Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Alright, apparently sleep's not in the cards quite yet.


I spent this past weekend in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. My home town. I was attending my high school reunion. I saw people I hadn't seen in decades, many of whom still live there. And pretty much all of them are working for good in some active way. My best friend from high school told me about the young women's soccer team that he and his soccer star wife coach. He says young women come and go but over the years they've actually built a bit of a small family. Apparently leading through love, support, and respect leads to people wanting to stay connected. He says they are aware that the team may be the only positive interaction these women are getting. So they go out of their way to bring encouragement, love, and support. So there, in the middle of all that "red," are these two helping young women to grow into mature, responsible, effective adults. Hearing him talk about this team was one of the highlights of my visit.

When we look at these maps, and read the stats, we have to remember that we're talking about people. Hurt people. Angry people. Poor people. People who felt like they've lost something. People who have lost something. And yes, people who have been convinced that they've lost something or might lose something. But most importantly, a lot of them are people who never had the chance to even see another way of being. They had no guidance. If you ever had the wherewithal to get up and leave a situation, move, quit, get out, (or even CHANGE YOUR MIND) then you know what it was like BEFORE you made that decision. Nobody makes a choice to be small minded and fear-driven. They make the choice of comfort, of risk aversion, of group acceptance, but they don't see myopia and the echo chamber down the road. They just keep their heads down and absorb the culture that surrounds them. It's easy to forget that there are folks who simply never had a chance to be anything other than what they've always been. Nobody's born enlightened. My friends are making a difference. We never lose that power.

A smart, smart woman once said to me "Hurt people hurt people." When you think about it, of course they do. What other form of interaction do they know? I'm just thinking of all those folks who are going to sober up and see what they created. We could blame them and hate them and make them pay. But then, we'd just be adding hate to the hate.

We can't fight hate with hate.
Fighting hate is still fighting and looks a lot like hate.
There is no success in fighting for peace. Fight kills peace.
Declaring a war on hate is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.
Love doesn't defeat hate.
Love simply replaces hate.

In the coming days, I'm going to be tempted to go after ignorance, to stamp on it, crush it, teach it, save it from itself. But none of that is going to be nearly as effective as simply responding with kindness and love. The hard choice. Because it would feel better to fight. I want to fight. I'm good at it and man, I really do have some good words. And once I get going, I can mock, attack, and belittle with the best of them. But that will only get me more of what I don't want. Hate.
Fighting fire with fire only works in one situation: Fire. And the reason it works with fire is because you destroy all the fuel. An awful approach with people.

I've had enough destruction for awhile. I'm done with war. So I, for one, am gonna try something else. What that is, I don't know.

But I'll figure it out.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The first of what I hope is a bunch of NSA / PRISM bits.

Do you worry that They can turn on your cellphone's microphone while you're doing it? I'm thinking Cabin in the Woods. Hadley and the crew are sitting around the NSA monitoring room just listening to you go at it.
YOU: Oh, Silvia! Uh, oh, baby! I'm INSIDE YOU!
HADLEY: Tell her you love her.
YOU: Oh, I love you so much!
HADLEY: Atta boy. 
SITTERSON: Can we get the camera on?
HADLEY: No, don't. I looked him up on Facebook. We don't want to--
(The image comes up on the big screen. All scream in disgust.)
HADLEY: Truman! What the Hell, man? I told you I looked him up!
TRUMAN: But look at her Facebook page. She's cute!
HADLEY: Does that look cute?
SITTERSON: Looks like a moose killing a deer. Or dump truck rolling over on a pumpkin.

HADLEY: You should listen to me. I know what I'm doing.
SITTERSON: Well, change the channel. Geez. My pie's coming up.
HADLEY: Right. Let's try...Malibu. Gotta be something going on out there, right?
YOU: Mmm, gonna blow that ass up like the White House.
(All freeze.)
SITTERSON: What the fuck did he just say?
HADLEY: Play that back!
YOU: Mmm, gonna blow that ass up like the White House.
(They scramble.)
HADLEY: Alright, get SWAT over there NOW. (Grabbing the red phone) Sir? We have terrorist sex talk in sector Z340...yes sir...He says he's gonna blow up her ass just like the White House...well, sir, I'm not as concerned with her butt as I am with the White--but sir, he...yes sir. (Hangs up. Disappointed.) Stand down, Warriors. Cancel the SWAT.
TRUMAN: (Putting down his phone.) Aw, I was gonna live Tweet the bust.
HADLEY: You were gonna what now?
TRUMAN: Er...go get everybody another beer? (Scampers out.)
SITTERSON: Where do they find these guys?
HADLEY: He's ex-Enron.
SITTERSON: Ah. Good times.


