“Perfect valor is to behave, without witnesses, as one would act were all the world watching.” ~ François de la Rochefoucau

   

 

“Four things support the world: the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the good, and the valor of the brave.” ~ Muhammad 

Memorial Day is upon us again. I won’t bother to harp on how this day—which was created to honor our fallen, our warriors, our heroes—has turned into yet another shopping extravaganza, a three-day weekend heralding beach weather, a day off from work with pay. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May. The first known celebration was after the Civil War in 1866 in Waterloo, New York, to honor fallen Union soldiers.

In 1971, the name was officially changed to Memorial Day as part of the Uniform Holidays Bill, which created three three-day weekends: President’s Day, Veterans’ Day, and Memorial Day. In 1978, Veterans’ Day was changed back to its original date of November 11. The VWF has long taken issue with the official date change from May 30 to the last Monday in May as having “undermined the very meaning of the holiday” (2002 address).

In my own attempt to honor those who serve, I thought that I would do a post on something quite timely: I came across this piece by Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s “Hardball.” Matthews is one of my favorite political analysts. He isn’t afraid to be enthusiastic, nor is he reluctant to admit that he might be wrong. But I felt that this particular piece about a gay man in the military is wholly appropriate for Memorial Day. The sexual orientation of the person who stands next to you when you go into battle matters less than the person’s ability to do his or her job, less than that individual’s belief in country, less than that man or woman’s commitment to having the back of the man or woman five feet away. 

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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was essentially a slap in the face, yet another thing that Clinton backpeddled on and soft soaped. Gays have been serving in the military for as long as there has been war. If you don’t believe that, then your head is stuck somewhere, not sure where. And these people deserve the right to have their partners informed when they are hurt, or worse, killed in action. These dedicated men and women deserve no less and no more than anyone else in their companies, their units, their battalions. 

Memorial Day is a day to remember, a day to pause and reflect. Memorial Day should be the same for everyone because blood that is shed runs red, regardless of faith, orientation, political belief, or color.  I long for the day when there will be no need to send our brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, daughters and sons to war, but I know that that time will not come in my lifetime. 

 

Peace be with you all. 

The incomparable Ray Charles singing “America the Beautiful”
 

 

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” . . . Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, “We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

Old Whiskey Barrel

“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.” ~ Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

The reality that has been today is such a cliché that I think I might have to go outside and hug a tree before I put my fist through a wall. It’s a classic case of good news/bad news; why can’t it ever just be good news?

Corey has an interview set for tomorrow for the port security position. He is absolutely convinced that it will not go well. Somehow, I have to convince him not to dig this hole too deeply, or he will fall into it and not be able to climb out again. This is the good news, sort of.

This is the bad news: Corey’s parents, who have spent the past few months helping us to stay on our feet, are now facing a crisis of their own. It just breaks my heart. Corey is convinced that the dark cloud under which we exist has now spread to his parents, kind of a bad luck by association kind of thing. I try to remind him that they have their own good ju ju going in the form of their deep faith. Yet somehow, Corey has assumed the blame for this, too.

Sometimes, I feel as if this whole life thing is much too confusing. Just when it seems that I have figured out how things work, something happens to make me realize that I really know very little. Sisyphus comes to mind: continually pushing that big boulder uphill only to have it roll down again. No forward motion. No gathering momentum. No strong foothold.

Don’t mind me. I’m feeling lost and confused and very, very frustrated.

“I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind! The answer is twelve? I think I’m in the wrong building.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

I am in the process of developing something, though. It’s much too tenuous to talk about in any detail. Let me just say that if this works out, it would be tremendous. It would mean that I have finally found that small magic porthole through which I might be able to touch my dreams. And no, it’s not a job. It’s a project, a big project that I have thought about for almost ten years. Let me leave it at that.

I sent out yet more forms today: three to pharmaceutical companies, one to my long-term disability carrier, and one to the company that is serving as my interface to the Social Security administration. I collected everything last night, and Corey took all of it to the post office today. As a result, my desk is much cleaner now. Well clean might be an overstatement—perhaps neater is more accurate.

I just had to pause to listen to “Vide Cor Meum,” which is playing in the background. I’m playing all of my YouTube selections. If anyone is interested in subscribing to my YouTube account, I believe that this is the link: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=1B61E79445B7518E. I’m kind of new at this whole YouTube account thing.

I told Corey that I want to make some videos of my own for some songs that I cannot find, but I don’t know how to go about doing that. I imagine I need some kind of program. If you are a YouTube person, some advice would be much appreciated.

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Winter Stilllife

I took a look at my stats page yesterday, something that I haven’t done in a while. I always find it interesting to see who is linking here, and from which sites people are getting to my site.

I found a few new addresses, but it’s always a bit disconcerting to go to an address listed and find your own blog as part of a larger blog. I don’t really know how that works. I mean, I know about web crawling and spiders, and all of that, but it never fails to amaze me when I end up on things like a forum for psychologytribe.com. When I first began this whole blogging thing, I never anticipated having my blog name or url show up in some of the places that it has been featured.

Don’t misunderstand, I appreciate the exposure. I really do. I suppose it’s just that I’m still a bit ignorant as to the hows and wherefores of links and referrals. That being said, my two posts about beauty continue their unbroken reign in my top posts/most viewed, as does my post on The Great Gatsby. In fact, I just received a new comment on the Gatsby post from a 15-year-old girl who wanted to assure me that not all teenagers are mindless twits, which, of course, I already knew, but I was delighted that she took the time to comment.

By the way, I’m not ignoring the devastating earthquake in Chile. But writing about the quake in Haiti three times in a row took its toll on me emotionally. I am offering this link to an MSNBC slideshow featuring pictures from the quake in Chile, which was ranked 8.8 on the Richter Scale, one of the most powerful quakes to hit anywhere on the earth in over a century. Thankfully, the death toll is much, much lower than that in Haiti, mostly because of Chile’s stringent building codes. The quake, which hit 200 miles outside of Santiago, was especially destructive to the town of Concepcion.

Unfortunately, the tsunami that hit the coast after the quake was also powerful. The seaside town of Constitucion was hard hit by the surging tsunami, and hundreds of people are missing. Three waves hit after the quake, with the third one being the most powerful and causing the most damage.

Fortunately, the waves that passed Hawaii, Australia, Japan, and other places were much smaller than had been originally predicted.

That’s all for today. Images featured are more pictures taken after the snowstorm.

More later. Peace.

“When the Music’s Not Forgotten,” by Deadman (heard on an episode of “Criminal Minds”)

“America’s healthcare system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” ~ Walter Cronkite

“You know, when we see a good idea from another country, we grab it. If they build a better car, we drive it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. So if they’ve come up with a better way to treat the sick, to teach their kids, to take care of their babies, to simply be good to each other, then what’s our problem? Why can’t we do that?” ~ Michael Moore in Sicko 

On tonight’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” I watched a Special Comment section that brought me to tears. Olbermann’s father has been in the hospital for six months, and now Olbermann finds himself facing a life decision.  

I am reposting Olbermann’s segment for several reasons: First, I have faced this same decision, not once, but twice. I understand completely what he is saying. I have felt his fear and his helplessness. I know that deep place from which he beseeches in his attempt to find answers. 

But aside from that, and perhaps more importantly in the general sense, I believe that Olbermann’s comment, as personal and impassioned as it is, speaks to the very heart of the the current healthcare debate. It puts a face on the perversely-labeled “death panels” (yes you, Palin, you maroon). It makes human some of the issues that are being bandied about so carelessly by those we have elected to represent us, to serve us, to make decisions that will help the quality of our lives.  

Healthcare in America has been reduced to statistics, skewed facts, sound bytes, and partisan bickering. The men and women who are going to Blair House tomorrow for the health care summit have forgotten about the important things: the quality of life, the quality of death, the access to care, the ever-increasing cost of coverage, the continually-escalating insinuation of obstacles into the physician’s ability to make decisions regarding treatment, the ability to make informed decisions not based upon what a family can afford. The politicians, the lobbyists, and the companies the lobbyists represent do not view this issue as being about people. And that, my friends, is precisely the problem. 

The bottom line here should not be the profits made by the healthcare industry. The bottom line should be what the American people need, what they have spent generations working for, what they deserve: Affordable, quality health care, comparable to that found in all of the other industrialized nations in the world. 

I contend once again that at such time the members of Congress begin to pay for their own healthcare and that provided at no cost for their families, only then do they deserve the right to makes decisions about what the rest of us are entitled to when it comes to affordable premiums, coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, and all of the other terminology that is used to obfuscate, complicate, and adumbrate the real issues related to national healthcare. 

If you care at all about this issue, please telephone, write, or e-mail your Senators and Representatives, and let them know exactly how you feel. Click on this link to find the contact information for your elected officials.  

  

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To read a transcript of Olbermann’s full segment, go to Keith Olbermann at Daily Kos. 

  

More later. Peace.