Wednesday, April 27, 2005


We went out to The Blue Martini at the Melinnia Mall tonight to see Michael Andrews and Swingerhead. Great stuff...super swing band, beautiful women, a lead singer that is dead on perfect doing Sinatra tunes. Did I mention the beautiful women? Well.. all dressed up and wanting to dance to the '40s stuff. Tango, up scale jitterbug, ballroom stuff, ooo baby! My buddy Doug, husband of Tom Leete's oldest daughter (we really are too old for this foolishness.. but hey) plays saxaphone in the band. Martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives, big band music. I loved it.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I guess that what it is is that I'm feeling old and tired and wore out from silliness. That and the certain knowledge that this sort of silliness just never ends. Thirty years ago I was teaching data structures to nacent computer majors at UCF and UF and I made the mistake of creating a bulletin board program as a class project. It was an excuse to make the mainframe run a Pascal assembler. We called the program The School Board and it was a big big hit here in Orlando. Shareware. The thing mutated itself a hundred times and became something of a model for all the bulletin boards all over the country. Anyhow, what I learned about human nature by hosting that monster was that people usually don't have too much to contribute after they get signed on... so they spend most of their time talking dirty and being hateful to each other. There's something so appealing about the anonymity of a computer based messaging system that seems to bring out the worst in us. Back in those days it was called flaming. Burn the creeps, hack the system and trash things just to prove that you can. Lame.

For a long time I've participated in newslinks. Google has one of the oldest. This was helpful when I was doing a lot of sailing cause it took the place of an internet where you could post messages and interact with the folks back home. My daughter stayed plugged in with all of her little friendies back here in the world while she and I did a circumnavigation a decade ago. The trouble with those newsgroups is that there were always a certain group of people who really didn't have anything useful to contribute to the process but were determined to make it difficult for anyone else to enjoy the conversation. And they could be hateful in the relative security of their bedrooms at home. Losers.

Now days I have a website, a fairly busy one... and a blog so that I can put my collected thoughts on "paper" and scratch that publication bug that most college teachers never completely cure themselves of. I just want to write stuff and talk intelligently to like types. And I find the same sort of silliness. Of course, I can purge the vast majority of the crud off the same way I can scrape dog poop off of my shoe. So you say, if this is such a pain why do I keep on participating in the silliness? Good question. I guess it's because the good outweighs the bad. This blog is fun to do because there are a number of interesting people involved and I get a chance to chat with them regularly.. but from the distance that the written word makes possible. No need for shouting or finger pointing or rudeness. No serious arguments because I can always back off and reconsider what I'm about to type. That's a good thing with most of these folks because as a class they are thin skinned and intensely opininated and something of a strange mix. I mean... can you imagine having someone like Velocitidude for a house pet? Yikes. Or Rob? Or Catfish? Or even me?

I don't usually want to go to these "blogmeets" because there really isn't any agenda, except they give people a chance to match a real person to a persona that before the blogmeeting was just a character in a bad play. Once you actually meet these folks you may not particularly want to linger. Some of these folks take their personas a little too seriously. Too much drinking, too much posturing. Too much of the play acting and pseudo-hostile, macho pundonor-ing. I don't know. Just too god damned much. So I understand that some of them got their feelings hurt during this most recent "workshop" in Georgia. When egos clash the whole thing just turns into a bad rendering of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf.

Kind of reminds me of the good old days of the School Board when I wound up shutting the thing down just to shut up the bickering. And... right at this moment the sailing.asa newsgroup is being gutted by some sort of attack of the morons. Shame too.

Maybe these "workshops" aren't such a good idea. When we lose civility we lose the only reason I can think of for having these damned blogs at all. Hell, I'm just looking for somebody to talk to.


