Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An Ambulance, Two Horses, Two SUVs and an ER. Oh, my!

You have to read this story to appreciate just how bold, inventive and totally irrational a human can be:

Hmmm … Bold, inventive and irrational.  And drunk!  Kinda glad he wasn’t inclined to shoot the town up, aren’t you?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Stunning Answer to a Difficult Question

It has been well-documented in this blog how much The Lady F and myself love our daughter Lafawnda (for any new readers, no, we didn't name her that any more than my parents named me The Old Fossil).  We are so please with both of our children that the buttons just fly off our vests.  We love and support life.  We are way pro-life.  We love our pets, we love our kids, we love our parents, we love ... 

But, life is not without serious questions and complications.  When the Lady was pregnant with Lafawnda, one of the tests showed her Alpha Fetal Protein out of normal bounds.  I am certainly no expert, nor do I wish to really get into research on this, but it raised the possibility of complications for the fetus and it required an amneosentesis.

We were informed of the things that might be found out, gender being one of them.  The answer we gave them was an easy one for us, for we had no gender preference for the child and wished to find out at the moment of birth.

A second thing that might be found out was a bit more difficult, for it was possible this was a result of the child having Downs Syndrome.  We decided between ourselves immediately that we would carry the child to term if this was the case and would raise it with love.

But, the third thing that was discovered in the Lady F was more troubling by far.  Her own mother was left on a church doorstep and we have no familial history for her at all.  It turns out that my wife was found out to be a Tay Sachs carrier.  Now, for clarity, this was found out at the same time as the AFP test, but was not part of it, it was totally separate.  The decisions were all before us at the same time, though.

Tay Sachs is an extremely cruel and painful disease that causes the onset of mental and physical deterioration beginning at the age of 6 months and continuing until the age of 4 years or so, the time of the child's death.  These children never have a chance at either survival or of life quality until their painful deaths.

I had to be tested to see if I was a carrier also, for it is a recessive trait that is conferred by both parents.  And, before I was tested, we made our decision, that if I was shown to be a carrier and if we could determine that the trait was passed along from both of us, we would abort the fetus.  Fortunately, it never came to that, for I am not a carrier.

I bring this up because we have a debate going on in this country about whether abortion in this country should be legal.  In Arizona right now, a bill is being debated that might turn it into state law that aborting a fetus from a rape is - and I find this insane - tampering with evidence!  Wow.

The effort is to make it absolutely impossible under all circumstances to have a legal abortion.  As we know from past history, many people do abort for reasons I would never choose, but I have shown you one situation under which I would choose it.  And I realize that many zealous factions from the religious right would have that choice taken away from my wife and myself.  I strongly disagree.

I am not a fan of abortion.  I hate the very idea.  But, there are times that I feel it is the most acceptable option.  I also feel that the only one who can ultimately make the choice is the mother and that the choice should fall to no other.

I also agree with Bill Clinton.  Abortion should be legal, but it should be rare.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Self Improvement

Ramana brought this topic to the Loose Blogger Consortium this week and, having cogitated on it for a bit, I find it interesting in ways I wouldn't have expected.  I encourage you to do what I will after this is posted, go see what the other LBC members have to say.  You can find clickable links to them on the right hand side of the page.

The first thing that struck me is that, unlike my youth, I am not much interested in self improvement any longer, at least not in the sense I used to consider it.  When young, I read various books on the subject, such as Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking.  That evolved into various forms over the years, some philosophical, some mystical, some practical, like Covey's seven habits.

I find that I don't do that so much now.  Why?  I ask myself this question right now, for this may be the first that I have realized that I no longer have interest in these things in that way.  I think it is because I now approach life and the world with a much more established sense of self and, instead of looking for self improvement, I instead look to walk the best path I can find each day.

Oh, I'm not saying I won't change over time.  What I'm saying is that I will now allow that change to happen organically, fed by my experience.  I'm more interested in helping my kids, who are at that age when self improvement is high on the list.  

Are there any other sexagenarians out there who have had similar shifts of perspective?  Is this just a natural part of our aging process, or is it that we have established pretty well who and what we are by this age and just want to enjoy what is left of the party?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Good Intentions

I brought this topic to the Loose Blogger Consortium eons ago.  I'm sure I had something else in mind when I brought it forth.  I'm sure that what I was intending then, was, "We all want to do well ... but with our feet of clay, we so often fall short."  And, that would not have been a bad approach, especially since it is true.

But ... time has passed since I came up with the topic and my mind and experience have both traveled through a myriad of changes, landscapes both internal and external.  And it has changed my priorities.

I no longer care as much about our feet of clay.  That is like saying that gravity is universal.  What I am more interested in, what I am developing compassion out of, is not our flaws, it is our good intent itself.

What?  But, flaws and feet of clay is a universal statement of the human condition, right?  Sure.  And good intentions most assuredly are not, right?  Ummm, not so quick.

People act badly quite often.  They kill other people.  They violate other people.  Let's admit it, they are EVIL!  How can anyone say their intentions are good?  

Idealism is how.  I will bet you that you cannot find a single person who, if you ask them at the time of an action whether it is justified or not that they will not, in their head at some level, think that it is not justified. They are doing what the situation calls for!  It just so happens that if you are sick or crazy, your actions will indeed be sick or crazy, but at the time, you will think it is the justified action in the situation.  Later, you may regret it or you may repent of your actions, BUT AT THE TIME ...

Primitive, don't you think?  We so often are.  But, coming from a primitive place, is our good intention not also a primitive thing?  At that primitive, crude moment, is not "justified" the best good we will perceive?  He violated me, it is good that I get revenge.  I was cheated, therefore it is good that I am balancing that.

No, I'm not saying a good intention is necessarily a good thing.  I'm just saying that out of the moment it may well be a universal thing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How a Dad Feels Wonderful

It’s when a 6 or 7-year old daughter writes him a poem of love and appreciation:


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Health Food

Found this in the store today. Oh, Lordy! Or is that oh, Lardy?

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Dreams, and How I’ve Fulfilled Them

This topic was brought to the LBC by Maria, the Silver Fox, and I love it. It really doesn’t get much more meaningful at a person’s core than this!

My most recent post showed a watercolor done by someone who’s style I really liked, someone I learn from just seeing his mastery:












This is a picture I took on a trip to Venice, a picture of the Grand Canal taken from the Rialto Bridge:


It is the first picture I want to render in watercolor, the first I’ve done since I was in high school. It is a natural image for the task, an image that fits my eye.

Experience has taught me that I can only fulfill dreams that I can imagine fulfilling.  It is not enough to just desire.  This is a picture I can imagine turning into a painting by my own hand.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Artistic Aspiration

To be able to paint with this ability, this clarity and this expression with watercolor is my aspiration.  Man's reach, of course, must exceed his grasp.

By the way, this painting by a Vietnamese artist was brought to my attention by he who I affectionately think of as The Ramanator.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hidden Institutional Problems Easy to Publicly Deny

Part of the difficulty the common man faces – and on any situation where you are not on the inside, you qualify as the common man – is that there are built in institutional biases often traditionally necessary to that undertaking, but also quite often unfair.

Unfair?  In what way?  The playing field is not level.  Let me give you an example drawn from business experience.  Anyone who has done business traveling and has been involved in contractual work or sales of a product knows that quite often the best negotiations and sales are done in a bar!  The Good Old Boys gather in an informal setting that is part of the implicit formal structure, loosen up a few inhibitions with booze, tell a few jokes in a relaxed atmosphere and … then seal the deal.


So, in what sense is this problematic?  In the sense that many are not included in the little get together.  They may be part of the “competitive” presentations, but they do not have access to the behind the scenes bargaining where the decisions and agreements are often worked out.

Now, who might not be included?  Depends.  In the traditional setting, those Good Old Boys are called that because they are men.  More restrictively, they are white men in American culture.

How does this change to give everyone of merit an equal chance?  Look at the new American Congress.  There are more women and people of color than ever before.  Our President is of mixed racial heritage.  Every time you turn on the TV and see images of intelligence and capability in anyone who is not white and male, it makes a difference, especially to the young who are much more accepting than prior generations.

But, don’t think it does not still exist.  And … don’t think that it is not fair.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Anyone who has traveled to the American South knows that the pace is just a little slower, a little more … relaxed … than other places.  Kinda like this …

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Man Counting His Blessings

I wrote the following on the afternoon of Christmas Day as kind of a New Year's Resolution for myself:

There are many annoyances in life ... if we wish to focus on them.  We could justify all these annoyances easily, for it's been a tough year for so many of us.  It's better to count our legion of blessings despite this.

When one American Indian medicine man was asked how he walked out onto the battlefield and nothing happened to him, his reply was that he "created no place of death within himself."  It takes a lot of focus and a lot of energy (and probably being a shaman) to create no place of death within ourselves, but it is an awfully nice idea, don't you think?  It should work for peace, too.

Feed those inner selves, make them strong.  Whatever your spiritual tradition, whatever brings you succor and balance, wherever you find meaning and peace, assertively use it.  Support the next guy doing the same, regardless of what his source of beliefs and strength.  Stock up on forgiveness and compassion and use it like the world depended upon it!  The world will thank you generously and you'll have a very ...

Happy New Year!

Now I have to get off my soapbox and see if I can pull any of it off myself, LOL.  These New Year's resolutions always stick and last, of course.