Teddy Roosevelt quote


Allen sent me this quote today and I thought it should be up for everyone to read and contemplate:

“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. TO ANNOUNCE THAT THERE MUST BE NO CRITICISM OF THE PRESIDENT, OR THAT WE ARE TO STAND BY THE PRESIDENT, RIGHT OR WRONG, IS NOT ONLY UNPATRIOTIC AND SERVILE, BUT IS MORALLY TREASONABLE TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Beach Trip Revelations

So. Last time I ranted at all of you and then, THEN I ran away from home. Yes, I ran away to the beach for some much needed R&R to clear my head. It was the week of 9/11 and everywhere the energy was all jittery, plus a Mercury Retrograde was coming up on top of that. Not a good combo. So, I got in my car, like I do when I need to get the fuck AWAY, and I drove to Charleston, SC. It’s a nice, easy 5 hour drive that ends at the Beach. Aaaahhhhh.

I ate smoked turkey, croissants, cheese and poptarts. I drank wine and beer. I walked a lot and I thought a lot. I did Sun Salutations in the sand and gathered up some shells and seaweed. I took some awesome pix [see the Gallery]. It’s always amazing to me how much the ocean and beach restores my sanity!

Now that I’ve done that and I feel mostly back to normal, I thought I’d try to write some of the thoughts that came to me as I walked those miles on the beach. One thing that occurred to me was that no matter what it is, no matter how big of a deal it is to us humans, the Earth goes on. The world moves on. The ocean still ebbs and flows and the stars still shine each night. I was thinking about September 11 and I realized that as bad as it was, the planets still orbit the sun and the order of the Universe is not bothered at all. I’m not belittling that event, hell no, I cried about it again, I’m just pointing out perspective. I think Stevie Nicks says it well in the song Planets of the Universe:

And the Planets of the Universe
Go their way.
Not astounded by the sun or the moon
or by the day.

Those buildings and those people are gone, gone, gone. There is not one thing we can do about that. But what we can do is elect politicians who will lead this country and this world into the future with integrity and thoughtfulness and farsightedness. We can try to be as fair as we can to our fellow humans. We can hold ourselves to high standards and expect the same of others. We can be true to ourselves. We can tell the truth. We can be strong enough to bear the truth. We can follow our hearts’ desires. We can be happy. We can show each other our true selves and expect the best from each other.

I know that I am hella difficult at times. I know that I expect a lot from people. I know I have zero tact. I do try to be tactful, it just never seems to work out for me! What I really think always ends up coming out my mouth or my emails or my Rants and it usually does this in the most blunt way possible – much to my chagrin. But at least I try to live what I blab about all the time! I vote for the politicians who are the lesser of the evils. I do not spend my money with companies who do bad things to animals or the Earth. I boycott stores, products and even TV channels who do stupid shit and won’t rectify the situation. I recycle. I take care of my pets (spay and neuter, people!). I drive an efficient car. I fill out my donor card. I know I’m just one little person, but I figure if 1,000,000 other little people do the same then it’ll add up to something, right?

Isn’t that all we can do in this life? We can do our best and live life to the fullest, because you just never know when your time is up and you’ll be gone, gone, gone.

Nature vs Nurture

The topic is nature vs nurture, with a bit of ageism thrown in for good measure. One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is how I relate to 20 year olds. Since I’m working in a restaurant, I’m around many 18-22 year olds and I find myself constantly amazed by their immaturity, bad decisions and apparent lack of upbringing.

So, the question is this: Are 20 year olds stupid by nature, or are 20 year olds these days more disconnected and aimless than we were (nurture)?

I’ve thought about the way I behaved when I was 20-ish and yes, I ran around, worked in restaurants, partied like a dawg and had a great time. What I did not do was become a junkie, get DUIs, get knocked up, be in porn, get arrested, lie, cheat, steal, and let men beat me. I mean, DAMN, the shit that 20 year olds get into now makes the ’80s look like the fucking ’50s!! Am I just old, or are the kids really fucked up now?

For instance, even at my wildest, I would have never, ever called into my job and told them I was in an auto accident just to get a couple of days off. I would, um, ask off in advance or work it out. At my most codependent, I would have NEVER let a man beat me. At my peak druggie phase I would have never become a junkie – oh, and most certainly not because I dated one! At my most crazed, I always had a plan. They may not have panned out as well as I liked, if at all, but I always valued myself and kept on trying things out to see where I belonged.

It seems to me that the 20 year olds I meet are far more beaten down, worldly and cynical than I was. They have already done all the drugs, sex and rock ‘n roll that is available by age 15 and it wasn’t enough, so they just float from job to job, class to class, drug to heavier drug. It’s like the line from Traffic: “Drugs are much easier to get than alcohol”. I’ll say. Hell, we were livin’ large if we had a 6 of Busch beer and a joint when I was 18 or 20! I hear about kids doing coke, meth, heroin and ecstasy all at once! YIKES!

Is it lack of parental control? Has political correctness and all that crap made parents afraid to parent? I think my parents sucked at raising me, but at least they tried. They bitched at me, they tried to instill some sort of morals, they went ballistic when they found a roach on a clip in the car. My mother would spank us when we were little (all of about 3 times, but still) and I have to say that I don’t feel traumatized in the least. As a matter of fact, my brother and I behaved nicely because we knew that our mother would beat us if we acted like little heathens the way little kids do now. I ended up rejecting about 97% of everything they ever taught me, but at least they taught me something to reject! If you have no input to start with, then how can you begin to compare different lifestyles, religions, etc.?

I see 20 year old ex-junkies, 20 year olds with 4 kids, 20 year olds with 3 DUIs, 20 year olds who live like pack animals in their own filth… I mean DAMN, man, what the hell is going on? Jesus, if I’d been around peers like that, I guess I’d have ended up fucked up, too! How the fuck can you have 2 exes and be a recovering junkie at 20??

Bad judgment, no sense, immaturity, yes these things are to be expected from a 20 year old. Constant drama from the bad decisions, etc., can also be expected. But the rest of the bullshit that I see can NOT be attributed to simple stupidity. These kids appear to have had absolutely no input about life issues at all. How can you be 20 and have no idea how to pick up after yourself, take a bath or wash your clothes? How can you be so wrung out that you have to do 5 different drugs at the same time just to feel something? You’ve not even lived yet!

Was I the exception to the normal behaviour of 20 year olds when I was that age? If so, then why did I not know one single junkie? Or porno star? Or smelly, nasty person who never washed themselves or their clothes? If it is nature, then how can it be so different now?

Was I just lucky to have been born with very good instincts and a lot of common sense? I think that’s part of it, sure, but I think I was taught some basic skills from my parents. My mother would have beaten me into next week if I’d have attempted to be a nasty, smelly, drug addled HO. It just wasn’t an option. I could smoke and drink, but even that was frowned upon and discouraged for the most part. Sex was most definitely frowned upon, but only for me, the female, not my little brother who could fuck as much as he wanted. At home. In his room. Asshole! Oops, another Rant fer sure…

So, is it just the nature of 20 year olds to be seriously fucked up or is it the way the 20 year olds today were nurtured by their namby pamby, wussy ’80s parents?

I think it’s nurture. What do you think?

Memorial Day is Different Now

Memorial Day has always been just the marker of the beginning of summer for me. I suspect most people feel that way. But now, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, I have more respect and a lot more reverence for this holiday to remember that war leaves scars on land and people.

I suppose it’s like most things – you’ve got to be close to it to understand it, and our generation has not had to deal with war like our parents and grandparents. My family didn’t lose anyone in Viet Nam or Korea, but we lost my grandfather to World War II. Here’s the story about that and what this day means to me.

My mother’s father was killed in France in the Battle of the Bulge. By that late in the war (1945), they were drafting older men, even those with families who depended on them. My grandfather was 25 years old, with a wife and 2 kids when he was drafted. It was known that new draftees didn’t last long in the brutal fighting at the end of WWII, with the average time being just a few months before they were wounded or killed.

Dwight E. Harvey was in the 14th Armored Division, 62nd Armored Infantry Battalion. There are no records of his unit in any WWII historical site because the unit was completely decimated (we infer this, due to lack of information). We have basic information, but his specific information and that of millions of other veterans was lost in the National Archives and Records Administration fire of 1973. His date of death is listed as March 23 1945, but it’s assumed that he actually died in the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945 in the Rhine region of Germany. My grandmother did not receive any personal effects and no body was every recovered. My mother never knew her father (she was only 3 when he was killed) and neither did my uncle. He was just gone.

I’m one of only 2 people in my family (my uncle is the other) that has seen my grandfather’s marker in the American Military Cemetery in Lorraine (St. Avold), France. It was very moving to stand in that place, with thousands of markers all around. It really brought home the meaning of WAR and the loss of life involved in such violence. As I stood there on that summer day, under the blue French sky, I realized that each and every marker represented a life. Fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and probably a few women, too. Those markers that stretched as far as the eye could see were people just like my grandfather – most of them even younger. It literally brought me to my knees. I knelt there, with tears coursing down my face and my breath caught in my throat, feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all. Then I realized that this was one of many WWII cemeteries (the largest for those lost in Europe) and these were only a portion of the people lost to the folly of war…

As my sobs subsided, and I regained control, I begged the gods and goddesses of our Universe to have mercy on all the souls lost and to give guidance to the rest of us poor, ignorant humans so that we may avoid this massive loss of life in the future. So that we may save ourselves from ourselves.

My experience in St. Avold, France gave me a much deeper respect for the seriousness of war and the real costs to us as a species. I kept asking myself, “Why?”. Why did all these kids have to die horrible deaths in the cold, in the water, in the foxholes and airplanes? Why do we humans refuse to change our ways? Why, why, why…

Then, years later, came a morning with crisp video coverage of the attacks in New York and DC and we all got a taste of what it must have been like for the people in Europe during WWII. Now we know what it’s like to watch our monuments burn and feel totally powerless to stop it. Is it enough to keep us from another World War? I doubt it. If we go at it again (and we will, we’re just that stupid) there’ll be nothing left to fight over. And when we’ve decimated our planet, then what will we stupid humans do?

Most likely, we’ll fight about whose fault it was.

Is that really the way we want to be? Can’t we rise above it?

We, as a race, need to decide to STOP being petty, selfish and short sighted and put our species and our world first. That is our challenge and that is our duty.

Where, oh Where Has My Sanity Gone?

Today is one of those days that tries my patience. I woke up feeling groggy and vaguely stressed out. The stress progressed until I was truly feeling stressed and tired by 11am. I cut out of work early (12:45p) because it appeared that the lunch rush was over, but as I waited for my tofu and veggies another rush came and I just HAD to get out of there! I grabbed my food, tossed some cash on the bar and literally scampered to my car! What the hell is wrong with me?

I had a Chakra Healing session yesterday with Rebecca and I think that has upset the proverbial apple cart. Now, before you go and accuse me of being all nutty-granola, let me explain that I often try out (for free) new kinds of energy healing just to see what will happen. The last one, Divine Light, was a big zero, but this one was really REAL. I truly felt stuff come up and I felt the energy bouncing around as Rebecca worked! I felt somewhat tired and disoriented when we were done, but today just sucks. I feel like I’ve slipped back into neurosis!

Anyway, I know what is going on. It’s my old friend fear. Yep, whenever things start to go well for me, I get all freaked out and spastic. I’m waiting on a BIG contract gig to get signed and delivered and it’s making me insane. Why do I have to constantly put myself through this hell of self doubt? Why? Am I not beyond that by now? Apparently not.

So, in this state of flux, I feel the need to write. Quite a few things have been on my mind lately. I think I’ll start with a subject that is near and dear to my heart: sex. It’s always a shock to me to realize that 95%+ of people in the world spend their whole lives without any decent sex. I’m even shocked when some bible thumpers get their knickers in a twist over a little nudity in a play at Kennesaw State College. My GAWD, this is a college fer chrissakes (a shitty one, but still)! Adults go to school there! What the fuck? Granted I am in Georgia, the buckle on the Bible Belt, but DAMN. I just don’t get it. I think people are very immature and silly about sex and nudity. Grow the fuck up. Geez.

Politics always get me ranty, but I’ll point out just one politician that makes me absolutely postal: Cynthia McKinney (D 4th GA), imbecile and loudmouth. Her latest idiotic claim that GeeDubya knew about the 9.11 attacks is just one more in a long list of stupid, irrational things that she has said. There is another black woman (Denise Majette) gunning for the 4th district and I hope she gets it. [She did, thankfully. – A] But, I suppose the darling of the ACLU, McKinney, will get elected again by the same morons who’ve kept her in office for FIVE fucking terms. I can tell you fer sure, it ain’t white people. This district is mostly black and for some inexplicable reason, McKinney is adored by the black community here. I just can’t figure out why, exactly. I am praying for an upset at the next election.

I’m reading the latest collection of short stories by Stephen King: Everything’s Eventual. It’s really a great collection. I have always loved short stories and I think King is the modern master of the genre. In his prologue, he mentions that short stories will probably be a lost genre soon, since the publishers are not interested in them. WHY, I can’t understand! I would think that a short story would be perfect for the minuscule attention spans of people today. But, anyway, he recommends a couple of other collections: Sam the Cat by Matthew Klam and The Hotel Eden by Ron Carlson. I intend to buy them and you should, too, if you like the short story format. There is a rather long story in this collection which is an offshoot of the Dark Tower – complete with Roland as the main character. Yum! Now I must go back and reread the Dark Tower books to prepare for the release of the 5th installment this year! It’s called Wolves of the Calla and I’m drooling for it! I’m such a King junkie, it’s really disturbing. He is now saying that the DT series will be seven books, but I’m hoping for more.

I really love ICQ. It’s a nice little client that rarely causes trouble with any other software and it’s cool to be able to harass Nick at work! [We’ve moved on to iChat & Adium – A] I have to say the same for StripCam, the software that takes snapshots with my crappy webcam and uploads them. [I’ve moved to EvoCam now, and it’s much better. -> Now I use Photo Booth! -A 2015] Rarely an issue. Now, I cannot say the same for Palm, Inc. I am really pissed at them! Their support sucks big hairy donkey balls. My little m100 began to have the well-documented digitizer-drift problem (that is denied by Palm), which is supposed to be fixable by a simple calibration, but it just didn’t happen for my Palm. When I’d go into the calibration application, it would go into a loop and I’d have to reset to get out. This occurred after many hard resets, new system installs, upgrades and even a third party calibration program was installed. I’m so bummed. :-( Now I have to strip it down and send it back for an exchange. Wah. Six months this one has lasted, when the Palm III I gave to Andy was several YEARS old and never had an issue other than an age-related short that made it turn off by itself. Not good, Palm. I knew I shoulda gotten a fucking Visor. The support is totally nonexistent and even the email I got from the CSR to confirm my exchange request was fucked up by the Palm email system. Gawd. [Palm is long gone now in 2015. -A]

I feel better now. Writing always calms my nerves. I wish I was a better writer and could produce more than stream-of-consciousness essays, but unfortunately my talent lies in instructional manuals, not prose. Ask me about Macs or herbs and I’ll write you a very detailed, complete and focused tome, but anything literary, well, NO. Ah, well, at least I know my strengths!

Here is a proverb from the Tao Te Ching for you to meditate upon until my next Rant:

I have three treasures which I guard and keep:
The first is compassion.
The second is economy.
The third is humility.
From compassion comes courage,
From economy comes the means to generosity,
And from humility comes responsible leadership.