gotta say this

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“I am saddened by the fact that Vietnam has yet again been inserted into the campaign, and that it has been inserted in what I feel to be the worst possible way… What saddens me most is that Democrats, above all those who shared the agonies of that generation, should now be re-fighting the many conflicts of Vietnam in order to win the current political conflict of a presidential primary.”

Indeed.

John Kerry spoke those words in 1992.

“It’s unfortunate that [Kerry’s Vietnam record] has become the stock answer for almost every issue for Kerry’s campaign,” said an aide to a rival Democratic campaign during the primaries. “At a certain point, Kerry’s going to have to articulate a vision that speaks to voters across America and not simply lapse into his military record.”

What happened to Lieberman? Why can’t the Democrats nominate someone with purely policy issues to present.

And why do I keep seeing George Bush as the adult in all of this. The former frat guy seems significantly more mature. And I guess that’s what I like and respect. Kerry whines and moans, in the 1970s he left the navy to protest, rather than reforming it by rising in the ranks, like men such as Colin Powell did. Still he protests, while others make changes. Kerry sends a letter, in a sadly dramatic fashion to protest the ads. George Bush calls McCain to begin work on banning these kinds of ads across the political spectrum. Bush has his faults (don’t bring up his environmental policies), but the man acts, he responds, he takes things in hand and does something. That people prefer a person who would vacillate until past the time of decision is clear, that people would rather have a safe president who stirs up nothing, and can lead a nation better in mourning than fighting is clear. But, I don’t personally find that appealing.

I’ve decided, after all these many months, Kerry has fallen into my Dean category. I don’t like him as a person now.

Lest you think me completely biased, I don’t like Bill Jones either. My vote for senator will likely be left blank, my vote for President won’t be.

Twain for Presideny

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A while back I decided to forgo making politics a regular point of conversation. The fact is that I’m too partisan at this point, and would come off that way no matter what intelligent thing I might have to say. Part of the process for me is coming to a decision on a person, and once I do I happily settle into my assured assumptions. I like George Bush and I don’t like John Kerry. I have good reasons for this, but those aren’t really important to most folks. I do tend to look askance at anything which favors Kerry and doubt much that abuses Bush, while accepting much that doubts Kerry and promotes GWB. The present issue with Vietnam falls in line with this (with my added opinion that it’s disingenuous to have one candidate keep talking about thirty years ago, but argue that no one else can, and my additional thought that the media is showing enormous bias here… where were they when Moore’s movie came out, or when Moveon.org was making the news? Why is partisan money and apparent ‘lying’ fine for Democrats but not Republicans? Ah… again I come to why I don’t want to dwell on this).

Dwelling on this right now is not good for my own soul, for it is easy to fall into the trap of partisanship and let the present issues take over one’s mind and soul. So, I let go that inner tendency for political conservatism and seek other avenues of thought. But, I came across this little essay by Mark Twain and thought it quite a fine read for the present time. First published in 1879, “A Presidential Candidate”:

I HAVE PRETTY MUCH MADE UP MY mind to run for President. What the country wants is a candidate who cannot be injured by investigation of his past history, so that the enemies of the party will be unable to rake up anything against him that nobody ever heard of before. If you know the worst about a candidate, to begin with, every attempt to spring things on him will be checkmated. Now I am going to enter the field with an open record. I am going to own up in advance to all the wickedness I have done, and if any Congressional committee is disposed to prowl around my biography in the hope of discovering any dark and deadly deed that I have secreted, why–let it prowl.

In the first place, I admit that I treed a rheumatic grandfather of mine in the winter of 1850. He was old and inexpert in climbing trees, but with the heartless brutality that is characteristic of me I ran him out of the front door in his nightshirt at the point of a shotgun, and caused him to bowl up a maple tree, where he remained all night, while I emptied shot into his legs. I did this because he snored. I will do it again if I ever have another grandfather. I am as inhuman now as I was in 1850. I candidly acknowledge that I ran away at the Battle of Gettysburg. My friends have tried to smooth over this fact by asserting that I did so for the purpose of imitating Washington, who went into the woods at Valley Forge for the purpose of saying his prayers. It was a miserable subterfuge. I struck out in a straight line for the Tropic of Cancer because I was scared. I wanted my country saved, but I preferred to have somebody else save it. I entertain that preference yet. If the bubble reputation can be obtained only at the cannon’s mouth, I am willing to go there for it, provided the cannon is empty. If it is loaded my immortal and inflexible purpose is to get over the fence and go home. My invariable practice in war has been to bring out of every fight two-thirds more men than when I went in. This seems to me to be Napoleonic in its grandeur.

The rumor that I buried a dead aunt under my grapevine was correct. The vine needed fertilizing, my aunt had to be buried, and I dedicated her to this high purpose. Does that unfit me for the Presidency? The Constitution of our country does not say so. No other citizen was ever considered unworthy of this office because he enriched his grapevines with his dead relatives. Why should I be selected as the first victim of an absurd prejudice?

I admit also that I am not a friend of the poor man. I regard the poor man, in his present condition, as so much wasted raw material. Cut up and properly canned, he might be made useful to fatten the natives of the cannibal islands and to improve our export trade with that region. I shall recommend legislation upon the subject in my first message. My campaign cry will be: “Desiccate the poor workingman; stuff him into sausages.”

These are about the worst parts of my record. On them I come before the country. If my country don’t want me, I will go back again. But I recommend myself as a safe man–a man who starts from the basis of total depravity and proposes to be fiendish to the last.

A curious note, Rutherford B. Hayes, who was President the year this was published in the New York Times, has the following bullet-point biography:

Did You Know?
• He was nicknamed “His Fraudulency,” because of the alleged “stolen” election of 1876. (Tilden had won the popular vote).
• He ended Reconstruction and withdrew federal troops from the South.
• His honesty was a source of anger for his political allies.

He intended to only serve one term, so wasn’t running for re-election at the time.

little more accuracy

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the Oden brothers

After a long day in the mine

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Odens in the mines

After touring Tombstone for a couple of days we went down to Bisbee, and took the Queen Mine tour. Ya’ sit on an old mine train, and go down into the depths, where 85 degrees drops almost instantly to the upper forties. It takes about an hour and a half.

The tour guide was an old miner from another mine. Each time we stopped, he turned off the engine and exclaimed, “Oooooh, Susanna.”

We don’t know why.

It was a fruitful tour, I was able to mine some copper myself, by picking a piece off the wall during a couple of moments while the train was going slow.

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I'm a law dawg

Coupla’ law dawgs at the saloon. The Oden brothers… watchin’ for trouble.

where are them cow-boys?

For the first time in my life, I find myself thinking I really need to grow a mustache. It is nice to know that I’m a wee bit of a bigger man than Wyatt, having the same height, with twenty pounds more bulk. Now I need to start practicing my pistol whipping skills.

and modern “convenience”

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I got back yesterday afternoon. Saw my computer was on, wondered why, then noticed all the other curious traits of a sometime electricity outage over the week.

While in Arizona we didn’t exactly engage primitive conditions. Our motel within walking distance to town, a block from the OK Corral, and surrounded by other assorted Places of Historical Interest, wasn’t the newest place, but it had air conditioning and a television and indoor plumbing.

But, I don’t have a cell phone, and didn’t have access to a computer, or email, or any of the other ‘necessary’ conveniences which somehow erupted to prominence in the roarin’ nineties.

I come home to the mountain retreat and find myself content without those trappings. I turn the computer off, without checking any of the things which I seem to have to check several times a day, don’t update this site with my goings-on, internal or external. Instead, I find peace with the absence. Had the electricity still been out, I would have wondered about the reason, but likely would have contentedly sat and enjoyed the lack of those conveniences which somehow drive our days. Though, to be sure, having the gas go out would be bothersome… no lights is a treat, no hot showers… that’s going too far into barbarism.

This all to say, I’ll get back into the rhythm of regular thoughts, but for now, it may be slow going.

That’s my reality, I suppose. I will eagerly take up the new technology, only if it is gone, I don’t miss it, not for a second.

What I really would like now is a 125 acre ranch bordering the San Pedro river.

I suppose I’ll wait on that, at least for a couple more weeks.

Back from the Town too tough to die

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Spent the week past in the city of Tombstone, Arizona Territory and parts thereabouts. A Western Pilgrimage, a walk into our not so distant past, remembering the violence which formed the order in this part of the world, and realizing people really don’t change.

Stepped into the OK Corral, visited the saloons, wandered the streets while lightening flashed all around, and a heavy rain gave drama to the night. My brother and I wandered into the depths of a copper mine, made the hike to Apache country, and the fort which finished the fight, leading to Geronimo’s eventual surrender.

Had a meal where Wyatt, and Doc, and Ike and Curly Bill once ate, then had another meal there later in the week. Saw where Marshall White was shot, visited the famous Boot-Hill (where stands the grave stone “Here Lies Les Moore, four slugs from a .44, No Les, No More”). Came to the conclusion that some places have become significantly less sinful in the passage of one hundred years. No more prostitutes, gambling illegal (I asked if I could start a faro game… the proprietor said, “No. Faro’s illegal even in Vegas now. The odds favor the house too much.” My brother did buy a faro deck and accoutrements just in case), and when we drove in on the first night roundabout 9:15, the only business still open was the Circle K at the edge of town.

All in all had a fine week of it, filled with western lore and historical sites, once known only through the movies. Pictures and more thoughts forthcoming.