Sunday, September 27, 2020

Coffee With A View: Failing By Default

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you fail by default.”

-JK Rowling

I just watched "The Social Dilemma" [ironically, only on Netflix] finally, in its entirety...without falling asleep, LOL. None of it contained anything I didn't already know...yes, we're all just numbers made up of algorithms for advertisers, investors, etc. Yes, we are all traded as "human futures"....and "They" all need "a lot of data" about us.

Whatever.  Blah, blah, blah. For those intelligent enough to understand that we are all being used, it's really not such a big deal. But for those who are ignorant to it, I can see how it can be an "OMG! The sky is falling!" Chicken Little eye-opener.

But hey, Big Brother...can Your idiots grow a fantastic garden? A beautiful beefsteak tomato? A crop of sweet, delicious corn? A ripe cantaloupe, ready for breakfast?

Can "You" knit or crochet a beautiful, homemade afghan?

Can "You" write/co-write a song in a songwriters' circle and play an instrument that delivers that song?

Can "You" make beautiful jewelry? Have "You" spent countless hours doing intricate beadwork, with your own hands

Are "You" an Artist? Creating art that is meaningful and timeless?

Can "You" make an awesome batch of venison jerky? An award-winning pot of chili? LOL 😉

Can “You” do my hair the way I want? Massage my neck, shoulders, back, arms/legs the way I really need and want?

Can "You" really escape to the lakes, the mountains, the tropics, Alaska...without WiFi/cell service?

Can "You" help a person on the side of the road with a flat? Help someone that needs their lawn cut, their snow shoveled? Someone who is in trouble and may just needs a listening ear from someone who is a live body, not some auto-bot "customer service"?

Can "You" really find me a true companion...a best friend...that is compatible for me, NOT just based on a dating profile or app? Swipe left or right?? (Lame.)

Can "You" even hear, taste, smell or touch?

Can "You" ignore all of the political propaganda...the party hype...the fake news, conspiracy theories, etc...without any thought of compensation, in any form...monetary or trade...and bask in something that is called, um…HUMANITY?

I CAN!

I primarily use Facebook because, quite frankly...most folks do...to connect with friends and family, to share our lives...share our glories and triumphs, our mistakes and failures...our thoughts and beliefs...reaching out for help, answering the calls...

However, I pretty much ignore the advertising and propaganda a whole HELLUVA LOT! Especially the Left and Right party bullshit. (Sorry to say, you're all morons.)

I'm no fool. I know we're on the brink of a Civil War. I’ve known it for quite a while now. But it’s not about left or right politics, or about racism…it’s not about Trump or Biden, or who is in the seat of President or power. It is not about who has the loudest voice, clanging in our ears or burning our eyeballs out of their sockets, every f***ing day.

No, this has come down to a fight of good versus evil…and the "truth" that lies somewhere in the middle, lost in the chaos. If you adhere to a religion that helps you sleep at night, I can't blame you one bit. But for me, it's going to take a lot more than any belief system to fight on the front lines against what is right and good on this planet we call Earth.

I'm the Mom of two US Marines. They have both fought on horrible battle fronts that no one will ever know about. They won't talk about it, and I know why. I also work for our local EMS services. While everyone is decorating assholes above their heads, most of the ground troops "know" what it's all about: 

Image.

While most folks think I'm a "fence-dweller" as a Moderate, I tend to think: "Good! Go ahead and think that." But...don't think for one second that a "Boston Tea Party" could never, ever happen again.  Where will I be when that happens? Who knows. Most of all, what would it really mean, in the grand scheme of things?

We just finished up the Fall Harvest Festival in Riverton, Wyoming. We all came together as a community of families, friends, neighbors, tribes, politicians and businesses. We came together, despite our politics, beliefs, differences...and had a great time!

Proving, once again, that Life is more than the addictions we’re being fed by “Them”.

Shame on those who don’t think past the politics…corporate or governmental.

Shame on those who are simply jealous of those who want and succeed at living their lives in peace and prosperity...way past "high school" socialism.

Shame on those who think they “know” better than everyone else, just because they skim the “news” every day and share their biases…because quite frankly, they really don’t “know” anything at all.

They've already failed. Epic fail. They just don’t know it.

I am a human being. Not an algorithm.

And there is the Civil War.



