Check, check, is this thing on?

Hello internet, my long lost friend. How have you been? I missed you…kind of, well….a little bit. I am still alive and kicking. I’ve just been very busy with video projects, home improvement projects and a brand new granddaughter.

I’ve tried to keep up on some of the news, but to be honest, when I get in film edit mode, I’m pretty focused and I eat, sleep and breath the footage. I’ve walked out of the fog for a minute, but I do have some revisions to one of the projects to do and I may be starting a new edit of a trailer. And I have a meeting next week for another documentary which will entail a lot of travel, which is good and bad. Good because I’ll get to see new places and people and bad because I freaking hate flying these days. I have several other projects that I’m either consulting on or editing here and there.

I’ll do my best to get back to writing soon, I still yell at my radio a lot and try to keep up on my reading, but sitting down and typing something just hasn’t been fitting into the schedule lately.

Talk soon!

My Mom, An Amazing Person

(My mother would have been 89 years old today. This is a re-post of something I wrote on Mother’s Day a few years ago. I frequently think about her and how she would feel about our politics in 2012. She was incredibly smart and compassionate.)

My mother was the best mom you could possibly have. I’m going to tell you a little bit about what made her so incredible. This isn’t to take away from all the other great moms out there, it is to honor all moms.

She lived a very full life and passed away 11 years ago, leaving behind a legacy and a path of love that will continue till the end of time.

When she was 19 years old, she worked as an assistant to the President of Gerber Baby Food up in Fremont Michigan, their corporate headquarters. One of her jobs was to reply to all the people who mailed in photos of their babies hoping to be the next Gerber baby.

She joined the WAVES during World War II and ended up with a Top Secret level job working in the office of the Commander of the Navy. Before being hired, the FBI sent a team of agents to Muskegon Michigan to investigate her and talk to neighbors and friends to see what type of person she was.  My mother was one of the most honorable, honest individuals that ever walked the planet. She got the job. She used to say how she couldn’t tell anyone where she worked or what she did. She could only say, I work at the Pentagon.

One of her jobs as an assistant to the Commander of the Navy was to actually move the pins around on the map which showed where enemy subs were located, based on the latest intelligence. She said that she was frisked when she entered the office and when she left. She loved Washington DC and always encouraged me to visit there, which I have yet to do. Soon, Ma, soon.

She knew my dad from our hometown, he actually had dated one of her sisters. In DC while my dad was waiting to be deployed, he had two feet that were different sizes and had to wait for special order boots, believe it or not, but my Mom and Dad went on a few dates and apparently fell in love. My dad was finally deployed about a month before the war ended. He ended up liberating concentration camps, I guess he told some stories about coming up on the camps for the first time and finding survivors, he actually brought home pictures that my mom later destroyed because she didn’t want us kids coming across them.

They both returned to Muskegon, Michigan, got married and had 5 boys, me being the last of the bunch. She gave birth to me when she 39 years old. My mother was raised in a home that wasn’t very affectionate, they weren’t abusive or anything, but just didn’t show affection very well. My father, however was very affectionate and she used to say how he taught her how to be affectionate and loving. I knew nothing but love from her. My father died in 1968, when I was 6 years old. My mother was left with 5 boys ranging in ages from 6 years old to 20. The oldest very soon volunteered to go to Vietnam and the next oldest went off to College in Boston, at Berklee College of Music.

My mother worked as a legal secretary for many years, working for judges and lawyers and apparently was one of the best secretaries in town. She actually had lawyers fighting over her, competing to get her to work for them. She was a very good writer, her dream was to be an English teacher. She ended up becoming a paralegal, specializing in probate and trusts. She was recruited by a lawyer who would later become my step father. My mother frequently would say that some women can’t find one good man, but she was fortunate to have found two. My step father was a pretty amazing man too, he passed at the age of 89, a few years ago.

For 8 years after my real father passed away, she raised us boys by herself on a secretary’s wage and with the help of Social Security survivors benefits. She put a lot of the Social Security money away because she wanted her sons to go to college. She valued education above all else and I’ll get to that in a minute. The unexpected death of my father, heart attack, left her to raise 5 boys by herself. We lived in a poor neighborhood but I never felt like I was wanting, although we didn’t have all the toys other kids did. She was amazing.

