Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Great Lakes Summer Storm Haiku

adrift, clouds repast
before, an azure blue sky
adrift, clouds pour forth
breakers, restless wind
caps whitened by stormy seas
freshwater rushing
grey, dark Lake Huron
observed from the northeast dunes
lulls me to sleepward
when I wake, freshened
lit inordinately bright
I Rush! Take A Dip!
diving a breaker
headlong, stretching out, reaching
clear as I surface
drying on the sand
gazing skyward toward heaven
azure clouds float by
–Stephen A. Brown

© 2012 Stephen Andrew Brown, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Propositional Amendment to the United States Constitution

An amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

The states shall not enact any law that prohibits the legal possession of a firearm or other weapon for personal self-defense.”

This amendment applies primarily to, but is not limited to:
  1. A handgun, rifle, or shotgun.
  2. A non-lethal, less-than-lethal, or other such device, also known as a 'stun gun,' 'tazer gun,' or other such device.
  3. Knives, dirks, daggers, swords, or other blades.
  4. CN 'Tear Gas' launchers, Mace, Oleoresin Capsicum or other 'pepper' sprays or aerosols.
  5. Flare guns.
  6. Batons, clubs, bats, or other impact weapons.

  7. Any object, either of the natural environment or of man-made or other artifice that could be effectively used in self-defense.


  1. No state, county, township, or municipality, or unincorporated area, or any other entity may prohibit it's citizens from carrying a concealed or openly carried handgun, rifle, or shotgun for personal protection.
  2. Personal protection means the protection of one's own person, family, friends, or government, either persons or property.
  3. A citizen may carry a handgun, rifle, or shotgun outside of one's personal home or domicile for personal protection.
  4. A citizen in good standing and of legal age may carry a handgun concealed upon one's person or in plain view for personal protection in any area generally accepted to be public property.
  5. A private owner of a business may not prohibit his customers from carrying concealed weapons within the business or on the grounds.
    1. The above will not apply if the business is a manufacturer or seller of fireworks, explosives, or other incendiary items. This does not apply to stores that sell small bundles of fireworks for personal use in states that allow them.
      1. A person may have a firearm in one's vehicle, loaded or unloaded, so long as the vehicle is parked far enough away from buildings so as not to be a hazard. (Author's Note: Consider distances.)
    2. The above will not apply if the business is governed under certain provisions of the National Security Act.
  6. Any elected public official may carry a concealed handgun upon one's person within a governmental chamber for personal protection from outside attack while the government is in session.
  7. No post-secondary university, college, or school of trade, either public or private, may prohibit any student of legal age from carrying a handgun, either concealed or openly carried, persuant to the rules of this amendment.
    1. No public or private university, college, or trade school official, whether teacher, administrator, or other staff, may affect a student's academic record, through the use of intimidation, either express or implied, socially or professionally, in any fashion with respect to this amendment.
    2. Any act of aggression toward a student carrying a concealed handgun for personal protection, on the part of any hired or retained school police or security force, except in the case of a criminal act (the mere carrying of a handgun on school grounds shall not be deemed illegal), such as a robbery, act of rape, or other assault, etc., shall be deemed an offense under this amendment, and the school shall be held liable for such damage or losses as may be incurred by an incident or incidents.
    3. In addition to the above, if a student is being aggressed by any police or security official in a manner that is a danger to the student's life and limb, and the security or police official will not respond to attempts-at-communication by the student, the student may use deadly force, either express or implied, to halt the aggression as a last resort.
  8. No person desiring to attain or hold public office may make compaign promises, introduce any bills, or support any statute that would violate the terms of this amendment.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Narrowing It Down To Three New Career Paths

I've been researching new career paths.  I've narrowed it down to three.

1.  Cartographic Science/GIS/GPS electronic mapping.

2.  Computer Programmer

3.  Writer, Fiction; Writer, Copyeditor; Writer, Technical

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Facebook Response To Mike Whaley

Dear Mr. Whaley,

I respectfully submit these responses for your perusal, refusal, understanding, misunderstanding, handling, mishandling, or any other such element of use or abuse.  The choice is left distinctly up to you.

Now, to begin...

Quote:  "Mr. Brown, I find your arguments, while presented well, to be legalistic and built upon the acceptance of some things as "fact". "

Mr. Whaley:  Thank you for saying I was well-presented.  Might I also extend the courtesy.

Relating to some of my views being 'legalistic,' perhaps so.  However, as I see it, no more so than anything modern Christianity pro ponders, which may also be considered as a form of legalism.

Quote: "Homosexuality is NOT equal or equivalent to marriage. It cannot be no matter how many people think it is."

