Category Archives: people

Myths Mad Men & Immortality

Humans have contemplated their reason for existence for eons. The rise of human collective knowledge wasn’t necessarily based on objective studies or provable criteria. Many people pondered things unknown, and believing those things were in the realm of intelligence beyond their own, fabricated deities associated with those areas of immense power, or an age in the distant unknown past, or unforeseen future. Egyptian gods

Our significance, our self importance was now defined by our ability to understand the mind & will of  ‘diety’. We were given explanations for things we don’t and can’t know, by people claiming greater knowledge and insight than ourselves. We attached our beliefs to their explanations and convinced ourselves, by their routine communication, that we could understand our life’s journey and tying it to the eternities.

This was of extreme importance as we developed attachments to people and animals, which at their demise, we were left with grief. Our losses could become temporary, as was all of our lives.

By special social & codified procedures and behaviors, we could rejoin all those we love. Conversely, all who we knew, who were unruly, unmanageable, or vile could be cast into eternal torment. This seemed perfectly reasonable to pre-bronze age cultures. Should those same ancient beliefs be particularly important today?

Harvey_Pooka_image_aThe fictional character in the play & movie, HarveyElwood P. Dowd: “Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for thirty five years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.

Among the greatest of unknowns, what happens after we die? Mystics, Shamans, Clairvoyants, and Prophets arose among them, to explain the gaps in our knowledge. Eventually, those oral stories found written form, and once structured to a language that could be passed to future generations, these words became codified.

Knowing the will of god is an interesting exercise.

It goes something like this…


You read from a collection of very old texts, connected together by a common theme, a god and various interaction with humans.

You read an interpretation of what was once an oral story, which later was written down and passed through several translations. The interpretations of these writings are frequently contested by another group or individual who claim, they understand what was anciently written, better than someone else.

Many of these written words contain stories when looked at with reasonable precision either contradict, or explain ideas that make little sense to contemporary culture, and in some instances, are foolish. Not all are wrong ideas, so there’s often ‘cherry picking’ going on for the least offensive or minimally ridiculous.

Then, the devout person prays to someone they can’t see, or hear, but insists this imaginary person is real, and answers prayers. On average, using the least scientific or objective criteria, the imaginary being is attributed credit for things when they turn out in the way the person praying, desired. Often, things don’t turn out in ways the individual had hoped for, but attributes that to the mysterious nature of god’s will. You know, the one in which they said they knew and were banking on to justify their reasons of belief.

It’s quite possible there’s another god figure. One in which things were set in motion and then left to themselves to manage or act upon by outside forces. Of course, you can’t have it both ways. Either you have a concerned, passionate, all powerful, all knowing god, or you have a god that is capricious, uninvolved, letting people do what they want, permitting disease, pestilence, natural disasters, horrible depravity by other humans, unintended consequences, random outcomes in spite of human desire, and allowing the rules of physics to do their normal stuff. Orthodox-Apocalypse-Fresco

Which is the god you know? The all caring, all knowing, all powerful, involved with humans and their myriad of wishes, or the uninvolved, laissez-faire, super being from a distance unknown?

You pick, you decide, but either one makes little sense. No matter how hard a person searches or acts in “faithful” ways, unless they just ignore what’s truly occurring, pretend that outcomes of life activities are measured and directed under a super being, and ignore accumulated science and understanding of how things really work, it’s a fruitless exercise.

My conclusion is, unless I wish to surrender my values of reason, objective intelligence, and ignore contradiction, then I may recognize value in established myth.

I believe I live a more productive and happy life without tying myself to a confusing set of rituals, myths, and paganism.

If I’m wrong, and god is this loving and compassionate being, he, she, or it, has had many opportunities to achieve an equitable, understandable, reasonably clear method of helping me to realize they exist. It needs to be more than a feeling. People have routinely acted on their feelings, not only were they often wrong, in some instances their ‘inspired feelings’, were harmful to themselves or other people.

