Learn to hate

“You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear…”

Small children will generally play with anyone and anything they find.  They do not know about hate and fear until they are taught.  Another three-year old is just another three-year old, unless an adult grabs him away and admonishes the child not to play with the other child because he or she is “different.”  That can mean many things to many people but passing along hate and fear is what society is good at doing.  If it was not good at it, then why is there prejudice and hate?  The three-year old can learn to become the schoolyard bully by the age of 8 if given enough instruction.

Teaching fear and hate does not need specific lessons or a handbook.  Adults can simply pass it on through mean jokes, name calling and hateful talk amongst one another.  Kids will get the idea real fast who they should hate.  They want to fit in with their relatives and the social circles they find themselves in, so they will quickly learn to mimic the hate and name calling they hear.  By the time they are teenagers, they might be so full of hate, they are able to beat someone to death.

‘You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear…”

Perhaps mom or dad will be quite pleased when they learn their little Johnny can repeat some of the evil jokes they themselves have told.  It might be amusing to hear their boy ridicule someone he met at school that is different.  They may feel a sense of pride that their son is just like they are.  This only reinforces the prejudice and hate.  Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are.  Imagine the good feeling a child can receive when they realize that parroting back the hatred they hear brings joy to the adults around them.

“You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade…”

There are a whole variety of things that children can be taught to hate.  I could put quite a list here if I think about it long enough.  It’s not just skin color or different eyes, it might as well be hair color, or glasses or clothing.  We can type, or should I say stereotype, just about anything.  Maybe if you just sound a little different you are someone to hate.  Your speech might indicate you are from another part of the world or the country or perhaps just another part of the city.  If a child learns early enough, he/she can hate a wide range of people.  It has to be done early, however, before a child learns to think for himself.  If you wait too long, the child may learn to rebel against the hate.  He may end up to be one of those teenagers who brings home different types of friends.  He may speak about peace and love.  He may join alliances at school that promote tolerances.  He may also be bullied
rather than be the bully.  What would some parents ever do with a child like that?

“You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!”

When I was in high school our class put on the play, “South Pacific.”  It is the 1949 musical about fear and prejudice on a south Pacific island in World War II.  When it seems nurse Nellie can not love a Frenchman on the island because of his colored children, she can not explain why.  It is just something she feels.  When the Frenchman comments to a Lieutenant that he does not believe these feelings are born in you, Lt. Cable replies, “It’s not born in you.  It happens after you’re born.”  He then sings the song “Carefully Taught.”  I thought the song was way ahead of its time, even decades later when I first heard it.  Emile de Becque who left his homeland to escape prejudice tells the lieutenant, “This is just the kind of ugliness I was running away from.  It has followed me all this way.”

The play was an important lesson for me.  I had already started to learn the damage of hateful jokes and hateful people.  I guess many of our generation did learn the lesson, but apparently not enough.  Prejudice and hate continue to get passed down.  High profile hate crimes, hate crimes legislation and Public Service Announcements can not begin to eradicate the hate and fear that begins in the home.

I thought all about these things when I realized that the anniversary of one of the most brutal hate crimes of our times is today, October 12th.  It was 1998 when Matthew Shepard was beaten bloody with a 357 Smith and Wesson, “pistol whipped,” and left in a field to die.  The sheriff of Laramie, Wyoming, tells the story of the crime, not for sensational reasons, but because it needs to be told.  Matthew was one of those people who was different and consequently, others were taught to hate him. What was different about Matthew that brought out the hate others had learned?  Matthew was gay.  He was also a young man who should have had a long life ahead of him.  Hate took that away.

Posted in Gay, Life, Society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NO H8 Campaign Comes To Chicago

This gallery contains 18 photos.

Spreading the message of equality Perhaps you have seen some of the famous pictures captured by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska.  The ones where the subject has duct tape on his or her mouth and “NO H8″ stenciled on the person, … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On With the Show

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Christine McVie returns to Fleetwood Mac Although the band has undergone many lineup changes over the years, most Fleetwood Mac fans consider Mick Fleetwood (drummer) and John McVie (bass player), for whom the band is named, Lindsey Buckingham (rock guitar god), Stevie … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Les Alyscamps, Falling Autumn Leaves, Vincent ...

Les Alyscamps, Falling Autumn Leaves, Vincent van Gogh, 1888 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold…”

The changing seasons may hold special memories for some.  Walking outside into a particular type of weather may evoke a particular moment.  It may unlock a time from your memory vault, either good or bad, that you can associate with the weather, the season, or maybe just a certain type of day.  Like the autumn leaves, visions of your life may fall all around you.

When the weather changes from summer to fall, the most predominant image to me is that of football.  No, I am not talking about sitting in front of a television on Saturday or Sunday to watch college of professional football.  I am talking about the in the park, touch football sort of memories I accrued over many years in Revere Park with many different friends as teammates and opponents.  Whatever hard feelings there may have been over certain games or with opposing players have now blown away like leaves being blown down the street by a fierce October wind.  Only good images remain.  I would be a liar if I denied that this time of year makes me yearn for an autumn that will never be repeated.  Since I can not go back to those days, I can only carry the memories forward into the winter of life.  Fortunately, they are good memories.

