Archive for the ‘Tin Man’ Category

angry tin man

Today’s armed assault at a newspaper office in Annapolis is the umpteenth time that innocent people have been gunned down. While the news media will be focusing on this tragedy a divided nation will be further divided because we are basically stupid.  We stage protests, shake out fist at those who don’t agree with us, and damn Donald Trump to yet another lower level in hell….nothing, absolutely nothing gets done.

But guess what?  I’m not going to blog about the shooting or wave a magic wand to make things better.  Instead I’m going to go way out on a limb and talk about something that radically pisses me off!.

I’m sick and tired of hearing people say “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

That doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t go out to the victims and their families. It does.  But this pray bit has become total bull shit for me.  Not to disparage “believers,” but I can’t take all this crap about a caring and loving god!

I find the whole idea about organized religion to be the biggest sham ever.  I don’t believe for a minute the pious prelate who joins hands with someone from another religious belief claiming that differences don’t matter.

Ask a rabbi what they think about a practicing Jew converting to Christianity or a Catholic joining a Baptist Church or choosing to embrace another religion.

I’m not talking about crazy religions with some really outrageous rules a believe has to adhere to.  I’m talking about how we play the God card whenever something goes terribly wrong here.

Shit happens.  Storms and fires.  Accidents happen. Some people walk away from an accident while some don’t.  People get terminal illnesses.  Little babies die.

The God of the Old Testament was a real son-of-a-bitch.  People who didn’t keep dietary laws were condemned.  There were soooooooooooo many stupid rules just to make this whack-a-doodle god happy.

And then came Jesus who supposedly died for our sins.  Come on.  The whole story about original sin was a set up.  If you believe the crap about the Garden of Eden you know we did the right thing.

I don’t think we should be praying to this fickle God, we should say, “what the hell are you doing?  If you really loved us you wouldn’t act the way you!”

But you know what?  We are the ones responsible for our actions and we are the only ones who can do anything about it.

And natural disaster?  God has nothing to do with them,  They are natural.

NB:  If my blog had a real following I am sure I would be vilified for going out on a limb.


Read Full Post »

The Tin Man’s heart goes out to all the victims of the latest “unnecessary” tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, to their families, friends and the surrounding community.

How many more tears need to be shed?

crying tinman two

Meaningful art from: https://only-enemy.deviantart.com/art/The-Tin-Man-Lost-His-Heart-208524222

Read Full Post »


Illustration credit: http://www.freakingnews.com/Donald-Trump-the-Scarecrow-Without-a-Brain-Pictures-140003.asp

What do President Donald Trump, Hamlet, and The Wizard of Oz have in common?  A lot. Let me go right to a snippet of Hamlet’s often quoted soliloquy on man:

What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!
the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

At first glance it appears that Hamlet is giving a glowing review of man. But when the quote is taken apart and the exclamation points are changed to question marks as they are in some versions of the text, the meaning changes completely. And I believe it is closer to Shakespeare’s intended meaning.

Consider the current meaning of the expression “you’re a piece of work.”  It’s not a compliment. It’s an insult.

So, with that said, if we insert this meaning into the Hamlet quote with the change in punctuation, we come away understanding that man is not noble in reason, not infinite in faculty, etc.

To Trump’s supporters the exclamation points remain. To his detractors the question marks are in place.

For a minute take Trump’s campaign rhetoric and his political moves out of the equation and look at Trump the man, the mere mortal.  Contrary to the saying about actions speaking louder than words, President Trump’s action and words speak out loud and clear.  As a businessman he might be the great and powerful wizard, but as a man, he is a humbug.

Put Trump in Oz and he would fire the Wizard and take over control of the Wonderful Land of Oz. Where the original Wizard might have put green glasses on all the people in the Emerald City to convince them they were seeing what he wanted them to see, he knew in his heart he was misleading the people. (Take note of the word “mislead.”  It literally means to lead people astray.)

In Wizard Trump’s case, he actually believes in his “humbugary.” In truth he is the scarecrow in need of a thoughtful brain. He is also the Tin Man, in need of a compassionate heart. And he is the Lion, but not the Lion who knows he lacks courage. He is the Lion who believes he is the King of the Forest. A lion who roars, rages and tweets.

I have lived through the “reign” of a dozen presidents. My view of them as political leaders means less to me than my view of them as men. I judge them using the checklist in Hamlet’s speech.  I want a person in the White House who is noble in reason, a person who is admirable, and a person who is in action like an angel.

