View From Table 9

September 30, 2007

One of My All Time Favorites

Filed under: Uncategorized — table9 @ 11:44 pm

I am a longtime big Dr. Demento and Wierd Al fan. Just found this one – Ti Kwan Leep by the Frantics. One of my all time favorites!


September 29, 2007

And Then There’s This…

Filed under: articles,musings — table9 @ 11:53 pm
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From the Associated press, this article , on the trials of our wounded veterans once they return home.

He was one of America’s first defenders on Sept. 11, 2001, a Marine who pulled burned bodies from the ruins of the Pentagon. He saw more horrors in Kuwait and Iraq

Gamal Awad, the American son of a Sudanese immigrant, exemplifies an emerging group of war veterans: the economic casualties.

More than in past wars, many wounded troops are coming home alive from the Middle East. That’s a triumph for military medicine. But they often return hobbled by prolonged physical and mental injuries from homemade bombs and the unremitting anxiety of fighting a hidden enemy along blurred battle lines. Treatment, recovery and retraining often can’t be assured quickly or cheaply.

These troops are just starting to seek help in large numbers, more than 185,000 so far. But the cost of their benefits is already testing resources set aside by government and threatening the future of these wounded veterans for decades to come, say economists and veterans’ groups.

“The wounded and their families no longer trust that the government will take care of them the way they thought they’d be taken care of,” says veterans advocate Mary Ellen Salzano.

How does a war veteran expect to be treated? “As a hero,” she says.

Surprise, the VA is ill-equipped and severely unfunded. Soldiers are returning with more severe injuries than in previous combat situations, largely because of body armour and of more sophisticated weaponry. We’re encountering new syndromes – for instance, they’ve found that penetrating brain injuries, like those seen in IED encounters, leave the memory completely intact. This compares to blunt force trauma, where the memory is largely spared.

So we’re maiming, crippling, psychologically and physically scarring a generation, calling them heroes, then leaving them essentially ‘to the wolves’. Financially destitute, unable to cope, with limited medical and psychological help. Yep, that’s supporting the troops. NOT. God Bless America. Just be sure to not be a wounded hero.

Heroes, Soldiers and Doing Your Job

Filed under: Uncategorized — table9 @ 12:58 pm
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Hero (def):

  • a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength; “RAF pilots were the heroes of the Battle of Britain”
  • the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem
  • champion: someone who fights for a cause
  • Greek mathematician and inventor who devised a way to determine the area of a triangle and who described various mechanical devices (first century)
  • (classical mythology) a being of great strength and courage celebrated for bold exploits; often the offspring of a mortal and a god
  • (Greek mythology) priestess of Aphrodite who killed herself when her lover Leander drowned while trying to swim the Hellespont to see her
  • bomber: a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments); different names are used in different sections of the United States
  • Several months ago, my husband, who is USN/RET, was approached by our next-door neighbor, a WWII vet who flies a flag for his shipmates, asking if Steve was going to march in the annual Memorial Day parade as he was a Veteran.

    Steve declined, though not directly. “I just did my job.” was what he said to me.

    So, we go to the parade, because our 5 year old loves parades and fire trucks and police cars and such. I notice – all the veterans in this parade are old – Korea vets being the youngest of the bunch – and there overall are pitifully few of them.

    This sets my mind wandering. Steve has also said to me “I hate it when people say ‘thank you’ to me for serving.” Why? “Because I did my job, that’s all. I did what I signed up to do.”

    I wonder when that changed – from being proud to march down the street, allowing people to see you and cheer (hopefully) for you to “just doing my job.”

    I’ve also heard so many refer to our troops as heroes. Support our Heroes, Support our Troops. The odd part is that our troops themselves, at least the guys I know, almost universally say the same thing Steve does – “I just did my job.” Yes, even the transverse parapalegic taken out by a sniper friend. He scoffs and chafes at being called a ‘hero’ almost as much as he rants about the VA. He was just a guy on patrol who got hit by an unlucky shot, when you ask him.

