Wednesday, December 01, 2004

World AIDS Day....

December 1st, 2004

Monday, November 29, 2004

33...



Today is my birthday, and I think that this ought to be my year. I am not into numerology or any of that crap, but I think 33 is a lucky number. My biggest hero did a heck of a lot during his 33rd year on earth. Now I KNOW I can't make as much of an impact as he did, but I am going to try and make the biggest impact that I can. I promise to make a reflection post on November 29th, 2005 to reflect on everything I accomplished during that year. I feel it in my bones....this is going to be my year.

Happy Birthday to ME!



Sunday, November 28, 2004

The end of a great weekend....



Well, like all good things, this weekend had to come to an end. Despite the hectic schedules and the cooking and cleaning, this weekend was thorougly enjoyable. Sam and Erica took off this morning and headed home. Erica and Renee have known each other for the last5 15 or 16 years. For them, each reunion is a point where they can pick up where they left off. Happily enough, I get along with Sam very well so we can entertain ourselves while they catch up on old times.

Wednesday night when they came into town, we stayed up until aobut 3:30 a.m. talking. That made for a very difficult Thanksgiving Day. After all of the cooking, cleaning, serving, eating, and laughing I was completely wiped out.

On Friday, Renee had planned a big shopping trip for all of us. Naturally, Sam and I balked at shopping and ended up in the house with the kids......all....day....long. That evening when they got back from shopping we finally got to leave the house. We ended up going to Renee's Aunts house for dinner and sat around for the remainder of the evening. We got back to Frankfort at around 11:00 that night and made a half-hearted attempt at watching, "Man of Nfire" starring Denzel Washington.

The next morning, Sam and I had enough and decided that we [To be continued...]

Friday, November 26, 2004

Thanksgiving.....

Thanksgiving dinner was a success. Renee and I hosted this year, and I must say that it went off well. We had fried turkey, baked chicken, greens, baked yams, pretzel salad, and corn pudding. I alternated between eating and sleeping most of the afternoon. Here is a picture of the table before we ate.



I really enjoyed having everyone at my house. Before we stuffed ourselves we got together for a quick photo.



After all was said and done we sat around and talked and had a few drinks. I love this time of the year. Oh yeah...can you guess who had too much turkey?


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Look who is coming to dinner...

Here is some holiday news for everyone.

I am assuming my rite of passage as an adult, parent, and independent person has come to fruition. My wife and I are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year. Some guests that are coming besides family are some friends of ours. Sam and Erica, and their newborn daughter Olivia. Sam missed Erica's entire pregnancy and birth, but he is making up for lost time as you can see in this picture.



My wife, Renee, and Erica met in college and have been friends ever since. I only met Sam through my marriage to Renee. Sam is a Captain in the Marine Corps and has recently come off deployment to Iraq. Sam did not go to our Alma Mater, he went to the University of Minnesota where he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha, I went to the same school that Erica and Renee went to, and I pledged Kappa Alpha Psi....if you know anything about black college Fraternities you would realize that Kappas and Alphas are like oil and water. But despite his bad decisions in military branch and Fraternity we get along just fine.

I am thankful for a lot of things this year, but

Monday, November 22, 2004

This picture could be worth a bunch....

Here is a picture of my son, Devon. He is working as a ball boy for Lexington Catholic High School. He started on the middle school team as a 6th grader. He wants to be a superstar. Of course, he already is in my book. Good grades, good attitude, and an excellent athlete.

He says he will play in the NFL. Of course, what little boy hasn't said that? But I encourage his dreams nevertheless. Of course that picture is already worth a million dollars to me.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Days that will go by quickly....

There has been a lot more that has gone bad than good lately. But, nevertheless, there are always moments like this that make me forget that there is such a thing as worry or trouble. I took my daughter to the park, and it was just amazing to think about how much she has grown in the past two years. I kind of had a knot in my throat to think that the day will soon come when she is too big to pick up and carry around. Time flies .....

Brawl between the Pistons and Pacers....

I have long grown weary of the antics of some of our professional athletes. To me, quite a few that come to mind are, over-paid, uncouth, arrogant, delinquents that think that the whole world revolves around them. I suppose that it is the adoration that fans of professional sport shower upon them that reinforces this idea that they are somehow "heroes" for what they do on the court, or on the field of play. In my opinion, the only "heroic" professional athletes are the ones that distinguish themselves both on, and off the court. More often than not, all the news that we hear about a professional athletes prowess off the court entails, violated women, brushes with the law, and drugs and alcohol. To be fair, this doesn't necessarily portray a large percentage of athletes, but this is what we hear about the most.



Following the brawl between the Pistons and Pacers, there were many people that were calling for immediate charges against some of the players. Ron Artest, and Jermaine O'Neal primarily. The reason being is that people feel that their level of aggression went so high that they went into the stands and attacked fans...attacked the fans? I think quite the reverse happened. Although I am not a fan of Ron Artest, and I thought that his lying on the scorer's table was both contemptuous and juvenile, I also note that the fan that threw the full cup of beer and ice into his face struck first. My reaction, and probably the reaction of most sane people would be at that most to point the fan out to security. At the least, shake off the liquid, and laugh when you are relaxing in your multi-million dollar home that night. But, Artest decided to pursue the fan and went into the stands.

Bad mistake on his part.

Detroit, not a city known for kind and jovial denizens, has a peculiar brand of fans that can be found in such havens of spectator angst as Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

The fans reacted...as Artest took out the punk who threw the beer at him, another fan rushed him. O'Neal, being the dutifully unthinking teammate went to Artest's rescue, and leveled a fan that was closing in on him. At this point fans were hurling bottles and other objects onto the floor, and were actually running onto the floor to confront the players. At this point, Jermaine O'Neal, despite being a basketball player and not a boxer was awarded the "power punch of the night". He runs toward a fan who had stepped on the court, and caught him with a viscous right to the jaw. Another fan stepped up toward another Pacers player and was summarily dropped like an Oak Tree.



Those big, bad, NBA players at it again. Well yes, but what the hell was a fan doing running on the court. I may be biased, as I don't really follow a lot of traditional American sports, (I am a big soccer fan), but it seems to me that the most avid and rabid fans of professional sports are those people who live vicariously through the athletes they worship. More often than not, they seem to be the kind of people who had absolutely no athletic ability of their own. Yet, they seem to be the authority on all these athletic. My question is why, as an out-of-shape, probably inebriated slob of a person, would you attempt to provoke, confront, or assail a professional athlete whose body has been conditioned and tweaked to the maximum of human ability?

I say that the players ought to get the typical fines and suspensions for fighting, no more, no less. I also say that Ron Artest ought to get more time for laying on the scorer's table, and going into the stands after the jerk that threw the beer. Jackson needs to be double-fined, for just generally being an asshole. O'Neal ought to get more fines and time for his wildness. But I think the fans who ran onto that court, or threw something at players ought to have charges brought against them. Instead of remaining spectators, they sought to insert themselves, if only for a moment, into the world of professional sports. And to me, they crossed the line.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The silent ovation for Condoleeza Rice...

George Bush has nominated the first black woman to the position of Secretary of State. She is succeeding a black male named Colin Powell; generally an appointment like this would bring a great deal of air time in the media, but as we see there is little fanfare about this appointment. To me, this is an indication of many things, but here is what comes to my mind.

1. People aren't comfortable with the GOP being innovative and progressive when it comes to race.

2. Despite what many people think, black people are not a monolithic body that considers the success of one to be, "one for the team."

3. People aren't ready to praise a President for installing a cabinet that "looks" like America, unless he's a Democrat.

I noticed this long ago, but some of the most outspoken right-wing media voices have complained about it. As a matter of fact, Andrew is discouraged that no credit has been given to our President. That is very good for him to point that out, but I find it strange that he is so interested in these issues. "Credit for appointing a black person to this position?" I thought that the Republican Party was full of people who are staunch advocates of "The best person for the job." Is it not them who coined the term *"reverse-discrimination"? So "desirous" is the right to have their just due when it comes to recognition for being an "inclusive party" that Rush Limbaugh weighed in on this issue and wondered why nobody said anything praising Bush for appointing Condoleez Rice.

