Lumpy Rugs of America


I actually remember it fairly well.

My dad looked down at me and told me that some people were going to come in.  My job was to simply stay quiet and get out of the way.

And then the doorbell rang.

The men with cameras rushed in.

Dad pushed me behind his legs.

I observed as photos were taken and dad talked to the men.  I don’t remember what he said.  It was all over quite quickly.  I guess they got what they wanted.

This was right around my sixth birthday.  I was still quite young.

Young enough to not really understand sexual harassment.  Old enough to know what happened was wrong.

My parents sued.  And won.  And the lawsuit stemmed from an inappropriate Christmas Party award.  I remember we moved out of state in time to get April Fool’s Jokes.

The timeline of the event above is between a Christmas Party and April Fool’s.

What’s my point?

I learned at a young age that sexual harassment is not okay.

A lesson that many people still need to learn.

This woman came into my office the other day.  She works for me and was upset because somebody said something crude to her.

It was inappropriate.  And she felt awkward coming to me with it.

I convinced her that everybody should be comfortable at work.  Always.

The man who said the inappropriate thing to her does not work for me, so I talked to his boss.  His response?  Well, the person who said the inappropriate remark is a swinger.

I was like, oh, well that changes nothing.

At.

All.

This discussion is high on the radar.  It’s one of the few things this president has done that is good.  He tried to make sexual harassment acceptable.  We haven’t discussed this so much since Bill Clinton got a blowjob in the Oval Office.

In fact, that’s when I remember all this political correctness stuff becoming what the conservatives hate so much.  They targeted a Democrat president for getting a blowjob and using a cigar and we all had to learn about sexual harassment at work.

Now we have a president who has admitted to sexually harassing women and all these other women want to tell their stories.

Just because nobody was really talking about it for 20 years does not mean that it wasn’t happening.  We know now.

So why is the media so surprised?

And why do I see comments this week telling the world that Congress may stop hiring women so that sexual harassment is less likely?

This is already a thing.  Already exists.

I immediately thought back to a job I had seven years ago.  I was interviewing to fill three positions.  My boss called me and told me not to hire any women.  His words:

Do not hire any women.  Men cannot keep their dicks in their pants.  That’s the truth.

I said to him, I’ll hire the most qualified candidate.  Period.

This guy was terminated several months later for clocking in and then leaving to have an affair.  Using work as an alibi.

So let’s talk about

Sex

You

All

Harassment.

It’s not okay.

Never has been.

But it’s always swept under the rug.  People make excuses.  People get embarrassed.  People can justify anything.

As long as they have the power position.

I sit here hoping that I raised my children well enough to say something.  Not to fear.  But we never know.

Today we find sexual harassment to be the top story on the news.  As if the president or Hollywood or Al Franken or Weinstein or FOX News anchors Louie CK or tomorrow’s headline invented it.  We simply lifted the rug.  That is all.  The president exposed something that’s been swept under the rug for twenty years.

Longer really.

Since grunt started hitting women over the head with a club and dragging them home by their hair.

The answer is to not let this be okay.  Let’s bottom line it.

It’s not okay.  Deep down we know it never was.

Do not celebrate it.

Do not scapegoat any of it.

Report it immediately.

Access Hollywood reports are an admission of guilt.

Here’s what we need to understand.

It’s not okay to mess with somebody’s life.

It’s not okay to sweep things under the rug.

It’s not okay to use power as a means for entertainment.

It’s not okay.

Our country continues to sweep so much under the rug.  For what?  To protect those already in power?

This is truly a change in culture.  Don’t penalize the victims.  Don’t .  Because those who think it’s okay will always find a way.

Say something.

Don’t enable.

We only have one life.  Don’t let anybody abuse it.

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Social Liberal, Fiscal Conservative


This post is for every ass hole who told me they were a social liberal, fiscal conservative over the years.  Both Democrats and Republicans fed me this line.

Pick a side.

Are you worried about social issues or economic?

Because so many people were teetering that line.  It’s how Bush supporters explained themselves.

They chose economic issues over social.

Neo-cons and neo-liberals.

Here’s how it boils down.  Social liberals, fiscal conservatives were those people who thought laissez-faire economics had merit, but were okay with Will and Grace.  This was 20 years ago.  Guess what won?  On infinite repeat?

