Tuesday, October 31, 2006
There is a man in Wetumpka whose house I pass every day. He bought a new Harley-Davidson Sportster several months ago. He never rides it. I will spare you my analysis of the psychology involved and focus on the evident result. The disc brake rotors are already rusting. The disc brake rotors on my Honda are shiny. Why? His suffer from disuse, mine have lots of friction applied almost daily. We can see that in mechanical things. We also see the result of not using our bodies as the muscles become soft and fat creeps in. Less obvious is the gradual rusting of our brains.
All of us "tune out" some things. We have to in order to focus and achieve. It seems to me that an ever-growing portion of our society is choosing to "tune out" anything that relates to politics, societal shifts, and the impact of religious beliefs on a large scale. I concede that it is often complex--intentionally so. Many would have you believe that you need them to do the thinking for you and deliver to you a package of what you should believe. This has become the process for our two party system. I wish it were as simple as choosing the "right" party and just voting a straight ticket. It is not. We can not, however, blame the attractive candidate nor the shifty-eyed movers and shakers of national parties. They have adopted as their purpose to feed back to us what we want to hear. The fault is ours. We have failed to engage. Ask people over the next few days how much debt the USA currently has. Ask what it is projected to be in 10 years. I bet you a fat-adding hamburger none of your co-workers or family members have any idea. Is it important? Will it have to be paid? By whom? When? Do you ask these questions when considering a new car or house, even an appliance? I hope you do.
Please just think about whether you want your children to pay 60% of what they earn as income tax because you were too mentally lazy to ask some questions and demand some answers. Now.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Now imagine building a cage large enough to encompass an entire country. Did you know that is what is proposed for our country? True, right now the focus is just on the USA/Mexico border. Canada will come later. This raises several questions for me. The first relates to the previous discussion--who is caged? If we actually build an $500 million fence, wouldn't that be like repairing the levies in New Orleans while the water was still 9 feet deep in the city? Since there are an estimated 20 million illegal Mexican immigrants in the USA now and such a fence would take......maybe 12 years to build, there may well be, what, 60-70 million by the time it is finished. There will be almost as many on this side of the fence as on the other side. That is not my only concern. The biggest concern is where does the $500 million come from. Actually, that would likely turn billions. President Bush says a secure wall would cost $8 billion. The 14 mile fence south of San Diego has slowed the flow of Mexicans into that area. But the original estimate of $1 million per mile has actually cost $3.8 million per mile for the first 11 miles. Since the remaining 3 miles is over difficult terrain, it is expected to cost $10 million per mile to complete. Will that keep out terrorists? Of course not. Will it keep out illegal immigrants? Of course not. They will simply drive across at check-points. The problem is not crossing the borders. The problem is once they are here we treat them as legal citizens, as if they had always been here. Many are receiving government subsidies. I do not claim to have all, or even many, of the answers concerning immigration and naturalization. But I am sure that a fence we do not have the money to pay for will not fix the problem we are afraid to address.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Recently, I had the opportunity to go exploring. I really enjoy exploring--at least my version of it. It is what my grandmother would call plundering. Those in the legal profession would probably call it trespassing. As I went about this day looking at real estate lots for sale and nearby woods and swamps not for sale, I happened across this old Ford at the edge of a swamp. It is, in fact, about 1/3 submerged in water and was barely visible from where I was passing by. I have learned from years of hunting and viewing deer to watch for horizontal lines in the woods that seem unnatural. When I spotted the roofline of this vehicle, it looked at first like a '56 Chevy. After fighting the briars and considering where the cotton-mouth moccasin I had seen earlier was now, I got close enough to see that it was actually a '56 Ford. It had obviously been sitting in this spot at least 2 decades. A tree had grown through a hole in the back panel and where the rear window would have been. The tree is probably 10 or 12 years old. What really struck me about the remains of the car was the Fordomatic emblem still intact on the rear. The symbolism of the ultra-modern moniker Fordomatic that heralded Ford's innovation in automatic transmissions clinging to this shell of a car, long forgotten, made a striking impression on me. I decided to take some pictures and had my camera in the truck because I was taking it to the camera shop for repairs (the duct tape I applied while backpacking was slipping). Naturally, the