Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sayonara, Ciao, Auf wiedersehen, Takso Ake...

Who am I kidding, I can't do two blogs so I'm taking this one off of the market.  Might be for awhile, might be forever, we'll see.  I invite you over to which is where I'm gonna hang out.  It is the blogspot of the monthly training group we've put together so you're gonna get a bigger bang for your buck because the members of that group are co-authors so you'll be gazing into their mental snake-pit as well as mine.  Come on over, become a member (a photo is required), and put in your two cents!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wrapping Up.

Kind of an abrupt end to my last entry... It was kind of an abrupt end to my Mom's life so it's a wash.

Can't really get back ahold of what was up for me last entry so I'll just paraphrase a summation; It fries my shorts that what the primary American values have come down to "might is right", "what is the minimum I have to do", and "if I don't get caught I didn't break the rules." Feels like the operational strategy is something along the lines of "it doesn't really matter if you do any good just make sure you don't do any harm."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Poaching as Knowledge?

I think I just read an article in the "Opinion" section of the Trib that was written by a PhD. and professor of Social Work at the University of Utah that suggests that because the "New Millennials" (folks born after 1982) don't see anything wrong with using content straight off of the Internet in their papers and research without any crediting or citations, there probably should be a lessening of the bias against plagiarism and cheating!  I know I read the article (Gross, 2012) but I ain't sure that Emma wasn't being tongue in cheek.  I guess I really don't wanna believe that this was what she was suggesting (this is a woman that gave me a B and suggested that I prolly should take a writing class on the first paper I submitted to her) but that's what reading it suggested to me so I'm gonna respond "as if!"

I also feel that I oughta bend a bit here and give the yokels that are submitting material pirated from the Internet the benefit of the doubt and suppose that they are at least wrapping their own words around the notions they're stealing.  But, ya know, since when is rephrasing qualified to be considered original thought?  Isn't that what we're doing when we write stuff, putting our perspective out there?  Isn't it the job of the critics to take issue with the content, context, and workability of what's written in terms of agreeing, disagreeing, or just burning the author down?  If doing up someones material in your own words is okay then why can't some crotch-at-the-knee pants-wearin', baseball-hat-backwards, Free Tibet bumper-sticker ownin', lump of modern Americana just re-write Ulysses with a bunch of sentences beginning with "Like..." and thoroughly salt it with "ya knows" then call it Ulysses, Dude?  At least when that miscreant wrote Lady Chatterley and the Pimps  (wasn't that the title?) at least he added the new characters...

Since I'm already goin' down this tube let's continue...  Another thought having to do with something I understood an instructor at the University of Utah, College of Social Work, to be proposing is that the pursuit of excellence is still a common American value.  Forget the stuff I already wrote, let's talk about how in the "olden days" (circa 1967) young men used to send off to "schools" advertised in Rolling Stone, City Weekly, or one of Robert Crumb's comic books, to become a pastor of some denomination (Church of the Chickenshit) so that they could claim "conscientious objector" status and skate the draft.  I do believe, although twas the era that gave us the ULTIMATE IN MUSIC, the sixties' signaled the decline in the American as "personal best."  It might have been the dawn of marijuana as the looking glass that a huge slice of American youth saw life through that began the slide toward a erosion of the values that had America and Americans perceived as the best and most generous country and people in the world (at least in our own minds.)  It did seem that the only entities that had issues with America(ns) were the tyrants, despots, and France.  Conforming with non-conformity became "cool" as did being out-of-control (unless you were a marine or soldier in Vietnam on the 6 o'clock news), and money, violence, and influence became the American Dream.

This instructor asked for the class members to call out their "favorite" leaders and there was a long pause before MLK, JFK, Churchill, Lincoln, and Hitler (really!) was hesitatingly put out there.   Stalin, Amin, Saddam, Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, and Michael Jackson never made the list... of course, neither did Jimmy Carter, or Gandhi...  Who was listed was from a bygone era, when things were different...   There were very clear good guys and bad guys, bullies were shunned, and men opened the doors for women.  Kids played Hide 'n Seek and Kick-the-Can outside after dark, wandered miles with pillowcases full of candy on Halloween, and the air was clean and sex was dirty.  Three strikes meant you were "out" in baseball and if you couldn't catch and you wouldn't do the work to learn, or dad wouldn't help you, sat on the bench.  Girls played hopscotch and jumped double-ropes at blinding speed, and we all sent notes asking someone to mark the box if they liked you.

Now... just got word that my mother died in her sleep last night, I'll finish this later.

Gross, E. (2012, January 28). What is cheating coming to?  The Salt Lake Tribune, "Opinion"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

This 50/50 Stuff

I'm the first to admit that I don't mince words and my analogies are sometimes vague and extreme.  In comparing people who believe that a relationship is 50/50 to racists and bigots ("r/b") my intent was to quick draw that r/b live at 50%; they're okay but the other guy ain't!  If they'd get up to the other guy is okay too, unless t'other shows different, then they're living at 100%.  I ain't gonna get into a debate about Lady Justice saying that "a person is innocent until proven guilty" which we know is crap, but in human relationships, because they're up close and personal, we get to be a little more liberal and concise in our assessment of the quality of someones character.  After all, if stereotypes were valid I'd be fat, stupid, AND ugly...