There’s no doubt that Obama, Bush and Clinton might have fallen short in many human areas. However, they were elevated by the office of the presidency and more often than not acted accordingly.

Read Full Post »


I’m in the state of confusion, the 51st state of the Union where I seem to have taken up permanent residence.  Lately I’m very confused about the definition of words we toss around with reckless abandon.  Words like Democrat and Republican, in my opinion, are totally useless words that should be banned from use in private or public.  But words like conservative and liberal are two words that need some attention.

The dictionary defines the two this way as adjectives:

liberal – open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.
conservative – holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.

The “troubling” words in the liberal definition are “willing to discard,” because discard is so close in meaning to toss or throw away like a piece of trash. The words “cautious about change” in the definition of conservative are, in my opinion, less offensive, but can easily be used to stop progress.

What I hate about the two words, aside from their lame definitions, is the fact that both words have driven a wedge between us.

I am a conservative.  I conserve water, energy, and natural resources.  I am a liberal. I am liberal with the time I spend helping other people, in using my money to help the less fortunate, and in praising people when praise is deserved.

But, I am not so cautious about change, when change is beneficial to us all, even if it might benefit some more than others.  I am not willing to discard traditional values without some gut-wrenching decision-making because, as Tevye said in Fiddler on the Roof, “without our traditions our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.

I have no problem embracing relationships of and between genders. I have no problem with people who are working hard to legalize marijuana. I am a big supporter when it comes to making sure everyone’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are defended. I am not a big, vocal proponent of abortion, but, I am against making it illegal because that won’t work.  Does that mean I’m too weak to defend the lives of the unborn? No.  It just means that I think a woman does have a right to make a decision despite the fact that I believe life is life…but a life has to be wanted, and I don’t buy the argument about so many couples want to adopt children.  (The issue is far too complex to fit into a blog.)

But I also fear that we are living in a society where anything goes without giving a second thought to traditional values that perhaps might  have some permanence and universal viability. These values, in my opinion, include respect, honesty, tolerance, selflessness, compassion, etc.  My conservative genes believe that today it is hard to maintain values in a world that spins on an axis of entitlement.

When I was in college during the big anti-war movement of the 60s, I was amazed how a “liberal” student could come home from a peace march and turn up his stereo to a deafening volume, but would say “fuck off” to a conservative, aka, hawk, when asked if the stereo could be scaled back.

I sometimes believe that extreme liberals and conservatives make it hard for all of us to create a world of mutual respect and admiration.  There are numerous forks in the road and we have to believe that not all of the roads to the left need be taken nor should we take all of the roads to the right. As a secular people we have to understand that our rights can be found in our founding documents. As a secular people we also need to know that we have a right to make changes in our laws and that our “laws” are not necessarily sacred.

Progress is not a dirty word. It does not, pardon the expression, trump, using our heads or following our hearts in the pursuit of creating a just world.  It does mean it is going to take a lot of internal courage to support justice for all.


Read Full Post »


WARNING: This blog might be offensive to people who are strictly literal by nature or default. I prefer absurdity over anything.

I had a difficult time coming up with an image for this blog because I didn’t want to take the easy way out and post a picture that ridicules the subject of this blog, because if anything destroys an open dialogue it’s mockery.

I was reduced to bat-shit bafflement the other day when I watched the news coverage of the opening of the Noah’s Ark (amusement/bemusement) attraction in Kentucky. I might cringe at Bible Villages and Water Parks (Old or New Testament) and other religious themes attractions, but I am rarely left dumbfounded.

It’s not that a certain conservative Christian raised money to reconstruct Noah’s Ark using a Biblical blueprint. It’s the fact that one man’s religious conviction/faith is dismissively arrogant and steel-trap closed minded.

The founder of this Biblical attraction is of the school of a literal interpretation of the Bible. His many visitors/followers are of the same school. That there has been a very vocal negative reaction to this Arktraction (my word) can be found by a simple Google Search.

What saddens me more than the literal reading of the story of Noah in Genesis, is the ripple effect such an interpretation has on almost everything else. Not only does it reduce scientific research and discoveries to a pile of saw dust, it supports such “arkaic” notions regarding life in the 21st Century.

But, and it was a big but that went off in my head like the big bang, Noah’s Arktraction is too easy a subject to attack when “we” are so willing to “accept”  other sacred stories, dogmas, religious rules, etc. on face value.

If we want to poop-poop the Ark ( and there must have been a lot of shit in the hold of that boat at the end of the voyage), we have to be willing to poke a stick at some of the other “big beliefs” proclaimed as truths by the other major world religions.

Walking on water, raising the dead, multiplying loaves and fishes, immaculate conceptions, virgin births, transubstantiation and resurrections, also have to be free game for thinkers and non-believers.

And lest we forget, Christianity is not the only belief system that obliges followers to strict adherence of dogmas and laws.  Have you ever taken a glance at the 613 Mitzvots (Commandments) of Judaism?  Oy! Made me shake my head so many times I risked having it fall off.

Not to mention some of the eye-opening “beliefs” put forth in the Book of Mormon (not the  musical) and the Koran.

Proving or disproving any belief system is a waste of time.  People who are wired to a particular belief system are usually not willing to abandon their beliefs…and people who are adamantly opposed to a particular belief system are equally unwilling to embrace the “thoughtology” of another person.

Because I have pushed the boundaries of a belief system imposed on me as a dumb ass kid and opened my mind to dozens of belief systems, I can no longer be a literalist in any fashion.

Joseph Campbell, a man who devoted his life to unraveling religious thought, once said, “Mythology is someone else’s religion.”

And to be very honest, I am not particularly concerned with religious truth. I wake up each morning excited about possibilities.  I live my day making an effort to be kind and compassionate and when I see a wrong, i.e. where someone’s life, liberty and the pursuit of joy is jeopardized, I will speak up and out.

I don’t need an afterlife. I might need an occasional breath mint after dinner, but I don’t do anything during the day to secure an orchestra seat in a place many people call heaven.

I no longer believe in a God presented in any so-called books of sacred scripture. If there is any truth to the idea that I was created in the image and likeness of “God” I don’t have to take it literally.  I’ll just think that I have to power in my little hands to do my part to create a world where all people can bathe in the sunlight of life.

Read Full Post »

ruby bowl

From professionals to pundits the money was on the Monkey Men to win the 2016 Ruby Bowl…and for good reason.  The Monkey Men had a perfect season while the Munchkins struggled early on in the season and critics said they only made it to the Bowl game because their division had a lackluster season…at best.

But when the two teams met on the gridiron, the game took on a life of its own. The Monkey Men’s star quarterback was no match for the Munchkin’s strong defensive efforts. No matter what the Monkey Men did when they had the ball they couldn’t take control of the game.

When the Ruby Bowl game was over, it left the Scarecrow scratching his head. “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I don’t know what went wrong.”

The Tin Man pulled the Scarecrow aside and said, “In life what we think should happen always doesn’t happen and it’s not because something went wrong. It’s because something went right.”

There’s a lesson to be learned here. On the YBR we can’t look back on what happened and let it influence what might happen. It just goes to show that an upset in not always upsetting for everyone.

Read Full Post »

ruby slipper with pebble

Although author Frank L. Baum never mentioned a pesky pebble getting stuck in Dorothy’s slippers, I can’t imagine her walking all that way from Munchkin Land to the Emerald City without it happening.  It happens to all of us and usually at the worst time. (Is there ever a good time to get a pebble stuck in your shoe? I don’t think so.)

In life, unless you enjoy pain and suffering, you would stop as soon as possible and remove the pebble. However, on the YBR, a pebble is not a literal pebble, it’s a pesky metaphorical pebble…and as we all know, it is much harder to shake a metaphorical pebble from your shoe.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand the meaning behind this metaphorical pebble. It’s whatever it is in our lives that distracts us. It’s that little thing that takes our mind off the more important things in our lives.  A good synonym for pebble might be a worry, primarily because it’s the worries in our lives that often cause us to get distracted.

It makes perfect sense to empty our shoes of real and metaphorical pebbles.

But this being the YBR where metaphors often masquerade for something other than what you think, there is another way to consider the pebble. I’ll explain by telling a story.

When I was a kid of seven or eight, I’ll never forget the pained look on my mother’s face when my father would arrive home after bending his elbow a bit too much at a bar. She didn’t have to say anything. I could see the map of sorry all over her face. Seeing that painful look on my mother’s face whenever my father came home inebriated, became a pebble, not in my shoe, but in my heart.

That pebble still resides in my heart even though my mother has been gone close to 30 years. It was a pebble that taught me to be aware of other people’s feelings. It taught me to be aware of looks of pain and sorrow that might appear on another person’s face no matter how hard they try to conceal it

On Dorothy’s journey on the YBR she was continually alert to signs of pain and sadness on the faces of her traveling companions. It made her who she was.

While I heartily endorse the idea of ridding our shoes of distracting pebbles, I think we become a little stronger when there might be a pebble or two in our hearts.  It brings out the Tin Man in us.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »