Monday, January 21, 2013

Why We Are Here

While resting between sets of my workout today, a thought just popped into my head. "We are here to give love not to receive it". How much unhappiness, addictions, suicide and violence would be avoided if people just took that statement to heart. Such a simple statement and yet so profound.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Who is a Hero?

I really think the term hero is thrown around way too much. 
Seems like anyone in uniform (military or civilian) are
given carte blanche hero status, just because they wear
a uniform. They are NOT all heroes, and it lowers the
meaning of the term hero when used so easily. Even some
sports and entertainment figures are given hero status just
because of their social status and popularity, not for any
really heroic thing they have done.

Being killed on duty or on the job, does not automatically
make someone a hero. Not all people put on a uniform for
some higher purpose. I know I didn't join the Navy out of
some high calling. It was just plain practical. I knew I
wasn't going to college right out of high school,
and didn't want to be drafted into the Army. I joined the
Navy for 3 reasons. First, I thought it was one of the
safer military branches to be in during the late 60's while
the Vietnam war was being fought. Second, I was hoping to
cruise to places/countries I'd never been before and third,
I needed the GI bill to go to college when I finished
my enlistment.

I still ended up going to Vietnam, but I was on a
destroyer off the coast. We also came under fire twice
from shore batteries off the coast of North Vietnam,
but even if I'd been wounded or killed I still was
not a hero. I actually took "home" movies of the shells
landing all around our ship. Nothing heroic about that.
I just wanted a memory. I did pray the whole time asking
God not to let me die though, so I could eventually see
the results of my filming.

When my ship ended it's tour of duty and went back
to Florida, I volunteered to go back to Vietnam on shore
duty, but that was because of curiosity and I wanted to
see what all the fuss was about first hand, since I
only saw Vietnam from a ship the previous tour.
It definitely wasn't because of a some higher call to duty.
I also had developed an affinity for underage drinking
(I was only 18) and Asian women, having stopped in Japan,
Taiwan and the Philippines on the way to Vietnam.
Don't see any heroics there either.

People become soldiers, firemen, policemen, etc. for a
multitude of reasons, and some of those people are not
even NICE people, much less heroes. I ran into a surprising
amount of those, both enlisted and officers while serving
on ship and shore duty, Probably MORE percentage wise than
you'd find in the general civilian population.

We need to stop lumping everyone in a certain occupation
as a hero just because they were killed doing their job
and/or who killed them as the only requirement for
hero status. Not all the people that were killed by the
terrorists on 9/11 were heroes. Many were in the wrong
place at the wrong time, though there were indeed
many heroes who showed more concern for others than
for themselves on that day. I just think the term hero
should be reserved for those who have actually shown
heroism in some way in everyday life or in a war or crisis.

I know people want to give some kind of meaning to
senseless deaths, especially when it happens at the same
time to a lot of people in a war or terrorist attack,
but every day, people are senselessly killed in shootings
and accidents and I don't see them all being called
heroes in the news.

What makes the person killed during a terrorist attack more
of a hero than kids killed in a school shooting, or a family
killed by a crazed gunman in a fast food restaurant?
If two people were killed in a restaurant by a
distraught former employee and one was in a military uniform
and the other was a shabbily dressed homeless person,
would they both be called "fallen heroes"?
Now what if the person doing the shooting was a
Muslim terrorist? Would both of the deceased now
be elevated to hero status?

The term "Hero" should be reserved for those who
go above and beyond their duties in a job or in their
everyday life during an exceptional moment or through a
lifetime of selflessness, compassion and unconditional love.
They should be called a hero for who they are or were as a
person and not because of a particular uniform or membership
in a particular organization or group.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bud's Broiler Memories

Reading an article by Errol Laborde , editor of New Orleans Magazine brought back memories of my favorite hamburger place, Bud's Broiler.

I had my first Bud's Broiler hamburger at their Pelopidas St. location in Gentilly. My parents had just rented a house at 4206 Pauger St, second house from the corner of Pauger and Pelopidas. Bud's Broiler was just a half block from my home. I probably ate there several times a month. My favorite burger was their #4, with chili, chopped onions and grated fresh cheddar cheese about 1/2 inch thick, along with a chocolate shake and one of their fried pies for desert. Errol Laborde rated the #4 as the #1 burger of choice, though he preferred it with their special hickory sauce instead of chili.

As the years passed, I graduated from high school and joined the Navy, but whenever I was home on leave the first "fast food" restaurant I visited was Bud's. I eventually moved to Hawaii, and the Bud's Broiler on Pelopidas eventually closed. I would have liked to think it was because I was no longer a regular customer, but I believe the actual reason was the increase in crime in the neighborhood resulting in several robberies at the restaurant.

Bud's Broiler and the #4 burger were never out of my memory though. I would extol the virtues of the restaurant and the #4 to Sharon, my girlfriend, just about every time we ate a burger at a restaurant in Hawaii. On one of our trips to New Orleans, while visiting my mom and sister in Chalmette, we passed a Bud's Broiler that I believed had recently opened on Judge Perez Drive. Taking her there, for me, was probably equivalent to someone who had grown up in a more affluent neighborhood and lifestyle taking an out of state visitor to Galatoire's in the French Quarter for the first time.

