“I’d rather die of passion than die of boredom.”


The din of the cafes was growing with the setting sun as he walked the cobblestone streets of Auvers-sur-Oise. He came around the corner and saw the boys as he always did while returning home. The boys were always quarreling over something, distraught, and he always took time to engage them, and soon they’d be distracted by whatever joke he made. Today they were fidgeting over something which he could not see.

When the boys separated he was astonished to see that one was holding a small pistol.  “Be careful there,” he stepped forward, hands outstretched, “that is a dangerous toy you have.” He grasped the gun, but the boy did not let go, so the man pulled at it. He did not expect the sound of the firearm exploding and felt confused at the sting in his chest. Still holding the gun at his side, he looked down blankly and realized that the bullet had gone into him. The boys’ stared in surprise, which quickly became fear and they disappeared down the stone street.

Instead of pain, the man felt a curious, focused energy. He walked slow and calm until he found the doctor’s residence. The doctor had returned from his day of house calls and immediately examined him. “I cannot get to it,” he said finally, after they sat in a quiet room with only a clock ticking in the corner. He put a bandage over the wound with expert care, sealing it and the man’s fate. “It will be fine,” he told the man.

“I’m not worried anymore,” the man answered and sighed.

“What happened?” the doctor asked .

The man looked at him warmly “A mistake. I didn’t know what was happening. But I’m feeling better already.”

“Did you do this yourself?” the doctor asked.

The man did not answer, but laid his head back, and gazed out the window. “We don’t know what we do sometimes. I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.”

The doctor glanced at him with narrowed eyes, eyes that knew how to judge the body, but not the mind. Yet even his professional judgment would not help the sepsis taking root in the man’s chest, the infection that would overtake the man’s health, and in a few hours his life.

Vincent Willem van Gogh.

Born: March 30, 1853, Zundert, Netherlands

Happy Birthday, Vincent.

Why legislate a solution when you can educate the solution?

Money in politics

Government policy, although influenced by outside interests, comes from legislators, after all is said and done. The legislators are the creators.

And legislators come from candidates, and candidates come from the Democrat or Republican parties (almost exclusively).

If we want government policy to change, voting outside these two parties is one powerful variable we can change to accomplish this. Let’s start simple before we go to complex solutions like campaign finance reform, which diminishes the decision-making and civic awareness of the voter and emboldens an already entrenched Two Party Monopoly.

We can see how effective campaign finance reform has been, or, how ineffective. But the power of our vote in electing who we want is almost unstoppable.
The only thing that could stop it?
Our own ignorance.

Using campaign finance reform to legislate voter intelligence and awareness is almost impossible.

But educating awareness?
That’s highly doable.

Educate, before you legislate.

Why do you give money to beggars?


As I got into my car, I saw him make his way towards me. He bent down and looked through my passenger side door to get my attention.

“Hey man..”

“What’s up?” I said. I saw that he held a can of light beer.

“Can you help me out? The old lady kicked me out, man. I need to warm up.”

I saw his coat was nicely made, with a polyester shell, and the rest of his clothes were clean and unworn. I’d met many beggars, but this one was the most well-kept yet.

“So you’re drinking,” I said.

“Hey, what else am I going to do? I’m not feeling too good.” Then his voice became proud. “Look man, I’m a professional. I’m in the trades. Look..” He fished around in his pocket and produced a card, for a local trade group,

“I understand,” I said. And then I gave him some unsolicited advice. “You gotta do what you want…but that means taking care of yourself first. Get your shit together.”

“Yea,” he leaned in through the window, resting on his arm. I could tell I had an audience, so I went on.

“Society has it backwards…they want everyone to be helpful, giving, but first you’ve got to help yourself, give everything you can to you, get as good as you can be, get your thing going.”

His face was receptive. I warmed up. “I know drinking is fun. It can get too fun…I’ve been there. But  it distracts you from facing your life.”

“Yea.” his eyes became energized with some realization. “Tell it.”

I had been going on for a while. “I’ve got to head out, man,” I told him.

His face changed, “Maaaan,” he said, distraught.  “You’re not going to give me anything?!” He was incredulous.

“I just did,” I replied.

He whined, and I said, “I can’t help you. I just told you. All I have is change anyway.”

I opened the compartment between the seats and scooped out a handful of quarters and dimes and put it into his hand, like a pacifier.

I know I hadn’t changed him. Changing personality is almost impossible. But maybe I changed his behavior. A little. It didn’t matter too much. At least I felt better that this time I took some time to say something, provide something of value, instead of carelessly giving a dollar and walking away.

I think most sane beggars don’t need money. They need passion, and direction, and friends. They need new batteries.

The Pope only wants to help

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE The Pope gave his blessing to campaign finance reform. But does the Pope know about campaign finance? Campaign finance is an issue created by the two-party system culture, a culture which perpetuates the notion that their system is the one and only institution of electoral government. Any attempts to help us vote for “clean” candidates within this system, although good-intentioned, only serve to disempower and dumb-down an American populace that desperately needs to become more aware of the issues and, more importantly, how much power it truly holds to vote outside of this system. The influence of the two parties plants the fear in people that they should not “throw their vote away” on candidates outside of the ones compromised within the Democratic/Republican oligarchy. The obvious truth is that we do have the freedom to vote for candidates outside the two-party system. Our power needs to be exercised… through what we buy, where we bank, how we help our own communities, and WHO WE VOTE FOR, which is still the biggest factor that determines who gets elected, regardless of how much money comes from special interests.

Live. Die. Repeat? Well, actually, not true.


I finished watching Edge of Tomorrow, and I was confused. After riding high on a well-written plot that moved quickly and stayed logically consistent, it broke its own rules.

A good story sets expectations from the beginning as to what kind of story it’s going to be. This is a comedy, there will be silliness. This is action, there will be many shots fired and few people hit. This is sci-fi, it will show you an alternate reality. But all of them establish some frame of belief, a code of law, the laws of this particular story.

Art comes in different flavors, some strongly themed and some light stuff, because we all need to have some candy and indulge ourselves. So it’s important to observe art on this sliding scale.

With Edge of Tomorrow, I came away disappointed, but I take as much responsibility for this as the creators.  My expectations were set a bit higher than a sci-fi action flick, and that is thanks to the acting ability of Cruise and Blunt.

But ironically, my disappointment came from the power of the plot, a plot which marched forward with clear premise. Cruise’s character, Cage, relives the same day, again and again, after he dies, and his purpose is to find the Omega to destroy it and save the earth. Then, in the last scene, the foundation of the premise was broken, causing structural failure of the story.

This movie was sweet, airy cotton candy from the start, weakly themed and with no meaningful lesson learned by the characters. But I believe that films with more depth have a responsibility to the consumer to stay focused. Otherwise, the piece becomes self-indulgent, the writers and directors not showing up fully, and, in fact, disrespecting their own story. And just as important, disrespecting the consumers’ time.

Luckily, the internal contradiction of the Edge of Tomorrow came at the end where it didn’t confuse the rest of the movie, but being at the end, it deflates the feeling of awe at Cage’s success, and so diminishing its levity.

He saved the world! Ehhh, is that all he did? Ah, well, that was entertaining.