Friday, August 24, 2007

Too Close for Comfort

QUICK WORK by Antelope Valley's Best

The photo on the left was published in yesterday's Antelope Valley News, and then Rancho Vista area homeowner, and my better half, Karyn Pierce got a shot of the cleanup crew, on the right. I was at work, so I missed the entire thing. Still, my frequent fire drill training (Karyn has been known to call me Fire Marshall Margaret, a rarely used first name) for my family, although ultimately not needed, was enacted with nearly 100% fulfillment. Karyn rushed both Pugs into her car (not an easy task), drove down the street a ways, and left the dogs in the car (with plenty of air) while she ran back to the house to see how she could help. Our garden hoses were not necessary, as the fire crew quickly got control of the 30-ft. high flames, which burned less than half an acre. What you can't see is that another 25 acres of the same terrain run up and across the hills next to our house, which is the last house before the desert. The wrought iron fence you see in the picture on the right separates our back yard from the neighbor's yard. Early reports indicate the cause was kids playing with matches. Ms. Pierce was in the house, on the phone with her Mother, when she saw the smoke wafting across our back yard. She had to get off the phone from Mom to call 911, throw on some clothes, and get the dogs and herself out of the house. Happily, no one was hurt, the wild desert animals appeared to have made it to higher ground, and the fire was kept small by an outstanding Fire Department.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Too Stupid: Putting Your New Shoes in Your Own Mouth (and later deciding they aren't very tasty: Update at the end)

The notion of murder and madness as entertainment and murder and madness in the name of religious furor, fever and foment is nothing new. So it should come as no surprise that this guy considers dog fighting to the death a sport and Michael Vick a victim...of running with the wrong crowd. Americans spend billions to watch millionaire sports figures pursue their fame and infamy on and off the courts, the fields, the tracks and the high seas. We watch them maim and kill one another, and some of them watch dogs maul each other to death. Does seeing horrific injuries and death as a sport depend on where one is, or thinks one is, on the food chain? This is not a new problem in the history of man. The Romans threw Christians to the lions, and thousands cheered. Was it sport or religion or both? A masked man in Iraq poured gasoline on a child, and created this in the name of religion.

As America continues to open the doors to a global economy, a global culture clash becomes more clear, and we are witness to the lines between good and evil and right and wrong becoming blurrier. Dog fighting in this country has been taking place "behind closed doors." The Taliban was terrorizing women behind closed doors, too. Our political leadership in this country has made some huge decisions, on our behalf, behind closed doors. It's not the closed doors that make something intrinsically good or evil, right or wrong; it is, in fact, the act itself that is taking place behind closed doors. Killing dogs, maiming children, dying from so-called friendly fire or perishing when your helicopter falls out of the sky from either enemy fire or electro-mechanical malfunctioning all have something in common: dead is dead and maiming is maiming. All are happening in the name of sport, entertainment, religion, power and money.

An athlete with everything to lose, who is out hawking his new line of sneakers, takes the side of the wrong crowd---the crowd that includes Michael Vick. What can we as individuals do? Boycott his sneakers? Shout out our indignation at his position? Call for his early retirement? He simply has a different opinion, right? Guess what: sometimes the other guy's opinion becomes morally and ethically reprehensible and unsupportable when he decides to put that new shoe in his own mouth.

A President, who barely edged out his competition (or not), spends his entire time in office forcing democracy (why yes, yes it is a contradiction in terms!) down other people's throats, while his country's bridges are falling, his highways are crumbling and his people are starving for health, education and safety from terrorists within and without. Am I talking about President George W. Bush or Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki? You tell me.

UPDATE: And a little later in the day, Marbury starts to take it all back...almost.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Please pass the Spam

Don't blame me. Mike started this game:

Name four jobs you’ve had.

Name four favorite foods.

Name four places you’ve lived.

Name four places you’d rather be right now.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Rousing Good Discussion

A good discussion on the subject of Compassion is taking place over on my friend Robin Mizell's blog, and I jumped right in. Go take a look. I think it's an important topic because somewhere between caring and caring and helping is a territory we suspect has landmines because we've all almost lost a foot going through the territory...except when the result was that we were able to lend a hand. Go take a look, post something, or just enjoy the read.