    See, the thing is, to call someone a hero is to in many ways marginalize what they really are – people doing a job. I think we have overused this word to where it’s nearly meaningless. “Heroic survivors of 9/11”- they got out, thank God. Were they Heroic? Are firefighters doing their job? Police officers? Doctors? Or are they Heroes we should thank then ignore? I think we’ve diluted this and at the same time used it to allow ourselves to ignore the horrors these soldiers and sailors endure in our names.

    So I wonder about ‘doing the job.’ When did this shift? I think when we moved from the draft system – responding to our Country’s call in its’ time of Need – to the volunteer ‘be all you can be’ system. I noticed this when I observed no one under the age of 60 walking down the main streets, waving to the crowds. Those over 60s really did respond to the Call, like it or not.

    I have heard as well in the community that soldiers don’t have the right to object or complain because, well, they signed up voluntarily for the job, right? So they should not complain that what they’re being asked to do is not just, that the equipment they have is poor, that their tours are endless and the conditions deplorable, because, well, they asked for it.

    This floors me. Really. This amazing dichotomy, that marginalizes and devalues and creates a separate ‘warrior class’ from the mainstream. We celebrate their heroism while devaluing their sacrifice. I am amazed, especially now living in a non-military community, how disconnected we have become from that which is being fought in our names. We are invisible, except in the patronizing rhetoric.

    So, I’ve asked Steve to march next year, to show his son and those watching, that veterans, soldiers and their families live amongst us all. They’re not just old guys from WWII, they’re young men and women, looking curiously a lot like the rest of us. That they did their job, and their job was difficult in ways no other is. They could not quit (something Steve found amazing on the ‘outside’ that he could do), nor did they. They did what was asked of them, and for that should be seen.

    September 26, 2007

    Parents Can Be Jerks

    Filed under: Uncategorized — table9 @ 2:28 pm

    So, we live about 4 blocks away from our son’s Montessori school. He loves to move – riding his bike or walking are far preferred to riding in a car in general. This is good – it’s healthy, gives him an outlet for his seemingly unbounded energy, and gets us all moving and enjoying active lifestyles.

    For the past year or so we’ve been getting out and moving on our way to school, rather than driving the car.  The streets are not busy (except for one 1/2 block stretch) and there are some nice gradual hills for both cardio challenge and coasting fun. First, we walked. Then he mastered pedaling so we began riding his bike with training wheels to school. Then we got a tag-a-long bike to attach to our bikes. It’s been great – we get some fun time and exercise. We’ve gotten lots of positive comments from other parents who see us, and from the school.

    Two weeks ago, he learned how to ride on 2 wheels with no training wheels (in one day, but that’s another story :)). End of tag-a-long – he’s got to be free now. And he’s gotten good FAST.

    So, we get a bike lock and decide today is the day we’re going to ride together – he on his bike, me on mine.

    Now, we head to school – on the sidewalk, because he’s 5 and still not great at steering and not safe to be in even mild traffic. We stop at every corner, including the turn into the school parking lot. If there’s any cars even nearby, we let them pass. No cars even approaching the lot as we turn in.

    We get about 1/3 way up (not a big lot, maybe 40 yards deep), and a car turns in behind us. OK, they usually wait, and R’s doing this big swervy steering as he struggles to get up the decent incline this parking lot has from street to school entrance.

    So then, the car decides he doesn’t want to wait, roars (and I mean roar) by us, misses us by maybe 4 feet. I’m scared to death and shaking.

    We get to the top of the parking lot, and this guy’s getting his daughter out of the car. He’s hustling her to get her in. I say “could you have given us some space? He’s 5.” He says “You were backing up traffic, I gave you plenty of room, don’t block the lot.” I say “He’s a 5 year old learning how to ride, you were very close, you nearly hit us.” He’s like “Oh, please.” So I tell him I’m going to talk to the school. He says “Fine, my name is JOEL EADS.”

