting a healthy community.

Until humanity puts people over profit the world will not advance.

It’s the small ones really

Share one of the best gifts you’ve ever received.

“Your desk is interesting.” “My kids love start wars and Legos too.” Those are polite ways that people tell me that my desk at work looks like a childs desk would. My desk is full of pop figures and Lego structures that, I built all by myself.

I sometime mention that every thing on my desk, other than the actual work equipment is a gift. I have gotten gifts from family members and colleges and they have been evicted from my home office of the years and now reside at work. I love receiving gifts I can look at them and tell you who got that gift for me and when. I can look at the gift and know that at that time in life they were thinking of me.

For my birthday last year my wife bought me and her tickets to see the Beyond Van Gogh experience. The experience was pretty incredible and we truly enjoyed ourselves.

This was one of the best gifts I have received. Not because I am a big Van Gogh fan. I do admire the talent and think that it was tragic that he could not overcome his mental illness. His bother seemed to try and help but still Van Gogh’s story ended in tragedy and should not have played out that way. No one should be to ashamed to ask for help mental health is just health.

The gift was special and amazing because it was time with my favorite person doing something new and unique. If the experience is near you you should visit it was pretty incredible.

Time spent with my wife is some of the best times I have ever had. Family matters and the best gifts I have ever received are those experiences with my family.

You remind me of Lenny Kravitz

Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes, and where they’ve taken you.

One of the best jobs I had was working for Hugo Boss in the IT department. The house has some amazing clothes, great designs quality stuff and I got a pretty great discount. I would wear my Hugo Boss suit to work with a pair of Hugo Boss trainers or sneakers.

I eventually meet my wife at Hugo Boss she still works there but I do not. IN IT the mantra “You have to move out to move up”, has seemed true for my career. My wife worked in a different department however we would see each other at lunch and of course we carpooled together to and from campus. There was a sample sale one year while I worked there and at the sale there was a pair of amazing red trainers that I had to have. I bought the shoes and wore them so often that they were worn out and not salvageable after about three years. I wore those red shoes with my suits and sweatpants. I wore the shoes outside of work and I even wore those shoes to church.

I love wearing sneakers with my suits it is a trend that still hasn’t died for me, but the red shoes did die. I put the red shoes in the recycle bin about 2 years ago. One year at a Hugo Boss holiday party my director approached me and my future wife and mentioned how me wearing sneakers with suits reminded her of the singer Lenny Kravitz. I love Lenny Kravitz! He is so cool, his music and style are amazing. If I had any doubts about wearing athletic shoes with dress clothes they where all washed away by that compliment. Later that year as a gift my wife gave me a bobblehead in my own likeness. I was in a suit and holding my ipad and on my feet.. You guessed it those red trainers!

17 years old

Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

I joined the United States military at the age of seventeen. When I turned 18 I left Cleveland Ohio for US Army Basic Training. My enlistment in the army was only three years and I spent every year in a different dessert in a different country.

I joined the Army for a bunch of different reasons, I was avoiding college, I wanted to see the world and I felt like it was the patriotic thing to do. Patriotism for me was the love of the idea of the United States over the actual United States.

Ideally the United States allows every person the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that the declaration of independence makes it clear that these rights, life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are unalienable. Because they are unalienable they cannot be given away or taken by any government. Growing up I loved the idea the the United States government would work to preserve these rights for everyone.

After leaving home I watched many people even citizens of the United States get denied these rights under the cloak of patriotism. Xenophobia and racism sit behind patriotism with groups like the Oath Keepers and the Liberators. These groups are part of what is being called the patriot movement but they do not believe in life. liberty and the pursuit for justice for all. The idea of the United States was and is still poorly executed but is one of inclusivity. Everyone has these rights no matter what the color of their skin is and what their heritigat. The Patriot movement is exclusive and will not afford these rights to people based on their race, religion or sex. The current patriot movement is shameful and sadly very unpatriotic.

