Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I Like The Sound & Love The Fury: Sturgill Simpson's "Sound & Fury"


SOUND & FURY

Sturgill Simpson has managed to do what I wasn't sure anyone could do for me anymore; introduce me to something unique musically. I need to start this off by admitting my bias. I'm a fan of Sturgill Simpson. I've poured over his lyrics, made the connections and admired the concepts of each record he has made. I suppose "man crush" could be a proper term.....I crush on the man's music. It's changed my life, much like The Beatles, The Beastie Boys, The Replacements, and Waylon Jennings have done after I absorbed their music. So, yeah, this album I'm about to talk about was going to be a tough record for me to NOT like. So, with that out of the way, I'll continue. One doesn't usually associate psychedelia, meditation, and rebellion with what most would consider a "country" artist. I am not a fan of genre, but for the sake of conversation, I do realize categorization is necessary. With the release of "Sound & Fury" I think it's safe to say that Simpson is a genre-bender on an all-time great scale. With the release of the Grammy Award winning album "A Sailor's Guide To Earth" you could feel it coming on as he started the transition away from a traditional sound to a style that was willing to dip its' toes into a lot of different musical pools, metaphorically speaking of course. 

"Sound & Fury" may not sound like the prototypical "outlaw" album, but I feel it's the most outlaw thing he's done since giving a good woman a ring. You would never describe this as honky tonk or country music, but it does have those elements soaked in that you can vaguely feel bubbling below the surface. Lyrically, Sturgill isn't too coy, but most of his fans are going to understand that he is singing to Nashville, the corporate music world, and the fame machine and there isn't much sweetness in his words. He gets his digs in. He "love(s) to say no to all the yes men, just to see the looks on their face" and announces that it's "fuck y'all season". To go along with that, the music is also a thunderous message to the establishment. He is telling them he won't be boxed in and he is separating the wheat from the chaff. This is a man letting the world know that he is going to make his art and shape his life in a way that he sees fit. There isn't much room for compromise and you can either stick with him and his art, or you can get off the bus. There is also a Japanese style anime movie released as the video track for the album. You can find that on Netflix. There are plenty of visual clues in the film that coincide directly with the message he is putting out there in the music. 


Yeah, anyone that knows me, is going to understand all of the aforementioned is in my wheelhouse. I love musicians and filmmakers that don't lock themselves into an idea of themselves, or what others see them to be. You can't move forward running in place. Sturgill keeps forging ahead and with each album release, you can feel that he is stretching his talents and challenging himself. "Sound & Fury" is a collection of music that I've heard thousands of times, yet feels fresh and special. All the boxes are checked; The Cars, ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, James Brown, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kool and the Gang, Led Zeppelin, Giorgio Moroder among many other influences. No, you don't see Merle, Hank, or Waylon on that list. Their spirit remains, but the music is rooted in 70's hard rock, funk, New Wave, and southern style rock n roll. The guitar work is vicious and in your face at times and rarely feels restrained. Sturgill continues to impress me with his guitar work. The astute listener will hear Jimmy Page, David Gilmour and other rock gods permeating from the strings. It's a lot of fun to watch him go to work when seeing him live, but he manages to convey his energy and skill on wax as well. I'm not sure if it was any part intentional, but there is NOTHING on this record that can be played on your local Top 40 country radio station. Nashville will not be able to even try to get a hand on his coattails He has black balled them from his success. He didn't need them to become who he is. The CMA and money machine has stripped most mainstream music from Nashville of its' authenticity. To borrow the title of one of the albums strongest tracks, Sturgill is going to "Make Art, Not Friends". 

The album has been a revelation. I've never heard anything quite like it. It was like hearing "Dark Side of the Moon" or "Paul's Boutique" and being truly overcome with the feeling that what you are hearing is special. It hadn't been done THAT way before. It demands to be listened to loud. The mix pulls the vocals back into the music, so if you want to find them, you gotta crank the volume to 11. You gotta work for it. The album sleeve says it all; "Fuck Your Speakers". He is meaning to kick your ass and grab you by your metaphoric balls. "Sound & Fury" is a great headphone album. The synth grooves, vicious guitar, and relentless rhythm section give it an "ear candy" quality without being soft or immediately soothing. After a few listens, the subtlety started to emerge for me. I got comfortable with the music and the funk groove and beats started to show through and just totally hooked me. 


