Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Thanksgiving thing: what I'm grateful for....

I am grateful for many things. I come across to many people—most regrettably, my own family—as a cold-hearted bastard. This is not true. That’s a subjective point of view, but I’m reliably informed that I’m not a sociopath, so I’ll take others at their word. I suppose other people’s perceptions are the first thing to be thankful for. I’m maybe not as crazy as I think I am.

It’s a cliché: “You still have your health.” I am crippled with “idiopathic neuropathy” and in a wheelchair. I am attacked by malignant pancreatic cysts. It ain’t always easy, but I appreciate God’s greatest gift…life. I feel that I am spared for a reason, and though God doesn’t give me a clue, it may be to bear witness to the evil that men do. Health is again a subjective issue; I have borne witness to the darkest side of mankind. I have participated in that dark side. I am still sharing the greatest gift of life, and that is a matter of overwhelming gratitude. The older I get, the more interesting things become, and I thank God for allowing me to witness the changes.

The SiteMeter [see bottom of this blog—you can’t read it, but it’s there—] tells me who and from where people read this blog. I am grateful for the 12,000+ page views and the 8,700+ visitors from all over the world. That’s small beer compared to others, but I am thankful for Constant Readers who think my words might mean something. A number of those Constant Readers are people I have communicated with personally; you know who you are. We may never have met face-to-face, but I am grateful that you are out there and care to cast a cyber-glance this way.

I am grateful for classic and contemporary movies that choke me up and bring a tear to the eye. These range from Charlton Heston epics to Steven Segal toning-it-down action flicks. Having worked in movies and TV, I realize that art is a reflection of our lives and more cosmic meanings. Stereotypes are based in fact, and heroic yearnings—the essence of the human spirit—are portrayed at 24 frames per second with good actors who say what we only thought about saying. I am constantly grateful for this pool of analogy which I can draw upon.

Personally, I am grateful for events that have turned out positively in this past year. Younger daughter survived an auto wreck; I am reconciled with my ex-wife, the love of my life. (No details on either online, but take my word for it: it’s all good.)

Lastly, I am grateful that the most important Thanksgiving decision is whether or not to bake my green bean and tomato casserole for the holiday. Mary made Yankee stuffing last night; we’re giving it to family, hence the inclusion of my casserole. I am a world-class cook, and thank you God for providing a talent that allows me to unwind at times.

There is bad stuff happening in India today: I pray for those in harm’s way, and hope for a successful outcome. I don’t like his politics—Obama was not my choice—but I thank God for a successful transition of power in America. We’ll burn other bridges as they appear on the horizon. I reserve the right to rake our new president over the coals, but I’ll give him his chance.

I have to spend Thanksgiving Day with in-laws. I am pre-pledged to stay sober, smile, and avoid confrontations. I will do so, because I promised.

In that sense, I suppose the final thing I am thankful for is a moral compass that does not skew because of threats of reprisal, retribution, or momentary temptations. Thank you God that I lived long enough to see this.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The big [not so] surprise

In keeping with my current moratorium on politics, and as the public proclamation to a semi-surprise, I have something of a personal nature to announce.

My ex-wife and I have reconciled for the third time. She still wears her wedding ring; I never took mine off. She has moved back into the Possum Den, and says with a degree of humility that she is finished with what I call “serial marriage”. (We have had long talks about this; you’ll have to trust me on that, because details are not forthcoming.)

All my life, I have had a few friends who tell me I’m a fool. (“You’re a fool to buy a three-story house while you’re stuck in a wheelchair;” “You’re a fool to drive a sports car that’ll do 140 mph when you don’t even have a driver’s license…”)

Correction. The latter is scofflaw stuff, because I believe there is too much government, and hiking the stairs in the Possum Den is good exercise.

I’m a fool for love, and this tiny woman in the picture is my soul mate. We have a history that goes back decades. The photo isn’t altered; when I stand, I’m still 6’3”, and she is 4’11”. It hasn’t always been sweetness and light, but she beats me up when I get out of line, and I grin and bear it.

Female subscribers to UPI, and other respondents, have been referred to by herself as my “online harem.” Sorry, ladies, I never thought of you that way. There is no problem with jealousy. When we were coming back from the grocery store the other day, I was asked, “Were those men staring at me because I look so bad [with my unbrushed hair and lack of war paint]?”