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The hate from the Patriot movement has bleed over to mainstream politics and into the political parties and their actions. There is nothing patriotic about banning people from travel based on their religion or race however this happened in 2017 for three months and was done under the guise of protection. This is not patriotic at all it is the opposite of the great idea that the United States was founded on however it was not the first time that the idea of the United States was perverted.

Since the beginning of the founding of the United States patriotism was perverted to wage war on the indigenous people of North America. There have been 1,500 attacks on Native Americans by the United States government and countless crimes committed against the native American people. The genocide and total disregard was also cloaked in patriotism but that was not in line with life. liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

I like to believe that I am a patriot not because I served in the US Military but because I believe and support the idea that every person in the whole world deserves life, liberty, and to pursue happiness. I support everyone’s right to freedom no matter what that a living beings, race, sex or religion is. Being a patriot is understanding how great your nation should and can be if it has good core principles and lives up to those principles.

All of my Dung Beetle

It is Feb 10 2023 here in the United States and very soon (in four days), most of the country will celebrate in some shape or fashion St. Valentines day. Saint Valentine was a priest who was beaten and beheaded by the Roman state for his crimes. It was against the law for Roman soldiers to get married however, saint Valentine broke the law and conducted the marriage ceremonies for the soldiers. While imprisoned saint Valentine fell in love with the jailers daughter and wrote her a secret love note signed from your Valentine. This is why we pass notes to this day.

Saint Valentine believed in the power of love and the heart. Did you know that Egyptians believed that the heart was the part of the body where the soul and intellect of a person resided? It’s true when Egyptians were mummified all the organs but the heart were removed the heart stayed with the body. When the goddess Ma’at took the person to the afterlife she would weigh the heart against the feather of truth and if the heart was mean or heavy the soul was punished. Egyptians represent the heart as a dung beetle or scarab.

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When we love someone and marry them we pledge our heart to them meaning intellect soul and all of who we are. Everyday we should work to make this persons life better for them with all of who we are. When I think about love and the heart I cannot help but imagine the song that was the soundtrack of the movie starring Johnny Depp. The movie was Don Juan DeMarco and the song was Have you Ever Really Loved a Woman by Bryan Adams.

In the song Bryan Adams sings about how loving a woman involves giving up everything for that person and working for that person and basically giving your heart or your dung beetle to that person. The movie involved a man named Don Juan who was a prolific lover and being treated by a therapist for an over active imagination.

Maybe the best Valentine we can give today is a dung beetle on a secret note.

They didn’t get Alcatraz but…

If you live in the United States of America chances are high that you are not a descendant of the native Americans that lived on the north American continent prior to Chris Columbus and the subsequent genocide and colonization, which resulted in the United States of America. The exact percentage of people in the United States that are not descendants of Native Americans is 98.7.

Native Americans only represent 1.7 % of the population of the United States. Being such a small minority has many issues with it. Native Americans growing up in the United States of America are strangers in their homeland. The conquerors have killed most of their family and poisoned their land.

Native Americans are near extinction however there is a spirit in the population that makes the voice of less than 2 million people sound so much larger. For 19 months on the island of Alcatraz in San Francisco bay native Americans occupied the that island between November 20, 1969 – June 11, 1971.

In April of 2016 Native Americans protested the building of and operation of the Keystone pipeline. The pipeline was built but it was shut down and abandoned and emptied of oil after only two years of operation.

The Native Americans have and are not enduring but thriving in a climate that has been and continues to be hostile towards their existence.

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There is a movement in US politics in which education about the history of the United States is taught to not include the native Americans. This is a foolish and dangerous movement!

Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Winston Churchill

Genocide is a sin that should never be committed and yet, right now there are nine state led genocides happening, and 10 non state led genocides happening. The number one tool against genocide and human failings is education. Through education society becomes better. If anything, the United States should be working towards a better and more robust curriculum that certainly includes the genocide of the Native Americans not the opposite.

My hope is that we will all work together to teach our children the truith and make the world a better place. This topic kind of remind s me of a great song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Enjoy the vide and learn as much as you can today

We just walk all over it

It can take 500 to 1,000 years for one inch of topsoil (the upper layer of soil containing the most organic matter and microorganisms) to form through the interaction of bedrock, climate, topography, and living organisms. 

Top soil or dirt is the most important thing in and on the world and we as a species just walk all over it. Because of its importance soil conservation should be one of the top priorities in the world. Even though soil conservation is paramount to a healthy world little attention has been given to this. In the United States the dust bowl happened in the 1930s and currently the United States is enduring another massive drought. There has been some reprieve but soil health in the western states is at an all time low.

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There are ways to prevent soil erosion and promote soil health. No till farming is a practice that makes for healthy soil and is becoming more widely accepted in the agriculture community. No till farming with cover crops is preferable to no till farming with herbicides. Another major change has to take place at the grocery store and restaurants. Animal based protein is consumed at an average of 174 animals per year. Each animal damages the environment when breed and raised for consumption. A diet without animal based protein is another way that anyone can help the soil.

The name earth means ground or dirt or soil. As a steward of the Earth humans should work to protect what we walk on everyday. Humanities most valuable asset is not money, housing, or a robust stock market it is a happy and health earth. The sooner we learn as a society that this should be a priority the quicker we can get on track to a happy healthy world.

Rebuild

The sanctity of life is a belief that sentient life is the most valuable force on earth. When the sanctity of lifde is questioned then society has a tendency to fall apart.

I watched the 2014 movie Dawn of Planet of the Apes (spoiler alert). In the movie the Apes have been genetically modified and can speak. The apes form a human like society and make rules like the Code of Hammurabi. The major rule is “Ape no kill Ape”. THere is an ape named Koba is is totally anti social and killing other living beings. The movie has a pivotal fight scene between the protagonist Caesar and Koba. Koba is hanging on for dear life and looks up at Ceaser and repeats the number one rule. “Ape no Kill Ape”. Ceaser tells Koba he is not an ape and lets him fall

When he allowed Koba to die Ceaser choose to rationalize his behavior by stripping away Kobas ape status. In Ceasers mind Kobas life was not as valuable as an apes life because Koba was acting in an un ape like manner.

Six people in Goshen California were brutally murdered. Among the murder victims was a 10 month old baby. Because of the heinous nature of the crime’s law enforcement in Goshen is asking that the death penalty be used. The last time the death penalty has been used in California was to kill the prisoner Charles Ray Allen. It is unclear if the death penalty will be used in California but the brutality of the killings of the six souls in Goshen definitely strip away the status of human being from the people who killed them. Right now two people are in custody for the murders and will son face trial. The trial will decide the accepted guilt or innocence not really actual guilt or innocence. The only people who know what happened are those who have experienced and or observed the action. Observation can be an issue because of a bunch of reasons. Eyewitness testimony is very unreliable. The elusive nature of guilt makes most people object to the use of the death penalty. What if we got it wrong? In 2022 more than 260 people were exonerated in the United States. an average of 3.94 people on death row are exonerated per year. A wrongful conviction can be overturned and someone can be let out of prison but no one can be brought back from the dead. The argument for mistakes is there for a case against the death penalty and then there is the morality of taking sentintent life. A very good rule for life is that, it is never ok to kill a sentient life.

It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.

Albert Einstein
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When society tries to apply value to lives in an effort to justify taking them society is experiencing a moral failing.

On February 26 2012 George Zimmerman followed a 17 year old boy through a neighbourhood. Zimmerman confronted the unarmed minor and murdered him. A court case commenced to decide if the death of an unarmed 17 year old boy byu an armed adult was justified. This court case was a moral failing. There is truly no justification for killing an unarmed child.