Thursday, April 21, 2005


The Patriot Act is back in the news. This time it is coming up for renewal and a lot of modifications. Of course, my friend Tommy still thinks that I am against the thing... not so. I just want to be clear that such stuff is dangerous. This brought us back to an argument that culminated in a Rant a little over a year ago, and is still worth considering again. Here it is ----


My friend Tom is the most agreeable of men and I’ve known him since we were children. Of course, we have gone down different paths as we’ve acquired antique status... he got a job in industry and went about his business. Now days he is the quintessential “Captain of Industry” and gets invitations to sit on panels at Harvard University while he considers offers to conduct seminars on how to build new cities out of scrap lumber funded by anonymous federal agencies and chartiable trusts. I got a job teaching school and went where ever it is that I went.... academic poverty mixed with the quiet fear that whatever I do will mean less than nothing in the final tally. But when you get right down to it we are more than just friends.. as Anne of Green Gables would say, we are bosom friends... pals. He’s the only man in the world who could induce me to cross state lines to witness the marriage of his daughter. She was lovely. And he’s the only man who could be trapped with rhetorical devices by entities which he has every right to presume to be trustworthy... and shouldn’t treat him with contempt but do... without enjoying my contempt, or at least amazement at his naivete. They’re playing you for a sucker, Tom. Shame on them.

But now here comes the damned Patriot’s Act. In itself, not such a terrible thing. We naturally have to protect ourselves from the wickedness of this increasingly psychotic world. If the retards that make up 75% of the world population are determined to hate us there really isn’t too much we can do about it, except go on with our lives and try to protect our children. And we have, and we will. Rest assured... this is not a nation of softies. All too often our enemies forget that America is the only nation to ever use nuclear weapons on civilians. At the time it seemed like the logical thing to do. Heck, after Dresden and London’s blitz and the Russian expulsion of the Nazis, our little firecrackers seemed like the next logical step. But it sure as hell ended the war with a bang, didn’t it? Mess with us at your peril. That’s the lesson that the mud people keep forgetting, so they have to relearn to fear us over and over... that we are a nation that shouldn’t be trifled with. America is the sleeping giant... the gorilla of geopolitics. We WILL burn down your hooch and shoot your water buffalo and exterminate your tribe if you piss us off. And we will exterminate you with the highest of moral anger... outrage even. We will be certain in our own hearts that we are “doing the right thing” and that we are only doing what is “best for you”. Yada yada yada ... yeah. Mess with us and we will make you and all of yours a footnote in an unread history book. The reason the Indians don’t remember that lesson is because we killed just about all of them. The reason the Nazis don’t remember is the same. Japs? Same deal. Believe me... we are not a people to be trifled with. Ask the Arawaks, if you can find one. Or the Seminoles. Or the Ottomans. Of course, we always want to be seen as the “good guys”. You beginning to see a pattern in our mythology?

So what keeps us from becoming monsters? What keeps us from just being another in the long list of Attillas and Sulemans and Stalins and Vlad the Impalers? Well, for one thing, we are a nation of men who actually believe our own bullshit. We really are the good guys. Our ethos says that we all want to be like John Wayne. We are all acting out our own version of True Grit: tough guys with hearts of gold. Now, Pilgrim... you shouldn’t be messin’ with them weapons of mass destruction. I’m gonna have to take your country away from you till you learn how to do the right thing. Now let’s get them cattle back to the homestead. Is that the real world? Only to us. The rest of the world thinks that a full cup of goat piss is the only drinking water allowed by Allah, and they are probably right. But that’s not my idea of Nirvana.

The other thing that we have going for us is a governmental system that is based on fundamental principles of fairness and balance. By the people, for the people, and of the people. Our founding fathers thought that they’d try a system where no single governmental entity would have total control over the home boys. That there would be an executive branch, and a judicial branch, and a legislative branch. That each would have their own unique job to do. That each of them was a vital and necessary element of governing this nation of romantic idealists, but that none of them would have ... total control. No king like they tried in Europe. No tyrant like they had in ancient Greece. No politbureau. No Gang of Five. Just a system where we could freely change governments every four years if we wanted to and no one man could ever wind up with the whole enchilada. Get it?

