A Season of Hope. Chaos Theory

A season of hope.

As the days get shorter and we are facing  long dark and cold nights. The solstice is just weeks away and the days will become longer. This time of year even the smallest gesture can change the world.

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. The name, coined by Edward Lorenz for the effect which had been known long before, is derived from the metaphorical example of the details of a hurricane (exact time of formation, exact path taken) being influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier.

The idea, that small causes may have large effects in general and in weather specifically, was used from Henri Poincaré to Norbert Wiener.

 

In The Vocation of Man (1800), Fichte says that “you could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby … changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole”.

 

Yes, one small act you do today can change the world tomorrow. In the 2000 movie Pay It Forward A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance.  It makes me upset that because of Kevin Spacey being basically a terrible human being that this movie will not be shown again. Who knows, maybe the powers that be will reshoot it with a different cast. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward–repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people.

 

 

The other day I was speaking to a UPS driver at a coffee shop. It was a VERY snowing day in New Hampshire. I just asked how he was doing.  He said going was slow but not too bad. He then related a story of how at one of his stops he trudged upon the sidewalk to see a basket of snacks for him and other people making deliveries.  That small gesture changed his day.  

YOU CAN CHANGE SOMEONES DAY! Today, Tomorrow, whenever, Slow down! Hold a door open for someone. Buy someone a coffee. Heck, buy EVERYONE a coffee!F9389564-C2D2-4BB7-ABAA-6D6917305430

There are so many opportunities to make the world better. Do it.

fullsizeoutput_3ea1

It’s NOT a LIBERAL or CONSERVATIVE Problem

I woke up this morning to see that at least 29 human beings were needlessly killed.

We are really screwing up our children. The first day of school is coming up for many and along with FIRE DRILLS they practice ACTIVE SHOOTER DRILLS. The anxiety that children have today are at an all time high.

People went into a Walmart to buy groceries and 20 souls never left.

People went out to a bar to have a drink with friends and 9 souls lay dead on the street.

I was in a Walmart yesterday in New Hampshire and took notice of a few other patrons had guns on them. I noticed the Gun cases and ammunition cases right next to the fishing supplies.

I think it is a safe bet that there were a number of people in the Walmart in El Paso who also had guns on them. The NRA wants you to believe that all we need was more “good guys” with guns. I think we can all see that it is an out right fallacy. The NRA is no longer about gun education but about supporting the gun industry. I have a number of my family members who are members of law enforcement. My wife, my brother and my father. They can tell you that the LAST thing they want to do is go into a shooting scene and not know WHO is the good guy and WHO is the bad guy. All they see is potential danger. You, having your gun in Walmart is not helping the situation.

A Liberal is going to tell you that this is a GUN issue. That there are too many guns on the street.

A Conservative is going to tell you that we have a MENTAL HEALTH problem.

See- it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

What we need is our leaders in Washington to do something on EITHER issue. Have some backbone.

Cruising with Mom

This last week I took my MOM on a cruise.

5 years ago my wife lost her mom. My mother-in-law was a great lady and my wife and I both wish we had more time with her. Another dinner, another vacation. I learned that time is fleeting and we need to make the best of the time we have. Ever since then, I have taken my mom on a vacation every year. We have been to Iceland and on a few cruises.

My parents divorced when I was 10. My brother and I lived most of the time with our Mom. There is a tight bond between us. This year Mom and I decided to go on a cruise out of Tampa. What she didn’t know is that my brother and his son were going to join us.

We boarded the ship, checked into our stateroom and went and sat on the deck. My brother texted me when he arrived. I said, “Mom, lets go see if our luggage is here”. We went down in our room and I texted my brother that we were here.

There was a knock on the door and I asked mom to go get it. She opened up the door and there stood her grandson. She was stunned. She looked at me, back at him and said, “how did you get here?”. Then my brother stuck his head around the corner.

o6w252rlirqm7tf2bswxbbrg

After she was done crying we went out on the balcony for a group photo

wwiwwrhhsc6qqh6juhloew

The trip was great.

