Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Speaking of. . . .
Just as U.S. flags seem perpetually at half staff for this person, that person, any person, “hero” too is a word, a thing, an idea, that has virtually lost its meaning.  Although it still has a positive ring, when an athlete with the IQ of an ice cube scores to win a game and is called a “hero” or when an entire 4th grade class at Orwell Elementary are proclaimed “heroes” because they successfully raised $500 to help feed the poor, then somehow calling someone a hero who performs a truly heroic act loses lots of luster.   My quick definition of a hero would be someone who, without any hope of recognition, enrichment or advancement, nevertheless chooses to risk his skin in an attempt to perform a great deed of altruism. 
Glen Greenwald was the journalist who reported the leaked NSA info given to him by the young whistle-blower, Ed Snowden. Here is what he said of Snowden:
"What I actually started to realize about all this is two things. Number one, courage is contagious. If you take a courageous step as an individual, you will literally change the world because you will affect all sorts of people in your immediate vicinity, who will then affect others and then affect others. You should never doubt your ability to change the world. The other thing that I realized is it doesn’t matter who you are as an individual or how formidable or powerful the institutions that you want to challenge are. Mr. Snowden is a high school dropout. His parents work for the federal government. He grew up in a lower middle class environment in a military community in Virginia. He ended up enlisting in the United States Army because he thought the Iraq War at first was noble. He then did the same with the NSA and the CIA because he thought those institutions were noble. He’s a person who has zero privilege, zero power, zero position and zero prestige and yet he by himself has literally changed the world."
Hero?  This kid fits my definition neatly.   Don’t want to split no hairs, either.  What is the point of protection when freedom is missing?  Rather than be a totally protected prisoner behind four gray walls, someone just shoot me.
And yes, I’m positive that another “terror” incident is on tap to show American sports fans and Walmart shoppers just how much we need even more “protection” (and less freedom) and our protectors will point and say, “Now, do you see why Edward Snowden was so bad?  The traitor allowed this to happen.”  And alas, polls will show that 96% of American sports fans and Walmart shoppers agree. 
But just as power corrupts, so too does secrecy.  Unless we seize the baton that this young, selfless man has extended to us we may expect more secrecy, not less, more surveillance, not less, less freedom, not more.  Any government that runs on secrecy, torture and war is not a government I want any part of.  We need more heroes like Edward Snowden, not less.
Another meaningful contribution in today’s dead-tree media:
I am extremely annoyed several times on a daily basis each and every time the phone rings.  I use a walker and must get up from where I am sitting to answer the phone, which is several feet away.  The caller doesn’t let the phone ring more than five times, so I miss the call.  As a courtesy, it would be nice if the phone rang at least 10 times.  Is the caller in such a rush or hurry?  I would suggest that all who are reading this take heed.
Wilma R. Crutchfield, Englewood
Will someone kindly buy this cheap old bag a voice mail or even one of those new-fangled cell phones, then teach her how to use them?  Poor lady, forced to get up several times a day just to answer her phone.  Poor thing, missing out on all those calls from Nigeria announcing she’s been given all those millions, plus all those cars they wanna give her so she can mow down mailboxes or bore through post office walls with.
“Extremely annoyed?”Ten times?”  Such a rush or hurry?”  Amazing.

Low Note, High Tide--Hmmmm.  I have biked up and down this slender sand spit, from stem to stern a thousand times in three years.  So why, I ask, why was I unaware of that pot hole.  I mean that pot hole large enough to swallow man and bike whole? 
Flipping along a few days back, sore legs in flip flops happy with every blow that they were one pump less from home, those legs came to a flooded part of the beach road where everyone must slow to a crawl to get through.  This low spot gets such every time a tropical hits.  So, as I move over to let cars go through while I plow along like a boat in foot-deep water, BOOM!  I went head over heels straight into the flood.  Quick as a blink--no slow-mo life-flashing moments here--just a fraction of a second and I was head first in the mess.  I wasn’t hurt much . . . right leg . . .left hand . . . but doing this in public, in front of a line of slow-moving cars, now that is pretty shabby.  Kind as they were--everyone slowed, some stopped, to ask if I was okay—I wish they had not. 
“No I’m not hurt,” I lied, dripping water, weeds, mud, and muck from head to heel.
“Yes, I think I’ll survive . . . thanks,” I forced a grim grin, looking more like the Creature From The Black Lagoon and wanting to yell, “GOD, JUST GO ON.  PLEASE.  IT’S BAD ENOUGH TO FLIP ON MY HEAD AND BUST MY BUTT BUT TO NOW STAND STUPID IN THIS SNAIL-LIKE PUBLIC PARADE IS JUST TOO MUCH!
One young guy drove by slowly: “Hey man, you need a canoe.”
Note: Maybe I should simply stay off the bike for a bit.  Saddling up this morning, bound for the post office, I missed the saddle and fell off square on my shoulder, flat in the road.  Thank Merciful God and Mary above, no one was coming from either direction so my shame was not shared and my pain was contained to just shoulder and ego.