Football was always a favorite with me so there are other memories besides the “weekend warrior” kind.  There are the years as a football official for leagues of boys playing in that same park.  Although I enjoyed working other sports as well, nothing compared to running out onto the field, with college fight songs blasting over the park speakers, as we yelled at the youngsters to line up for the opening kick-off.  We worked these games in every type of weather, warm and windy days as well as cool and crisp afternoons.  We not only endured driving rains but even some late fall snows that coated the fields and reminded us that winter was lurking around some corner that we were about to turn.

Of course, there was plenty of time spent watching football on televisions with the giant 19 inch screen. I fell most in love with the professional game after reading the best seller by Green Bay Packer lineman Jerry KramerInstant Replay made famous some Packer linemen and their opponents on the line of scrimmage.  Paper Lion by George Plimpton also was a great read, particularly for the amateur player, not quite good enough to play the pro game.  A couple other football books written in the same generation of players helped to capture a certain mystique about the game.  I doubt there have been any better books written about pro football since.  That these memories of certain books go with a particular season are an amazing thing to me.  Indeed I associate other books with other seasons as well.

“I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold…”

Summer could last forever for me now.  Since I can not improve on the fall memories that I pray will never fall away, I would then wish for t-shirt and shorts weather to stick around.  While summer is always filled with a certain sort of contentment, fall is filled with nostalgia for a by-gone era.  I can stand in the middle of the park and remember what was, or travel to the arboretum to immerse myself in colored leaves, but I can not turn back any clocks.  That is the reminder that autumn ushers in with its cooler nights and shorter days.

“Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song…”

If you live in the midwest part of the USA, you know that winter will come storming in all too soon.  Even if you like the snow of a Christmas morning, you never like the hours spent shovelling your walkways or digging out your automobile.  If you live in the “Windy City,” Chicago that is, then you absolutely know how a winter wind can “go right through you,” as many say here.  The meanness of old man winter is only welcomed by a scant few.  The rest of us understand so well that autumn points to the brutally mean side of Mother Nature.  When you reach the autumn of your own years, winter can not be made welcome, because you know that there is no spring to follow.  If you have not already stopped to smell the roses, or looked at the explosion of fall colors, then you have missed what nature and life itself has to offer.

“…but I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall.”

There is a season for reminiscence and I guess that it is autumn.  If a cool fall afternoon can drive me to my computer to toss off some random thoughts, then I suppose the time is now.  For the people and times past that remain in my heart, I must declare that I miss you most of all, when autumn leaves start to fall.

- “Les feuilles mortes” music by Joseph Kosma and lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert, english lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

Posted in Life, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Rich Paschall:

Only Mother Nature knows where the water has gone.

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

From The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834)
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

I’ve been talking a lot lately — for obvious reasons — about the drought we are not officially having. I thought it was time to show you what I see and how I know we are having a drought. And why I wonder how come no one except me seems to find this alarming.

All these pictures were taken at the same location: Manchaug. At the dam and the lake formed by the dam. And the river that used to feed this waterway, except that now it’s more like a puddle than a river.

Manchaug, September 10, 2011

Manchaug, September 10, 2011

This was shot on September 10, 2011. My granddaughter and I were wandering around and there it was. We…

View original 326 more words

Posted in Life | 1 Comment


Rich Paschall:

If you can not fix your well or your pacemaker with software, we are not as far along with this technology thing as we should be. Just saying!

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

Monday, the well went dry. Bummer. Scary bummer. Mother Nature saying “The joke’s on YOU!”

While I’m saying “Hey … but … wait a minute … Can’t I fix that with software? ”

Going home

So after I stop running around in circles and weeping hysterically — bet you’re glad you missed it — and with the help of a whole lot of people (it takes a village), we gather money to fix the well. Because we have been assured by both well contractors who work in our area that our well can be fixed. And they have the know-how and equipment to do it.


We need a firm estimate — real numbers. Not the vague estimate one typically gets from a contractor. A commitment to do the work before the ground freezes. Contractors are a lot like Mother Nature. You can’t control a contractor. They show up when they show up, work when they work. If you annoy them, they might not work and you don’t…

View original 642 more words

Posted in Life | 1 Comment


Rich Paschall:

Mother Nature is fickle. Her loyalties are ever shifting and her rain is always needed.

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

DAILY PROMPT: READY, SET, DONE – Free Writing In the Morning

This is a dark morning. It looks like it’s going to rain. That’s a good thing and I hope it will rain for real. But it’s often dark and gray like this in the morning, yet no rain comes. By mid morning, the sky clears. The ground stays dry.

It’s been like this … if I think about it … since last summer, the summer of 2013. That’s the first time I went to Manchaug and saw the dam was dry. It was far dryer this year, the lake being nearly gone. The mallards and swans are gone too. The turtles are living in brown puddles.