The other half of the comparison:  My experience has shown me that someone who expects the other half of a relationship to meet them "half-way" in order for the relationship to work, unless that "half-way" has been laboriously worked out, clarified, and mutually agreed upon, is smoking some kind of dope.  "Laboriously" is the key word here; y'otta be willing to spend an hour in relationship definin' for every year you want the relationship to last in primary relationships and fifteen minutes for each year in friends, and five minutes for each year in associations like work, clubs, and bowling teams.  At least that's how I see it.  Dorothy and I have spent near 100 hours defining our relationship... that's owing to the stupid part of me that I alluded to earlier.  She knows exactly what she wants it just took a while for me to get it (just kidding, honey.)

More often that not it ain't the big things; infidelity, betrayal, throwing someone under the bus, or tattooing "this man is a rapist" on their stomach that ruins relationships; it's an accumulation of little stuff that ruins relationships.  Things like inauthenticity, duplicity, deceit, insensitivity, substance abuse, neglect, and failure to conduct yourself as a cooperative partner in a relationship that breaks apart relationships.  The only way that I can see to keep a relationship from going on the rocks is to formalize it by defining it, categorizing it, clarifying it, and operating within the established boundaries and guidelines.  Thing's gotta be agreed upon by both parties and if the nature of the relationship changes a revised structure has to be negotiated as well as for any contingent and correspondent relationships that may be affected by the restructuring.  Big deal?  I don't think there's anything more difficult than managing human relationships, and if you can't manage interpersonal relationships what the hell makes you think that you can manage, direct, supervise, or teach others on managing their relationships.  The good news is that the ability to manage interpersonal (micro) relationships equips you to be able to manage mezzo and macro relationships but you sure as hell better be ready for an equivalent amount of time/focus allotment.

For all of the folks that are in too big of a hurry, or are just plain uncommitted to do the foundation work for relationships; welcome to chaos.  If you are involved in a game (see previous post) that has no Ground Rules everyone involved is headed for Armageddon... When I get my self together mayhaps I'll wander into how to set ground rules ex post facto...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Renegotiating Ground Rules

The Game of Life (not the Milton-Bradford board game; I'm talking about the time between you being born and getting dead), like every other game has a beginning, an end, a way to win, and a way to lose. It also has rules that govern the way the game is played. Change the rules and you change the game; break the rules and you lose the game. Relationships, familial, marital, workplace, cultural, social, and with one's self, are also games; they have a beginning, an end, a way to win, and a way to lose. They also have rules that govern the way that the game is played. Break the rules and there is a better than even chance you'll lose this game as well.

You say your relationships are not games because they have no formal rules? Take another guess, there are rules; they're either explicit, which means they are clearly defined or they are implicit which means they are an unmarked minefield. If partners in a relationship have not clearly defined the rules the game is a variation of Russian Roulette. Let's wander into this a little bit.

It amazes me that folks are not aware that every time they begin a relationship; personal, social, work, school, casual, or with the customer service guy on the telephone, Ground Rules ("GR") are created and put into play.  While it is true that the seriousness of the relationship will determine the scope and intensity of the GR, they are nonetheless put into play.  When we don't take time to establish, define, and clarify the GR we are left with a "no holds barred" situation where anything goes; kinda like living in France.  In effect, if you don't tell your spouse that they DO NOT get to trade you in on a newer model, or try a few on over the years, then they get to!  Expecting others to exercise "Common Sense" in relationships is the same as expecting them to be mind readers.  In my experience there is not a hell of a lot of common sense in relationships anyway... and given that my belief is that "expectation" is just the mother of disappointment so I'm no good in succeeding in the application of either myth.  So if you are like Dick and Jane Von Trapp and didn't sit down for however long was necessary to define the rights, privileges, and responsibilities (complete with consequences) of being in relationship you have already found yourself screamin' something stupid, like "That's not fair!", or you are gonna down the road.  What's "fair" and "not fair", unless I miss my guess, is determined by the GR and if you don't got none, there ain't any "not fair."

If you didn't take the time at the outset to create agreement to a clear, clean, specific set of GR you'd be surfing for more brain damage by not doing it now.  Sure, it's gonna take some time and there is the risk that whoever is not gonna wanna play by these GR and will choose out.  That's the possible consequences of not having exercised clear choice in the first place; kinda like blowing your dumb ass up is a possible consequence for playing with a hand grenade...  Don't see that there's any other way to avoid sawing the branch off that you're sitting on except to change the way you're sitting.

Love to hear your pondering... 

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Whines of Time

Not exactly certain about what has happened at this location, some have written and been accepted and some have been unable to access and post. If you are a blogmeister, give me a call and work me through this or, better still, post a comment with instructions on gaining postable access.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Game!

Life goes on... until it doesn't... but in the meantime it doesn't seem a good choice to live it on "default!" (Which is "factory settings:" naked, naive, and easily victimized.) I've lived the last 30 years of my life in the fast lane; creating what I want, doing what I want, and surrounding myself with people who are looking for excellence. I am finishing my third college degree in May and am going to take my life to the next level of completion, satisfaction, service, and mastery. As the Marine I am I went looking for a "few good MEN and woMEN" to support me in that endeavor.

On Saturday, January 14th nineteen people got together for a day to form a Training Group and set out on the next leg of their lives' Journey. I'm not going to tell you their names because I am sworn to confidentiality but I can tell you that this group of people is committed to unconditional, no-nonsense, straight-from-the-shoulder support of each other and the collective journeys they've begun. They are invited to use this blogspot to enroll your support by telling you who they are, where they're from, and what they're up to. They are going to be meeting the second Saturday of each month. I will find it interesting to see if any of them step over the line and post here, right in your face! So come on, group, put it out, what you found in your weekend, and what you're out to prove.