I would tend to agree with this statement.  Marriage is not equal or equivalent to homosexuality in any way; this is due to the fact that homosexuality is not marriage;  it is, instead, a Sexual Orientation, one in which two people of the same gender are attracted to one another, primarily sexually, but also emotionally and spiritually (or non-physically, which I'll expound upon toward the end of this response to you.)

Quote:  " It is clear that you are hostile to the notion of absolute truth, and that since Biblical truth represents an absolute moral base, then you aren't in a position to understand the issue from my side."

So, tell me.  Are you saying because I'm not Christian that I can't possibly understand your side of things?  Admittedly, I'm not Christian, I follow no specific religious code or belief system.
I find Christianity's so-called 'absolute truth' quite hostile to my own personal psycho/spiritual makeup; in fact, I find it reprehensible!  This is because I do not define my fellow sentient beings as 'sinful.'  To me, sin just doesn't, and never did, exist!

I find the concept of sin to be antithetical to my own psycho/spiritual makeup.  To me, to be 'sinful' and thinking for any justification of a Precious Life's Moment that I am in any way 'spiritually inferior' due to some 'mistake' someone else made years ago, is--bringing along with it--a complete hegemony of allusions, lore, and fantasies that, if/when implemented, cause nothing but the viewpoint that I 'must needs consider myself an object of pain, suffering, reproach, slothfulness, and utterly irredeemable!'

I have but one thing to say to the foregoing:  STIFLE THAT NONSENSE!
No human being is sinful.  If sin is defined as 'incorrect action,' fine.  However, the term 'sin' is usually applied to religious elements, and not merely used in the above view, in my own personal experience.

That is, to be 'sinful' is to be, as the Bible says, 'separated from God.'  Horse feathers!  How can I, as a human being, be separated from someone who is purported to be my Creator?  How can I, as a living, breathing, learning, Loving, caring, other-respecting human entity even consider such concepts?

Have you ever had an out-of-body experience, Mr. Whaley?  I've seen what my etheric body looks like.  I've floated in my own room!  I understand the 'Inherent Nature' of my Very Being, sir!  I don't purport to understand the underlying mechanics, but I tell you that I have a pretty good idea that "I'm More Than My Physical Body," thank you very much!

Let's tackle another quote.  I'll get back to the 'non physical, psycho/spiritual element of this discussion later.

Quote:  "Majority doesn't create truth, though it can create law. I thank God for creating a nation where we are free to talk and debate and speak freely, but ultimately the fact that you reject God and what He says, no matter how "logical" or popular your opinion may be, is where your argument lies. "

The majority isn't always right.  It may get laws passed, but there were laws segregating blacks from whites in the 'deep south' years ago.  Look what happened to them.  They were beaten, denied the right to keep arms, bullied, lynched, and killed.  Still, this was 'law' up until the late sixties.  And ol' Martin Luther got his head blown off for his trouble!  Whatta Country!

Homosexuals are going through a similar situation in society--at least in those places not recognizing gay marriage.  However, it has a more evil face to it:  gay people are being discriminated against, relative to their being able to be with their loved ones at their deathbed and funerals!  You watched my link, I assume.  What kind of people were those folks of Tom's in Indiana that they had to react so belligerently?  I mean, the guy's own father threatened him with a gun and physically attacked him, for pete's sake!

That isn't tolerance.  That is unbridled hatred for an otherwise bright, alive young man!  Until he fell from the building!  Then his partner's mother--may she find no joy in mudville--came all the way out to California, playing upon her dead son's lover's emotions, essentially utilizing his downtrodden emotional state to effectively efface her son's partner from having anything to do with the funeral.  Gads!  She even took all of her son's personal belongings, and, due to his grief, Shane allowed that to happen!

I see a lot of problems with both people here, both the parents of the deceased, and the deceased's partner.  Basically, one used someone emotionally, and the other had no emotive control and became her co-dependent enabler.  That's just ugly, for it shows people in their worst state-of-mind:  lack of controlling one's own momentum through life.

This is what I mean by saying that I am emotively conservative.  The fact is, if it were me, she would've had a restraining order from the local prosecutor's office hand-delivered to her door, especially after having threats made by her husband.

My decision wouldn't even have had much emotion in it, save for being on the defensive a bit.  The decision would have been made within a day!

How disrespectful for Shane's and Tom's feelings and lifestyle.  Their son found love, just 'not the right kind?'  And also to suggest that he needed 'medical help?'  As if you can 'un-gay' a person.  And please, I'm already familiar with so-called 'reparative' therapy, in spades!  I tell you, I'm not in the least NARTHcissistic!  No, not at all :-P.  ...Okay, to continue...

Quote:  "I'm sad that you are buying into the false notion of moral equivalency for all lifestyles but clearly you have and I don't know how to convince you otherwise so long as you can't accept that the only possible true source of truth comes from a higher and unchangeable source."