This is a true concept album. With each album it has felt like an evolution was taking place in the way Simpson structured song sequences and weaved a bit of a narrative from start to finish. This record sees all of that come to a head. You are hearing the collection of songs as one piece of art. The listener is along for the ride as the radio switches stations suddenly and we get a blast of something different than what we were just immersed in. On The Joe Rogan Experience, Simpson made it clear that he saw the album as one piece of music. There aren't many musicians that make albums quite like that anymore. How many artists will release and album these days with only 9 or 10 tracks? Usually you will get 13 to 15. It's all thrown at you, hoping a song or two sticks. Sturgill is about creating an experience and in my opinion, he has made his best album to date. The total package is there. The lyrics, the music, the concept, the passion, the visuals are at a peak (or are they?). Some of his fans are going to treat this like Bob Dylan going electric. That's OK, because Sturgill isn't stuck in the past. He is moving on. The anime video is moving him towards a potential new group of fans. He has a graphic novel based on the "Sound & Fury" film in the works and the musical direction is putting his sound into the ears of millennial types who may not have otherwise wanted to listen to "country" music. It's shrewd and potentially risky, although I'm not sure Sturgill would even acknowledge either. He doesn't seem like a guy that doesn't have a plan though. He is the anti-sell out. The easy move would have been to do a sequel to "A Sailors Guide...". To stay accessible for his audience and new fans, but not really challenging himself or them. With "Sound & Fury", Sturgill Simpson has set the bar high. It has quickly catapulted into one of my favorite records ever. It feels wrong to wrap this up without having mentioned Sturgill's band. They are a trio of fantastic musicians that give Sturgill the excellence that he strives for. He allows them to be a part of the process and they reward him with steady, clever, and on point craftsmanship. Drummer Miles Miller, bassist Chuck Bartels, and keyboardist Bobby Emmett are all Sturgill needs to burn a house down. Those guys can rock, they can slow it down, they can be whatever they are needed to be. 

There are a ton of reviews out there, if you like that sort of thing and I urge anyone that isn't really into sitting down and listening to an album, to perhaps turn on Netflix and check out the anime film which coincides with the album. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a visual doorway into the music and that music is worth hearing. 









Thursday, August 15, 2019

10 Year Anniversary of Freddy's Open Mind



It's hard to believe that I started this blog ten years ago. A lot has changed. I've passed through my 40's, I am at a different job, and the friends I see the most of have changed. Neighbors have come and gone. I've watched my kids grow up and I've seen myself change as a person.  

Being able to put things I've thought or opined on into a type of "journal" just sitting out there for anyone to read has been a bit of a blessing and a curse. I can look back and see where I have changed. World view, politics, passions, hobbies.....I have had ups and downs with those things and I'd like to believe I have evolved into a better version of myself for the most people possible. I started writing so I could entertain myself and a few others and it eventually grew into a place for me to express my ideas and to organize thoughts and beliefs. I went on record with myself. I have really slowed down on the writing since my job now demands me be in front of a computer monitor all day long. I'm not as interested in coming home and hitting the keyboard again, after doing it for the past eight hours. 

I'm not implying that I really have anything to say these days and I'm missing out on getting stuff down. Just the opposite actually. My life has become very run of the mill and I will hesitate to use the word "boring", but I will say that life has become fairly predictable for me. So much so, that I wonder if this is how it's going to be from now on. What will I respond to about this particular piece ten years from now? Will I be into something else as a hobby? Will I even still manage to care about writing once in awhile? Of course I have no way of knowing that, but my strongest suspicion leads me to think that life will be as different at 60 as it was from 40 to 50. 

I'll admit that I miss some things from ten years ago. Oddly enough, I miss the kids being dependent. I'm very happy of course that they are growing into interesting young people, but I know that's going to eventually trend towards them leaving home. It's already partially happened with my oldest daughter living at college more than at the house. My youngest is an independent thinker and while I always enjoy engaging her in conversation, she is much more guarded with her time as she gets older. My immediate family is the most important aspect of my life. I care about how they are progressing and have worked on me so I don't impede them. 

