The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was very peaceful and quiet. The only thing missing was snow in the air.
I noticed this reflection while I had the memorial all to myself. Probably the first time I've ever had that happen.
Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By The United States Marines.
– Marines’ Hymn, Third Verse
As I went to bed Saturday night/Sunday morning (about 1:30 a.m.) the rain from Irene was still coming down. Despite my concerns about losing power, it was my house’s Achilles heel – no power, no power to the sump pumps in my basement – there was one thought rolling through my head.
“Is this all there is?”
I’ve been through a hurricane or two (or 13). The names of some of the storms are familiar to anyone living in hurricane territory: Hugo, Fran, Floyd, Katrina and Rita. These are the big ones. Storms that made the news for days – or weeks or months or years – on end.
Anyway, in my experience Irene was a little storm. According to the news, the first hurricane to hit the U.S. in three years. Probably why the news went way nutso as it arrived. Could also be because Irene aimed herself at the most densely populated part of the country – more than 50 million people live in Irene’s path. And, except for the folks in North Carolina – go Tar Heels! (sorry, had to) – none of them have any idea what the hell to do when a hurricane comes knockin’.
The only experience they have with hurricane’s is what they’ve seen on the news, and that news always focuses on the destruction of the historic storms: Hugo, Andrew, Gloria, Ivan, Katrina. Sadly, they never seem to mention Rita, one of the five most powerful storms to ever hit the U.S.
So a little overreaction is expected. In fact, in my opinion, it’s not a bad thing. Better safe than sorry when there’s a sixth of the country’s population in the path of a tropical cyclone, I say.
Yeah, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, the Weather Channel, the WaPo and all the local channels went way over the top, but let me tell you the one thing that’s really annoying me and the whole point of this post.
I was reading through the reader comments on the WaPo and, it seems, the whole situation is the President’s fault. Be it the overreaction (true) or the lack of preparedness (false, never seen a storm better prepared for) or how it’s going to be used for political gain (like this has never happened) or how it caused an increase in the July jobless rate (what the fuck?).
How is it that we’ve become so divided as a country? I’m really tired of this crap. Democrats demonizing Republicans and Tea Partiers; Tea Partiers and the GOP blaming all the ills facing us today on the Democrats and the president. The problems we face today are a direct result of the base animosity among us.
I know this isn’t a blinding revelation.
One thing I learned from all the hurricanes I’ve lived through and covered (especially in Texas after Rita): Once the storm’s passed it doesn’t matter what color your skin is or what ticket you punch on election day, if you don’t work together it takes 10 times longer to clean up, rebuild and get back to the business of life.
We’re facing serious problems here in the United States today and if we don’t work together it’ll be a miracle to find the light at the end of the tunnel. People need to shut their mouths, roll up their sleeves and reach out a hand to their neighbor. Calling someone in another political party stupid or un-American or a traitor is exactly that – stupid and un-American.
I don’t know how we can sway people to this point of view, I think the hatred is too deep-seated. But I think if those of us of good intentions try, we can maybe drown out the chatter.
“The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it” – P.J. O’Rourke.
Note: I started this blog back in the closing days of the last presidential election – relatively speaking – and there was lots and lots to write about. I’ve been remiss of late and not posted anywhere near as much as I want. More times than I can count in the last couple of months I’ve said, “That’ll make a great post,” and done nothing about it. Hell, it took a hurricane for me to write something. I’m thinking that with the election getting into full swing – god help up, the election is 14 months away – I won’t be lacking in subject matter.
Not a completely bad motto to live by.
Medgar Evers served in the Army in France during World War II and was buried with full military honors after he was murdered, shot down in his driveway for believing that all men are indeed created equal.My original intent was to try to get the quintessential Arlington picture - endless rows of white marble stones and fluttering flags. I don't think I quite succeeded, but that was mainly because I was in the more rolling part of the cemetery. This picture, however, came the closest ...
Hmmm, been a while since I’ve been around here. Suffice it to say, I’ve been a bit busy the past month or so. You know, the normal things: planning a 500th anniversary, a murder, a frame-up … oh, wait, I’ve already used that one. A couple of times. So sue me for being unoriginal. (Whoop! Whoop! Foreshadowing alert! Foreshadowing alert! Whoop! Whoop!)
OK, so, new house eats up a good chunk of time – it’s been a little more than half an hour (two months) and things are still getting arranged and rearranged. I’ve been riding my bike more – I set a goal of 200 miles in April. Didn’t reach it, but I did pretty well (almost 150). And then there’s work. Lots and lots of work.