She ended up dating her boss, my future step-father and they were married when I was 14 years old. We moved to a new house, in a nicer neighborhood, a very middle class neighborhood. It was a big change for my next oldest brother and I, we had lived a pretty meager life to that point but that all changed. My step father was one of the most respected lawyers in town, the senior partner in one of the biggest law firms and a very wise man. He frequently would arbitrate union disputes because of his wisdom and ability to get people to compromise. We used to try to get him to run for President. He was a rarity, a wealthy lawyer who was liberal. I may write about him on father’s day.

Even though my mother was not wanting for much after she married my step dad, she still lived a very frugal life, having a hard time realizing that she didn’t have to pinch pennies. I remember one time she asked if I would run to Meijer’s for her because they had bags of topsoil on sale and I was in a hurry to get to school. I said, can’t I just run over to the nursery close by and get them. She kept insisting that I go buy the ones on sale and I said to her, mom, you can afford an extra 25 cents per bag and she said, I guess you’re right.

Although my step father was pretty well off, he was very modest and didn’t waste money. He was the senior partner in his law firm, like I said, and the other partners all drove Jaguars, Mercedes Benz’s and BMW’s, my dad bought a used Cutlas Ciera that he drove for like 10 years. He later bought a Park Avenue, a used one, and drove that until he died.

When my mother started receiving Social Security after she retired, every month she used to write out checks in the amount of the SS check and send it to charities. She felt that others needed the money more than she did. My parents used to basically fund the rescue mission in our town. The mission would actually call my mother up when they were low on food and she would promptly write them a check. This is a funny story that I recently shared with Ms. Cicely Tyson, who I have to say reminds me so much of my mother. My step father was an avid golfer and used to wear the wild golf pants and polo shirts and the like. He also wore pretty nice shoes too. Well, he used to donate his slightly worn pants and shoes to the rescue mission. I remember driving by the mission many times and seeing homeless guys wearing bright colored pants and expensive shoes. We had the best dressed homeless people in the state.

I mentioned how my mother believed in education very strongly. Her and my step father set up an educational trust fund for all 11 of their grandchildren. It is fed by one of their investments that continues to this day. All 11 of the grandchildren have their tuition, books, living and even some spending money covered for 4 years of college. Can you just imagine the burden that has been lifted from my brother’s and their families. I never had any kids of my own, but I have a wonderful step daughter now. So I haven’t gotten much from that trust yet, but it reverts to the brothers once the last of the 11 completes college in about 8 years. I plan to take my portion of the money and put it into my granddaughter’s education fund, that I am about to start for her. She’s 1 years old right now. When my mother was laying in the hospital dying, I finished my Masters degree and brought it to her in the hospital. She couldn’t even talk, with tubes coming out of her. I will never forget the smile on her face and how proud she was of me.

I could go on and on about my mother and frequently do, but I’ll wrap this up with a couple more things that show the type of person she was. She was a good Democrat and liberal. She cared about people and others, obviously, and was an avid C-SPAN junkie, as I used to call her. When she was in semi-retirement, I lived with my parents for a while upon getting a new job back home and we used to watch C-SPAN together and talk about politics. She taught me so much about how our government works and the reality of how bills get passed and the procedures of the House of Representatives. We talked political strategy all the time. I remember her stopping and saying to me once, you’re very smart, you know? She was a pragmatist and believed in compromise within our government. She always respected others opinions and never assigned bad motives to them. She didn’t live to see what has become of the Republican Party, I wonder how she would feel today about that party.

She was the type of mother who never said we weren’t capable of doing something. She encouraged us to try new things and never underestimate ourselves. She always emphasized how when we applied ourselves and worked hard, we could do anything. And she was very proud of all of her sons. A few years before she passed away, she was in her 70’s, she said. “You know, I must have done something right because all my boys turned out to be good citizens, loving parents and kind men who care about the world they live in.” I used to always tell her she was the best mom in the world and she would get all modest on me. I insisted.

