Friday, June 24, 2011

Congratulations graduates of 2011

Congratulations, you are about to start on a brand new adventure. Since I can barely change my own pants, I am the last person to give advice. I can tell you a story, though ...

Whenever a baby elephant begins its training process, it is restrained using a very sturdy rope, one that could hold back a baby elephant. Faced with this situation, the elephant begins struggling repeatedly to free itself from it's bonds. It doesn't know that it can' t possibly get loose. It doesn't have the experience to know what the rope is trying to do to it, so it valiantly continues the struggle. Day after day, week after week, the young elephant continues to strain against the end of it's tether. Then one day, it begins to realize that no matter what it does, it will not be able to break free. The baby elephant learns not to struggle – it accepts that the limit imposed by the rope or chain is permanent, and there is no use struggling against it.. As the elephant grows up, the rope that once held him as a baby, hold it only by the limits of the elephant's mind. For that elephant, the rope in its mind remain, and so the rope on its leg can never be broken. And the elephant gave up trying to do this a long time ago.

People can easily identify with that young elephant from time to time; eager with the possibilities of life, not knows the limits of their experiences. Unfortunately, most of us encounter our own ropes . These are in the form of the people we meet that say things which imply you can t possibly do that , you' re not good enough , or that' s for other people . Unfortunately we tend to believe them because many times these people are our friends, family or even parents who struggle with their own ropes of oppression. Some just can' t stand seeing someone else break free, because that would then force them to face their own inadequacies. So they come up with excuses for why others could break free - they obviously must have cheated, gotten lucky, or had connections.

We are all limited by the constraints that exist in our own minds. Some of us just have a few less ropes to deal with than others. So before you are bound to life's rope, remember to always struggle, pull against the ties that bind you. Break free to achieve your full potential.

Dance as though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is on earth.

And be kind to your feet, you're not an elephant.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sign on the dotted line or else

June 15, 1215 -
All the English Barons of the realm gathered with King John at Runnymede and presented him with a little document they'd prepared. They asked him either to sign the document or to specify what they should do with his remains. The king signed.

This was the Magna Carta, and therefore historical.

The terms of the Magna Carta (aka, The Magna Charta, aka The Big Chart) provided that freemen should be free, that freemen should not be put to death, that freemen should be able to get married, that freemen should only be judged by juries of other freemen, and that a measure of wine should be a measure of wine. The only people excepted from these liberties were the People.

(Our own Bill of Rights borrowed heavily from the Magna Carta, although it allowed that the People included people not previously considered the People, except in those cases in which the people were still not People.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Today in Olde England

June 13, 1381 -
In the village of Maidstone, Kent, there lived a Pheasant (or Villain) whose daughter was about fourteen years old. The day the Taxman came around to collect, the Villain was away. Only his wife and daughter were home. The Taxman didn't believe that the girl was less than fifteen. She and her mother insisted that she was. At last the Taxman tore the girl's clothes off to see for himself.

After stripping her, he quickly determined that a more tactile examination would be necessary. When she resisted, the situation took a violent turn—and at that volatile moment, the girl's father came in and saw what was going on. Like any good father, he crushed the Taxman's skull and stomped on his brains.

News of the event spread. The Pheasants (Villains) of southeast England rallied to the father's support. They began Wat Tyler's Rebellion on this date.

They made the skull-smashing father their leader because his name was Wat Tyler. Over the next few days, Wat Tyler led the Pheasants (Villains) against the government, burning the Archbishop of Salisbury at the Stake (whence the expression "Salisbury Steak").

The purpose of this rebellion was to secure a pardon for having rebelled. When Wat Tyler confronted King Richard II in Smithfield, he voiced this demand and was consequently stabbed to death, by the Lord Mayor of London (something you just can't imagine Mayor Bloomberg doing.)

Upon Wat Tyler's death, of course, it was no longer possible to have Wat Tyler's Rebellion, so everyone else went home (hence "Pheasants coming home to roost").

Many of them were later killed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

When the going gets tough ...

The tough board a yacht and go cruising around the Greek Isles.

The entire top echelon of Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign resigned on Thursday. This mass exodus that left his bid for the Republican nomination in serious doubt.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yeah, it's not about drugs

June 1, 1967 -
It was 44 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. The Beatles officially released their new album on this date.

The album is a strange mix of songs about drug use, contrasting personas of the songwriters, heroin injection, teenage runaways, circuses (yeah right, more drug use), deep introspection, aging, amorous traffic enforcement agents and everyday life.

Hey, be thankful I didn't play George Burns singing Fixing a Hole.