Stuff That Kicks…

In many ways, I am the quintessential teacher. I love sharing information!!! I love opening the minds of others to new and interesting things. Any teacher will tell you how awesome it is when you see that light bulb go on in a students head, that “oh wow” moment. There is nothing like it.

In the same vein, I enjoy sharing things I enjoy with the world. Particularly, for my intent and purposes here, what comes to mind most is art and culture. Music, movies, books…there is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t share a song, or video, or comment about a book on my personal Facebook.

Well, I’m gonna start sharing those things here on my blog. I’m calling it the “Things That Kick” series…that means it kicks ass. So, in the future, I’ll be sharing art of various mediums with you all. I hope that over time, you’ll at least see one or two things that you’ll enjoy, or will be new to you, or will possibly broaden your horizons, or challenge your notions in one way or another.

Also, I’m in the process of creating some new pages, so I’ll be posting something when those are up.

I hope you all are doing well. Things in my life are moving at a crazy pace…I’ll let you know how things look in the dust settles.

Namaste.

Dystopian Calling

This is an entry in today’s Daily Writing Challenge:  You can get in on the fun here: Daily Post Writing Challenge: Dystopia

I saw it coming years ago.  I suppose the inevitable became evident years before I noticed.  However, it wasn’t until I became an adult, of sorts, and became interested in politics that I began to see the tell-tale signs.

I think the period of time that made my mind absolutely shift towards the path I walk now was during the second presidency of Barack Obama.

While he stood as a symbol of hope, and new horizons for so many, the in-step march of a new regime was on the horizon. The Republican party, as it was then known, working in conjunction with this new, fledgling Tea Party wouldn’t give him the time of day.  They were so staunchly opposed to anything he would say or attempt to do.

People called it ‘political differences’, but it was fairly obvious to anyone with open eyes what was really going on.

If I really think about it though, it’s easy to look back to 2001, and Sept. 11th to see that this wasn’t a new development, but simply a growing wave that  already had firm footholds in the dominant psyche.

I recalled the first time I heard someone suggest “Mulim-only lines” in airports to ensure security…I thought the idea was preposterous, and was sure it would be met with a groundswell of outrage and indignation…but it wasn’t.

That flipped over to the constant questioning and badgering of the idea that Barack Obama was really Muslim, and not Christian, to which I vehemently replied

“So what????”

But it was obvious that being Muslim was not appropriate for the highest office in the United States, although no one was willing to come out and just say it.

And then, someone was.

Bill Bradley.  Tea Party superstar.  Rose out of nowhere.  Young, fire-brand clean cut white kid who came out to knock down a Democratic incumbent Senator. From there, he became the crown jewel of his party, and public sentiment just seemed to become more resolute.

“An America for real Americans!”

“Close the borders and let America become America again!”

While I remembered Angela Merkel, German chancellor,  once saying that multiculturalism in Germany was an absolute failure, I never dreamed such a sentiment would be spoken by an American politician…not a mainstream one.

…and then it was…

…and suddenly it seemed that civil rights for all those not in the Tea Party…started to erode.

You either rolled with the train, or got ran over by it.

Jews, Muslims, Blacks, Mexicans, Liberals, Democrats…

…it seemed each new law proposed and passed overwhelmingly was another step to making us all second class citizens.  Second to the Tea Party.  Which even over time became smaller, more elite, and yet vested with so much power.

The 1%  versus the 99% no longer existed over economy.  It was now 1% of the population having power and rule over the 99% percent, and that 1% was the power elite now known as the Tea Party.

It was so gradual, so subtle, and now.  Now, even the things you say may be punishable in a court of law, because you are threatening the life of a government official.

Once successful Tea Party presidents began placing Tea Party conservatives on the Supreme Court, it only took so long for interpretations to change on the 1st Amendment…then the 2nd Amendment…even the 5th Amendment was augmented.  Now, refusal to self-incriminate is obviously an admission of guilt. No one seemed to find the sudden deaths of Supreme Court Justice’s suspicious.  2 car accidents and 1 downed plane.  3 Justices in 8 years?  I suppose it doesn’t matter now.

Things which seemed unthinkable: secret agents raiding homes, torture, overt religious and racial pandering to a national audience…
…it all seems so commonplace now.

And so here I am.  No one would suspect an old man like me would be possible of this action.  No one would guess that I would be the man willing to sacrifice so much to see this all take place. I guess that’s what made it easy.

And the sacrifices I’ve had to make.

And now, I will make the ultimate sacrifice.  It all seems so surreal. In only a few moments, the motorcade will pull up. The Tea Party President, William Bradley, will exit his vehicle…

…and with the simple pull of a trigger I will begin a new world.  I hope.  I hope this moment ignites people to rise up and take back what has fallen to the wayside.

Justice.  Hope. Peace. Equality.  Brotherhood.

Freedom.

Perhaps it will be all for nothing.  Perhaps the few seconds of satisfaction I feel will be the only positive to come from this moment.

At least I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing I got the best of them.  1 bullet for him, 1 for myself. They won’t get the best of me.

The years of training, and research…

…it all comes to this.

Fiat justita ruat caelum.

The Lady or The Tiger?

It’s currently 2am.  I spent an amazing day out and about in the city.  One of the professors (black belt instructors) at Gracie Barra Chicago, Professor Sid, retired from the Chicago Fire Department after 33 years of service.  Absolutely Amazing!  A bunch of the Gracie Barra guys and gals came out for that fabulous celebration, and from there it was one point after another bouncing around, till we ended up at Gracie Barra The Loop watching UFC 155.  Grr…Dos Santos got dominated.  So not happy about that, but Cain Velasquez fought a great fight.  So here I am, and my mind is abuzz…with the excitement of the day.  I met new people, had lots of great conversations, broke bread in great company, had an amazing, although scary experience with a flock of pigeons…all of the types of things that make me happy.  However, another topic has been on my mind as of late, and that’s what I truly want, and intended, to talk about this post, and that is…

the_lady_or_the_tiger_by_chiaki_fuzzy-d3gd0xn

Duh, Duh, DUH!  I don’t quite recall when I first encountered this short story.  When I was in elementary school, I was in the gifted program for reading, and they gave us these books full of “advanced” short stories, and we’d read them, and discuss them.  All I really know is that the first time I read this story, it captivated my mind…it still does today.

As I look back on that then, and reflect now, this story wraps up many of the things I find fascinating in the world today: philosophy, psychology, open-ended debate.  As I sat a few nights ago re-reading, and thinking about this story, I came to the realization that one of  my favorite films, “Inception,”  is based around many of the same themes.  If you’ve never seen that movie, go see it IMMEDIATELY!   Thoroughly fascinating movie, and it culminates in a final scene that leaves you with more questions than answers…much like this short story.

So, if you’ve never read this short story, I will not share it here in it’s entirety, because that would make this post ridiculously long…however, here it is here, in it’s complete form, for you:

Read “The Lady, or the Tiger?”  Here!  

******SPOILER ALERT******

So, just for knowledge sake:

The Lady, or the Tiger?” is a much-anthologized short story written by Frank R. Stockton for publication in the magazine The Century in 1882. “The lady, or the tiger?” has come into the English language as an allegorical expression, a shorthand indication or signifier for a problem that is unsolvable. The underlying allegory is parallel to the dilemmas often faced by participants in problems predicted by game theory.”
Source: Wikipedia: The Lady or the Tiger?

So, first things first; If there is anyone who can reasonably and simply explain game theory to me, I will totally buy you coffee.

Going on….so, I ask you…how does the story end?

Now, obviously, that question is truly unanswerable…because it’s unverifiable.  However, that’s one of the things that makes this story so amazingly intriguing, because once you throw that question on the table, the adventure truly begins.

I think so much of how you think this story ends depends on your personal perspective, history, and a myriad of other influences.  How would you want to see the love of your life end up?  What could you stand to live with?

For those of you who’ve seen “Inception”, it’s pretty easy to see the similarities to the question, “Does the top continue to spin, or fall?”

I read this story twice a few days ago, and I let it cook my noodle for a while.  Before I knew it, 40 minutes had passed, and I was still trying to decide, “What is behind that right door?”  Could she stand to hear him ripped limb from limb by a hungry tiger in a most gruesome death…or, could she stand to see him married to a beautiful maiden, and whisked off to a new life…a life that she would have no choice to be a part of, lest she find him in the arena yet again.

Absolutely amazing in its simplicity, yet it’s complexity.  Suspenseful…

So tell me in the comments….how does the story end.  Does the young man encounter the lady….or the tiger?