Thursday, September 17, 2020

Coffee With A View: America the Hateful? Seeing the Elephant

I recently ran across an interesting post by my ex (David Harper) that caught my eye. For those who knew us when we were "us"...David and I were pretty much your atypical "American Family" (at least for a while). Both of us had pasts riddled with drama, divorce, financial difficulties, joblessness, homelessness, etc....several circumstances that went out of control at several points...but through it all, I am glad to say that we have remained friends. Enough of that (LOL)...

So here was David's post:

I don't know who wrote this but it sounds on the money to me.

“Why do people continue supporting Trump no matter what he does?"

A lady named Bev answered it this way:

“You all don't get it. I live in Trump country, in the Ozarks in southern Missouri, one of the last places where the KKK still has a relatively strong established presence. They don't give a shit what he does. He's just something to rally around and hate liberals, that's it, period. He absolutely realizes that and plays it up. They love it. He knows they love it. The fact that people act like it's anything other than that proves to them that liberals are idiots, all the more reason for high fives all around.

If you keep getting caught up in "why do they not realize this problem" and "how can they still back Trump after this scandal," then you do not understand what the underlying motivating factor of his support is. It's fuck liberals, that's pretty much it.

Have you noticed he can do pretty much anything imaginable, and they'll explain some way that rationalizes it that makes zero logical sense? Because they're not even keeping track of any coherent narrative, it's irrelevant. Fuck liberals is the only relevant thing. Trust me; I know firsthand what I'm talking about.

That's why they just laugh at it all because you all don't even realize they truly don't give a fuck about whatever the conversation is about. It's just a side mission story that doesn't matter anyway. That's all just trivial details - the economy, health care, whatever. Fuck liberals.

Look at the issue with not wearing the masks. I can tell you what that's about. It's about exposing fear. They're playing chicken with nature, and whoever flinches just moved down their internal pecking order, one step closer to being a liberal.

You've got to understand the one core value that they hold above all others is hatred for what they consider weakness because that's what they believe strength is, hatred of weakness. And I mean passionate, sadistic hatred. And I'm not exaggerating. Believe me. Sadistic, passionate hatred, and that's what proves they're strong, their passionate hatred for weakness. Sometimes they will lump vulnerability in with weakness. They do that because people tend to start humbling themselves when they're in some compromising or overwhelming circumstance, and to them, that's an obvious sign of weakness.

Kindness = weakness. Honesty = weakness. Compromise = weakness.

They consider their very existence to be superior in every way to anyone who doesn't hate weakness as much as they do. They consider liberals to be weak people that are inferior, almost a different species, and the fact that liberals are so weak is why they have to unite in large numbers, which they find disgusting, but it's that disgust that is a true expression of their natural superiority.

Go ahead and try to have a logical, rational conversation with them. Just keep in mind what I said here and be forewarned.”

Here was my comment:

I moved back home to Wyoming, after being gone for about 35 years, most of that time (as you know) was spent in CA. As I agree with most of this, I personally have had to take a look at where I was in my Past, and now in my own Present and the people who are in it. I was born and raised in a conservative state; spent 25 years in a liberal state. I've learned a lot about people and their circumstances along the way, and how we all deal with our issues/problems. Politics and socio-economics aside...it all comes down to how we TREAT each other: With respect, or disrespect? I've known hateful people on BOTH sides, conservative AND liberal. But when shit happens…like a wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, stock/housing market crashes, etc. I have seen the goodness in people. People who will give the shirts off their back, but not only that…pull out an ox in the mire on a Sunday. So for every hateful person, thank the Universe that there are more loving ones who step forward in times of trouble. It doesn’t matter who the President is, really. It’s about how WE are in the communities WE live in that will make the difference. The fight between good and evil is real…and I’m not talking about anarchy, but I am talking about America as we envision it to be. Be good. Be nice. Be strong.

---

I think that perhaps many of us who call ourselves "Moderates" struggle (at least, to some extent or another) this 2020 Election Year. Besides the fact that we're called "fence-dwellers" and have been mercilessly ridiculed as such...the truth is that no one really knows anything except for...

How we were raised.