I don't dislike Rush Limbaugh personally, but there are many things that he says that sort of irk me. There are issues that he decides to champion that I don't like.
Besides the issues, I also don't like how Limbaugh flips back and forth on two sides of issues. I certainly didn't think he should have been fired for his remarks about Donovan McNabb being praised for his quarterback skills because people are "desirous that a black quarterback do well". He was hired to be a color commentator, and to me that means you say the things that some people may think, but may not want to say. Hell, even say some things that most people would think are outrageous, but everyone loves to argue anyway. But, getting back to my point. He touts McNabbs prestige in the NFL because of him being black, not his ability. But yet, he is put out because there is not a media frenzy about Rice succeeding Powell as secretary of State, and her being the first "black woman" secretary of State. He is also miffed that there is not a lot of buzz about Alberto Gonzales being named Attorney General. Hmmm.....Are we here to applaud Bush for the caliber, or the color of his appointees? Granted, had this been an appointee from a Democratic President there would have been more buzz, but much to Limbaugh's surprise not all black people think alike, and not all Hispanic people think alike. I really don't like Ward Connerly or Louis Farrakhan, I am as different from them, as they are from each other. I also personally don't think that another black person's success is "one for the team"? Know what I mean? So, Condoleeza Rice has been appointed as Secretary of State....I am willing to bet that my well-being will remain the same no matter what race, gender, or age of the person that fills that position. The Republican Party has long taken hits for being a bunch of "educated racists", I don't believe that they are any more than any other party, but I do think that there has been a level of indifference regarding race, sometimes to the point of being a "calculated indifference". So, why would Rush, a staunch conservative and media darling of the Republican Party, want to acknowledge a first that has been accomplished regarding race?

I have to say that I don't think that George Bush had public praise on his mind when he appointed Condoleeza Rice. I think that he trusts her judgment, and he deems her to be a competent and qualified individual. I have heard that many people say she is not ready for this position because her experience as Provost at Stanford and Director at NSA won't compare to the level of responsibility and far-reaching demands of Secretary of State. I disagree, I think she will do very well, as a matter of fact, I think she will accomplish most everything that she sets her mind to. But, I seriously doubt I will agree with a lot of her endeavors. I think this is a milestone, much as when Madeline Albright had the position, but accolades notwithstanding, she is the right one for a Bush Cabinet.....accolades or not.

* (Reverse Discrimination--As if there were such a thing, not to say that whites cannot be victims of discrimination, but if they are,it is just that.....discrimination. The reverse of "discrimination" would be "equality"...right? That is unless you think that minorities being discriminated against is should be the acceptable norm.)
The Marine in Falluja...

The Marine in Falluja will undoubtedly become the face of what is wrong with this conflict we are engaged in. I wonder how the investigation will proceed?

Eugene Volokh from The Volokh Conspiracy has these ideas about the events.

Read here in another window.



Don't get me wrong, I have my suspicions about the justification for this shooting, but I also know that I don't know what was going on previous to the shooting. More to come later.
A Picture I came across...

Here is a picture of me at a Morale Call when I was TDY at Ft. Gordon.

Maker's and Coke.....mmmmm....

Sunday, November 14, 2004

I can't believe it....

Apparently there are are a lot of Americans who are considering immigration to Canada. While I am sure because this was a very close Presidential race that many people are still a bit emotional, we have to ask ourselves whether or not we should really be sad about the people who want to immigrate. A person who would jump ship when things don't go exactly as expected is not American to me.

Just my opinion, though.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The battle in Fallujah...

I am not sure how many US troops have lost their lives in the battle for Fallujah, but I have had a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach since it began. I hope that they can secure the city and that the insurgency will subside. I know that we will be in Iraq for a long time, but I wish the effort wasn't so costly.



I don't think that we are meeting the level of resistance that we had anticipated, but one life is valuable to lose. On either side actually. Don't get me wrong, I would rather hear about insurgents dying than our troops, but I do have to say that the effects on the civilian population and infrastructure worry me as well.

Pray for our troops....

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Ready to sing....

She is ready to sing, but what we don't know is for whom she is going to belt out a tune.



Are we going to have to wait 11 days for this. Here we are in the most technologically advanced nation in the world, yet we have a mess for two Presidential elections in a row?

Stay tuned...

12:45 PM

It would seem that John Kerry will be giving and getting a serenade in about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Marriage Amendment...as if we needed one...

An Amendment to the Kentucky Constitution has passed that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. While this doesn't specifically mention sexual orientation, it not only has a tacit, but an implicit impact on the same-sex union question. The amendment passed by an overwhelming amount, the last I saw it was approximately 79% for the amendment to 21% against it. The vote that I cast was a "No" for the amendment. As a Catholic Christian, my religious views do impact some of my political views, and homosexuality is one thing that is frowned upon by most any recognized church. However, I think that this is one thing that the church should stay out of. Accordingly, I think that we should leave a lot of our religious views out of discussions like this as well. While I do have to admit that I understand the thought process of those who voted for an amendment to define marriage, I also have to say that I am greatly disappointed in their votes. I am equally shocked to see such a backing for this from the Republican party, the reason being is that they are such staunch adversaries of judicial activism. I too am afraid of an ever-increasing reach of the court systems. I also think that any amendment to the State or Federal Constitution should increase, not decrease the rights and privileges of a particular segment of our population.

But, this is the democratic process, and the people have spoken. I just feel for those whose voices have been stifled.
To Vote, or not to Vote...

Despite the high number of newly registered voters that we have, I am pessimistic about a significantly higher number of youth and blacks that vote today. I hope that they, and anyone else who is eligible to vote...but chooses not to...will remember this picture.



The current exit polls posted by Slate show Kerry squeaking so far. Here is what they have listed.

Florida
Kerry 50
Bush 49

Ohio
Kerry 50
Bush 49

Pennsylvania
Kerry 54
Bush 45

Wisconsin
Kerry 51
Bush 46

Michigan
Kerry 51
Bush 47

Minnesota
Kerry 58
Bush 40

Nevada
Kerry 48
Bush 50

New Mexico
Kerry 50
Bush 48

North Carolina
Kerry 49
Bush 51

Colorado
Kerry 46
Bush 53

We shall see what the evening unravels for us. I will try and post again soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Five days until the election....

It is hard to believe, but five days from now we will be crowding the voting booths to decide who is going to lead this great country of ours for the next four years. You can either go with the incumbent....



Or you can go with the challenger....



Who are you going to vote for?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Daydreaming about money....

I want to be rich. I don't mean rich so that I could be on MTV cribs giving a tour of some gaudy South Beach dwelling. I want to be wealthy. Wealth that makes your name famous in the old money circles. I want to be romantically wealthy, you know, the cocky, arrogant, Thomas Crown sort of wealth. The kind of wealth that makes the irritating things I do seem like romantic eccentricities. I want to be wealthy so that the only thing that keeps me from indulging my children's every whim is the desire that they not be COMPLETE spoiled brats. The kind of wealthy that would let me take my wife to the Carribean for two weeks on a day's notice.

I want to be the kind of wealthy that affords me anonymity. The kind of wealthy that lets everyone know your name, but not know what you look like. I want to have inexplicable tastes that most people cannot pronounce. I want the sort of wealth that educates me and makes me understand what the other half does. I want to have the wealth that will allow me to do things for a number of people. I want to be able to reach out and do something to help the kid whose parents can't afford a life-saving medical procedure. I want to be the wealthy that builds schools, libraries, and gymnasiums and names them for whomever I choose. I want to be the wealthy that is admired not simply envied.

I want to be wealthy in spirit.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Atmore, Alabama...


My parents were born and raised in Atmore, Alabama as obsure as that locality may be to most people who read this weblog, it is as equally difficult to convey to you what the name means to me. Atmore. As a child I would visit this place once, twice, perhaps three times a year to visit my Grandmother, (Mommie Essie), my Grandfather, and my other family. Being a military brat afforded me the opportunity to travel across the country and throughout Europe as a child. But, it kept me from having constant contact with any relatives outside of my immediate family. For me, visiting Atmore was the bridge that connected me to a sense of self. I had access to cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents. But, as I grew older Atmore came to have a new meaning for me. Atmore was no longer the place where I went to visit those special people who knew everything about me. Atmore was the place where I came to attend their funerals.

Last Thanksgiving I went to Atmore to visit my grandmother, and at the end of the trip I felt a pain like I never felt before. When it came time to leave, she said, "I'm not gonna cry", even though she did anyway. She cried, and I cried as well. It was the first time I ever did that. In years past as a child I never wanted to leave, but I can remember telling her that I loved her and I would see her soon. But.... as I loaded my family into the car and backed out of her driveway I can't help but recall seeing her wiping her eyes. I knew...and somehow I think that she knew, that it would be the last time that we ever saw one another. I can still recall stooping down and hugging her as she sat in her wheel chair. The feeling of her cheek against mine as I hugged her. The sound of her saying, "Mommie Essie loves you, baby." I play that over and over in my mind.

