Thursday, September 24, 2015

One of the problems with de-emphasizing history in our schools is that children grow to adulthood with no perspective on life.

Too often we see people with no understanding of what life was like in any other period but the present. They make judgements that are totally out of the context of the issues and pressures of the time.

The result is that everything becomes simplified into today’s view of the world. The sacrifices are ignored and the mistakes highlighted. We forget how many parents watched their young children perish to disease that is today only a minor inconvenience. We forget the poor communications and harsh realities of survival. We are critical of past leaders of our nation because they didn’t rectify all the problems of society in their one (usually short) lifespan. We focus on the negatives in their lives and turn them into cartoon characters. George Washington becomes a slave owner with wooden teeth who chopped down a cherry tree. How could we have possibly named a city and a state after him? Abraham Lincoln sought to compromise on the subject of slavery in a failed effort to avoid the coming horror of a civil war. Why would we give him a monument and put his picture on our currency? Benjamin Franklin was a party person who probably took drugs. Banish him from the role of hero of the Revolution.

Our efforts to redefine history in terms of the present day focus on “politically correct” actions is eliminating our sense of honor and integrity as a nation and gradually tearing apart all of those who helped create and sustain our democracy. And surprise…we have found no one to replace them.

This has left our nation lost. We have been plunged into the chaos of a world where our children eschew the old emphasis on strength of character and morality, and have instead been taught through the new media to emulate the gangbangers, Hollywood celebrities and billionaires who offer material wealth as the new sign of leading a successful life.

We are taught to laugh at or ridicule a speaker who refers to things like “ideals”, “morals”, “honor”, “integrity”’ and “sacrifice”. He or she is referred to as na├»ve, or that worst of putdowns “a Boy Scout”. Instead, we flood our TV’s and internet with shows that highlight “egotism”, “greed”’ “violence” and “ignorance”. Our political candidates surge ahead by being the ones who say the most outrageous and divisive things.

We have become an angry, sad and frightened nation whose residents have lost all sense of what made us a great nation, and, instead, cringe behind the locked doors of our homes hoping the developing conflagration will pass us by.

I fear for our future. We have lost our perspective about our past and what we created that was so unique in the world. We crush the dreamers, ridicule those who see the best in us, and applaud those who have no soul. .

We do all this at our own peril, for we open ourselves to the siren songs of the “true  believers” who would plunge the world into hatred and vengeance.

I am closing with a poem True Believers ( In the Cat’s Eye, Snap Screen Press, 2009). The world has been down this road before. I pray we are smart enough not to choose it again.

Glenn K. Currie

                            True Believers

They wear their causes
Like tattoos.
Made from the cloth
Of cultural epiphanies
Or sacred decrees.

They march to words
Beaten into placards.
Written too large
To accommodate
The small surface
Of their hearts.

Their torches burn
At my windows,
To a society
Without questions.

They want to create
A new world,
Where everyone
Believes the same.
Where everyone knows
All the answers.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Where are we going? Who knows? That’s what makes the journey so exciting.

I don’t understand people who give it up because they fail once or twice. Every successful person has failed. And as long as you are still living on this earth, you still have the opportunity to make your journey a better, more satisfying experience.

I have changed careers five times in my life. I achieved a modicum of success in each, but I also failed at times in each. If you are fortunate enough to have good health, you have new opportunities at every stage of life. You may have to replace energy with experience, but there is a place where you can be a positive influence on the world around you.

I am turning 72 in a few days. I am at another one of those stages in life where I need to renew my purpose. I don’t know how long this stage will last, but I know if I do nothing, I will wither away. Once you have cancer, even if it seems under control, you never again have the same feeling of being in control of your life. But it also sends a message about how precious is your time on this planet. It is a time to make those days as valuable and useful as possible.

For those at younger crossroads in their lives, the options are much greater. The choice is yours as to where you go and what you do.  Suck it up and find something in life that makes you happy and takes full advantage of the opportunity to live on this beautiful planet.

