children


We see the signs everywhere. On Facebook. On Tweets. Profile pictures. Snapchats with friends. Retweets with strangers. Everywhere we see the Charlies.

Je suis Charlie because madmen murdered in the name of a silly god. Cowards hiding and murdering behind masks because they were to weak to face the mighty pencils of Charlie, Charb and all those brave cynical cartoonists who made us giggle with shock and awe.

Je suis Charlie.

Je suis Charlie because we feel the world shifting. We feel powerless in the face of cowards. But we feel powerful because we need to stand up to them. Them…

Je suis Charlie?

Who are they? This them? Who are these people we need to stand up against?

Is it the madmen killing in the name of a silly god?

Is it the crazies denying the rights of people to love in the name of their own version of the silly god?

Is it the money eaters who kill economies in the name of profits?

Is it the greed grabbers 1% who always want, want, want more even though they have it all while those who serve them live hand to mouth?

Is it the soulless who refuse to change except to make the permanent climate change the one that will kill us all?

Is it… Is it?

Women’s rights. Poverty. Diseases. Hunger. People getting killed for being black. Cops being executed for being cops. Pedophiles. Lying politicians. Deniers of rights. Racists. Bigots. Creationists. Name them. Them.

Who are they? These them? It is all of them. Those killing, hating, discriminating, stealing, greeding, profiting in the name of their silly gods – whether it is a god they see when they look up at the sky or a god they see when they stare at the wallets.

That is the enemy we have to fight. All of them.

Je suis Charlie?

Je suis Charlie.

Tell me Charlie. What you doing to stop these people? Are you carrying a sign each time they come after us? Whether in the streets of Ferguson or Wall Street. Whether at Charlie Hebdo or church pews. Whether the blue eyes they give women through their violence or the blue sky they choke with their burning of old trees dug from the earth. Whether it is the hunger they refuse to fill or the future of the kids that are nil.

Tell me Charlie. When do we say enough is enough. When do you earn the right to say “Je suis Charlie”.

Je suis Charlie?

And what about the others, Charlie?

Every kid going hungry. Every worker denied a right. Every cent under-earned by women. Every African dying of a preventable disease. Every African American killed in the streets. Every school teacher throwing themselves in the path of the bullets being sprayed at another school. Every cop being shot when dealing with the dregs of our society. Every farmer struggling because the corporate machine squeezes another drop of profit. Every tree felled for a bit more palm oil. Every specie dying because we choke the earth with our fossil fuels. Every student getting raped. Every person denied a vote. Every women forced to cover herself. Every gay marriage not allowed. Every immigrant exploited. Every injustice committed. Every freedom denied. All that and so much more. Every. Single. Thing.

Those are our people Charlie.

We can’t deny it. We can’t unsee it. We can’t refute it. We can’t unfeel it.

Je suis Charlie?

Je suis Charlie.

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I know, most people have read this one already. And you know me and my girls… They are my life.  But they also remind me of The Little Girl In The Blue House… Is there someone missing her? Someone talking to her each day? Is she waiting for someone? Is she okay?

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The Little Girl In The Blue House

I always walk the same way to the train station. I take the shortest route. I have too. Way too early to walk one meter further than I have to. Or one minute longer than what is needed. There is another route. Slightly longer. But all the time in the world if it is so bloody early in the morning. My normal route is an easy walk. Turn right, then a quick left and straight down to the station. A quick and easy 20 minute stroll.  And who said I don’t get enough exercise… But today I had to go the slightly longer route. Turn left, turn right and down the slightly longer walk to the station. Not by much. Just about 5 minutes added. But sometimes the longer route brings more than just a longer walk. And this morning I got more than I wanted. Another reason why I never like walking that route. A reminder. A memory.

My oldest daughter always does the “left turn” walk. Her friend from across the street walks with her to the bus stop. They pick up another friend along the way and off they go. But not this morning. The girl from across the road didn’t feel too well so she couldn’t walk with my daughter. Dad duties called. I am the backup. So off we went. On our left turn. 

We were joking as we walked. Doing our “home boy” walk down the street. Me doing funny walks and funny voices to show her how I was going to embarrass her in front of her friend who has never met me. Doing my typical dad stuff. We got to the house. I gave her a hug and a kiss and watched her walk to meet her friend. And off I went. Taking my right turn down the road. The slightly longer road.

I put my iPod on and was listening to A Fine Frenzy when I walked past the blue house. And it brought back memories of the little girl who lived there. The little girl in the blue house.

She was the first friend my oldest daughter made at her new school when we moved here. They were in the same class. Hung out together. I saw her often. At the school. Or at the park. Or just in the streets when we were walking. But she was always there when we took my daughter to school. Running to great her friend. She was scrawny just like my daughter. But she was a little bit too thin. A little bit too pale.

In summer she always had just a t-shirt on. And in winter. A very worn and tatty thin little jacket. And trust me. It gets damn cold over here in Boston in winter. I remember seeing her with her arms folded to try and keep some heat in that little body of hers. You could see she was cold. But that was all she had for winter.

Her mother was always well dresses. With the latest fashion. Clothes and accessories she bought at the mall. She looked well looked after. And warm. Not like her little girl. But we didn’t see her at school often. Or anywhere for that matter. She didn’t walk with her little girl that often.

And they stayed just down the road from the school. It looked like a pretty house from the outside. That blue house where the girl stayed.

I often took my girls to the park at the school. And we’ll see her there often. On her own. On the swings. And she’ll be so happy to see my daughters. She was always so good to my little one. Running up to her and giving her a hug and a kiss and playing with her. She was a nice little girl. That little girl from the blue house.

My daughter always told us about her friend. And how she shared her snacks at school with her because she never had snacks. So my wife put in a few extra snacks for two. Never mentioned it to the little girl. Didn’t want her to feel odd. My daughter just shared because that is how she is. It was her friend. No questions.

And one day she told us that the girl was so exited about going to visit her dad in Arkansas. Her parents were divorced. And she lived with her mother and boyfriend in the blue house. The boyfriend had a nice BMW convertible. Nice car. Pretty new. They obviously had some money. Just not always for the little girl. But she was excited. She was going to visit her dad.

And then we saw her during the holiday. When she was meant to be at her dad. It was the first time I really saw her sad. The smile wasn’t there. She spoke to my daughter in a low sad voice and I didn’t want to ask too many questions. Didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable. I just wanted her to be a little girl. Playing with her friend. And having fun the way 10-year old girls are meant to have fun. So I let them talk and watched as they started playing and giggling. And the smile started coming back. She was with her friend.

The odd thing was that apart from that day I always saw her smile. A big old child smile. I never heard her complain. Not in front of me in any case. She always looked happy. But you could see that there was something missing. You just had to look carefully.

I always hug and kiss my girls. No matter where we are. When we drop them off at school. When I say goodbye in the morning. When they go to sleep at night. Or just because we feel like a hug and a kiss. Which is often. No matter where we are. And this little girl saw this. Saw how I hugged my girls. And she wanted one too.

I used to see her looking at me and my daughter when we hug. And then one day she came up to me when I took my girl to her school and asked for a hug. She was a little bit shy about asking. But I just gave my girl a hug and she looked at me with her tatty top with the long sleeves and peeked at me. “Can I get a hug please?” “Of course!” I said. I gave her a big old hug. And she hugged back. Hugging maybe a little longer and harder than what I expected. Almost as if she didn’t get a lot of hugs and would like to get hugs more often. She was only ten.

And that was how it was. Whenever she saw me she would come running up to me and give me a hug. And I’ll hug her back. And I’ll give her a smile and ask how she was doing. It became a standard thing. I never really thought much about it. I knew she wanted a hug and I gave her one. We can do with more hugs in this world. And I didn’t think that she got too many hugs elsewhere in any case.

And then one day she was just gone. Just gone. Her mother packed their bags in the middle of the night and just disappeared. Gone. Not even a goodbye. Not even a last hug. Just gone with her tatty little top. We never knew what happened to her. How she is doing or how she is feeling. Is she with her dad? Is she okay? Is she happy? Is she being a kid? Did she get a warmer jacket? Is she still smiling those big old smiles of hers? Is she getting any hugs? Or is she still playing alone in the park?

Time passed and memories started fading. We’ll mention her every now and again and just wonder.

And then we started looking at buying a house. And one of the houses that was on the market was the blue house. The blue house where the little girl stayed. So off we went to look at the house. Thinking that maybe we can buy it and make it our little house. Until we opened the front door and walked in.

My wife and myself just looked at each other when we walked in. I knew what she was thinking. It was my thoughts to.

The house stank. It was dirty. So dirty. Everything was a mess. Stuff lying on the floor everywhere. Clothes. Plates. Old food. Ashtrays overflowing. Wet spots. I have never, ever seen anything like this anywhere. And I have been to some places… It has been like this for a long, long time. Our shoes got stuck on the sticky dirt that was on the floors. All the rooms were in a mess. You couldn’t even see what color the walls or carpets were. It was brown. From dirt and cigarette smoke. I felt nauseous. Sick. The ex-boyfriend was lying in bed downstairs watching something on a big screen television. On his huge water bed. With plates and empty bottles and cigarettes lying all around him. A pig in a pigsty.

We went up the stairs to look at the real bedrooms. And we walked into the room that would have been that little girls room. It was a mess. Just a mess. No place for a little girl. Any little girl. Dirty. Filthy. Disgusting. You could see little things she must have tried to do to make it a little girl’s room. A little picture here and there. A ripped out poster. A wonky little table where she must have tried to study. Some girlie jewelery lying on the floor amongst the dirt that she must have forgotten to pack in the haste. But it was covered in a floor that ran skew. Holes in the floors and roof. And cold. And this was in winter. No heating. This was the room of the little girl with the big smile.

My wife and myself just looked at each other. We knew what each of us were thinking. We just wanted to get out. Just wanted to forget that we ever came. That we ever knew that little girl. And that she lived there. Her little room in the blue house.

We sat in the car and just stared at nothing for a while. And then she said it. “She lived in that house.” That’s all that needed to be said. We knew. The little girl in the blue house.

