Just DO Something

A great article on wealth and income inequality that not only explains it well but gets to exactly what pisses me off so much can be found here. I don’t have a problem with income inequality in that some people do and deserve to make more than others. Some jobs, for whatever reason, make pay better. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs earned their money. They made our world a better (okay some might disagree and I would some days) place to live. They’ve given us the ability to do things we would hardly have dreamed of 50 years ago.

I’m never one to care that Angelina Jolie or Tiger Woods make millions, because, for the most part, they are paid for what they earn – or the amount of money they bring to their movies or sport. Doctors, lawyers, top-level CEO’s all DO something. The financial sector, however, does nothing, but some sort of sleight of hand. They move this about and that about and “create” wealth. But how can we “create” wealth without creating something or doing something? It has the smell of money being printed without reason. And this is the sector that has seen obscene wealth increases in the last 20-30 years. It’s depressing. What I want is for you to create something. DO something! Something with meaning – far beyond Wall Street. Something beyond risky trades with other people’s money. I don’t mean regular investments and trust guys. I can’t imagine how they explain to their children why they are so wealthy.

Here comes the sun

It’s 3 am on the shortest day of the year and I’m having the sort of anxiety reserved for 3 am on the shortest day of the year at this latitude where the shortest day of the year is to put it succinctly – very, very short. Darkness surrounds us for sixteen or so hours of the 24 we got. It’s anxiety based on any tiny thing it decides to direct its attention to, and it keeps one awake, fidgeting, worrying, wondering why being I’m blessed with so much, I can have this daunting sense of impending doom. I’ve obviously blown my life, people hate me, I’m horrible at my job; I mean, look at me, it’s 3 am and I can’t even sleep, for the love of God (who also hates me).

I should be celebrating, right? It’s the winter solstice! The light is coming! Bright days ahead! In a few months we’ll have 10, 12, 14, then 16+ hours of sunshiny daylight to bask in. Our anxiety will be relegated to serious matters or mental illness, not this general malaise, this pointless worry. The seasons cycle and it all repeats. I can remember similar nights last year and the year before and pretty much everyone before that throughout my adult life. I don’t recall anxiety like this in my younger days. Worry, certainly, but not anxiety. That came on as if it were age-related, like a bad back, thinning hair or crow’s feet.

Maybe it’s based on complexity. My life has become ever more complex over the years and so maybe this is just my mind knowing there is so much to think about that it kind of just crashes a bit like an overwhelmed computer. All day long, I tend to whatever presents itself: getting the kids ready for school, myself to work, all that entails, dinner and so on. The middle of the night is empty of all that and a great opportunity for the mind to take off down some dark, creepy path. Running from another complex day that is sure to come before the sun rises. We go to bed in the dark and get up in the dark.

It’s silly, really. These are the moments I remember my buddy Colin fighting and then losing his life to leukemia. What he would give to have a sleepless night in the home of his beautiful wife and two beautiful kids.

What he would say to me right now I can’t even imagine, but something along the lines of stop whining! It’s the winter solstice! It’s only going to get lighter now!

He’s right. I’m fine. I’m going back to bed. Thanks, Colin.

Christmas Letter 2010!!

Hello to All!

Well, here it is again. Another year has passed and my yearly and beloved Christmas letter is at-hand! I hope this finds you all blessed by the gods you love the most and more importantly the gods who love you the most!  We’ve had one heck of a year here at the Soiseth Ranch!

Olivia (6) started school at La Etoile du Nord (no idea what that means), the French immersion school here in St. Paul, and was immediately propelled to the front of her class (she sits right near the door). She’s learning math, science, civics and all the rest – and all teaching is in French! We’re not sure what she’ll learn in English, but we hope that the French are the nice ones and not the ones who hate the English for that class. We’re pretty certain she’s doing great! But are struggling reading to her and helping her with any homework as we don’t have any idea what in Gay Paris any of it means!

She still struggles, as does her little brother Ben (3), with simple English phrases like “Eat what’s on your plate”, “Clean your room”, “Stop hitting”, “Stop biting”, “Stop stabbing” and “For the love of God, Kid, Think!!” They’re simple phrases so we’re certain both will soon cotton to them and stop killing one another slowly, with their hands, toys, lamps, sculpture and, well, anything else in our lovely and warm home her on good old Como Place.