I miss the friends that I don't get to hang out with anymore. Everyone moves on. Families start, people find new jobs and interests. It happens. When we are in the moment, it seems like what we are used to and probably content with, will roll on indefinitely. There is always that "last time" though, that we do something we enjoy and don't realize it's over. I also believe it works the other way. Sometimes things we don't enjoy end. Again, we just move on and something new fills the void in our time and relationships. 

That's about it I suppose, as I didn't want to let the date pass without acknowledging a decade of writing and sharing. I do sort of  hope that this blog will be a tool for my kids to use to learn a little more about me than they may have ever wanted to know. If I croak out tomorrow, anyone could start at the beginning and work through enough of my posts to figure out who I was. My motivations for writing changed from time to time and all in all, I have enjoyed just getting to write on stuff I loved, hated, laughed at, or cared about. If my children or friends want to learn about how I felt about a topic or what I was interested in or pissed off about or what I thought about politics, culture, etc....well, it's here. 








Saturday, June 8, 2019

My New Hobby: Bourbon & Whiskey

As I get older, the ability to continue past hobbies has either gotten to a point where I can't physically do those things anymore, or I have become a bit bored or disinterested. I've always been fairly athletic and enjoyed baseball, softball, and basketball (sometimes golf) over the years, but as aforementioned, my "physicality" at age 50 just isn't going to allow for those things any longer. I've collected baseball cards and as I've gravitated away from MLB, it just doesn't interest me like it used to. Vinyl albums are a hobby also, but other than a few discs that I'm on the lookout for, I have just about everything I care about musically. By the way, I'm looking for "Seed of Memory" by Terry Reid....so if  you see it when perusing a flea market, grab it for me! :) My growing older and waning interest in past endeavors has led me to start becoming a bourbon/whiskey enthusiast.

I've been a fan of the stuff since my mid 20's, as I'm not much on beer and while I do enjoy rum on occasion, it's whiskey that has more or less interested me as both an intoxicant and as an interest. I decided some months back to engage bourbon/whiskey as more of a hobby. I started learning about it; how it was first invented, how it's distilled, bottled, the terminology, and of course the different varieties one can find. 

YouTube and a few "review" sites on the 'net have had a large hand in my education. Nothing can beat actually tasting though as an education into the hobby. That has led me to a nearly full blown obsession with finding recommended bottles and giving them a try. I have a decent beginner collection (for want of a better term), but I'm not really a collector. If I buy it, I intend on drinking it eventually. I don't care about "investing" in it or just having full bottles sitting around, although they do make nice conversation and decorative pieces in a lot of cases. 

Here is a shot of my "better" bourbons (along with a bottle of Monkey Shoulder scotch, which I really like) and the highest cost of any bottle there is $80. Most of what I have shown here can be had for under $50 or more in the $40 range. 


I have become a fan of the McKenna 10 year old bottled in bond from Heaven Hill in the past year and it has won a couple of awards in 2018 and 2019 which has made it a little more scarce than I'd like. I used to be able to pick up a bottle at $30 any time I wanted and these days it takes a little more hunting and can run up to $50. I'm not inclined to pay more than $35 for it, so it may be a brand that I eventually  have to let go of. The "run" has inflated the prices and while I do enjoy it and will always try to have a bottle around, I can find some good value under $30 that I know I'll be able to get almost any time I want. So, there is an element of supply and demand when it comes to bourbon and it can be a little frustrating to know that there are "hoarders" that buy up stuff with the intention of reselling at a higher rate. 

I have found some of my favorites to come from the bottom shelf, which in whiskey terms is basically "the cheap stuff". Cheap doesn't always equate with bad though. Bonded in Bond bourbons (click the link to learn more) are generally cheap in price, but can pack a good punch and my entry into learning about bourbon started in that area. BiB is always going to be 100 proof, so the strength is there and while they are usually a little bit younger (they have to be aged 4 years at least) there is a decent enough flavor profile. I enjoy Fast Eddie's favorite, JTS Brown quite a bit, and in addition to the aforementioned McKenna, Evan Williams BiB is also pretty damned good for under $20. My cheap go to though is the Heaven Hill green label. Aged 6 years and I believe only sold in Kentucky, it's a great starting point for anyone wanting to put on the training wheels and get into the hobby. 

These are my favorite cheaper brands that I sip on....



