Ode to Football with my Dad (throwback)

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Oh football with my dad
Makes me smile just
Think about it, so glad
The two teams fighting
For eternal glory
Each individual team has a story
The Bears have
Made the comeback of
The century, and the
Play of the millennium
My body no longer tame
We jump up and down
We scream and dance around
Lights and more screams
Like aftershocks
Whiffing aftershave and
Hearing broken English
But I wouldn’t have it any other way
Sitting on the couch
Analyzing plays
Wondering if his bad passing is merely a phase
Hot, fresh pizza
Green, glowing jello
Glass after glass of Coca Cola
The Couch is sleep Soothing
But I’m wide awake my team’s reputation
At stake
How many more
Turnovers can I take?
I saw my first safety ever,
But something else
Takes the cake
Spending time with my dad, seeing passion
In his blue eyes
I love him more than
Life itself, my smile is proof
Ode to football with
My dad – you, dad, made me
Motivated, sharp, a good
Debater, analyzer, captivated,
Focused and determined
You gave me my voice of skepticism and passion
To go 4th and goal
Causes an interception
Run 108 yards back
Beautiful deception
Touchdown for us
Game is secured
Till next week
Ode to football with my dad
To the next game, and the hundreds after.

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What is the purpose of evil? My ponderings.

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The problem Leibniz discusses in the Theodicy is God being connected directly to the evil that exists on earth. He figures ways to argue against the belief – if god made humans which make evil, then god is the “source for that evil”. My belief is the prospect of evil on earth cannot be rationally connected to the existence of God. Free will is what humans have and are behind evil on earth based upon these choices. Even if God is all-knowing that simply means he knows you will choose wrong; he does not choose wrong for you. This “prospect” is an ongoing battle which is highly in the enormous problem evil presents. Since time began, man has been questioning the Lord and his role in the existence of evil. Such questions as the one Leibniz asks, like why if God is “all good” does evil exist? Why would God create evil? Because in the real world, evil is accompanied by a greater good, he answers.
An explanation one can better swallow is that which in the human mind it is a psychological reaction to assign the blame when inconceivable situations of veil arise. “God can prevent the sin of intelligent creatures; but he does not do so, and rather contributes to it by his concurrence and by the opportunities which he brings about, although he has a perfect knowledge of it.” (Leibniz pg4) God created man and bestowed upon him his own intellect and free will completely independent of the god makes people evil theory. Something Leibniz understands.
According to the argument “perfect world” in the best of all world’s, evil would not present. “Whoever makes things in which there is evil… does not choose the best.” (Leibniz pg 1) Because God interfered and permitted evil, that the “best world” cannot exist for God has done wrong. However, Leibniz points out that people eventually have a greater good from a God who made them with these imperfections. People have the ability to do good. They ignore that good, and furthermore believe to blame God for their oversight in judgment. I believe that just because evil exists, does not mean God put it there directly. God does not want people to suffer or for wars to plague our world. It is in this light that he created the world, and we as its inhabitants select for ourselves what kind of world we want. In is in our hands not God’s, whether we help or hinder the act of evil.
Another theory to disprove that God is behind evil. “Whoever produces all that is real in a thing is its cause. God produces all that is real in a thing. Hence, God is the cause of sin.” (Leibniz pg5) However logical this may sound, simple deducing skills and taking apart the argument and my backing Leibniz words, showing the prosyollogism is incorrect. “A creature in causing sin is a defective being, how errors and evil inclinations are born.” Leibniz gave a response showing evil stems not from God. That basically said humans do receive enough good to overcome evil, and saying God thus is the reason for sin. (Leibniz pg5) To reiterate, humans receive not only evil but good as well. Therefore the blame for evil rests solely in each individual, who knows right from wrong. God is not a programmed being looking to instill evil in all things. We have options and it’s when we ignore logical explanation and pin the blame, that we lose sight of who God is. God made man. God made original sin. God didn’t make people’s main function sin. The option is there. The human initiative is that other piece that Leibniz shows. A piece, I find essential.
We have seen strong evidence on the point of statements, proving to us that God inflicts the world with unspeakable evils. We also learn many plausible reasons why. If God is in charge of every wire in every human being, he must be behind the wires that pulse evil throughout the earth. Leibniz clearly has shown that people have the choice and can see issues as black or white. We are given choices, not sin. We can think critically about the consequences of our actions. God does not poke us with the cattle prod of evil. It is simple: God created man and in doing so gave man all minds with cognitive thinking. It is from the human brain, not the brain of God that evil plots in the world are developed. It is unnerving to think that God would use us like pawns and play games. Rather we are given the good to overcome evil. It is and remains a question of do I or don’t I?