Everyone finds their path in a different way. We may search in different places, walk in different shoes. The important thing is that even if you get lost along the way, a path is still there, and you can find it again if you are willing to work at it.

A Gospel Song (Daydreams, Snap Screen Press, 2004) is just one way to find a road that will help make life’s journey a rewarding trip.

Good luck to all of you in your travels on this Earth.

Glenn K. Currie

                        A Gospel Song

I chose a path, then lost my way,
Each turn another wasted day,
The woods were dark and cold and deep,
My spirit numb, my mind asleep.

The forest filled with empty souls,
Its young too quickly growing old,
Decaying life defined the scene,
A jungle, home to broken dreams.

I searched to find another road,
Through dark despair and storms I strode,
But all the signs were pointing down,
The only exits under ground.

Then suddenly a light broke through,
What source it was, I never knew,
And far away, across the pines,
I heard a church bells distant chimes.

A path emerged, that cleansed my soul,
It led me home and made me whole,
The road so hidden in the night,
Was wide and gleaming in the light.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Just a quick note on modern life. Here is a slightly updated view of our electronic world. This was first published in Granite Grumblings, Life in the Live Free or Die State,( Snap Screen Press, 2011). I hope you have some fun with it.

Glenn K. Currie


Multi-tasking may have saved civilization as we now know it. Given all the wonderful new electronic toys that have been developed over the last thirty years, it doesn’t seem like it would be possible to fit their full usage into a twenty-four hour day without our citizens’ remarkable ability to become skilled at multi-tasking.

Think of how difficult it would be to devote proper attention to all our computers, IPhones, televisions, video games, and IPads, if our inventiveness hadn’t made many of these electronic wonders capable of performing many tasks simultaneously and at the press of a button.

Our modern society has essentially ended the need for stereos, VCR’s, CD players, DVD’s, pagers, paper notebooks, calculators, calendars, cameras, typewriters, fax machines, copiers, compasses, telephones (landlines), encyclopedias, books, newspapers and games requiring other people in the same room. All of these can now be easily replaced by a portable computer, an up-to-date smartphone, and/or an IPad. And each of them is gradually doing more of the work of the others. You can talk for hours, practically free, on computers, stream shows on smartphones and IPads, and do your word processing by just talking to Siri.

People have learned to use these simultaneously. Now they can check email, stay current on the latest soaps and reality TV, commute on the turnpike, dictate reports to the office while receiving a fax from overseas, scream at the guy cutting them off at the exit and write, text, tweet a friend,(although, please, not when the car is moving). In previous eras, it would have taken hours to get all that done.

Things actually began to change with the proliferation of fast food places and the invention of the microwave. Once the need to cook dinner on a real stove was eliminated, it opened up all sorts of additional time for families. Everyone could get home later, eat faster, and waste less time actually communicating with each other. Then we got remote controls on the TV’s so guys could watch three different sporting events at once. This in turn forced wives and kids to get their own TV’s, which further cut down on face time.

The arrivals of all the new electronic toys were initially a challenge, but with the reduced need to communicate with real people, we began to see evolution take hold. Our fingers became more dexterous as we learned to use them for video games, channel flipping and text messaging. 

Our Blackberries became smartphones which then became cameras and pagers, our automobiles became portable offices and movie theaters, our computers and smartphones became capable of video conference calls, “Skyping”, and “face time”, and they all talked to each other. Pretty soon we didn’t even need to get involved in some of the conversations.

For many, there was almost no reason for real life to intrude on these virtual worlds. Messy issues such as meeting people face-to-face, having real conversations with our children and meeting our neighbors needed to never occur. Even the survival of the species was assured without the need for face-to-face meetings.

But if you are still of the old school that favors some contact in this last critical objective, our inventive geniuses have developed easy ways to multi-task this as well. This was clearly pointed out in a television commercial a while ago. Modern man was busy playing with his remote control and waiting for a big game when his wife signaled that it might be time for a little face to face contact. What to do! Then he remembered the opportunities provided by multi-tasking. He could record the big game, take a Viagra and spend some quality time with his wife without missing anything important, or getting too emotionally involved. Heck, a lot of the ads now emphasize people taking Viagra or some similar pill and having sex in separate but adjoining bathtubs. (I’m still not sure how that works, but I’m old). Lots of folks also seem to turn their IPhones on and tape the actual act to share with a whole bunch of other people whom they don’t know.