Friday, June 7, 2013

A Confession

Good morning, everyone. I'd like to spend my time with a confession. This is all gonna come out in the media anyway so I may as well nip it in the bud, so to speak.

I've searched "anal."

I thought it better that everyone hear it from me rather than find out from TMZ, or the government, or my parents. Yes, I've searched "anal." But I had very, very good reasons. I developed a bump, you see, and I needed to research it. That's what the internet is for, right? And I was using an old browser that lacked the parental controls current browsers have and of course computers store all those pictures so - look, the point is I searched it. For medical research. Well, the first time was medical research. The second time I was looking up famous canals and I left off the "c." And you know how surfing goes. One thing leads to another. Honest mistake. I type too fast sometimes.

The third time (I think it was the third time) I searched "anal heat." Now, this was the medical issue again. I was just narrowing my search. Realizing my mistake (the internet had a very different interpretation of those two words) I tried again with "inflamed anal action" and "red hot anal" with similar results. Sometimes you have to work to get exactly what you need. And I'm nothing if not diligent about my anal search results.

I've also searched "anal" in conjunction with some other words. I don't remember all of them but my current history shows "warriors" (I was compiling a list of famous curmudgeons, i.e, assholes), "party" (I wondered if anybody had called either of the political parties the "anal party"), and "oral" (I thought it would be funny if Oral Roberts had a brother named "anal." He does.)

Alright, full disclosure, I just now re-searched "Anal Roberts." There's a whole wing of the internet devoted to it. See? I'm not the first! My point is this: Whether it's me searching "anal" or "amature gangbangers" or "sofa porn" or "he's too big" or whatever it is, I'm just a regular guy with a computer and I've made some mistakes. Like the time I accidentally typed in "anal pix outdoor mountains springtime anal." I was actually looking up recipes for a Chinese soup I'd heard about and remembered the name wrong. It happens!

Whatever. Enough excuses. I've searched "anal" and now you know. And I hope I can count on your vote for Congress in 2016. That's my time. Thanks for coming out to the Anaheim Fairgrounds and Rec Center this morning. And now, let's get this show on the road! Please welcome to the stage, Foghat!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Today, Edward Snowden made the world aware of a little program called PRISM.

While apologists wanted to act like this was no big deal (All governments do this, I have nothing to hide, If you're doing something that you shouldn't be doing then you shouldn't be doing it, etc), a lot of folks see this as just another step in a direction we do not want to go.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Just Another Day at the Office

 “Good morning, Duct Works. This is Tamatha”
“Hey, Tamatha,  this is Ed over at The Building. I’ve scheduled your technicians to come out this week to repair the dryer vents at The Building but I have two different days written down in two different places. Are your people coming on Wednesday or Friday?”
“So, you need to schedule service on your dryer vents?”
Ed calmly hangs up the phone, turns out the lights, and locks up the office.  He leaves The Building and walks next door to the Other Building. Entering the garage, he makes note that the cleaning lady has done a good job sweeping all the leaves that blew in last night. As he gets in his car, Ed makes a note to mention that to her. Encouragement is part of management.
Out on the road, Ed is amazed at how easy it is to get around some parts of Los Angeles in the late morning.  But he doesn’t have far to go. Duct Works is just a few blocks away.

The office is 70’s typical: Baby shit green walls, Infection Yellow™ couches, false ceiling, florescent lights. The kind of place crazy people walk into and go berserk.

