Not Boxed In


December 26, 2022- Someone who is well-known is being trolled by people, or bots, who tell readers, in the person’s name, how well loved they are. This ruse will run its course, in a day or two, at least on my end. The actual person is also an online friend, and is well aware of the dodge. I expect the family’s lawyers will play the game of whack-a-mole with the trolls, for a while, until the miscreants tire of the game-or until those few of us who are drawing them out just click the “unfollow” button. The latter will happen sooner-most likely tomorrow morning. We are not fooled or trapped.

Earlier today, I visited with some friends, a few miles away and had a brief conversation about male/female friendships, with some reference to a post I wrote last week. I am well aware, to say the least, of how many-especially in American society, view attention paid by a man my age to any woman who is ten or more years younger than he. I am also not one who harbours any harmful, or uncouth, intent. My concern, with both women and men, is to support their personal life plans. It wasn’t always consistently that way, but it is now. Further, I will not hide under a rock. Avoiding people, because of someone else’s stereotypes, is not going to happen. So, essentially, I deal pleasantly and respectfully with others, regardless of any external factors.

2023 is being described by some as a year in which each person more directly pursues personal growth, also regardless of anyone else’s agenda. This gives me some idea of what I should pursue, in the next twelve months, but more on that next week. For now, I am finishing up a few loose ends at Home Base and hereabouts. It is clear to me, though, that I am not boxed in-on this Boxing Day.



December 19, 2022- The sweet eyes of the dark-haired woman, standing just behind and to the left of the male soloist, seemed to rivet the videographer, especially at the end of the recording of “My Gallant Hero”, sung in Gaelic by the Trinity College Choir. Perhaps the camera operator was a parent, sibling, significant other or just an admirer from afar, and though there was no dearth of pleasant, attractive faces and voices-of both genders- in the troupe, hers just seemed to capture attention.

There was a time when I was particularly drawn to girls, and then women, with dark hair and brown eyes, especially to those with Celtic features. My “type” , of course, expanded, and I spent a devoted, loving and fulfilling 30 years with Penny, whose features were dark blonde-to- reddish brown hair and sparkling blue eyes. Since her passing, my women friends have not been determined by physical type-but by character and the strength of our mutual interests. Then, again, romance has not been front and center, in my reality.

It was thus with curiosity that I noted the whole (mostly) online kerfuffle about an action-film star and his “much younger” current girlfriend. Someone noted that the man has a”type”-which amuses me. Once a person reaches adulthood, what does it matter that there is a decade or two between him/her and significant other? Of course, there are caveats: 1. It is awkward for an S/O to be in the same age range as the person’s adult child, or younger. This brings up-“Does the younger party have Daddy or Mommy issues?”; “Does the older party have secret pedophilia issues, or is he/she just immature?” 2. There are legitimate longevity concerns, which is why I am personally opposed to the whole arranged-marriage thing, when a man in his forties, or older, is betrothed to a young woman in her late teens or twenties, or to a girl, for that matter. A human being, regardless of age or gender, is put on Earth to pursue his/her own dreams and life plan, NOT those of another. One can argue that there are young women who legitimately choose to wed much older men, to the chagrin of the wider society-whose business it definitely is not. I have my suspicions about some prominent older men who have taken on young women as mates-yet those marriages seem to have endured quite well. I have a young friend who is married to a man her father’s age, and that bond has proven durable. So, too, has the marriage of one of my female relatives to a much younger man. The proof is in the pudding. 3. It is never acceptable, though, for an adult to marry, or be romantically involved with, a child.

Here, then, for the enjoyment of those who share my own fascination with Celtic music, is the above-mentioned video.

A Child Is A Child


November 19, 2021- I have friends and family, on both sides of the Chasm, when it comes to discussions of race. Just so we’re clear, I am dead set against ANY policy or action that limits or prevents a person from following his/her life plan-so long as that plan does not itself involve limiting or preventing another person from following theirs.

It started, in a sense, with Emmett Till. When he was killed, I was four. An older cousin saw the news on TV and commented: “That is just plain SICK!” I asked what was sick and he told me that a kid, not much older than he, was killed by some crazy people in a place called Mississippi. I knew that name, because the older girls in the neighbourhood spelled it out while jumping rope. It bothered me, from that time on, that adults would kill a child.

As time went on, I witnessed and experienced all types of adult behaviour towards children-mostly good, but some very wicked things as well. I was, thankfully, never beaten or abused-but I knew plenty of boys and girls who were.

Growing up in a mostly White town, I saw and heard people of all ages-including some of my mates, express hostility towards people of other racial groups. In fairness, they were just as caustic towards people of other European ethnicities. I never felt such animosity towards anyone, but as the saying goes, “You stand in chalk, you inhale the dust.” It took time in the Army and frank discussions with people of other backgrounds, in which I chose to listen more than talk, for me to truly understand their experiences.

It is the duty of adults to teach teens in the ways of maturity. Maturity, as my father explained to me, means not rushing furiously into a situation, unprepared and likely overmatched. Now, we see what happens when the reverse is true. Kyle Rittenhouse went into battle, in his own mind, against an imagined foe that he barely understood, and of whose diversity he was completely ignorant. Someone in his life owed him a hand of restraint- not a violent hand, but a firm one.

Like many people in adolescence, he seemed to think he was capable of rising to the occasion and fending off those who had trouble in mind. Ironically, it was not the thugs on the periphery of the social justice movement whom he faced down, that awful night. It was three grown men, who likely fancied themselves allies of that movement, coming at him, a boy of 17.

I question how he was able to bring an AR15 with him, when the minimum age for BUYING such a weapon is 18. Yet, there it was, in his hands, after who knows how much training and practice he had been given in its use. Even people in the military, who are, with rare exceptions, 18 and over, have to have a minimum of eight weeks of training in the handling, use and maintenance of firearms, especially automatic weapons. Kyle should not have been there alone. Adults should have been with him, and then as a force of restraint.

There is, additionally, the research into the maturation of the human brain. The brain is not completely formed until the age of 25, if then. I look back on myself, in my teens and twenties, and sometimes shudder that I am still alive- my parents’ best efforts to raise me aside.

We are, however, in a crisis of adulthood when, once again, people at the street level are left trying to explain to the wider society why People of Colour are frustrated and angry-while not exactly hearing the voices of reason from those above them, in the halls of power. We are in a crisis of adulthood when a child is castigated in the court of public opinion, publicly coddled by a sitting judge and probably just as confused as he was on that awful night. We are in a crisis of adulthood when the voices of the nation’s leadership use vitriol, rather than step back, breathe deeply and foster healing. We are in a crisis of adulthood, when we just go back to the same sides, across the Chasm, that led us here in the first place.

A good-hearted, gentle family member remarked this evening that she just wants to see love for everyone. She is a conservative Christian. I am a gadfly, who leans progressive, in most matters. My sentiments, though, are the same.

A child is a child; raise him (her)!