Friday, October 26, 2012

Yoga Practice...and its plot to wipe out christianity, one downward dog at a time

A group of parents that reside in Encinitas California are outraged. Their children attend Flora Vista Elementary school and the school is engaged in a practice that the parents will not stand for. Furthermore they are considering suing the school. No, the teachers aren't beating the kids; thank God and no, the staff aren't feeding the kids high fructose corn syrup portions by the ladle-full. What's going on there is perhaps even worse, in the eyes of these parents. The school...wait for teaching the children yoga! Nooooooo!

These parents take their religious practice darned seriously and by golly they feel that yoga, a practice  drenched in Hinduism threatens their children's religious beliefs. They've got themselves a lawyer and they're flexing just about every legal muscle they've got. And did I mention they've got a pastor on board as well? Ah, but of course they do. Oh sweet fanaticism how I love thee.

What have we got here? Let's break it down. By now we all know that California is approximately a ten times more litigious state than any other in the union. So the lawsuit piece ain't no big revelation.  But yoga threatening christianity? Really? This is a case of one of man's biggest driving emotions: fear. (Which is kinda timely what with halloween around the corner and all). But this is fear; fear that the hardcore teachings from parent to child will be diluted, distorted and dismantled and thus control will be lost. The parents will have lost control of the doctrine that their children have been raised under.

The bigger picture of fear is that as with many religions people have a posture that 'my religion is better than yours and I fear that yours will grow larger than mine and eventually wipe it out.' You don't buy it? Just look at history from the crusades right on up to the conflicts of today. Now before you go throwin' your crumpled up Starbucks coffee cup at your tablet-phone-monitor-pod-pad in anger...settle. I'm not bashing religion rather I am attacking many-a-man's application of his interpretation  of religion. Getting back to fear, the message I recall from the good Book is that fear is something to be cast out. It is not something that calls for the creation of an angry mob with legal lackeys in tow.

 Take Bob and Martha and son Timmy for example; do Bob and Martha quake in their boots that a situation like this might arise?:

"Mom, dad I'm a changed nine year old."

"How so Timmy?"

"Well after moving from a sun salutation I eased into an upward dog. From there I melted into a downward dog, took a deep breath and jumped forward into standing-forward-bend. It was then, as I came up slowly and slid into mountain-pose that it hit me, pow! I'm no longer feeling the fire or the brimstone. I'm done with christianity. Bring on hinduism. Matter of fact let's just get straight to full-on  debauchery!"

"Goodness gracious no, Timmy! Say it isn't so! Damn you yoga, damn you to hell!"

Or let's not forget Hal and Ethel and their fine young son ironically also named, Timmy:

"Mom, dad meet me in Pop's den in five will ya."

"What is it Timmy, why have you called this meeting?"

"Today at school we did this thing called yoga and--"

"That's it! Marsha, get the shyster on the blower," Hal demands.

"Hear me out Pops," Timmy pleads. "As I sat in the lotus position I focussed on my breathing and--"

"Breathing? Those heathen soaked blasphemers!"

"Steady Ma. Anyway, as I sat in my lotus position it hit me, pow! Me and christianity are through baby."

"Timmy, I will not have you using the word 'baby' that way. Any more bombs you want to drop on your poor mother and me?"

"Actually yeah Pop, uncle Roger, your twin brother, ah, he's gay. He told me so when he bought me my first yoga mat."

"Damn you yoga, damn you to hell!"

Alright perhaps these examples are a tad extreme but come on y'all this is crazy what these parents want to do. And you'd better beware of the slippery slope because if yoga is a demon then Tai Chi practitioners  better start circling their slow moving wagons because they're sure to be next. The headline of the local rag will read 'Tai Chi forces combative buddhism on fourth graders by force. Parents unite!'

Listen kooks, raise your kids the way you want to but don't fear the yoga. Yoga is about tranquility, breathing, meditation and a whole host of other positive things. And at the risk of getting hung up on semantics yoga actually predates Hinduism. Heed your good Book's words and cast fear out. And here's how you can do it: When something scares you take a breath (pun totally intended) and learn, research, study, inquire, hell enquire while you're at it. And then proceed. Because if you'd opened your minds and opened your hearts you would come to learn that yoga is not the foe, it is the friend. Lastly, the bible does not read 'thou shalt be totally litigious whence living in California at all times' so stop running to your lawyer every time you get spooked. Love thy neighbor, don't fear him. We're all God's children and that includes those who do the praying mantis.

So be good sweet citizens of Encinitas or I'll dust off my 1980's yoga unitard, squeeze my two hundred pound frame into it and come trick or treating as a yogi to your house...And you thought yoga was scary? Boo!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fashion Sense? Wave your freak tag...

