Sunday, September 25, 2011

I wish . . .!

I was in the six items express lane at the store, quietly fuming.
Completely ignoring the sign, the man ahead of me
had slipped into the check-out line pushing a cart piled high with groceries.
Imagine my delight when the cashier beckoned
the man to come forward looking into the cart and asked sweetly,
"So which six items would you like to buy?"
I have no idea who wrote the above. It came in an email from my uncle and struck such a familiar, annoying chord that I had to share it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sticks and stones . . .

Since when did it become illegal for students, or anyone in the U.S. for that matter, to voice their disagreement/disapproval/displeasure with anyone else whether it be a private or public forum? Ten students from the University of Southern California are on trial for expressing themselves during a speech made on campus. Because of that, they are facing possible jail time, probation and more. This is far from news for that university and many, many others. University students were among the loudest protestors during the Vietnam era. Students around the country invaded and camped out in administrative buildings to protest the war, the draft and military recruiting on campus. In other words, student protests are nothing new. I suspect the difference in this case is that the students are Muslims and spoke out during a university-sponsored speech by Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Yes, it was rude to interrupt a guest speaker; but unlawful? No! Besides, I'm sure Ambassador Oren expected and was prepared for some "feedback" from his audience. Yes, the university was embarrassed by the unsolicited input from the students. I hardly think that punishing the Muslim Student Union is an appropriate reaction. Would the results have been the same had a member of an Evangelical Christian organization spoken up? Allowing free speech means accepting that speakers may pipe up in situations that might be embarrassing. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed that it is lawful for hate-filled, so-called Christians to picket military funerals causing extreme anguish for families and friends of the fallen. By comparison uttering "It's a shame this university has sponsored a mass murderer like yourself" to an Israeli official is pretty tame.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dad would have loved it. . .

This morning I heard what sounded like some sort of road paving machine. But then I realized it had a great rythm going and went to check it out. Above was about all I could see from our balcony, but the intricate drumming patterns were clear and got me thinking about my late Dad. In high school, he was a state drumming champion (Iowa) and always had great rythm. Far too infrequently, he would round up a brass incense burner, a porcelain lamp, the piano bench and any other handy hard surface and give a drumming concert. For an uptight, sober Norwegian, he had a drummer's soul. The event for which the red-coated drummers came, along with the rest of the band is going on right now. Don't know if I should stand for the National Anthem because of I'm not there, but. . . . . . . I'm back. Just couldn't sit through such a moving rendition! Now they're playing a fast, Spanish sounding piece. They're also competing with jets from National airport flying directly overhead -- those an ambulance siren and a cursed leaf blower. Anyway, hope everyone is having a nice Monday! I'm going back out to the freeby concert! Update: I should have known from the bright red blouses and white trousers that these guys were the U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. They put on a great, jazzy concert!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Love That Nitrous Oxide!

Went in for a two hour dental appointment this morning from which I exited in a righteously mellow mood. So what if the right side of my face has fallen and not gotten up -- yet. And so what if my lips are rubber and I can't drink liquids without them dribbling out of my mouth. I wasn't a basket case in the dentist's chair! Since childhood, I've been neurotic about dentists. [Long, ugly story I'll leave to your fertile imagination]. Even though I went through eight -- count 'em EIGHT years of orthodontia, I'm still terrified of needles and drills doing anything anywhere near my mouth. Until I found a dentist who uses numbing gel before she stabs me with the humongous Novocain needle, I avoided it. When I could no longer "gut-out" dental work, I basically stopped going. I'm paying for it now. I'm sure "laughing gas" has been around longer than I've been seeing dentists so the question begs: why the hell didn't I get any before now?! Knowing that I have several more appointments, I no longer have to suffer sleepless nights and shear terror upon entering the dentist's office. Good ole N.O. will be there for me! Happy weekend, y'all!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Magnificent Cold Front

For the first time in what seems like years, it's actually chilly outside. I'm lovin' it!! When the cold front came through, it brought brief showers and lots of wind.
To the west was a spectacular sunset and to the east,
what looked like a pink rainbow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Go, Betsy, GO!!

The above came to mind the moment I heard that Elizabeth Warren is running for the Democratic Nomination in the Massachusetts senatorial race. With absolutely no insult or disrespect intended, I'll repeat myself -- GO BETSY, GO!

Not only is she incredibly intelligent, competent and qualified for a senate seat and just about any other high-level leadership position -- she's a WOMAN -- my age!

Unlike Sara and Michele, Elizabeth doesn't blurt-out nonsense whenever given the chance. She knows what she's talking about. She'll fight tooth and nail for what's right and just and she can easily argue-down anyone who tries to distort her meaning. I LIKE that!

Realistically, she might go mad trying to deal with the foot-dragging, double-speaking members of Congress. Nevertheless, she is precisely what the Senate needs to goose some activity out of the good ole boys.

Yes, I acknowledge that there are already some outstanding female Senators, but Elizabeth carries a whip! [No, not literally, but she knows how to hold her own in debates without losing her footing or dignity.] One more woman in the Senate can only improve the odds that something good will get done.

As much as I love D.C., I might be tempted to move to Massachusetts so that I could vote for Elizabeth Warren.

Can you tell I'm a fan?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Untold Stories

My first instinct when the 9/11 commemoration hype became more and more pervasive was to try to avoid the whole thing. On that day ten years ago, I was three weeks out from a radical hysterectomy that wasn't healing right and three months out from the first of two breast cancer surgeries that year. I was already pretty much a basket case when Spouse broke the news that a plane had hit one of the Towers in NYC.

But then today, reading a story in the Washington Post Style section (of all places) forced me to change my mind. It was about two Air Force pilots stationed at Andrews AFB, just outside of the District. For ten years they kept their incredible mission from the general public. Steve Hendrix wrote their story.

-----------

Within minutes of the hit on the Pentagon, then Lt. Heather "Lucky" Penney and her commander, Col. George Degnon, received orders to stop Flight 93 before it could get to D.C.

Taking off they were sure they would not be returning. There wasn't time to arm their F16s. They would have to crash their planes into a commercial jet, filled with innocent passengers. They would not have come home if the passengers on 93 hadn't taken the situation into their own hands.

Learning about this started me thinking about the thousands of untold/unheard stories of survivors and rescuers. Some may never become public because the participants cannot bring themselves to remember. Others died before they could to tell their stories.

Sunday is a significant anniversary for every American and many more around the world. The terrorists won nothing. Just as the perpetrators of other attacks on American, they simply earned our disdain and awakened our patriotism.

Rather than relive my and others' terrifying experiences of ten years ago, I'll take time on Sunday to think about all those who couldn't tell their stories. I will also remember the comforting sound of our own fighter jets flying high over the city -- day and night for months -- protecting us.

------------

Living in Washington, D.C. is sometimes like living in a giant bullseye. Having said that, I feel safer today than I did ten years ago. It's my home and where I belong.

Note: I changed the title of this post because I thought it was too glib. I offer apologies to anyone I might have offended.