reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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“character counts” week. [merely-a-thought monday]

parental controls on computers and tv and phones evolved as my children grew up. were i to have small children right now i would block their access – any and all – to the standing president of the united states. and isn’t that an incredible thing to say?

“character counts” week – your proclamation, mr. president, a virtuous statement of goodness, words you have never spoken aloud to the populace, obviously penned by a talented staff writer.

yes, mr. “president”, character does count. and i submit that subjecting vulnerable children, nonetheless any living and breathing human, to the grotesque character of your twisted psyche is dangerous and will afflict damage in more ways than can be counted. even for a person who adores words, i am having a difficult time wrapping words around the hideous ways you have treated people, the vulgar things you have said, the threatening things you have done, the divisive rhetoric and policy – thwarting any progress toward truth and equality of this nation, the vicious menace you are on this country.

“character counts” week – perfect timing, oh self-absorbed leader of the free world. perhaps your proclamation will bring your miscreance to the forefront as people ponder a week celebrating “character”.

for i cannot think of a stronger antonym than “character” as the opposite of who you are. in your own words, “character is a learned attribute acquired through consistent, purposeful action, not an inherent trait.” thanks to you, it is absolutely clear that it is not an inherent trait.

we, the american people, continue to aspire to have actual character – character as “you” so eloquently described.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

watch GIRL IN THE MIRROR – “character” as defined by the current president


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simply. go all in. [merely-a-thought monday]

my niece and her husband have a newborn baby. this tiny little boy entered the world and their lives and has turned everything upside down in every good way. like all of us, i suspect, who have had experience with newborns, they are discovering that, despite all the mechanical and high-tech devices that have been invented to aid in caring for a newborn at the very-very beginning, the most prized is simply holding that baby. and they have gone all in, loving him, snuggling him and, i’m guessing, kissing the top of his sweet-baby-smelling head over and over and over while dreaming of all the moments in life as a family to come. all in.

my mother-in-law is in the middle of taking care of my father-in-law as he slips quietly deeper into dementia. she patiently explains to him where he is, who she is. she reassures him when he is worried or frightened. she shares pictures and stories, in soft tones explaining to him, at 87, that his parents are no longer present on this earth. she spoons out masses of his favorite ice cream in bowls each night. she makes him laugh. she makes sure he has everything he needs; she watches after his safety. she has sacrificed her own activities to defer to those that speak to him, those that he might be able to still partake in. his repeated stories elicit interest and open-ended questions from her, despite the redundancy. she makes sure that they play bingo each day to keep him thinking and engaged. she has deep compassion and deep commitment to caring for this very kind, sweet man, her husband, even in the midst of the hardest of days. all in.

we approach a time in our country that will necessitate all its citizens to go all in. so much is on the line. the freedom and equality of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, religion – the ability for people to be who they are and to be supported by a country that embraces them. we simply cannot ignore the direction in which the current leadership is sinking. we simply cannot strip rights from the populace, cannot empower this soulless extremism, cannot allow all the complicit, standing by clutching their elite wallets and positions of power without conscience, to be the rule-makers, to further divide this nation. we simply cannot stand by silently while conspiracy theories radicalize this country, while leadership without compassion or heart or honesty tends to its own narcissistic agenda. we simply cannot sit back while being catapulted backwards, rewinding decade upon decade, defining this country with ideologies of nationalism, of anti-feminism, anti-LGBTQ, no recognition of drastic racial bias devouring equalities, instead of stories of a country holding its citizens with deep love, reassurance, compassion and commitment.

we simply must concern ourselves – absolutely right now – with racial disparity, with LGBTQ rights, with healthcare, with this ongoing, raging global pandemic, with education and work and housing equality for all, with climate change threatening this earth, with the violence committed by people with guns of mass destruction, with recognizing our collaborative place in the world, with truth, with justice, with the welfare of every single citizen.

we all must go all in. we all must vote. every one of the 328 million of us who is of voting age. every last one of us. all in.

read DAVID’S post this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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forward.back. [d.r. thursday]

forward back, mixed media, 18″ x 36″

a haiku for today:

forward back. it seems

to never stop ping-ponging.

we’re all now reeling.

read DAVID’s haiku post today

visit DAVID’S painting FORWARD BACK here

FORWARD BACK ©️ 2012 david robinson


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the shadow knows. [two artists tuesday]

“who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? only the shadow knows.”

back in middle school we had to choose a radio show and emulate it by creating a new episode, complete with commercials. we chose “the shadow” and had a commercial that was for a toothpaste-like substance that could clean your floors, strip paint and brush your teeth simultaneously. it was a product clearly not endorsed by any brand-under-the-sun, but, as seventh-graders with gigantic imaginations, we had fun conceptualizing.

and so, we wrote a script for a new “the shadow” radio show (based on many episodes we listened to) and recorded it on cassette tape along with our brilliant ad campaign.