Moral equivalency for all lifestyles is fine with me.  Let me be specific here, so there is no misunderstanding of my views:   I promote moral equivalency for any lifestyle that promotes Love, the fostering of understanding between sentient beings (self-aware folk, in other words, those who are capable of making their own decisions and are aware of themselves making them), and anyone who wants to promote the element of 'familiy.'  (Granted, my definition of family may be different than yours.)

I promote moral equivalency among people of all creeds, colors, nationalities (really political constructs, nothing more; we all live on one planetary biosphere, you see!), and I really don't care where on Earth you're from.  (Don't care what planet, either, so long as your biomass is compatible with mine, I welcome you to our world!  Mr. Whaley, if you were to understand God, perhaps you might try to envision yourself as such.  You don't have to be ridiculous, just be understanding and be willing to 'think like a Creator might think.'  Who knows?  God might even smile at you from within, giving you 'that warm feeling.'. ;-])

As for 'unchangeable sources,' again I have to remind you that the current Bible you're holding in your hand has, indeed, changed over time.  The book simply isn't for non-bronze-age people, and last I checked, that era went out with the bathwater years ago.

You feel you need a modern 'bible?'  Try Cosmos, by Carl Sagan.  Read a physics journal.  Go to a poor part of America and build orphanages and homeless shelters.  Plant crops for a summer.  Go on a motorcycle journey for a year, chronicling all the different people you meet.  Want to learn about possible spiritual life and how it interacts with a physical body?  Try a week at The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia!  Been there myself, back in October of 2004.

Do what Jesus Taught!  Stop gay bashing and Start To Live!  Hanging on to outdated, outmoded methodologies of thought is what is killing advancement in academia, especially the social sciences.  Social!  That's what this is about:  being sociable to others who are different than yourself; promoting moral equivalency for my neighbor, as I do so for myself.  Hmm...wonder where I remember reading that? ;-)

As for ' truth coming from higher, unchangeable sources,' that is one way to get it.  I can easily accept truth from a changeable source, as well.  It depends on the the 'truth.'  Truth...Is...Relative.
Now, some things held to be true are pretty dependable.  Gravity, for one.  Arbitrary, gravity is, unless you are in an airplane or helicopter.  However, it's effect is still there.  I would consider gravity to be true, but gravity can come through nature or it can be artificially generated.  Two sources, both true.  Hmmm...

Quote: " The wisdom of the world is but foolishness to God. Personally, I'd rather trust the one who created the universe over any human every time, no matter how unpopular that makes me."

How do you know?  'Because the Bible says so?'  As an experiment in thought, think like God for a moment.  Wisdom is foolishness?  George Orwell had his 'freedom means slavery' in 1984.  To me, that statement implodes on itself.  How can the world exist in foolishness if God created it?
Perhaps you're referring to the planetary inhabitants known as humans?  That's quite possibly it, I gather.

Isn't it also a tenet of Christianity to learn everything one can about one's Creator?  To understand one's own existence, empirically, directly, Knowing, not 'merely believing?'  To me, that is the crux of anyone's delving into the Mysteries of the Universe.  Where, in fact, 'do we come from?'

Mr. Whaley, Consciousness is the key, I believe, for the answer to this conundrum.  No old moldy book (oh, sorry, I mean that nice leather volume you just bought from Barnes and Noble) can substitute for 'Direct, Personal Experience.'  When you've experienced consciousness expansion, one is imparted with a--call it 'A Degree of "KNOWING."

I'll concur with you regarding one element of something I would term, 'absolute,' although I think the term 'personally empirical' is a better moniker for the describing of the experience.
I had a 'communicative experience' once, just after I'd fallen asleep.  This was different from a standard dream state.  I was extremely relaxed, close to 'dead weight' in my bed, and was physically exhausted.  I was researching out-of-body consciousness full-bore back then, and wanted to try an experiment.  So I did.  (Note:  the 'tiredness' wasn't related to any type of spiritual work, I had just had a long day.)

I cleared my mind of mental detritus, breathed deeply a few times, then put out the request that "if there is any legitimate source, that being for my higher good, that feels a need to communicate with me tonight, this is the time to do so.  I am surrounded and protected, and do not allow negative or non-essential information to pass."  Or something like that, it's been a long time.

Not soon after, I was out like a light.  The thing is, I was also awake, mentally.  Before me was a still-life type 'picture' of me, kneeling on a wood floor.  To my right, there was a Christmas Tree, with gifts underneath it.  Those to the immediate right of tree were not open, some towards the middle were partially open, and some to the left--especially those around and near me--were already open.
The answer came very directly, in a manner I can only call 'Direct Understanding.'  I said to myself, "Oh, I see what this means.  Some gifts (of the spirit and mind, inherent ability, physical capabilities, etc.) aren't ready to be opened yet, some are in the process of being opened, (unfolding abilities, etc.), and still others are already opened.  (Maybe being able to process a checkbook balance, what-have-you, the ability to deal with general life issues, etc.)