Ben is doing great also. He’s in pre-school at North Como Pre-School, which is housed in North Como Presbyterian Church, and while we’re both worried he’ll be brainwashed by all the hooky religion business, we’re also hoping some of that old fire and brimstone, you’ll burn in hell, Old Testament bible will rub off on him. “The kid’s got spunk” is what we like to say. That, and “Ritalin’s not too far away”, we figure. We had a teacher conference recently (imagine that! Teacher conference for a three-year-old!) and the teacher, Miss Lisa, held our hands and told us just how much she appreciated all we did and that she was thinking about us pretty much every hour he wasn’t in school. She said she spent that time focused on him! He’s getting extra special attention! The best and brightest always do! She wept a bit and led us to the door. It was quite a meeting. Sad news: Miss Lisa recently had to quit to “explore other opportunities”. We wish her well in the new year!

Jana’s wonderful as well. She’s gotten sooo good at pointing out when I forget what she tells me! And although her uncle, Denny, pointed out that she might be doing that even when she never said a thing to slowly break me down and eventually play me like a marionette to do her bidding until the day I die, I’m pretty sure that’s not true! Or, at least, Jana told me that I forgot that he said, “Just kidding!”  right after that. He probably did. I probably forgot.

Me? Oh, who cares? Okay, I still love Budweiser as much as anything else and my Man Cave is really coming along! I pretty much spend every waking hour that I’m not at work down here! Sure, I can hear the screaming and fighting upstairs, the dishes crashing and the feet stomping, the fire detector going off and that hiss of the extinguisher, but if I crank up my tunes, it all goes away! So, I’ll crank it up, crack open another Bud and toast all of you – those I love the most – more even than all my Facebook friends, all 187 of whom I truly adore. Here’s my toast: May the new year bring more of the same!

Merry Christmas!


cowards and cranks

Here’s what’s crazy. Okay, so we’re hardwired to think we’re special. Got it. If we didn’t think that we’d never procreate. What’s the point of another me if i’m not certifiably awesome? And we’re able to look beyond – or better yet incapable of fathoming – the fact that there are 6,000,000,000 other equally awesome beings on this planet. We are in the best sense of science tiny inconsequential things on a small speck of a ball floating in a universe beyond our comprehension. T’were it we were able to comprehend that, we just might end it all right now. (Or invent religions.) So why am I so fucking awesome? No idea. But I most certainly am.

So that’s a huge intro to wondering how we got so cranky. My 47 years have shown me many, many cranks. The old dude in the house a few doors down who mostly just yelled at us kids when we veered on to his lawn or made a bit of noise after dark. The cranks. The angry few. They had their reasons, whatever they happened to be.

But what of today? Who are these cowards who go online and comment on articles and posts and anything else in an absolutely petulant, angry, and offensive manner. I use offensive in both the ‘I’m on the offensive’ and ‘that’s fucking offensive’ manner. They hide behind sad little monikers that further emasculate them, and then attack like angry chihuahuas barking, yipping and yapping at one another safe within their cages bathed in computer blue. Do they thrive on the anger or hope for some win that can’t happen in the never ending blogosphere? Or, and this is what scares me, do they get their energy from the anger itself? Do they sit anonymously at their computer and feel some sense of anger/power that’s new to our world? (Newspapers would never print your rant unless you had the guts to use your name.)

This is more of a problem than we think, I think. These are no cranks as we once knew them. The guy who shouted from his front porch or wrote the fuming letter to his local paper. He was not anonymous and had to live up and stand up to his anger and whatever response he compelled. These are true cowards – tiny unabombers –  who hide behind silly names with no repercussions for what they write, but feeling awesome in their anger.

File that under pointless rants. But my name is Luke, and I approve this rant.

the nits?

I find it beautiful that our world is as big as it is. We can go through life – me, born in 63, now 47, and hear a band begat in 74 that is as good as any band i’ve ever heard. The Nits. Really? Where on earth have they been? Where on earth have I been?