At her funeral, a guy walked up to me and asked if I remembered him. It was a friend from the old neighborhood who I hadn’t seen in probably 30 years. He said that my mom meant a lot to him, she was the mother he wished he’d always had. I don’t really remember him even interacting with her, but apparently she had a profound effect on him. He said he HAD to be at her funeral. Since then, many people have made similar comments about my incredible mom. The world is a much better place because she was in it.

I miss her terribly, but I know that she lives on in every thing I do, every interaction I have with people, whether it’s holding a door open or just listening with interest to people of all walks of life. She taught us all that every human being is worthy of respect. She was a staunch feminist and taught us that women are equal to men, although there are differences. She is a large part of who I am as a person.

I love ya Mom, your memory will never die.

To My Mom, The Best There Ever Was

(I wrote this a couple of years ago)

My mother was the best mom you could possibly have. I’m going to tell you a little bit about what made her so incredible. This isn’t to take away from all the other great moms out there, it is to honor all moms.

She lived a very full life and passed away 11 years ago, leaving behind a legacy and a path of love that will continue till the end of time.

When she was 19 years old, she worked as an assistant to the President of Gerber Baby Food up in Fremont Michigan, their corporate headquarters. One of her jobs was to reply to all the people who mailed in photos of their babies hoping to be the next Gerber baby.

She joined the WAVES during World War II and ended up with a Top Secret level job working in the office of the Commander of the Navy. Before being hired, the FBI sent a team of agents to Muskegon Michigan to investigate her and talk to neighbors and friends to see what type of person she was.  My mother was one of the most honorable, honest individuals that ever walked the planet. She got the job. She used to say how she couldn’t tell anyone where she worked or what she did. She could only say, I work at the Pentagon.

One of her jobs as an assistant to the Commander of the Navy was to actually move the pins around on the map which showed where enemy subs were located, based on the latest intelligence. She said that she was frisked when she entered the office and when she left. She loved Washington DC and always encouraged me to visit there, which I have yet to do. Soon, Ma, soon.

She knew my dad from our hometown, he actually had dated one of her sisters. In DC while my dad was waiting to be deployed, he had two feet that were different sizes and had to wait for special order boots, believe it or not, but my Mom and Dad went on a few dates and apparently fell in love. My dad was finally deployed about a month before the war ended. He ended up liberating concentration camps, I guess he told some stories about coming up on the camps for the first time and finding survivors, he actually brought home pictures that my mom later destroyed because she didn’t want us kids coming across them.

They both returned to Muskegon, Michigan, got married and had 5 boys, me being the last of the bunch. She gave birth to me when she 39 years old. My mother was raised in a home that wasn’t very affectionate, they weren’t abusive or anything, but just didn’t show affection very well. My father, however was very affectionate and she used to say how he taught her how to be affectionate and loving. I knew nothing but love from her. My father died in 1968, when I was 6 years old. My mother was left with 5 boys ranging in ages from 6 years old to 20. The oldest very soon volunteered to go to Vietnam and the next oldest went off to College in Boston, at Berklee College of Music.

My mother worked as a legal secretary for many years, working for judges and lawyers and apparently was one of the best secretaries in town. She actually had lawyers fighting over her, competing to get her to work for them. She was a very good writer, her dream was to be an English teacher. She ended up becoming a paralegal, specializing in probate and trusts. She was recruited by a lawyer who would later become my step father. My mother frequently would say that some women can’t find one good man, but she was fortunate to have found two. My step father was a pretty amazing man too, he passed at the age of 89, a few years ago.

For 8 years after my real father passed away, she raised us boys by herself on a secretary’s wage and with the help of Social Security survivors benefits. She put a lot of the Social Security money away because she wanted her sons to go to college. She valued education above all else and I’ll get to that in a minute. The unexpected death of my father, heart attack, left her to raise 5 boys by herself. We lived in a poor neighborhood but I never felt like I was wanting, although we didn’t have all the toys other kids did. She was amazing.