Mom has always struggled with directions.  She is the kind of person who needs a GPS to get out of her driveway. We can laugh about it now BUT she spend a great deal of time wandering around the ship trying to find our room, the restaurant or the casino. I pointed out that our stateroom was 79. Therefore on the ODD (starboard) side of ship.

s8xmy2dkrkm7eqkmi8aqqw

At one point my brother and I were sitting at a bar and talking to someone about mom’s lack of direction. We look up, and there goes mom wandering by. A few minutes later she wandered by in the other direction.

It was a pretty stormy trip. Rain and wind but we had a good time. Our stateroom had a good size (nearly walk in) closet. Mom had stepped in to get a shirt and a wave pitched the boat closing the closet door on her. There was NO HANDLE on the inside of the closet! She did manage to wedge her fingers in and get the door open. It was pretty funny.

d01vbkxxqcm5hosmgon5dq

What we know and what we don’t know.

Warning, folks, this one’s long. It’s been a busy, busy week for USA Gymnastics, the fallout from which is ongoing and seemingly continual. So, let’s sum up what we know: A. Rhonda Faehn, National Team Coordinator, was forced to resign/fired/let go, for reasons unknown. B. Following Faehn’s removal – which may or may not have […]

via What we know, what we don’t know – and what we suspect — College gym writer – and gym writer, period.

Mental Health and Gun Regulations

Statistically the USA cannot have MORE mental illness than other countries. New Hampshire certainly cannot have less mental illness then other states. What the USA does have is the most guns and giving the lack of gun regulation in New Hampshire we probably have more than many states. Given those basic facts New Hampshire easily could be the next state in the news for a mass shooting.

If, as the politicians say, that this is not a gun issue it is a mental health issue, why are no other countries faced with mass shooting to the level of the USA? If indeed it is a mental health issue, why are we cutting funding to programs?

It seems that New Hampshire may be facing a perfect storm. We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, mental health programs are largely under funded and we have little to no gun regulations.

Why are our legislatures doing NOTHING? They are actually doing LESS THAN NOTHING. It was just a year ago that President Trump signed into law a bill allowing people with mental illness to purchase guns.

Like our neighbors (Vermont and Maine), New Hampshire has very liberal gun control laws. What makes New Hampshire law on gun unique however, is the level to which these laws exhibit such looseness.

Even with such loose laws towards firearms, New Hampshire consistently ranks as one of the safest places in the United States. I want it to stay that way. Adopting more progressive gun laws will keep us safe. Keep our students safe and curb gun trafficking.

I am tired of “Thoughts and Prayers” being offered followed by “it’s too soon to talk about this” and “lets have time to grieve and not politicize this”.
If it is to soon to talk about gun regulations after the school shooting in Florida, is it too soon to talk about gun regulations after Las Vegas? Virginia Tech? Sandy Hook? Columbine?

I believe that many politicians feel their NRA rating is more important than the safety of citizens. The vast majority of people in the country want some kind of gun regulations.

New Hampshire has two large gun manufacturers and it seems like their money is more important than our safety.
I urge our representatives in our state and in Washington to take a stand before it is too late.

WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?!

When I was growing up there were two places where I always felt safe. HOME and SCHOOL.

The USA faces another school shooting today. 16+ more people dead.

50 – The number of mass murders or attempted mass murders at a school since Columbine. (FBI records)

141 – The number of people killed in a mass murder or attempted mass murder at a school since Columbine. (FBI records)

68 – The percentage of school shooters who got their guns from relatives or at home. (US Secret Service, US Department of Education)

270 – The number of shootings of any kind at a school since Columbine. (ABC News review of reported cases)

1 – The number of shootings per week, on average, on a school or college campus in 2015. (ABC News review of reported cases)

I don’t want to hear a politician send their THOUGHTS and PRAYERS. I want politicians to DO THEIR JOB! Let’s have gun laws that will make shootings like today harder.