😱👺👻💀🙈🙉🙊

Business Comes & Goes, So Does a Culture

There were days when we would go downtown to shop. It wasn’t like going to the grocery or hardware store. No, this was something special, and we would dress for the occasion.  Mother would take her dress gloves out of the drawer, and along with her dress and high heels, she would take out a hat from a box. I would wear dress slacks, shiny shoes, and a sport coat. There were times when I too would wear a hat.

We rode the bus from uptown to downtown, and we weren’t all that out of place in the way we dressed. Most of the other people riding would be dressed in what we might now refer to as business casual.

Minneapolis_downtown_Powers_dept_store_1950sUpon arriving downtown, we might walk down the street and look in various store windows to see what was on display. Most of them of course were pitching their current sales, but there was competition among the variety of retailers as to who might have the most attractive window display.

Minneapolis_Emporium_diner_1950s

Emporium tea room 1940-50s Minneapolis

Eventually we would enter a store, either through double doors which we would pull open, or by entering a revolving door which you or someone else would push to rotate your part of the large glass triangle, until you could enter the store. What awaited your eyes were a couple of things. Usually a store greeter, but not the disinterested couch potatoes who might greet you at Walmart. No, these would be smartly dressed people that knew how to smile. The other thing immediately noticed were the row upon row, of neatly arranged aisles with well placed merchandise on shelves, in displays, or on mannequins. As you made your way to the center of the store, there would be several elevators. Each elevator had a person inside the elevator who would open up the doors, or gate and doors for you to enter. They would then close the doors after everyone that could or wanted to get on. You then would tell them your floor, and they would make the selection for you. Each of these ‘operators’, wore some type of uniform, some with hats, most also wore gloves.

Sears_Tower_1988_1All that changed quickly as the suburbs began to erect large enclosed shopping malls. There were of course what we call strip malls. Stores that shared a large common parking lot and each retailer store were aligned side by side. That didn’t nearly have the impact of the enclosed shopping mall. Once they were constructed, many of the downtown stores simple opened their store in the new mall. This took a big toll on downtown retailers. They typically paid higher rates for taxes, most didn’t have convenient parking. They relied on nearby parking decks and lots, or those like us, who took city transportation. The downtown retailers didn’t maintain their greeters, elevator operators. Even their display windows became less interesting, a far simpler asthetic became the norm.

Those times seem strange to people unfamiliar with that era. Most downtowns have morphed into high rise condominiums, or permanent apartments. Either that or they were torn down as if part of a failed social experiment.

All that has changed again. Many shopping malls are skeletons of what they once were. Some malls have closed entirely. All this due to the evolution brought on by the Internet. The Amazon shopping model has become the new norm. First it was mail order. The big retailers like Sears, JC Penny adapted well. Then the Internet became a ready made 24/7 sales facility. Display windows are now the Internet tabs to click and expand. People still shop, the delivery times are quick and you might not even get out of your night clothes. Social interaction is minimized.

New_York_Lord_Taylor_store_closing

Oldest department store company in the US is disappearing entirely from Fifth Avenue after 104 years

The New York Post just came out with a lament on how much the retail store front is disappearing, and how it’s changing the character of the city.

Chicago_Sears_stores_closing_1

Sears closed last store in Chicago Illinois

The Chicago Tribune opines over the loss of the last Chicago Sears store. The once mighty retail giant, headquartered in Chicago is gone. There building tower still stands, but was sold off years before.

It’s fundamentally changing business, but furthermore, it’s removing us from personal interaction and social restraint. If social media is the replacement for the way friends might meet at the mall, or take day trips downtown, it’s a poor substitute.

Along with the loss of social skills comes another challenge, the need for fewer people. Just like the elevator operators, greeters and floor persons, all will disappear when picking and delivery become fully automated.

Retail has indeed changed, and so too has the culture.

How to Be – A Lighter View on Life

Permit me to say a few things that are about you, yes you, even though I’m going to say some things about me. It may seem like a strange intro, but it will make more sense if you read on.

