Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Trump's Effect

     Over the past few days social media is again ablaze with outrage. This time it's over how some teen boys reacted to...well you know. This post is not related to this one incident.

     I really don't even know where to start with this as I cannot even understand where we are as a country. In fact I just wrote a bunch of stuff and then backed up and started here again. I think the thing I struggle the most is with judgement. Although I have had many non Christians try to tell me that the Bible says not to judge that just simply is not true. By the way, instead of just repeating what others have said, try to study the Bible before you use it to argue against someone. You wouldn't argue with a architect without understanding something about architecture would you? Good. Hopefully I just saved you from looking like a fool. The Bible does tell us to judge but here is what so many get wrong about judgement. Judging someone's actions are fine and good. Judging someone's heart is wrong. In other words, someone steals bread. Wrong. Someone steals bread to feed his family? His actions are still wrong even if his heart was in the right place, and the worst judgement is when you assign the motive to their actions without knowing what it was. 

     Today everyone seems to know the heart of everyone else. Sometimes actions may look like one thing but where their heart is, is another. I find it mind blowing that everyone seems to know, without question, the heart of others. Because they are so sure they then feel justified in calling out, shaming and even destroying said person. In fact we have become so effective at discerning someone's heart that we need not be present. We need not know those involved. We need not know anyone who was present. We need not do any research. We just need to be told by our like thinking friends, news source, websites, and social media what to be outraged about and then we pick up our pitch forks and post!

     The worst part about Trump's being elected is how we have reacted to his presidency. I have watched people I used to think were great, fine, smart individuals turn into the most hateful, angry, mean spirited people. Before you say, "Hey Timo! Are you judging?" Yes, I'm judging actions. I have watched these people take down others, some longtime friends. I have listened to and read posts that are so full of hatred for others for simply having another point of view. Everyday full of outrage and bitterness. I myself have been the focal point of these attacks. I was even attacked for suggesting we take a break from politics. How dare me! 

     I have watched and I cry for my children as I think is this what we really want to leave them? Is this what we want to model for them? I for one do not. So I do not engage in this childlike behavior. I sit back and take notes. Trump will be out of office someday and his role in my life and yours will be gone. I will forget about Trump, but I will not forget the actions of those I know. I will not forget how I witnessed you treat others. How you judged the heart of others. The names you used. How you behaved. I know you feel justified. I know you feel as your fighting the good fight, but there is no nobility in taking someone down to elevate another. I will be judging, your character, and the true effect of Trump's presidency is that it will take me a lot longer to get over and forget your actions than those of the president.

Tim Olson

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Gillette Is Not the Problem

     News feeds across social media are filling up with the current outrage. In case you haven't heard Gillette made a commercial where they changed their tag line from "The Best A Man Can Get" to the "Best A Man Can Be". In the ad you see men looking in a mirror while in the background you hear television news reports about the #metoo movement. Then what follows is a series of shots showing men disrespecting women. In one scene two boys wrestle while the dad's exclaim "boys will be boys".  Then Gillette proclaims that they believe in the best of men. The ad then shows men standing up against other men after Terry Crews proclaims that men need to hold other men accountable. The final line is "Because the boys watching today, will be the men of tomorrow".

     So why all the outrage? It seems to me that the commercial is telling the truth. Real men need to stand up in situations that call for it. Real men need to teach our children how to be respectful and how to treat each other.  But in the commercial Gillette says men need to "say the right thing, to act the right way, and SOME already are". See the outrage comes from the word SOME. That word should be MOST. Most men already treat women with respect. Most men model good behavior for their children and most men do stand up when they see the situations portrayed in the commercial.

     The real outrage is coming from the fact that men are tired of being the punching bag. We all know how men are portrayed on television, incapable of doing the most meaningless tasks. Men have been told for the last few decades that they are not needed. We are not needed to be present in the home to raise good children. We are told women do not need us to be happy. We read articles about our privilege and how we run "rape camps". That we are unhappy that we no longer have unfettered access to women's bodies. I once posted a joke about my wife escaping by cutting her chain off the stove and I was taken to task for my toxic masculinity. It was a joke!