And walking past that house this morning reminded me of her. That little girl in the blue house. Made me think. Again. How did she do it? How did she manage? How did she remain a little girl in that house? How long can she be that girl with the big old kid smile? How long before she falls through the cracks? Is she strong enough? Where will she find the love she needs? The hugs she deserves? How is the little girl from the blue house doing?

The little girl from the blue house. I hope you remember me. I hope you remember those hugs. I just wish I hugged you a little harder and a little longer.

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It started with a simple set of questions… “Dad, what are people doing? Why don’t they want other people to marry? Why don’t they do anything about global warming? Why are they always fighting?”

How do I tell her? How. Do. I. Tell. Her?

1001, 1002, 1003, die… 1004, 1005, 1006, dead…

How do I tell her that every 3 seconds a child dies from something that we could’ve stopped? From hunger. From not enough food. From not having an apple. Or clean drinking water. Or just a little porridge in the morning. That we have it in our power to stop it if we want. But we choose not to. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her that our friends can’t marry because some people just hate their love too much? That love is sometimes not enough. That caring for each other is not what everyone else thinks should be. That the insecurities of the heart and soul of others drive hate instead of seeing the love. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her that some people talk freedom but don’t believe in it? That freedom is freedom even if we don’t like what others do or say. That freedom to marry. Freedom to love. Freedom to see the love of your life die in hospital. That these freedoms are killed by bigots every day. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her the pursuit of happiness is denied for most? That it’s a lie that we are told by so many who deny the happiness of others. That justice, equality and liberty is claimed by many but believed and practiced by few. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her people believe in carrying guns that kill but don’t believe in caring for love? That it’s okay to defend the right to carry a weapon of hatred in your holster but not love in your heart. That it’s okay to defend the right to carry that gun but not the right to love? How do I tell her?

How do I tell her that I don’t know what our earth will look like in her future? That maybe we are killing this world of ours with our greed and want. That wanting, buying, driving, wearing, making, living, eating too much and all those things we do might be killing our world slowly. So slowly that we argue while the pot is starting to boil. Like frogs we are killing ourselves slowly. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her that most people don’t really believe in human rights? That they speak of it as if they care and are willing to fight for it and die for it. But that they will deny others those same human rights. Their right not to be tortured. Their right to marry. Their right to choose. Their right to believe and love who they want. They deny it all. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her that people are willing to let their fellow Americans die. That they can stop it but they choose to look the other way and walk away? That a public option will save lives but some of us are too selfish and scared and would rather offer up American lives. American blood. All because they don’t care to care. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her that so many men carry hate in their hearts. They rape. They kill. They take away. That these are men we see and know. But we don’t see and we don’t know. That it’s okay to love the world. But be careful with who you trust. They will hurt you if they can because we know of those who are dead and missing. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her to not trust the man who speaks of God because they use and abuse His name? That they will hate in His name. That they will lie in His name. That they will give Him different names and still be full of hate and lies. That the hate and lies is preached by bigots claiming every religion – Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim – you name it. That it’s okay to love God but to not trust those who speak in His name. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her that there are mad men in caves wanting to kill a dream? That there are enemies everywhere willing to take lives. Innocent lives. And that we live in so much fear that we are willing to do the same as them. We are willing to let innocent people die because of our own fears. That we play into the hand of the warmongers with our weakness of fear. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her all this and so much more? Racism. Discrimination. Child labor. Obesity. Diseases. Sexism. And all this stuff waiting out there in the world. How do I tell her?

How do I tell her all this? How do I tell her that if we all just wasted a little less. Wanted a little less. Cared a little more. Believed a little more. Loved a little more. Spoke out a little louder. Did a little more…

How do I tell her that I see the faces of those kids dying? I know their names in my dreams. That they are my kids. Our kids. Not a number. Her kids.

How do I tell her that I feel the love of my friends being denied? That I only feel threatened because they are being denied the right to love and live in love the way I do? They they are not gay. That they are me. They are her.

How do I tell her I believe in freedom? That it’s worth fighting for even when others are trying to kill it with their freedom-my-way-or-no-way lies and bigotry and double standards. That I fight for the rights for all because I fight for her rights.

How do I tell her I don’t believe in guns? That I hate guns. That guns have killed in my family. That I will still defend those who want the right to have a gun. But that I expect them to fight and defend the right of my friends to love just as hard. That those rights are all hers.

How do I tell her that I don’t know everything about global warming? That I don’t know the science that well. But that I know that it’s better to be safe than sorry. That I will fight for this planet because it is all we have. The only one we have. It’s all I can give her. This little planet in the middle of nowhere is her planet.

How do I tell her that human rights means we have to give it to everyone? To those who are like us. Who love like us. Who live like us. Who believe like us. And those who don’t believe like us. Don’t want to be us. That human rights means we take the higher road and don’t torture. That human right means we allow everyone to be treated the same way we are treated. In love and in marriage. And that I will speak out and fight for those rights. Every single day until we all have it. Because it is her rights.