camera would not cooperate. So I did the only logical thing. I drove to the camera shop for parts (they weren't much help). But with expensive new batteries and more duct tape I returned to my "find" and took pictures. Lots of pictures. The two above show the tree growing as if every '56 Ford should have a Popcorn tree growing through the back window and the distinctive fin and tail light that show it is indeed a '56. The small picture was harvested from the internet and is of a restored '56. If you look closely in the shadow of the Continental kit spare tire, you can see the Fordomatic emblem on it as well. Seems like a fitting representation of how we get so excited about the newest and best "stuff" and just have to have it. Even now, when I see the restored '56 Ford, there is some craving to posses it. If only we could always see 2 or 3 decades down the road.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The important fact here, in my opinion, is not that priest sometimes behave badly with young boys (or girls). That is bad and needs to be dealt with. But in this story we are observing a grown man who not only felt he had weathered some inappropriate behavior 40 years ago to lead a normal life. He apparently felt that he was leading an EXEMPLARY life. He asked voters to choose him and pay him to represent them in our nations' capitol, which he did for years. He did not feel that alcoholism was a problem all that time. He did not feel that homosexual tendencies were a problem all that time. Once exposed, however, for behavior that could not be justified, he claimed every victim status he could come up with. It makes me sick that he now wants me to feel sorry for him. And while I usually vote for republicans and hate to see democrats regain control of congress, if other republicans covered for Foley or others in order to keep republicans in control then they should be voted out. I know, I know, both parties have corrupt individuals but I say remove anybody who has shown themselves to be of poor moral character and vote in someone who has the opportunity to be considered ethical until proving otherwise.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Here is my position. Fox is free to hire and fire anybody they wish. So if they feel they were not represented properly by Lyons they should not have to answer to anybody about firing him. However, I have serious concerns about whoever at Fox is making these decisions. If you listen to announcers in any sport you will find various levels of honest criticism of players, coaches, fans, and entire sports organizations. This is what they are paid to do. Generally, they are wise enough not to harshly criticize players on either side because they need fans of both teams (and others) to generate revenue. Some are more brave than others about making fun of players and fans. Lyons is one of those. Consider this question; is it better for an announcer to make fun of players who can not hear the comment and respond or to make fun of each other in order to entertain viewers/listeners? Howard Cosell made millions doing just this. Let's break it down further; Piniella makes fun of players and chides some in Spanish--no harm done. Lyons makes a joke about Piniella's analogy and speaking in Spanish--fired on the spot.
You better learn Spanish, folks. Your replacement already has.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
How is this like North Korea? Has anyone seen a nuclear weapon? Can anyone verify a nuclear weapon? Kim (which is the name of all military leaders in N. Korea) said today "If the United States doesn't change it's attitude, we will test another nuclear weapon!" So...go ahead. That sounds to me like saying "Don't test me, I will stick my other hand in my pocket and pretend to have TWO guns!" If they really have nuclear weapons at all, how many can they have? If they blast them all underground in N. Korea--fine.
U.N. secretary-general Coffee....I mean Kofi Anan wants the USA to have one-on-one talks with N. Korea. Why? Because they have both hands in their jacket pocket? Who cares what the U.N. secretary general thinks? What kind of title is that anyway? Is he a secretary or a general? "Hey, Coffee....I mean Kofi bring me some coffee. Then run over and attack North Korea."
Please. North Korea reminds me of that video on "America's Funniest". You know the one where the toddler is pitching a fit. Then mom goes to another room and he follows only to flop down and pitch a fit in front of her. When she returns to the first room he follows quietly, then does the tantrum thing again, over and over.
It is funny with a two year old.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The only observation I want to share is the thought that occurred to me several times during this hike. While there are always dangers from others and always things to be discovered, the exploration and discovery is really about what is inside each of us. What am I afraid of? What am I willing to risk? What is important to me? What are my comfort zones? Am I limited by fear of what others will think? While I walked and sorted through some of these thoughts, I tried to imagine how much they would be amplified if I were sailing with a crew that counted on my leadership towards the line where the ocean meets the sky for the first time. Thank you, Christopher.