There are those who have been raised in wealth or poverty...or perhaps somewhere in the middle. There are those who have been raised in strict religious and cultural traditions. There are those who are "working class" and "high class" or "no class". There are those who are raised to be pridefully racist..and those who are raised to be respectful, tolerant and accepting. There are those who are Native Americans, and those whose ancestral heritages are United States Revolutionary...those who absolutely despised tyranny and initiated that "Shot Heard Around The World". For those who mock marches and protests by so-called "liberals", consider those Revolutionary roots.

I don't know what cloud has been put over peoples' eyes to blind them from the harsh realities of the human condition, but being "conservative" or "liberal"...a "Republican" or a "Democrat" is quite minute and laughable in the grand scheme of things. I muse at the social media postings, left and right battles and babbles. So many chefs in the kitchen...so many bad dishes being created and presented for human consumption to glug down.

Do we not all breathe the air? Drink the water? Eat the food? Work the fields, hunt the forests...mind our stores and shops, whether online or storefront? Give of ourselves, work ourselves to the bone? Wonder at the sun, moon and stars above us? How soon we forget where we came from...not only how we've been raised, but how we've faced the trials and troubles along the way.

And yet, do we not ALL have time, talents and treasures that we uniquely give to our families, friends, neighborhoods and communities, because "that's just the kind of people we are", regardless of race, color, gender, religion and creed?

For those who don't know...I was out for about a week from my day job because I had a couple of what was considered "COVID symptoms". Congestion, respiratory problems. I was eventually tested negative (shocker, LOL!)...and could finally return to work. Yes, I lost a few days of work. Yes, I was a bit frustrated with my employer at one point,, however...because I can see many sides of the proverbial "Elephant" (which, I must say, has been both a blessing and a curse throughout my life), I can, once again, move forward and contribute to the ups and downs and craziness of this thing we call Life...and know that it will all work out, as long as I am consistent in being good, being nice, and being strong.

This (to the left) is my very favorite coffee mug. I have 50+ coffee mugs that I've collected over the years, but this one has always been my daily tried and true. Would I be sad if it ever broke? Oh, yes. But Life would go on.

It's a plain and simple mug. Nothing special about it, really...except that I love it. We all have treasures we cherish, for whatever reason(s). But...could we let them all go, at any moment, at any time? Better still...could we accept what is broken and find the love and strength within our own selves move forward and make things better?

Change is inevitable. Maybe we could see the Elephant in a way that will bring us together, rather than tear us all apart. Being better, not bitter.

In the mean time...my biggest worry these days is what to do with all of these potatoes. This garden has been out of control! 😉

Be good. Be nice. Be strong.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Nouns: The School Closet (Anyone Want Zucchini?)

So if you've been following me on Facebook, you know I have a huge garden that, if not contained by a [deer] fence, could probably take over Riverton, Wyoming's entire North Main. I'm convinced that the zucchini and cucumbers alone could do it. In expectation of a hot weekend, I'm watering in the morning and the evening...the coolest times of the day. Mornings are best, because in the evening, the bugs come out and I never know which one of them are hungry for human flesh. Haven't seen a murder hornet yet, but...at this point, I'm sure that if it bit me, I'd know!

I've learned a lot more about gardening this year, thanks to not only my avid gardening gurus and friends, but...my own father. I've learned so much from him, that much about gardening and farming is about the wisdom derived from, not just trial and error, but...patience.

Patience. What a virtue! Where many are running around with their hands in the air, convinced that the "sky is falling"...there are still many who have seen worse times, worse diseases/viruses, worse economic instability, worse injustices.

I now live in my Grandparents' home. Albert and Doris Lund. Survivors of the Depression Era, they weathered many of the storms and trials (literal and figurative) of their time. There were no laptops, no cell phones, no Internet. Cars were a luxury for many. So was a television set. No Netflix, no YouTube, no XBox.

 In our home, we had what my Mom called the "School Closet". A closet filled to the very top shelf with toys, books, puzzles, games, cards, blocks, tiles, musical instruments, tools, matchbox cars, crafts, crayons, paints, paper, etc. This Closet became my escape on so many occasions. Even when my brother and I were in trouble and/or grounded (which was a LOT of the time, LOL!)...the School Closet was never off limits. It was the one place we could go to satisfy our imaginations...calm our fears...play without boundaries. Might think that being "grounded" in our home was not so bad! LOL

Now in my Third Life, I can most certainly get caught up in a lot of drama and issues, at work and in the community. I get on Facebook and can laugh, shed a tear, roll my eyes, get my dander up on politics, social issues, etc. But I also think about what is now in my own "School Closet" and very much try to fill my mind with The Nouns that resonate within me. Not persuaded or influenced by outside forces, but a true refuge that shuts out all of the noise.