     Out of fear that I will just be written off as mansplaining I hope I can shed some light onto this situation. Yes men are outraged. MOST men are good men. MOST men are as disgusted by the behaviors of the Harvey Weinstein's of this world. MOST men do the right thing most days. The men I know worship their wives and children. They work jobs they hate to provide for them and do it all without much complaint. So I ask Gillette, where is our commercial? Where is our article? Why are we only focused on the negative minority of men and not on the bigger demographic of well behaving, hard working, family loving men?

     If our younger generation is watching then we need to hold up what it is we want them to be. This isn't something only men need to do, this is something as a society we need to do. We need to stress how important the role of a man is in the home. We need to stress the effect that a man has on his boys and his daughters. We need to feature REAL men and showcase what a REAL man looks like in a positive way.

     Society can do a better job of lifting up men but just like most things it starts at home. There are too many broken homes. The breakdown of the family unit is the single largest reason we are facing these issues today. But we don't want to talk about that for a variety of reasons. We would rather just blame men. Studies show that just by having the father in the house children will be less likely to use drugs, alcohol, engage in risky behavior, have better school attendance and do financially better in life. Not to mention intangible stuff like knowledge, habits, and willpower are increased. Stable, healthy families are at the heart of strong societies. No wonder we all think our society has gone crazy.

     So yes, men are upset but it's not about some razor companies commercial. We are tired of hearing about how we are nothing but a bunch of disgusting pigs who need to change ourselves because we are nothing but evil and that until we change we are nothing but worthless to society. But I'm one man who can tell you, MOST of us are not disgusting pigs. We are dedicated to our wives who we love very much, we love our children and would die for them. The fact that men work most of the high risk jobs to provide for their families proves that fact. We give and sacrifice of ourselves for our families, and the good ones, which is MOST of us are hurt by the fact that we are looked upon with such disgust and hate when we know what is in our hearts. So I ask, if "the boys watching today, will be the men of tomorrow", where is our commercial?

Tim Olson

Sunday, January 21, 2018

It's Too Late.

    Yesterday marked my mothers 70th birthday, Only it didn't. She hasn't had a birthday in 29 years. No it isn't some type of trick she pulls to keep her age a secret and remain young forever. She passed away in 1989. In a way she is going to be forever young since none of us will ever see her as a old woman. She will always be 41.

My mom and I about 7 months before she died. The last time I
not only saw her but spoke to her.
     The morning of March 19th was as ordinary as any other until my phone rang. It's really strange how something as normal as the phone ringing can change your entire life. Your phone rings hundreds of times conditioning your mind. Never thinking that your world will be shaken to the core. I would have never guessed in a million years what I was about to be told on that call but as soon as I heard my step dad's voice I knew something wasn't right.

     My mom had moved to California and I hadn't seen her or talked to her since I visited the August before. She was busy with her new life and I with mine. She was now remarried and trying hard to make ends meet. Working two jobs to support her new (and lazy) husband and my sister. I was working and had my own relationship that kept my time full. The one thing that we both had in common was that we both took for granted that we would always be there.

     It's too late. It had now become to late for me to pick up the phone and call my mom. Something I thought I should do week after week since our visit. The longer time from the visit the more I thought about it. Sometimes at work I would think when I get home I should give her a call. Then at home the thought would enter my mind. But for some reason my hand never grabbed the phone and pushed those numbers. Now, it was too late.

     Over the years I have accumulated tons of questions. I remember as kids that we flew to Indiana to visit her mom. Did we only ever do that once or was there another time I can't remember? What foods did I like as a kid? My son Alex looks so much like me, are our personalities the same?

     We also think of things we should have said. My relationship with both my parents was very strained to say the least so there was a lot of things that shouldn't have been said but were. The things that should be said will not be and the things that were can not be unsaid. It's too late.