When I went down for her funeral, I thought something was wrong with Atmore. The town was still in ruins from Hurricane Ivan. The town was in ruins.



What was worse than that, was the fact that Mommie Essie's house was in bad shape. When I pulled into the driveway something seemed oddly out of place.



Mommie Essie's carport had been ripped off of the right-hand side of the house, and had been lifted into the air, and slammed down onto the fence on the left-hand side of the house.



But, as time went on, the thing that was most wrong about Alabama was the fact that Mommie Essie was no longer there. That is what I will never forget.


Sunday, October 24, 2004

A glimpse of beauty....

I just took an impromptu picture of Renee, and I thought it was beautiful even though you cannot see her entire face. This is the way she looks after a long day on the road traveling with the family, cleaning house, cooking dinner, and settling down on the couch to watch television. Though it may not seem like a glamour shot to some, this is the beauty that I appreciate the most.



I'll appreciate it for many years to come.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

June 24th, 1907 - October 15th, 2004...


My Grandmother died....I don't have words today. The span of four generations is in this picture, that is about all I can do.



(I love you Mommie Essie)

UPDATED: October 23rd, 2004

I am working from my laptop in a hotel room in Indianapolis. Renee and I are up here for her cousin's wedding. It was really nice, the whole time I thought that it was so much nicer to get together with family for a wedding or child birth, than what it is to get together for a funeral. Mommie Essie's funeral wasn't the gut-wrenching experience that I thought it was going to be. I was sad, but I was happy in the fact that she lived 97 years of relative health and happiness.

It was not surprising that there were so many people at the funeral. I have to admit that I was a little jealous to hear that so many people called her, "Mama Essie", of course that is a cheap takeoff of the real thing, "Mommie Essie" that my sisters and cousins called her. She was so many things to so many people, but it seemed that I had tunnel vision my entire life. I knew that she was wonderful, but I never looked far beyond my own relationship with her. She made me feel so special, so wonderful, so loved, that I never dreamed that she had energy to devote to other people. I should have known though. Mommie Essie was wonderful.

Monday, October 11, 2004

War of Words.....
(from CNN.com)
In the magazine article, a largely analytical cover story by Matt Bai, Kerry is asked "what it would take for Americans to feel safe again." (Special Report: America Votes 2004)

''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' the article states as the Massachusetts senator's reply.

''As a former law enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''


Though this was not a completely innocuous statement or a lightweight subject, I am not sure that his statement is tantamount to not knowing the severity of the terrorist threat. This issue, and arguably many issues that were brought up by the Kerry campaign have really become exasperating as this Presidential race has moved along. Whether it was Halliburton, or the Swift Boat Vets, DD 214's, or the justification for purple hearts, this race has not addressed a lot of the issues I am concerned about. The situation in Iraq notwithstanding, I have no clue what the future holds for Energy, Prescription Drugs, Taxes, Health Care, or the economy. I think that we as American people have not done our part because we have not demanded that the incumbent President, or any of the challengers state what their future plans are, and why they would be good for all Americans. Instead, we have been placated by watching a battle of snide comments and derisive commentary.

I am not going to pitch for a certain candidate, or put up hyperlinks to a campaign site. I just hope that anybody out there that reads this will make sure and make an "informed' decision on election day.



Friday, October 08, 2004

Well damn.....

I wouldn't want anyone to think that I had become motivated and changed my blog layout. A bug wrecked my other scheme, and blogger support said that this is all that they can do for me. Oh well, maybe I will work some images and a better layout up this weekend. Take care.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Some sounds are worth keeping....


I was cleaning up the old messages from my cell phone and decided to commit the contents to my weblog. The first message was from way back in the summer. It was so cute I decided to save it a while. I had met my wife and kids in Pigeon Forge for a weekend getaway from training, and my daughter called my cell phone with my wife's cell phone and asked me to talk to her. When I picked up mine and answered she was ecstatic.

The second message was my wife calling me so that my daughter could sing a song to me. I was either on duty or in the classroom so my voicemail caught that one as well. She wasn't quite two, so the way she can sing is kind of amazing.

The third message is from a guy who wanted to borrow some teaching materials for a SINCGARS class I had taught....no big deal.

The last message was actually from today. A friend of mine who I went to OBC with returned a call to me while I was at work. He is on leave before he goes to his next duty station. Unfortunately his wife and child can't come with him, so I really feel sorry for him. I wish I had more time to hang out with him, I think he and I had a lot in common. Well, just listen for yourself.



this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Home Stretch...

I'm taking a break from packing gear to ready myself to go to the field. I think it is going to suck, because we will be getting the leftovers from the hurricane. Oh well, every day is one day closer to going home. I talked to my wife today, and it seems that there is so much going on at home that I am missing. I can't wait to be back in my own house sleeping in my own bed. Four and a half months of TDY is just a little much for me. I shouldn't complain, I could be going back to Iraq. A good deal of the guys I am training with are on their way to either Kuwait or Iraq. I wonder what it is going to take to finally quell the unrest we are experiencing in Iraq? I hate to hear about fellow servicemen dying every day. I also hate to hear about all of the terror attacks going on around the world. I hope this mess isn't still going on when my kids come of age.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Remembering....

September 11th seems like it just happened yesterday, but so much has happened since then. I really don't know what to say. I just wish the world was a better place right now.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Who am I to complain?

I spent the majority of this weekend on the road between Ft. Gordon and home. The trip is approximately 525 miles which means for several hours on the road. On top of that, there is ongoing road construction that I deal with every time that I make the trek home. I just went home last weekend for my daughters birthday, and to celebrate a belated wedding anniversary. After making that journey the week before, I really didn't feel like going anywhere this past weekend. I remember my wife told me that my son Devon's first football game would be this past Saturday. Not a major thing to some, but this was my son's first middle school game, he is starting on offense and defense and is immensely proud. She suggested that my showing up unannounced would be a big thrill for him. I told my wife that I might come but I was not sure.

The last few days of training had been fraught with tension, fatgigue, and frustration. I had a back and leg injury during PT, had a major test to pass, and on top of that, the Friday I was supposed to travel on started at approximately 0300 (3:00 a.m. to all of you civilians). Finally, not to completgely whine you out with my woes, I managed to catch a summer cold and felt like hell. At about noon on Friday I had pretty much made up my mind that I was going to call my wife and tell her that I was not coming. Hell, Dev wasn't expecting me to come. But, while I was on break, I started thinking about my mother-in law. My mother-in law was a wonderful woman who loved all of her children, and grandchildren. She died just a few days before Christmas, it was such a sad time. At the beginning of November, my son Devon had guided his youth league football team to the championship. The same day of the championship, my mother-in law had one of her last chemotherapy treatments, and her condition had gone completely downhill. She never felt well....she couldn't eat, she couldn't sleep, and despite her happy spirit, her face betrayed her true feelings. She was in pain. We didn't expect her to come to the game, and as a matter of fact, we had been up to her house in Lexington earlier that day. She said that she was going to try and get a little rest. As I busied myself on the sidelines I looked up and saw a familiar form walkikng toward the stands. It was my mother-in law. I called out to her, "What are you doing here?! I didn't think you were feeling up to being out in this weather." She smiled and said, "I don't, but I couldn't stay away." I really thought that was something at the time, but it meant so much more to me after she passed away.

I consider myself to be a pretty good person, but I always look at ways that I can improve myself. I look at the strength and devotion that my mother-in law showed in coming to Devon's game, and I ask myself how many times I may have shirked responsibility in the past under the excuse that things were just too tough for me. Before I left Ft. Gordon this past Friday, I was gassing my truck up at the Shoppette. One of the guys from my platoon asked me what I was doing for the weekend. I told him I was going home for my sons football game. He said, "How long of a drive is it?" I told him that it was about eight hours. He whistled and said, "Damn dude, didn't you go home last weekend?" I told him yes, but its my sons first football game, and that I "just couldn't stay away." I don't know what I felt, but I think Annette approved.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Information Technology II

I am sitting in the breakroom at the IT building after taking a quiz. Tomorrow I will have my final exam, and I will be done with the School of Information Technology. I will be sorry to see this time period pass. We go in at 0830, and we end at approximately 1600. Soon we will be going to Basic Electronics back at Greeley Hall and I think we will be back to the 1700, 1730, or even 1800 release days.