The scene then shifted, like a slide show or PowerPoint presentation, to the left.
Above my head in the first 'slide,' there was a picture of an evergreen tree.  This next 'slide' was a close-up of that tree.  Upon that tree, I was drawn towards the noticing of two things:  The trunk and little things that were moving along that trunk, much like looking down on cars from a jet liner.
I noticed that the top-most part of the trunk--where it went into the top of the evergreen--was really bent.  The movement represented working energy, I assumed, of consciousness, or just 'living the life.'  The thought immediately came to me:  "Oh, I see, 'some alignment is needed.'"

That was the end of the experience.

So, what did I experience?  Myself, I know it to be an empirical (to me), absolutely accurate communication with my inner mind.  Essentially, it was "me, communicating with higher consciousness."  There was no 'evil' involved.  I know evil.  I've had it directed at me where it was palpable.  Happened to me my senior year in high school, but that's another story.

I am quite Aware, as it were, about my spiritual life.  To me, human beings are two-fold:  IE, we have both a physical, and non-physical existence, all going on at the same time.  The brain acts as a transducer, combining the two forms, making interaction possible.  Making UNDERSTANDING possible.  Making LEARNING possible.

This, Mr. Whaley, can not be had from the Bible.  It's too direct!  Consider what Jesus said about 'going into your prayer closet when you pray.'  What did that mean exactly?  Going within?  What else could it mean, sir?  Please consider this.

A bit more on this subject, then I shall retire for the night.  I'm getting a bit lightheaded typing this, but I wanted to give you a fair and equitable response.

Again, I find that our existence incorporates a variety of elements, meaning parts.  The physical has the usual arrangement of limbs, brain, torso, legs, feet, and the like, depending on the animal.  Humans are considered, biologically, part of the animal-mammalian kingdom, so I won't go into detail on that here.  It's not germain to the theory, anyway.  What is germain, however, is what exists *within* the human being, and what is going on at any given time.

You want to understand why you're not separated from anything?  Because, if you were, you'd fizzle out and not be able to be around anymore, that's why!  Ever hear of the 'silver cord?'  It's a metaphor for a metaphysical connection to the information center of the Universe.  Take it or leave it, it's just like computer networks, Mr. Whaley!  And we're 'all connected to the Galactic Internet!'
We're constantly them 'Signals of Experience'..., and, using your vernacular, 'back to God,' where he/she/it/etc. is assimilating (though not like the Borg, mind you) data, learning as we learn, growing as we grow, Knowing More as soon as we Know More.  Know more from the Direct Experience of Learning.

Now, what binds all this mess together?  Love.  It's not just an emotion, it's like glue, binding each one to another, keeping things from spinning apart.  Ever try to keep a thought together?  Tell me this: What is easier to remember, a thought made of hate, or one of Love?

To me, the answer's rhetorical.  To you, I hope it's obvious.

Much Love, Light, Peace, Joy, Experience of Mystery, and Bewilderment at the Glory of It All, Mr Whaley.

Or, to coin a phrase, "God Bless You and Yours!  Amen!"


Moral Absolutism...may be defined as..."the ethical belief that there are absolute standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are right or wrong, regardless of the context of the act. Thus, actions are inherently moral or immoral, regardless of the beliefs and goals of the individual, society or culture that engages in the actions. It holds that morals are inherent in the laws of the universe, the nature of humanity, the will of God or some other fundamental source.

It is the opposite of Moral Relativism, the position that moral propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. It is related to, but not the same as, Moral Realism (the position that certain acts are objectively right or wrong, independent of human opinion), and to Moral Universalism (the position that there is a universal ethic which applies to all people, regardless of culture, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexuality or other distinguishing feature)."

Source:  Mastin, L. (2008). Moral Absolutism - By Branch / Doctrine - The Basics of Philosophy. Retrieved May 11, 2012, from

Response:  I do not favor this view.  To me, to ascribe that there are absolutes in Nature simply defies logic.  Nature is forever changing, even creating mutations to  alleviate suffering in a particular environment over time, making it easier to live in said environment.

The Universe-at-large (ala Hubble) is shown to be churning forth stars at galactic centers and inside of nebulae.  Absolute?  Change is all around us, nothing is static.  This may be oversimplifying the matter, but I think it properly reflects my views.  How can there be moral absolutes in a constantly changing environment?  Even the Bible has gone through revisions and re-translations.