Some historians argue that there are tipping points or critical points in the narrative of history that determine what the era will be like. It has been ten years since the death of Trayvon Martin and the justification for killing an unarmed boy was made by society and it has been ten years of violence and destrutcion of life in the United States. It feels like Trayvon Martins death was a tipping point for the destruction of the moral fabricate in the United States. SAome activist started the Black lives matter movement to counter the tipping point and I am hopeful that this will work but as long as society finds ways to justify murder I am skeptical that much will change.

Started with a red paper clip

If you are ever in Saskatchewan Canada visit the Paperclip Cottage Cafe . If the food is half as good as the story concerning the cafes origin you are in for a real treat.

#trade
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Kyle Macdonald look at a red paperclip on his desk and thought about the game he played in school called, “Bigger and Better”. In the game you would trade up for items that were bigger and better. Kyle put the red paper clip onCraigslist in an effort to trade up and in one year and fourteen trades later Kyle had a house. You probably guessed it but that house is now teh Paper Clip Cafe in Saskatchewan Canada.

I am not going to spend this blog retelling the trades, however you should watch the Ted Talk with Kyle in it. He retells the trades in great detail and during the talk he has pictures of people from each trade. I like two things about this story most first is the humble beginnings and second is the pictures.

It all started with a tiny paper clip but Kyle knew it would be big and was big. I assume he knew because he took pictures. As a kid we are often taught about consequentialism. The idea that no effort or actions are wasted and they all have consequence. This can be easy to forget especially when we fall into routines and do the same things everyday. The tasks become route and seem inconsequential but they are not. We would do well to consider the consequences of our mundane and route tasks. If a task is routine and consequential at work many efficient managers would find ways to automate and supervise the task. Supervision and not performance of the task should free up time for the employee to engage in tasks that are more complex and not quite routine. The tasks though never go away.

Realizing that every choice we make in life has consequences can seem pretty scary however a better way to handle this responsibility is to take a picture of each thing we do and celebrate our choices (as long as they are moral).

Every trade Kyle made was a chance to meet new people take pictures and celebrate. If you haven’t watch his Ted Talk it’s really good! Kyles enthusiasm is contagious. today at work home or play realize and celebrate the actions you are part of and have fun with it! Take pictures and enjoy the ride!!

Nuances and Novelties

“Let’s try to do this a different way”. The coaches reaches down and grabs the hockey stick from the player as they speak. The coach isn’t yelling or demanding they are simply suggesting and nudging the player to do something in way that they believe is more efficient, quicker and more powerful.

Our brains are incredible machines that compute, calculate and control complex systems all day long. Research into the brain has taken some major steps and is still being done everyday. So far it seems like the brain works through a series of connections and when we learn something new you create a new connection. More research shows that creating new connections makes for a happier and healthier brain. Lack of new connections may even cause the brain to slow down and bring on brain diseases.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Learning comes from doing. It is practice that is one of our best teachers. You learn to ride a bike better by riding the bike as opposed to reading the theory about riding a bike. What new thing did you do yesterday? What new things will you do today? Finding something new to do can become a little bit of a chore especially when we are in our routines. The best way to accomplish doing something new everyday then might be through adding the novelty to our routines.

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will.

Vernon Howard

The world is a vast and amazing place and I am convinced that if a human spent everyday exploring the world they would run out of days before they ran out of places and things to explore. Now if someone lives long enough and was ambitious enough and did explore every place on earth I would challenge them to look up (especially at night), astronomers have discovered more than 3 200 stars with planets orbiting around them in our galaxy. There are probably 2 trillion galaxies in our observable universe.

My wife has told my eight year old niece on multiple occasions that “only boring people can become bored”. There is much truth to this adage.

To not be bored takes a person of action There is a pretty great Ted Talk about avoiding and dealing with boredom. Approaching everyday as a day to get new things done will help us be better more healthy people. Also imagine how much more exciting society will be if everyone is doing something new everyday.