I know. This might all sound a bit naive and fairytale-ish. But if you knew the kind of life I had to live to get here, now...you might think twice. Because I've seen, felt and have experienced a lot of ugly, and who wouldn't want to escape and create a School Closet? A place where you and your mind and imagination rules. A place where you're not judged by the color of your skin, race, gender, spirituality or class. A place where you're "grounded". A place where you can be you.

I hate Election Years. It's a time where political parties are trying to persuade and tell you how to think and move. I know that the word "hate" is a very strong word to use, but...I do use it (pretty much) every four years. Everyone has a bandwagon and an agenda. Everyone has a PR/Marketing plan to bait and lure. Everyone has their own "thing" where they try to influence and solidify their own "base" and masses.

Me? I'm not a "sheeple". Lately, I pretty much configure myself to the "Island of Misfit Toys" when it comes to Election Day. Both parties - the Left and the Right - have become absolutely and fundamentally ridiculous. Those who cannot see this, I feel sorry for. For those of us in the Middle (Moderates), we bear (and have had to accept) the burden of "Balance". It's really not fair, but...what, in the grand scheme of life...ever is?!

The "Dog and Pony Show" aside...I think of my Grandparents. Out here, in the rural towns of Wyoming, no one really thought - on a daily basis - how things might pan out. They were just workin' to make a livin'. Trial and error. The powers-that-be  "above heads" may be in control, but...we all have our own "School Closets" to escape to. To read and ponder. To think and discuss. To shed the present "musts" and "have to''s...and dream of the "might be".

Lately, I've been binge-watching "Star Trek, The Next Generation". I had followed and watched it religiously in its time, but...I'm watching every episode again. What a brilliant series...where money/currency has no worth...where race, color, gender or religion has no power/control...where a mixed crew goes into the galaxies of the Universe "where no one has gone before". After I watch each episode, I wonder: Why does it take a science-fictional TV series for us to finally understand?

You might believe in Jesus; you might believe in Allah. You might believe in the Great Spirit...in the gods/goddesses...or any other Entity, and I completely respect that. But so many terrible things have been done and said in the name of Jesus and Allah. So many "gods" and Nouns throughout history have plundered and destroyed. So much hate, so many beliefs in lies and half-truths have been programmed into the human heart and mind, that it takes a Power greater than religion or tradition to overcome them...and that Power is: Love.

Love can cause a rise and fall. It can both build and crumble empires. It can heal. It is patient...and it is kind. For those who try it out, it can change their lives. For those who choose otherwise, the chaos and destruction continues. It's crazy that a tiny virus created such a chaotic paradigm shift in attitudes and behaviors. I wish that Love could have done that long ago.

My own "School Closet" is filled with a lot of Love. But I admit, my patience is running a bit low these days. So when I start feeling that overwhelming anxiety because of all the negativity and noise, I find a calming refuge in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset...a blue sky filled with clouds of all shapes and sizes...the smell of rain in the air...a garden filled with vegetables...a pot filled with flowers of all shapes, sizes and colors. The sound of birds in the morning. It all brings me back to "me" again. Grounds me...heals me.

What do you fill your "School Closet" with?

(That said...anyone want zucchini?) 🤣

Sunday, July 19, 2020

History Lessons: Reunions

Well, it's been a few weeks since writing...a lot has happened and has been going on in good ol' Fremont County, WY this month, despite the "'Rona". Dubois Friday Night Rodeos are still goin' on. Fourth of July happened with a "pirate parade" in downtown Lander (what pirates have to do with Independence Day, I have no idea, but yo, ho, ho and a bottle 'o rum and I suppose it's legit...I don't know, I was in Casper for a BBQ and fireworks). If Johnny Depp had shown up in full Captain Jack, I probably would've cancelled everything and made it Destination Lander. 😉

July 11 was Riverton Happy Days. This event was planned, prepped and executed within a month's time, and I am so very glad to have been a part of that committee, as I've met some very awesome, beautiful key people here in Riverton. I'm still so very bad with names, but I'm happy to say that quite a few have helped me get up to speed on the community's "dynamics". As with most small towns, there is always a certain level of political, business and social issues that might create a few bottlenecks, but for the most part, I have been very impressed by the strength and community spirit that really hasn't budged since I left over 35 years ago. Back in action, I am proud to call Riverton my home. It has and always will be home.

