Jul 31, 2007

Don't start your day without Keanu Sausage

It's one of those days

So I get all of my documentation all set to go, PDFs printed, files all zipped up and checked in, looking forward to being done. Then there is always the guy who decides to review things 2 days late, and says you know, it doesn't work quite that way...

Jul 30, 2007

I've been tagged!

Johnny Yen has tagged me with 5 questions, and attached a tracking collar to me after hitting me with a tranquilizer dart by the way... So without further ado (or a sane thought process) here we go.

1. If you could be there to change just one event in history, what would it be?
Geeez, this is really hard! You have to think through all of the ramifications of your decision. It is like the Star Trek episodes when they go back in time...

Do I stop the Atomic bomb from being developed and dropped? Then over 2 million American lives lost is the conservative estimate for an attack on mainland Japan.

Do I kill Hitler before he came to power? Some say he was so stupid that is why several of his key blunders in decision making led us to win WWII.

Perhaps stop the assasination of JFK. I don't see any downside to that because from all I have read he was going to pull out of Viet Nam soon, and civil rights would have come to fruition earlier.

But I think as long as I am dreaming, the one thing I would change would be the development of all religeons. If we didn't have any differences in faith to argue over, imagine how many less wars and ongoing conflicts there would be?

2. If you could be any actor or actress who ever lived, who would it be, and why?
I think that I would be Tom Hanks. He has had the opportunity to play a number of different roles that I would like to play, be involved in projects that I find exciting (From the Earth to the Moon), his marraige seems by Hollywood standards to be pretty tight, and I think he is a pretty down to earth guy.

3. What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon show?
Johnny Quest (the original one). I loved his adventures, and one of my best friends growing up used to come over and watch it with me because we were fortunate to get a color TV before a lot of other folks. (yeah that's right all you young whipper-snappers, color was new)

4. Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Stones. I absolutely can't stand the Beatles, I don't understand the god-like adoration of them. Actually, can I say none of the above?... Crosby, Stills Nash, and Young had more talent than both groups at their best.

5. If you could be any fictional literary figure ever, who would it be?
Dirk Pitt, from the series of Clive Cussler books about his adventures with NUMA. If you are unfamiliar with the books, they started with Raise the Titanic, and are great adventures that all have a common theme of something to do with underwater exploration. They always have an old classic car involved in them also, because Clive Cussler has quite the collection of old cars in real life. It is unfortunate that the movies made from his books have sucked big time.

I am tagging anyone who would like to respond.

A bit of a training film

More properly titled "How to deal with idiot men".

I thought it was pretty funny, particularly where the man was hunting for food with a spear by the refrigerator...


VideoJug: How To Be The Perfect Girlfriend

Jul 28, 2007

At last!

A quirky comic to match my quirky sense of humor!!





Jul 27, 2007

It's Elementary! Gardening Advice with Marty Chang

Now I know how to properly prune a Banzai tree!

How to live life

As a lot of you probably know, once you purchase something on CafePress, you start getting a lot of email. They often try to figure out what you would be interested in based on past purchases, and I always get an email with their latest funny/quirky shirts. This is one of the latest, and one that I shall certainly be ordering.

Jul 25, 2007

Really folks, don't be a puppet



He he he, I love Get Fuzzy!

My one and only parachute experience

In a conversation with Johnny Yen, I remarked that I had made one jump in my life. While I was digging around for pictures of Skylers Halloween costumes, I found a couple of pics of the day's event:



This was when I was stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. There was a program where they would take you up to experience a parachute jump over a weekend called Jump Hawaii. At the entrance of the place, there was a piece of canvas stretched tightly over a frame, with a sign that said free jump if you can put your fingers through this canvas. More on this later!

On Saturday, you would practice hopping off of a picnic table and rolling, then you hung by the harness in a tree and practiced releasing your main chute and pulling the cord on the reserve. When they thought you had drilled enough, you went home and then came back Sunday to go up in the plane.