If you're going to use the Bible as a reference, please do so as a scholar would.  Learn the original languages, consult with top scholars in the field, and learn it!  There are more quandaries than absolutes in languages and how they change from generation to generation.

How I treat others is not determined by any kind of absolute law or rule, either.  Essentially, I treat people kindly.  If they don't treat me the same way, at first, perhaps they had a bad day.  If later, the matter is the same, I just don't talk with them.

How I respond depends upon the situation.  If I'm physically attacked, I protect myself.  Same as anybody else would.  If I'm threatened by anyone, I respond in kind, making it clear that consequences will ensue if the threat is not immediately removed.  I make my decisions to act based on the relative position I am within a given context.  Sometimes it isn't good to defend, until one has the upper hand.  That is a relativistic position, not an absolute one.


Moral Relativism:  "Moral Relativism (or Ethical Relativism) is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. It does not deny outright the truth-value or justification of moral statements (as some forms of Moral Anti-Realism do), but affirms relative forms of them. It may be described by the common aphorism: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

Moral Relativists point out that humans are not omniscient, and history is replete with examples of individuals and societies acting in the name of an infallible truth later demonstrated to be more than fallible, so we should be very wary of basing important ethical decisions on a supposed absolute claim. Absolutes also tend to inhibit experimentation and foreclose possible fields of inquiry which might lead to progress in many fields, as well as stifling the human spirit and quest for meaning. In addition, the short term proves itself vastly superior in the ethical decision-making process than the relatively unknown long-term.

Relativistic positions may specifically see moral values as applicable only within certain cultural boundaries (Cultural Relativism) or in the context of individual preferences (Ethical Subjectivism). A related but slightly different concept is that of Moral Pluralism (or Value Pluralism), the idea that there are several values which may be equally correct and fundamental, and yet in conflict with each other (e.g. the moral life of a nun is incompatible with that of a mother, yet there is no purely rational measure of which is preferable)."

Source:  Mastin, L. (2008). Moral Relativism - By Branch / Doctrine - The Basics of Philosophy. Retrieved May 11, 2012, from

Response:  See Above.

For a definition of Marriage, I offer the following:


a.  the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. Antonyms: separation.

b.  a similar institution involving partners of the same gender: gay marriage. Antonyms: separation.

3.  the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities: to officiate at a marriage. Synonyms: nuptials, marriage ceremony, wedding. Antonyms: divorce, annulment.

Source:  the definition of marriage. (n.d.).  Retrieved May 11, 2012, from

To me, this is all marriage is, a joining of two people who love each other, who want to live together in a manner in which their society recognizes their legitimacy as a couple, and confers upon them essential legal rights.  In the crucial manner of understanding presented here, this is meant to mean that homosexual couples be afforded the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples:

One, that they are allowed to "marry" and have that union called "marriage" and nothing else.
Two, that they are afforded the exact same legal rights that heterosexual couples receive.

So tell me, Mr. Whaley, what is wrong with this?  Are you to tell me that "the God of the Hebrews" is dictating how my life is to unfold?  Let's see...I'm not Hebrew.  Don't speak a word of it.  Nor Aramaic.  Nor Arabic.  My ancestors aren't even from that part of the world.  I'm of Northern European stock with a smattering of Cherokee thrown into the mix.

To say that a Hebrew Bible represents any aspect of my ancestral history is simply ludicrous!  I'm not of any aspect or creed of the Jewish faith.  However, neither am Christian, nor Muslim.  I was raised in the Episcopal church growing up, so I certainly have some exposure to Christianity.  I've also attended, in my younger days, the Evangelical Free Church, Four Square Church, Society of Friends/Quakers, and Seventh Day Adventists.

I survived my "Independent Bible-Belt Baptist Church Experience" Relatively Unscathed!  I mean this only semi-literally.  That particular church was as "hellfire and brimstone" as one could get.  Thankfully, I only lasted six months, as did my then-girlfriend.  Even she got sick of it.
Now I 'know better.' ;-)


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

To Shane: A Two-Fold Response with A Personal Story

To Shane:  A Two-Fold Reponse (Forum Response from Huffington Post & YouTube)

1.  The so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" should be litigated to the U.S Supreme Court, where, hopefully, it can be negated, being found unconstitutional.

2.  Federal Anti-Discrimination Law:  This should be revised to include the rights of those living under the auspices of Domestic Partnerships, and language inserted to provide same-sex partners the same rights--all 1000 of the missing ones, as well--as opposite-sex partners.

3.  Same-sex couples--on an individual level--need to "get tough" with themselves, and not become emotionally bereaved if their families do not find favor with their orientation.  I think this sums it up best:  "One Must Be Strong Within One's Self!"

No one is ever 'looking out from behind another's eyes' at any given time.  The only eyes we have with which to see are the ones that we are looking out from behind at the present moment.

A Short Story of My Own


I once made a decision that has affected me for a long time, but I am better off for it.  It had to do with a stupid argument with my brother-in-law, on the eve of my father's funeral.  He had just passed away from a congenital brain disorder, and I had traveled 65 miles to my hometown, where my sister's family had been living--in the family house--and had been taking care of him up to the time he had to go to the convalescent home, where he eventually died.  I had made trips to see him in the home, and just had a bit of bad luck to be in my own locality when I got the bad news.

I had to make a trip to get some money--family money--and was on my way when I got the call that "you've got to go home right away."  This was from the family's estate manager who lived about two hours to the north of my then-locality; again, this was a prelude to inheritance funds, dispersed months after my father's passing.  This wasn't a 'grab for money,' but was an agreed-upon amount--$1000.00--that both my sister and myself were being allowed, prior to estate settlement.  This had been agreed upon weeks before.

Let me outline this:  I was living on an $800 a month stipend from my family's estate.  My rent was $600, all utilities paid.  I had $200 net per month to live on.  With gasoline, it went fast, let me tell you.  I was dependent on this money, being out of work at the time.  I had $20 in my pocket, and needed the $1,000.00.  I needed it to be able to secure a hotel in my hometown, and deal with the weekend's doings as eldest representative of my family's children, *away from my sister's family and friends* for the sake of my own sanity.

So I finished my journey to the town where the estate manager was, got the money, and then headed back along a back route--giving me time alone to think.  I had asked if the manager could drop it off in my hometown, but he had his own family and couldn't do it just then.  As it was a Friday, I had no choice but to go up there and get it.  The gas issue was the deciding factor, at any rate, as $20 wouldn't have lasted very long.  I asked him not to think less of me, but informed him about the criticality of my situation, and went ahead and got the money. He left it for me at a teller window, where I signed for it and picked it up.

So I drove.  I took a long time to get to my hometown.  My father had just died.  I wanted to think about that for a while.  I was emotionally numb, and just 'wanted to drive,' as that was how I often de-stressed back then when life threw it's various curveballs at me, and gas was cheaper.  When I finally arrived, it was late-afternoon, probably around four o'clock or so.

Now when I arrive at a family gathering, I expect to be treated civilly at the very least.  I don't tolerate teenager-level mentalities to be present in adults, unless I'm in their own home as a guest, where I am equally civil in being silent.  However, considering my own family, I expect a bit more alacrity in acceptance and consideration.  I don't care what anyone does with their own spare time, but our father had just passed on, and I expected, at least, a little decorum on the parts of my sister and brother-in-law.

Alas, this wasn't to be.  When I arrived, everyone was in a pissy-hissy fit of an attitude.  It was so thick, it was palpable; a veritable plethora of emotional detritus hung in the air!  I wondered to myself how long each adult in the house had been fuming over my 'monetary decision,' before they finally stopped fuming over it, and tried to get back to the business at hand, but keeping their anger "on the sidelines, ready to go," when I arrived.  I greeted everyone congenially, expressing my concern for our father and asking about the kids, etc., how they were taking it 'at the loss of Grandpa,' and such.   All the things one normally does in that kind of situation, at least, the ones I grew up with.  (Please understand that I am not so vain to think that they wasn't a lot on their minds, outside of my own situation.  It's just that I ended up being the brunt, as had happened in past years, so my assessment of the situation remains, as is, based on after-the-fact occurrences which will soon come to light.)

I could feel the tension the most in the kitchen--where one of my brother-in-law's friends--evidently visiting from his old hometown downstate-- was in attendance.  Imagine, if you will, a guy with greasy, stringly hair, dirty clothes, a somewhat offensive odor, and narrow eyes that seemed to glance sideways at you, then you'll have an idea of this guy.  A 'real winner,' as they say. (If had been my choice, he wouldn't have been allowed anywhere inside of the home where I grew up.  However, he was my sister's family's friend, an acquaintance of my brother-in-law, and was their guest, not mine.  So I behaved accordingly.  I'm just glad the guest had the common sense to stay out of the business that was to follow.)

When my parents entertained guests, my sister and I were expected to be courteous, gracious, and respectful to the visiting adults.  We usually were 'out in the neighborhood,' visiting with other friends, riding our bicycles, etc., when they had visitors, but we were there sometimes, especially during the evening, and definitely home on school nights.  We didn't throw tantrums, or threaten anyone.  I often served refreshments--or at least offered them if the get-together was informal.  This did not happen that day at my sister's and brother-in-law's.  (The genteel atmosphere that used to be my family home was no more, telling me that our parent's generation knew how, at least, to be polite and courteous to guests.