My last visit to a Bud's Broiler was a few years before Katrina, at their original location on City Park Ave, near Delgado Community College. I had gone with my son Taylor, to the school to pick up some transcripts. Since it was around lunch time he suggested we go to the Burger King near the college. On the way, I saw the Bud's Broiler and told him we HAD to go there instead. I was dumbfounded when he told me he'd never eaten there the whole time he attended Delgado (in the culinary arts program no less). Taking him there for the first time, was just about as memorable for me as when he took his first steps or riding his bike without training wheels for the first time. Only in New Orleans can a meal evoke that kind of emotional experience.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Hypocracy by Catholic Church

Today, two priests visited suspected Nazi Guard John Demjanjuk, who is accused by the German government of assisting in the murder of 29,000 Jews and is being deported by the U.S government.  Yet,  the Catholic Church, represented by Bishop John D'Arcy and the Cardinal Newman Society are protesting the guest speaker appearance of President Obama at Notre Dame University, because of his view on abortion.  Bishop D'Arcy is planning on boycotting the event in protest.  It makes me wonder if the Catholic Church still harbors animosity toward Jews since it is offended by the appearance of  the President of the U.S. because he has a different opinion or belief than that of the church, but consoles and has no problem being in the presence of a likely, mass murderer, of thousands of Jews. 

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Missing Mass, a Mortal Sin....Still? How About A New Inquisition Too!

My son's stepdaughter just had her First Communion on Sunday. My son and his wife don't attend Mass as far as I know, and I began to wonder if the Catholic Church still considered missing Mass a mortal sin. According to the sites I've googled, apparently it does. Now I don't think his stepdaughter will be attending Mass on her own and I seriously doubt her parents will start attending services. Anyway, I began to think, for this one reason alone, I don't know how anyone can seriously follow a Church that is still stuck in the Middle Ages.

I was a Catholic until I began to think for myself and not allow the Church to govern my relationship to God. This was a gradual awakening. One of the things that led to my awakening was the fact that I found myself more compassionate than the "God" of the Catholic church. God "sent" people to Hell because they ate meat on Friday, or missed Sunday Mass, hand in hand with murderers, etc. How could I be more compassionate than God was. God is nothing but compassion and love. We are His creation and our real self embodies all that God is. God is everywhere. The very ground on which we walk is holy. There is no place that God isn't. In reality, we can't be separate from God. We might think we are separate, because we were taught that by the Church, but where ever we are, God is. So, how can attending church on Sunday or not attending have anything to do with sin. I don't know for a fact, but I suspect the Church declared attending Mass a mortal sin in order to "keep the troops in line" and to continue to finance Church operations.

I also found my spiritual beliefs more in line with the teachings of Jesus than that of the Church. A spiritual master once said Jesus was killed twice. First by the Jews, but only his body was destroyed. It did little damage. The second more damaging killing occured in Rome.

P.S. If the church ever finds it's way out of the Middle Ages and decides that missing Mass is no longer a mortal sin, than what happens to all of the souls who went to Hell for it? Do they get a free pass out?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Fear Of Big Government

Why do so many conservatives fear big government? Isn't the government "we the people"? The government is not separate from us. The government represents the people. "Big Government" to the super rich and powerful means they don't want "we the people" to have any control or regulations, to restrain what they do. Now almost everyone is suffering because of this lack of restraint. The state of the economy can't be blamed entirely on the the rich and powerful though; the continued "having" way of living, a life dependent on having much more than necessary has brought us to the economic condition we now find ourselves.

Eric Fromm's book To Have Or To Be? published in 1976 was very prophetic in it's prediction 33 years ago of economic disaster, if we did not change our attitudes from a "having" society to a "being" society. In it he writes, "Even authors whom one cannot call radical humanists, since they hardly transcend the transpersonal, mechanistic attitude of our not fail to see that a radical inner human change is the only alternative to economic catastrophe. Mesarovic and Pestel demand a "new world consciousness....a new attitude toward nature, based on harmony rather than on conquest....a sense of identification with future generations... For the first time in Man's life on earth, he is being asked to refrain from doing what he can do; he is being asked to restrain his economic and technological advancement, or at least to direct it differently from before; he is being asked by all the future generations of the earth to share his good fortune with the unfortunate--not in a spirit of charity but in a spirit of necessity. He is being asked to concentrate now on the organic growth of the total world system. Can he, in good conscience, say no?" They conclude that without these fundamental human changes, "Homo sapiens is a good as doomed."

I don't know if the new administration will be able to fix the economic mess we find ourselves in today, but even if it succeeds in the short term; unless society becomes less greedy in its consumerism, and more open to living in harmony with all people, all nations and with all of nature, and to look for happiness within our selves instead of in our possessions, the world condition can only get worse.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Great Quotes

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.

Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970)