Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

A quote from The Atlantic, "We must still do far more than we have done to honor the dead, to comfort the wounded, and to lend a hand to those fortunate enough to have returned to us unharmed, than merely attend parades or wear poppies or visit graves or bow our heads in silence."

The best way to celebrate Veterans Day is to simply be thankful – enjoying those pleasures, rights and freedoms that America affords.  We live in a great nation, and don’t you forget it!  Here’s to peace.

For the naysayers, peace can be achieved, but only when the judging stops, looking upon each other as equals.  We must respect everyone’s spiritual beliefs too, whether one chooses to believe or not – otherwise, we will perish.  Believing in a higher power, in itself, does not guarantee peace because more people have been murdered in the name of God historically.

The following are a mishmash of thoughts from my past blogs, expressions that become even more relevant with each passing day.  Enjoy! – paerki

Do You Care, America?

We are passive when it comes to devastating habitats, exploiting natural resources (oil, lumber, etc.), and all out of greed. Sadly we pick and choose how we regard life – debating abortion, health care, not funding projects for the poor and overpopulating the planet, and all out of selfishness, disrespect and ignorance. What about life in the rivers and oceans – in the forest and elsewhere? Do you care, America? We continue to pollute streams and fields, releasing harmful chemicals in the air we breathe and the water we drink. Do you care, America?

It’s sad that many are eager to play the dirty game of politics, both politician and follower waging war on minorities, especially gays and women, who are not your enemy, but your friends, coworkers, relatives, etc. Let’s not forget about war as it pertains to combat and all those little boys on Capitol Hill who are still trying to prove themselves to their mothers and the world at large that they are big, strong and moral, but in actuality are small, weak and unprincipled, only happy when they are picking on the meager to feed their righteous conceited egos (now this is a real bully). Do you care, America?

Truth

You’ll hear what you want to hear, see what you want to see, but can you handle the truth? Can you tell the truth?  We talk about freedom, and we fight for what we believe in, but at what cost? We are very selfish and manipulative in our beliefs, as Republicans and Fundamentalists prove. I love America, but we are severely flawed. Criticizing war is not the same as criticizing our soldiers.  I appreciate our brave warriors. We must take care of our military personnel and our veterans properly.

There are no winners in war. War only evokes pictures of mass destruction, uprooting, cruelty, plunder, and the demise of civilizations. No one can ever rationalize “why.” The justification after seems utterly ridiculous.  It’s not that I am for or against war; I’ve just grown tired of death, lives ripped apart and for what? A war where any country can really emerge winner has yet to be fought, and will never be fought because there are no winners in war.

Hate

We all have the power to release what binds us.  I believe the hardest-hearted person on earth can release his/her pain – hate, but I’m not always certain religion helps.  There is no time like the present to come together (as a nation) to seriously discuss the level of vitriol in our democracy, but how can this happen when radical extremists in government fuel the fires of hate with self-righteous rhetoric?

Mourning

A cemetery is a place where life and death converge. Today, at the Veteran’s Cemetery I mourned those who lost their lives fighting for freedom. I was reminded that we must never take anything for granted. As I looked out at the countless flags that sit atop those who lay in permanent stasis, I could not help but marvel at that which is still alive – trees, grass, geese, cranes, squirrels, and the many people who came to visit. The cycle of life is continuous in many parts of nature; may it continue to be the same for the human race.

I am grateful to all that are paving the way for freedom. From generations past who fought in Korea, Vietnam, World Wars I & II, Desert Storm and the many other wars of past and present, I owe all a debt of gratitude of which I could never repay, but I try my best to do so by being an upstanding citizen.

For those who will never fight in a military war, we owe it to the dead to be the best we can be. To all of us who are fighting the war of life, which is nothing more than indifference and ignorance, we must find a way to unite because our future depends on it.

Religion

As I sat listening to these beautiful chants, I contemplated religious dogma.  Many have manipulated ancient text to control the masses.  We propagate fear out of selfish necessity.  Politicians often use it as a tool of oppression.  This must end.

We must stop judging each other, because in performing the latter, what we are really doing is judging ourselves, and with that we prove our ignorance to the world.

No matter what you believe, religion must be all-inclusive.  We must look for the positive, and relent on the hate-mongering rhetoric.  We all matter, and deserve the love of each other, and of a God that may or may not exist, depending on your beliefs.

I was led to believe toxic fundamentalist perspectives at a very young age.  I never understood the concentration on negativity, and I’m still clueless.  I abandoned religion in my young adult life, becoming an atheist, and now – an agnostic.

What I practice is the religion of unconditional love, and I encourage you to do the same.  I believe in a universal life force that resides in each of us, which links us all, thus all paths leading to God, which is nothing more than enlightenment.  May we all learn to be a bit more understanding.  Love more.  Hate less.  Find peace.










What would life be like without memories? It’s fair to say, there would be no life at all. Memory is our communication, reason, coherence, our action and more importantly, our feeling. Memories create our path in life, developing our psychology and leading us emotionally.