Some of you out there may think this is the beginning of the end of our civilization. But most of us in New Hampshire don’t get too caught up in this stuff. We may use many of these new marvels, but we still find plenty of time to spend with our families, watch a sunset, count the stars and get to know our neighbors, right?

And if not, it’s not really that big a deal. I know some web sites that have great pictures of the galaxies and sunsets, and there are several that will send greetings to friends and relatives free of charge. As for the neighbors, most of them are too busy to want to meet you anyway.  And that gives you more time to pour a cool drink, go out to the screened –in porch and update your Facebook page. I now have over 150 friends and I honestly don’t know who half of them are. Once you start going down the friends-of-friends route it gets pretty confusing. I can’t wait for a new app to come out that will automatically update my Facebook page so I don’t have to deal with any of these people. I need more time to figure out how to play Madden Football.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The need for politicians to understand the issues that affect their citizens has been forgotten in many cases in our national elections.

We see candidates run for office who have either lost touch with the general public or never established it in the first place. Money gives people easy access to fame through TV ads and the general efforts of a good public relations team, but it doesn’t ensure that they have a clue about the real concerns.

We have a lot of candidates for high office who have simply spent too much time in Washington. We also have some from outside Washington who have never experienced the real world of life as an ordinary citizen.

Most of us can sense when a candidate had lost touch. They haven’t had to sit in a traffic jam for years, caught the middle seat in coach on a flight, or waited in line while some bureaucracy screwed up an application for something. They may have never sweated a paycheck, or ridden a commercial bus from town to town.

I am tired of having people in office who don’t know how to do stuff. They have never managed a company, hired or fired workers, or met a payroll. They have no idea how to manage. Yet we send them off to manage the most complex system in the world and are surprised when they are clueless. That is our fault as voters, but we don’t demand better. We also put people in office who don’t understand what really ticks off the ordinary citizen. They don’t have to deal with all the bureaucratic requirements our government puts on our shoulders: the inane health system and 100,000 pages of tax law, or the countless other things that irritate the hell out of us.

And a term or two in Congress does not qualify them in any of these areas. They  have “people” down there who do everything for them. Heck, we’ve been told straight out  by the leadership that they don’t even bother to read the bills they pass.

I wrote a piece a while ago about the need to demand more from our candidates. Leaders of the Free World (Granite Grumblings, Snap Screen Press, 2011) was a frustrated attempt to require more from our candidates than having a lot of campaign financing and a big mouth with a silver tongue. It remains even more true today. We are running out of time and need to pick leaders who can actually understand and lead this country. Playing the typical game of yelling back and forth, calling each other names and playing to a media that has lost touch with the country is not going to get us where we need to go.

I humbly herewith resubmit my suggestions for some of the things that might finally get us some leadership from people who actually understand America.

Glenn K. Currie

                                                Leaders of the Free World

Did you ever wonder how we got to be the “leader” of the free world? It is hard to believe that it is the result of the quality of our politicians.

Most of our leaders seem to be in Washington because their other careers went dead, or maybe they never had another career. And a lot of them aren’t able to apply themselves well at this job either, based on the amount of time they actually spend representing us at the various legislative meetings.

But once elected, they don’t appear to have much to worry about, because our voters don’t seem to care. Apparently our voters are so dumb they can’t even figure out a butterfly ballot, let alone determine if their representative is earning his paycheck.

No wonder the rest of the world is a little worried about us. Our election standards are even lower than our education standards.

Right now, any idiot who is a natural-born citizen and is at least thirty-five years of age, can run for President. And a lot of them have taken advantage of that opportunity. The election process isn’t doing a very good job of culling the herd. We, as voters, keep putting people into office and then complaining that they are in office. Then we nominate an even bigger idiot to try to replace him or her.

