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.