     Sometimes we find ourselves burnt by the hot stove of life. Sometimes scars are left for a lifetime and the only thing that helps heals those scars is the fact that you can prevent others from receiving them. So we stand near the stove and stop everyone from placing their hands upon the red hot burner. It gives meaning to your scars.

     I'm here to prevent you from having those scars. DO NOT let it be to late. DO NOT forget those important questions. DO NOT forget to say your sorry. DO NOT forget to say those all to important words. I LOVE YOU. Tomorrow is not promised so do not let the sun set another day without saying what needs to be said or you will find out that It's too late.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

LOVE? - Is giving bad?

     I keep hearing that love MUST win.  If this is the case, I believe we need to start acting like it. I have decided to start a series of blog posts asking LOVE? because I have trouble seeing LOVE in the actions of some.

     President Donald Trump just gave $1,000,000 of HIS money to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Soon after I see tweets and stories about how "little" he gave. Right away I looked up to see how much Obama gave so I could argue back. But then I realized I was falling for the trap. I'm not here to defend Trump although that's how this is going to read. (who I support and vote for does not matter in this story) I am here to stand for LOVE. Where is the LOVE? I did not know there was a test as to how much you have to give for your gift to be appreciated. If there is I wonder if I pass. Where do I send in the documents and who runs the numbers and decides how much is enough? You see there isn't. It's not up to you or me to decided what is right for others to do. These posts and complaints come from people who are so blinded by HATE that they cannot see the LOVE. 

     If I was running a table with a can for donations and someone donated one dollar, I would be thankful that they opened their heart to help. If someone gave ten dollars I would be thankful. As each person walked by and dropped their donation into the can I would say thank you. Now walks by Mr Big Money and I know he is worth a lot. I just saw him pull up in a BMW. He drops a large donation into the can. biggest one I've seen today. I now have a choice. I can look at him and tell him he's a jerk because I know he could give more or I could thank him and think about all the good that amount of money is going to do. 

     See, the problem with this situation isn't Mr. Big Money. It's with me! The individual. I could JUDGE him but I didn't do that to the other people who walked past. For all I know someone who didn't donate may even have more money than him, I don't know. Someone may have giving a larger percentage if their income. I don't know.  But my personal feeling for the man stomped on my heart and will not allow me to see the good that man just did. 

     One definition of love is the concern for the good of another. So, do you LOVE the victims of Hurricane Harvey or do you hate Trump more? I for one will stand up and cheer for ANYONE who does ANYTHING to help the people who need help. I will not criticize the effort no matter how big or small and I most certainly will not criticize their efforts over something as foolish as political points of view. In times like this it's not suppose to be us against them. It's 330 million individuals who need to stand together and forget about differences and parties for a while and contribute to our society instead of filling it full of vile words and HATE. 

     I for one LOVE those who have been hurt by Hurricane Harvey and I even LOVE those who are so full of HATE that they cannot let it go for even one minute. It's my LOVE for you that makes me write this today in hopes that maybe, just maybe you won't try to justify your anger but to take that energy and make it into something productive and useful. You don't need to praise Mr. Big Money, but you do need to practice tolerance and not HATE and let LOVE be the action you take today.

Monday, November 7, 2016

It's Time to Stop

     On Tuesday we will be walking into the voting booth to choose the next president of the United States. Someone who we are choosing to be our spokesperson, our Commander in Chief. The person who holds the office is to be someone who represents what America is. This election has made me sit down and reflect upon what kind of role I want to play as an American. As someone who has a voice called a vote. 

     This year we have seen one of the nastiest elections in history. I believe our two "choices" are truly reflective of who we are. We have become so hateful and angry we have selected two terrible individuals to represent us. I cannot understand how anyone can put their weight behind and assign their name to either of these two candidates. I understand the lesser of two evils argument but cannot understand someone actually believing that either one is actually good for our country. My oldest son can vote for the first time this year. His first presidential election. I am embarrassed of what we have become. I would not want my children looking up to either one of the candidates.