I talked to my wife last night, and she told me that she was safely back at home with the kids. I could hear my daughter screaming in the background, and I could hear my sons running wild. I really wish I could be with them. The week that my wife spent with my really whet my appetite to be back with them again. Well, I suppose we are about midway through the course, so I shouldn't be complaining too much. Well, that is all for now...back to class.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Missing you...

Renee,

Just in case you ever wonder, you are my everything. I love you with all of my heart. Thank you so much for coming to visit, now that our ways had to part, I realized how you have made me whole.
Mack...

I marveled at your strength,
The way you smashed bricks to dust.
Grinning over warm gin,
working side by side next to Dad.
Vain stories told by the dozen,
in a crude way,
of the blessed younger days,
Vietnam, street women and cheap wine.
Every day you always had a smile,
You always did something for somebody, for nothing.
You were good, but you were bad.
Nobody ever tried you,
Nobody ever would.
Damn...it's so ironic....
Even Cancer couldn't do,
what a sharp curve on a highway could.

Dkelsmith


My dad's best friend died in a car accident down in Alabama this past spring. His name was Mack Bowie. I don't know what made me think of him this evening, but nonetheless I have been thinking about him for the last few hours. Mack was younger than my father. I am not sure how old, but perhaps in his late 50's or early 60's. Mack was a strong man, I remember when my Dad was remodeling our house, Mack cut a hole in a brick wall with a masonry saw and a sledge hammer in under 20 minutes. Scarcely six feet tall, and weighing perhaps 170 pounds, I saw him heft anvils with what seemed to be relative ease. He loved fast cars, fast women, and Seagrams Gin. His nickname was "Kite", because he was "in the wind" so much. He was a great man, though he was a lot of things that my father wasn't. I kind of liked the wild streak in him, and I learned a lot of things from him. Things that Dad wouldn't have taught me...things that Dad would have felt were inappropriate. Three guesses who let me look at a Playboy magazine at the age of 9? But for all of his vices, he was an integral part in my upbringing. Certainly not on the level of my parents, but he was important nonetheless. Mack was old enough to be my Dad, close enough to be my uncle, and trustworthy enough to be a blood relative, but I always called him by his first name, and I don't know why. Ordinarily my father would have tanned my hide for calling an adult by their first name as a child. But, it was okay with Mack. He probably would have objected to being called, "Mr. Bowie." He used to accompany us fishing, and hunting, and working around the house. He came to help out, just for the hell of it. My father was doing some work on the house of Mack's long-deceased older brother. A larger, more powerful, and meaner-looking man spirited some of Dad's tools away in the middle of the night. Mack discovered who did it, and beat the man senseless in only a few minutes. I never did understand what made my Dad and this man friends, Dad is professional, degreed, staid, and modest. Mack was the antithesis...on all counts, but he was still perfect to my young and adoring eyes. I think Dad always felt the same way, too. The two of them were inseperable. Mack had only moved to Alabamam about 6 months before he died, but I remember Dad had tried to talk him out of it. Dad didn't want his best friend being so far away. They were from two different walks of life, yet they were cut from the same cloth. Dad, tolerated his idiosyncracies, and Mack tolerated Dad's straight-and-narrow approach to life. I remember one summer when we were putting a new roof on the house, that Mack felt it appropriate to let my father know his shortcomings. Mack felt that we were taking such a long time with the roof because Dad was "nailing shingles like a woman." (pronounced WOE-man) Dad simply shook his head and pursed his lips. Later as I was using a chalk string to set our last angles, I noticed that Dad's fly was unzipped. I said, "Hey Dad...X,Y,Z". Dad looked down and zipped his pants. Mack snorted and said, "Shit, you can say your ABC's and count to 100 if you like, it ain't gonna matter, cause Fred ain't got shit in them britches." Dad stopped working, his hammer resting on the last nail he drove home. He didn't say a word, he simply stared at the shingles beneath his knees.....I found myself at a scintillating quandary. The nagging resentment that someone talked about my father in such a way, yet the thrill that somebody would talk to my father in such a way. I waited to see his response, suddenly Dad put his head way back and literally started bellowing with laughter, Mack and I followed suit. Mack was something else, I will never forget him. But, after all of the years of knowing him, and months after his death I discovered something about him. I just now realized that he always treated us as if we were his family, and I always loved him for it.


Saturday, July 10, 2004

Melancholy...

Main Entry: melancholy
Function: adjective
1 a : suggestive or expressive of melancholy ..sang in a melancholy voice.. b : causing or tending to cause sadness or depression of mind or spirit : DISMAL a melancholy thought2 a : depressed in spirits : DEJECTED, SAD b : PENSIVE


I would have to say that merriam-webster.com cannot adequately capture the feelings I have with any word. But, I suppose melancholy is the most adequate description available. I have been sent TDY to Ft. Gordon and that equals approximately four and a half months away from my wife and kids.

Renee came down last Monday to visit me, and now she is preparing to leave. This has to be one of the fastest weeks of my life. I hate the fact that she is leaving, but I know that she has to go. I miss her, I miss the kids, I miss all things familiar to me. I do have to admit that this time away has given me new perspective on my relationship with my wife and my children. I suppose that I have a good idea of all that I have taken for granted now that I have been deprived. I love my life, but I miss my wife already.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Taking things for granted...

I suppose the worst thing that people do is to take others for granted. But, I can look back on my behavior towards my wife and kids and easily say that I took them for granted. I see that now that I am not in a position to be around them all the time.

I suppose I took all of the time that I could have been spending with my kids for granted. I can't think of the number of times I was tired after getting home from work, and I turned down an invitation to "come play" with my kids. How many times could I have sat and played with them instead of laying down for a quick nap.

I also look at my relatioship with my wife and wonder the same thing. It is just amazing to think back on the number of times that I would be in my own world, doing something I wanted to do instead of talking to her. It is so easy to read a book, watch television, fart around on a weblog, or otherwise not interact with my wife after a long day. I suppose I overlooked the sparkle in her eye when she is telling me about something that caught her eye during the day. Hell, I guess I took the sound of her voice for granted when she micromanages me when I am driving. I took for granted the feeling of waking up next to her in the morning. I took for granted some of the smaller, yet noticeable things that she does. The way she curls her hair behind her ear when she reads. The way she crosses her legs as she talks. So many things....so many things. I don't have the inclination to write about it, I suppose I just want to think about it. I can't wait to see my wife again......

Monday, June 28, 2004

Early Handover

It seems that the sovereignty of the Iraqui people has been handed over to them early. Regardless of what anyone says, I think that this was done to make sure that the insurgents could not stage a coordinated large-scale attack on that day in order to take away from the proceedings. Of course, I don't think that this symbolism will do anything to deter the insurgency. We have Al Quaeda, Ansar al Islam, the Fedayeen, Saddam Loyalists, Al Sadr's followers and many other foreign fighters who have crossed the border out of neighboring countries solely to inflict damage upon coalition U.S. Forces.

I see us being in the Middle East for a very long time. I am not sure how well established the so-called Iraqi defense forces will be if we were to leave. I don't think that this symbolism will do anything to deter the scheduled beheadings either.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Father's Day Weekend...

Despite being TDY, I was still able to see my wife and kids over Father's Day weekend. Because my Fraternity Brother was getting married in Columbus, Ohio, I flew to Cincinnati where Renee and the kids met me. We stayed the night and went on to Columbus in the morning. It was so wonderful to wake up and hear the boys arguing over the TV, and Alexandra fussing over her Finding Nemo toys. You just don't know how much I miss them. Though I talk to Renee and the kids a few times per day, it had been almost a month since I had laid eyes on them. Some of the ordinarily subtle changes in Alex's behavior and growth were blatantly obvious when I saw her. I can really see a lot of myself in her, and she is starting to get so tall.

Robbie seemed to have grown a bit as well, the difference in height between him and his older brother are becoming less and less....much to Devon's chagrine. We ended up eating a Father's Day brunch at the Cheesecake factory in Cincinnati, and we made a quick stop into the Mall at Kenwood. After that we visited some relatives that lived in the area and then Renee dropped me off at the airport for the flight back to Ft. Gordon. Damn, it was so hard to fly out on Father's Day. I can't wait to see them again.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Happy Birthday U.S. Army

Today is the 229th birthday of the United States Army. Happy birthday to all of us, and good luck to all of our Soldiers who are in harms way.