Money.

Every fucking time.

A Democrat who thinks gay marriage is okay but still bombs the shit out of brown people and makes no decision against Wall Street is not much different from a Republican who bombs the shit out of brown people while making decisions that let Wall Street do whatever they wanted.

And then we got Citizen’s United.  A little decision that told me corporations are people and can, therefore, contribute to our political system at the highest degree.  This has made it so that a former Exxon exec can be Secretary of State and a former pharmaceutical CEO can be in charge of Health and Social Services and a person who does not think public schools are good in charge of education.

Global warming will never be addressed as long as money play such a vital role in our political system.  Because people are all being victimized.  Corporations are the super villain who have taken control of the train and tied to the tracks is this nation’s well being.

It’s made it so that a pedophile may be more likely to be voted into office than his opponent.

Money.

Who is going to give the wealthy a bigger break?

There’s no question how this happened.

The Golden Age of Greed is upon us.  The 80’s were just a taste.  The appetizer.  And all you so called libertarians who were really just telling me you didn’t think you had to donate to the good of the country have put us here.  There was enough of you.

Democrats and Republicans.

Fiscal conservatives of both sides.

You all did this.

You fucking money grubbing ass holes.  Now you want to know why money grubbing ass holes are influencing the political system so much.

Everybody is so upset that Russia may have had influence over the election last year.  Let’s say they did.  For one minute, let’s confirm this.  All the proof is there.  Trump received help from Russia and that put him over the top.  A hypothetical “they did it.”

Let’s just get all upset that Trump may have received influence.  Now let’s also feign shock without buying Donna Brazille’s book that the DNC rigged that election.  Don’t buy Hillary’s book either.  Because they are all just trying to get you to donate to their personal accounts.

As is Joe Biden.

Let’s take a look at Citizen’s United.  If corporations who have vested interests in how America does business in other countries can influence our politicians to the level of literal corruption, then why are we feigning so much anger over a foreign nation who has corporate interest in the United States influencing our politicians?

The next logical step is that nations are people too.  Global Citizen’s United.

When I was a kid, there was a show on television called “Kids are People Too.”  I long for those days.

Because nobody is human anymore it seems.

Only corporations and CEOs.  Only the wealthy

So go ahead and get upset about a Twitter Troll.

Get upset about a pedophile.

Get upset about whether NFL players kneel or not.

Get upset about all of it.

I’m leaving this here.  I can’t remember when I wrote last.

I do know that my life is less valuable than any corporation.  I’m tired.

That my children have an uphill battle I wouldn’t wish upon anybody.

How can anybody be surprised any more?  We’ve built this layer of corruption upon layer of corruption.

And then act baffled and confused.

You’re all willing to sacrifice a meaningful wage in exchange for a few extra dollars of taxes.

You’re all okay with so much of this powerful country being under the poverty level while most of the GDP rests at the very top.

People are starving and working too much for very little.

We may very well be Russia from 40 years ago.

How’s that for irony?

Middle Man Economy


Any reasonable drug dealer strives to be worth enough to hire a middle man.  I mean, who wants to look into the eyes of the people’s lives they are ruining with addiction?

Line up the sales.  Make them desperate.  Have somebody else distribute.  Clear and free.

Maybe I’m making a case that drug dealers have a conscience?

Maybe they just want to believe their hands are clean?

The American economy is full of middle men.  Somebody has to make the exchange.

My wife works as a middle man for a major drug dealer.  It’s how we make ends meet anymore.

She slides on a blue smock, stands behind the counter, and exchanges drugs for cash.  Some are required to pay more than others.  Some pay out with more money than my wife makes in an entire week just to keep their hands from shaking each month.  Some are clearly sacrificing more than any human should just to get rid of a little pain.

The pharmaceutical companies do not have a conscience.  I’m not going to pretend they do.  They just need addicts’ neighbors to distribute for them.  To put a face on their company.  To give addicts a person to be angry with.  To make the exchange easier on both sides.

And she stands there behind that counter yesterday with that blue smock on trying to be as pleasant as possible asking people if they are getting ready to watch the local NFL team play.

Because that’s what good middle men do.  They make the exchange easier.

And one by one, she told me, the resident addicts of this redneck town told the middle man that they will not be watching the game.  Something turned this town full of a flag waving, window decal sporting, jersey flaunting, house painting, firework exploding football junkies off.

I don’t like what these players are doing, they would tell the middle man as cash was exchanged for drugs time after time.  They should not be taking a knee.  I’m boycotting the NFL.

In the American economy sandwich the middle man is the meat.  Peanut butter if you’re vegetarian.  The filling has dealers as one slice of bread and addicts as the other.  Corporations are not selling toast.  They are a slice of bread which needs the filling in order to keep consumers attached.

The addicts.

And my wife middle man kept her mouth shut as one by one the addicted helped spread misinformation fed to them by the middle men on television.  Fed to them by the middle man in the White House.  The corporations assigning the middle men to misinform the addicted of what is really happening in this country.

Nobody has been assigned to tell the addicts that racism is real.  Nobody.

Instead they deliver and deal.  They exchange your allegiance for misinformation on infinite repeat.  It’s quite damaging.

2016-10-02-15-21-54.jpgLong lines existed in this legal exchange once again.  Straight back from the “Stay Behind this Sign to Respect Patient’s Privacy” sign back to the middle of the Depends shelf almost to the charcoal.  Impatiently they waited for their turn to get their drugs.  To make snide remarks.  To not see the face of the person who truly made them an addict in the first place.

And, no, it was not the doctor who prescribed the addictive material in the first place.  Doctors, in this economy, are simply another middle man.  They get to be the face you see and you trust them because you go them with all your problems.  Those doctors will take care of you.

Somebody, in another conversation, says to me, I am kind of disgusted by players who make millions taking a knee during the national anthem.

I replied simply, nobody is going to listen to a minimum wage earner.  Nobody.

I guess, in a way, so many of us are trying to become a middle man.

Hugh Hefner is no longer alive.  Suddenly we have a discussion debating what he provided as a service.  All these middle men providing their information to info junkies across the United States.  Information junkies trying to become dealers but they are really just trying to be middle men.

The NFL, NBA, and all other sports are to men what Playboy has been for women.  Sports leagues do nothing but use athletes for their benefit.  Objectification is not the word.  But they use them and dismiss them when their time has gone.  The legends we embrace forever.

And these sports leagues have created a junkie culture.  Addicts hanging on every move and every discussion on every player.  ESPN, sports radio, pregame shows, and fantasy leagues are the middle men of sports keeping the addicts hooked and tuned in.

I saw video of people burning their jerseys and tickets and posters and on and on.  The money has already been made, you patriot junkie.  Addicted to propaganda, these people are at the crossroads of Patriotism Road and Sports Blvd in the city of Addict lead by Mayor Misinformation.  They don’t know which road to follow.  Which direction to go.  So they follow their tour guide named Knee Jerk Reaction.

Knee Jerk Reaction is provided as a middle man to destroy all calm thought.

After every single game in which the local NFL team wins, the local redneck citizens blow off some fireworks.  I heard none last night.  Because these football players “disrespected the flag.”

Probably something their dealer of religion taught them.

Maybe something their dealer corporation said at work.

Maybe the middle man of Twitter and Facebook.

So many avenues to navigate, but in the end all junkies already know where they want to be.  They are simply finding the middle man who will give them the direction they desire.  Land them on the street corner they feel most comfortable.

No fireworks were lit last night.  None.  But I am confident this had more to do with the local NFL team under performing so far in the season.  When your dealer isn’t bringing the good stuff a junkie’s loyalty can be lost.

Because there are so many middle men out there just trying to get you hooked.

Today we are going to be sifting through the middle men exchanging your trust for or against guns and the control of them.  Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated that today is the day for mourning and not the day for political debates.  Her boss didn’t believe that when he was a candidate and a junkie shot up a concert in Paris last year.

Labeling our junkies is vital.  Helps other junkies know what they are consuming.

So to all the junkies in this world navigating their way through a series of middle men trying to get you hooked, I’m offering one thing I know for sure.

Be very careful when combining medications.  Results may be undesirable.

Identity, Community, and Purpose


 

I spent too much time writing this today.  And it went off course as if the robot sent me the wrong direction on GPS and I’m going the long way now instead of the most direct route.  I mean, I’ll still get where I’m going, but it’s going to take longer and the scenery isn’t all that good.

Let me bullet point now.

I was watching Face the Nation yesterday.

The panel at the middle of the show included the woman who made the highly watched Vice episode on the rallies, an ACLU member, and Christian Picciolini who founded Life After Hate.  To ensure everybody knows what that is, I’ll simply ctrl-c and ctrl-v.

Life After Hate is an American nonprofit organization co-founded in 2011 by Christian Picciolini, a former neo-Nazi. Its mission is to help people leave hate groups, particularly white supremacy groups. In January 2017, the Obama administration awarded the group $400,000 as part of a grant from the Department of Homeland Security Countering Violent Extremism Task Force. However, DHS advisor Katharine Gorka and other aides of President Donald Trump decided to discontinue the grant in June 2017.

Picciolini had some good things to say.  And this is the point in which I get the title for this post.

Dickerson asked Picciolini why these groups exist.  The response was, “Ideology is not the driver for radicalization.  It’s a search for identity, community, and purpose.”

 

Isn’t that what we all want?  A little purpose?

The next part of my inefficient path was about religion.

And then I started talking about a post I wrote years ago with my musings on why people join ISIS.

It is all about quality of life and purpose.  It’s all about that.

And now I’m thinking about a post I wrote some time ago about racism.  Just pay people well.  Eliminate judgement.  Eliminate holding people back.

Too many of my posts have died a death I’m not willing to allow this one to die right now.  I can string words together, but it’s easy to untie the know and allow them to all fall off.

I’m going to tie this knot right now.  Keep these words together for now.

The problem with all of our society is greed.

The problem we have is that people want community and purpose.  They seek this with groups that welcome them in.  Right or wrong.  We all want to wake up thinking that there is a purpose today.  All of us.

The oppression people experience creates a disconnect.

If we raise the lowest level up and actually try to get some form of equality, we will find that our society will be better off for it.  Instead we spend all this energy idolizing the wealthy and the crazy.

It’s counterproductive.

And it leads people into places we shouldn’t want.

Because all anybody wants is a sense of identity, community, and purpose.  We can provide that, right?

Liberal Disconnect- Unions


I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how the so called liberals of the US are disconnected from the people they are representing.  Let’s face it, Democrats are not winning any votes.  They have become real adept at losing seats and are becoming increasingly disconnected from the middle and working classes.

I’ll start with a story.

My daughter recently got her first job.  She’s 19 years old and has been doing really good since she got it.  I don’t believe she’s been late at all.  She’s maintaining a good attitude.

I have joint bank accounts with both of my kids.  I set them up years ago so that I could transfer money to them in case of emergency or for allowance.  I’ve also been able to help them out understanding how to maintain a bank account and what some of the rules are.  The idea is that once they feel stable, they separate from me and take their accounts to themselves.

I see my daughter has been setting aside $100 each week.  She’s also been getting stuff.  I’m good with that.  She should while she can.  But the saving money is a smart move.

She’s making ten cents over minimum wage.

I can honestly say that my wife was a bit pissed about this as she makes minimum wage.  That’s the world we live in.  It’s not really about working hard.  You want to leave the job market in order to raise your kids, you’ve just put yourself to the back of the line.  That’s the next topic.

The other day some snail mail came for my daughter.  Her job is at the local grocery store.  She is now part of a union.  She owes them $225.  My wife now has a better hourly wage than my daughter.

My daughter hasn’t said anything.  That’s who she is.

And here we are to my topic.

I believe unions once served a very fine purpose.  They allowed for some very needed protections for some people who were not being treated fairly at the work place.

Unions negotiated better pay for workers so they could support their families better.  Without unions, people were making pennies a day and working unhealthy hours in horrible conditions.

I argue that the union shouldn’t have to exist for these people.  That the country should take care of the people and not be forced to create laws that give people rights and create healthy working conditions.  I argue that every once in a while decisions and laws should be made for people, and not negotiated on behalf of those already in power.

But that’s not how America works.

My daughter has a union job that pays her ten cents above minimum wage.  She now has to work 20 hours for free to maintain that standard of living.  Every month the union will take money from her.  If she gets a promotion or raise, the union will take another $50.

So that she can make ten cents over minimum wage.

Any other job in the world would pay her within $4 per week without dues.

I could understand more if she was walking into a high demand position which offers a few dollars over minimum wage, but this is not it.

