Today Would Have Been My Brother’s Birthday

 

Today would have been my brother’s birthday. I am actually afraid of not feeling pain and heartbreak when I think of him. His widow is amazing and doing a great job with their 2 kids. I love them all.

It also happens to be one of my other nephews birthdays.  Michael lives life with the passion we all should!

“Even the strong show signs of fatigue.” Friedrich Nietzsche

My brother said this to me once. At the moment, I have a deep and un-abiding understanding of it.

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I actually started this blog because my brother Jeff was a Writer, a journaler and in general, an amazing person.

10/13/2013     Today at 12:30 PM my youngest brother JEFFERY EDMONDS lost his battle with cancer.

“Even the strong show signs of fatigue. Friedrich Nietzsche

My brother said this to me once. At the moment, I have a deep and un-abiding understanding of it.

Things I’ve learned from my brother Jeffery Lee Edmonds

People don’t actually change that much. Since Jeff was younger than me, I got to see him grow up a little. Obviously he’s changed a lot. But in many ways, he’s also very much the same. The sensitive, gentle demeanor he’s had since he was younger never left him. He’s always had a dry sense of humor, a deep love of food, especially sugary breakfast cereal,  an infectious laugh, and a tendency to get lost in his own world.

I think this a good reminder for everyone, especially when we get stuck in the toxic pattern of wishing we were different or more like so-and-so, that many of our personality traits and preferences seem to be hardwired from a very young age, and that’s pretty cool. You can be smart, cultured, and mature, and still think nothing in the world is funnier than a poop joke.If there’s anything I’ve learned from my three smart, funny, well-informed, sensitive, thoughtful brothers, it’s that there is no shame in scatological humor. Jeff, specifically, is capable of discussing the nuances of philosophical belief systems, building a super computer, and writing a dystopian novel, and he still cracks up at the mere mention of the words “poop” or “butt.” The lesson here? Let your poop joke flag fly! Appreciate Nature. No one I know had a bigger and better appreciation of the world around him. Spot the natural beauty of the mountains, the trees, the ocean, everything. Beauty surrounds you. Slow down and appreciate it. LAUGH at yourself.

At Thanksgiving one year in front of the entire family and his girlfriend (soon to be fiancee) I managed to spill my entire plate of food onto my lap. I was horrified. Our eyes made contact and we both just started laughing. Sometimes in life things are going to be messy and not go the way you want. Laugh at it and move on. Today- just about the time of Jeff’s last breath, I dropped a potato on the floor in a restaurant. I said, “that one’s for Jeff.”

Stop procrastinating. When Jeff first moved with his family to Maine from St. Louis my wife went up to help paint some rooms in his house. They were up nearly all night painting and Jeff spoke of his goal of writing a novel. His time on this planet expired before he was able to finish. Get off your ass and finish your goals. Jeff was a writer. He always wanted to write a novel. He just ran out of time. We have have things we wanted to do but come up with excuses on why we can’t do it.

No excuses, promise me you will follow through with your goals.  –

This moment is your life.– Your life is not between the moments of your birth and death.  Your life is between now and your next breath.  The present – the here and now – is all the life you ever get.  So live each moment in full, in kindness and peace, without fear and regret.  And do the best you can with what you have in this moment; because that is all you can ever expect of anyone, including yourself. I have just learned that A lifetime isn’t very long.– This is your life, and you’ve got to fight for it.  Fight for what’s right.  Fight for what you believe in.  Fight for what’s important to you.  Fight for the people you love, and never forget to tell them how much they mean to you.  Realize that right now you’re lucky because you still have a chance.  So stop for a moment and think.  Whatever you still need to do, start doing it today.

There are only so many tomorrows –

Let me here your thoughts!

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5 Realities Of Owning A Gun (The Media Never Talks About)

I have just returned from an extensive work trip to Europe. Many of the places I have been have much stricter control on guns than we do here in USA. Not a surprise considering we have relatively little  regulation.  A few months ago, after the most recent mass shooting, I got into a discussion with someone about gun control. In the end we agreed to disagree. I only bring this up because it was a good discussion, there was no yelling  and in the end we both learned a little about how and why the other felt the way they do.