Of course, it’s a little untidy. Guys who are part of the legislature are constantly yammering about how those damned guys in the White House are over reaching their authority, and those guys in the Supreme Court are constantly telling the guys in the Senate that their ideas are unconstitutional and have to be re-written, and here comes the loonies in California’s courts making law out of thin air, and so on and so on. Is that a bad thing? Well, I’ll admit that it’s untidy. But, do we really want the trains to run on time? Do we want one side to absolutely win? That would mean that the other two sides would absolutely lose. Is that what we want? Well, hell no.

At the end of the day what we are all hoping for is that things will balance out and we can move on. Now... is there any reason why this system has a prayer? Well, yes. Some people, mostly guys like Hegel and Darwin and their scientific ilk, assert that there is a dynamic process in such dissent and that change through growth is the result. I agree. But I’ll freely admit that the process is messy... and to a certain extent, it is dangerous, because it requires that as citizens we hold to Jefferson’s requirement of an educated citizenry and that we hold that as an absolute fact and that it is an absolute minimum. We... all of us... have an obligation as citizens of this country and as members of this society which has undertaken this unprecidented experiment in self government... an obligation to absolutely “get it” when we are about to be suckered. And then to act accordingly. To ACT.

So here we are back at the Patriot Act. Is it bad law? Not particularly. It doesn’t really break any new ground. There are things about it that are a bit over the top... the shift from law enforcement to terrorist whacking at the FBI may be a bit much. But the SAFE Act can probably deal with the potential excesses that are manifest in that bit of boondoggelery. Of course, the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004 grants the FBI a lot of very expanded authorities that have nothing to do with Al Quida. They can go snooping into data from car dealers, pawn brokers, travel agents, casinos, and... libraries and doctors offices and so on under the guise of fighting terrorism. The question that arises is, Do you trust the government to do the right thing? Well.... yeah. I’m pretty sure that they have their hearts in the right places. The trouble is... the details. Those crankey details. What does unlimited power to snoop give the government? Well, the answer is that it gives them the opportunity to ignore the other two branches of government. Traditionally, there has always been a judicial oversight process to make sure that the FBI and the INS and the NSA can’t just ignore the constitutional process.

Ignore? Well, that’s an accusation that we’ve heard tossed about in the Patriot Act opposition since it’s inception. The worry warts at the ACLU have whined from day one that the Act was railroaded through in a big hurry and that it was a blank check for the zelots at the Department of Justice to do an end run around constitutional issues. Is that true? Well, if you look at ONLY the Patriot Act the simple answer is no. Nothing in the Act says that they are suspending habias corpus, or denying people due process, or compromising the attorney/client privilege. So where does that crap come from?

Well, since that fell day in New York and the Twin Towers debacle the executive branch, the USDOJ, and the US Congress, has... in addition to the Patriot Act, promulgated a series of executive orders and interim agency regulations ostensibly to regulate the implementation of the Act that goes a very long way in upsetting the balance among the three branches in government. The “checks and balances” approach has been one of the most important parts of our form of government.

Actions of our government since the implementation of these executive orders have established what the Center for Constitutional Rights calls a “cloak of secrecy”. Now that doesn’t sound like open and free government to me. The thing that is of most concern to me is that while the particular elements within the legislation may be excessive, they are amenable. The SAFE Act introduced in the Senate in 2004 can probably drag the FBI and so on back from the brink, although the fact that they are there at all is proof of the fact that the FBI and the NSA are not playing well together like good children should. There is way too much “turf war” infighting going on for there to be any meaningful police work.

Unfortunately, since 2000 hundreds of people, citizens and non-citizens, no one is sure which, have been put into preventive detention in conjunction with the terrorist investigations. Some folks (Amnesty International) estimate that as many as 1200 people have been detained with no charges ever being brought against them, being denied access to counsel, and without any basis of violation of any immigration law. They just look like rag heads. Scary. Sounds like a chapter out of Kafka's "Trial", doesn't it?

Further, the ability of the executive branch to issue “executive orders” has created a whole new tier of “courts”, the military tribunals that are whispered about at Camp Zero where there is no such thing as due process or habias corpus; and the new modified role of the immigration courts in determining what rights the un-warranted and un-indicted accused bad guys have. Who knows... they’re not allowed to go get lawyers so there’s no one to speak on their behalf. Suddenly, it seems that all of us good guys are being fitted with brown shirts. That’s not my idea of a good thing.

There are two major areas to be addressed. First, the notion of governing by decree. If the executive branch can act without judicial or legislative oversight then the three party system of checks and balances will be a thing of the past. Do we want that? These “interim regulations” that have created Camp Zero and suspending habias corpus for god knows who all do precisely that. Is that what we want? The interim regulation expanded the power of the INS (that’s Immigration and Naturalization Service) to arrest and hold anyone for “a reasonable period of time” without bond, warrant, or charge. Reasonable? What about due process? Zadvydas v. Davis held that the due process clause of the constitution applies TO ALL (my emphasis) persons physically located within the borders of the United States. The court is not saying that the guys are not deportable... they may very well be on their way out of here... but there has to be a judicial action undertaken. No star chambers here, please. But so far the government has merely ignored the court rulings that order such procedures.

The same kind of foolery underlies the interim regulations issued in October of 2001 when federal agents were given the privilege of monitoring attorney-client communications. In very limited circumstances such surveillance has been done in the past so long as there is judicial oversight. The new rules sidestep such oversight. The Justice Department does not want the courts to be telling them what to do. Well, of course they don’t. But at what cost to our precious balance of power in the checks and balances system of government that our forefathers set up for us?

Perhaps the most disturbing of this parade of hanky panky has been the November 13th interim regulation creating the military tribunals to try accused terrorists. Recent years have shown that our existing courts are very adept at trying terrorism cases. The successes of prosecutors in the Tanzania and Kenya cases as well as the 1993 attack on the WTO in New York are proof of that. But the administration has taken the most fundamental role of the judicial branch, the hearing of charges before the bar, and transferred that right to the executive branch of government. Interestingly enough, they also are encroaching on the legislative branch’s historical prerogative to create such tribunals, which is constitutionally granted sole authority to create “tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court”. The fact that the executive branch can have its own courts answerable to no one but the executive branch, giving the president exclusive power to decide who will be tried under their system, and to create rules by which trial will proceed, to appoint who will judge and who will be prosecutor, and defense attorney, and to set penalties without recourse to appeal... just scares the hell out of me.

Am I the only one who finds this Kafkaesque? I’ve got a feeling that if my friend Tom had all the facts, we would... once again... be in agreement that there is something not quite kosher in Denmark. All this other stuff, government in secret, the attack on the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th Amendments... can only exist if good men don’t stand up against it. Are the perpetrators of this foolery bad men? No... they all have the best of intentions. They just want to win for their team. The guys at Justice want to slap down the guys in the Supreme Court. The President wants to act presidential without a bunch of whining jerkoffs from the Congress meddling in his well intentioned agenda. But... for God’s sake guys. Do we really have to throw out the baby with the bath water?

Tommy... do you trust your government? Which branch should we sacrifice all of our apples to? Should the executive have the right to side step the judiciary? Has the congress done a good thing when it has given DOJ a green light to just blow off the judicial process? My vote is no. Is anyone counting votes?

In my own simple minded way I see this process the same way that I see the balancing act that is necessary for good mental health in people and groups. Here comes Alfred Alder again. And Hegel. And Darwin. In order to have a healthy group, such as the group made up of a parent, a teacher, and a student... all members of the group have to have a stake in meeting their individual as well as their group needs. A teacher will sit down with a parent and a kid and talk about what they need for a successful school experience. The kid will be there to explain what he needs to achieve in a class. The parent will be there to define what is the vision in their mind of the student’s future. The teacher is there to make sure that the parent and student know what he has to have in order to succeed in meeting their collective goals and to satisfy the school board’s dictates. Each one of them has power and each one of them has the ability to work together towards success and each one of them has the power to totally subvert the process and stop any hope of progress. They cooperate, they win, they don’t cooperate, they lose. Healthy -- unhealthy. It’s not complicated. That’s Adler. Hegel said that when a thesis and an antithesis collide the result is a synthesis, which becomes a new thesis... and so on and so on. Darwin said that evolution will sort out the weak from the strong. He was right.

Isn’t that the genius of our system of government, that we have an arena where the three branches can work to meet their individual needs while they are all working towards collective good government? I know that in psychology when one of these sources of power... like the triad I was just using as an example... unbalances the power equation of the group, what Adler called the “locus of control”, then the whole group dynamic becomes unstable... unhealthy. Is our government any different? I think not.

Tom, when you say that there is no mention of no due process and no habias corpus in the Patriot Act, you’re telling the truth. But isn’t that just a straw dog to divert the argument away from the ugly fact that we are killing the dream of John Wayne’s legacy? Do you really want to be an agent of this new rebirth of Fascism? Scares the shit out of me, boy.


Saturday, April 16, 2005


It's been a quiet week and I'm ready for a do nothing weekend. All my little pieces of paper are in to Alison's office there at HSA so I suppose that there's nothing more that I can do on that front. My understanding from them is that I've been shortlisted for the TASC job. Now it's just a matter of hanging on and waiting for a decision. I'll admit that I'm ill suited for that kind of incertainty. But... it's been very nice to just sit around for a week and do nothing but shuffle a few application forms... but I'm over it. Hopefuly, they'll make a decision the beginning of the week next week and I can get to work. In the meanwhile, I'll sit around and read, go visit my friend Tommy and argue with him about the ACLU and geopoltics, do some blogging and other useful work, and generally contribute nearly nothing to the net downfall of the culture. Heh.

My friends the Schulte's have got themselves a brand new Volvo engine to replace the one that took a dump on them in New Zealand. Like most things in life... it's only a matter of money. I know exactly how they feel. I once was returning from Jamaica in my old Raindog when the Perkins diesel started to make very expensive noises then siezed up. Oops! The thing about sailing and boating generally is that you have to pay early and dearly for every lesson. The Schulte's are going through that learning process now. In my case, I had gotten my oil changed before leaving Port Antonio... sounded like a sensible thing to do. Little did I know that the idiots who changed the oil had not used motor oil but had filled me up with cooking oil. Duh! And the crazy thing was that I had been standing there watching them when they pumped the stuff in out of an unmarked barrel. Yes.. the gods are crazy. But what can you do? Just pay the freight and move on.

I talked to Kathryn about an hour ago. They've been busy being new parents for the last few days but she still wanted to check up on me. Good kid. Everything continues to be great over at the birthing cell.. mother and child doing just fine thank you very much. I'm gonna enlist the new father for some boat labors next weekend. I need to take the chain plates off and get a new strap made before I put the mast back up. It's not a heavy task, but I don't want to drop any bits and pieces into the water and it is one of those inside/outside kind of jobs. You hold it on deck while I turn the wrench down below. What fun.

Anyhow, like I said... a do nothing weekend.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I've been reading the logs of a young couple making a circumnavigation named Pat and Ali Schulte. There are a couple of interesting things about this: first of all, they're doing something that most folks just dream of doing. Second, they're writing about it. This Pat kid is not a professional writer. I think that he's a commodities broker when he's not fumbling with fishing gear. The whole project must have terrified their parents, but here they are in the Pacific headed for parts unknown. I love it!

Anyhow, give their site a glance. It's a great read.


Monday, April 11, 2005


My battle against spam continues. Interestingly enough, most of us have apparently grown used to the rash. Some guys at the Pew Group and the American Life Project (an unlikely mixture if I ever heard one) say that 53% of us don't trust the internet, down from 62% last year. As our collective In Boxes fill to overflowing with the dreck however, the gnomes at Pew maintain that most of us will stumble on ahead with only a few curses and grumbles about the waste.

A case in point: I have been trying since last Friday to get a new pager up and running. I like the antique technology of the pager rather than tying myself to the ubiquitous cell phone. I own and use one of the picture taking doodads but I hate to be tied to the damned thing. I want to have the caller filtered through the pager so that I can stall a little bit. Maybe I don't want to talk right now. See? My old pager that was provided by the state was taken from me when I told them to put it where the monkey put the nuts. So, I went down to my local provider (the Orlando Electronics store... a mom and pop operation in the heart of the Little Saigon district of Orlando Florida that provides the entire neighborhood with a mainline contact with the Pacific Rim). The nice Vietnamese lady behind the counter sold me a package deal consisting of a brand new Motorola pager bundled with a year's pager service ($142 total. no waiting). She picks up the phone and is instantly connected with an account service provider in India who takes the order and in perfect English for my benefit along with perfect Vietnamese for the order taker in the US, goes over the details of the deal and takes my money. Done deal. Thank you very much Mr. Baird. Have a nice day.

Of course, nothing ever works as planned... does it? I got a pager last Friday but I still don't have any service. I spent my morning sitting at the store with my long suffering account person wrangling with the good folks in India about my account. I just don't understand Meester Beer, this never happens except when you come in (did I mention that I do a certain amount of business in their shop?).

Did you ever hear about Cyrus Field? I think that was the name. He's the guy who laid the first Atlantic telegraph cable from New York to Ireland back in the 19th century. It seemed like such a simple idea. Run the cable from London to New York and just hook up the wires and every thing else would fall into place. Well... they said the same thing about landing a man on the moon too. What could go wrong? Huh? OK... Cyrus finally got it done but damn... it turned into the technological miracle of his time. Just think... direct communication with London. Just think... a connection hooking Orlando with India and China and what ever damned collection of screw ups there are in the loop to make it damned near impossible to get a phone number to ring allowing my pager to work.

What's this got to do with my spam wars? Well... I'll suggest to you that all this garbage on the internet is clogging up things so that we may be killing the goose... eating the seed corn. But does it seem to be a real serious problem yet? Well, only if we can't get the real information through the noise. I rely on my email to do business. When I can't do business then I'll figure out another way to skin the cat. Smoke signals maybe. So far the spam is just a nuisance, but as things get more and more complicated we are all becoming more and more dependant on complex systems to perform simple tasks. I'm engaging people from thousands of miles away to get my pager phone number enabled... and it isn't working very well.

Cyrus... I know how you felt buddy. The first try at a cable across the Atlantic failed because the engineer didn't understand electricity. The next cable worked, but by that time Cyrus had had to go to the mattesses and had involved whole nations in the effort. He died a rich man and famous man because the second cable was a success, but damn... it took some doing.

Nobody ever said things would be easy.


Sunday, April 10, 2005


Give you forty dollars if you... Oh, never mind.

I got the new W.E.B. Griffin book "By Order of the President". Actually, I didn't buy it. My friend Tommy got a copy of the new one and passed it on to me to read. This is a new book in a new series for that guy and I have been in hiding for the last two days reading it. Good stuff. If you like his stuff then you will not be disappointed.

I talked to Kathryn this afternoon. She was concerned because I was a little out of pocket and wouldn't answer the phone. Actually, I have had the computer hooked up all day while I was massaging my massive backload of email trash. This really is maddening... I turned the damned thing off for a couple of days and the Spam Killer didn't have its way with the garbage and then when it was turned back on it was facing a pile of several THOUSAND (!!!) unwanted, unsolicided emails.

This is absolutely criminal. Do these people get anything out of this? Is there anyone who actually participates in these scams?


Saturday, April 09, 2005


Well, I'm enjoying my first complete day of freedom in five years. Tom and I went and cleaned out my office yesterday and I put in my resignation. No more struggling with a caseload of 386 miscreants... all felony offenders, SHOCAP, sex offenders, gang unit liaison, and on and on and on... and a bureaucracy that parallels the weight that bore down the Roman Empire. I told Tom that I had the exact same feeling that I had when my divorce was final. Not angry, not looking for vengance, just a welling of pleasure of knowing that I don't have to go in and care any more. Let somebody else carry the weight. I'm tired.

Of course, the good folks at HSA swooped in and asked me for a resume. I'm gonna go in Monday and give Allison a copy of the vitae and give her a job app. So I suppose that I should savor this weekend. But... if I get on with TASC then I'll have NO CASELOAD! Just look at that lovely sentence.

Now that I'm thinking about it... I think that I'll leave Phoenix on the stern of the boat. They say that changing the name of an old boat is bad luck anyhow. I noticed last week that the old name of Phoenix was faintly painted on the stern. Home port of Houston Texas. Man, that old girl probably could tell some tales. Anyhow, I'm gonna put Raindog II aside and keep relegate the past to the past. The original Raindog was the name I gave to my first boat years and years ago. With the loss of that great old boat I named her successor Raindog II. And this new boat was the succssor to that one. Ah, the joys of living in hurricane country.

But... I found the old name stenciled on the stern of the new boat at the same time that I was shedding my old persona of a JPO (it's a long story full of dirty politics and failed promises). Hopefully, I'll be able to make a lateral move over to a service provider and then move on without too much of that old fear and loathing.

Yeah... Phoenix. A legendary bird rising from the ashes of an old life. Seems appropriate considering the fact that I'm a new grandfather (hi Matt. hi Katie. hi Stan).


By the way... what the hell is wrong with the edit function here at Blogger? It just doubled the previous post without updating my proofing. Wierd. I get both parts of the thing on the public blog but it doesn't show up in the edit mode. Man, I hope they're not gonna screw up this venue. I like it the way it is. I know, I know... but I do.


Thursday, April 07, 2005


I'm slowly coming to terms with the death of Saul Bellow. Another loss of the American voice. It seems that we are in the midst of a purging. What is next? My ear says that there is no one to take his place. Not that he was a special or towering voice. But he was just there. Like Hemingway. Like Faulkner. Eliot. Pound.

I suppose there are still people who can make me weep with envy with their craft. I can think of a few. Singer. Cormac McCarthy is still among us. Who else? Perhaps Eliot really was right after all. We live in a wasteland.


Monday, April 04, 2005


Greetings to Matthew.

I got the call about midnight last night so I met the family cabal down at Arnold Palmer for an all night vigil. Everything went as planned but the doctor decided that the kidlet was too big to chance a straight delivery, and Kathryn and the baby were getting really tired by 11 today so they did a C-section. Everybody is fine. All the toes and fingers are in place.

This is great!


Saturday, April 02, 2005


I think most of us are over it now and we're in the last of those Kubler-Ross phases, the one that says that we review things and see if there's anything there to be put on the headstone.

Guy has the last word on his post--

Final observations:

1. Talk to your local, state, and federal legislators. Let them know you would welcome changes in existing law(s) to reflect the continuing of life to be paramount. The rights of the spouse should be respected, BUT all available methods MUST have been used, and documented in determining a persons legal "living status". And failing documentation being on hand to demonstrate a persons specific desire, being to the contrary, hearsay from any source is not to be sanctioned as the determining factor in deciding whether or not to medically allow a person to die. This last part would apply only when there is contention regarding an individuals final choice/wishes. (And getting "feeding tubes" removed as a form of "life support", to be on the same level as a respirator or some such, would be a good thing too.)

2. Like it or not (unless there is a major swing in the national psyche to erring on the side of life) we are perilously close to officially becoming a society which favors the right to die as being paramount. It behooves all of us to go and get a living will or living trust set up, so you have the greatest chance possible in having your wishes honored, in the event you are not able to communicate same.

If we, as conservative/constitutionalists/those who favor choosing life over death as the right and proper action for any healthy society to follow, then we need to follow up on the above. If we do not, then hypocrisy becomes the word of the day.


That just about says it all. I made a living will when I was allowed out of the prison of the Florida Hospital a few years ago and I was inordiately proud of myself at the time. The hassle over the Schaivo woman pointed out to me that I need to review that thing. Giant strides in medicine have made it necessary to spell it all out, and my will doesn't to that good a job (I'm thinking). I mentioned this to my lawyer yesterday and he agreed. (Oh damn... another meeting.) For that... at least.. I thank the Schaivo family.