Not to forget, today is Flag Day as well, did you fly your flag today?

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Ronald Reagan is dead...

Last night I was enjoying a great day off from our rigorous training calendar when I saw the newscast that told of President Reagan's passing. Immediately I was bothered by it, and I wasn't sure why. Of course I think that any person's passing should be observed with respect, it seemed like I felt his death on a personal level. Of course, I am a registered Democrat, and an ideological and political moderate. I did like Reagan's stance on the military, though.

After I thought about it, I realized that I literally grew up with Ronald Reagan in the White house. I vaguely remember some of my father's complaint's about Jimmy Carter. I also vaguely remember the remarks that people used to make about him being a "peanut farmer." But, I became more aware of the world around me, and world events when Reagan was in office. He is the first President that I can remember observing. I can remember being in 3rd or 4th grade when he was shot. I remember him sending troops into Grenada, I remember Iran-Contra and Oliver North. I remember him bombing Khadafy into the stone age. (That guy has been quiet for a looooong time hasn't he?"

So in effect, Reagan was in the White House when I first began to grasp the concept that things that happened in all of these far off places still had an effect on us here. Reagan was called the "Great Communicator", and indeed he was. Many people hated his trickle-down theory, and the purported "Reaganomics". Nobody thought that Reagan was very concerned about civil rights, but I don't think that he was an enemy of minorities. I think he had a particular view that stated that the federal government could not do anything for the underpriveleged, only individual states could. Therefore he would not entertain federal intervention into social programs.

In short, Ronald Reagan is gone, and I am very sad. Although he has been out of the public eye for a great while, hearing of his passing serves as a painful reminder of his slow battle with Alzheimers. Rest in peace, President Reagan.
this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, May 20, 2004

TDY Blues...

"TDY (Tee-dee-why) Army acronym for Temporary Duty, not to exceed 140 days."


I hate having duty assignments or service school requirements that put me around a bunch of trainees. I swear I had to return at least 250 to 300 salutes today. I don't have time to blog. I need to shine my boots. Man, I miss my wife and kids....

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I am sick of kids...

This morning, like a lot of other mornings I showered, shaved, and dressed listening to the incessant back and forth between two little boys. As a husband, father, and worker I really don't like starting off my morning with a bunch of foolishness. I'm an adult I don't have time for such things. No matter what the issue is with these kids, it gets blown up into something dramatic. I know I shouldn't be like this, but I am tired of their little asses. I can't go into the specific details of what this argument was about, because quite frankly I don't know. The real issue was lost in the name-calling, denials, and excuses. Once the argument reached a fever pitch I had to break in. I said, "Oh the both of you little bastards need to shutup! You make me sick!"

I turned off the television and stormed out of the bedroom. Devon and Robbie were sitting there eating there cereal and I said, "Are you two ready to head out for school?" Robbie nodded and kept munching Captain Crunch. Devon said, "Yeah, I was just going over my Social Studies I have a test today. Who were you talking to in the bedroom?"

I said, "I was listening to Terry McCaulife and Ed Gillespie debate John Kerry and President Bush's military records."

Devon said, "Who are they, and why are they arguing about that?"

"One of them is a Democrat, and the other is a Republican, they are big wigs in their parties. They are talking bad about Kerry and Bush's war records to try and help get their guy elected." I told him.

"That's pretty dumb, why don't they try and get people home from Iraq quicker so nobody else gets killed anymore."

I laughed and said, "That's what most of us want to know, get your bookbag, you too Robbie, we're going to be late."

I scooped my daughter out of her high chair, kissed my wife on the cheek and headed out the door feeling good. I'm glad I have my children to keep my mind off of those bratty-assed kids.

*based on true events, some embellishment.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

BET Member of the week...


BET Member of the week is your's truly, Dkelsmith. Thank you...thank you....thank you..... I don't think I get anything cool like a free tee shirt, but the exposure is pretty cool. If I had been thinking I would have asked for a referral link to my weblog. I would like to be able to generate more traffic to my blog. Of course, I think that has a lot more to do with the fact that I don't post daily, and perhaps the subject matter I cover isn't really compelling. While I do like to touch on politics and the military, I like to focus a lot of attention on family life. Since I am not part of a dysfunctional family none of the interesting subjects like drug use, domestic violence, infidelity, or anything like that applies to me or any of my little family. Oh! speaking of family, my oldest son got All A's and B's for the third consecutive 9 weeks period, my younger son, got all S's and E's on his kindergarten report card, and my daughter is speaking more words.


Monday, March 08, 2004

John Kerry: Black like me?

"President Clinton was often known as the first black President. I wouldn't be upset if I could earn the right to be the second."...[John F. Kerry]

I was cruising some of my favorite blog reads and came across a spot on Oliver's site that talked about John Kerry and his mission to connect with all populations of U.S. Voters. In a quotation from USA today, it referenced that quote with this line....

"Kerry signaled his resolve to cement his support among blacks this week when he told a radio interviewer, "President Clinton was often known as the first black president. I wouldn't be upset if I could earn the right to be the second."

I was mildly amused when I heard about Tony Morrison referencing Clinton in that way. Don't get me wrong, I liked Clinton despite the attention to his personal life and business dealings. However, I was taken aback by how the idea of him being a "Black President" was centered not around his fiscal policies, his recruitment of minorities, or simply his love of Jazz music; he was thought of as a black President after he started getting into trouble. I would think that most black men would be outraged if a person stated that most black men were womanizers, guilty of lying, unfaithful to their wives, and always subject to losing their jobs. I think that Tony Morrison made that statement with tongue-in-cheek, especially in light of how Clinton was viciously attacked by opposition party members. Yes, they had a legal standing, but we all know that it was because President Clinton was incumbent Executive to a hostile Congress.

I would think that Tony Morrison made her statements in light of the fact that Clinton was "going through" a lot at the time. Yes, he was from the South, raised in a single parent home, was working class and could better identify with blacks than a blue blood northerner. I was a fan of Clinton because he was a Fiscal conservative, thought about domestic issues first, and also presided over a time when the economy boomed and the surplus ballooned. Things at that time were so good that he hoped to use the surplus to pay down the National Debt, though some of the Congressman on his side of the aisle wanted to expand and create new programs. If this was the reason for his being compared to a black man, I would have no problem with it. But the joke was really on us with this one, because in the words of Kevin Gray, "The punch line is that Clinton is decadent nd promiscuous, got rythm, got caught, and got over - so he's black!" Amazingly enough Gray was Al Sharpton's former campaign manager.

For John Kerry to make a statement like this is tantamount to 1st degree pandering. I think I would still have a problem with Kerry's infantile statements about wanting to be a "black man's President". Even if after he was elected the problems with terrorism vanished, Unemployment was at 3%, he would still have a "soul quotient that would make George Bush look like James Brown."*

If Kerry wants to identify with blacks, or capture the vast majority of black votes he doesn't need to try and be "Brothaman". More than likely he needs to stop referring to issues on "State's Rights". (pronounced states raughts in the South) If he knew anything about black people he would realize that the term "States Right's" in the South used to mean, "Do whuteva the hayul we want to the darkies no matta whut the gubmint says". I am not sure if there are really black issues that a politician needs to "get" from the black perspective, but I don't think that Kerry is any more or less capable than anyone else of getting the job done.

Bottom line, stick to being a blue blood, but be aware that you serve the entire constituency. Don't pander to a certain group, do what you think is right. And damn, leave the Jazz to Clinton.

*quotation from Kathleen Parker from the "Jewish World Review".


Friday, March 05, 2004

And then there was one...

Despite remaining attuned to the decorum of the Democratic nominee process, John Kerry is the last man standing in the Democratic Selection Process. Sharpton and Kucinich have not called an official ent to their campaigns, Dean quit but his name is still on the ballot. If I was Kucinich I would be mortified that I was dead last, even if it even is a field of three.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/03/04/elec04.prez.edwards.suspension/index.html

Thursday, February 26, 2004

The reason I have not supported gay marriage....

I don't support gay marriage for one reason, and one reason alone. I discovered that I had a prejudice bias against the homosexual lifestyle. Don't worry....you haven't run across a racist, homophobic, sexist individual's weblog, I am simply stating the reason why I don't support it. I never made a conscious effort to like or dislike homosexuals, I suppose that there was always a level of unconscious indifference regarding them. I was always quick to say, "Hell, I'm not homophobic, what someone does in the privacy of their own bedroom doesn't bother me." But for some reason the gay marriage issue has, and I had to do some soul searching in order to find out why.