How do I tell her I believe in justice, equality and liberty? That I believe it is fundamental to who we are and how we want to live. Even though other say it but don’t live it or truly believe it through action. That I will fight for her to have justice. That I will stand up for her to have equality. And I will defend her liberty. Because justice, equality and liberty are hers.

How do I tell her that I don’t want these Americans we live with to die? That I want them to live. I want to help look after them. I want them to have an option to get looked after when they are sick. And that the only option for them is a government option. That I have not option but support an option that will let Americans live. Because I believe that Americans are good. And that it is our duty to love them and respect them and help look after them. Because we are them. American health is her health.

How do I tell her not all men are bad? That there are good men out there. Men who love and care. Men we can trust. And that it’s worth trusting and finding the men we can believe in and trust. That we men will fight those who hurt. Because these are her men.

How do I tell her that God is good? That it is okay to believe and not be part of the lies told by those who claim Him – no matter what they call Him. That God is good and God is love. That I will fight for Him and claim Him back from those who use and abuse His name. Who lie and spread hate in His name. Because He is her God.

How do I tell her not to fear the mad man in the cave or anyone else who lives to hate? That fear is not what makes us who we are. That love makes us who we are. That the love we have is stronger than the hate of others. That love should never be seen as a weakness. Because I will fight for it. Because this love is her love. My love for her. My gift to her. Love.

How do I tell her that when I am alone in my thoughts… On the bus. Running. In a hotel. Flying. That I cry inside when I am alone. And sometimes I cry on the outside for all these strangers to see. Thinking of this. Knowing that I don’t know what we are doing. That I don’t know what we are leaving for her tomorrow. For her future. Her world. I just don’t know.

I don’t know what world she will inherit from us. I don’t know what world we will leave behind. For her. And for her kids.

But I do know that I will fight for what I believe in. I will fight for her rights. Her right to love, believe, be free, have no fear, carry a gun, marry who she wants. her right to be herself. My big angel. Because I love her. And it’s all I can give her.

I want to tell her that the world is full of good people. That every single day I work with people who make this world a little better. One step at a time. Sometimes small but always forward. I want to tell her we will fight the good fight. Every single day. There are more of us than what the world might think. And we are strong. And we will never give up.

I want to tell her I do what I do because of her. That I see her face when I work. I see her face when I fight for what is right. I see her face when I live my life. It drives me. I want to leave her a world to be proud of. I want to leave her a dad to be proud of.

But I don’t. I don’t tell her any of this…

I take her hand and we dance on a Saturday. I joke with her and I tickle her. I play with her and I tease her. I help her with her homework and I say I’m proud of her great work. I have fun with her and walk her to the bus stop. I hang out with her and watch Harry Potter with her. I lie watching music videos with her and write silly stuff to her on Facebook. Sometimes we talk about Madiba or God and space-time limitations. Or science and mathematics. Geography or food. Even a little bit of serious stuff like politics and rights. And then I talk to her about crazy silly things and give her my books to read. I pull her finger and burp as loud as I can. I go mess up her bed and chase her around. I just do the things a crazy silly stupid dad is meant to do. Because she is my girl. My oldest girl. My big angel. And I’m just her dad. That’s all I want to be. The cool guy who loves her more than life.

She is my Ubuntu. I am because we are.

So I don’t tell her. But I know. I know we have to fix this world to make it ready for her. She deserves nothing less. She is perfect. She needs a perfect world.

We’ve got work to do. My big angel is coming and I’ve got a world to clean and get ready…

I have two girls. Two beautiful girls. A little princess. And a slightly bigger angel. My girls. My life.

My girls they love to dance. Ballet. Jazz. Hip Hop. Tap. Crazy. You name the style and they have it. Just a shame their dad was born with two left feet…

I have the dancing ability of the Elephant Man. Some say it is cute. And then laugh when they can’t keep a straight face. Others just burst into laughter straight away. But it hasn’t stopped us from dancing our life away. It hasn’t stopped us from having our music moments. Let me tell you a bit about those moments…

I lie in on Sunday mornings. Not too late. But a little. My beautiful and suffering wife takes on Sunday mornings. Making Belgium waffles or pancakes or vetkoeke. And bacon. In the words of my little princess… “I loooove bacon”. But it sounds more like “I luuuuuuuuv bay-kin”. It’s Boston you see. It is rubbing off on her. But I lie in like a lord while the smell of love fills the air.

But I don’t lie alone. My big angel comes to join me. Just the two of us. Little princess is in the kitchen with mom learning how to cook. So we lie in bed. She lies in my arms and together we listen to music. No. We “play argue” about music. Channel hopping between VH1 Classics and MTV. She laughs at the big hair of the 80s and the crap music back then. I laugh at the lack of proper lyrics and new styles in the music of today. And we argue about who has the best music taste. She rolls her eyes when I go “Yeah” to Springsteen dancing with the Courtney Cox or do my MC Hammer impressions to “Can’t Touch This“. I laugh at her doing a hip hop impression with her skinny legs and the girlie voice when she goes “Yo!”