Panic cord

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There is “fear”

And there is fear like that kind

The fear where you cannot see straight 

The fear that swallows you whole

The fear that makes breathing impossible 

I do everything that can think of 

Then 

I pull the panic cord

Just hearing my dad’s voice calms me down and I follow his advice

I take a shower

I go for a walk

I drink a glass of water

And I feel shaky

But after I sleep 

And the day is new 

I’m glad I pulled the panic cord 

The release made me feel renewed

Storm

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The alarming flash from the glass of the church
I leap slightly in my pew
That awful flash again
I try not to jump
I really do
The relentless rains
They are pounding in my brain
I was never scared before
So I try to ignore
But it keeps on storming even more
As I lay my head to sleep
The last thing I recall
Is the pounding of the rain
That nothing could stall

Absolutely Fearless: my life story!

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15 years ago today
In the middle of a bright, warm September day
They had to take me away to the hospital
To see what was going on with me
They ran so many tests and they were all very stressed
I was completely terrified
So I hid and I wept and cried
And frankly I wondered
No one knew what was to come
No one knew where it all came from
From such a happy child to frighteningly sick
My diagnosis was something I never heard of
So I thought wow, I’m so lucky let’s go home
Boy was I wrong as can be
I didn’t know the challenges in front of me

The time began to tick
They told me that there was no way I could finish school no way!
But I was certainly no darn fool
My mom pushed the high school hard and then they pushed back
My mom was a Rock star like J.J. Watt and she got the sack
I went in there with positive spirit
And it’s alive in this poem
Can you hear it?
I finished high school, finished so incredibly strong
Held my head extremely high, not a thing could be wrong

Then community college came along
I always knew I wanted to write
So I took that dream and I held it so tight I clutched that dream with all my might
And one night in 2010 I began to have real joy again
I wrote for the school paper and with utter glee
The words and phrases they just came to me: epiphany
Movie Reviews were my thing
God, I could really make the page sing
I’m in clubs like ecology and making friends
But that’s not how my story ends

In 2013 I discovered my saving grace – Shimer college
I decided that was my new dream
The pages on the table literally gleamed
The sun a ray of light casting hope on the page
As I took that pamphlet that my remarkable teacher had
I thought cool, now I’m going to MY school
A school of insight, bliss, and love
A school that was high above
Anything I could ever foresee
And then wonderful things happened to me
There was pain and suffering still
But I made it because I said I will

I made wonderful friends and learned things I couldn’t fathom
My studies were my love and joy
My friends were abundant and present
My classes were quite demanding
Their gift to me from my teachers :their complete understanding
I went on a spectrum of studies
And I had some grief and strive
But I had more in me and had the time of my life
Orange Horse and Solidarity
(Because everyone has seen the phoenix fly)
Two school events
Relished by me
After Aristotle, Darwin, Copernicus, Lerner and so much more it came
After Priestley, Dante, Shakespeare, Bell Hooks, and Woolf
After Gödel, Einstein, Virgil, Kant, and Augustine
After Humanities 3 and wondering deeply about my faith
After Fem Theories and two incredible senior classes
The big day, the end of me as a student came
April 29th 2017 was a day
Where they handed me the diploma and I internally screamed hurray!
I will never forget hearing my name and walking the stage to my happy ending
And a new beginning

Where I am now compared to where I was
All the hard work I put in and my family and friends
All the dark places I found myself in
I got out of them with perseverance, I got the win
Why?
It was because of love
Because you don’t quit when times are so tough
You are strong enough
So I will rise, with a loving family
And a college degree
And for all those who ever doubted me
You only ignited my passion to succeed
And now at 28 sometimes when I think that I’m too late
Too late to live my life
That I missed out
I pause
I take a moment, I take a breath, and realize
I’m just getting started
There’s so much life left to go

Does the Cruelty justify the means?

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(In all that is going on this world I think this essay needs to be written)

In Machiavelli’s The Prince, we are given a detailed view of how to rule over people, gain land, and have political power in this manner through an unforgiving lens. Our author is incredibly skilled at taking any given scenario and given a particular set of variables, this is how you can conquer a particular area. He weaves historical examples into his “guide book”, and people are disillusioned into thinking that because he sites history he was a man of vision and good intent. The author is a master with words until his true colors come through. It can be argued that Machiavelli’s intentions were to get on the good side of a powerful family and that is why he wrote The Prince. That is the case many make. However, it is the execution of his words and methods that is very troubling to the reader. Machiavelli is interested in showing people how to achieve political gain but the level of cruelty is unnecessary, by pushing cruel methods over others more peaceful and furthermore claiming cruelty as necessary when that is not the only way that the ends can be reached.

In speaking of gaining territory, Machiavelli states “When a state accustomed to live in freedom under its own laws there are three ways of keeping it: the first is to destroy it, the second is to go and live there in person; the third is to let it continue to live under its own laws, taking tribute from it, setting up a government composed of a few men that will keep it friendly for you” (Machiavelli, 28). It is easily noticed that the first method listed is destruction. Those who argue it is not meant in order need to look further down where Machiavelli states “For in truth there is no sure method of holding such cities except by destruction” (Machiavelli, 28) going even further to say that if you don’t destroy the city, it will destroy you. All of Machiavelli’s reasoning is full of holes. Why does the first course of action have to be destruction, in a most unapologetic wipeout for the Prince’s gain? Furthermore, this mentality that that if I don’t destroy you, you will destroy me can have a shred of truth to it, but there are ways of ruling through negotiations that are more peaceful and don’t involve this complete destruction of a state in order to maintain it. There is this glaring assumption of human nature that Machiavelli claims. The weaker people will be easier to rule, but the strong will put up a fight and thus must be destroyed. He never offers a less intense, less cruel alternative measure and therefore is unnecessarily cruel in his methods.
Another example of cruelty that is jarring is the cutting in half of the man, which is an example from history that Machiavelli used but he goes a step further in what he claims this slaughter accomplished, another way cruelty is unnecessary to the reader but necessary to Machiavelli. “Having found an occasion to do this, one morning, he had Remirro’s body cut in two, placed on view in the public square of Cesena with a wooden block and a blood stained knife resting beside it. The horror of that spectacle gave people reason to be both shocked and gratified” (Machiavelli 36). Killing someone and then mutilating their body is a cold, gruesome act in itself. What elicits a reaction is the body being on display in the public square as to serve as a warning to everyone who sees it. Ruling a state through fear is something that Machiavelli agrees with and addresses later on in Chapter 17 (which interestingly enough only claims it adequately addresses cruelty). However, the concept of gratitude is really what should be found fault with in this particular section because it through the joy of not being cut in half that you are grateful for, and it is that ruling by fear is in itself cruel.

Machiavelli has a plethora of other options that he could restore to in order to achieve his end goal. He insists on cruelty being the vehicle that drives success of The Prince forward unapologetically and harshly so. His concepts of ruling and running a state work in the examples he presents or in his concept model. It does not mean that it is the only way to achieve greatness. On page 40, he speaks of a man not acting in virtue or fortune whose success through murderous acts is not celebrated because it was not the way to go about doing things in Machiavelli’s eyes. There is hypocrisy in this and to discover it one must dive further into Machiavelli’s arguments. In Chapter 17, discussing being feared vs. being loved he uncovers for us a subtle and disturbing aspect of his argument. It is about discarding your father if it serves your purpose saying this. “And if he finds it necessary to take someone’s life, he should do so when there is suitable justification and manifest cause; but above all, he should refrain from property other person, for men are quicker to forget the death of their father then the loss of a patrimony” (Machiavelli, 66). It speaks volumes about someone to value patrimony (the inheritance) over their own father. This subtly points to a strong, internal concept of cruelty embedded inside of our author that one cannot escape. It is curious how this one sliver of information gives us such crucial information that directly shows the meanness that lies not so far beneath the surface.

Machiavelli actually acknowledges cruelty by addressing it directly and makes an interesting claim about it saying “a prince, therefore, must be indifferent to the charge of cruelty if he is to keep his subjects loyal and united” (Machiavelli, 65). So what can be gathered from this statement is that wickedness, that evil that he acknowledges through the book should not apply to the prince if order is meant to be held. This brings us to be able to state that Machiavelli believes that cruelty should be ignored for the greater good of the prince. He even goes a step further in talking about a ruler that “preached nothing but peace and faith” (Machiavelli 70) and how that costs you power and reputation. He has the audacity to say that peace is actually someone’s downfall. He does not give examples of peaceful ways nor does he try to implement peaceful options into his lessons about attaining power. He states that you won’t get far using that but does not back up that claim, only to use more examples of cruelty.

Many people state the counter argument, that Machiavelli was using this book as a vehicle to discover a specific type of political theory without cruelty as a theme. He does go step by step explaining very detailed things about armies and rules to follow, for example in detail what armies are loyal to whom and at what time in Chapter 13. He explains the rankings of various troops stating , “with mercenaries the danger lies in their cowardice; with auxiliary it lies with their capability” (Machiavelli 57). This book can be seen as a strategic guide for how to conquer lands, and in stating that cruelty is disregarded as previously mentioned, does that in fact mean that Niccolo Machiavelli is not excessively and unnecessarily cruel? He seems incredibly convincing in many aspects of his concept of what the prince’s role is in obtaining and then maintaining power. We are flooded with historical examples of why his methods will work in practice not only on paper from Spain to Sparta. If we were to read it in this manner, we would come away with an incomplete meaning. Also, it would take a strong level of denial to not see the glaring examples of unnecessary cruelty in The Prince. Surely, more peaceful ways of doing things are possible and violence, death, and destruction are all extremes that become the norm for him.