Now, I am not responsible for the way other people think.  So long as no one accosts me physically, or is overly vulgar--although I can forgive utterly any verbal 'indiscretion' at will--I don't care what a person thinks, believes, or advocates.  However, it becomes a problem when I am physically aggressed, which is what my brother-in-law proceeded to do, after I had opened the fridge and inquired about whether or not I might have a soft drink out of one of the two-liter bottles in the door.

As my sister has four boys, I didn't want to drink their pop (or soda, for those in southerly climes.)  Well, that one question was evidently enough to set my brother-in-law off the deep end!  He said "I've had enough!" and began to close distance with me, threatening to 'beat the crap out of me!'  I was forced to shut the fridge door and take up a defensive posture.

First, he cordoned me at the inside-garage entry door.  This is a narrow foyer just off the kitchen, and leads to the two-car garage.  I opened that door, shutting it, actually locking it before I shut it.  This gave me a few seconds time to press a wall button, opening the large door.  I was out on the driveway quickly, and stopped just outside the door perimeter, waiting to see if my brother-in-law had calmed down. 

Well, his anger wasn't curbed, and he began to close distance with me again.  The large door was open by now--I had ducked under it when it was only about 1/4 of the way up--and I was trying to let him know that I'm heading to a hotel, but he kept aggressing me, forcing me to--as I did not want to engage him in a fight--head back toward my truck, parked in a family-owned vacant lot across the street.  He'd advance, I'd retreat farther away.  It went on like that until I finally had to take some kind of stand or end up doing this stupid thing all night; at the very least, I needed to be able to get safely inside my truck cab to leave.

Well, he ended up chasing me around my truck, me keeping him always on the opposite side.  Finally, my sister--who had been at a neighbor's--came running out and positioned herself in the middle between us--There was at least six feet distance between her and me, and her and my brother-in-law, and I had been maintaining a healthy distance; she didn't really 'break anything up,' relative to coming to blows--the reason I was keeping my distance.  She hadn't seen anything, either, but had heard what was going on, and only ran outside of the neighbor's house when she saw us running around the truck.

I finally had to tell my sister:  "If this is the way your family's going to act, I'm 'not going to be here!'"  At All!!  She said "I guess so, then!" Or something similar.  So I left. Without a second thought or word.  Insulted.  Berated.  And assaulted by my brother-in-law.

****And Did Not Attend My Own Father's Funeral!****

I went back home, to my own locality, and stayed away during the time the funeral was going on.  I wasn't concerned at that point.  I had visited my father at his bedside, and expressed my love to him, hugged him, kissed him, then went home in previous days.  I knew he was dying--we all did!  I was more concerned when my cousin--who's family lived in the same town as I was then living in--pounded on my door the day after.

I have a deep respect for my cousin--although I and their family are not really "in sync" with each other.  They, as I like to say "do the Christian dance," and I don't.  Haven't for years.  I find it tough to deal with people who believe themselves to be morally superior 'just because they're Christians," and espouse fear when presented with something new that they just do not understand.  That day was one of those cases.

Now, normally me and my cousin do not talk about church and spirituality.  I was then, as now, a practitioner of neo-pagan spirituality/wicca/new age (etc.), they knew it, but didn't really understand it.  I finally just decided, as a rule, not to broach the subject when my cousin was around.  His wife had some surface interest--at least so far as...probably...wanting to understand it better--and we dicussed it occasionally when her husband wasn't at home and I was visiting for lunch or the like.

However, the day after my dad's services, he was in one of those 'morally superior moods.'  He was also bereaved, and angry that I did not confide in him, as well.  He made statements like "you could have called me," and "our family has always stood up for each other."  Etc.  He accused me of displaying, in his mind, "the ultimate act of conceit" and was, to a point, livid.  (He also had a valid point, but at that time I was beyond forgiving anyone at that juncture.)

Well, I was 'all that and a bag of chips' in my mind, as well.  I had just been physically assaulted by my sister's husband the previous day, basically was not in a frame of mind to do anything except tend to my own emotional wounds and mindset, and basically just wanted to be left alone.  I didn't ask him to come over.  If he had come with a little bit more concern for me, instead of displaying anger, I probably wouldn't have become so defensive.  If he had been of a mind to 'let me along for a few days' I might've been more receptive.

Nope.  No dice.


So, in the end, it's like this, as it is, as I see it, for anyone who is dealing with unfairness, ill-concern for feelings, and oppression and suppression, whatever the subject:  YOU HAVE TO BE TOUGH!  All the while maintaining the ability to "be vulnerable," "be considerate in the face of insult," and "do what's right."  (This last one is, of course, in league with Common Sense.)