To every politician who sends their thoughts and prayers then cozies up to the NRA or avoids the issue altogether because they are afraid of the NRA money- FUCK YOU!

IMG_0129

Most Americans support stronger gun laws — laws that would reduce deaths. But Republicans in Congress stand in the way. They fear alienating their primary voters and the National Rifle Association.

IMG_0128

Below are the top 10 career recipients of N.R.A. funding – through donations or spending to benefit the candidate – among both current House and Senate members, along with their statements about the October Las Vegas massacre. These representatives have a lot to say about it. All the while, they refuse to do anything to avoid the next massacre.

Senate
1. John McCain
Ariz.
“Cindy & I are praying for the victims of the terrible #LasVegasShooting & their families.”
$7,740,521
FROM THE N.R.A.
2. Richard Burr
N.C.
“My heart is with the people of Las Vegas and their first responders today. This morning’s tragic violence has absolutely no place here in America.”
$6,986,620
FROM THE N.R.A.
3. Roy Blunt
Mo.
“Saddened by the tragic loss of life in #LasVegas. My thoughts are with all of the families affected by this horrific attack.”
$4,551,146
FROM THE N.R.A.
4. Thom Tillis
N.C.
“Susan and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to the families of the victims of this horrific and senseless tragedy in Las Vegas.”
$4,418,012
FROM THE N.R.A.
5. Cory Gardner
Co.
“My family and I are praying for the families of those injured and killed in Las Vegas last night.”
$3,879,064
FROM THE N.R.A.
6. Marco Rubio
Fla.
“I’m praying for all the victims, their families, and our first responders in the #LasVegas #MandalayBay shooting.”
$3,303,355
FROM THE N.R.A.
7. Joni Ernst
Iowa
“My prayers are with all of the victims in Las Vegas, and their loved ones affected by this senseless act of violence.”
$3,124,273
FROM THE N.R.A.
8. Rob Portman
Ohio
“Jane & I mourn the loss of innocent lives in this horrific attack in Las Vegas last night. We are praying for those taken from us, their families & all those injured in this attack.”
$3,061,941
FROM THE N.R.A.
9. Todd Young
Ind.
“We must offer our full support to the victims and their families as our nation mourns.”
$2,896,732
FROM THE N.R.A.
10. Bill Cassidy
La.
“Following closely the horrendous act of violence in Las Vegas. Our prayers are with those who were injured, killed and their families.”
$2,861,047
FROM THE N.R.A.
House
1. French Hill
Ark.
“Martha and I are praying for the families and victims of this senseless act of evil. […] We must continue to work together to stop this kind of terror.”
$1,089,477
FROM THE N.R.A.
2. Ken Buck
Co.
“I’m praying for all of those impacted by the evil events in Las Vegas last night. Our country must stand together in support of the families of the victims and the community.”
$800,544
FROM THE N.R.A.
3. David Young
Iowa
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and friends of the horrific and evil tragedy in Las Vegas.”
$707,662
FROM THE N.R.A.
4. Mike Simpson
Idaho
“Though no words can heal our hurt, and no explanation will ever feel sufficient, I pray that all involved may find comfort as we process this devastating tragedy.”
$385,731
FROM THE N.R.A.
5. Greg Gianforte
Mont.
No statement released.
$344,630
FROM THE N.R.A.
6. Don Young
Alaska
“Anne and I are praying for all those involved or impacted by this heinous act of violence.”
$245,720
FROM THE N.R.A.
7. Lloyd Smucker
Pa.
“Horrific act of violence in Las Vegas. Cindy and I pray for the victims, their families, and the first responders.”
$221,736
FROM THE N.R.A.
8. Bruce Poliquin
Maine
“My thoughts are with all those effected in the horrifying attacks in Las Vegas. The nation is with you.”
$201,398
FROM THE N.R.A.
9. Pete Sessions
Tex.
“My deepest sympathies are with all who were harmed by this horrific tragedy.”
$158,111
FROM THE N.R.A.
10. Barbara Comstock
Va.
“I am heartbroken by the mass murder that took place last night in Las Vegas and I am praying for the victims, families, and first responders.”
$137,232
FROM THE N.R.A.