This weekend was the 2020 Riverton High School All Class Reunion. as well as my own Class of 1985 reunion BBQ. Busy weekend, and I'm so sorry to those I couldn't stay to chat with and reminisce, but I figured that my role was to step back and take photos for the sake of memories. So I was doing the "back and forth" thing...buying food...taking photos...prepping food...taking photos...close my eyes for a second's nap...taking photos...etc. I've now ended up with probably 500+ photos to sift through.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I don't do well in crowds. I have a certain level of anxiety that kicks in. Only I know when it does and it sets off the "red flag" alarm. Remember, I have Three Wolves...the Extrovert inside of me wants to get out and be social...the Introvert longs to be in her pajamas, comfy on the back deck watching the sun set/rise with a nice cup of coffee...and the Wolf in the middle must be a cat! LOL

I do think a lot depends on the people who presently surround me. I have several Circles of friends I thoroughly enjoy because I have a past AND present connection with them. However...there are those I didn't connect with in my Past, and they are still not in my Present. Yes, we often share our lives online...on Facebook or other social media...but it's not the same as being face to face, and "dealing". Being in my Third Life, the "ghosts" of my First and Second Lives seem quite foreign to me now...and I learned this weekend that some have really never left high school. For those I encountered, all of my Wolves just felt this strange and utter feeling of pity...and I suddenly realized why most of my classmates don't attend reunions.

So I leave, and go where I'm wanted and needed, and that's okay. Sure, I might be rustled from time to time, and then for some reason (I don't know, maybe it's just how deal with that kind of shit these days)...I'm actually quite good, because I know that those who have stuck with me through my First, Second and Third Lives will always have my back, no matter where we are in the World...and that's a great feeling to have! You know who you are...and I love you.

It's my brother's birthday today. It's also his daughter's birthday (my niece)..and it's also the birthday of my grand-daughter, Alivia. My Facebook's cover page reads a Mark Twain quote: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why."

Those of you who have found out why have my greatest respect.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

History Lessons: We The People - Our Independence Day

I had an awesome Independence Day with my "family" in Casper. A steak BBQ (cooked to perfection) with the most awesome potato salad...chips and dip...strawberry shortcake for dessert...and, of course, a 4th of July in Wyoming wouldn't be complete with out fireworks/firecrackers! These are the things memories are made of...past and present! I felt like a kid again...lighting fireworks in the street, watching the teens light fireworks for the first time (yep, we were "those neighbors", LOL!). Makes me so happy to be living back home. 

Independence Day means a lot to me as an individual with a mixed heritage, both Native and Immigrant. Every year I ponder upon whether or not America has become the kind of country our Founding Fathers would've truly wanted it to be, and I often hesitate to answer that...because their very dream of "a Perfect Union" seems to have become more of a nightmare these days, and it saddens me.

Election years always complicate things for me as a Moderate voter, and as I drove back home from Casper to Riverton, my thoughts turned to that very hope and vision our Founding Fathers had. The monarchical rules and laws that were broken...the aristocracies and politics that were born and escalated...the blood that was spilled...the prices that were paid. I think of the very opening line of the Declaration of Independence: "We The People..." and I stop right there.

We...the People.

What kind of "People" have we become? Where are our consciences, our minds, our hearts? Have we forgotten our histories so much that we deny and rewrite history to our own liking? Are we so focused on trade, power and the almighty dollar that we forget that so much has always been thrust upon the weary backs of those who have and still are paying the price?

We talk about slavery as if it's non-existent...but it most certainly is not. It is, and has always been, alive and well. We are all slaves! We are not free...we are all still bound to the gods of money, greed, power and control. Those at top still care nothing about those who dwell within the prisons of "the bottom line". Problem is, we've just accepted it...downright "Stockholm Syndrome"-accustomed to it. Those who fight for true liberty and freedom are ridiculed or silenced. Those who are blinded by it, gravitate towards it for the sake of their own survival. As human beings for tens of thousands of years, we do have this innermost desire for peace; however, the hope and vision of our ancestors and forefathers has become a mere illusion.

But we still celebrate holidays and Solstices...birthdays and anniversaries. Why? Because of our Conservative or Liberal party affiliations? No. Because our skin is red, yellow, black or white? No. Because religious traditions, doctrines and beliefs dictate that we must? Still, no.

We do it because it comes down one thing: Hope.

We hope for something better. We hope for future generations, that they'll do it better than we did. In our pursuits of life, liberty and happiness, we hope for a better peace and prosperity for all of our tomorrows.

Have we failed? Yes...so many times. But is there still Hope?

Ah yes, there's always Hope! The other day, I was thinking about "do overs". If I could "do over" a few things in my own life, would I? To tell the truth, I'm not entirely sure. Some things, yes. Others? No...because I experienced valuable lessons on my Journey that I may not have learned otherwise. However, no matter what...it has always been The Nouns - the People, places and things - that I allowed into my life, yet also had to let go in order to learn those valuable lessons...in order to form a more Perfect Union of my own heart, mind, body and soul.

What if America could push the "reset" button? Do overs? How would we do it different than our Founding Fathers? Would we allow people to divide into political, economical or social parties? Tories and Whigs? Conservatives and Liberals? The Haves and the Have Nots? The Christians and the "Non-Believers"? Would all lives matter? Would we allow any type of slavery, in any way, shape or form?

In the grand scheme of things, how necessary have these divisions been in achieving [some sort of bizarre, chaotic] "balance"...and just how has that been working for us? Yeah, not so great.

United we stand; divided we fall...and great will be the Fall. We let so many little things divide us...whether we should or shouldn't wear a mask...whether we vote our party...whether we're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, Pagan......whether we're straight or gay, red, yellow, black or white...whether we eat meat or are vegans...whether we are rich, poor or middle class. Etc. etc. If all humanity were wiped out by aliens in huge spaceships, or by a tiny virus invisible to the naked eye...what would it all mean, in the grand scheme of things?

I'm just going to leave that question out there for you to answer, and on that note, I will end today's blog post with a quote in the movie by "President Whitmore" (Bill Pullman) from the movie "Independence Day":

"Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world, and you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind.

Mankind.That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom.

Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We're fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice: We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!

Today we celebrate our Independence Day!"


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Coffee With A View: "How Was Your Day, Dear?"

This next post comes from a friend I met many years ago, and, like many I've met along the way on my Journey, we've kept in touch solely on Facebook. I read his posts often because of his sarcastically-amusing sagacity that generates a depth very well worth the thought and consideration. I am most privileged to introduce him here on Coffee Pong, and hope that someday soon we'll be able meet again over the best java in Reno.

And now, I give you: Reno J. Dinero!

______

"How was your day, Dear?" I don't even have one of those at my house. In one sense, it makes answering all the more easier:

"Challenging."

For those of you who might not know (or even care) my business is entertainment. More specifically, business management of union labor for entertainment, conventions, special events, etc.

I have been in this business for almost all of my adult life. I have managed production for arenas. I have been a Technical Director for a university theatre; I toured as a Stage and Production Manager. I now am the Business Agent for IATSE Local 363 "The Mighty #363" in Reno, NV. I started in this business loading trucks at the Lawlor Events Center for $3.38hr. in 1983. I have done television, movies, live sporting events including two Super Bowl pre-game shows and Thanksgiving Day at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI, with Third Eye Blind. That was the first live televised performance at halftime of an NFL game, other than at the Super Bowl, by a major artist ever.

In all that time, and in many different capacities, I have seen a lot of things... but I have never seen anything like this. Period.

Our industry was shut down March 17, 2020, like no other.

Coincidentally, that was the day my Mom passed away. Suffice it to say, I will never forget that day for the rest of my life. But there are many days from my life that hold that same distinction. Both good and bad.

Right now, I have 300+ people sitting on the sidelines unable to work. There are countless numbers of my friends and colleagues around the world who are at home instead of being out on tour. Performers, production folks, ticket takers, CEO's, truck drivers, from top to bottom our industry has been affected like no other. We need large crowds, large working groups, many of us are in the high risk groups for COVID-19. Devastating doesn't even begin to crack the meter as to where we find ourselves today. Tomorrow? My crystal ball is on PAU as well. No one has an answer for us.

I understand my business. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I know what it takes to be successful for just about any production you can imagine.