But sometimes we go quiet for a moment. A song comes up that makes us go quiet. And we just lie there. She in my arms. And I hold her a little bit tighter than before. It’s then that the music knows no age. It’s when the music goes straight to the heart. And the stomach. It just tells you to lie back and listen to the voice and melody. The words doesn’t even matter. It’s just a song that reminds the two of us that we are lucky. Lucky to have a mom who loves us. And a mom we love. And a little sister that’s a little bit crazy. And lucky that we have our little Sunday morning of music. And love.

We always goes quiet when Sinead O’Connor tells us Nothing Compares. Because we know. Nothing compares. Nothing compares to the laughing and the music in our house. To the love you can almost touch in our house. And nothing compares to the big angel and me lying back and enjoying our Sunday morning of music. Just a dad and his girl.

Sinead always does that to me. I look at her face and remember that she was the first crush I had. But it was just that video. And when she cries. When the tears starts rolling down her face. All I wanted to do was just hold her and say “It’s okay Sinead, we love you”. Of course I knew it was just a video. Just a song. But I always felt that she just needed a hug and a whisper that “it’ll be okay”.

But there is a new song that also makes us go quiet. A song of today. It’s not the words. Like Nothing Compares wasn’t about the words. It was about Sinead being lost without love. She reminds me about those out there with no love. Those with no Sunday mornings. This new song just reminds me that there isn’t enough love out there.

It’s different from Sinead. This song doesn’t make me feel sorry for singer. The song doesn’t tell you about the love that is missing in that life. But this song hits me. Always. I don’t know what it is. But it reminds me that most people don’t know that love. Love that hurts because it is so good. Love that makes you cry because you are so happy. This song haunts me. It makes me miss people I don’t even know. And I can see my angel feels the same when we lie in bed and listen to this song. Watching the tv. But not seeing the song. Just letting it flow.

That’s my Sunday morning of music. And love. And then there is the Sunday afternoon of music and love. Crazy music. Crazy times. Crazy love. That’s my little princess. And Love Is In The Air.

It’s from one of my favorite movies of all time. Strictly Ballroom. Make no mistake. I am not into ballroom. Or musicals for that matter. But this is one awesome movie. This guy can dance. And you should see me and my little princess make our moves on this song.

It’s just crazy. I never tell her when I am going to play it. Never. I just switch it on and watch her reaction. She’ll be in the lounge and I’ll put the boom-box on in the kitchen. Loud. No. LOUD! All she needs are those first few keys to play. And then she runs into the kitchen and shouts, “Louder dad! Louder!” So I turn it louder. Max. And then she jumps up for me to catch her. And hold her. Hang on baby, here we go!

You start off with a few slow swings. Her legs clamped around my middle. I take her hands and she falls back. Her long hair almost hitting the ground. And I wiggle her arms for her whole little body to shake. I swing her up and grab her by her middle. And flip her up in the air. Her head almost touching the roof. Her eyes jumps open wide with a mixture of exhilaration and happiness. I can hear her laugh and giggling throughout the song. I swing her around my body – over my shoulder and around my back. Her feet never touching the floor. It’s wild. And it gets wilder. She stretches out like Superman while I hold her up in the air and move her forward and backwards. And spin her a bit more. And then the song hits a high note and beat. And I swing her head back. Holding her head with one hand and her back with the other. And I start spinning. Around and around. Keeping up with the beat. And going faster and faster as that piece builds up and builds up. And then… BANG! “Love is in the air!” Full swing. I see nothing but her face laughing. Her mouth open with the happiness of just dancing. Her eyes wide open with pleasure. Her arms swinging outstretched. Complete trust that her dad will hold her tight enough no matter how fast we go. Her complete love for her crazy dad dancing his silly dance on a Sunday afternoon.

And when it is over? “Again dad! Again!” Love Is In The Air. On a Sunday afternoon.

But this song is also different. The words are true. The beat belies the words. The words…

Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound
And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
Don’t know if I’m being wise
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when I look in your eyesLove is in the air.

Love is in the air
In the whisper of the tree
Love is in the air
In the thunder of the sea
And I don’t know if I’m just dreaming
Don’t know if I feel safe
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when you call out my name

Love is in the air
Love is in the air

Love is in the air
In the rising of the sun
Love is in the air
When the day is nearly done
And I don’t know if you are an illusion
Don’t know if I see truth
But you are something that I must believe in
And you are there when I reach out for you

Love is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound
And I don’t know if I’m being foolish
Don’t know if I’m being wise
But it’s something that I must believe in
And it’s there when I look in your eyes

Love is in the air
Love is in the air

Love is in the air
Love is in the air

Sometimes with music. Always with love. Sometimes on a Sunday. Always every day. Love is in the air. In my home.

Love Is In The Air

Love Is In The Air

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I’ve tried to stay out of the political debate on health care over here in the US. No one will be surprised by my position on this one. I’m not going to comment on the Obama speech or even the stupidity of Wilson. No, I won’t. I want to scratch a little bit deeper here. Deep down to a little thing known as personal responsibility…

So you are against universal health care. Or the government option – or whatever the hell you want to call it. Let me get this straight…

You are against government providing health care to those who can’t afford it or those who the private insurance companies deem as too costly to cover. Better to let them die, right?