     Recently in my Facebook memories a discussion I was having about the politics at that time came up. As I read through the comments one person commented that there was only one party that wanted to truly better people. This just shows you the mentality we now have. We have become divided. I think we all know that but do we really understand what that means? It means we have come to the place that we believe there is good and evil. The side we identify with of course is good. Therefor the other side must be evil, and everyone who associates themselves with that side must be also. Since good must overcome evil we set out to destroy the other side. In other words we must win and the others must loose! Forget about the fact that a good negotiator gets both sides as much of what they want to build a deal, it's our way or the highway. A great example of this comes from that same memory when the same poster told me that they thought it was "amazing how some people fight against things that's for their own good" I don't know how this person knows what is good for me and my family but I do know that comment was insulting. The bigger problem with the comment was that it contained no real argument. We just know we are right and we don't need facts to stand behind what we say. In fact when I asked for a factual reason why they were right my Facebook feed was silent. 

     Today we run on emotions and facts are silly little things we sweep under the rug. We have become so distrusting of the other side that even when presented with facts they really do mean very little. We have seen video proof of wrong doing and we blame the source. We say "look who put it out, they cannot be trusted" and refuse to even consider what we have just seen. We actually ignore what has been put before us! We have all become experts because we read a headline on Twitter. We do not even consider the fact that maybe the person sharing the story or meme has an agenda or that the site it came from may be bending the truth. We especially need to be careful when it comes from a source we believe is on "our side". We like and share meme's and believe we are making a bold statement and since we agree with the premise we don't even bother to check on it's facts. We are blinded by our partisanship. 

     We act the same way when it comes to sports. We choose a side, declare our allegiance and support our team even in their bad years. We champion them no matter what. When they win and loose. We even accept cheating at times because the other team is a bunch of losers who need to be taken down. Politics should not be a contact sport. All we care about is getting the "W" and watching the other side fail. We don't want to debate we want to shout each other down. We love trash talking. We are the champions and you are the losers. We are not for something as much as we are against them. 

     We have entered a time where we have become so self righteous that we no longer care to try to understand each other. We don't see the other side as people, we see them as the cartoon version of what we believe the other side is. Not only are we drawing dividing lines between left and right we are also pitting ourselves against each other by things we have been working hard to erase the lines of like race, sex, religion. Now we are creating more even more lines like income and jobs. This is what happens when we all choose a "side" instead of thinking for ourselves. I think history has shown us that group think can be very dangerous. We all claim to be enlightened. Free thinking yet follow a party like a heard of sheep. Never straying from a single point. Following whomever is appointed as the leader without questioning the integrity or values that individual holds. You have to follow the leader because when you have stood so firmly with a party you cannot acknowledge it's failures because then you will have to admit your own short comings and we all hate admitting when we are wrong.

     I am proud to say I do not, or have I ever belonged to a particular party. I do have political leaning that may lean in the direction of one of the party's more than the other but I have never supported any party. I believe the truth usually is somewhere between the two positions that people take. I believe in studding each person and each subject individually. I have never felt one party represents everything I believe in. I only speak out about things that I am well informed on and stay quite on other subjects that I have not fully researched. Because of this I can always handle myself in a debate. I have never attacked a person because of their association with a party because it's beliefs not people that need to be fought against. Yet if you argue against something a party is doing you are grouped in with the others who have. In the same Facebook comments I talked about earlier when I confronted the poster on why he was so stern with me and why he seemed so upset that I had a differing opinion he admitted he was tired of people calling his side this and that. Something I never did. But I was accused of it because I was seen as the other side. Again we see everyone on the other side as the cartoon character of what we think they are and the sins of one are the sins off all.

     I love a good debate. I have had my opinion changed on several subjects in the last year by people who have truly thought out their position and made great arguments to me. I find that these people are also open to what I have to say. They are usually so versed in the subject that they can argue my point as well as I can because they have studied it from all angles. If you enter in a debate with me come with a level of skepticism. Enough that allows you to test my beliefs against yours as I try to do with yours against mine. Do not try to manipulate the conversation with politically correct terms. If you speak the truth, if you know your argument, you don't need to control the conversation. Most people cannot handle a deep conversation without letting emotions get the best of them and then you will soon hear conversation enders. These are the phrases once used must end a conversation. Most of them are name calling. Some are judgments of the heart. These are words like racist and bigot. These words are used so loosely today I think their meaning has been lost. However you should end any conversation with someone who uses them. It's manipulation and insulting. If you think you can have a kind and factual conversation then we may have a great debate.