One of the best ways to create and store memories is with video. These simple effortless little snippets of time create diaries and become perpetual time capsules, which justify our walk on earth, telling all with great enthusiasm… I was here! I mattered! I lived! Please, don’t forget me.

Share your views, thoughts and opinions in the written word. Snap photographs so that your eyes can travel back in time, remembering the happy and sad moments that made you the person you were, are and became in life. But, whenever possible, capture video to enhance the memories you leave behind, so that others may pass the essence of your life on to future generations.

Homeland

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Baltimore City (Maryland)

World AIDS Day (Dec 1, 2013): Many scientific advances have been made in HIV/AIDS treatment. There are laws to protect people living with HIV/AIDS, and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, there are still individuals who do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and... Continue Reading

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Thank You For So Much Beauty (Mar 15, 2010): Do you realize how much beauty you bring to the world? Do you know how awesome you are? Really?! Do you?! I am in awe of your work. I love your use of rich and vibrant colors, some even electric. The faces are what really capture my attention; they are delicate... Continue Reading

Baltimore Book Festival

A Culture Of Hate (Jan 9, 2011): Weekends fly by so quickly, or so it appears. However, this particular weekend seemed unusually long, and I think it had something to do with the gruesome events that took place on Saturday in Tucson, Arizona. I am shocked by the horror that unfolded, a young man throwing his entire... Continue Reading

Station North Arts District

A 'Seagull' Of Memories (Mar 7, 2010): When I see gulls (known to many as seagulls), I think of the shoreline. I have wonderful childhood memories of playing in the sand in Ocean City; building sand castles, and coming back later in the day to watch the waves crash into my creativity, only to go back the next day to... Continue Reading

H.P. Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens

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I love photographs! They have this amazing ability to tell stories of fun places, special moments, memorable events, and exciting places. They give us reason to pause and remember friends, family, coworkers and so many others. One photograph can conjure up a flood of memories taking us on a journey. They help us remember the past, enjoy the present and ponder the future.

On a cold and rainy day I love sitting in my living room with a roaring fire, a glass of wine, classical music playing in the background and my many photographs scattered about me. I love sifting through what I call my special collection, which refers to my favorites. They remind me of the saddest and happiest moments of my life. They remind me of challenges and overcoming.

My large collection of images are a testament to a life lived. Life happens all around us so it’s important to collect special memories, and what better way than with a photograph.

Edith Ann

Mind Body Green (Feb 6, 2014): To the haters, I feel so sad for you – mournful for your lack of empathy and understanding. No one is shoving anything down your throat. This is reality. What's wrong with this photo? This is life! For every photo shown of gay people kissing, there are millions and millions... Continue Reading

Peabody Institute

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Sherwood Gardens

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Browns Orchards

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Patterson Park

Selfie (Jan 19, 2014): I was asked the following question by one of my Facebook friends… "I have to ask you this Paul, do you have a personal photographer who is with you constantly?" This question is worthy of a blog post, so here it goes. Enjoy! Good question, and one I am asked often enough and don't mind answering... Continue Reading

Charles Village Festival

Yielding To Signs (Mar 28, 2011): Sunday was the perfect day to be outdoors. The sky was a bright baby blue and absolutely stunning to look at, especially when it became the backdrop for seagulls and blackbirds, effortlessly soaring and plummeting in between wind gusts. It was magical, a hypnotic visual sensation... Continue Reading
There are many people in the world affected by disease. I never thought I would be one of the many. However, at any given time life can change. Mine did! There were many twists and turns, but I made it through and you can too. I am a Celiac on the move living life one meal at a time. Learn more about my life as a Celiac. Celiac Disease is a lifelong, digestive disorder affecting children and adults. In short, I have an allergy to gluten, and the treatment is a lifelong scrupulous avoidance of it.

No matter what, know this: You are never alone. There are people out there who’ve struggled, endured, made it through and are sharing their message of survival. No, they might not be at your side, but their spirit is out there in words, attempting to help others on their journey. Let’s all unite by sharing our individual stories, remedies for healthy living, food and recipes to keep us strong, and let’s find the laughter too because it can be some of the best medicine. Always remember, there is power in numbers. Check me out: A Celiac On The Move

Stony Run Trail

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Alpaca / Lama Farm

St. Michael's Catholic Church (Oct 17, 2011): The weekend has now faded into the past. However, this was one of its highlights. Art is to be found everywhere. When I look at these photos I think about all those involved with the creation of this magnificent structure – from the community (immigrate families)... Continue Reading

BMA (Sculpture Garden)

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Jones Falls Trail

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Country Drive

A Happy Life Begins At Home (Apr 19, 2010): My home is very important to me. My life between these four walls of privacy I value like no other. It’s immeasurable, and absolutely priceless. It’s an oasis with a cocoon-like feeling, shielding me from the outside manipulative forces of violence and pollution. It allows... Continue Reading
"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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