I answered with a phrase that unsettles my significant other, but is true: “No, darlin’, you’re just easy on the eyes.” As long as they look, but don’t touch, I am flattered ‘cause “she’s with me.”

I had my fun when I was a rock ‘n roll punk. She had a string of losers. I can’t build a resentment when I hear anecdotes about them. I have “issues” with self-esteem, but hearing about able-bodied guys who are such shitheels is quite therapeutic; they all lost out, and I get the damsel in distress. She had a sheltered childhood while I was doing cocaine, playing rock ‘n roll, and shooting people for a living. She needed the experience of life’s hard lessons.

Having stumbled on most of life’s obstacles, we find ourselves back together. Not for the first or second, but the third time. We won’t be going back into a church again for a third renewal of the wedding vows; we both wear our rings, and hearken back to the first vow: “What God hath joined, let no man put asunder.”

Works for me. We signed some papers for secular benefit back in the downside day, but that did nothing to sever my tie with this woman.

Sorry, my online harem. I was never a good prospect in the first place. Happiness for everybody!

Give "Peace" a more politics for a while.

I am going to give Osama Bamalama his chance. I have, in the past, referred to him as the Manchurian Candidate, because I sincerely believe he has a hidden agenda, and most folks make the association when I use old movies as a reference point. My satellite TV provider [DISH™ AND Encore™] were quite happy to slap the Frank Sinatra/Laurence Harvey original into the rotation during the run-up to the election, but they balked at airing the Denzel Washington remake.

I got “Osama Bamalama” from a drunken remark that Ted Kennedy made when he had no idea who Barack Obama was, and asked one of his minders “who is that Osama guy?”

The rest, as they say, was rock ‘n roll. I have two “Southernisms” for you; things we say back home in our mountainous privacy: #1 is Ted Kennedy: that boy ain’t right. He killed a woman, and skated where her family received no justice, only a continuing cover-up. At the time of the Kopechne drowning, someone told me a bad joke about Teddy diving for his pants off Martha’s Vineyard.

I received a conciliatory e-mail from my liberal insider and advisor on all things Jewish, Red Liz. She admonishes me to give President Obama a chance. I am burned out on politics. The other “Southernism” is that “you dance with the one who brought you”. We, the American people, have been dealt the hand at the table.

I served the office, not the man. Out of respect for the president-elect and my past, I declare a personal moratorium on calling President Obama “Osama-anything”. To quote what I have told disaffected people in the past: “hide somewhere and watch.” That’s what I’m going to be doing. Yes, I’m partisan. The key word of “conservative” is the verb, to conserve.

I do not expect great things from President Obama. I think he will show up on national TV wearing a sweater—like Jimmy Carter—and telling us that it’s our patriotic duty to suck it up and turn those thermostats down to 55°, as well as paying higher taxes. He will announce a surrender date in Iraq, thus invalidating the lives of those who have fought and died there. He will close Gitmo [Guantanamo Bay, Cuba] as a sop to his Left Wing supporters. He will announce that the southern border is open, and all illegals will receive amnesty.

I have been making bad jokes to my Significant Other that Obama should name William Ayers—the SDS domestic terrorist—as head of the Ministry of Homeland Security. Oprah—bless her heart, she needs no last name any longer—can replace Condi Rice as Secretary of State, and “Reverend” Wright should assume the newly created cabinet post—as they promised Andy Griffith in his searing movie characterization in “A Face in the Crowd”—as Minister of Homeland Morale. (That “goddamn America” and “United States of KKK” makes him perfect for the job.)

I was accused in the comments section of “A Last Gasp” of being a racist. Some clown signed in under a phony name similar to “Beerme”, a Constant Reader whom I know. The coward pretender asked if I am a racist because of my pre-election admonition that we must take back Congress.

I’ll answer that publicly. Despite the environment I grew up with, I have no problem with and never considered the race of an individual of anyone who wants to run for president. For the last time—read my blog posts, dumbass!—I think America is overdue for a black president. I want someone who would take the air out of the room, like J.C. Watts, Michael Steele, or Condi Rice, who just wants to go play football. [And who can blame her?] I have been at odds with my Southern “tradition” of racism since the day my grandma slapped me in the Wilkes County courthouse because I took a drink of water from the “Colored” fountain. I am a bit older, and slightly wiser than a confused six-year-old. I dated a black girl in high school, had my car vandalized, and ended up suspended for a brawl the following Monday. [See previous post here: “The Nigger Lover”.] A very large black Ranger we called “Rosie” because he looked just like Roosevelt Greer, the football player, saved my life in Vietnam. I may be a proud Confederate—and I am—but that pride isn’t based on race. That dog doesn’t hunt.

Liberals have a hard time dealing with the fact that 70% of their constituency is made up of conservative “black people”—gasp from the South—Negroes! who voted down gay marriage in Californication and don’t care to take to the streets.

Okay, we made history. We elected the first black president in American history. That is a point of pride for America. I do not like the man’s politics, but I am happy to see ground broken, and barriers come down. Obama is truly “naked”; he has an immense burden to carry. If he fails, he has no one to blame for it. Congress is in thrall to Pelsosi and her gang of do-nothings. They have been licking their fangs.

If Obama takes the sharp left turn, he will forget Bill Clinton’s history and lose the Congress.

One chance. I am hiding and waiting, faithful to my vows to my liberal friends. One chance to show leadership. I reserve the right to lambaste the commander-in-chief, and to dredge out all available names if/when president Obama screws the pooch beyond recognition. I do not have reservations about calling a spade a spade, pardon the shameful pun. I reserve the right to lambaste our new president, and if he’s really the Manchurian candidate and in the tank for the left, I will not only nullify my moratorium on disrespectful nicknames, I might get a lot worse. For the winter months coming, I will hibernate on political issues. I’ll hide somewhere and watch. The man made it on stolen votes and big money; like a dog chasing a car, now that he’s caught it, what’s he going to do with it?

I resent being called a racist because my political view is not in lockstep with Obama. When the question is raised, four years from now, “are you better than…” most of the college-aged kids who raised such a ruckus during this election will be graduated, married, starting to raise children, struggling hand-to-mouth in the collapsing pseudo-socialist economy, and wondering about that “change” they voted for in ’08.

We, the American people, made history when we elected a black president this month. Whether this man stands as an icon of achievement or fades to a footnote in history as a cheese-eating surrender monkey depends upon his character. “Surrender monkey” is not a racist slur; it is an approbation for someone who will deny the sacrifice of boots-on-the-ground soldiers in favor of a politically correct appeasement of tyranny. The powers-that-were did this to my war; we left Vietnam, and 2,000,000 people died.

I am retired, old, and in the way, and not in a position to be hurt as much as the general public by our new president’s economic policies. The stock market will level out, and the world will once again realize how much they depend on America, and capitalism, as the root of their social and economic stability.

Being old and in the way, I can afford the luxury of memory; I can easily recall the World Trade Center, and other incidents preceding it. If “change” means surrender or appeasement to terrorists, all bets are off on what I just said. I will give our dually-elected president his chance to make a success or failure of the office to which he has been elected. If he succeeds, more power to him. If he fails, I hope America wakes up and wins back the Congress and Senate.

If I have any disappointment about the election, it is that we, the people, failed to counterbalance an almost inevitable White House win with a conservatively-controlled congress. Pelosi, Reid, and their gangs of do-nothings have been licking their fangs, ready to pounce like jackals when the coast is clear, as it is now.

Obama has two years, approximately, before the off-year elections. 365 x 2=730 days. I’ll give him those 730 days. I have no great hopes, but like possums up a tree, we’ll see what shakes out.

Like any honest card game, we play the hand that’s dealt us. The nation chose Obama, so we’ll deal with him. It may not be the best for the country and the people, but we can survive pseudo-socialism better now than later.

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. I hope y’all sought out a veteran—family or friend—hugged him/her, and said “welcome home, and thank you”. Political correctness aside, to do so is to make a grown man cry. We have too many veterans from too many wars. The first time anyone said “Thanks, and welcome home”, I broke down and cried like a fool in front of hundreds of people.

And… thank you for reading this, my humble opinions.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My post-election commentary