It’s Not A Donald Trump Life: A Primer on Minimalism

     The new barracks in Texas didn’t look anything like the one I left in Alabama. In fact, it resembled a modern apartment building. New cars and motorcycles were everywhere and after duty hours, all types of music blasted from expensive sound systems.
     Never considered Spartans among the other military services, Air Force personnel were not immune to immediate and permanent deployments anywhere in the world. That reality didn’t stop my fellow airmen from having sofas delivered by flatbed trucks! I often wondered where they put these things if we left for overseas. I had a service-issued duffle bag and a backpack containing everything I owned in the world. Without any of the other big-ticket purchases to connect-to; maintain; and store, I was “unencumbered” and proud of it. I was a warrior, not some high-maintenance prima donna dependent on large screen televisions and George Forman grills. I was always mindful of the mission; battle-ready; organized; sacrificial; and highly motivated.
 I was one of those guys that could go into a jungle with only a knife and clean underwear and come out victorious (I looked forward to continuing with an Air Force career but that is another story). The point is that without consumer distractions, I focused on my work. In turn, I was recognized and promoted far ahead of my peers. I had time to read more extensively; had time to compete in distance runs; earn a Masters Degree; and took in at least four movies every weekend! Whether I continued in the military or not, I figured my “lean, mean fighting machine” behavior would come in handy one day.
     And it did. It’s not a Donald Trump life but I have few complaints and through the years I’ve maintained my minimalist beliefs and practices. I still wear nine-year-old sneakers and I’m always evaluating my belongings to see if they interfere with my space or distract me. Living with less, having fewer concerns is a major part of my lifestyle. Besides, It gives me joy to deny the exploitive capitalists my money.
     There are many books, videos, and other websites on minimalism but I fear that it will evolve as a chic practice…something hip to do that will be abandoned as soon as middle-class money is made. So this will be my primer on minimalism. Time-to-time, I will write on it or reference resources that may be helpful to our gaining more mental and physical space in these perilous times. I recommend first visiting The Minimalists website. Watch their movie. You can see it now on Netflix or you can purchase and download an expanded version through their site or sites like iTunes.

They Kidnap Horses, Don’t They?

Not to be confused with the 1969 movie, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”

Although I’m no longer a sports fan, as an ex-Philadelphian, I’m glad the Eagles won the Super Bowl. Trust me, it has been a long, hard road for that franchise and its fans. As I look at 2018’s post-game mayhem, I’m reminded of the Philadelphia Phillies 2008 World Series victory riot. Below are a few of my images from that war zone. That night, I saw things that no human should witness but this Super Bowl “celebration” exceeded my expectations. This time, they even stole police horses!

067_103008_Phillies_fan_celebration045_103008_Phillies_fan_celebration044_103008_Phillies_fan_celebration088_103008_Phillies_fan_celebration073_103008_Phillies_fan_celebration027_103008_Phillies_fan_celebration024_103008_Phillies_fan_celebration096_103008_Phillies_fan_celebration058_103008_Phillies_fan_celebration053_103008_Phillies_fan_celebrationCopyright 2008 jtolbertjr



“FAKE NEWS winners?” This ain’t funny.

“There is nothing in the record of the past two years when both Houses of Congress have been controlled by the Republican Party which can lead any person to believe that those promises will be fulfilled in the future. They follow the Hitler line – no matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as truth.” 
Remarks of John F. Kennedy, Fitton Council, Knights of Columbus, East Boston, Massachusetts, May 18, 1947
     For me, the final straw happened months ago at the mere utterance of “fake news.” Now, as feared, authoritarian despots in Turkey, Syria, and the Philippines are using the term to go after the press. With this unprecedented, silly-ass declaration of “FAKE NEWS winners” all news outlets and journalists, whether they are covering the President or not, should be on a war footing dedicating their lives to produce indisputable facts in their work. Work so good that Sarah Huckabee Sanders would have a nervous breakdown if she ever again attempted to distort reality.
     I’m certainly not a CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Washington Post follower. This blog exists to advocate other sources rather than the mainstream news. The mainstream spends way too much time on the spectacle of the event without detailing why the event came about in the first place. For example, we are bombarded with stories of survival and bravery so that we only send our “thoughts and prayers” instead of asking about the role of corporations, governments, and responsible authorities in the event.  It may be too hard and unpleasant for CNN and the distracted among us to deal with. 
Here are some highly recommended movies to understand the way journalists work and how the news should be presented:

Potty Water to Potty Mouth

I’ve never had the problems others describe with the airline food. Then again, maybe the unlimited wine on Air France flights caused me not to notice. Now, a disturbing story resurfaces again citing an unidentified flight attendant, warning the public about drinking coffee made from the same water that flows through airplane toilets. Previous stories have noted that this water, at times, tested to be contaminated. Moral of the story—Trust nothing… except for those little, sealed, liquor bottles.

I’ve still amazed at how many television broadcasters are letting loose saying “shithole” as they report the President’s latest controversy. It’s fun that network censors have been temporarily controlled, but my only concern is for younger children. They have enough language distractions without being exposed to another ‘potty mouth.’

Trump…Making America Read Again

I diverted my reading from Michael Hyatt’s ‘Platform‘ and Ray Dalio’s ‘Principles‘ to read Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury.’ Not to learn anything, but to be entertained.  So far, I’m four chapters in and not shocked.

Based on his subject’s behavior, Wolff’s reporting appears to be very credible. The tone of the book implies that what we are witnessing from the President; his family, and associates is resistance to the conversion from private industry to government. If you ever spent time in the Northeast, you know that Donald Trump, at his foundation, is a stone-cold capitalist and a showman. Wolff says the showman really didn’t expect to win the presidency.

In his call for libel law reform, we can see that the President is upset over ‘Fire and Fury‘ but what is the positive out of all this? Lines formed at what is left of remaining bookstores and Amazon probably made a bundle on print and Ebook purchases.  Mr. President, you can take pride that you made a book publisher and Amazon rich but your greatest contribution is that you are MAKING AMERICA READ AGAIN.

Speaking of capitalism, I think Dave Chappelle better explains who Donald Trump is really for.

How about Hollywood making a statement against sexual harassment by wearing black during the Golden Globes awards? Although, they may have created a tidal wave of cultural and political change, don’t expect Hollywood to sustain the movement. Hollywood is about attractive imagery and ideas. They have shocked us and fashionably made us aware. They will go back to their craft and now it’s time for the elected politicians (what few that are left from the carnage) to get serious and enforce the equality already on the books and address any deficiencies not yet in those books.

“Just when I thought I was out…

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!“  Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, in the film The Godfather: Part III

For the last few years, besides my day job, I co-owned a small business. Had we operated in another state, I’m certain I could have retired from the day job.  But all we did was pay excessive taxes; spend an insane amount of time interpreting constantly changing state regulations, and live in constant state of anxiety wondering what state or federal fees we would get blindsided with.

By April, the People’s Republic of California won….we closed the business. Needless to say that I will never, ever own another business in this state, not even a lemonade stand. We would have fared better dealing with organized crime!

During this time, my photography was limited to family snapshots and I deferred any writing to the hundreds of thousands of blogs and websites that were using the internet as an effective communication tool.

Then came the tsunami of hate on January 20, 2017.

As one who understands American history, the change of administration didn’t bother me, but the level of undignified behavior is beyond disturbing. What is normal is abnormal, what is abnormal is normal. I’m back to call the abnormal what it is…just pure evil. 

Now comes a Word of Warning: For those readers on my private email list (the email comes from and those who are being contacted for the first time, this will be the only solicitation. Please go to my “About” page. If you want to continue getting email announcements of posts, please insert your e-mail address on the right side of this page where it says “Follow Blog via Email.” I’m phasing out the private email list. If you don’t want to use email, you can still view this blog at

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j tolbert jr