To dismantle his concepts as not being cruel, he has a chapter on evil means and he says that there was a ruler who was wicked but his vigor helped him to become a commanding officer (Machiavelli, 39) and this drives at the heart of pulling away any doubt of the unnecessary cruelty that Machiavelli is clearly putting forth. This example says a lot more about what Machiavelli actually intends. He tries to steer away from this point but here he is happy to profess that if you are wicked, cruel, or evil (all his own terms) then it is not a stretch to say that if you have strength despite having a strong vice like the three above you can still rise and be a successful ruler. Again, peaceful solutions or being a kind ruler are not something he is concerned with in the slightest and that is made apparent here. In this light, Machiavelli opens the gate for the ability to say he recognizes that he is cruel but is much more concern with the ends. For him, the ends are what one must work towards and if those means that accompany the ends are cruel, then that is perfectly acceptable by Machiavelli.
In conclusion, Niccolo Machiavelli aims to convince his audience that there is a very specific way to obtain power through this chilling guide book of sorts, The Prince. He makes many claims that can be quickly dismantled in their unnecessary cruel way to achieve power. It is not to say that following these lessons wouldn’t give you the power you want, but at what cost? We have the example of destruction being a first restore for solving control issues. The fact that other measures are there, but that destruction is best is so cold and superfluous. There is the way of cutting a body in half and displaying it to instill fear. This is a transparent way that cruelty is seen. Mostly important is Machiavelli admitting that yes, cruelty exists but to acknowledge you will lose the backing of your subjects. He does not give alternatives and absolutely shoots the idea of using peace down. Through these examples, Machiavelli’s ends are cruel because his means are intentionally cruel. His tunnel vision of what is a means of obtaining power is unfortunate, because you can have power using Machiavelli’s methods. What are you willing to lose in your humanity to achieve that power is a chilling question to examine in order to decide for yourself where you draw the line.

Absolutely Fearless

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15 years ago today
In the middle of a bright, warm September day
They had to take me away to the hospital
To see what was going on with me
They ran so many tests and they were all very stressed
I was completely terrified
So I hid and I wept and cried
And frankly I wondered
No one knew what was to come
No one knew where it all came from
From such a happy child to frighteningly sick

My diagnosis was something I never heard of
So I thought wow, I’m so lucky let’s go home
Boy was I wrong as can be
I didn’t know the challenges in front of me

The time began to tick
They told me that there was no way I could finish school no way!
But I was certainly no darn fool
My mom pushed the high school hard and then they pushed back
My mom was a Rock star like J.J. Watt and she got the sack
I went in there with positive spirit
And it’s alive in this poem
Can you hear it?
I finished high school, finished so incredibly strong
Held my head extremely high, not a thing could be wrong

Then community college came along
I always knew I wanted to write
So I took that dream and I held it so tight – I clutched that dream with all my might
And one night in 2010 I began to have real joy again
I wrote for the school paper and with utter glee
The words and phrases they just came to me: epiphany
Movie Reviews were my thing
God, I could really make the page sing
I’m in clubs like ecology and making friends
But that’s not how my story ends

In 2013 I discovered my saving grace – Shimer college
I decided that was my new dream
The pages on the table literally gleamed
The sun a ray of light casting hope on the page
As I took that pamphlet that my remarkable teacher had
I thought cool, now I’m going to MY school
A school of insight, bliss, and love
A school that was high above
Anything I could ever foresee
And then wonderful things happened to me
There was pain and suffering still
But I made it because I said I will

I made true friends and learned things I couldn’t fathom
My studies were my love and joy
My friends were abundant and present
My classes were quite demanding
Their gift to me from my teachers: their complete understanding
I went on a spectrum of studies
And I had some grief and strive
But I had more in me and had the time of my life
Orange Horse and Solidarity
(Because everyone has seen the phoenix fly)
Two school events
Relished by me

 

After Aristotle, Darwin, Copernicus, Lerner and so much more it came
After Priestley, Dante, Shakespeare, Bell Hooks, and Woolf
After Gödel, Einstein, Virgil, Kant, and Augustine
After Humanities 3 and wondering deeply about my faith
After Fem Theories and two incredible senior classes
The big day, the end of me as a student came
April 29th 2017 was a day
Where they handed me the diploma and I internally screamed hurray!
I will never forget hearing my name and walking the stage to my happy ending
And a new beginning

Where I am now compared to where I was
All the hard work I put in and my family and friends
All the dark places I found myself in
I got out of them with perseverance, I got the win
Why?
It was because of love
Because you don’t quit when times are so tough
You are strong enough
So I will rise, with a loving family
And a college degree
And for all those who ever doubted me
You only ignited my passion to succeed
And now at 28 sometimes when I think that I’m too late
Too late to live my life
That I missed out
I pause
I take a moment, I take a breath, and realize
I’m just getting started
There’s so much life left to go