O.K. so we've all heard me rail against some youths and their proclivity for wearing their pants far too low- what they refer to as sagging. Let's be serious they look as though they've had an accident in their jeans for heaven's sakes. But my next issue is one that I shant rail against however, one does have questions.

I looked out my window this morning to see this Cat (dude) wearing a brand new pair of what we once referred to as sneakers. (Later on we called them running shoes and then after that I was out of the game. I mean I still wear em' but I don't know what the kids call them.) At any rate I knew the 'sneakers' to be new because Junior still donned the tag which was attached near the tongue. This could be seen as an over sight on his part but I say nay, for I've seen a couple of Cats do this now.

Which brings me to my question: Why? Why do they leave the tag on? If a women leaves a tag on her Vera Wang dress its because she either wants us to see what she's wearing (and can afford) or she's 'borrowing' it from the store and plans on returning it. But what of Junior? Is this meant to be a status symbol? And if so shouldn't the fact that we can all recognize the three stripes as addidas be sufficiently indicative as to the level of his status? In other words; brand new addidas--we get it Junior.

I certainly hope he doesn't think that he can pull the Vera Wang style 'borrowing' act and return the shoes at the end of his romp to 7-11. Maybe he just wants to convey how 'fresh' he is. (Apologies for the 'fresh' word which dates back to 1985). But I'm at a loss here, I just can't grasp this one. To me it says 'hey everybody can you guess where I was fifteen minutes ago? That's right losers I just rolled outta JC Penny y'all." Junior, there's got to be more. Is it merely a reminder that the shoe with the tag goes on the right foot? O.K. that was a cheap shot, even for me, I take it back with utmost sincerity...and a slight giggle.

But it isn't just sneakers, I've seen Cats do this with baseball hats, which I believe are affectionately known as 'lids'. A ha! I have it. The other day I walked into a deli and an employee said, 'Nice kicks' to me referring to my shoes. I get it now. These youths today keep the tags so that they can work them into rap songs. Check it out:

I got my kicks and my lid and they got tags
I got my levi's doin' the sweet, sweet sag
Now all I gots to do is avoid da body bag

No? Anybody? Hello? Well that's it that's all I've got. I can't for the life of me comprehend why Junior and his ilk keep the tags on their merchandise. And the bigger question is when does one cut the tag? When does Junior release the tag as he would a white dove back into the wild to soar for ever more? As soon as one notices a scuff mark? When one has knocked back 14 big gulps within a 15 day period? Or does Junior wait until the gal of his dreams, say Bertha perhaps, agrees to go on a date with him? And if so do he and Bertha cut the tag together like a mayoral ribbon cutting?

Well, until the day comes that Junior reveals the mystery behind the tag conundrum the rest of us in society shall have to soldier on. We cannot lose sleep over this bizarre fashion craze. We cannot form focus groups and think tanks that will only result in feeble attempts at finding reason to this quirky phenomenon. We've got to move forward in a sane and peaceful way. So, check your tire pressure, hold the door for a stranger and keep cold beer in your fridge and together we'll get through this. Until next we meet; peace, love and remain tag-less at all costs.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Carpe Diem Baby, Never Too Old To Rock The 'Hawk...

The first time I had a mohawk I was 25 years old. One night I went to a bar on my own and in no time flat someone chucked an ice cube at me. I looked around and saw nothing. Then it happened again. By the third time I saw a table of 5 dudes in matching Lacoste shirts laughing it up. Thus, I gave them the finger. Suddenly they turned serious. One of them, in a light green variety of aforementioned shirt, walked up to my table. Keep in mind I had no illusions, disillusions or delusions for that matter that I could actually take these five guys but hey, I was 25 and damn it I wasn't going down without a fight.

Two bouncers with a combined weight of over 485 lbs. shadowed the guy coming to my table. This was good because it put the two buick-sized bouncers between this preppy fool and his neat chums. I was going to stand but then realized that would have been confrontational. In fact, when I stayed put and remained calm I could see him hesitate half a beat. They may have had the numbers but I my mitts, my boots,  a 22 ounce beer mug with heft, a bar stool and only four people between me and then back exit.

He smiled briefly and then spread his hands wide. Then to my pleasant surprise he actually apologized. He said that they were a couple of hockey players in town blowin' off steam and that they weren't used to seeing guys with mohawks.

"But when you do see 'em you throw ice cubes at 'em?" I asked.

"I know, sorry about that it was stupid."