I have found a couple of great resources for learning about bourbon on YouTube, my favorite being "The Bourbon Guild".  A group of four bourbon enthusiast friends do reviews and blind tastings of different brands and it's fun and interesting to watch them discuss and argue about flavor and aroma profiles as well as value. They may be my favorite YouTube program. Always entertaining and informative, I have learned the tendencies and preferences of each of them and that helps me decide what I may want to try and what I may want to avoid. Hats off to Dutch, Dillon, Jules, and Ben Richards the butcher of Bakersfield for putting together such a fun show to watch. 

Another good program is "The Whiskey Vault". The "Somm" and the "Mooch" are also very entertaining and while they may not do the straight up review that other programs work from, they are very informative and dive into different areas that help one to expand their knowledge and understanding. They also get into a lot of different shenanigans....some miss, but most hit and they are an interesting pair to listen to. Their motto is basically like this; "the best whiskey to drink is what you like and the best way to drink it is the way you enjoy it"...I am paraphrasing, but that's the gist of it and how I try to approach my sipping! I would recommend either of these programs for people that want to learn more about the hobby or try to find out about some brands they may want to try. Most of the programs on YouTube that review bourbon are OK and can be fun to watch, but there are a few that just give arbitrary number scores to what they are sampling and without a discussion, I can't trust that what they like, I will like. 

Well, that's what I have been up to in recent months. I like to sip a few days a week while listening to music or whatever and I'm finally learning to pick up on flavor and aroma profiles. That has been a little difficult for me, but I feel like I would get disinterested in expanding my horizons if there wasn't a "game" to bourbon sipping. The nuance and discovering what I like and don't like in the profiles keep me coming back!

Take care.....and I'll leave you with a couple of videos....

From The Bourbon Guild, hilarious and informative, they have me sold on wanting this. It's out of my price range, but maybe Christmas? I swear, Ben Richards may be a long lost relative! 




The Whiskey Vault takes on Heaven Hill white label.....












Monday, February 25, 2019

Happy Birthday Nancy!




My wife is turning a certain age on 2/25/2019. Like most of us who finally get to this "life event", I think she is a bit dumbfounded that this is really happening. How did we get to be 50? Wasn't it just yesterday, we were graduating high school with the world and future ahead of us? Wasn't it just last night we were leaving college and marrying, with the prospects for our life looking limitless? It sure seems like it, but the numbers find a way of catching up to us. We are ahead of the game, or so we believe, for decades. Then, as the Pink Floyd song goes "and then one day you find, ten years have got behind you". The future gives way to the past, but we adjust and move on. We move forward, but the years pile up behind us and we take stock in who we are. Hopefully we all find peace, understanding, patience, and a willingness to share our love more readily as we grow older. 50 isn't just an age, it's a milestone. A move from one phase of life to another and I have found there is no reason to fear it. There is still time to be who you want to be ,experience what you want to experience, and to learn what you have always wanted to know. 

This is a love letter to my wife and an expression of my love for her, as I take stock in who she is and what she means to me. 

Nancy, I hope on this most significant of birthdays, you don't feel old. I hope you feel in touch with who you are more than ever and realize the value of being present in the moment as much as possible. The now is all we really have, for the past is a memory and the future is a dream.




I love you very much. Through some ups and downs, we have stayed faithful to one another and have never had a serious discussion about bringing our friendship, partnership, and marriage to an end. It's just not who we are. There are times we probably haven't liked each other very much, but there has never been a time when I haven't loved you. I hope what I am writing is a better expression than the way I bear out my love in a practical way day to day. I know me and I know that I can be distant, judgmental, and surly, so knowing myself means that I know I am not the ideal husband. I apologize to you and our children for that, but never let there be a doubt that I am yours. Love seems to evolve over time. There is being "in love" and there is "loving". I prefer the latter. It's real. It lasts. There is something tangible about understanding and knowing another person and, despite that, remaining loyal to them. I know your secrets. You know mine. Nothing is left to hide and despite all of that, we stick with each other through the difficulties that life can and has thrown at us. 



Happy Birthday Nancy! For over 30 years I have loved you and been committed to you and I want to express that in writing, because I seldom seem to do a good job of it verbally. 

What do I think of you? Who are you to me? Why do I love you? I can think of a reason or two.....or 50.