I think, as keepers of the first real primary, we have some responsibility to ourselves and the world, to establish a few minimum requirements to be eligible to be a leader of the free world. And maybe we should also impose a few demands on our voters as well.

For our would-be presidential candidates, I suggest the following eligibility standards:

1)      Live in an apartment without a doorman for at least a year.
2)      Serve at least one year in any combination of the following non-supervisory jobs:
Food service, manufacturing, sales, health care, transportation, construction, or education.
3)      Complete two years of service in the military, the Peace Corps or an equivalent (without a valet or PR person to assist).
4)      Ride a public bus across country, stay at least one night in a flop house, and spend at least two weeks in a place without indoor plumbing.
5)      Demonstrate the ability to successfully run an organization that is not inherited or funded by family trusts.
6)      Personally fill out and file a federal tax return.
7)      Demonstrate a sense of humor and the common sense to recognize BS when it is up to the ankles.
8)      Read at least one trashy novel and watch a week of daytime television.
9)      Demonstrate a working knowledge of baseball and football.
10)  Spend a month as a teacher’s aide in an inner city public school.

As for the voters, my expectations must be much more limited. But even with that realization, it seems that there should be a few basic requirements, none of which are currently being enforced.

Voter standards should be as follows:

1)      Prove they are United States citizens.
2)      Only be allowed to vote once in each election.
3)      Be required to identify themselves at the polls. (If they don’t know who they are, they probably shouldn’t be voting.)
4)      Be declared ineligible if they are convicts or persons legally rendered incompetent.
5)      Be a human being. (No more dogs or parrots getting the vote).
6)      Have a pulse.
7)      Be able to state the last name of the person for whom Washington, D.C. was named.

None of the above requirements are particularly demanding for either the voters or the future leader of the free world. They might, however, go a long way towards ensuring the humanity and executive abilities of those involved in the election process.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

All over the world it seems like we have citizens deciding that blowing themselves up is better than trying to lead a decent life. Most of these people are physically healthy and young enough to perhaps accomplish wonderful things.

The decision to kill or maim themselves, and as many others as possible, is a phenomenon that I don’t understand.

Contrary to the popular narrative, I think these people have lost their sense of religion. They have reduced themselves to robotic slaves willing to plunge the world into eternal darkness. I don’t understand how a creator would wish this upon such a wondrous creation or be pleased with those trying to do it.

Can they really believe that turning our planet into a nuclear waste dump is what life is all about? Does any real religion truly have as its objective to blow small children into pieces?

There are so many miraculous, wonderful things going on every day across our planet. And yet we all seem to focus on the negatives. Angry people hate other angry people and our humanity is gradually destroyed.

In the end, no one finds answers in carnage. Those that try, are like stones spit up from the bowels of the earth. They spend eternity oblivious to the beauty and wonder that is part of creation: instead becoming unseeing and unknowing parts of the fire and brimstone that is the total substance of their existence.

I wrote Two Moon Night (In the Cat’s Eye, Snap Screen Press, 2009) to describe what that world might look like when the monsters were free to roam on one particular evening. Are we really heading for a world where the monsters triumph every night?

Glenn K. Currie

                        Two Moon Night

The devil dances, on the two moon night,
His breath’s cold vapor, freezing in the light.
And a ghost moon rides the fog’s thick back,
Searching in the darkness for fugitive’s tracks.

He dances, dances, dances,
When the ghost moon rides the sky,
And the forest fills with empty souls,
Searching for a place to lie.

Treetops bend to the banshee’s scream,
Timber wolves gather by lava streams,
Red coals burn beneath tainted ground,
Waiting for those the ghost moon found.

He dances, dances, dances,
Across the two moon night,
Stealing through the luminous fog,
Blocking out the light.

Forest beds in decay, collect the purged debris.
Tattered shades, drawn this day, mourn what used to be.
 Reapers rise from below, sweeping up remains,
As two moons light the devil’s dance, o’er his dark domain.

He dances, dances, dances,
Fanning the rising flames.
While two moons search the shadows,
On the night the devil reigns.