Friday, January 27, 2006

This Morning's Run

It usually takes about seven minutes into my run before my body and mind separate, before I experience what some have called the runner's high. Indeed, Sarah Willet writes in the highlighted link that:

What Yiannis Kouros says, is that when he is running for a long enough time his body and mind separate. Other runners have experienced this same type of thing. One English teacher stated that during the last one and a half miles of the Ice Age Trail run in 1994 he ,"found myself running far faster than I had all day; I wasn't even conscious of my feet touching the ground as I crested the knoll ahead of the finish line. I wasn't running; it was as if something much larger than I was running me." Generally, most people claim that a runner's high is when the mind takes over the body and the unconscious leads the mind. Yet, there are many more aspects that people attribute to runner's high.

Yes, with my IPod earplugs secured and my shuffle cranked, I ran 2.5 miles this morning. Not far. But, far enough for me. And, as I ran, not only did I get lost (as I do during each morning run) in the music, in the words of the music, but also in the flashes of thoughts about life, the world, love, death, the past, the future.

Less than a quarter mile.

Dubya's democracies: Iraq and Palestine. The Koran. A constitution based upon the precepts of the Koran. Hamas "democratically" takes Palestine.

Dubya's dictionary: democracy=theocracy. That's okay with Dubya, by golly, by gee. "Bring 'em on," the little guy said, as he strutted and stuttered and buttered the toast of his "base," which he characterized as the "...have mores." Not the "haves" but the "have mores." Tee Hee.

More than two-thousand American men and women returned from Iraq in boxes. How many Iraqis dead or maimed: 30,000? 100,000?

Day after day another Momma's crying
She's lost her precious child
To a war that has no end

John Fogerty, "Deja Vu (All Over Again)"

Slightly more than a half-mile.

I attended my 91 year old Uncle's funeral in Oklahoma City on Monday of this week. I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised to see that my father's side of the family--the aunts and uncles and cousins--actually appeared to be absolutely committed to the good will and well-being of their extended family. Now, I've got to tell yout that most of my immediate family is dysfunctional or, at least, our familial relationship is dysfunctional...mostly. So, the few days in Oklahoma with family who really cared about one another was refreshing. (Oklahoma City itself is still the absolute pits.)

My Uncle Murlan rejected the stringent requirements of my grandfather's Church of God in Christ participation and rebelled at an early age against what, I'm sure he believed, was not the intent of Jesus. I believe he later accepted the Baptist's interpretation of things "holy" instead.

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers

One hundred million angels singing

Multitudes are marching to the big kettledrum

Johnny Cash, "The Man Comes Around"

At a mile.

Life really has a way of just moving along, with or without you. I guess that period during which I worked on my degree and then headed for the Army, married and divorced, managed public swimming pools in Denver and then, finally, moved west, young man to California... I guess that period in my life was one of discovery, of just simply figuring out who it was I was. And, I do regret that summer when my sister said, "Come on down," to Lamar and work on (her husband's) cattle ranch. I should've been a cowboy.

I should've been a Cowboy

I should've learned to rope and ride

Wearing my six-shooter riding my pony on a cattle drive

Stealing the young girl's hearts

Just like Gene and Roy

Singing those campfire songs

I should've been a cowboy

Toby Keith, "Should've Been a Cowboy"

A mile and a half.

This queer issue. This marriage issue. This "hot button" issue that James Dobson of Focus on the Family and all the rest of the fundamentalistic Christian wingnuts have jumped on like a dog on a bone, is something that, I believe, will be viewed by generations to come as something as absurdly irrelevant to the human condition as trying to figure out how many angels are able to reside on the head of a pin.

Why are you scared to dream of god
When it's salvation that you want?
You see stars that clear have been dead for years
But the idea just lives on
In our wheels that roll around
As we move over the ground
And all day it seems we've been in between the past and future town
We are nowhere, and it's now
We are nowhere, and it's now

Bright Eyes, "We Are Nowhere, And It's Now"

2.35 Miles

David. We will have twenty-four years to celebrate this November. He was twenty-two when I "...grappled him to my soul..." in a smokey, loud, leather/levi bar in downtown Denver. Love? Yeah, it was love. Still is. Definition of love? Hell if I know.

You're beautiful.

You're beautiful.

You're beautiful, it's true.

There must be an angel with a smile on her face,

When she thought up that I should be with you.

But it's time to face the truth,

I will never be with you.

James Blunt, "You're Beautiful"

2.5 Miles.

The truth was the angel's.





Friday, January 20, 2006

Glenn Beck - Worst Person in the World!

MediaMatters provides Keith Olberman's "worst person" piece on Glenn Beck, radio talk show host, who was just hired by CNN. Take a look at the video.

Inerestingly, KHOW in Denver, a Clear Channel station, recently dropped Bill O'Reilly's show and replaced it with who I thought would be a reasonable commentator, Glenn Beck. But, alas, not so.

Damn!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Finally! Snow in Denver


Finally! Snow in Denver, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

While the hills in Colorado have received sixteen, twenty or more feet of snow so far this winter, Denver has had wind, lots of dry wind. Finally, today, we may get up to 3" of sublime white. YAY!

The Party of Lincoln! Yeah, Right!

This from PhoenixRising posting on ColoradoPols (see sidebar links):

Corruption the direct way: Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) will be on C-SPAN in the morning with details on a new unfolding scandal in the House and Senate Majority Leader's offices (that would be the already-embattled Tom DeLay and Bill Frist). According to early information, both Frist and DeLay's offices were also the homes of daytraders, and said daytraders were using insider information on pending legislation in their trades.

This starts at misuse of federal property and could wind its way all the way through bribery or undue influence charges. It's brutal, direct corruption at a time when the GOP least needed it, and if true, it may be the straw that breaks the camel's back come November 7th.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Uncle Murlan


I've got to repeat this picture of Uncle Murlan (91 years old) and my nineteen-month-old niece, Kate, because it speaks so eloquently to what I believe about life, death, the hope for the future.

Uncle Murlan passed last night at 10:41 p.m. in Oklahoma City. He was 91.

My grandfather used to tell the story about how he and his family traveled by covered wagon from Gorman, Texas (where my father was born) to Oklahoma City ( 1910-11).

They--my grandfather and his wife--had spent some time in Arkansas and Texas and, finally, Oklahoma where they raised four children, two boys and two girls.

Suffice it to say, my Uncle Murlan was a George W. Bush advocate and admirer, even to the extent that he framed the White House Christmas card that was, of course, sent to most or all monetary contributors to Dubya's campaigns. My uncle Murlan was proud of his devotion to the Republican party and, specifically, to Dubya himself.

I suppose I need to tell you that my uncle was not a great admirer of Martin Luther King Jr. I don't need to delve any deeper into my uncle's psyche about race and equality and the promise of America. But, what I can say, is that his son, Bobby--a good heart, a dear soul--whispered into my uncle Murlan's ear Monday that, "Daddy, this is not a good day to die. This is Martin Luther King's day. You need to wait a while before you head for heaven."

I, my eighty-eight year old aunt Blanche, my sister, Michelle, and her two precious babies, Jack and Kate, visited Murlan this past November and (I think we all understood) said good-bye for the last time to this unique character and steadfast southerner. Thank God we did.

I'm not so sure that the good lord rejects the old southern rednecks from His realm. He may put them on kitchen duty for a while, but, eventually, what was in their hearts for all mankind probably surfaces and, I suspect, uncle Murlan is probably shaking Martin's (MLK's) hand as I write this missive.

Godspeed, Uncle Murlan.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I have a dream!

Martin Luther King Jr. before the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

(If the above doesn't work, try this link t0 IFilm.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sweet Melissa


Please think good thoughts about Sweet Melissa who will, tomorrow, Monday, undergo surgery on her eyelid where she has a nasty growth.

Thanks.

Bush: Violence is price of new Iraq



President Bush speaks Tuesday at a Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting in Washington. He said that rather than be alarmed by the continuing violence and political turmoil in Iraq, we should welcome this for what it is: freedom in action. It was the latest in a series of speeches Bush has made since December outlining more specifics for the administration s strategy in Iraq. (AP / Ron Edmonds)


O Lord our God,
help us
to tear their soldiers
to bloody shreds
with our shells;

help us
to cover their smiling fields
with the pale forms
of their patriot dead;

help us
to drown the thunder
of the guns
with the shrieks
of their wounded,
writhing in pain;


help us
to lay waste
their humble homes
with a hurricane of fire;

help us
to wring the hearts
of their unoffending widows
with unavailing grief;

help us
to turn them out roofless
with their little children
to wander unfriended
the wastes
of their desolated land;

in rags and hunger
and thirst,
sports of the sun flames
of summer
and the icy winds
of winter,

broken in spirit,

worn with travail,

imploring Thee
for the refuge of the grave
and denied it--

for our sakes
who adore Thee, Lord,

blast their hopes,

blight their lives,

protract their bitter pilgrimage,

Make heavy their steps,

water their way with their tears,

stain the white snow
with the blood
of their wounded feet!

We ask it,
in the spirit of love,
of Him Who is the Source of Love,

And Who is the ever-faithful
refuge and friend
of all that are sore beset

and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.

Amen.

Mark Twain, "The War Prayer"

Friday, January 06, 2006

Have You No Shame, Dubya!

From the Washington Post

A Life, Wasted
Let's Stop This War Before More Heroes Are Killed

By Paul E. SchroederTuesday, January 3, 2006

Early on Aug. 3, 2005, we heard that 14 Marines had been killed in Haditha, Iraq. Our son, Lance Cpl. Edward "Augie" Schroeder II, was stationed there. At 10:45 a.m. two Marines showed up at our door. After collecting himself for what was clearly painful duty, the lieutenant colonel said, "Your son is a true American hero."

Since then, two reactions to Augie's death have compounded the sadness.

Early on Aug. 3, 2005, we heard that 14 Marines had been killed in Haditha, Iraq. Our son, Lance Cpl. Edward "Augie" Schroeder II, was among them.At times like this, people say, "He died a hero." I know this is meant with great sincerity. We appreciate the many condolences we have received and how helpful they have been. But when heard repeatedly, the phrases "he died a hero" or "he died a patriot" or "he died for his country" rub raw.

"People think that if they say that, somehow it makes it okay that he died," our daughter, Amanda, has said. "He was a hero before he died, not just because he went to Iraq. I was proud of him before, and being a patriot doesn't make his death okay. I'm glad he got so much respect at his funeral, but that didn't make it okay either."

The words "hero" and "patriot" focus on the death, not the life. They are a flag-draped mask covering the truth that few want to acknowledge openly: Death in battle is tragic no matter what the reasons for the war. The tragedy is the life that was lost, not the manner of death. Families of dead soldiers on both sides of the battle line know this. Those without family in the war don't appreciate the difference.

This leads to the second reaction. Since August we have witnessed growing opposition to the Iraq war, but it is often whispered, hands covering mouths, as if it is dangerous to speak too loudly. Others discuss the never-ending cycle of death in places such as Haditha in academic and sometimes clinical fashion, as in "the increasing lethality of improvised explosive devices."

Listen to the kinds of things that most Americans don't have to experience: The day Augie's unit returned from Iraq to Camp Lejeune, we received a box with his notebooks, DVDs and clothes from his locker in Iraq. The day his unit returned home to waiting families, we received the second urn of ashes. This lad of promise, of easy charm and readiness to help, whose highest high was saving someone using CPR as a first aid squad volunteer, came home in one coffin and two urns. We buried him in three places that he loved, a fitting irony, I suppose, but just as rough each time.

I am outraged at what I see as the cause of his death. For nearly three years, the Bush administration has pursued a policy that makes our troops sitting ducks. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that our policy is to "clear, hold and build" Iraqi towns, there aren't enough troops to do that.

In our last conversation, Augie complained that the cost in lives to clear insurgents was "less and less worth it," because Marines have to keep coming back to clear the same places. Marine commanders in the field say the same thing. Without sufficient troops, they can't hold the towns. Augie was killed on his fifth mission to clear Haditha.

At Augie's grave, the lieutenant colonel knelt in front of my wife and, with tears in his eyes, handed her the folded flag. He said the only thing he could say openly: "Your son was a true American hero." Perhaps. But I felt no glory, no honor. Doing your duty when you don't know whether you will see the end of the day is certainly heroic. But even more, being a hero comes from respecting your parents and all others, from helping your neighbors and strangers, from loving your spouse, your children, your neighbors and your enemies, from honesty and integrity, from knowing when to fight and when to walk away, and from understanding and respecting the differences among the people of the world.

Two painful questions remain for all of us. Are the lives of Americans being killed in Iraq wasted? Are they dying in vain? President Bush says those who criticize staying the course are not honoring the dead. That is twisted logic: honor the fallen by killing another 2,000 troops in a broken policy?

I choose to honor our fallen hero by remembering who he was in life, not how he died. A picture of a smiling Augie in Iraq, sunglasses turned upside down, shows his essence -- a joyous kid who could use any prop to make others feel the same way.

Though it hurts, I believe that his death -- and that of the other Americans who have died in Iraq -- was a waste. They were wasted in a belief that democracy would grow simply by removing a dictator -- a careless misunderstanding of what democracy requires. They were wasted by not sending enough troops to do the job needed in the resulting occupation -- a careless disregard for professional military counsel.

But their deaths will not be in vain if Americans stop hiding behind flag-draped hero masks and stop whispering their opposition to this war. Until then, the lives of other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers may be wasted as well.

This is very painful to acknowledge, and I have to live with it. So does President Bush.

The writer is managing director of a trade development firm in Cleveland.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Westboro Baptist Church

Every once in a while, I check the Westboro Baptist Church site to see what absurdity they're pushing. 'Course, they believe as they believe. And, of course, I believe what I believe. And, subsequently, I hope--if you choose to take a look at this video--that you might, just might begin to understand that the polemic with regard to what has been called the "culture war" is dangerous and disgusting and potentially lethal. Anyway, here's what ol' reverend fred phelps is pushing this month.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Let the Polemic Begin Again (New Year - Same Old BS)


We're told that Dubya is already back from Crawford and diggin' in to his brilliant agenda and tellin' us all we're winnin' the war and the economy is just dandy and all that other BS we've come to so love about this guy.

But, wait... How's he gonna find the toilet or his crayons without Karl?

And, don't tell anybody, but there's a rumor Georgie is drinking again. Take a look at this. Oh, my, oh my, oh my.

Note: If the above link doesn't work try this one and press the Watch button. You'll probably get a commercial first.
(Picture from About.com and the video is from IFILM.)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

This photo of my niece, Kate (19 months), and her Great Uncle Murlan (90 years old) symbolizes--at least for me--the essential hope for the new year; that the passage of time and life, from one generation to the next, will eventually assure peace on earth, good will toward men.

Yeah, I know. It hasn't happened yet. But, we can still hope.