Look, the current system isn’t working – we can all agree to that. The problem is that your proposal doesn’t address any of the fundamental challenges of the system – covering the poor and those in need. If I lose my job today then I lose my health care coverage as well. Except if I have the money to pay through my neck for it while I don’t have any income. Doesn’t sound right, right?

Let’s agree on one thing before I rant – cut some of the crap being covered by health care. Obesity? Stop eating crap. Obesity isn’t a disease. Cancer is a disease. Way too much shit is covered by health insurance. Plastic surgery? 90% are crap. Only those with facial defects and burn victims should be covered. A new boob job because you want bigger boobs doesn’t count. Whiter teeth? Go British I say. Cut the fat off coverage and only cover stuff that is really pushing people to their death.

Blame the pharmaceutical companies for lobbying for crap to be covered. They create “medicine” that will address these social “diseases” and then lobby the hell out of (mostly) Republicans for these to be covered. Why? Not because they want to address the real health issues but because they want to make a bigger profit from growing some hair over that bold spot of yours or magically make your beer and Mickey D laden fat go away.

While I’m on obesity. Yes, we carry the burden of that in the US and most developed countries. Stop eating crap and start going outside. If you get a heart disease because of your diet? Make sure you have good funeral coverage. I’m sick and tired of people being covered by health insurance for things that they do to themselves. Over and over again.

You shot yourself in the foot with your own gun? That’s stupid so pay up yourself. You want to carry a gun them suffer the consequences…

Back to the point though. So who will care for those who lost their jobs and can’t afford health care insurance? Or those who the insurance companies judge as too risky or too sick to cover? Let me give you an alternative to the government option.

You.

Yes, you. I’m talking to you Mr and Mrs I’m-Against-The-Government-Option. You should be paying for it.

Why? Because you claim to be on the side of America and the Christian right. That’s just stupid. It’s not an answer it’s just empty words of fake patriotism. America and Christianity is about solutions and not just about shooting your mouth off.

You can’t open your mouth without giving some form of solution. The health care system in the US is a failure. No one can argue against that. We all know it and we all accept it. Private industry is not the answer. I would love for them to be the answer but, in this case, they are not. They are generally the best answer when it comes to making cars (huh?) or computers or televisions or other crap we don’t need to survive. Oh they can make the medicine and medical equipment we need better than any government. But they have proven to be a complete failure when it comes to dealing with our actual health coverage. Especially when it comes to the poor and those in need.

So what alternative are you offering here? Some wishy-washy plan that will NOT result in those people being covered? I’m not interested in making your insurance any cheaper. (Or mine for that matter.) I’m interested in how we deal with those in need. Let’s assume for a minute that we won’t go for the government option. Let’s think of a plan that will help those people in need in another way.

And this is where you come in…

You can’t be American (or anything else) without taking some level of responsibility. You can’t open your mouth against something if you aren’t willing to offer up some form of solution. You do this way too often.

You are against abortion. But you are not willing to take in the unwanted kids. Or those born with disabilities. Or those born with alcohol syndrome. Or those born through rape. Or where the mother died because of the birth. I don’t see you rushing forward and claiming these babies. You shout from the side and walk away when someone holds up the results of your actions and stupidity. Here is my advice to you…

Man up or shut up…

I’m sick and tired of us having to pick up after you. I am sick and tired of having to clean your mess. You spew stupidity and we liberals have to live with the mistakes of your actions and empty words. Yes we do – why do you think those who work for charities looking after unwanted babies, HIV/Aids patients, battered women, the environment, animals etc are almost always a bunch a liberals? Because someone has to fix the crap you created. And I am sick and tired of cleaning your mess.

Shut up or pay up.

You are big enough now. Time for you to take responsibility of your own empty words and actions.

You want abortion to be banned? Then fine. You take care of the unwanted babies. The sick babies. The disabled babies. Because remember, you don’t want government to interfere either now…

You want to carry a gun in the open or hidden? The fine. You take care of those kids and innocent people getting shot by their mates by accident. You take care of what your actions resulted in. Remember, you don’t want government to intervene…

You want to stop people suing others because of defects in stuff they bought or doctors who didn’t do their jobs properly? Then fine. You take care of those people who lost their jobs and income when they got injured and hurt. Remember, you don’t want government to interfere…

You want to be able to cut down every forest to dig for oil and coal? You want to be able to dump your crap anywhere you please? Then fine. You take care of the… oh wait. We are all going down on this one. Here’s my solution. We’ll take that gun you like to carry so much and shoot you. I’ll even dig your grave myself. Hell, you are busy digging mine with your policies and actions. That way we can claim our bit of oxygen left as you wasted yours with hot air – in more than one way.

Man up or shut up.

You can’t just spew stupidity without coming up with a workable solution. You can’t be anti everything. Not when what we are trying to fix is all fucked up. You are either part of the solution (any solution) or you are part of the problem. It’s not working stupid. Fix it. And it you don’t like my plan then come up with a better one. Take responsibility for your stupidity.