    So, JOEL EADS of ARDMORE PA, I hope that when you teach your daughter how to ride a bike, other PARENTS in cars are more gracious and careful of your child than you were of mine. I don’t expect the average driver to be thinking of child safety so much as I do other parents who have children my child’s age and who should understand the particular issues that raises in things like, oh say, bike riding.

    Oh, and when you do have a lapse in judgement or have frightened another mother to the point of shaking and tears, perhaps you should go with “I’m sorry we frightened you both” rather than “You were blocking traffic” as your response. Jerk.

    Yes, that made me feel better.

    September 11, 2007

    Too Funny! Rich V. Super Rich – the Onion

    Filed under: Uncategorized — table9 @ 1:34 pm

    Nice to see the Onion getting it’s edge back. This cracked me up. 🙂

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    September 8, 2007

    Isn’t it interesting….

    Filed under: musings — table9 @ 7:34 pm

    That a terrorist plot is ‘foiled’ or another ‘Bin Laden’ video surfaces right around the time that things domesically are in the crapper? I wonder if anyone’s correlated these ‘events’?

    In our current scene, forclosure looms for thousands, Mattel I believe is Chinese for “lead poisioning” (and I don’t believe for one minute the company was an ‘innocent victim’ here) and the credit market’s in the crapper as nobody wants to buy bad mortgage bonds (which is impacting lots of other things, trickling down of course to jobs). People are generally unhappy, scared and maybe just starting to think that unbridled capitalism isn’t always such a good thing.

    Thanks to unbridled capitalism, now they’re losing their house that they probably paid too much for, they may lose their job too and Happy Times Barbie is giving their kid brain damage. Oh and they’ll have a hard time finding another job that isn’t low paid service b/c all the jobs making things that aren’t bombs have gone overseas, where it’s OK to poison people and ruin the environment again as long as you make a buck.

    So what’s a good Neocon to do? Enter Bin Laden and ‘real’ terrorist plots.


    September 4, 2007

    I Am the Guardian of a Compassionate Soul

    Filed under: musings — table9 @ 8:04 am

    Lately, I’ve noticed something more and more about my son. He is an unusually compassionate soul.

    The first truly ‘standout’ event was at another child’s birthday party about a year ago. One of the other kids was upset because his balloon broke. Our son (then age 4) went up to the crying boy and said “Here, take my balloon. It’s okay.”

    I’ve also begun hearing from other parents at his school that their children are coming home with his toys. When they ask why, the children are saying “I asked him, and he gave it to me.” So I asked my son, concerned that maybe he was either A) getting demands for toys (“The Godfather” syndrome in preschool) or B) doing this because he doesn’t think people will like him/be his friend if he doesn’t give them gifts. His answer: “I don’t mind. They are happy.” (age 5).

    I mentioned this to one of the teachers at his school, an older woman named Celeste who’s taught for many years. Her answer surprised me. “Oh, my. You’ve got a very rare quality there. Your son is a compassionate soul. At this age, this is not something he’s been taught, it’s just how he is. It’s a gift, means he’s here for something very special.”

    I fully expected to have a selfish child I’d need to teach generosity and compassion to.  I never expected the opposite – to teach a generous child not so much selfishness, rather wisdom and judgement.

    I’ve seen the first glimmer of this – him saying later he was “just joking” when he gave something he really wanted to another child.  Used that as an example of first, to be sure you really want to give something and second, to make clear that giving is a complete act – can’t take back later because you regret or didn’t think through it.

    So, be careful, son.  I’ll do my best to show you wisdom, though it will I suspect take some soul bruising on your part to learn.

    At least you won’t be a Republican :).

    On Liberalism & Secularism – Stanley Fish

    Filed under: Uncategorized — table9 @ 7:57 am


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