We shook hands and all was good. I got a nod from the bigger of the two bouncers just prior to them melting back into the sea of patrons. I only kept the mohawk for about a month because in that time three other situations similar in nature to the one mentioned above, occurred. That was two times too many for me. 

Flash forward to 2011 and we have mohawk version number two. Was I too old for the look? Probably, but I'm happy to say that mohawk part-deux brought nothing but smiles (ok maybe not from my wife), compliments, reluctantly polite comments and straight ahead rock and roll. (As can be witnessed in the above photos). I never intended to keep the look into my twilight years, it was more of a lark; and a fun-filled awesome one at that. Call it mohawk-zen-full-circle or mohawk-closure. Hell, call it silly for all I care but the bottom line is life is short and if a guy can play rock while rockin' a mohawk in his mid-forties, then dang it I wanna know that guy...I wanna be that guy. I am that guy! And if you want to rock a mohawk, don a tight Lacoste shirt in a smashing lavender-teal combo color or serenade your babe in nothing but boxers and cowboy boots from the highest rooftop I say carpe diem long as nobody gets hurt.

**Incidentally the hockey team those fun-lovin' cut-ups played on was the Toronto Maple Leafs circa 1989-90-ish. Sorry Leafs but that 195 pound brother of yesteryear with the racing stripe down the center of his head was not only chalk full of piss, vinegar and not too much sense, he was a Vancouver Canucks dudes didn't have a chance!

Friday, October 12, 2012

And The Winner Is...

Ah yes debate time again. It doesn't feel like four years have passed since President Obama went up against John McCain or Joe Biden took on Sarah 'also too' Palin. But here we are. When the smoke cleared after President Obama faced Governor Romney the majority...o.k. all of the punditry declared Romney the winner. It was a contest. America likes contests. There can only be one winner and on the day that winner was Mitt Romney. No argument here however what stuck in my craw was that every media outlet from television; newspapers to radio played this thing like it was a sporting event.

We've got tons of sporting events to choose from-the top gun at the moment being NFL football. But American politics specifically the Presidential election should be taken a little more seriously than, "Hey dude who won the Packers game yesterday?" "...Oh yeah and who won the debate?" The 'winner' of the election goes on to be (or remain) the leader of the free world. Them there ain't small potatoes folks.

This attitude of 'fun sport' was evidenced by the polls. Prior to the Obama/Romney debate President Obama led the polls by an 8 point margin. Following the 'contest' Romney came out a 4 point leader.(According to the PewResearch Center). Unless my math is fuzzy (as it can be) that is a 12 point swing after just 90 minutes of debate moderated by a near powerless moderator. (Sorry Jim Lehrer you seem like a good guy just not quite as sharp a moderator as one needed to be...oh, and sorry about potentially being fired if Romney is the next Commander in Chief). Ninety minutes and a massive number of people are swayed? Have you been under a rock for the last four years? Did you not see any of the Republic primaries? It took you until now to know/decide who you may or may not vote for?

Why is this? Is it because the candidates are so similar you're left confused...until a 90 minute t.v. show paints a clear picture? A 12 point shift all because of one debate, really? I didn't buy it at first but then upon further thought and musing I realize that we are largely a nation of sports-fans. The media bills the debates that way and we sop it up like drunks drinking spillage off the bar when the bartender turns his back. "Who won? Who lost? Ooh Ahh."

Let's look at foreign policy. Let's take Joe Biden and Paul Ryan on the subject of Iran. One side claims they have the allies on board and the sanctions plan in place. The other side comes perilously close to declaring war on Iran. And YOU mister sports-fan just want to know who won the debate; who won the talkie-contesty-thingy. Get serious America because this is serious business. This could mean war...AGAIN!

Many feel that Joe Biden won last night's debate and that this should bolster President Obama for the next debate and so on. Winners, losers, competition. This stuff is not a game sports-fans it's real life. The expression 'game of life' is just that, an expression. This is the real McCoy, the real deal, the bacon and the eggs! (O.k. I need to work on that last one) but hopefully the point is clear. We are talking about jobs here at home; Europe in financial crises and the potentiality  of war...AGAIN. I'm not alarmed that the media packages it this way for I expect the media to be useless, hell I damn near count on it. But we are the people. We are the  citizenry and as such we need to take an interest; we need to give a sh**! Read a newspaper, both local and foreign; watch a news source outside of Fox and CNN. Try the BBC or Al jazeera. And regardless of whether you lean left or right check out what the other side is saying, don't just listen to the sweet sounds of your own choir. Get involved, get informed and let's get busy. And then feel free to crack that beer, put the feet up and see what the time honored grid iron game of football brings on any given Sunday. Home of the brave y'all.