Now, I didn't care what people thought about what I had to do for my family business.  I had visited my father a day before he died, and spent some time by his side.  If anyone knew, or didn't know, that was fine with me.  I've always been a private person, had been teased mercilessly all the way through my early school years--right up to my graduation date--and knew how to suppress overtly-emotional responses that could escalate a situation.

I had been forced to be a loner for my own protection, and also to keep me out of the trouble other kids my age were getting into.  I never smoked, 'did drugs,' or bullied others.  I have always enjoyed easy-listening music (Carpenters/Air Supply), when others enjoyed rock (Van Halen/Alice Cooper.)  My hobbies tend toward the individual, rather than the group or team variety.  I've also held what I've consider to be 'egalitarian' viewpoints, whilst others I've listened to have espoused doctrines of intolerance and hate, although not outwardly tending toward aggression.  The members of certain unnamed congregations--the least educated ones usually--usually 'followed up and did the rest.'  Ergo, they 'filled in their own blanks with the intolerance and hate expected of them.'  (By their preachers, etc.)

I tried to be as polite as I could, with both my peers and teachers, in school.  I have learning problems which still remain with me to this day.  If I had been a sports-achiever, or an academic-achiever, this probably wouldn't have been an issue.  However, I did horribly in school, graduating with an 'Honest "C"', but this didn't help when I was growing up and being bullied and teased by others.  I did play on the track team my Senior Year, but was out with my parents, visiting prospective colleges and schools when my meets occurred, so I was only able to attend a couple during the course of the entire season; in short, looking for ways to advance my education, for boon or bane.

So far, it's been for bane, overall, although I continue trying. That is, I have more educational failures than successes.  I haven't given up yet, and others tell me that's not failure, and that persistence will win out in the end.  Well, persistence has paid off in some ways.  Because I haven't given in to my emotions, I'm still alive.  I'm happily married to a wonderful woman, and this year we celebrated our Sixth Wedding Anniversary.  I'm able to walk outside, breath the air, and look ahead to my future.  Life can be difficult, at times, but I have my own Resolve, and I am, by golly, Resolved As Hell!



The following are some assumptions I'm making about you and your beloved partner:

Losing your partner of so many years is grueling, fate throwing you a curve-ball, in the worst-possible way.  He was egalitarian, like you.  Cosmopolitan, world-traveled.  His parents probably didn't get outside of that Indiana town, let alone overseas--like you and your partner.  You and he saw Machu Picchu and the Eiffel Tower.  I doubt his folks saw anything taller than the local oil refinery stacks!  You are Internet-savvy, as was your partner.  I doubt his parents even know how to use a computer, let alone use it for understanding better the people from around the world, making it a more tolerant, peaceful, and loving place for all mankind--like you and your partner did.

I'm estranged from the bulk of my relatives.  Still, at 46, I have to conclude that this is what was meant to happen.  I have not been contacted by my brother-in-law since that time, nor have we spoke to each other.  My sister and I have made contact via Facebook, and that's it.  We communicate in only the most cursory of fashions.  Her oldest is now out of high school.  I did not see my nephews growing up, and do not expect to see any of the younger ones do so, either.  I do not have any disregard for them, but I will absolutely not be threatened by their father ever again.  Period!

Your partner's parents are not loving people.  They are among the worst sort of bigots that exist.  To threaten you with an attack is criminal, and intolerable.  They are the reason for why sensitive people need to strengthen their resolve.  To suggest that homosexuality is a sin and that your partner needed medical help is outrageous; it's also bad psychological science!  Of the one's that are the most offending, mainstream religions refuse to acknowledge the majority view of mainstream psychology--that homsexuality is not deviant, is found in all of Nature, and is not something that one can be 'treated for.'

It's a legitimate lifestyle for some people who happen to be attracted to people of the same sex.  It can't 'be cured.'  As one poster put it, "...If you want to whip yourself and believe in the literal truth of an obscure bronze-age mythology, fine. But quit poisoning things for everybody else."

Instead of intolerance for their own son, they should have, instead, ispired Love, Kindness, Consideration, Vulnerability (for without the latter, how are we to learn Love?), and Understanding.

It's not fair, at times.  This wasn't fair to either you or your partner.  It wasn't fair to your family--who were egalitarian and accepting.  Midwest vs. West Coast.  Hmmm....Might have something there we in the middle states don't get, eh?  Well, I mean, I do, but I'm in the middle-south, where prejudice is rampant in most small towns.  Still living in that bronze age, they are!

Well, Shane, I leave you with my Heartfelt Condolences on your loss.  Please know that you and yours are in my thoughts and energies.  I bid you Love, Light, and Bright Blessings in your dimmest hour.  Please, though.  Let Your Own Light Shine!  Isn't that they way your partner would've wanted it?  Shining atop from Macchu Picchu?

In Loving Respect,