I now understand why I rarely see the same faces at the local grocery store.

Back to my point.

Unions have made themselves irrelevant over the last 40 years.  They are now perceived as a Ponzi Scheme skimming money from hard working lower and middle class individuals without any benefit and without providing any service at all.

They had their day.  They really did.  But they gave it up.

I remember the 80’s when the unions were still somewhat strong.  They helped people and when they felt they were being undercut, they gave the workers the ability to demand more.

Labor unions always endorse the Democrat in any race.  And they should.  Because Republicans always run on a platform of trickle down economics.  They always run on an idea that the wealthy need more of their money and unions restrict the free market.

Let me put the dots together.

If I was a young person in today’s world and I was making minimum wage while watching my paychecks get raped by an organization which is not really giving me a single advantage in the workplace, I’m voting for the party who is in favor of putting that money back in my paycheck.  I’m voting for the party who has the anti-union platform.

If I was a young person who went out an caucused for a person who said he was going to help people make more of the money they deserve only to watch the DNC act as a union and skim off the top, I’m not likely to vote for that party.  Unions can do good things, but they, like most corporations, need to be nudged the right direction.

See, liberals and Democrats, you have a problem.  You’re not helping people at all.  And I’m not even talking about Goldman Sachs right now.

You are failing to help even one person who is making less than $75,000 a year.  You’ve lost your constituents.

Take that union endorsement if you want, but insist that the union take strides to help people more.  Because too many people are not getting any benefits.  Call them out.  You’ll get votes.  But then follow up.

We can blame the Republicans.  We can blame corporations and capitalism.  We can blame globalization.  We can blame a multitude of things.

But I blame the Democrats.  You have the ball.  But instead of running any real plays, you keep taking a knee on the 50 yard line, and that ain’t progress.  Never will be.  Because after a few plays, you have to either punt or give the ball to the Republicans.

I have a feeling my daughter is looking for new work.  I would.

And so should those who are running the Democrats.

Know Your Role


This is a post about media in our capitalist society and the damaging impact it has done to the world in which we live.  I’m writing this as a person who resides on the far left of the spectrum.  If you believe that politics and policy reside on a two dimensional line.

Now it’s your choice if you wish to read on.

The media acts as if it’s America’s muse.  Delivering to it what it really wants to happen by thinly veiling their intentions as news.

The media sat down and read a book on how to play jedi mind tricks like Yoda, but isn’t really good at it.  Did Russia influence our elections?  We don’t know, but will examine the situation for the next four hours solid.

The media pretends as if they are the parents in the room, but refuse to admit that Santa is not real when confronted.

I don’t think any of this is really news to the people of this country.

This is why Trump has not lost the support he had a year ago.

This is exactly why all factions of politicians can take shots at the press.  This why virtually nobody but centrist thinkers are skeptical of reporting.

The media convinced America that Iraq was necessary.  The media didn’t warn America of the pending recession even though it was blatantly obvious what was going to happen.  They put Donald Trump on television constantly and gave him unlimited airtime.  The fact that the press was negative toward the orange wonder only gave Trump supporters the proof they needed.  The media continues to push this Russian story.

The media has not focused on jobs or DAPL or the continued dealings of an unchecked Wall Street.  They have tried to run the narrative by reporting on what they want you to hear.

And the people who are struggling day in and day out have lost all interest.  People, it turns out, just want to make ends meet.  They just want a job and health care and an occasional vacation.

You continue to tell us that each tooth means a quarter under the pillow in the morning, but we are like a teenager whose eyes glaze over with each and every statement which has happened.

The media is not the muse.

The media is not Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The media is the boy who cried wolf.

The media is Eddie Haskell.

America wants to know what the angle is with each and every story that runs.  Especially when it has been aired for months and nothing has happened.

No smoking gun.

Stop telling me that you’re reporting on my best interests when you’re not.

If anything, the constant negative coverage has actually empowered Trump and his base because the media is being proven to be the biased machine that has always been perceived they are.

I don’t like Trump’s agenda.  I think the Republicans are awful people.

I think the fact that the media reports the way they do is proof that capitalism is a dysfunctional system that needs better checks in order to be successful for the common person.

The media reports on the concerns of the wealthy and empowered.

The media runs cover when they are supposed to be exposing the truth.