Reality is that the majority of Americans feel  we need stricter gun laws. With two-thirds of the country demanding we tamp down on gun ownership and one chunk insisting we legalize tank ownership, America’s gun control “debate” is little more than a shouting match. To what should be the surprise of no one, there are a few things about American gun culture that both sides keep getting wrong. For instance …

5 Most Gun Violence Happens In States Nobody Talks About
Chicago is the gun fanatic’s favorite stick to beat opponents with. That’s because despite its strict gun laws, the city is still deemed the most violent place in all of America. So that proves gun control doesn’t work. Right? Only one little caveat: The state with the most gun violence isn’t Illinois. That honor goes to the whitest state in the union, Alaska.

Frank K./Wiki CommonsI am talking, of course, about the snow.

Alaska had the most gun-related deaths of any state in 2015. Now, like in every other state, most of those deaths were suicides, but as of this year, Alaska still has the worst violent crime rate in the country. Yet people don’t seem afraid to go there. So what is causing all that Alaskan violence? We can’t say conclusively, but the state is predominantly white and has the sixth-highest poverty level in America, so it’s hard to blame everything on dastardly non-Caucasians. Maybe it’s the fault of another thing that Alaska doesn’t have: restrictions on guns. No limits, no licenses for dealers, no waiting periods.

Couperfield/Adobe StockLiteral cold-blooded murder.

But those things don’t work. After all, remember Chicago? Yes, Chicago has tough gun laws that don’t seem to be doing anything. But that’s because most of the guns aren’t acquired in Chicago at all, but instead come from neighboring states like Indiana, where it’s a goddamn free for all. In fact, nearly 6 out of 10 guns recovered at Chicago crime scenes come from out-of-state dealers. It’s hard to enforce gun control if criminals can simply drive 30 minutes and get a shotgun free with the purchase of a toaster oven.

And even though there are plenty of murders in the city itself, don’t forget that Chicago is huge. It’s home to almost three million people, meaning that when you break the numbers down per capita, Chicago’s gun crime in 2016 was 16 per 100,000. St. Louis was 660. That’s not a typo. So don’t worry about Chicago. Worry about Anchorage. Or West Palm Beach, home to Mar-a-Lago, which has comparable violent crime rates, only a small percentage of which we can feasibly blame on Trump.

4 Many Gun Owners Aren’t “Responsible”
A small study of North Carolina parents showed that 99 percent reported having a smoke detector, but only 57 percent admitted to locking up guns so that kids couldn’t get them. Additionally, 36 percent of those families admit they keep them loaded! Don’t they read Chekhov in North Carolina? A much larger survey found that 54 percent of gun owners overall admitted that they did not store their guns safely. No gun safes, no cabinets, no trigger locks, not even a passive-aggressive Post-It note telling everyone not to touch their stuff.

M. Schuppich/Adobe StockMaybe put a little more effort into keeping your kids out of your guns than your co-workers out of your sack lunch.

And in a bizarre twist, the gun owners least likely to secure their guns were the ones who stressed that they bought them for security purposes.

These legal gun owners were also prime victims for robbery, supplying their neighborhood criminals and meth heads with exactly the kind of “illegal” hardware Fox News viewers keep complaining about. We’ll never know how many of their guns find their way to the street, because only a dozen or so states have any kind of law that says firearm theft has to be reported to authorities. But when it comes to such thefts that have been reported, the FBI has noticed a steady uptick.

Annenberg Public Policy Center“Hi, FBI? Someone stole 240,000 guns from me. Yes, I’m a lifetime NRA member, how did you know?”

So the next time you see some insecure patriot walking around with a shotgun slung over their back, breathe a sigh of relief. At least they know exactly where their gun is.

3 Mass Shootings Consistently Lead To Looser Gun Laws, Not Stricter Ones
Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, almost half of the country has expanded, rather than tightened, its gun control laws. Since 2014, you can now walk around in a Georgia airport with a loaded weapon. It’s also now cool in Tennessee to carry a loaded gun in a car without a concealed carry permit, kind of thanks to Newtown. One guy tries to blow up a plane with a shoe, and we all have to take our shoes off for the TSA forever, but a dozen kids get mowed down by bullets, and Ohio makes it perfectly legal to conceal-carry in daycare centers. But it’s not all bad. In Oregon, it’s now illegal to buy a gun if you have been convicted of stalking or domestic violence.

Drobot Dean/Adobe StockY-yay? How was that not already a law?

These new laws aren’t erected despite the tragic shootings, but because of them. According to a 2016 Harvard study examining gun control laws all the way back to 1989, mass shootings create “policy windows” wherein it becomes easier to change a state’s gun control laws in the year after one. And those laws do get changed … in Republican-controlled states, which use the window to pass 75 percent more laws that loosen gun control. Meanwhile, when tragedy strikes anywhere a Democrat is in power, they remain all bark and no bite, proposing lots of bills but not actually passing any of them. If that really gets you down, we hope you live in a red state, because otherwise it’s just chain-smoking and motorcycle-riding for you.

2 The NRA Does Not Represent The Average Gun Owner
Pew research has shown that NRA members are more than twice as likely as other gun owners to keep five or more guns and carry one around all the time like an especially violent Linus. Politically, they’re also way more obsessed with gun rights, are likely to contact their representatives about gun issues on a regular basis, and are less likely to support strict background checks.

Pew Research CenterWhich, holy shit, only two-thirds of gun owners do. More on that later.

But the truly important number here is this: NRA membership only accounts for a tiny fraction of all gun owners in America. Using the NRA’s own estimates of five million members (which, like their talk about being a well-regulated militia, is certainly an exaggeration), they only represent about 6.5 percent of American gun owners. So NRA members don’t represent the average gun owner — they’re all alone on their little extremist island, presumably with mined beaches and antiaircraft guns.

So maybe it’s finally time to start paying attention to all the other gun rights advocacy groups out there. Like the left-leaning Liberal Gun Club, for liberals who love Berettas and background checks. Or the Pink Pistols, a group that thinks strappin’ up is a great way to protect yourself from hate crimes. And there are other, even more conservative groups, like the Gun Owners of America, which regularly butts heads with the NRA for being too compromising. Truth be told, gun culture is much more diverse than it seems. Really, the only thing they all agree on is “Guns are pretty rad.”

1 There Are Fewer And Fewer Gun Owners (But More Guns)
There are now enough guns in America for every man, woman, child, and Shih Tzu to carry. But that doesn’t mean gun ownership is on the rise. On the contrary, while there are more guns out there than you can shake a gun at, they are owned by a very small number of people. And that number is shrinking every year.

Right now, fewer Americans own guns than at any point in history. Yes, even after all the Obama stuff. As recently as the 1970s, the majority of Americans lived in households with guns. Today, that number is reversed, with 78 percent of Americans saying they live gun-free, though the data doesn’t say how many are genuinely intolerant of guns and how many are gun-free because it’s the trendy thing to do.

dinostock/Adobe Stock“I cut sugar, gluten, and bullets, and have never felt better!”

Most gun owners have “modest” collections — maybe a handgun and a backup AR for fancy occasions. But during the Obama administration, a new class of gun owner rose to prominence: the “super-owner.” They average a collection of 17 firearms — one for every digit that hasn’t been blown off yet. Which means that right now, half of America’s guns (133 million) are owned by a mere 3 percent of American adults.

So what would possess you to own more guns than clean pairs of underwear? Why, fear of gun control, of course! Many super-owners started their collection after worrying that post-massacre gun laws would keep them from owning any more guns, like a Catch-22 (or maybe a Catch-357, since no super-owner would be caught dead with such a pansy caliber).

Original Article

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The USA fell to 27th on Education and Healthcare

It’s great to believe your country is #1 but reality is different.

The United States is now ranked 27th globally on education and health care, a new study based on 2016 data reports.

The study, organized by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, seeks to identify “the number of productive years an individual in each country can be expected to work between the ages of 20 to 64,” based on education and health care. This number is referred to as the “human capital” of a nation’s people.

America’s human capital measurement is 23 years, that’s the amount of time a person can be expected to work at peak productivity when accounting for life expectancy, general health and education. The U.S. ranked sixth in the world in 1990, and the drop apparently took researchers by surprise.

“The decline of human capital in the United States was one of the biggest surprises in our study,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of IHME.

The study shows that China has had the opposite trajectory since 1990, going from 69th in the world to 44th.

Finland landed in the top with 28.4 years, followed by Iceland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Taiwan. At the bottom was Niger at less than 1.6 years of human capital.

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Kavanaugh is a tough choice

It has been a while since I have gone on a political rant but I have been quiet long enough.

I have been in Europe for work for a couple weeks so I have been a bystander to what surely must be 24/7 news coverage.

Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, from what I have seen on Italian TV, Kavanaugh does not seem to have the temperament to be elevated to the highest court.