     Even after this election we still will need to work on filling the divide that is tearing us apart. I have put together some things I believe and try to follow in order to keep civility between myself and those I encounter today. I must say it doesn't always work. People believe what they want and no matter how much love and understanding you show they will do and think what they want. I have never felt bad after loosing a friend on Facebook or in life over political beliefs because I know I did my best to be fair and respectful.  

I do not use labels to describe people unless they first describe themselves by the label.

I will not react out of anger.

I move with positive motion by being for something and not just against something. 

I will not engage with people who are angry, bitter, and only argument skill is name calling or shouting you down. By doing so you only empower their voice.

I will not vote or support someone that does not exemplify my values no matter how much they may share my goals for the country.

I will not pit one group of people against another. I do not believe that kindness/help to one group at the expense of another.

I will not engage those who believe they know the motives of the heart just because they disagree with a opinion or philosophy.

I wont like and share memes and news stories that attack, contain exaggerated falsehoods and are fact less. 

I listen to facts and not emotions. Emotions usually direct you in the wrong direction.

I refuse to go over the cliff with everyone else and follow even those I agree with blindly. We really need to remove the fog of partisanship from our eyes.

     Its a time for healing. We need to move forward. If the person we hope wins doesn't, we cannot be sore looses. If our choice wins, we need to be gracious and reach out to those who are feeling left behind and not counted. Start reaching for those things that you can agree upon. Party has become more important than family and friends. In a resent survey 7% of people have ended their friendships over this election. We are all brothers and sisters on this planet and we need to realize humanity is more important than politics. 

     Taking the route to healing will not be easy It's easy to stand when you stand together as a group but you may need to stand alone with your principles and the truth and that can be a lonely place, but it's where the strong leaders stand and it's where those who really make a difference are. It's time to stand and let the healing begin.   

Sunday, July 10, 2016

There must be LOVE for LOVE to win

     I'm sure I'm not different than anyone else who has logged into any social media platform in the last few days.  Our news feed is full of stories of great tragedy.  We read these stories and shake our heads.  We wonder what is happening to us and what kind of place are we leaving for our children.  We also see posts from our friends and family, pages we follow and others we watch from a far and we see all types of comments.  Some inspiring and uplifting.  Some ask for prayers and some show compassion for the victims.  But so many tell a different story.  So many are full of outrage and anger.

     To some extent I understand these posts.  We are all angry to some extent.  We all feel like we are not being heard but most of all we all feel like we are being attacked, and that's because we are.  We have come to a place where attacking someone is common place.  In fact, it's almost become our duty.  We have come to a place where we believe we are fighting a just fight and those who stand in the way must be taken down.  We are also not only happy to take them down but we are proud when we do.  We celebrate the destruction of individuals who do nothing more than view the world differently than us.  It seems harmless enough when it's someone high profile.  A politician, they are all scum lairs anyway right? A celebrity with a platform to speak their mind.  Take them down!  Ruin their life!  Take away their ability to earn a living!  It's OK we tell ourselves.  They have money, just go away.  We somehow believe our opinion is superior to theirs and our takes precedent over theirs.

     Our hearts have become so cold that it extends to faceless people on the computer.  We argue with strangers in the comments sections of news articles and the glow of the screen makes us brave.  We insult and point fingers.  We make fun of and worse yet, hope they are met with some horrible tragedy.  We leave facts and common sense behind because we cannot let the other get the best of us.  We have become a nation of hate.

     We can see it in our political system.  The people we choose to represent us in the highest office are the best examples of who we have become.  One attacks anyone who he feels attacks him, and the other sees half the voting population at the enemy.  Oh the cheers when they proclaim that they will put the other in their place.  Yes we want to see those we agree with fail, because that means we win, or does it.