“the shadow knows,” we murmured to each other, at random times for days and days and, with middle-school-predictability, ad nauseam, followed by a wicked laugh.

david and i often photograph our shadows, as puppets in the sun. on beaches, on hiking trails, in rivers, on mountains, in the backyard, we stop, in the line of sunshine, and take a shot, sometimes deliberately posing for the picture.

in this time, with shadows lurking in every light and dark corner, we chose to make the sign of peace.

for there is presently too much evil lurking in the hearts of men these days and we cannot rely on ‘the shadow’ getting us out of this. the wicked laugh that accompanied these words of introduction chilled us back in the day. now we can hear that wicked laugh echoing in our mind’s eye. and the words of this radio show’s early days – “as you sow evil, so shall you reap evil!” – are, today, vexing and worrisome.

who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? the shadow – and their consciences – know.

so now what? this is not a middle school script. where do we go from here?

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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grrreat??? [merely-a-thought monday]

when tony the tiger said it, it was true. “they’re grrreat!” he growled. and yes, frosted flakes ARE grrreat. that sugary coating, that crunch, perfect with milk or almond milk. yum. he was not steering us wrong.

we were behind a pick-up on the way to the grocery store. the open bed had two huge flags, both of which said that which you might be able to guess. it was embarrassing even to be behind this truck.

“keep america great” the can’t-be-creative approach to the incumbent’s election makes me (and tony) stop in our tracks.

keep america great? for what, exactly, is great about america right now?

is it the political chaos, the mind-numbing cruelty of an incumbent president with no compassion, no moral compass, no honesty, no real concern for the populace?

is it the way that this nation has failed to appropriately respond to the global pandemic that is careening about our country, striking down families, afflicting old and young, decimating households, killing people? a wanton disregard of science, medicine, safety in the name of what? freedom? freedom of exactly what? is it the obvious choice of the leadership and its complicit minions to be unjustifiably and blatantly uncaring? the freedom to not care about the populace?

is it the social injustice and inequality that has been a part of the fabric of this nation since, well, forever? is it the racial tension, unrest, deeply rooted and devastating to the core of this crumbling democracy? is it the inability of this country to guarantee the provision of indistinguishably equivalent educational, career, earning potential, medical, banking, mortgage, legal, policing and judicial protections and opportunities?

is it the reprehensible wish to return this country to the ignorant, destructive ways of decades earlier, extinguishing the rights and equality of women, of LGBTQ, of any race that isn’t conservative-pearly-white?

is it the lack of affordable and equitable healthcare for all the people in this country? far be it from the united states to embrace the idea that all of its citizens – regardless of their place on the economic ladder – should have affordable and uniform healthcare as a basic right. instead, is it bankrupting its people when they seek care that this country is after?

is it the exclusivity of the wealthy, their insatiable hunger for more money, more money, the inability for the country’s peoples to rest easy at night, worried about their finances, their futures? is it the fact that the stock market is held in higher regard than the food line, that less in this country is never more, that it matters not who suffers, what little person or small business, as long as the corporations are benefiting? is it the disparity, the immovable wedge between wealth and not, the chasm of economic despair in which families all over this country are flailing?

is it the propensity of violence that is wracking these united states? is it the gun laws that allow regular folks to brandish weapons of mass destruction in the street? is it the killing and maiming of children in schools, movie-goers in theatres, concertgoers at venues, shopkeepers asking patrons to wear masks?

is it the extreme nationalism that seems to be seeping into the pockets of many citizens, diluting their compassion, stoking their fury, wrapping itself around their roll of dollar bills they hold closest to their hearts?

is it the way this country’s current leadership and legislature are failing to recognize that we – the – people are the very ones destroying this earth we share with 200 other countries’ residents? is it the way this country is shunning all the goodness that has been done around climate change, all the stopgaps that have been in place, all the earth-communal gathering-together of the most brilliant minds in an effort to heal the damage we have already done, slow the continued harm, avoid future desecration?

is it the palpable rage? the mind-blowing lack of empathetic, nonetheless sympathetic brotherhood/sisterhood of all? the nonsensical lies and warping of truth and justice, values tossed to the wayside? the ignoring of work that must be done?

keep america great? this “perfect union” securing the “general welfare” of all and reaffirming “domestic tranquility” and the “blessings of liberty”?

tony looks up from his bowl of frosted flakes, lays down his spoon and mutters with his mouth full, “keep??? america??? grrreat???”