All of these representatives are Republican. The highest rankedDemocrat in the House is Sanford Bishop, who ranks 41st in career donations from the N.R.A. Among the top 100 House recipients, 95 are Republican. In the Senate, the top two Democrats are Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who rank 52nd and 53rd — behind every Republican but Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Finally, why are our numbers different from those in Bret Stephens’s column on the Second Amendment? Because ours include money the N.R.A. spends on behalf of candidates, in addition to money it gives directly to candidates.

A Season of Hope

I published this series a few years back and I want to edit and repost it. I am not proud to say that this time of year I struggle with a little bit of depression. I have a GREAT life and an amazing family so it just makes me angry when I feel this way. Writing is a way for me to work through it. I miss friends and family from my youth. I miss my kids when they were little and excited by Christmas. At this writing we are are together in Colorado where my daughter lives. We plan on doing some skiing and just hanging out as a family.

4D069DE0-7B22-4F0B-AA07-4856BC50DB16

In April, on my other blog Vacilando, I posted 30 days of peace. It was at a time when I think we, as a country, needed to focus on peace.

Now, 7 months later, let’s focus on HOPE. From now until the New Year I will (hopefully) be  giving you a reason to be hopeful and to share that hope. Because with out HOPE, what’s the point?

As a 53 year old, I have faith in our next generation.  I was texting with my son last night and told him that I have more faith in his generation than my own. They are largely engaged, environmentally conscious and see that they can change the world. They still have HOPE in their eyes and their hope gives me hope.

This holiday season these young consumers want to give—and to give back. Speaking to my children I’ve learned they plan to spend more than they did last year on gifts for family and friends.  My son said he and his girlfriend plan on giving to a charity and volunteering as their gift to each other. I found statistics for their generation and learned that a substantial majority plans to donate to a favorite cause or to spend time volunteering. Retailers will get in the spirit, too: nearly 75 percent say they will make charitable contributions to celebrate the season. And the good cheer doesn’t end there. Giving back inspires more giving back. Consumers prefer to buy from retailers who translate their values into action, whether it’s in the form of cash donations, commitments to sustainable practices, or community involvement, and many shoppers say they will actually spend more with these brands. It’s clear that giving back is good for business.

This is exciting news and a happy blurring of the lines between what we care about and how and what we buy and sell. Companies can engage consumers with their brands and products by demonstrating a clear sense of social purpose. Consumers have the opportunity to choose companies or products that support the causes they champion. At a time when consumers are increasingly demanding not only great products but companies with values that match their own, the holiday season is an ideal time to bring humanity to buying and selling.

While shoppers of all ages say they will open their hearts and their wallets this year for causes that matter to them, we can expect to see some generational differences. It’s the most digital time of the year, more millennial parents than consumers overall plan to make donations to their favorite charities. And millennials (young, college-educated, upwardly mobile), will increase the size of their charitable donations this year by a larger amount than shoppers in other age groups. But younger consumers won’t be far behind when it comes to spending to support causes they believe in. Gen Z shoppers (ages 16-20) are both brand loyal and loyal to brands that show social impact through their actions.

Younger millennials and members of Gen Z, perhaps because they have grown up in the era of B (benefit) Corporations, for example, when they buy a pair of shoes a pair goes to a child in need, and they expect business to be a force for good.

Make a difference this year by shopping local, shopping with a conscience, giving back to the community. Can’t think of what to get that weird cousin on your dad’s side? Make a donation in their name. Buy them a membership to a historical theater or museum.