     This weekend I made the mistake on the comment section of a friend on Facebook.  One of the comments on a post she shared was ironic.  The person made several rude comments about a few groups of people and told the poster that her life was messed up. (I cleaned it up) Then in the last sentence he wrote. Be nice.  I laughed so hard at the irony that I had to point it out.  This then unleashed a rant from the original poster.  What struck me as odd is that this person wrote such strange things that he believes I am.  He does not know me but assumes all types of things about me through association with the original poster.  He sees me as this cartoon version of what he thinks I might be and yet he is so far off.  Yet that is where we are.  We only see each other as this or that.  We don't care how you got to this because I am that and that makes you wrong.

     All this talk about love winning is great.  It makes us feel good and it gets tons of likes and shares.  But it does nothing.  Until we start living out love then love will never win.  Love does not mean agreeing.  Love does not mean you approve.  What love does, is in the face of those you disagree with most, listens, tries to understand why there is a difference, tries to find the common ground and then stands with that person wherever that is.  Penn Jillette, an atheist, understands that Christians believe in salvation and considers it an insult if a Christian doesn't try to save him.  He thinks they are full of it, but he understands why you would try.  That is compassion.  That is LOVE!

     If we want love to win then we need to practice it.  It can only start with ourselves.  We always want to convince others that they need to change.  That they need to be more  But we can only change ourselves and the best way to change others is to live it out ourselves.  Love can win and it must but it must exist first and it can only start with you.              

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Prince, Music & a Fan

To those who don't really know me you may not know that I am a Prince fan. Those who do know it, probably know it more than they care to. I have been a fan since 1982. I had heard 1999 and Little Red Corvette. (I thought the song was about the car back then). I had the 45's and liked them and the b-sides. Then came Delirious. I heard that single on the radio and my fate was sealed, I became a Prince fan. I knew nothing about the man or even if Prince was his name or the name of the group, I just knew this music was talking to me. I would record my records on to a cassette so I could play them in my Sounddesign boombox. I wore out the 60 minute tape I made with Michael Jackson on one side and Prince on the other. The Prince side received more play and contained the six songs from the three Prince singles I owned. 1999, Little Red Corvette, and Delirious. Plus the b-sides How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore, All The Critics Love You In New York, and Horny Toad.  I didn't know what it was that I was attracted to at the time but something about those songs moved me more than any other songs I had ever heard, and I had heard a lot of songs. My dad had worked in radio and we had a music collection of  about 10,000 records in the house.

Enter the 1999 album. The forth single was released and I loved it too. The b-side was funky. It had great drums and bass that grooved me from the inside. I thought I need to get this album, I like four of the songs on it I bet I will like more.  I remember riding my bike to K-mart where I found the album that cost a bit more than the usual album. It was a double record set! I could not wait to get home and put it on the turntable. The needle hit the record and that slowed down voice came through my headphones. I sat back, read the lyrics along with the songs and checked out the albums art work. 1999 taught me about music. I soon realized songs could be longer than the standard radio play.  1999, Delirious, Let's Pretend Were Married, were exciting as I heard what the radio would never play.  Everything about that album was so cool. The hidden backwards letters on the front cover and gone was the standard record label but in it's place was a close up of Prince's eye and a hole dead center were you would place it on the turntable. But most of all it included the now famous "Produced, Arranged, Composed and Performed by Prince". This was one guy and he not only wrote all of this he is playing every instrument! Everything you hear is one guy? This blew my mind.

Enter 1984. I remember driving in the car when they announced a new song by Prince was coming up. When Doves Cry played and I didn't know what to think. It was different. In fact I thought kind of weird sounding. It was like nothing else on the radio and nothing like the 1999 album. They said it was off the soundtrack to Prince's upcoming movie. Soon after the album was released and I sat down, put my headphones on and heard that opening line..."Dearly Beloved..." This album was so different. It rocked. It was missing the funky bass (except on Baby I'm a Star) and gone was the chicken scratching guitars. They were replaced with power cords and roaring solos. Gone was some of the studio tricks and it was replaced with a live band sound. Same guy but a whole different flavor.  I was used to artists keeping with their sound. The cars sounded like the cars every time I heard them.  Being a fan of this guy was going to be fun.