“not so much,” he scoffs.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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start cawing. [d.r. thursday]

(crow sculpture created by david)

the crows have been barking in our backyard lately. they sit high in the trees and take turns flying to prime spots, cawing and letting all other crows know that there is an invader, an intruder, something with ill intent in the area.

the hawk has been hanging out in our backyard lately. he sits high in the trees or on the neighbor’s swingset or on our chainlink fence and every so often swoops down to fetch something mysterious and unseen off the ground.

the crows do not like the hawk and make it known. oftentimes, they gather together, mobbing, protests in-beak, and chase the hawk off. although not in harmony, it is a symbiotic relationship, predation, this hawk-crow living arrangement. the crows recognize that the hawk is a predator. they do not nuance the behavior of the hawk nor do they make excuses. they have no illusions and their task is clear – to drive him out of their territory.

crows, dealing with predation of hawks and owls, do not get to just live peacefully flying about, building nests, laying eggs, raising their young, making trips to the local walmart.

instead, in examples of symbiotic parasitism, parasitic birds prey on crows and other birds, laying foreign eggs in their nests, removing the host’s eggs. these eggs often hatch sooner than those of the crows, taking over the nest. fantasies of elitism, selectionism and superiority surely brew in their agenda-driven actions.

about 100 different brood parasites show up as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” attempting to fool various host birds, lay eggs in others’ nests, avoid the work and, eventually, reap the benefits as the newly hatched offspring kill off the siblings in the nest. it is “survival of the fittest”. some hosts recognize the wolf in their nest and fling them out, but this is not a common defense mechanism. brood parasites have evolved for long term. and crows and other hosts need be savvy enough to still survive, nonetheless.

as the crows mob in the tall oak tree behind us and begin cawing i think that we, too, must be noisy.

for there is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, set on long term survival, ruthless and predatory, parasitic and dangerous. do not nuance the wolf’s behavior. do not make excuses. have no illusions. be clear. recognize that it has ill intent, fantasies of elitism, selectionism and superiority, and must be driven out.

start barking.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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start. stop. saddle up. [flawed wednesday]

“there are 100 ways you could have said that,” he would say. yep. probably more than 100. somehow you have to have your intellect, emotions, sensitivity all line up in perfect harmony so that what actually comes out of your mouth might be a teensy bit worthy, attentive to the moment. we all know this is not an easy thing. it is far easier to react, to scoff at sensitivity, to employ little to no brainpower, to not check your emotions, to not rein in your anger, your wrath, indeed, your rage. yes, it is far easier to spew.

and spewing has become the haute couture of communicating, the cape of the superhero of speak. instead of being gauche, it has become cheered, jollied on, mimicked. we have sunk down low, low, low.

somewhere between engaging your mouth – somewhere between start and stop – there must be a filter, heck, multiple filters. instead of the arrogant stance, the ready-go of putting someone in their place or pushing them down under the waves, the offensive weaving of untruths, the rotisserie of steroid-injected pretend-it-happened stories, perhaps there might be subtle moments of consideration. perhaps there might be the pause of checking-your-reactionary-self minutes where you attempt to take into consideration the other’s shoes and walking in them. perhaps, even more so, though quite a stretch, there might be … empathy.

but this is not a time that empathy is in vogue. this is not a time that trying to understand another’s point of view is fashionable. this is not a time that measuring your words and being mindful is favored. instead, this is a time that the space between start and stop is not infinitetismal.

this space – between start and stop – is, instead, of giant proportions. it is a space not measured by integrity or kindness. it is not thoughtful or contemplative or introspective. it is instead consumed with preoccupation of self, with selfish, unsympathetic agenda-driven drivel. it does not consider the other 100 ways. it races to the satisfied finish, like a green racehorse out of the gate, with no even gait and no finesse. there is no stop, no pause. it gallops without forethought, without watching where it is going. it is spewing.

saddle up. we all deserve better.

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY


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epic. [two artists tuesday]

this is epic. epic is hiding. his sweet luminous green face peeks out from beneath a rock, the rest of his body hidden. he is earnest. he is cautious. he is aware. he studies his world – our pond. he jumps quickly away from anything he perceives as danger. bugs are his priority.

we are like epic.

in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of political chaos, in the middle of social unrest, in the middle of economic crisis, in the middle of a nation-centric-to-hell-with-the-rest-of-the-world leadership, we peek out, hoping, as we wake the next day and the next day and the next, for less impossible news, for more hope, for sanity to emerge out of the rubble.

and then we open up the news app.