I am a gymnastics coach, owner of a private gymnastics club and an educator for USA Gymnastics.  We know controversy and mistakes!

Here is what I know, IF Kavanaugh was qualified to be a gymnastics coach, I am not sure I would hire him. When faced with accusations he got angry and blamed others.

In the gymnastics world, Kavanaugh would not be allowed to coach or get a professional membership. With accusations against him for sexual abuse he would be barred from the sport pending an investigation and hearing.

But, I guess it is easier to become a Supreme Court Justice than a gymnastics coach.

What is the hurry? Let’s have a full investigation. If he comes back clear, then move forward.

QUESTION- Is this the best choice of a Justice that the president could make? There was no one out there equally as qualified?

Just my thoughts.

 

 

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My Birthday Traditions

Today is my birthday. This is not really a big deal because I AM NOT 4. OR 21. or any significant age.

Today is like every other day with one small exception. I go and get a coffee and a pistachio muffin.

Growing up my mother and my grandmother (my father’s mother) knew I loved Pistachio cake for my birthday. (I am very lucky that both of these amazing women are still with us!)

automotivator-14Now as an adult (who is still prone to questionable decisions) I take my coffee break at Breaking New Grounds in downtown Portsmouth and get a coffee and a pistachio muffin. I sit and enjoy a few minutes of quiet and remember my life growing up.

I think about my relatives who have passed. My brother Jeff and My grandfather I miss the most.

I think about the friends I had growing up. People who encouraged my questionable decisions and shared their own! Scott Kelley, Jeff Endler, Becky Ray.

Friends from college who helped me celebrate in style and possibly created a little mayhem along the way. Joe Amuso, Bjorn Ingolfsson,

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My Gymnastics family who got me out of my comfort zone as a gymnast and a coach. Jose, Cos, Dave, Joel, Orli, Kip, Frank.

My Gym Momentum family. Wendy Bruce-Martin, My Gym sister! The entire Kormann family- you have all been so supportive. Cara- I love out talks, Daire- I miss you bro! Carly, Vasko, Rob, Doug, Brian Pickard, Jamie and Chris- You guys are amazing.

My friends in this “middle part” of my life. Rob and Becky, Dave and Jo. Gerry and Beth. Jacobo.

and I think about my amazing family. Steph- You are everything to me. Maddie and Chase- I am so proud of who you have become.

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There are so many more who I want to thank for making an impact in my life. I wish we could all get together and get a drink.

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Another school shooting — and Washington’s done nothing since the last

Another day, another 10 victims — nine students and a teacher — shot to death, this time in a high school in the Houston suburb of Santa Fe.

And another reminder that Washington, from President Trump on down, has failed to do anything about comprehensive and sensible gun-control measures.

As the president himself said Friday, “This has been going on too long in our country.” Indeed, it was painful to see so many students telling reporters “it was going to happen here eventually.”

It seems that the NRA has convinced many in and out of Washington that the ONLY way to be safe is to own more guns. Texas probably has the MOST guns in the country and has over 3,353 gun-related deaths occur in Texas each year.

The Lt Governor of Texas had the balls to put the blame on TOO MANY ENTRANCES into the school. Well- that’s something new. Not mental health, not a “good guy” with a gun who could have stopped them, not arming teacher (yet).  ANYTHING but too many guns.

Too many doors? Does he not understand how doors work? How about people trying to escape a shooter? a fire? Sure- they can be locked from the outside because NO ONE EVER has snuck in through a locked door.

I said very often- I am a PROUD American. I have not served in uniform but I have represented USA Internationally as a coach and educator. I am tired of people rolling their eyes at us. I am tired of making excuses. I am tired of trying to explain something I do not understand.

Maybe this time we will do something about too many guns. Maybe this time we will do something to protect our children. I am not that hopeful.

 

and by the way- take your “thoughts and prayers” and stick them up your ass.

 

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A Drop of Hell

What’s left in me has been touched afire
Throw away all my desire
Beyond the reach of human range
A drop of Hell a touch of strange

Talk the devil into lightin himself on fire
What hand could have held the knife
That did me to my death?
The meaning of my life,
the reason I draw breath?

They emerged from the fire, alone with their pain
They emerged from the fire, for the first time truely sane

People change for two reasons. Their minds have been opened or

Their hearts have been broken

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