Enter the back catalog.  I then started purchasing all of Prince's older albums. I worked my way backwards and I loved them all. Each album having their own flavor.  I was inspired by the fact he performed all these songs himself.  His guitar playing on Purple Rain, his bass on Let's Work, and his drum programming skills.  Not to mention keyboards and piano. Oh, did I mention he can sing too?
Enter Purple Rain. When I finally saw the movie I was already very familiar with the soundtrack but the story that tied those songs together in the film hit home.  My parents were fighting and I had a very strained relationship with my dad.  I felt like it reflected what I was going through only I didn't play guitar. In the movie Prince's home life was affecting his career and my home life was affecting my school work and me personally.  The song Purple Rain made me nearly cry every time I heard it just because of the opening line. I too never meant to bring anyone sorrow but somehow I seemed to do just that.

Nude Tour Rehearsal May  6, 1990
Over the next years Prince released more and more interesting albums and a couple of movies. I was able to see him live in Minneapolis for a dress rehearsal concert for the Nude Tour. Tickets were ten dollars. I loved buying each new album on the day of release. While my friends waited years in between the releases of their favorite artist I was busy buying his next album, single for the b-side, long play record or something from an associated artist that Prince produced or wrote for. In the days before YouTube I had to set up the VCR to record MTV or Friday night videos to catch the latest video. There was always something going on.

Prince taught me about breaking the rules. Prince found other ways to get music to his fans. Crystal Ball was ordered through the internet. The first thing I ordered online. He made more money going around the traditional record company route.

I was lucky to have had several "Prince" experiences. He opened a club in Minneapolis called Glam Slam. I remember looking at his motorcycle and Purple Rain outfit while music pulsed. Up above was a VIP area and I kept thinking he was going to appear and the DJ would play some new unreleased song. I shopped at his New Power Generation store in Uptown. We were taken to a room upstairs and were shown the unreleased video for Dolphin.  They also brought out Prince's model C guitar. Did I ever want to grab that and run out of the store with it. Prince opened his studio a few times and I was able to tour it. When no one was looking I touched the famous Purple Rain motorcycle sometimes feeling like a 13 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. The thing that got me the most was when we were standing in a studio they pointed out his famous Linn drum machine and said that the soundboard was from his house.  I reached out and touched it and was in awe as these were the tools that made the 1999 album and that made me a fan. On one tour a sound engineer asked if anyone knew how to play the drums. I can somewhat but did not want to embarrass myself in front of these professionals so I stayed quiet. All they wanted was for someone to go into the studio and play for a bit so the rest of the tour could hear what it sounded like.  Talk about a missed opportunity. I turned down playing Prince's drums in his studio.
Paisley Park 1990

Over the years I was able to see Prince live three more times. I have seen The Time live. I watched Prince's dad drive past me in his purple BMW. I have had a couple of email exchanges with St. Paul Peterson of The Time & The Family and one with Dr. Matt Fink of the Revolution. So to say his passing affected me is an understatement. It's a weird thing because we never met and our "relationship" was one sided. He had no idea who I was but he was a big part of my life.  He was my soundtrack.

What I am going to miss is getting the new CD on the day it releases. I. Going to miss the live performances. I wish my kids would have seen him live so they knew what real musicians looked like instead of the prerecorded lip sync that goes on today.

Prince has still taught me after his death. His charitable work has come to light a lot in the past month. Although I do not believe I would agree with him politically most of the time I love the fact that he did what he could to help others and didn't spend him time telling us how we were wrong for not thinking like him. I wish more celebrities would follow that example. In fact more of us should put that energy to work in the fashion Prince did maybe just maybe the world will be a better place.
Prince's famous purple house 1990

Prince, you will be missed here but heaven just got a lot funkier.