Saturday, July 28, 2012

Honor, honesty, humanity -- where are they?

> The reputations of several have been ruined by the actions of one among them. They closed their, eyes, minds and hearts to his victims in the name of competition, winning and the almighty dollar. The costs will be borne by many, many others who had no hand in the tragic scandal. The ugly stigma is effecting generations.

> Deliberately, systematically and diabolically ignoring the criminal acts of fellow priests against congregants caused years or trauma for scores of victim, many of whom may never fully recover. In a culture that insists sins are forgiven simply by confessing them to another human and reciting scripted words, what else are we to expect?

> Like Pontius Pilot, a Middle Eastern despot symbolically washes his hands of responsibility. Blaming the military for the outright slaughter of civilians -- his own people -- seems to free him from any sense of regret or guilt. His pretty wife enjoys a life of travel, designer clothing, and the best of everything. Meanwhile, women and children all around her are forced from their homes by government terrorists, in the process losing what meager possessions they had and work that barely supported their needs. Constant fear takes a heavy toll on their physical and mental health. Education becomes an afterthought, way behind shelter, sustenance and medical care.

> A mentally unstable young man easily accumulates thousands of rounds of ammunition for several assault rifles in preparation for warfare against innocent, anonymous victims. Not even legitimate hunters need assault rifles to kill deer or birds, or whatever they’re after. So why are they so readily available? Ownership and use of these weapons should be limited to the military.
The opening ceremony for the Olympics last night was beautiful and exciting. Watching all the athletes wearing broad smiles on healthy bodies gathering in the stadium was inspiring and uplifting. They are there for friendly competitions with fellow athletes from around the world. Somehow, long standing animosities are set aside for the sake of sport.

If only this kind of integrity and sportsmanship was common in daily life.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

D.C. Taxicab Drivers

Before you go getting all huffy or think that I believe all D.C. cabbies are crazy and rude -- STOP. That ain’t where I’m comin’ from.

Since 1971 I’ve taken quite a few cab rides in D.C.. Some were less than pleasant. Not that long ago cabs were often really old, rundown cars with sunken back seats, windows that didn’t work, too many air fresheners . . . you get the idea. However, never did I feel unsafe or disrespected. I just figured the drivers couldn’t afford to drive spiffy, newer cars. There were, of course, exceptions.

Even with the old zone system, I never felt I was being ripped-off on a fare. I didn’t necessarily like the amount I had to pay for a short ride that went through two or three zones. [No surprise that Congress set up the zones to suit themselves.]

A Local Living article by Chris Lyford in today’s Washington Post triggered a warm personal memory. Chris wrote about the D.C. Professional Taxicab Drivers Association and in particular, driver John Bugg, a native Washingtonian who has driven a cab here for 55 years. Mr. Bugg easily could have been the driver who transported me on one of the most horrendous days of my life.

It started on a frigid February morning when I was very ill with fever and bronchitis and should have been in bed, not slogging through empty, snow-covered, early-morning streets looking for an ATM. Someone near and dear to me had been falsely arrested and jailed overnight and I needed cash to bail him out.

Having cried through the night, waiting until I could get to him at 7 a.m., I was a haggard mess. The cold air made my eyes water, nose run and made me cough so hard that it nearly took my breath away walking eight blocks to the nearest ATM.

Turning away from the ATM, there were few cars on the street and not one taxi in sight. Minutes went by and hopelessness set in. I just wanted to find a warm hole to crawl into. God must have taken pity on me because about then a taxi stopped near the curb. I crawled over the plowed snow drift and pretty much fell into the front seat, there being another passenger in the back. I was so grateful I wanted to grab and hug the gentle black man at the wheel.

As soon as I’d gotten into the front seat, the driver cranked up the heat to high. He must have felt suffocated from the hot air blowing on him, but he was clearly concerned about me. The passenger in the back didn’t say anything and soon reached his destination. I started weeping in relief and because I felt so lousy. That gentle man did his best to soothe me with kind words and encouragement.

Thirty years ago, there was still stupid awkwardness when it came to the sight of a young white woman alone in a car with an older black man. As far as I was concerned, he had saved my life and sanity. He acted like and even resembled my own grandfather. To this day, I wish I had been better able to express my appreciation.

As if his loving concern hadn’t been enough, he refused payment when he safely delivered me to my destination.

I hope his life has been especially blessed. I know he’s not the only good Samaritan out there, but he’s mine. I’m grateful to Chris Lyford for reminding me about this caring man.

- - - - - -

With so much famine, conflict and turmoil in the world, many more immigrants now drive cabs in D.C.. Striking up conversations with drivers isn’t always easy, but I’ve learned that many have advanced degrees and held important positions in their homelands. Unfortunately, degrees from overseas don’t always translate well for American jobs.

Some are less patient and more anxious about their futures than others which sometimes comes off as rudeness. And, let’s face it, discrimination still distresses many newcomers, especially if they don’t dress Western style or speak with heavy accents.

I wish that judgmental types would remember that many of them left everything and loved ones behind to escape untenable conditions, much as many of my own ancestors did.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I found my "Highlander"!

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been enjoying medieval Celtic and Scandinavian romance novels. I can’t figure out why it took me so long to “discover” these distracting, lustful fantasies.

Some may consider bodice-rippers lightweight literature. Some are pretty lightweight, focusing way too much on the sexual exploits of their characters. Others, like Laiden’s Daughter provide insights into the history and lifestyles of those ancient times, before the Puritans twisted peoples’ minds.

In my oh so fertile imagination, I conjured up a Highlander that makes reading these stories even more fun. Recently, I saw him -- in the flesh!!! It’s a good thing I didn’t have to talk or walk at that moment -- both would have been impossible after he grinned at me.

Now that my heart has stopped skipping beats and I can breathe normally again I can chuckle over my reaction. Actually, now I’m a little depressed . . . because I do love my husband. Still, I appreciate a gorgeous man when I see one -- especially hot and sweaty from running shirtless on a 100 degree afternoon.

. . . . the dark, curly hair on his perfectly chiseled chest gleamed with moisture trickling toward exotic, forbidden places as his full lips spread into a sensual smile over dangerously straight, white teeth. . . ..
Oh lordy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This from a self-proclaimed Libertarian?!

“I think a lot of things could be handled locally . . . the more local the better, and the more common sense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) during his 2010 campaign for the Senate.

There were many in D.C. who, when he won election, viewed him as a friend to District residents. Considering what he espoused above, it was natural. Little did we know he would soon employ the same kind of tricks senior members of Congress have to squelch legislation they don’t like.
Just last week he proved he lied in 2010.

By attaching completely unrelated, emotion-charged amendments to a bill that would have allowed the D.C. government to allocate locally collected taxes without Congressional approval, he went along with fellow Republicans to maintain it’s strangle hold on D.C. Of course the bill failed.

Soon afterwards, Rand Paul was interviewed by The Washington Post’s Ben Pershing and said “I think it’s a good way to call attention to some issues that have national implications. We don’t have [control] over the states, but we do over D.C. I am doing this because I can.”

I have to wonder what it is about D.C. residents and our elected leadership that encourages such two-faced behavior. The District has a population of highly educated, astute residents. Two hundred years ago when D.C. was designated a federal district, the same was not true.

Why is that the U.S. Congress is afraid to give D.C. residents the rights enjoyed by every other American? Our government preaches democracy and freedom around the world yet denies it to its own people.

Our Constitution was not written in stone. It’s time it was updated to recognize and accommodate reality. There are ways of doing that without diluting the original intent of our most sacred document. Why is it so damn hard to do?

Utter and Inescapable Temptation

To my mind, nothing conjures the sensuous sweetness of summer like red raspberries.  If I had my druthers, I would live on them and nothing else.  Really!  Not even chocolate satisfies like these luscious, juicy berries.