It’s easier to say what is wrong with a specific part in a proposal than come up with a workable solution yourself. But it doesn’t solve the big problem standing like an elephant in the corner waiting to walk all over all of us. Someone is going to get hurt and I will be damned if it is me and my kind again.

Let me put it this way.

If we had to write into law the current state of health care. Guess what. We will all be against it – you and me. The current system doesn’t work and what is proposed by the Big O is better. Not perfect but at least better. And if you don’t like it? Then either come up with a better plan or take responsibility of your own position and stupidity.

Man up or shut up. Own up or pay up.

Until then – grow a pair of balls and stop shouting from the sidelines. 

And one more thing…

This Christian thing you claim to have going on your side…

God stood for very few basic things. Actually, it all comes down to a single concept – love for all (remember that bit? You should love others like you love yourself and as much as what you love God blah-blah-blah…) Dammit you must hate yourself a lot if that part is true. And I believe it is true.

Because if you did love your neighbor… Let me ask you this. Letting a person die because they can’t afford to pay for health care and you knowingly supported them NOT getting any help. Is that the way God will want you to love? Letting someone die from cancer because they lived in a community where some mining company dumped their crap and now they can’t even afford their health care – and you knew about both of those. Is that the way God would want you to love?

So stop giving me the Christian crap. I think we might be serving a different God here. My God is ashamed of you. I know my God actually cares about everyone and cares for everyone. Ask yourself this before you open your mouth – What would God do? Would he be proud? Would he help those who needs help? Or would he walk away? If you pick this last one – here’s something to think about… He walked away from you a long, long time ago…

Own up or pay up. Man up or shut up.

I’m not cleaning your mess anymore.

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Really? Maybe not...

America is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. But one thing is for sure, it seems as if everyone has an opinion about America. How great America is or how bad it can be. It all comes down to the problem with America. What is the problem with America?

Well, as a start, part of the question relates to a little thing called dependency. They are the big guys on the block. Pretty much “the dude”. They sneeze and we catch a cold. And we are a bit like the media – we build them up and then want to shoot them down when given half a chance. Why? Because we can’t live without them. We are dependent on them. And that makes us pissed and jealous. But that’s not the problem with America.

The simple answer is that we know that the problems of the world won’t be solved without America. Whether we want peace or the end of poverty or someone to deal with global warming or a fairer world trade regime – it doesn’t mean jack shit if you don’t have America inside the tent. Oh we can ask the Europeans to do their bit or ask African leaders to be a bit more responsible or get the Chinese cut their own carbon footprint. The reality is that none of that will work if America doesn’t come and play. It’s always better to have them in the tent pissing out than having them piss on our little parade.

We can’t solve it or deal with it at a global scale without America. That’s part of the problem. But that isn’t the problem with America.

Part of the problem is that sometimes we don’t like the answer we get from big brother America. Want a global legal system dealing with global crime? Sounds like a good idea. But a bit toothless because America refuses to sign on the dotted line. Want to stop landmines from blowing kids up after a war? Great! Get an international treaty to deal with that. But we know it will continue to give the bad guys a cop-out as long as America refuses to support it. Want to deal with those computers being dumped in Africa and the kids inhaling the fumes of burning computers for copper? Let’s all agree to keep our electronic shit at home then. Sounds like a great idea. But pretty useless because America doesn’t support the idea. That’s a problem. Sometimes we don’t get the answer we want. And we don’t like it.

Sometimes it just looks like America is in it for themselves. Thinking about what is best for them. What America needs. Instead of thinking of what we need. But that is not the problem with America. That’s just a problem with those darn humans.

Tell me. What do you want from life? Have you noticed how that involves you? Most answers are about the self. The human aspect. Sometimes it’s materialistic things we want – a bigger car and a bigger house and a  bigger telly and more bigger things. Supersize my life. But even those nice warm fuzzy answers are all about the me inside. A peaceful life and some love. You are thinking of you. And your only interest in the outside is how they might impact on your life.

When your government decides to help those on the outside. Do you bitch and remind them of the problems at home? Do you constantly try to tell your government how to make the world a better place or just your little world? I don’t mean the one off donation or being pissed at your government not doing more about Zimbabwe. We all have our moments of madness. Most of the time it’s just me-me-me isn’t it? Oh you cloak it in nice fuzzy language and make as if it is for the whole world. But it’s really about what is good for you and your country in most cases. I haven’t seen it any other way. I don’t judge this. I’m not saying it is wrong. I’m just saying…

Oh I know there are groups out there doing work on a global scale. Mostly crap like global religious fanatics. But I am talking about the good stuff. Making the world a better place. Even when working on these issues you think of yourself and your way and not the others and their way. Or try to find an “our way”. Oxfam? Love them to bits but over 90% of senior management in the UK was British. Sorry, that’s not really global. It’s just colonialism cloaked in goodness. Like the original one. Greenpeace? The luxury of fighting for whales while people die of hunger. None of these people are bad. They are just in it for themselves. But cloaked in goodness and all things nice.

Now what is wrong with that? What is the problem with that?

What is the problem with us?

What is the problem with America?

