Inhumane Humanity

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

Friday, October 31, 2014


Image courtesy Wealthy Choices Network
There’s a huge problem with mainstream media today; we all know that. We're pummeled by influence-peddling in every mainstream media outlet in the nation.  So much so we can no longer trust, with even a modicum of certainty, what we’re reading.

You shouldn't even read and blindly accept what I'm writing here.

Yet, in our quest for alternatives, scrutiny takes on a whole new depth, for the “blurred” lines of the mainstream media are completely non-existent in the alternate universe of the Net.  In fact, it's clear that anyone can say just about anything their misguided little brains can conjure up.

Such vile, polarizing "reporting" can be found here in an article at Breitbart.

In less than five minutes, any reasonably intelligent individual can conduct a simple review of both the cafe and endowment program mentioned in the article.  Yet sadly, viewing the ensuing comments on the page, it becomes abundantly clear that few bother.

The blog has but one intent which is utterly impossible to miss; pure politically motivated horseshit, written at the expense of all credibility, sacrificing reader confidence in a lame attempt to defame John Kerry and his wife.

Politics as usual!

Manipulation of information in this manner, be it via blogs or mainstream media outlets, damages not only reader credibility, but the good reputation of Conflict Cafe and the contribution they in fact make to their community; and for what gain?

From Conflict Café’s Webpage:
"Each Conflict Kitchen iteration is augmented by events, performances, and discussions that seek to expand the engagement the public has with the culture, politics, and issues at stake within the focus country. The restaurant rotates identities every few months in relation to current geopolitical events."

Enclosing their meals in wrappers printed with quotes/statements from those living within the various highlighted cultures sparks discussions and debates.  In doing so, the cafe is light years beyond simply serving authentic ethnic cuisine.  Conflict Cafe uses the atmosphere and food to create outstanding educational opportunities through experiencing cultural diversity in personal interactions and food alike.

Extraordinarily popular in the Pittsburgh community, the restaurant has received rave reviews from many mainstream and alternative media outlets alike, including NBC, LA Times, Christian Monitor, BBC, NPR, PBS, Al Jazeera, and even the traditionally ultra-conservative Fox News.

Whether one of the many students from the neighboring University of Pittsburgh, or a retiree seeking to expand his or her knowledge of the cultures of the world, one could not find a more potent, exciting, and memorable way to learn.

This purported odious purveyor of evil and political treachery, Conflict Cafe, boasts 300 customers per day.

A very successful business venture from just about anyone’s perspective, Conflict Cafe is a wildly successful small business endeavor.  So much so, several conservative media outlets are praising it's efforts.

Did I fall asleep, awakening only to find myself in an alternate universe in which the ultra-conservative pundits find fault in a capitalist’s wet dream?

Apparently I'm not alone, for the cafe's contributions to the community have been so beneficial, it has even received recognition from one of the nation's largest food giants, Heinz Corporation.

Heinz offers endowments in support of southwestern Pennsylvania (the location of Conflict Café) businesses which improve educational and cultural diversity in southwest Pennsylvania.

And therein lies the contention; not only with the author at Breitbart, but other media outlets with similar political goals such as “The Jewish Press,” “The Washington Free Beacon.”

Oddly enough, even the ultra-conservative media outlet Fox News is joining the ranks of those praising their achievements.

In recognition of those same achievements, The Heinz Corporation, the heir to which is Kerry’s wife Terry Heinz Kerry, endowed Conflict Café with a $50K grant for its contribution to the community.

A far cry from the subversive picture painted by the outlets plastering the Net and newsstands with their attempts to manipulate the electorate.

My very good friend sent me this link “We are all confident idiots" not long ago and I can't think of a better scenario in which the phenomenon can be applied.

The world in which we live has become a vanilla milkshake of the extreme; a polarized nation in which the diversity required for civilization to flourish is very difficult to come by.  In fact; with the help of misinformation outlets, it is extraordinarily easy to be “confident idiots,” unwilling to consider anything but that with which we are comfortable.

It is here we see the problem with the polarized you and me.

Seeking comfort in our “expertise,” we accomplish little, but to darken the hegemonic lenses many prefer to wear and creating a homogenized world in which diversity is no longer tolerated.

Regardless of your political ideology, becoming a confident idiot is as easy as reading misleading information on the Net and accepting the comfort level found in similarity.

But, it's the last thing we should allow ourselves to do and be satisfied with.

As for me?  I love ethnic diversity, in communities and, as my ever-expanding waist will attest, food.

Photos courtesy of Conflict Cafe.

I wish you the best of luck.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Where do they take you?

Rusted, Steel, Silver and Gold Ribbons 
What is your adventure;
Where Do They Take You?

Rusted ribbons nestle
In forests hushed, but for
Whippoorwill’s song

Woodpecker’s drum,
Wind’s song in the tree tops,
Squirrel’s chatter and coyote's cry!

Where do they take you?
What’s at the end, around the bend
Between here and there for you?

A cold and dreary tour of summer’s end
Your passage on rails
From which to seek shelter ‘til trip’s conclusion?

Or of fires of golden aspen
And crimson maples
Emboldened by steel’s cool blue and gray,

With crows squawking amidst crisp air
Laden with a hint of winter’s presence
Thrilling and chilling your soul?
This way, or that?
What will be missed when
This is chosen or that is pursued?

Your directions split,
Decisions stalled, plans dismantled,
Judgments questioned?

Can you circle back for adventure renewed?
Or are alternatives banished
As choices are made?
 Do you peer over horizons
Devoid of color,
Replaced by shades of gray?

Or do you see a road filled with promise,
Explosions of ecstasy
In moments of intense curiosity

Amidst the awesomeness
Of open space, bewildering vastness
And freedom of direction?
 Are yours but frail tracks filled with stormy darkness,
Fear and desperation?
Yet another worrisome turn,
One after another?

Angry, jagged fingers, frightful thunder
Mundane and routine trails?

Or are you on an expedition of excitement,
Thrill and exhilaration
Of adrenaline instilled enthusiasm?

 Is darkness looming,
Signaling an end
To yet another day?

Or are there silver threads
Leading your golden
Trek with awe

Following Sol
As he guides you
Along his purple shores?

Once sentinels of energy
Keeping currents
On intended routes

Now, a half-concealed emerald gem
Between ribbons
Of roaming silver

Shattered jewels
Blue, green, amber and red
Provide color for the rocky trail

Cicadas singing in unison
Under a stifling sun
As brilliant white clouds

Glide lazily through thick
Humid air, a respite
From blistering rays

Cottonwood feathers floating slowly
Distracting thoughts
Of the void below

Track’s silver crowns
Glinting with Sol's rays
Creosote’s sweet aroma
And engine’s horn bellowing.

Cohort’s eyes wide
Hearts pounding
Against the dare

Senses sharpened, taking in all
As cool waters rush upwards, towards
The temerarious youth jumping from above

Ribbons of rust, steel,
Silver and gold,
Endless passages.

A ride
Of infinite discovery,
Of endearing moments;

Of squinting towards the searing sun,
Taking the opportunity
To change the ordinary into ribbons
of rainbows and adventure.