So there’re my reasons for not being around here as much as I’d like. That doesn’t mean I don’t have things to say. Not by a long shot. For instance, I’ve decided to give up pizza. OK, not all pizza, just one type in particular.
Seriously, do you think I could give this up?
Pictures courtesy of Titania
This was my lovely dinner (the one with the piece missing is mine. I couldn’t wait for the picture, I’d had a long ride that day and was starving) last Sunday at Red Rocks in Columbia Heights. Give this up? All this meaty, saucy, cheesy goodness? Not a chance of that in this reality or any other you could imagine in the deepest, darkest recesses of your minds.
Special bonus pic: These were the appetizers, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus (near) and bruschetta drizzled with olive oil with sliced prosciutto and salami. Ummm, sliced meat.
What I am giving up is Papa John’s pizza (please try not to judge me). It’s nothing close to Red Rocks, but it’s generally serviceable and good when you’re in a pinch and want to order some delivery. Most of the time when I order a pizza it all comes down to whichever one of the big three has the best special. In the future, that line up will not include Papa John’s.
Why is this you ask? Well today – and probably in the past to tell you the truth – I got one of PJ’s emails telling me about its special for Thursday and Friday. This special celebrates the start of the NFL draft. And, while I’m not too pleased with the NFL – both owners and players – that’s now what’s causing my ire.
It was the subject line of the ad: “From the Official Pizza of the Washington R******s – Papa John’s!”
Yep, because PJ’s reminded me it’s the “Official Pizza of the Washington R******s” I shall not patronize it’s products in the future.
Chief among the reasons for this decision, no pun intended – OK, maybe a little pun – is the name. I have friends who have native American blood in their veins who are offended by the team’s name, so who am I to argue? It is an offensive name and anyone who denies this – I’m looking at you Mr. S####r* – is lying to themselves and the world.
The second reason is because the team, plain and simple, sucks. Inept play has become a hallmark of D.C.’s beloved R******s. This is a direct result of the poor management of the above named Mr. S####r. Team owners, like children, should be seen and not heard.
Finally, and this the big reason for boycott of PJ’s is this lawsuit: Daniel M. Snyder v. Creative Loafing Inc., CL Washington, Inc. (d/b/a Washington City Paper), and Dave McKenna
As a former journalist, I take a dim view of anyone who tries to silence a reporter or newspaper through the threat of legal action. In case you haven’t heard, Mr. S####r is suing The City Paper and columnist Dave McKenna for the article "The Cranky R******s Fan’s Guide to Dan S####r: From A to Z (for Zorn), an encyclopedia of the owner's many failings."
I read the article and, while I can understand why Mr. S####r might be a little annoyed by the it, it looked to me like McKenna sourced all of his allegations pretty well. The problem with suing someone for libel is that, generally speaking, the truth is an absolute defense. As I was taught in J-school, it doesn’t matter how much someone doesn't like something, as long as it’s true, you can’t sue. (In honor of the late Johnny Cochran.) Actually, you can sue, but you’ll never win.
Also, does Mr. S####r think he’s actually going to find 12 jurors in the District (where he moved his action) who actually like him to find in his favor? If they’re R******s fans, they’re going to hate him for his inept management. If they don’t like his allegedly “professional” sports franchise, well, you’re gonna get the same result: a verdict in favor of the defendants.
This is going to be fun to watch. Even without pizza.
* I’m just being safe here, so the “n” “y” “d” and “e” have been replaced to protect the innocent – namely me – from vicious and groundless lawsuits.
might inspire our elected representatives to put aside their petty differences and actually do the People's business. Seriously, do you think we'd get our point across if we surrounded Capitol Hill with people carrying torches and pitchforks? And just stared.
The people we need to get through to are the ones in the middle - no matter how small it is these days. There should be just enough of them to balance out the idiots on the fringes of the left and right to actually get together and actually Pass. The fucking. Budget!
This situation is ridiculous. We are the laughingstock of the world right now. A hard look does need to be taken at the entire budget, but not this one - this year is already shot, just pay the fucking bills and move on. And probably not the next one either - not enough time left to get that done. Now the 2013 budget that's a whole 'nother question. It needs to be looked at now. All of it: Defense, entitlements, social programs, pork. Especially the pork. Get out the knives and start cutting. When we - as a country - owe the world more than $14 trillion we can't even think about a tax cut. I don't care if you believe with all your heart that it will stimulate business. As my dad reminded me and my brothers growing up when we asked for something expensive "We can't afford it."
The 535 "representatives of the People" need to pull their heads out and remember that while they represent the 500k or so people in their individual districts, they work for all of us. And all of us are a bit pissed right now.
And they can be replaced. All of them. And they probably should be.
Here endeth the rant.