Monday, June 23, 2014

Looking for Redemption

Why am I writing about returning empty soft drink bottles? What does anyone care? They’re all used up. Yet I see one by the side of the road when I’m out walking and I think “That bottle still has something to do. It can be recycled. Redeemed.”

Of course, bottles aren’t people – they can’t redeem themselves – they need it to be done TO them. You can’t do this to people (Soylent Green being the exception, but I believe there are better uses of people than that. Most people, anyway.)

We aren’t just containers to be recycled – we are what’s IN the container. When we redeem ourselves, it’s that inside that changes. Sometimes our lives seem out of our control, and (much worse) pointless. It can be a long, hard slog, and it’s easy to fall prey to doubts about our own purpose (whatever that may be), and whether we’re truly living our life to it’s fullest – being the best we can be.

We all need inspiration. My favorite movies all seem to have a thread of REDEMPTION running through them – Invincible, A Knight’s Tale, It’s a Wonderful Life, Lord of the Rings – even Galaxy Quest. I know I’m not alone in this, which means to me that there are lots of us feeble, faltering, fallible, fault-filled humans (why doesn’t human start with “f”?) looking for that same reassurance, that, yes, William, a man can change his stars.
Just saying….

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication “Broken Down: Detective Jimmy Delaney Collection #1”) can be found in many places, such as:
·         His Amazon Author page:
Connect with him on Facebook at:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Inhuman Sacrifice

The public school our son was in was failing in its job at our son’s expense; “stick with us”, they’d say, help us make our school better. Does it make sense for your child to lose EVEN ONE PRECIOUS YEAR of his limited dozen years of primary education? Why, when there were better ways and better schools instantly available? Why would you do that to your children, except for the greater good?


We aren’t ants, yet EVEN ants will fight to protect their young (I watched enough colonies in my misspent youth to see this. Of course, I also watched invading colonies steal a children as well – obviously the young are a VERY VALUABLE COMMODITY.)

We (a broad group that I appear to hold a minority stake in) have chosen to make a sacrifice. I’m not talking about the kind of sacrifice people make of themselves through perseverance and determination for a cause – there’s nobility in that. I’m talking about the ignoble decision to sacrifice others to a cause not of their choosing. This is what caused the colonies (Americans, not ants) to break with Britain – the imposition of burdens without recourse.

We Humans distinguish ourselves from the other beasts (in part) by our awareness of our past, our future, and our mortality, and naturally leads us to place a high value on our legacy. We are wired to protect that legacy, and our legacy is our children. How has that wiring been unraveled in this country?
I will mention here a growing tendency in this country to have little or no empathy for others (no matter how you feel about the abortion issue, I don’t see how anyone can argue that forty-plus years of legalization of infanticide hasn’t contributed to a callousness toward the lives of others, a sense of self-centeredness, a willingness to SACRIFICE OTHERS for our own convenience, as well as a slew of other senseless killings, fatal hit-and-runs, car-jackings, etc.); this disregard has attached itself across the spectrum of OTHERS, including those we should be most invested in protecting (NOT YOU, YOUR DESCENDENTS.)

It is shameful to refuse to deal with the discomfort of periodic economic adjustments, and instead of making the hard choices necessary, keep our toys and saddle our children with OUR debts (and our grandchildren, too, which means we won’t even leave OUR CHILDREN that option – they’ll have to reach a couple more generations ahead to equal our cowardice.)
We’re mortgaging their future – depriving them of the God-given freedoms that our founders sought to protect. What gives US the right to take away what’s theirs?

It’s one thing to chain yourself to a wagon of YOUR OWN CHOOSING – it’s another to chain your children – or anyone else – to a wagon of they had NOTHING to do with (if you literally did chain your kids like that, how fast would you be put in prison?)
Grow up, folks, and stop this INHUMAN SACRIFICE. Clean up your own mess; don’t leave it for your children.
Just saying….

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication “Broken Down: Detective Jimmy Delaney Collection #1”) can be found in many places, such as:
·         His Amazon Author page:

Monday, June 9, 2014

Whose Thoughts Are These, Anyway?

I was going to be an actor – I enjoyed taking on other characters and personalities. Taking on often happened literally – over each play’s rehearsal period I would begin manifesting personality traits that weren’t my own – I’d become more aggressive, or timid, or angry, or silly.
Thinking back, I believe it was an outlet for me – it’s much easier to express emotions that I don’t own than the ones I do. It can even be therapeutic Don’t doubt me - try this sometime: go into a sealed room where you feel safe, and scream your lungs out about something that you don’t even care about – when it’s over you’ll feel relieved (one way or another.)
I also have a problem with not wanting to appear stupid. I don’t like not knowing things (including what’s coming next.) I hated improv, but loved the comfort of a script. Life isn’t this neat – I sat on a jury once and was amazed at how sloppy the proceedings seemed versus the way a courtroom drama unfolds – of course, courtroom dramas have WRITERS, and they impose a logic and neatness on life that isn’t always there.
I think these things are part and parcel of why I write. There are voices in my head. Thoughts come unbidden, and often undesired, that have nothing to do with the way I feel about people or things. And yet those thoughts are there. Whole conversations, irrational arguments in favor of any number of actions I consider deplorable – and would really NEVER do – occur on a regular basis.
I wonder if this would make me a candidate for Turret’s syndrome – the version where people blurt out offensive, socially rejected verbage. Whatever checkbox in our programming that tells us DON’T SAY THAT isn’t checked, and so it comes out. Me, I have just enough self-control not to give voice to the voices when I’m around others, but the DON’T THINK THOSE THOUGHTS checkbox is disabled in my mind, and those voices won’t be silenced, and build to a horribly distracting crescendo.
So I write. Or, is it really me?
Just saying….

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication “Mutiny on the Star-Bound”) and the input of the other voices that share his grey matter can be found in many places, such as:
·         His Amazon Author page:

Connect with him on Facebook at:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Living the Distance

There’s a story where a boy doesn’t want to wait for life to take its course – he wants to skip over the boring parts to get to the good stuff. He acquires a ball of thread (“The Magic Thread” that allows him to do just that. He keeps finding reasons to hurry up and get past the parts of life he doesn’t care about (skipping all the “little” details in the process) to get to his next milestone. In the end, he finds that it all goes by far too fast and those little things along the road really were important after all.
The journey or the destination - what are you in it for? We set endpoints as goals – how often do you set EXPERIENCING the journey as an objective?
Everything goes by faster now. Microwaves have replaced half-day dinner prep. We sit around that dinner table, busy sending out restrictive text messages, our eyes glued on gorilla glass instead of our fellow humans.
(This is another sign of aging – I have arrived at the point in life where I feel it’s necessary to tell everyone - especially “the young” - to enjoy what they have before it’s gone.)
We keep finding faster ways to jump from point A to point B. We get in a car or a train or a plane and sit there absorbed in our iPads and Gameboys while the scenery rolls by, vicariously experiencing where we aren’t instead of BEING WHERE WE ARE.
Star Trek isn’t too far off; I read in the last few months that the Chinese (among others) are working on teleportation – using string theory to communicate across a lake. Strings. Is this really better than a string and two cans? I have fond memories of that. (Or Toucans? Has anyone tried communicating with Toucans? That I don’t remember.)
Stop being in such a hurry – it will all be over soon enough. We should thank the people of the TSA for making air travel slower. Talk to them (someone ought to.) For that matter, talk to whoever you happen to be with while you’re waiting for the next big thing; you don’t know what you might be missing.
Life is what happens while we’re making plans; it’s not a sprint – it’s a distance event (the same thing goes for marriage.) You can fall down (several times) and still get up and finish respectably. We’re all born, and we all die; all those incidentals that happen between that start and finish are what make it unique. 
If you must have plans, then PLAN to pay attention to what’s happening around you. Don’t just GO somewhere – BE THERE AND EXPERIENCE LIFE.
Just saying….

William Mangieri’s writing (including his latest ePublication “Mutiny on the Star-Bound”) can be found in many places, such as:
·         His Amazon Author page:

Connect with him on Facebook at: