Honestly …?

So I have a confession to make. It’s a bad one, but there you go … aren’t confessions supposed to be bad?

I really want to lie on my tax return.

There. I said it. Or at least I wrote it.

Knowing that the future head of our country doesn’t share his tax returns, but says he’s smart if he doesn’t pay any taxes makes me want to do something I could get away with. Can’t I be “smart” too?

There is income I make that would go unnoticed by anyone and everyone (including my husband, to be honest!): some of my students nearly always pay in cash. I could skip reporting that. Easy peasy.

BUT (and you knew there had to be a “but”, right?) I can’t do it. Period.

First of all, my belief system calls for honesty. Lying is wrong. (Again: Period.) So that makes it abundantly clear that I can’t do this no matter what. But secondly, if I’m angry at our future head of our country for not being honest and forthright, how dare I go there?

That’s the thing. I refuse to point a finger at someone if I’m ready, willing, able AND planning on doing the same thing. (Yes, I point fingers at this person since I won’t act on it. Call me a bad girl if you need to.) This is something that has troubled me regarding the whole pointing fingers thing. Please don’t point a finger if you are doing exactly the same thing. I don’t care if you think you somehow deserve to get away with it because “I’m underpaid” or “I’m not like him” … it doesn’t matter. It is what it is: if you cheat you are a cheater.

When I was a little kid I took a piece of Brach’s candy (remember those bins with that candy?) from the grocery store. My mother reprimanded me (and paid for the piece of candy) and told me, “Stealing a piece of candy is as bad as stealing a washing machine.” (Typical mom … I mean … c’mon … WHY would ANYONE steal a washing machine??) That stuck with me.

But I ramble. But here’s the truth: I want to lie on my tax return. But I won’t.

Here … have what I think of as “Muppet Plants” to make up for my ramble which, I’m guessing, will be called “holier than thou” by some, even though we don’t usually house “thou” any more. ;-)

Stars

Music by Ēriks Ešenvalds, text by Sara Teasdale
Chor Leoni Men’s Choir

Alone in the night
On a dark hill
With pines around me
Spicy and still,

And a heaven full of stars
Over my head,
White and topaz
And misty red;

Myriads with beating
Hearts of fire
That aeons
Cannot vex or tire;

The dome of heaven
Like a great hill.
I know I
Am honored to be
Witness
Of so much majesty. – Sara Teasdale

Irony?

I’m never sure if I’m getting irony right … is it ironic that we begin the week honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and end it bringing in a president who stands against so much of what Dr. King and others dreamed about?

This work, by Joseph Schwantner, is posted here as arranged for wind ensemble by Nikk Pilato.

Atsugi High School Wind Symphony
George Nowells, narrator

And this …

… and to add something new … there is this. Don’t listen. Watch.

Now & Then

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Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. … The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters from Prison, Page 43