I suppose that the urge to chastise homosexuals starts at an early age. I knew to call the boys who could not run fast, catch a ball, or take a punch without crying, "sissies" when I was in grade school. In later years some of the friendly taunts to my high school friends was to tell them they played ball like "girls", or their outfit looked "gay". And perhaps I still have that feeling toward people that I deem to be "different". My reasons for not showing support toward gay marriage is the same as everyone else's I just choose to be honest.... in today's modern society, homosexuality is still a "no-no". There...I said it. I can admit it, but some of the most staunch opponents to gay marriage always claim reasons based in religion. It doesn't matter that shows such as "Queer eye for the straight guy", or "Sex and the city" portray the homosexual community to be the haute couture of style, fashion, and glitz. We still have a condescending and distrustful eye toward them.

I find it funny that the "religous right" has such a problem with gay marriages. I also find it funny that so many people feel that homosexual marriage is an "attack" on the sanctity of marriage. In all actuality, I would say that cell phones, alcoholic beverages, internet connections, chat rooms, personal ads, and pay-by-the-hour motels are more of a threat to marriage than gay people. I don't see how anyone getting married or not getting married, whether they are gay or straight can do something to damage my marriage, let alone the "sanctity" of marriage on the whole. I would say that most major religions frown upon homosexuality, but in so many ways, those who used to be persecuted by their sexuality now find themselves being reached out to by the Church....somewhat.

The Anglican church is going through a bit of turmoil over the newly installed, openly gay Bishop. My church, the Catholic Church, is reaching out to its homosexual members, yet still admonishes them to live a chaste life if they cannot overcome the earthly "temptations" of their sexuality. The gay community has found itself in the newspapers over this issue, and now unwillingly finds itself a major subject of the Presidential campaign. Kerry isn't sure, and Bush is being pegged as a homophobe for saying that he is "troubled" by the marriages being performed in California. No doubt we will see this issue, as was the issue of gays in the military, being hashed and rehashed all the way through November.

Is Gay the "New Black" this election year? Usually the stumbling block for a candidates viability is how he or she does on racial issues. But it seems that perhaps attention toward a sexual classification, rather than an ethnic group may be the litmus test to see how effective the people vying for the White House will be. I do say that I am surprised that the Democrats, a group that long prides itself in being "progressive" (liberal is a naughty word, as was conservative in the late eighties), is so sharply divided over this issue. The Republicans, who have long touted State's Rights, and less government intervention, are jockeying to have a Constitutional amendment that will specifically define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Wow. Aren't those the guys that rail against Judicial Activism? Undoubtedly, many gays wonder how women's groups and minority groups aren't rallying to their side for equal protection, but it seems like the view of homosexuals is one thing that the most diametrically opposed groups can agree on. "We don't understand and don't want to understand", is the common consensus. I would say that a black militant and a KKK member would probably put their fists down and shake their heads in disgust if two men walked past them holding hands. Sad to say, but that is true. We all have our own self-serving interests and it seems that if things do not directly affect "Us", (whomever that may be), we have no cause to get involved.

Television shows and movies usually stereotype a gay man to be some limp-wristed, flamboyant, prissy, and annoying specimen. Someone who not only probably can't fight, (hetero male society's unspoken measure of a man's manliness second only to the number of women he has knocked off), but is of no utility except for helping his female friend's pick out shoes and decorate their apartments. Lesbians are portrayed as steel-jawed, manly, lumberjacks who have a penchant for misandry. What is even worse, in some of the stereotyping we do of gay people, we throw sexism in there as well. How many guys have joked about a woman being a lesbian due to bad relationships with men? There should be several hands in the air now....
The fact of the matter is, being gay is about as much a life "decision" as being black or white, or male or female. Because we live in a society that was founded by Christian men, yet demands to be free of the Church, we find that religous pressures still pervade many of the issues that we deal with. (i.e. Abortion, Cloning, Stem cell research, gay marriage, gays in the military, the legality of prostitution.) The fact remains that the reason that most heterosexuals frown on gay marriage is because we look at the attraction between two men, or two women to be nothing but the physical act. Because the idea of same sex copulation is incomprehensible to the point of being revolting to many of us, we are not willing to dignify a homosexual relationship with the possiblity that two people may love one another. Arrogance or instinct?

I was looking at CNN the other day, and saw an article where two women were getting married. They had been a couple for 51 years. I am sure that in that time they had probably purchased a home and several vehicles together, paid state, local, and federal taxes, and probably planned for a retirement together...for 51 years. Yet, me and my wife of not quite three years, enjoy tax breaks that these two women did not. Simply because we are not the same sex.

In closing, I have to say that probably acculturation is to blame for my hesitancy to support the idea of gay marriages. But, I do have to say that I am a product of my upbringing, and environment. The way I feel is not a choice, it is who I am. If I look at gay marriage under the microscope of socio-political theory I would have to say that there are many cases for gay marriage. The main case for it rests in the document that they are trying to amend to ban it. However, something holds me back, my own bias that I am finally admitting. So, I do apologize, sincerely I do.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Boulder Colorado...


Sixth rape allegation surfaces at CU

I just don't understand what is going on in Boulder. Everything from the alleged sex parties to lure recruits, to the unreported six elleged rapes, to the football coach. I went to Boulder for 4 days in 1999, and I have to tell you that I loved the place. I walked around on the University of Boulder campus quite a few times. The one thing that surprised me greatly was the fact that there were absolutely no overweight people there. Everyone was jogging, walking, roller-blading, and working out. The campus was absolutely beautiful, the air was fresh and clean, and there was no smoking in any public facility. Shoot, I thought I had found paradise. I don't doubt that there are some shady goings on in Colorado, but I do wonder why these rape allegations have not come out until now. I don't completely dismiss the veracity of these claims, but I do submit that SOMEBODY had to know SOMETHING. I pray to God that when my daughter comes of age that she will have the courage and the trust in me to let me know if someone does something to me.

I would comment on how the coach talked about the abilities of the female place kicker. I am fired up enough to let him have it, but I can't waste the virtual ink on a slug like that. All I can say is whether the girls claims are true or false, it takes a piss poor excuse for a man to berate athletic skills in the wake of a woman saying she was assaulted. Lord, who knows what will come out of this next.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Just a few words...

My daughter is learning to communicate, so I thought I would try and record some of her speech. If you aren't ready to say, "Awwwwwwww!", then don't click my audblog link.




Powered by audblogaudio post of Alexandra saying a few words powered by audblog
And the dirt goeth...

It seems that the report about an alleged affair between John Kerry and an "intern" was much ado about nothing. Both Kerry and the girl as well as her family categorically deny everything. Newspapers in the UK ran wild with this one. Some people complained of a media "blackout", but I think that to the contrary it was "responsible" coverage. Not that Matt isn't responsible. But, I think that he would have been happy to have brought out to party shaking scandals all within a 15 year period.

Not that he has any particular interest in bringing out some dirt on anybody, especially the Dems.

Well, we are poised to see how Kerry, Edwards, and Dean do in Wisconsin. Kerry is already heavily favored, and now one of the issues that should be in the back of Dean and Edward's mind is, "How do I gain points and delegates in this race without doing damage to the party as a whole." I submit that they need only stick to the issues, and talk about why they have the "best" course of action versus saying that someone else is out for personal gain. Truth be told, Kerry, contrary to my predictions will get the Democratic nod. But, if he goes through a catfight within his own party, he will be weakened by the time he takes on the incumbent. I hope all concerned parties will remember this. I wonder who the running mate will be? Hmmmm.......

Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Dirt Cometh...


There is a developing story on the Drudge Report that points to marital infidelity on the part of Senator John Kerry. Additionally, some thirty year old photos surfaced that show Kerry and Jane Fonda (albeit they were not seated together) at the same Anti-war protest. He is the frontrunner, and seems to have been gathering momentum, but there is nothing like a trist with a mistress and a link to Hanoi Jane to throw a monkeywrench in the works. We will have to see what the future holds.

[developing story]



Reference Link
9-11 Public Forum to include Clinton and Bush?

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/12/911.commission.ap/index.html

Just an interesting tidbit. The Commission is going to seek to have testimony from:
George Bush(43), Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, John Ashcroft as well as their counterpart/predecessors from the Clinton Administration.

I wonder what kind of details we can piece together?
Decapitation attempt?