we slowly sip coffee from under our rock and peer out at a country we struggle to recognize. we are astounded by the dysfunction; we are deeply saddened by the plummeting values. we cringe at a society rapidly going backwards, downhill with ever-increasing speed and no brakes, obliterating all the progress made for decades as it barrels through, clip-engaged, single-mindedly paying no mind to real goodness.

smack-dab in the middle of our little rock on this world we can feel the danger lurking. we are earnest. we are cautious. we are aware. we study our world. our jumping-away mechanisms are at the ready. bugs are not our priority.

we are like epic. we are not like epic.

we can speak up. each of us has a voice; each of us can address the issues of this time. each of us has a vote.

and in that way, bugs, indeed insidious diseased bacillus in the system of this country, actually are our priority.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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spud. and ptsd. [d.r. thursday]

we played spud as kids. the abby drive kids ran through yards trying to escape the inevitable impact of the ball.

i was “it” a lot. i lived next door to a family with eight children, all of whom were athletic whizzes. when one of these athletes was “it” they’d throw the ball up, call out a number and we’d scatter, in my memory, in the grass close by. the catcher of the ball – the new “it” – would easily lob the ball over to someone frozen on the lawn and that kid would be the new “it”. easy-peasy.

but – there was a tad bit of hypocrisy here. when i was called “it”, they would scatter rapidly, their feet sailing across grassy yards, barely touching as i ran for the ball to yell “spud”. and then they froze what-seemed-like miles away, hiding behind any objet d’art disguised as a towering oak or big forsythia. my measly throw, complicated by those trees and bushes, would ensure my continuation as “it”, sometimes ad nauseam. this did not make playing spud fun.

in a few ptsd moments, i just read the rules of spud online – and it appears that you are not allowed to hide behind things. you are to run out in the open so as to move the game along and pass “it” status around. ahh. somehow, i’m sure i guessed that back in 1968 when i was in the middle of catching the ball yet again and calling out “spud” yet again and throwing at the targeted kid once again. but the rules were not quite objective and, when you have a family of eight vs one or two others, you are definitely at a deficit. things are not stacked in your favor. this is probably why i loved hopscotch so much.

bullies are everywhere. we encounter them in our daily lives: at work, at school, out in public, in the political arena. they change the rules willy-nilly to suit their agenda; they justify changing them with empty words of hypocrisy.

and now, people are running spud-ptsd-scared away, hiding behind each other, their integrity underground, “it” – the truth – unable to touch them behind their objets d’art: the smug all-powerful-makes-his-own-rules-to-suit-himself senate majority leader and the sinister autocratic-wishing-wishing-wishing president of this united states. the ball, so to speak, is in their hands and they are hiding, clutching their (non) great america and its questionable future, in plain view.

it makes me want to play hopscotch.

read DAVID’s thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

©️ 2020 david robinson


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waiting in the box. [k.s. friday]

the lines are chalked slowly in many dysfunctional relationships. unaware, you carry on, not realizing that it is closing in around you. until one day, you wake with a sense of claustrophobia and it occurs to you that you are boxed in. your actions seem to matter not; instead you are subjected to being a react-er. it’s more about treading water than it is about independent movement. it’s more about illogical punting than it is about making sense. it’s more about fear than it is about breathing.

our country is in a box. we react on a daily basis to the newest atrocities of leadership, the newest lies, the newest accusations. yet, no check or balance seems to matter and there are no consequences for this unacceptable behavior.

we tread water waiting.

we are waiting for wisdom to show up. we believe in truth-tellers. we do not believe in those whose jelly-bean-jars of untruths are brimming over.

we are waiting for real answers about the pandemic. we refuse to inject disinfectant and we absolutely choose to wear masks. we believe in science and medicine and we reject hiding the facts from a suffering nation.

we are waiting for help for those who need it: those who have lost jobs, home, security, the ability to pay bills or purchase food. we believe in a government that cares about people on all steps of the ladder and does not honor the stock market over the food lines.

we are waiting for conversation to start – a meaningful first step toward eradicating the social injustice of this country. we believe in peaceful protest and listening, not turning a deaf and bigoted ear.

we are waiting for the science of climatology to hold this good earth in its gentle hands of proactive care. we believe now is the time to show that the future matters and that disregard for this place will destroy that very future for all our children and our children’s children.

we are waiting for the ability to move about in the whole wide world again. we believe that is the only way we can learn about ourselves – to learn firsthand from others who are different than us. we believe in embracing others not repelling them.

we are waiting to not be afraid. we believe in compassion and empathy, not fear-mongering and words inciting division and hatred.

we are downright waiting for the mean-spirited, arrogant, self-agendized abusive behavior to stop.

we are waiting for the dysfunction to release its hold on the lines of the box around each of us, the populace.

we are waiting to vote.

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read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

THE BOX from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood