Saturday, April 30, 2005

I Have to Say Something

Okay, it's still a little uncomfortable to sit in this chair for any length of time, but enough is enough.
I saw this piece yesterday which speaks to a commitment by VietNam veterans to speak up and to keep it up on behalf of the men and women who are serving or have served their country in Afghanistan and Iraq. These men and women have committed their lives to act as an instrument of national policy. If you don't like the national policy, deal with that; but respect the sacrifices of the men and women who serve.
I want to make a brief mention of two Navy corpsmen:
"Hospitalman Aaron A. Kent, 28, of Portland, Oregon, died Apr. 23, from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations near Fallujah, Iraq. Kent was assigned to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Lejeune, North Carolina."
The remains of Hospitalman Third Class Malcolm T. Miller, of H&S Company, 3rd Recon. Bn., 3rd MarDiv, FMFPac, and three of his Marines were recently recovered, identified, and returned to their families. They were listed as KIA/Body Not Recovered since May 10, 1967, when they were killed near Khe Sanh. Petty Officer Miller and two of his Marines will be laid to rest at Arlington on May 10.
Semper Fi

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Thoughts on Life

I fell and broke my hip two Saturdays ago... just a simple step off the curb in a parking lot on an absolutely beautiful April morning. Suddenly one's life has changed... and in many ways no longer seems to be entirely one's own.
I've known since early January that my life was going to change... I was trying to keep things on my terms.
I had a week to get our taxes finished for 2004 and set up for 2005.
I had over two weeks to finish teaching my boss and co-workers how I've done my job... and often their's... for the past six years.
I had over two weeks to get my durable power of attorney signed and witnessed... to make sure my bride was fully empowered just in case. The surgery for my prostate cancer was scheduled for April 26th.
There was a point I reached the other night that I had not reached before... Everyone was trying to help me...Everyone was hurting me...Nothing was working...
I'm (finally) back home tonight. The prostatectomy will be rescheduled when I'm back on my feet from the hip pinning. Did I need to learn that I wasn't in control?
I'll bet that flight over the Smart & Final parking lot on the 9th would be a hoot to watch. I hope someone has seen it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Thoughts on Filial Opportunity

I was going to write about the Patriot Act today, but then Ronni posted about her father and I saw this piece on caring for parents who didn't take care of you. My blog discipline will just have to wait for another day, and today I'll write about what speaks to me.
My mother moved back to her childhood hometown back in the early '80s. She'd led an interesting life, and was looking forward to enjoying time with family and old friends. In 1999 I found myself living alone and making increasingly frequent trips back for her hospitalizations. As the years had passed so had her siblings, her classmates from 1935, and all but one of her first cousins who did not drive. I packed her stuff into a Ryder truck, and drove it back after I flew her out to California.
There were times... times I was glad I'd done it... times when I wondered... darn sure there were times when she wondered! In the piece it talks about the guilt. Two of my sisters and I were placed in foster care... I'd just turned seven... and I didn't return home until my 14th birthday when she graduated from college. I worked and paid my keep from then until I joined the Navy. I asked myself "why me?" Well, it was because it needed to be done and I could, and my sisters couldn't; and one does feel like crap for asking the question.
To make a long story short, I believe it worked out to be a blessing. I don't know that I'd recommend it to everyone; but at the end of the day (we buried Mom in January, 2003) my sisters and I were closer, we'd all had a chance to come to terms with some childhood issues and make our peace together with our mother, and we were all there at her passing.
I guess if there's a point to this it might be that there may be an opportunity where one see's only duty. In the meantime, if there's a subject I haven't gone off on, please let me know or be patient and I'll get to it eventually.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Another Reason to be Ashamed of Myself

It's petty... it's judgemental... it has absolutely nothing whatever to do with me... but Prince Charles is representing the British royal family at the funeral for the Pope? Not that my credentials are any better than his, but... I'm not going!

Thoughts on Denial as a Preventive Health Plan

If you're reading this today your problem is that this is the only blog that I have, because I've got a thing about the forlorn hope that teaching "abstinence only" to children will make a dent in teen pregnancy and STDs.
I saw this piece on MSNBC on young people's sexual behavior and attitudes. I'll grant you that this can be confusing stuff... at least one President of the United States was similarly disposed. All the more reason why children... people... need better information and not less.
When I first started conducting STD prevention training in the Navy I was... strongly encouraged?... to emphasize abstinence as the only sure preventive method. That's actually true, of course, and I'm a pretty good instructor; but can you guess what happened right after we hit our first overseas liberty port? So I modified my lesson plans a bit; and I didn't change the world, but the overall rates dropped off a bit and the repeat cases fell off substantially. I'm not necessarily proud of myself, but I believe the people who were going to do what they were going to do, make the choices they were going to make, did so with better information to protect themselves and others from infections and unplanned pregnancies.
You just can't get by with telling people to not even think about sex and let it go at that. Any adult that can't grasp that has got to be either in denial about their own experience or is experiencing memory loss. Sexuality is older than religion, and has almost certainly undergone a lot fewer changes over the centuries. It isn't going to go away anytime soon... one hopes... so deal with it.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Today, April 1st, only several sponsors have agreed to donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for each comment left on this blog.
I am not going to try in any way to elaborate on Greg Hammond's pain on losing his wife to breast cancer. I can't begin to imagine finding that impossibly rare soul who completes your being only to watch her die far too soon. Just accept that he's recognizing the anniversary of her passing by taking a swipe at the disease that killed her, and help him out by posting a comment on his April 1st post.
That's at

Trying to let bygones be bygones

Let me be clear... I don't believe that Jane Fonda owes me a thing. We'll all come to judgement in our time, but I'm pretty sure I won't get to be the judge. Having said that, I've been reading about this interview she gave to Leslie Stahl, and it just isn't working for me.
She, as so many others, seems to only regret that she was captured on film... in her case sitting on that anti-aircraft gun in Hanoi. She doesn't regret the trip to the enemy capital in 1972, and she doesn't regret the Hanoi radio spots, and she doesn't regret visiting the guards at the Hanoi Hilton (she damn sure didn't care about the prisoners)... she only regrets “The image of Jane Fonda, ‘Barbarella,’ Henry Fonda’s daughter ... sitting on an enemy aircraft gun."
You know there are things we do that cannot be undone. I was thinking about how I could find it in my heart to forgive Jane Fonda... for my soul, not hers... until I read this piece and found that she's actually unrepentant for the actual betrayal... she's only sorry for the image of her betrayal. I have this overwhelming urge to quote Dan Ackroyd from SNL here.