After 36 years in the business, like anyone who has been in their chosen field for that long, I kinda am getting the hang of things. I understand.

What I don't understand is all of you civilians out there who have become contrary. You fight about everything. Wouldn't matter who was in office, or popular in culture, which team is hot; you argue vehemently about trivial pursuits daily.

This is not public discourse. This is not standing up for civil liberties. This is not exercising your right to assemble or free speech. This is ignorance. Willful ignorance.

You talk about shooting each other. You argue whether to mask or not to mask. You rage at a percieved hoax or question each other's validity in the facts of your arguements. All the while, situations have gotten way beyond what's acceptable or should be acceptable. You lash out at those that oppose your viewpoint, or worse, take violent action against them. You riot. You damage innocent businesses. You steal. Then, you leave. It's out of control...and it's got to stop. Or be stopped.

Because the only thing I see stopped right now is my people. My industry. Your entertainment. Get it together. Think about someone besides yourself for a change. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. We have no time for sidetracks, if you want to ever return to seeing concerts or the Super Bowl or anything entertainment-related, ever again as you knew it, start doing. Or you can kiss that and "How was your day, Dear?" goodbye. This ain't about your or my day. This is about us our existence.

Reno J. Dinero


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Coffee With A View: Make No Excuses, and Rise Above

So today's "Coffee With A View" comes from an exchange on a childhood friend's Facebook wall. Let me tell you a bit about Cody...
  There are several people in my lifetime that I have admired because of their astonishing beauty. Cody is one of them. I've known her since grade school, and one of my fondest memories was when we partnered up for Mr. Breen's photography "class". I think I still have some old black-and-white photos from that...I don't know, I'd have to dig through some boxes. I know I have a few...

  When you're a kid growing up in a small town in one of the most sparsely-populated states in the Union, you are [or at least, appear to be] wild and care-free. That lasts for a time, and then, as a teen, it's the age-old story. You feel awkward, geeki-ish...hope to find some sort of "acceptance" in some sort of clique or crowd. I've always been a music nerd, so along the way, it was inevitable that our "crowds" would separate. But also along that difficult "Teenage Wasteland" way, there were those who would gossip, backbite, look down their noses at me...be a total and complete bitch to me. I very well know I was the brunt of not all, but some of it...however, there were a choice few in high school who never did that. Cody was one of them.

   Being back home now, some things have changed, but I've run into just a few local "Riverton Lifers" who think they're still back in high school, suspended in time. The thing that is most refreshing for me is to see classmates all over the country, all over the world...living their own Journey...the rises and falls, the falls and rises. The trials, challenges and tribulations. The losses accounted for, but the amazing wisdom and strength gained.

  Cody is one of them...and I thank her for, still...after all these years, being a part of my life.

Cody:

"So sad that this great country is literally destroying itself. Now we want to rewrite history on top of it. I'm sorry, but every single American has the same opportunities upon birth. It's up to each and every individual to grab that American dream and take flight. It doesn't matter what color your skin is, or even what social class you're reared in. Make no excuses and rise above. I want PEACE above all else."

Carol:

I was just listening to a song that had the phrase, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride..." I didn't understand how profound that phrase was until I read your post. I believe it takes a lot of work to make that "American Dream" come true. Unfortunately, we have several generations who have been raised to believe that they can just get a free ride on the work horses. At the same time, there are those who have been raised in privilege (regardless of race) saying: "Let them eat cake." and have no clue or understanding as to what it means to be homeless, destitute and looked down on because of the color of their skin. Myself? I feel as if I've lived a thousand lifetimes in my meager [almost] 54 years, and Life has always come down to choice. Decide what you want to do, and what kind of person you want to be...and then do the work to achieve it. No one else is going to do it for you...and there is no shame in asking for help, as long as the goals and objectives of the Dream is clear to both giver and receiver. Two (or more) heads are better than one!

 But to "force" our government(s) and work horses to continually give and give without oversight and responsibility is insane and it only sucks the Life out of everyone! Then it's no longer a dream, it's a nightmare. Also...where are the corporate churches and "ministries" that take and take tithes and offerings...for what, a "feel good" sermon, inspiring music and pat on the head? The poor are still among us...and according to Jesus, always will be (John 12)...so what wisdom does the poor have to impart? I think it would behoove us all to at least finally listen and understand. Thanks for letting me comment...Miss ya!