Category Archives: Fun

Why Revolt?

Sam the Eagle

What led the founders of our country to revolt? Read the Declaration of Independence. Do all the fun stuff today, swim, grill, enjoy fireworks, but read our founding document to your kids. Translate it to modern day language. Give this day more meaning than hot dogs, patriotic t shirts and fireworks. If they don’t learn the meaning from you, who will they learn it from. Compare our conditions today to the conditions the colonists endured.

Challenge your family and friends to get involved beyond fireworks, beyond voting. Call on your civic pride to be a participant in our very significant and eventful place in history. There is a lot of room on the spectrum between getting angry with the tv sitting on your couch and calling for a bloody revolution, the time is now to jump in and work for what you believe in.

Enjoy the day!

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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Kids say the Darndest Things

I have kids and they are a hoot. Being a conscientious parent, I try to explain the world to them as they ask about it and break down complex issues into something they can understand. They often quip funny, poignant and wise in response. Wondering about the war in Afghanistan, my 10 year old asks me several questions. I launch into a 10 minute speech on why we have a war, what is the point, and some of the players involved and a brief history we’ve been there his entire life! As is my custom, I try to be civil even when talking about the parts that I heartily disagree. At the end of my speech my son screws his face up, shakes his head, and says, “Why isn’t Obama an activist yet?”


Our family is for peace and it is hard for any of us to understand why we are in Afghanistan. Obama’s photo op, speech, and gesture of solidarity with Karzai made it clear that he is not planning on getting us out of there on his watch. Sometimes kids are the ones who point out the obvious.

Enjoy these quips from the mouths of babes. They’ll be taking care of us soon.

“Mom, did you know it’s a well know fact that presidential candidates are addicted to eating their own boogers? They keep a secret stash behind their ears. It’s true…I heard it on the bus.”

“Ok. Now pay attention… My people are set up over here and your people are set up over there. If your people break the rules then my people can sue your people.”

“Mom, did you know that there was some guy named James Buchanan that was President a long time ago? If you don’t know a lot about him, it’s ok. He wasn’t that good anyway.” 

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some email.”

“Why don’t they just do what they did in 1899?” — On preparing for Y2K in 1999.

“I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don’t have any clean laundry because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life?”

“Give me the strength to change the things I can, the grace to accept the things I cannot, and a great big bag of money.

“It sure would be nice if we got a day off for the president’s birthday, like they do for the queen. Of course, then we would have a lot of people voting for a candidate born on July 3 or December 26, just for the long weekends.”

“Democracy is a beautiful thing, except for that part about letting just any old yokel vote.

“For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That’s what happens to cheese when you leave it out.

“When I go to heaven, I want to see my grandpa again. But he better have lost the nose hair and the old-man smell.

“I once heard the voice of God. It said “Vrrrrmmmmm.” Unless it was just a lawn mower.”

“As you make your way through this hectic world of ours, set aside a few minutes each day. At the end of the year, you’ll have a couple of days saved up.”

Thanks to,,

Life Begins When?

Abortion is such a polarizing issue and hard to talk about with those that disagree. Leave it to the funny people with John Stewart to add some levity while making a point. At issue is the recent bill in the Oklahoma state senate that passed declaring that life begins at conception. The implications of this bill obviously would relate to abortion and birth control laws. Most women don’t know the moment that they become pregnant, so this bill covers something happening inside of women’s bodies that a woman is likely still unaware of. Several female state lawmakers have proposed bills in response to this far reaching legislation and the imposition it means for women. In Oklahoma a bill was put forth that got some men a little miffed.

Check out the video: Bro-Choice.

Go ahead, I’ll wait (the video is not compatible with this format, so I couldn’t provide it here, but it’s really funny so take a few minutes to watch).

It is funny hearing a Republican representative making the argument for men that is made for women when talking about personal liberty and privacy. The “investigative” comedian is hilarious and gives us a chance to laugh at ourselves.

Truly the jesters are the only ones who can tell the truth, point out the obvious, and mock the stalwarts and get away with it.  One unspoken value of America is our comedy. We’ve got all varieties and a whole lot of it isn’t funny, but it takes all kinds. Laughing together, at ourselves is one link to our shared humanity. Thanks to the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, SNL, and lots of others for bringing us together for a giggle. Long live the jesters!

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“You Need A Mommy, Very Badly!” – Prison Cat Rehab

Much of what political framing is all about is getting off on the metaphoric right foot. You set your brain for the story, the information it is about to act on. When you hear about brand new information, you wait for a bit before making a judgement call. If you don’t know how to categorize or process the information, you may wait a good while – “the jury is out” so to speak, in your brain. We all listen for clues that make it possible for us to easily categorize the new information. This is where memes and soundbytes come in. If you hear someone refer to a policy or idea by a nickname or meme, you can stop the mental deliberation and sort out the info via the “shorthand” neural connection you’ve previously made.

For instance: Continue reading

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Chorus of Complaints

Things feel kind of heavy again, and I need to lighten up. I really don’t enjoy learning about some of the awful things going on in the country (or world), but I feel compelled to fight for the world that I want, so…the struggle continues. Part of being American is being able to relate to our fellow Americans – regardless of political bent; if we can’t do that, the Union is lost. This is why kids and animals are the great uniters, we all love ’em -this (adorable Christmas-y hedgehog is no exception). When we take a time out for a smile and a laugh, and share it with someone, we are building community. We are celebrating being human. Corporations don’t have a sense of humor, neither does policy, there are even some humans that seem to have lost their humor response. Many times our workplaces discourage such joviality (though we find a way to squeeze it in somehow). The truth is that we cannot function without taking breaks and doing some “human” stuff – we are not robots. We are a more productive society when we are allowed to be human and given the opportunity to be in community.

One of my most favorite youtube videos is the Helsinki Complaints Chorus – it moves me.This piece of music and the chorus embody community spirit. They are obviously orchestrated and well practiced – which shows an ability to cooperate, and they give voice to dozens of complaints from their fellow citizens. They speak for others as they speak for themselves because… well, there are a lot of things to complain about. Even though complaining is a drag, when you realize that you share a complaint with a few others, or a few thousand others – for some reason it makes you smile and get active. Maybe it’s just kind of fun to have a “bitch session” and have an airing of grievances – we need to be heard and able to express ourselves, but the other smile inducing aspect is in knowing that we are not alone in our struggles. Even our first world struggles like annoying cell phone features.

The Helsinki Complaints Chorus

Community performances like this are progressive in nature – the performances are in common areas free of charge. The words reach out to everyone with relatable lyrics. There is no condemnation, no convincing, no division, no agenda other than a tongue in cheek co-miseration. By the end of it all, it feels good. Along the way there are some real world problems that frustrate and exhaust so many of us, but even hearing them voiced by others lets us know that we are not alone. It is doubtful that any or much money was made on this project even though it certainly was productive – aside from bringing a smile (or tear) to its audiences in Finland, it has gotten nearly a million views from youtuve viewers at large (I can’t be more than a dozen of those). Productivity cannot always be measured in dollars; sometimes it is measured by the impact of connecting to other humans.

I’ve often fantasized about doing a complaints chorus project of my own, I’m so interested in democracy, I want to know what others struggle with. I want to share their struggle, empathize with them, and offer some understanding. If I had more musical ability, I might actually try. I might also want to add a response to the complaint chorus, one that celebrates the joys we can all share. Like this project in Helsinki, I imagine a big box in a public place, collecting the complaints and joys then turning them into a beautiful project of musical and visual art. If you could share a complain or joy today, what would it be?

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