Friday, August 24, 2012

The "Dad" part of my life

Today was the first day of school for my daughter, they start on a staggered schedule for first through 3rd grade, and her letter of the alphabet was up today.

She's been demonstrating a mix of excitement and fear over the past couple weeks and when I asked her about her fears she shared with me that she was scared that she would be the one farthest behind in her class.

I reassured her that she would do fine and continued trying to focus her on how much she'll grow in knowledge over the year and the fun she'll have seeing friends daily and getting to be even more independent.

We left for school this morning and my wife and I walked her to school.  After taking the necessary 1st day of school pictures and getting the hugs out of the way, we started out on our fairly short walk.  I walked ahead for the most part, letting her walk at her own pace and sort of next to her mom.  Usually we'd make her hold hands crossing streets, but since we were both there and at a leisurely pace with no cars in sight, we dropped that requirement today.  She's not old enough to be 'embarrassed' by her parents, so while I wasn't concerned about that, I did want to give her, her own space in preparing for the day.  As we got close to the school entrance and near some welcoming teachers, she moved up next to me and picked up her pace, walking with determination.  Right before we got to the door, she reached up and held my hand as we walked into the school.

You don't get a ton of moments to reflect on in life, this was one of those for me and I thought I'd share.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Perspective and Thoughts on Norway tragedy

I was reading an article on potential expenditures and the problems Norway is having with sentencing of Anders Behring Breivik and I thought it would make an interesting blog post.  It's entirely possible that some of things I discuss could be applied to smaller scale atrocities that we've experienced here in the U.S over the past couple months as well. 

For those that aren't familiar with Anders Behring Breivik, a quick web search should fill you in on his crimes.  Here is a Wikipedia link.  (For those who aren't fans of Wikipedia, feel free to click on the referenced links at the bottom of the page to go directly to content on Breivik)

Here is the article that inspired this blog post. Link

Let me start with my thoughts,

1.  They are going to spend how much on a separate mental health ward for him?  (Oh wait, they've already spent how much on a potential ward for him?)

2. They spent how much on a special courtroom setup for him?  

3.  Norway is not the United States

4. Those Norwegians have some interesting views of how to treat criminals.

Those are the first 4 thoughts that scream out at me as I read the article.  I'm stunned that a government would spend the kind of money it did on a potential ward for him before he is even found sane/insane and equally stunned that they built a special courtroom for him.  Are Norwegian laws so strict that they couldn't find an alternative to spending money in order to provide the murderer with his fair trial?  

Let's not forget the key point, there is no debate on whether this person killed all of these people, he's gleefully admitted it, and the country believes he did, so all of these procedures are simply to determine what should be done with him. 

Maybe I should be impressed by Norway's government? 77 teenagers killed through ones man's actions and the government goes through this process to ensure his human rights are met. Amazing. 

I realize that my view of Breivik is through the perspective of the writers I've chosen to read on him, but when I read about him or think about his actions, my blood boils.  I can't fathom allowing this person to live or to give him any trial.  Isee a man that is so broken, that nothing is ever going to fix him and his actions have been so deplorable that the world would be a better place without his existence.

The problem is I'm having a hard time justifying my thoughts on this, because I don't necessarily feel that way about some of the other killers in recent incidents in the U.S. although perhaps that is just due to the fact that their trials have not taken place yet. 

I think that perhaps it's the difference between crime and war.  Breivik declared war on Norway and his actions and comments offer evidence to this position.

If you made it through this mish mash of thoughts, I'd love to hear your opinions on this one.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Thoughts 8/17/2012

There are just too many ridiculous stories and news items that I need to comment on to not have another rendition of Friday Thoughts.  I do realize that maybe I'd just be better making the whole blog in that format, as I haven't done a serious blog post in some time.

1. More sad news from Russia.  Pussy Riot story  I continue to be fascinated by Vladimir Putin, if I haven't mentioned it before, I believe he's either the best thing for Russia right now or the worst thing.  However, it doesn't change the fact that what he's done to get back in power goes against the principle of letting the people choose.  As the protests continue to mount, Putin does what he does very well and retaliates.  Here's hoping the Russian people get this mess figured out and that the punk rockers aren't in jail for 2 years.  (and we thought we had something to talk about here with the Bush/Dixie Chicks controversy).

2. If the crumbling of Russia's democracy isn't enough of a downer for you, may I suggest checking out the Rich Kids of Instagram website. Nothing says the 1% like offspring of rich folks spending frivolously.

3. For further ridiculousness, you can read about pour Vanessa Bryant's struggles in raising her family while her husband works, and why is he working if he's not winning rings?  Oh the humanity.

4. Since I haven't been writing, Lebron James has won a gold medal and a championship, and all is right with the world, he's persevered and overcome so much.  I become more sick of sport talking heads and reporters all the time.

5. In keeping with the sports run I have here, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about how sick I am of the national NFL media talking about how running backs don't matter anymore in the league.  While I can certainly understand that we are going through a period with less focus on them, its only a matter of time, until someone breaks out the Marty Schottenheimer style of football from 1985 and those same writers talk about how important it is that you have a good running back.  Let me offer some anecdotal evidence, that this will come to pass.  For the past 10 years, all we heard about was how the tight end was no longer a relevant position. Now it's an integral part of any passing game.  The NFL is a copycat league, what works one year, is mimicked for many until someone gets desperate and tries something new.

6. For all the activism we see for musicians and actors that we roll our eyes at, I'd like to see more US musicians speak up about what happened in Russia, considering it's something they can directly relate to.  Green Day, I know you are mainstream now and doing Broadway plays and shit, but you were once a punk band, please pickup on line 2.  Nice to see that some in the UK get it, my search for musicians that have spoken up yielded little results.

7.  I should have labelled this the music and sports edition.

8. My father asked me to comment on the Cleveland Browns sale to Jim Haslam.  (It's ok Dad you can pick up the phone and ask me directly :) )   Anyway, my thoughts, it is much better then we have. I'm relatively sure that Randy Lerner is in fact an 'idiot owner' as Tony Grossi, formerly of the Plain Dealer, called him.  Considering after his father passed, that the organization has made one mistake after another, his soccer team is losing buckets of money regularly, and Bank of America sacked him from their board as soon as they took over MBNA, I think there is a reasonable bit of evidence to suggest that he might not have been the brightest bulb in the pack.

9. The biggest positive from the Cleveland Browns sale though is that they finally have an owner that is separated from the move.  Al Lerner was no hero to Cleveland Browns fans, as he was fully involved in Art Modell's move to Baltimore and in many whispers might have orchestrated a whole lot more then that to own the team himself.  The franchise may finally have the opportunity to operate without the emotional baggage of 'the move' hanging over it's head.

10.  Julian Assange, is he a musician or athlete?  Unfortunately not, but he's worth mentioning.  As I grow older there are times, I long for the type of news stories I remember from my youth.  (Bernie Goetz, those Beluga Whales in Alaska, Oliver North).  I'm always a bit sad that I don't recognize one as it's happening.  This is one of those.  I have no opinion yet, on whether Assange should be tried for his release of confidential information and have no idea whether the Swedish charges are pure bulk, but it is an interesting moment and allows us to see how our governments interact with each other in ways we typically don't get to see.   By the way, reports are Assange is bored and stressed.  And let's face it, would this story be as cool as it is, if he didn't have a cool name?  If it was Bill Baker, I don't think it would read as well.