Maybe we are asking the wrong question here. Maybe we shouldn’t be asking what the problem is with America. Maybe the question should be what’s the problem with us.

Maybe the problem with America is that they are just a little bit too much like us. Americans are just a tad too much like me and you. Just your average people trying to live a decent life. Their life. Maybe that is the problem. Maybe the problem is that America is in all of us. America is us. And we are America.

Yes, the problem with America is us. You, me and our American friends. All of us. That’s the problem.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that once we realize we are all one then we start looking after ourselves.

All of us.

Us Americans.

Don't say I didn't warn you...

Don't say I didn't warn you...

Me and the girls are off to our first family vacation in a very long time. And we are going all American. No, we are not going to take a trip down Route 66. We are not going to do a history tour of Boston. We are not going to stare at symbols of power in DC. And we are not going to be all continental in NY. Neither are we going to hunt for the world’s biggest ball of twine. Or go have hot dogs and beer at the ballpark. Forget the Keys and middle America. We’re not even going to follow the trail all the way to the Wild West. Getting married again by Elvis in Vegas will have to wait as well. None of that. Nope, we are going where real Americans go. We are going to the temple of America. Where Americans gather to pray to the god of vacations. Where you can see France, Brazil and China in one day without ever leaving solid ground. Where people gather to eat buckets of ice cream and drink gallons of soda. Where odd ears are celebrated. Where hot chicks walk around in weird clothes. Where…. You get the picture…

We’re going to Disney!

Of course my long suffering wife will be the only adult going. But they do sell booze at the hotel to calm her down and I’ve packed my stash of Starbucks coffee to keep me going. Me, my wife and my two little girls. We are ready to have fun-fun-fun!

Look out for some news headlines: “Angry African on the Loose in Disney”. And we are not talking about the lions in the park either. No sirree! I am ready to claim back a piece of the colony for my brothers and sisters back home. I’ve packed the spear and loincloth. I am ready to go hunting. Gonna get myself a nice little wildebeest on the fake Serengeti and then make a huge fire for a braai. It’ll be almost like home. Hum… Minus the spear and loincloth of course. We don’t really do that back home. We are way more basic than that. We have wallets and khakis instead of spears and loincloths. But sometimes we wear lioncloths…

Anyway… I am getting off topic again…

So we will be away for a little while. Back sometime around the end of June. Yes, 2009. I won’t be blogging until I get back. The laptop is staying while I am going. I promised the girls 100% of my attention while we are gone. And Jasmine already called asking for a date…

But you can follow me on Twitter while I am gone. I’ll update that as much as what I can in between rides and runs and food and punching Goofy and whatever you do at Disney. Click here if you want to follow. Or just type http://twitter.com/AngryAfrican.

Or you can just sit back and read a few of my greatest family hits – see below. Nothing but me and the girls having fun. And a few funny stories thrown in for good measure. Hope you enjoy. If not – see you on the other side! I’m off! Bye-bye! Hello, Jasmine… How you doin?

Love Is In The Air

I have two girls. Two beautiful girls. A little princess. And a slightly bigger angel. My girls. My life.

Quick! Pull my finger!

We all have our roles in our little family. My wife is the one that holds it all together. The glue that we stick to. The level headed one. The one that looks after us. And the one we all run to when we bump our toe or just feel like a hug. She is the centre. The foundation. The pillar. The sun we spin around…

She had to wee

There I was, just taking a pounding. One shot after the other. In the face. I tried to bob and weave, but I just couldn’t escape the fists snapping at my face. Man, this was getting tough. I could feel myself going down. But I had to fight back. Dig deep. She’s a girl. I know I am not meant to hit women, and this goes against every inch of my being, but I had to do something. So I started to swing at her. I got her with a couple of shots. Big ones. But she didn’t even flinch. She just kept on coming. Swing away. In that girlie way of hitting. But it hurt like hell. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I went down. Big time…

When dad came to watch

Today was the birthday of my youngest daughter. She turned the Big Five. Yes 5. So I took the day off. To spend with the girls. But let me tell you a bit about me as a dad before I tell you about today…

Martin Luther King Jr is white

I never noticed it before. It has been there for a while. This picture of Martin Luther King Jr on our fridge door. You know, that space that kids occupy. I hardly look at the fridge door – just open it to grab something to munch on or a cold one. But there it was. Amongst all the fridge magnets and numbers and pictures of the kids. I guess it didn’t stand out because it was white on white. Yes, we have a white fridge. The reason why it stopped me was because it looked a lot like my dad. And you know about the relationship between me and my dad

I love my wife

How do I love my wife? In so many ways…

I am a traitor

I am a traitor. A traitor to my country. To my countrymen. To South Africa. To my beloved South Africa. And to every South African out there in my home country. I hang my head in shame…

I just loooove your accent

Let’s just get something straight here okay? I do not have an accent. You do. In actual fact, South Africans have the most pure and perfect English accent you can think of. It is a little known fact that we speak with the most delightful English accent – and the purest of them all. I didn’t suck this from my thumb – it comes all the way from a very well known study of languages by Oxford University. Please do go and do a fact check. (And let me know if you find it because I couldn’t)…

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