Trump’s approval rating has gone down, but not really below the level of those who supported him in the first place.  The fact is that the media has strengthened the views of Trump supporters.

The fact is that the media and Congress are so out of touch with the common person and their needs that people have no choice but to rally against their own interests.

They are basically saying, I saw you hid the eggs, dad.

We all believe what we want to believe.  There are so many ways of getting exactly what we need to hear in order to justify our beliefs in today’s world.  And the only people to blame for some of the misinformation that is being spread by alternative news sources is the misdirection and misinformation being repeated on the television supported by large money on any given day.

I realize that corporations are now people.  But they really aren’t, so they need a face.  They need somebody to represent and present their views so that they can get what they want.

That’s why Sean Hannity, Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, and all the rest even exist.  They were invented and propped up in order to push the agenda of the people who cut them checks.

Not to help the people who need help most.

If CNN really wanted to cut Trump down, they should go after policy.  They should report what happens.  They should report on jobs.  They should create a narrative conducive to helping the average person.  No sensationalism.

The centrists are licking their chops at an impeachment hearing.  Best ratings ever.

They should not weaken our system any more.

So I encourage you.

Find a reliable source.  Find news.

And to the media:  just fucking stop.  You’re turning the country against their own interests.

Noise of the World


As I sat there with the headphones pressed into my ear holes and the mist of the waterfall drifting over my face, thoughts passing through my head.  These hikes to someplace have become quite regular for me.  Pack the dog up with some food and ensure my camera and phone batteries are charged.

And.

Headphones.

That’s my topic.  Or at least the springboard to my topic.

When I was a kid, we had to get those ones with the foam covers and that little wire shaped to hold them over our head.  They are, as most things, much better today.  Much more flexible.  Much better sound.  Much more prevalent.

Let’s face it.  Nobody has to lug around a Walkman.  Nobody has to create mix tapes.  Nobody has to haul around all this equipment.  Or a boombox on their shoulder.

Go to the store.  Walk around and notice how many people of various ages have headphones in.  Connected with wires or Bluetooth, all these people are walking around listening to music or books or news or podcasts or probably nothing at all.  Depends on their reason for having the headphones in.

Thoughts lead me to believe there are two reasons for headphones.

I figure that there’s a good chunk of people who are trying to let the noise in.

I’m guessing there’s a bigger percentage of people who are trying to keep the noise out.  They want to be oblivious to everything and everybody.

Is that guy in line at the grocery store really captivated by his Facebook feed?  Or is it simply his way of avoiding having to create small talk or be friendly to the cashier?  Does he think it makes him look important?

We see it everywhere.  People trying to avoid the noise of the world.  Sucking themselves into their own little shell.

I’ve known people who told me they do not actually have any music on when they wear headphones.  They do not receive any calls.  They just want to be left alone.

I’m not going to lie.  I keep my headphones in when I go the store.  If I’m already wearing them.  If I’m already out on a walk.  But I’m letting the noise in.  Nothing brings me greater piece.

But there is a part of me that realizes me doing this is also to keep the noise out.  I know this.

I hate all the noise.

Static.

White noise.

Ear hole clutter.

We live in a world where the neighbor no longer has to look through the kitchen blinds in order to find out what is going on.  Bewitched would have a whole new set of plots these days.

Your neighbor is announcing everything.  Your neighbor is blasting it on every social media and your neighbor does not care who reads or hears it.

We all have leashes electronically tied to us.  Everybody thinks they should be able to get a hold of you at anytime.  For any reason.  All the time.

I don’t need that noise.

All that static.

That constant invasion of gossip and garbage.

This isn’t progress.

I changed my phone number over a year ago.  Didn’t give it to many people.

No static at all.

I stepped back and simplified.  And I didn’t care who it offended.  I didn’t care who got upset.

I’ve been happy about it.

I finished my walk this afternoon.  Me and the dog.  Headphones in.  I’ve been finding so much new music lately.  My drug of choice.

I took pictures of the landscape around me.  I tried to change the settings for a fluid waterfall.  I guess I need I need a stabilizer.  Add it to my list.

I never heard when somebody walked behind me on the trail.

It’s okay.

I was at peace.

And I’m not sacrificing any of this peace.

No matter how upset somebody may get.

fluidfall