Ed walks in and goes berserk. Tamatha is alone in the office.  Ed leaps across her desk and beats Tamatha with her phone receiver until she cries. Ed pushes over the filing cabinet and throws a stack of purchase orders out the window.  He then rips all the phones from the walls and piles them together in the middle of the floor.  Producing a small can of lighter fluid, Ed douses the phones and strikes a match. “It’s a tool! If you don’t have the skills to use it, you should leave it alone!” He drops the match. But a little lighter fluid isn’t going to set a pile of phones on fire.  It is, however, going to create enough toxic smoke to both make everybody nauseous and set off the fire alarm.  So far today, Ed had made a number of mistakes. Some big, some small.  But this was the one that would prove his undoing as Tamatha was legally blind and illegally stupid. She could never have identified him in court.
But the attending firemen sure could.

“Mr. Goodman.” The judge’s thick Southern accent is out of place in the downtown courthouse in Los Angeles. But narratives like these need a little grease. And that’s exactly what Southern accents provide. “Before I find you guilty of assault and attempted arson, do you have anything you’d like to say to the court?”  Ed stands. His aqua blue prison pantsuit is tastefully accessorized with shiny new cast iron manacles.  Somebody in county wardrobe really knew what they were doing.

“Yes, your honor, I do. Without clear, concise communication, we’re nothing more than a bunch of over-smart monkeys looking for new ways to masturbate our time away until it’s time to become dirt again. Conversation is a skill. It’s a skill that needs to be learned. Cogent thought, the well placed word, the intelligent consideration of the matter at hand. Nobody’s born with these skills. You learn them. Or you don’t . Just like some days you make it home without having somebody try to beat you to death with a phone. And some days you don’t.  I’m on the right side of this one, your honor. And you know it.“
“MmHm. I see. You all done?”
“I believe I am.”
“I believe you are too.“

And it was ED who went to prison, not Tamatha. Ed was the one who had to endure the attacks in the showers, the perpetual beatings, and the constant talk of recording contracts and clothing lines.  And yes, it was Ed who had to join the black club because the white club wasn’t accepting new members at the time. Finally, it was Ed who, having gone to prison for communicating with his fists, learned how to really communicate with his fists. He also learned he wasn’t the great communicator he thought he was.

But Ed died knowing that he was right: Communication is a skill. It has to be learned. In prison.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Managing to Survive

For years I've made my bean money working as an onsite apartment manager.  I've had as many as 120 units and as few as 26. I've managed with a partner / roommate and without. I've worked for the insane and the rational. I keep thinking I've seen it all and my definition of "it all" continues to expand.

So, this post is about managing and this is where I will post the conventions of how I write about managinging.

I manage three buildings. I work in The Building and live in The Other Building. The third building (The Other Other Building) is small and pretty quiet so it can have a silly handle.

And that's it for now! If I think of any more I will put them here.

Q & A (now with just the A!)
A: Yes, I have written a tv spec pilot entitled "Managing to Survive." It won an award at UCLA

A: Yes, I've had other blogs with this title.

A: No, I have not always managed to survive. I used to clerk in a law firm. But "Clearking in A Law Firm to Survive" just doesn't have that zip the big time Hollywood producers crave.

A: Yes, it's a crazy job. Because people are crazy. And they make me crazy. And then I do crazy things. Like get up the next day and go back to work.

A: Yes, I have thought of myself as an action hero especially when I'm on the roof in the rain at three in the morning. I can hear the the deep-voiced trailer man say "Ed Goodman is: Managing to Survive."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ode to Dogs

If you don't love dogs, I can't love you. Sorry. It's just the way it has to be. I can forgive your horrible music and stupid ideas about society but damn, if you can't get with the sublime joy of dogs, you should get to steppin'. 'Cause Papa ain't gonna have none of that. Ain't that right, Pinball?
PB: Woof!
EG: Who's a good puppy? Whoooooo's a good puppy?!
PB: Woof!
EG: That's right - uh oh!
(Pinball sits up, looks around, muffles a 'woof')
EG: Who is it? Who is it Pinball?
(Pinball runs to the window and barks)
EG: That's right. Get'em Pinball!
(Ed opens to the door and Pinball rushes out. Fade as Pinball jumps on the mailman, eats the mail, steals the truck, etc)