The dams were had already been closed and dry by the autumn of 2013 and have not reopened. Still locked up through this entire year. We had a moderate amount of snow — along with plenty of ice and…

View original 342 more words

Posted in Life | 2 Comments


Rich Paschall:

We all need a helping hand sometimes. We all need water all the time.

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

It didn’t rain overnight, which would have been nice because at the bottom of everything is a drought that has yet to be acknowledged by Massachusetts. Probably won’t be until we follow California and are completely out of water.

Meanwhile, with all the dams closed, the swamps drying out, the riverbeds mud with the occasional puddle — there is still some water. Not as much as we need, but some. New England is not usually an arid zone. Droughts are less common than flooding. Which is probably why we aren’t as good as we need to be at water management.


Most people, unless their well has gone dry — and there are plenty of us — are paying little attention to the dry streams and rivers, the receding waters on Whitin’s Pond. The disappearance of the water fowl because their environment is disappearing along with their food supply.

Yesterday, our well went dry…

View original 467 more words

Posted in Life | 2 Comments


Rich Paschall:

We all need water!

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

I’ve been saying — loudly and frequently — that we are having a drought. This is the dryest summer I can remember. As a photographer, I’ve spent a lot of time around dams and other waterways. All of the dams are locked down and many of the riverbeds and ponds are dry.

Today, our well went dry.

We don’t have the option of “city water.” There is no city water in this area. We had the well guy here and he said our well is empty. We did have a stuck flap on a toilet and that’s probably what ran the well out … but the well had to already be very low for that to empty the entire well.

If the well doesn’t refill, if it has gone dry, there are just two choices: drill a new well or hydro-fracking.

Our well is very deep, about 475 feet. We don’t…

View original 348 more words

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Harold and the Short Story Series

Along the Gulf Coast

Along the Gulf Coast

When Harold retired from his satisfying job at a big Midwestern manufacturing facility, he planned on a well-ordered and simple retirement along the Gulf coast of Florida.  It would be one where everything was planned for the most efficient use of time.  Every day would have a purpose and every hour would fit his schedule.  The problem with plans is they sometimes go awry.  You see, Harold did not make plans that accommodated interaction with the people he encountered in everyday life.  Neighbors, friends and even a mysterious little boy disrupt the well-ordered life of the well-organized man.  As a result, Harold is not as well-organized as he had hoped.  But Harold is nothing, if not persistent, and he tries his best to carry on.

The appearance of Harold in the short story series on SERENDIPITY was meant to be a one time thing.  The short story “Soup and Sandwich” was written just to convey the typical week of a newly retired man.  Each day was given a brief description with a little extra time spent on Harold’s favorite activity, his twice weekly soup and sandwich lunch at the Wild West Restaurant and Bar.  It was to end there.  After all there were other stories to be told.

Like the life of Harold, not all plans go as you foresee them.  If we could know the future, maybe we could alter our plans.  Harold’s first appearance seemed to call for more.  Interest in the character and more stories led to a Sunday story, then a Monday and so on.  The path to follow was laid out in the first story so it ultimately seemed logical to play out the week.  But what was going to happen on those days?  After all, the first story just took a very brief look at each day.  There were really no details.  What can the author see in all the days of an unplanned series?

Harold had to start each day attempting to execute his plan.  The days then got caught up in friends and neighbors, supermarkets and the library, mysteries and a mysterious little boy.  All of the new and unforeseen elements, unforeseen to Harold anyway, would disrupt the flow and challenge Harold to keep on his man-made, super strict schedule.  How would the well-ordered man handle the lack of order that ran through his week?  Certainly this is the point I invite you to read the series, rather than give any more away.

Following the opening story, the week starts with “The Case With The Missing Egg.”  The mystery will carry over to a later story. Next up is “Come Monday, It Will Be Alright,” but unlike the Jimmy Buffett song, it is not as alright as hoped.  “A Tuesday Mystery” may solve one conundrum, only to introduce another.  Tuesday is a 2 part story, as is Thursday.  The rest of the stories are, in order:
A Tuesday Fantasy With Harold
A Wild West Wednesday
A Library Lesson
Harold and the Tiny Wizard

Friday and Saturday are yet to come over on teepee12.com where the series has been running.  Even the author can not tell you what things will be in Harold’s way as the week continues.  The author’s plans as well as Harold’s may clash with any schedule that lies ahead.  I hope you will stop over there to check out the stories.  The Friday story will be up next week (for sure).

Of course, when you go over to see Harold, you will certainly find your schedule changed as you are fascinated with the content Marilyn Armstrong puts up every day on SERENDIPITY.  Her stories will delight and inform.  Her photography highlights her experience at capturing great scenes.  If you hunt around, you will find that she has even shared some valuable tips on the art of photography.  You may forget all about poor Harold when you find her articles on a wide range of topics.  Harold is happy to find an occasional Sunday to make an appearance there.

Note:  All of my short stories that have appeared on SERENDIPITY courtesy of Marilyn Armstrong are listed at the bottom of this column in the “footer.”

Posted in Life, Short Story | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments