Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Girls In the 'Hood

We are headed to the Great Up Nort on July 4th for a few days of fun and relaxation. First on the list are some of these with the other side of my brother's family...

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And then because I insist on strapping my children [er, BIKE] to the back of the van there will be some of this...

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So, please, if you see someone looking like this heading north from TR with a white brain bucket, please share the road so I don't look like this...

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Even though I'm not that hairy, yet.

And then I get to love on a few of my friends and their kiddos....
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Can't wait! 'Sconnie, here I come! Give me a shout if you're going to be where it's "Cooler by the Lake"!

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That's only funny if you're from Wisconsin.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"...the true greatness of a nation is founded on principles of humanity." -Thomas Paine

"The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war. The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted." -James Madison

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Wow, you guys. That was an excellent debate and I learned a ton and it’s an example of how some fundamentals of things American can go right sometimes in spite of all the wrong. Dialog, that provokes real thinking, and the First Ammendment, aided by this 21st century thing called blogging is always a good thing. I wish some of the lurkers would have chimed in. I have to plead an inconsistent and FUBAR internet access for my lack of moderating that whole debate. Thanks for being respectful of each other in my living room and Jen, saying that my blog was a safe place for discussion was a huge compliment. Thanks for that!

So, after reading through all the comments from this weekend, just a few notes. I don’t necessarily want to open the whole thread again, just want you all to realize I heard what you were saying. Or in Greg’s case, SHOUTING, complete with throbbing, purple forehead vein I could see from here. ;) (love you piano man!)

I didn’t keep track of who said what but here goes:

One theme seemed to be trusting the media. I do not on the whole trust the local or even national news. But I’m blessed with a pretty logical brain (despite all evidence to the contrary based on what comes out of my pie hole) and can usually see both sides of a biased story. But it’s hard when you can’t trust the facts. I submit the photos. Photos do not lie. But context and preconceived ideas play a part. Because we are human. Just like our President. And our soldiers.

So, Bush as a monster. That assumes he had absolute power and was making decisions that would knowingly lead to a disastrous result. He may be a puppet, and a dope but I can’t carry it as far as calling him a monster. I believe he feels he was acting in the best interests of the country at the time with the information he had. Naive? Maybe. But I also have to believe that our leaders and their information sources know more than they are were/able to say and there are times when lying can save lives. I have to believe that not all of this mess was deliberate. And Greg, what you said rang very true for me...I SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED BETTER. Americans deserve better leadership and so do the countries that trust us. THAT is worth fighting for. Everything else sounds to me like placing blame and pointing fingers while chaos reigns. Unfortunately, politics will probably get in the way.

I have to object to Saddam being labeled as a good leader. He ruled out of fear. That is never effective. It may appear to be effective but it’s not. For leadership to be truly effective the leader must be trustworthy. And we stooped right down to his level, made decisions based on fear and I think Nick was right. Saddam had been playing his own little game for years and enjoyed making the US look foolish. I don’t know about you guys, but when they pulled him out of the hole in the dirt I felt like I was covered in the same mud. I felt like the US was just being dragged out right behind him. I had expected things to get better. I had hoped things would be better for the people he terrorized. Not so. The plan did not work.

Now what? Sadly, I dunno. Do we need new leadership? Maybe. Is it reasonable to expect that something new will be available in 2008 when it’s time to vote? And if we vote, will it matter? So I think maybe we did the one thing we could do. We talked about it. Hopefully made someone scratch their cranium and think, “Huh. That never occurred to me.”. I know I did.

You are a smart bunch of folks. Your parents and some of your teachers ought to give themselves a pat on the back.


Friday, June 22, 2007


I doubt I will make this most recent posts a permanent part of my "gratitude" journal. But maybe. Thanks for all the comments and for making me think a little. I was doing a little too much navel-gazing for my own good.

So, I was thinking about some pictures I saw a lifetime ago from 1988. When the man who supposedly had no WMDs unleashed an attack on people in his own country killing thousands of people in a single day. Makes me wonder how we define "weapons of mass destruction"?

Jiyan Means Life in Kurdish; In English, Death Will Do
Kani Xulam
The American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN)
June 30, 2003

I don‚t know if it ever happens to you, but it happens to me often, I am either listening to someone on the television or in a lecture hall -- granted that the person has piqued and kept my interest -- and then bingo, the person utters the name of an interesting book or movie, I rush to my pen and paper and jot down the information, and place it somewhere visible, like the corner of my yearly calendar by my desk in my office, till I get hold of the thing itself, to see for myself, if what I heard dovetails with what I read in the book or see in the film. It usually does. I read the book, An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser this way and I am very grateful for the tip. Jiyan is a Kurdish film by Jano Rosebiani, stop reading this right now, reach out to your pen, post it paper, write it out, J-I-Y-A-N, and place it somewhere visible in your office or study till you either see it in a movie theater or rent it out from a video outlet.

You will be glad you did, I would not joke with you in a public forum like this one otherwise, and after seeing it, you will thank me for it, but the person you should thank and that goes for all the children of Kurdistan and their friends, past, present and the future, is the struggling Kurdish artist who first worked as an usher in a movie theatre some 26 years ago, and after watching not thousands but tens of thousands of films, moved his Kurdish camera to produce a Kurdish film that at first sight dazzles you with its beauty and horror, joy and sorrow, soaring human spirit and depravity of the kind that makes you wonder if humans deserve to live on this earth, and all of it, in a span of 94 minutes; in short, all your senses, good and bad, are treated to a veritable feast with the culmination of, you guessed it, hope triumphing over despair, life blooming in moonscape, and Jiyan, the ten year old Kurdish girl whose last and parting shot in the film is her face with rivulets of tears flowing from her eyes, in slow motion, outlasting her nemesis Saddam Hussein, and slowly gravitating towards a future, very fragile for her, of hope, of light and of beauty. But you are never too far from the day, in her words, when „chemical rain‰ poured on her -- disfigured her -- and her loved ones -- killed many -- while the „civilized‰ world was in a state of stupor, oblivious to the danger that blighted her kind and her generation, because the dead were Kurds and the murderer was Saddam Hussein, the first did not matter, the second made the indifference of those who could have spoken on this crime against humanity look glorious by comparison, for, at least, they did not harm their citizens.

I would be lying to you if I said that the movie did not disturb me. The temperature of my anger reached a crisis point. My tears flowed when I sensed that Jiyan was about to shed hers, they started flowing again every time I heard -- I could not keep my eyes open -- the Kurdish flutist, a Kurdish mullah, the equivalent of a priest in the Christian faith, play for God, or was it for the sun, moon and the stars, I don‚t know, on a rooftop in all weather, for the loss of his eight children and wife. I don‚t know why, but I thought of Arundhati Roy -- the lighting rod of the antiwar movement, I proudly marched along her likes, by the way, with my quaint sign, „Down With Saddam Hussein; No War, prompting one protester to ask me if I was for the war or against it, and leaving my conversation with this deluded activist aside for a moment, and getting back to Ms. Roy again, who came to embody the feelings of, by her counts, ten million people who marched, worldwide, against the recent war -- and wished to God, she were watching it with me. Referring to George Bush, she had often said, „he is more dangerous than Saddam Hussein. If she had seen the film, I was convinced now, knowing that the film would cure her of her ignorance, about the darling of the deluded, Saddam Hussein, not that I was equating the president of the United States to the Mother Theresa of Calcutta, she would go down on her knees, I imagined, true scholars eat their words with grace, and apologize to Jiyan and her blighted generation for the misuse of her pulpit, she is on C-SPAN all the time, to lash out with her acidic tongue against two wrong doers, one, Saddam Hussein, in her diction, a man as dangerous as Al Capone, who in his „best selling‰, ghost written, novels equates all Kurds to adulterous, treacherous, and fickle creatures; and the other, George Bush, treated as a modern day Adolph Hitler, who used the Kurds, to be sure, as a prop for the war, but had a better appreciation of the man who had used chemical weapons once and could do so again, remember Hitler who had reminded his generals how the Turks got away with the Armenian genocide, unless he was stopped in his tracks.

But it looks like there is a feeling of remorse gripping both the Great Britain as well as the United States, not because war is organized crime let loose and as much as possible should be avoided, and if undertaken, the United Nations should be the institution to invoke it -- that boneless wonder that did not even acknowledge the Kurdish dead when they were gassed in broad daylight -- but because the weapons of mass destruction have, get your eyes ready for this, not been found. I have to assume that these peaceniks and the inadvertent supporters of Saddam Hussein have never heard of the Kurds and their 281 villages, towns, and cities which were indiscriminately gassed not just in one day, between the sunrise and sunset, but in a span of eighteen months, in the course of an operation called al Anfal, which for those of you who are versed in Islam, the name means, the spoils, and comes from a chapter heading in Quran. Imagine if you will, Ariel Sharon using chemical weapons on a Palestinian settlement, and christening his diabolical plan with an Orwellian name, like, say, „tikkun! To paraphrase Ms. Roy, I can almost hear the footsteps of ten million peace activists marching in the streets of major cities all over the world, all shouting in unison, „Never Again! It would be a sight out of this world, signifying the hypocrisy of our generation of peace activists, who are quick to condemn the wrongs of Israelis and Americans, but hardly can be bothered, when the unspeakable is committed in the name of Islam and by the likes of people like Saddam Hussein.

For online version of this article:


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Axis of Evil?

Don't mean to be preachy. Would be quite hypocritical coming from the biggest "flip-flopper" in the universe on the subject of the most recent conflict. But dear God, enough already. Take a minute, say a prayer, send vibes, whatever might influence those who are supposed to listen the voice of reason on all sides. Maybe it needs to be louder.

LINK And scroll to Sat. June 9th post, follow the link to daddytypes to get the backstory.

[Thanks Kevin ( for making me aware]


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

This is what happy looks like on me...

On the whole, the happiest people seem to be those who have no particular cause for being happy except that they are so. ~William R. Inge

Smiling and sweating from a run in the woods; but notice I am not in pieces... :)

No need to check the river!