You are as beautiful as ever.
Your smile is warm and genuine.
You care for the well being of others. 
You listen and you hear...most of the time. LOL! 
You give more than you take.
You allow me to be me.
You are committed to your friends.
You love your family.
You like Pink Floyd.
You are independent in action and thought.
You support your family.
You are the family doctor and psychiatrist when we need it.
You are the most compassionate person I know.
You love hugs.
You don't turn your back on anyone in need.
You trust me. 
You make the house our home.
You let me choose the music when I drive and most times when you do.
You gave me two wonderful daughters.
You understand chicken wings make me feel better when I'm down.
You care for and love our children beyond yourself.
You are dependable.
I never run out of razors. I'm assuming it's not the razor fairy keeping me stocked up.
You can be tough when needed.
You take care of the bills.
You never complained about that pitiful engagement ring.
You try to see the best in everyone.
You forgive my insanity. 
You are honest.
You love our kids in a way that I would describe as admirable.
You turned me on to "Lost". 
You work hard. 
You humor even my craziest ideas. 
When I need you, you are always there.
You are intelligent. 
You honor your commitments. 
You are strong.
You are tender.
You are warm. 
You are a fantastic mother. 
You are a great daughter, sister, aunt and daughter-in-law.
You encourage me when I need it.
When we saw The Jayhawks, you encouraged me to get closer to the stage.
You are welcoming and kind to strangers.
You are trustworthy.
You are a fantastic wife.
You are empathetic.
You are my best friend.
You share your love unconditionally.
You have made me a better person.

I am proud to be your husband and there isn't anyone that I would rather spend my life with. I love you absolutely and that will never change. Thanks for being my friend and my wife. You have been a blessing to my life and invaluable in my evolution as a person. My life is complete and meaningful because of the love you give me.

Thanks for being who you are and I love you from the deepest depths of my heart and soul. Happy Birthday Nancy, you are the best person I've ever known.

Freddy





















Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Gun Violence: Why Do We Resist Action?



As Americans, we live in a reality where gun violence takes nearly 100 lives each and every day. Those of us who are not directly affected seem to have accepted this reality and probably don't even give it a second thought unless we read about or see on TV, the news of another mass shooting. Why do we continue to accept this? Why are we resistant to action to reduce this number? My shot at answering those questions mainly touch on a few points (surely there are plenty more others can cite);  1) we cling to the 2nd Amendment in our Bill of Rights as if it's some sacred decree that MUST be given the broadest interpretation without regard to the present or future  2) we have become so ego driven and narcissistic in our politics that we are unable or unwilling to consider that we may be wrong at the individual level, which would mean something may be wrong on a mass level and 3) guns are woven into our culture in such a way that they are not only used as entertainment or recreation at a practical level, but also in our artistic expressions of television, film, and literature.

I want to touch on each of those points a little and along the way I will more than likely use quite a bit of personal opinion derived by analyzing this from my own world view. And at that, I fully realize I may well be wrong or even characterize an aspect incorrectly. For that, I apologize up front, with the realization that I am not saying my opinions are facts, but they are my musings based on statistics, observation, experience, and yes, even feelings. All I can ask is that this is read with an open mind. That even if you disagree, understand that I'm not attacking you. It's not personal and you could very well write in contrast and I hope you would expect the same open look at your opinions as I am asking for mine. We don't have to agree, but somewhere along the line we all need to try to see this as a social and human problem and not just a political one. I also want to add the caveat that I am not for repealing the 2nd Amendment. I am for sensible gun control. I choose the rights of Americans to live over the right of someone to own and possibly use a weapon that can kill or injure multiple people in a matter of seconds.

In his book "12 Rules For Life", noted research psychologist Jordan Peterson wrote a chapter on being truthful and part of that truth is not just in our relationships to others, but being truthful with ourselves. There is a short segment in that chapter that addresses why we need to be truthful and see things as they are. Not doing that can eventually cause suffering and/or continued suffering and lack of progress. This piece of the chapter stood out to me.

Peterson writes (emphasis is his) "Things fall apart. What worked yesterday will not necessarily work today. We have inherited the great machinery of state and culture from our forefathers, but they are dead, and cannot deal with the changes of the day. The living can. We can open our eyes and modify what we have where necessary and keep the machinery running smoothly. Or we can pretend that everything is alright, fail to make the necessary repairs, and then curse fate when nothing goes our way. 