She ended up dating her boss, my future step-father and they were married when I was 14 years old. We moved to a new house, in a nicer neighborhood, a very middle class neighborhood. It was a big change for my next oldest brother and I, we had lived a pretty meager life to that point but that all changed. My step father was one of the most respected lawyers in town, the senior partner in one of the biggest law firms and a very wise man. He frequently would arbitrate union disputes because of his wisdom and ability to get people to compromise. We used to try to get him to run for President. He was a rarity, a wealthy lawyer who was liberal. I may write about him on father’s day.

Even though my mother was not wanting for much after she married my step dad, she still lived a very frugal life, having a hard time realizing that she didn’t have to pinch pennies. I remember one time she asked if I would run to Meijer’s for her because they had bags of topsoil on sale and I was in a hurry to get to school. I said, can’t I just run over to the nursery close by and get them. She kept insisting that I go buy the ones on sale and I said to her, mom, you can afford an extra 25 cents per bag and she said, I guess you’re right.

Although my step father was pretty well off, he was very modest and didn’t waste money. He was the senior partner in his law firm, like I said, and the other partners all drove Jaguars, Mercedes Benz’s and BMW’s, my dad bought a used Cutlas Ciera that he drove for like 10 years. He later bought a Park Avenue, a used one, and drove that until he died.

When my mother started receiving Social Security after she retired, every month she used to write out checks in the amount of the SS check and send it to charities. She felt that others needed the money more than she did. My parents used to basically fund the rescue mission in our town. The mission would actually call my mother up when they were low on food and she would promptly write them a check. This is a funny story that I recently shared with Ms. Cicely Tyson, who I have to say reminds me so much of my mother. My step father was an avid golfer and used to wear the wild golf pants and polo shirts and the like. He also wore pretty nice shoes too. Well, he used to donate his slightly worn pants and shoes to the rescue mission. I remember driving by the mission many times and seeing homeless guys wearing bright colored pants and expensive shoes. We had the best dressed homeless people in the state.

I mentioned how my mother believed in education very strongly. Her and my step father set up an educational trust fund for all 11 of their grandchildren. It is fed by one of their investments that continues to this day. All 11 of the grandchildren have their tuition, books, living and even some spending money covered for 4 years of college. Can you just imagine the burden that has been lifted from my brother’s and their families. I never had any kids of my own, but I have a wonderful step daughter now. So I haven’t gotten much from that trust yet, but it reverts to the brothers once the last of the 11 completes college in about 8 years. I plan to take my portion of the money and put it into my granddaughter’s education fund, that I am about to start for her. She’s 1 years old right now. When my mother was laying in the hospital dying, I finished my Masters degree and brought it to her in the hospital. She couldn’t even talk, with tubes coming out of her. I will never forget the smile on her face and how proud she was of me.

I could go on and on about my mother and frequently do, but I’ll wrap this up with a couple more things that show the type of person she was. She was a good Democrat and liberal. She cared about people and others, obviously, and was an avid C-SPAN junkie, as I used to call her. When she was in semi-retirement, I lived with my parents for a while upon getting a new job back home and we used to watch C-SPAN together and talk about politics. She taught me so much about how our government works and the reality of how bills get passed and the procedures of the House of Representatives. We talked political strategy all the time. I remember her stopping and saying to me once, you’re very smart, you know? She was a pragmatist and believed in compromise within our government. She always respected others opinions and never assigned bad motives to them. She didn’t live to see what has become of the Republican Party, I wonder how she would feel today about that party.

She was the type of mother who never said we weren’t capable of doing something. She encouraged us to try new things and never underestimate ourselves. She always emphasized how when we applied ourselves and worked hard, we could do anything. And she was very proud of all of her sons. A few years before she passed away, she was in her 70’s, she said. “You know, I must have done something right because all my boys turned out to be good citizens, loving parents and kind men who care about the world they live in.” I used to always tell her she was the best mom in the world and she would get all modest on me. I insisted.

At her funeral, a guy walked up to me and asked if I remembered him. It was a friend from the old neighborhood who I hadn’t seen in probably 30 years. He said that my mom meant a lot to him, she was the mother he wished he’d always had. I don’t really remember him even interacting with her, but apparently she had a profound effect on him. He said he HAD to be at her funeral. Since then, many people have made similar comments about my incredible mom. The world is a much better place because she was in it.

I miss her terribly, but I know that she lives on in every thing I do, every interaction I have with people, whether it’s holding a door open or just listening with interest to people of all walks of life. She taught us all that every human being is worthy of respect. She was a staunch feminist and taught us that women are equal to men, although there are differences. She is a large part of who I am as a person.

I love ya Mom, your memory will never die.

I’m Coming Back People

I haven’t dropped off the face of the planet, although it may look like that if you’ve been stopping by.  I’ve been very focused on several corporate video projects including a new one with a short deadline that is approaching. I’m nearing completion of the projects and look forward to getting back into the swing of this blogging thing. And of course, I was also getting stuff ready for my accountant for tax time.

Here is a photo of my granddaughter who is pulling my leg, so to speak. She’s growing fast and is very smart, funny and the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

My Two Year Anniversary At Extreme Liberal’s Blog!

It is the 2 year anniversary of Extreme Liberal’s Blog and it’s been a fun ride. I’m generally not a mushy person about anniversaries and most anything ritualistic to be honest, but I do want to at least acknowledge the fact that I’ve been up to this for a couple years. I appreciate all you fine people who stop by regularly and those who come by once in a while. My apologies for not posting that much lately, I’m busy with a couple of projects and I need to direct my energy into making them the best that I can. It is frustrating at times to observe what is going on in the political world without having the time to add my two cents to the mix. I’m hoping in about 3 weeks to get back to more regular posting. This next year will certainly be the best yet — as far as my filmmaking goes, all sorts of exciting options and possibilities lay ahead for me.

My gift to you is a very recent picture of my beautiful, smart, talented granddaughter. She was hanging with us for the last two days. I had to go elsewhere yesterday to work on a script. If I’m in the house, she seeks me out. “Grandpa, grandpa…where’s grandpa?”. With all the crap going on in the political and real world, the things that are really important — when my sweet little granddaughter spontaneously says “I love you, grandpa”.

Anyone who wonders why I am so passionate about the future of our country and electing Democrats (the best we got at this point), it is because I don’t want this little girl to live through 8 years of a “Bush-like” presidency or worse. Elections matter, damn it!

And a huge thanks to all the fine people at Angry Black Lady Chronicles, that is one awesome group of people. We plan on having an impact on politics in 2012.

Registration of Guns and Licensing of Gun Owners from the Alien Perspective

Guest Blogger: MikeB302000

Aliens from a distant galaxy were approaching our solar system. Identifying Earth as the only habitable planet, they came for a closer look. One of the first things they noticed from a great distance was the air traffic and high-speed train movement. Realizing these were conveyances for moving people, they marvelled at the efficiency and complete lack of collisions and near-collisions. The coordination was impressive.

Coming a bit closer they began seeing the cars. Unlike the larger means of transportation, these seemed to be involved in countless mishaps and explosions. Everywhere they looked cars were running into each other and into other objects. The death and destruction was incalculable.

One alien said to the other, since these primitive vehicles are operated by humans, why don’t they assign a numerical designation to each one which could be linked to the operator. This way they could easily identify the ones causing all the trouble.

The other alien, scanning the highly-advanced computer system, said, it seems they already have done this. Perhaps it means the quantity of problems has already been reduced to the level we observe.

Coming still closer, but maintaining a distant orbit, they began to observe another phenomenon: gunshots. They recognized these as primitive projectile-ejecting weapons. With each blast their computers registered the event. They watched horrified and amazed that a civilization advanced enough to register all cars and license all car-drivers would allow this.

Wouldn’t registering those guns and tying them to the users the way they’ve done with cars eliminate much of the damage, asked the first alien.

The other more senior crew member said sadly – it’s time to return and make our report.

A Note From Your Host at Extreme Liberal’s Blog

I AM still alive and kicking it. I’m just extremely busy with several projects, one that is being prepped to air on PBS nationally in February. I’ll share more info as we get closer to the date. I’m missing politics in some ways and not so much in other ways. Keep coming back, I’ll try to post when I get a chance…usually when I’m waiting for something to render or encode or I’m waiting on content from someone else. It’s a fun ride, wooo hooo.