(CNN) -- A convoy carrying Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of all U.S. forces in the Middle East, was attacked Thursday during a visit to Iraqi defense forces in Fallujah, U.S. officials said. No one was injured.


Abizaid was accompanied by Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Color me funny, but I don't think it is a good idea for more than one general officer to be in the same aircraft or ground vehicle at a time. Despite all of the problems that the U.S. armed forces have encountered in dealing with insurgents, we have still shown ourselves to be a strong and unwavering force. However, those Iraqis who are sitting on the fence in regard to how they feel against the Americans may have found a "successful" attack on the Americans something that would draw them into insurgency.

No bones about it, if you kill the CentCom commander and the CG of the most powerful and mobile Airborne Division in the world, then you have scored a serious point for your cause, no matter how insane your cause is. I am happy that no Americans were hurt in this attack, and I am glad that the leadership is in place.

I do hope that if there was an intelligence leak regarding the VIP status of the convoy that they find out who leaked it, and to whom it was leaked. I remember not to long ago there was a general officer who was nearly shot down in an RPG attack by some insurgents. Not that a general officer's life is more important than that of a Specialist, but simply the fact that it would be such a resounding news story throughout the world. I pray that the remnants of Al Queda, the Fedayeen, the Taliban, and whatever nutcases are out there will be rounded up soon. Too many lives are being lost.



Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Jazz anyone?



Last night, I went to the Kentucky Center for the Arts to see Jazz luminary Wynton Marsalis, and the Lincoln Center Jazz orchestra. I have heard live jazz music played before, but this completely changed my perspective of Jazz music. Marsalis is the winner of 9 grammy's and a Pulitzer prize. He took the stage and introduced everyone in an archetypal husky, but cool Jazz speaking voice. All we needed was for him to have shades on and be puffing on a cigarette. Man, the guy is an absolute musical genius.

Last night they played some of the definitive works by composers such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, and Charles Mingus. They did do a few contemporary pieces as well. Marsalis broke this down into the "New Testament" and "Old Testament" of Jazz.

The crowd, including me, was held spellbound by not only the high caliber musicians, but the historical anecdotes that he offered about the pieces and their famous composers. I sat in the presence of Wynton Marsalis, a man who is already a legend amongst Jazz musicians, and I was awestruck.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Black History Month: A look forward

February is Black History month, a month that is both reviled and despised by some in this country. There are some whites who feel that this is "yet another undeserved, or unneeded handout to black people." Some people feel that this is special pandering to blacks that further confirms the "blackmail" that is being exacted upon the country as a whole for the slave trade. To many people, the "shame" of slavery is paralyzing us because to speak out against special consideration or acknowledgement of black oriented events is tantamount to racism.

I just want to say that when we look at the Black experience in America, it can be said that at one time, people thought that we had contributed nothing of any merit from 1619 to 1926. Hence, the start of Black History Week. Because it has gone through several changes, I think the the reason and the relevance for this observation has been lost. Though, I think the need for this event is more dire now than what it ever was. Like the cyclical trends in unemployment, crime, drug use, and lack of family stability. Hopelessness is also cyclical. I think that if we are ever to improve our situation, we have to instill more hope in our youth. Many black kids, despite the bravado and flash displayed on the street, have no hope for the future. If there is no hope, then why should anyone try for more. I think that it is incumbent on all of us to show our kids "real" contributions that blacks have made in our country, and further to show them the tremendous odds that people in our history have overcome in pursuit of these contributions.

While inventions and innovations are important, I think that we should steer clear of lists of "firsts" that include the pressing comb or the toothpick, but more toward firsts in politics, science, the arts, music and what have you.

This rationale should not be for needless self-promotion, or self-aggrandizement, but simply to say, "You can be anything you want as well." It is fine to not like your present situation, but you can do something about it. One thing that my father always desired for me was to be "more successful than him." While success can be measured a number of ways, I don't think I am there. But, I can say that I have had more opportunities for success than my father, because of the change in times, and the sacrifices that he made.

Lets just remember, Black History is all about our future. What matters most is how you want to proceed....

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Does Aaron McGruder have a right to be hostile toward Condoleeza Rice?


Because this is the United States, I would say, "Yes" with absolute certainty. Because we are Americans we don't have to go along with the policy of our government. We are free to protest, we are free to question, and in some cases we are free to refuse. I think that is one of the greatest things about this country....that one word that is dear to all of us...."Freedom".

The creator of the popular "Boondocks" comic strip reportedly caused some discomfort at an anniversary dinner for the Nation magazine here last month when he told the mostly anti-war audience, "I've met Condoleezza Rice and called her a murderer to her face." Late last year, McGruder made Rice's love life the topic of his comic.


"Maybe if there was a man in the world who Condoleezza truly loved, she wouldn't be so hell-bent to destroy it," one of his "Boondocks" characters speculates in a strip. "

McGruder is entitled to his opinion, and he is entitled to put whatever he wants to in his cartoon. However, his assertion that her world view is "awry" because of the lack of a presence of a man in her life, (Which we don't know, all we know is that she is not married.), is awfully chauvinistic and condescending for a person who purports to be as progressive and liberal as he does. The basis for this, and the singling out of her in the cartoons, as well as his snide comments about having to sit in the same row as her at the NAACP image awards a couple of years ago seems strange. I agree with the person who stated that it was strange that he doesn't target other members of the administration. I wonder why he thinks that a black woman is the easiest target? Why not Colin Powell? From his point of view, despite all of her schooling, her positions held in academia, her expertise in Cold War relations, and the fact that she is an expert in her field, apparently a good "banging" would make her see the light. As if at the moment of orgasm she would simultaneously have an ideological catharsis that would make her step down from her position or scold President Bush for being a "meanie". While he didn't specifically say it, his allusions to her views on the world being directly related to her relationship status are tantamount to the same.

Let me say though, that while I am not a dedicated reader of "The Boondocks", I have read the strip and do acknowledge the skill, the knowledge, and the satirical wit of McGruder. He, as a satirist is using all of his cynicism and dry humor to make a lot of us think. While some people may be apalled at some of his imagery, I can see on many occassions where he is winking at us through the eyes of his characters. That is talent, he has a new book out called, "Right to be hostile", about race and cultural issues in the U.S. Whether I agree with some or any of his views, I think I will have to go pick it up.

Purchasing Details

On the subject of Powell people are quick to comment on how "ineffectual" he has been as Secretary of State. What most people, especially we Democrats do not consider is the fact of how his hands are tied because of differing ideologies with Rumsfeld, Rice, and Bush. In many ways it seems that Powell is in diametric opposition to most members of the Cabinet. While he does dutifully fulfill his post, and pose for a common front, it has to be noted that he wanted diplomacy instead of action in the case of this military campaign against Iraq. But, as a Secretary of State whose job it is to be the envoy of the President, how much diplomacy can you muster when everyone else wants to use military force? Is he really ineffectual, or is he simply handicapped by the popular will in his office? Think about it.....



It is obvious that many of us have conflicting views on this whole war effort. The mightiest of hawks and the most timid of doves can agree that Saddam Hussein was a monster, and a madman. However, the question that remains for all of us is whether or not our means is going to justify, or even determine a suitable end to the troubles in that region. I'll have an answer for you in 20 years. Everything is clear in retrospect.

Monday, January 26, 2004

It is impossible for me to babysit my own kids....

Strange title, huh? Well, it is true. It is impossible for me to baby sit my own children. The reason that I say this, is the fact that people sometimes give men undeserved credit for watching their children, or caring for their children when their wives are away. I submit that a man NEVER babysits his own child. He merely continues to act in the capacity of a father. If a woman is out in public with her kids, do people assume that she is "watching them", just because her husband is not present? Still confused? I will try and illustrate this...

Not too long ago my dear mother-in-law passed away. Understandably, my wife has been stressed out handling arrangements and overall dealing with her loss. Some of her friends came into town and decided to take her out shopping and hanging out on a Saturday. They were gone most of the day and came back in the evening. To my relief, my wife looked more refreshed, and more relaxed than what she had in weeks. When Renee went to the back to take off her coat, her friend looked at me and said. "Thanks Kelly. Renee needed some time away." I looked at her quizzically and said, "Thanks for what?" She replied, "Thanks for babysitting." I laughed and said, "But, they are my kids this was just a normal day for me." She kind of paused and I said, "You thanking me for 'babysitting' is like me thanking you for paying your light bill on time. That's something that you are supposed to do." She laughed, as well as me, and said, "I guess you're right."

I suppose the sad part of this story is the fact that there are some men out there who probably won't be bothered with their kids when their wives go away. Not that I am trying to campaign for the "Daddy of the Year Award", hell, I don't think that there is very much that is noteworthy that I do with my kids, I do what I think Dad's are supposed to do. But I suppose that some men and women cling so fiercely to what they think are typical "father" and "mother" roles that they can't get over themselves. I think that regardless of gender, it is necessary to be a good parent. I do concede that there are two things that it is impossible for me to do as a parent my wife can....breast feed, and braiding my daughter's hair. I will submit that I have at least tried the hair thing on several occassions to no avail.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Afro-Saxon

An Afro-Saxon is a white person, who despite his genetics, tries his best to dress, talk, and act, like the stereotypical "Homeboy". Here is a transcript of my lunch order. He will be called a White Afro-Saxhon Homeboy. (W.A.S.H) The guy I saw had light brown hair, blue eyes, and was obviously caucasian. I will call him W.A.S.H.

I walk up to the counter.....

[W.A.S.H] "Whuddup Homey, whut can I git foya today?"

[Me]...pausing in disbelief...."Umm...I'll have a large Philly Cheese Steak with pizza sauce, and hold the onions. I also have a coupon for a free small one."

[W.A.S.H] "Cool..cool...You want fries or sumpin else wit dat?"

[Me] "Yes, I'll take a small fry."

[W.A.S.H] "You don't want no drank?"

[Me] "No thank you."

[W.A.S.H.] "You fa sho? The lemonade be TIGHT!"

[Me] "No thanks, I'll just have the sandwiches and fries."

[W.A.S.H.] "Cool..cool..cool...Aight...that'll be $8.67."

I hand him the money, and he notices my class ring.........

[W.A.S.H.] "Is dat a championship rang?"

[Me] "No, this is my class ring."

[W.A.S.H.] "What high school you go to?

[Me] "I went to E-town High School, but this is my ring from college, I went to K-State."

[W.A.S.H.] "Awww man, dey be some hoes up there?"

[Me] ......after a pause...."Yes, there are a lot of women that go to K-State, as a matter of fact there are more women than men."

[W.A.S.H.] "Das wut I'm talkin' about!"

I move toward the end of the counter where I pick up my food.

[Me] "Thanks....take care."

[W.A.S.H.] "You too playa!"

After I got my food and headed to the car I had to laugh.........Who says that multi-culturalism in the U.S. is not embraced?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Bland assurances...

I am not sure what you thought of the State of the Union address, but it was far from the speech that I expected from a President seeking reelection. From what I deduced, he is banking his reelection hopes on the fact that nobody wants to switch Generals during a war....even an unpopular war. In the beginning the doves squawked about us waging war unilaterally against Saddam, and continued to squawk and coo that we would stand alone in the end. The high point of his address did stymie the anti-war crowd with a laundry list of countries that have contributed troops and resources to the war effort, he gave no real time table for transition of power, or reduction of force in theatre.

In regard to the economy he gave a lukewarm assurance to fiscal conservatives by stating that discretionary spending would only increase by 4% over the next year. Additionally, he held on to the notion that tax cuts and other Reaganesque measures such as spending increases would continue to stimulate the economy. He spoke of personal savings account within Social Security, but gave no framework on how any of this would be paid for. I already know where the money will come from. "Program Cuts". Also had he mentioned any possible solution to the waning job growth that may have captured our attention.

He talked about the sanctity of marriage and pledged that if the court system continued to "impose its will", then there would be no recourse besides those of a Constitutional means to protect marriage. So, the fact that he is against gay marriage is no surprise. Whether wrong or right, most hetero people feel the same way, but are really afraid to say it. However, is this something that is worthy of mention during a State of the Union Address? Additionally, taking such a stance in this matter paints him into a corner when it comes to liberals, women, and the gay community. I remember he had some preposterous plan to focus on families as if making marriage more desirable would cure all of our social ills. What he doesn't realize as an "objective" leader of our country he says. "Marriage is important to social stability....unless you are gay."

I would say that his State of the Union address shows that not only the Democratic Party, but the Right is in flux. Bush is at odds with some of his conservative cohorts because a new school of Republican Conservatism is in session. A school of thought that shows that Republicans want to spread their social and political conservatism with liberal spending. All the Dems need to do is find common ground and the best candidate to unseat the Right. But, with this field of nominees it is going to be very difficult for us. It is too bad we couldn't put all of the prime characteristics of all of the nominees into one person. If we had Edward's telegenic looks, Kerry's charisma, Clark's military service, and Gephardt's earnest record of public service, and Dean's...........did I say Kerry was in the military too? LOL! Just kidding, I never was a big fan of Dean in the beginning, but after his Iowa speech I am convinced that Barney Rubble having a Steroid Rage is not fit to lead this great nation of ours.



The coming months have a lot to show us, but I am convinced to just channel my anticipation toward New Hampshire. That's all for now.

P.S.....Edwards/Clark 2004.....wouldn't that be a great bumper sticker? I like the sound of it even if the "snowball" has a better chance.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Radicals amaze me.....

The attached rendered photo of the Time magazine photo of military personnel as the "Person of the Year" shows exactly what some people think of our military.




I will finish elaborating on this shameful photo later on. I got this from the DC Independent Media.


http://dc.indymedia.org/media/all/display/17011/index.php?limit_start=24

I wonder why they are so independent?

In speaking to a lot of Americans, it can easily be said that not a lot of people are happy with the way things are in America, and throughout the rest of the world. Many of the problems that Americans talk about are attributed to the President. I am not going to go into my personal thoughts about his culpability in our floundering economy, but I do have to say that I am not one to believe all of these sinister plot conspiracies. I have heard preposterous notions that went so far as to say that he was "responsible" for the WTC bombing just so he could go to Iraq.

When I find myself debating with these so-called radicals, they often say that I am mindlessly taking what the government and the media give me as gospel. Further, some members of my own race think that my duties as an American Soldier make me some sort of race traitor. I shudder to think about the state of this country when the above photograph is a reflection of what a large portion of the voting public thinks about the government and its military force.

What I would like to say to a lot of these so-called radicals....let's call them pseudo-radicals.....is perhaps all of the conspiracy theories and extreme Left-wing rhetoric that you are spewing is nothing more than regurgitated nonsense. Perhaps YOU are taking the coffee shop whisperings too seriously. Maybe you don't listen to the news and count on "independent" media sources such as the aforementioned as gospel. Making a photo such as that one is tantamount to treason in my book. To deface any image with a swastika is the worst sort of paranoia. This tells me if you don't agree with the radical rhetoric that our friendly coffee shop habitue feeds you, then you are a jack-booted oppressor. If you believe that there is such a thing as right or wrong, and feel that moral relativism is pointless, then you are narrow-minded. In the eighties "Conservative" was a nasty word, and now we have swung such a way that "Liberal" is now a bad word. I suggest we adopt a new phrase called, "Common Sense" that most of us can agree on.

To the slug who rendered this photo, the very people whose images you defaced are in harm's way now to protect your right to be an ass. They also want to secure the right for the Iraqi people to be unpatriotic asses as well. There was a time when they would have been tortured and killed if they did something that was not remotely as disrespectful as your actions with the swastika. I think that the soldiers on the front ought to be able to sue the "artist" for something. Someone needs to pay.

In closing, I just want to say that it is ironic that the person who made this picture probably feels that the U.S. is oppressing the freedom of the Iraqi people. My question for them is......

Update

As you can see I have not blogged for nearly a month. This is not because no major events have happened. Quite the contrary, so much has happened that I couldn't find time to commit it online, though I have chronicled a great deal of things in my journal at home. First off my Mother-in-law passed away after battling cancer. She died on the 22nd of December. This is something that hurt me deeply. She and I had the atypical Mother-in-law to Son-in-law relationship. I can't imagine that it was possible for her to have treated me any better. I did my best to be a supportive husband to my wife during that time, and obviously I was worried about my children. But, I felt like I was a complete wreck at the time as well. We carried on with Christmas, and though it was a sad time, reminiscing about her carried us through. That is the way that she would have wanted it. She will certainly be missed, her kindness, her generosity, her laugh, her smile, her presence. Even now I expect to pick up the phone and say hello to her. I suppose the finality of the situation has hit me in some ways, but I still have that surreal feeling like I had at the funeral. "How could she be gone, she was so full of life." I miss my Mother-in-law.