49_ford_at_stoplight_cI’m rather like that old car you might have seen on the road or in a parking lot. You know the one that looks dated, the shine has mostly gone, but it’s not a rare classic, so you’re not going to spend a lot of time looking at it, or thinking about it. You’re just going to move along.

Here’s what you probably don’t know, the car looks dated, but it still provides the owner reliable transportation. It sometimes takes a bit more effort to start, it’s seen a lot of miles, but the joy in driving it is still there. Now that I’ve said that, and as limited as analogies are, let’s find out more about you.

Almost anyone who is a regular on social media writes things, and over time, you get to know who that person is, or at least how they perceive the world. Many of you are younger than me, quite a few are significantly younger. In a way, I’m that old car, which you pass, and the things that catch and hold your attention are not old cars.

Mike USMC Hawaii on the beachKeep in mind, that car was once new and shinier, more contemporary. You might say, I’ve been where you’re are now, but you haven’t gone through all the things that I have or you would look more like … the older car.

When I frequently read things that say something like, “I don’t give a F” or that this person (insert well known person’s name here), is a cretin, there’s something disturbing going on inside you. I’m not talking about someone who occasionally says such things, I’m talking about those of you that pitch and rant about somebody, usually that same someone, almost every day.

The other description I see, are about those of you that constantly assert, it’s my life and I’ll think, say, do, and look the way I want. Of course you can, you’re responsible for you, no one else is, but there are consequences of your actions and reactions to your appearance which may not be what you wanted. It goes without saying, you may do and think what you want, but you don’t live in a vacuum. If you’re feeling the need to tell people you demand independence, or you don’t care about others, why the need to constantly remind us? Remember, you’ve stated you’re not interested in the opinion of others, yet you frequently say this in a public forum. That’s a bit incongruous, yes?

beware-false-claims-2I think I’ve passed through these experiences before. I believe if you find yourself frequently angry, tired of the actions of an entertainer, a politician, professional athlete, or some other famous person, or feel compelled to tell others to go ‘F’ themselves; there’s things going on within your mind that require additional sorting and figuring out.

Whatever you’re doing, the places and people your mind is focused on, it’s not serving you well. You are spending time on a topic or person which you’ve declared to be offensive or disturbing. Do you really think that’s going to make things better, or the object of your dissatisfaction improve?

Find another place for your mind to travel, make new associations, listen, watch, read about other things. It’s not good for you to dwell on other people you don’t like. You aren’t changing or harming them, you’re only chipping away at yourself. I know this is difficult to see, you may not want to admit it, but there’s something going on inside that just isn’t right, and whatever it is, it’s not going to get better unless you decide to make a change in you.

Let me say that unhappiness most often isn’t your physical location. It can be, but are things really better if you move or travel to ______? Wherever that fill in the blank place is located, you’re going to be the same person when you get there. The same thoughts, frustrations, habits, will go with you.

So, I’m suggesting it’s more about you. You need to be able to enjoy things around you, now. You should feel happy, even alone, without stimulus, and in your present location.

a  walk at sunset.jpgTake a few moments, away from the things that make you disturbed, perturbed, or frustrated. It may mean you have to change your current method of making decisions, choices, patterns of eating, drinking, or with whom you associate. That disassociation can take several forms. It may be there are “friends” you should stop seeing, corresponding, talking to, or reading about. It may be that reading the news, watching the news, or listening to it, has you fired up. Get away, and find new sources, or none at all. You’re going to need some time, so don’t expect immediate positive results.

If you find yourself saying, I could care less, maybe you need to care more? Maybe your lack of concern about others is actually doing more harm to yourself than you think. How about finding people and circumstances that cause you to care more about them, and less time about yourself? Apathy isn’t a key to successful, enjoyable living!

If none of this makes sense to you, maybe it’s because it doesn’t apply to you. I can be reasonably certain it does for some people. Maybe even for many that don’t recognize they’re that sort of person. Whomever you are, no matter what you’re thinking as of this moment, you deserve to be happy.