Things fall apart: this is one of the greatest discoveries of humanity. And we speed the natural deterioration of great things through blindness, inaction, and deceit. Without attention, culture degenerates and dies, and evil prevails."



We are allowing the past, a dead past, control our actions today. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States are two of the human race's greatest documents, but things change. We are not the society or culture of the late 1700's. Much has changed in regards to society, culture, and mechanism. To be able to review, debate, and come to a new agreement on our governing documents may be the way to start sorting through some of our greatest problems. We have to adapt to changing times and that means inspecting even our most sacred of cows.
 

Our politics has seeped into our social and cultural thought process. Hell, it's even wormed its' way into our sports and entertainment at such a pervasive level that it's almost impossible to escape the long tentacles of political ideology and the discourse it breeds when it permeates every aspect of our lives. We have really dug into our positions. We have started to believe that changing your mind or listening to a different opinion is a sign of weakness or capitulation. With that in mind, we don't seem willing to explore what is happening around the world in regards to guns. There are countries that don't put up with mass shootings. There are counties that don't put up with seeing double digit murder numbers in their cities over the course of a weekend. We consider Japan a free society and they have very strict rules and regulations on acquiring and owning guns. Homicide by gun shot is almost non-existent. Check out the link below and learn a little more about what nations have gun control and you can see how effective it can be. All it takes is just to set aside our rigid views a little and at least consider stricter gun laws. 


I'm not an advocate of censorship, so it's difficult for me to want video games, music, film, television or any other artistic media to be stifled in what they can't and can show or have as a topic. I do, however, agree with the warning labels that are put on some media for language, violence, sexual content and the like. I'm not sure that art plays a huge role in gun violence, but there are a lot of instances where it certainly does glorify firearms and the damage they do. How much can that impact a young mind?  Maybe none. Maybe a little. In a few cases, maybe a lot. How much does it impact an adults mind over time? Everyone is different and we have to be aware that we should stay in touch with what our children have access to and even stay alert to what we are allowing our brains to become saturated with. Learn who our children are and know what they can handle. If you don't, how can you expect society to? You can't. If we are responsible to one another and promote open dialogue, that can't be a bad thing. 



I find it difficult to dive into any of these facets very deeply. There is just so much to be said. So much to be shared. So much to hear. So much to learn. I guess, all I ask from anyone reading this is to perhaps have another look at what you believe. Do some research. It's too important an issue to not have all the information you can have on it. This is one of those issues that I don't think any of us want to be on the wrong side of, so putting the politics and ego aside is necessary in trying to figure out what's best. The majority eventually gets what it wants in this country. It takes time. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to start thinking and acting on this now. We have kicked this can far too long. It's time to think, act, and hold conversations like adults that care about the well being of others. Even if your view, pro or anti gun control, isn't changed, you can be honest in any conversation you have about your beliefs and can consider yourself educated on the subject. That's all any fellow citizen can ask, isn't it? 

So, in closing, you may ask what my stance is. Fair enough. I would like to see a much more stringent application process. Education is key and the more a person learns about guns in both physical use, statistics, and safety, the less likely the chance they will be involved in a gun event of a negative nature. Hold owners responsible if their guns are used by friends or relatives or even if they are stolen, which means that all weapons kept in a home should be required to be in a safe. Every gun that isn't a single shot rifle or shot gun, in my opinion, should be registered with local law enforcement. The more left leaning side of me is almost to the point of believing that if you want to use a machine gun or any rapid fire gun, that you should have to go to a gun range and use it on that premises. Mental health evaluations should be a piece of the puzzle and while that's not an angle I gave any time to in this blog, I do realize that should be a part of any serious gun debate. I guess I am to the point to where we need to change gun ownership from an undeniable right to a privilege. A privilege that will be fairly easy to earn if you are responsible and go through the process to acquire. That's some of where I am, but I don't know that I'm set in stone on all of it. I tend to sway a little on the right versus privilege thing, simply because I do take our Bill of Rights seriously and even though I THINK it would be wise to explore changing what doesn't work, I have a healthy respect for the fact they have worked to this point pretty well. 

As always, I welcome any comments, and admittedly, I'm a little bit all over the place with this particular blog post. The topic demands so much more than I am able to give, so this small piece will have to do for now. My mind is open on most any subject, so if you don't agree, let me hear it.