This was what is called a static line jump, they don't trust you to freefall and pull your own ripcord the first jump. So think of those WWII movies with all of the paratroopers hooking up and jumping out of the plane. The line pulls your chute out for you.

So we go up and I am #2 out the door. You have the main chute on your back, the reserve on your belly, and a radio on top of the reserve. My chute deploys normally and it is very odd how quiet it is while you drift down. The radio comes to life and they are telling me pull left, pull right, and guiding me to the drop zone.

The wind is much stronger than they thought, and jumper #1 is in the water just off of the drop zone. I am coming down really close to the bushes that are between the water and drop zone, and just graze them as I come in. See bottom photo.

Turns out Jumper #1 almost drowned, because the don't think to teach you how to disconnect from the chute and swim out underneath it! Lucky for him a wave boarder came over and pulled him out.

Back to the canvas sheet... We all asked WTF is this thing? They said they would tell us over beers after the jump. Turns out a couple of years ago, the had a guy jump that had a double malfunction. His main chute streamered (didn't fill with air)so he had his shit together and got rid of it, then pulled the ripcord out of the reserve.

It came out in his hand and the chute didn't come out of the canvas sack.

He was dropping like a rock and somehow, stuck his fingers through the side of the canvas bag, pulled the chute out and deployed it himself. When he landed, bone was sticking out the ends of 3 fingers on that hand.

Pretty amazing what you can do when you are about to die, isn't it?

How does a costume work with a chair?

Kristi's great post about her top 5 costumes/movies set me on a search for all of the Halloween stuff we have done with Skyler. It took awhile, but I found most of them.

When he was little, it was mostly the same as all of the other little dudes, store bought stuff:




Then we started trying to figure out what to do with his wheelchair, and try and incorporate his costume into the chair. First he was Pat Sajak, host of Wheel of Fortune!


Then he was a chef:



Then there was Jeff Gordan, race car driver:


And one of my favs, the rock drummer!



And the last, the kid in a hot tub:



The one I am missing is an early one from around first grade where we made him into a Front End Loader, with PVC pipe. The film got lost in developing - damn!

Jul 24, 2007

Intelligent Life?

The political candidates pandering to the YouTube crowd made me think about this comic...

Trip report

Got back home from the inlaws last night, it is beyond great to be back! First off was the washing machine debacle I mentioned. This thing was really old and I pushed it over the limit with a half full tub. Aren't I a shit? They called a repair guy who came out and shook his head and pronounced it dead. Said the should get a new one, it would cost too much to fix. Grandpa calls a place and the can deliver in 4 days and take the old machine away. Grandma about passes out since she does several loads a day (why I don't know).

So I told them go someplace and pick one out you like, have the nice folks load it into the van, come home and I will install it...





And I got my revenge by putting the old one outside so it looks like they live in a trailer park in Tennessee until it gets picked up!



But Skyler got to spend time with his favorite cousin, Kirsten. She has come out to Colorado and gone to camp with him before as his aide, and she has the type of life everyone wants. She guides raft trips, teaches snowboarding, climbs mountains, is on the college wake-board and rowing team... Skyler doesn't look too happy here with her, but he was completely bonked by this time from all the noise.


And Kirsten brought her boyfriend, Roy to the party for everyone to meet. Really nice guy! He guides raft trips, kayaks, climbs, all the things she likes to do. Maybe she won't wear this one out!

Jul 20, 2007

For those of you who like to wager...

46 hours was the winning bid from touchdown at SeaTac airport until the first family fight. Evidentally, our extra use of the 40 year old washing machine caused it to die.

We are such butt heads for washing things...

Jul 17, 2007

Inside the Googleplex

By Mercury News
Monday, July 16th, 2007 at 6:13 am in Inside Silicon Valley.

Mercury News columnist Dean Takahashi takes us on a quick tour inside Google’s famed Mountain View headquarters.

What must it be like to work for a company that has money coming out their ass?


I'm off to visit the In Laws

Heading out tomorrow for a week outside of Seattle in Bellevue Washington. All of Kathy's family is in that area so we usually go there once a year. Posting will be sporadic but I will try and keep up with you all.



Keep the internets in good shape while I am gone, will ya?

Jul 16, 2007

This can't be right

I'm sure I would have had a lot more to say, like:
"Hm, you wear reading glasses?" or maybe
"Hm, why did you buy fiber?" or perhaps just
"Hm, did you say something?"

Jul 14, 2007

My favorite writer

I just love to read Rick Reilly. He is the senior writer for Sports Illustrated, and lives here in a southern suburb of Denver called Littleton. The thing that makes Rick my favorite writer isn't that he is a sports writer, but that he writes about people who happen to be associated with sports.

Here is a story he wrote about a kid on a cross country team in high school who has CP.

I scanned this a long tome ago, I hope it is readable, enjoy.

A different perspective on the war

Our local CBS affiliate, channel 4, has a doctor on the staff that does medical stories like most stations do. I have met this guy and had the privilege of talking with him for a few minutes. The reason I like him, and how he talks about the war, is that his viewpoint is not a political one. His politics seem to run pretty much down the center, like my own. He is on his second tour over in Iraq now, volunteered for both to go and help take care of the troops. Here is a dispatch from him, and check out the video clip on the web page. I was struck by the statement he made that if we decided to leave tomorrow, it would probably take about 8 months to get everyone down into Kuwait. 8 months, holy shit...

Anyway, here is the link.

Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida served his first tour of duty in Iraq as a combat physician and in May 2007 headed back to care for the seriously injured in a field hospital. Hnida expected his second tour of duty to last about 4 months. The following is one of his dispatches from the hospital, located north of Baghdad.

Jul 13, 2007

Parent of the year?







A future generation of kids that will wind up in therapy?

Jul 12, 2007

Are you guys all back on-line yet?

Double dog dare right back at ya Michael

Michael has thrown down a double dog dare over at his place.

Here's the deal Michael, I will do the lawn chair balloon ride, if you do the worlds longest zip line.


Worlds Longest Zip Line - Watch the best video clips here

Now all we need to do is get to South Africa...

A day in the life of Skyler Part 2



Skyler is an early bird. He always has been, he doesn't sleep very well. During the night we go into his room and turn him over probably about 4 times because he can't do it himself. So we listen in on a baby monitor and when he grunts and groans, we know he needs to move.

Skyler gets up at 6:00 or so. We go into his room and flip him onto his back, check to see if he has wet through his diaper, and if so get him cleaned up. If not, get him into his chair and wheel out to the living room and watch the news. Skyler really likes the news, he thinks he wants to work as a weather forecaster someday. So this is cool, beats the heck out of some other shows he could watch. Never had to watch any purple dinosaurs! We put his tray on his chair and give him his communications device called a Dynavox. This is how he talks to us. He isn't conversational, but with time can get the basics of a sentence put together or tell us what he needs with pre-programmed buttons. His Dynavox can also learn IR codes like a universal remote control. So he can run the TV, Tivo, DVD player, computer, whatever.



He watches the news, sometimes going to news he likes on Tivo that he saved (he usually likes it when they mess up and laughs and laughs at them). This goes until about 7-7:30. Then he has breakfast, toast and eggs cooked really soft. Everything he eats has to be really loose, soft, undercooked, etc... He has trouble chewing things and swallowing. Then after he gets done eating, we get him out of his chair, onto the floor, to change his diaper and give him his medications. He takes Depakene for seizures, which controls them pretty well. He also take Baclofen to help reduce the spasticity in his muscles.

Since he is going to have surgery in November to straighten out his spine, we now have a G-tube to help him gain weight.


So now we also feed him additional nutrition through this tube right into the stomach. After he is fed, medicated, dressed, and stretched, we get him back into his chair.

If it's a school day, we go over homework for the day, and get his lunch bag packed for school. But it is summer, yea!!! So he usually wants to play on his computer for awhile. We go into the room where his computer is, and older iMac running 9.x software. Mac's were better with adaptive software than PCs up until just recently, and he has a lot of old games that will not run on newer computers. Skyler tells us what game he wants and we put in the CD. Then we get his Dynavox set up to talk through an IR device on the computer. Then he can run some easy games. It is one of the few things he can do on his own, and it makes him feel good to play these games even if they are young for him.

He will play for an hour or so, sometimes longer, then we need to go do something else. During the summer we look for camps that can adapt activities for him. Right now, he goes to a camp 2 times a week that he has some fun at, playing different activities, or going places in the community. Again, it is a bit young for him, but he enjoys it and it gives us a break!

If he isn't going to camp, he will go run errands with Kathy or me if I have a day off or some extra time. He goes to the store, to the mall, wherever we go generally. We have an adapted van that makes life a lot easier for us. Just wheel him into the van, front passenger side because his sensory problems won’t allow him to ride in the back.



At the store it is tough to push him in front of you and pull a cart behind you. So we usually go once a day and get just a few things. Errands always involve finding a handicapped parking space that some butthead hasn't taken, and dealing with the public. The end result always depends on what kind of day I am having, and if I feel like going to jail...

Lunchtime is like breakfast, soft foods like pasta, mashed potatoes, ground up whatever. Repeat the diaper change, medications, stretching, tube feeding.

After lunch depends on whether we have any appointments, sometimes there are doctor appts, sometimes we have to go to talk to school/Medicade/agencies or different entities that we work with that require visits. Skyler also has Physical therapy, Music therapy, and a Technology and Learning specialist that comes to see him once a week.

If no appointments or visits to places, we play some more computer, or he likes to watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. He has a bunch of DVDs that he has made (with our help) of different contestants on Jeopardy that he has found to be funny and likes to watch them again and again. We also have DVDs of different News people he likes and has met on tours. On occasion he will ask to play with an old toy from when he was young. We never throw anything away, he never forgets something he liked!!

Skyler likes going to Balleys with me to work out also. He usually watches his DVD player and I park him on the end of a row of stair machines or Elliptical trainers as I work out. It is fun for dad also because he is a chick magnet!

As we get into late afternoon and evening, he wants to watch the news again. We might get him out of the chair to spend some time stretched out, make sure he is still dry, and just hang. I have mentioned he wears diapers, it is because he cannot control his bladder and bowels (that darn muscle thing again). Peeing isn't a problem, it just runs out whenever and we check/change him a lot. Bowel movements are a major issue. This might be gross to some of you but I am so used to it I don't even think about it anymore. In order for Skyler to poop he has to have an enema and be "digitized". That means the old proctology exam twice a week followed by water. This actually is very common with folks who spend their life in a chair.

Dinner time is the same as other meals, pretty much the same routine.

When it comes time to get ready for bed, we do the nightly medication, stretching, and he has a bath in a bath chair. We modified our second bathrooms shower to be a flat area instead of a tub, so he sits in there and I give him his bath with a shower hose attachment. He gets dried, and has the dressing around the G-tube changed.



He usually goes to bed between 8 and 8:30. It takes him awhile to get relaxed enough to go to sleep, usually an hour or so of moving him around trying to find a comfortable position.

Kathy and I have our hour and a half or two to ourselves, but that usually involves taking care of things we don't get done during the day that demand both of our attention.

We go to bed after falling asleep in front of the news, then we repeat the nightly routine of flipping him over and repositioning every now and then. I do it more than Kathy (not that I am a better parent, I just sleep lighter).

So this is the typical day. Other things that may occur that shake things up are seizures. Skyler has two types, absence and grand mal. Both are controlled pretty well with meds, but still happen if Skyler has been under a lot of stress or in pain. Those two things tend to bring them on more. An absence seizure is where he just sort of tunes out, doesn't respond to anything for about 5-10 minutes. A Grand Mal is what you may have seen with someone who has epilepsy, where the entire body is shaking.

Skyler has also had to have a lot of surgeries for different reasons. Because he doesn't run around as he grows his legs get really tight. He has had to have hamstring lengthening, heel cord lengthening, and different procedures about once every year or so. He also had to have hip surgery when he was in 5th grade to rebuild both hips.



This is also common with kids who grow up in a chair. Your hip sockets round out as you grow because of weight bearing. Since that doesn't happen in a chair they do it through surgery. That was a nasty one, he was in a body cast for 6 weeks. The next big surgery coming up as I mentioned is the correction of his spine curvature. This will be 2 weeks in the hospital and over a month of recovery.

That is about all I can think of right now, I am sure there is more but it just has become such a normal part of the day we don't think of it anymore. This is not meant as a pity party, just to let folks know what goes on in our lives, and why we don't go to movies/see concerts, and generally don't know what is happening out there in the social world!!

Next time I will do a post on some of the cool things that Skyler does and has done in the past. Thanks for reading so far...

Jul 11, 2007

A day in the life of Skyler Part 1

Frequently, I am asked different things about Skyler from family, friends, even folks in the store who are curious. Lot's of questions about what happened to him, how does he do this or that, or how do you take care of him. So it occurred to me that I might start keeping track of what is involved in a typical week with Skyler. That way I can let people know answers to questions, and keep a bit of information about him and his care. There are so many things I do that I just take for granted because it is how life has always been with him. I don't even think about it or remember it anymore.

I believe I should probably start at the beginning, a very good place to start. (Was I just channeling Maria Von Trapp?) Just so you know how we came to have Skyler.
So let’s call this part 1...

We had tried for quite a long time to have a baby, and then found out that Kathy had what is called "hostile mucus". Her fluids killed sperm. So before my boys could make the trip up the tubes, they had to make the trip through the killer river of hell!

None survived, and very few stopped to ask directions...

The answer was to go with artificial insemination, or as we referred to it, the "Turkey Baster" treatment. We would go to the OB/GYN office, where Kathy would get prepped for the receiving end of the deal, and I would go a special room for dads that was reserved for "harvesting samples" as they liked to call it. Of course, in this office, that is a room at the end of the waiting room! So after whacking off into a cup, I got to make the stroll through the rest of the moms waiting and go back to where Kathy was, cup in hand.

After several visits doing this, I can no longer be embarrassed about anything, seriously, just try me...

Skyler was Kathy's third pregnancy, the first resulted in a blown out Fallopian tube. The second turned into a rare form of Cancer, sometimes referred to as a Molar pregnancy. That is where the DNA goes haywire and you start growing a tumor instead of a fetus. We were actually quite lucky she had the tubule pregnancy first, because now they were watching her very close for another one. So they spotted the cancer very early. Kathy had to get operated on to take out the tumor and go through 3 rounds of Chemo before she was OK. It is a fast acting Cancer that few people survive, and there are some medical journals written up about Kathy's case.

The last pregnancy, and ironically enough the last time we were going to attempt the artificial insemination, we got lucky and she was pregnant with Skyler.

So what happened?

Kathy's pregnancy was really uneventful, she had a bit of morning sickness, but nothing bad. Everything was great right up to the point where her water broke at 24 weeks. She had even had a checkup the day before. Kathy wound up in the hospital that day, and stayed trying to hang on to Skyler. In 1991, the chances of a 24-weeker making it were about 20%. Not very good. So lots of drugs to stop contractions were given, and Skyler hung inside until the 26 week mark where Kathy got an infection. So he had to come out. Kathy had a C-section because it was doubtful Skyler would survive a vaginal birth. He was born weighing 1 pound 15 ounces. He looked a lot like a skinny little chicken, actually! He was rushed up to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) that was his home for the next 3 months.





There were lots of ups and downs, Kathy's infection was in him so that caused problems. He was on a respirator to breath because the lungs are the last thing to develop and his were not ready to support him yet. He had no suck reflex so they fed him through a tube down his throat, after Kathy would pump her breasts for milk. IV's that were in skinny little arms and legs would blow out because the veins were not big enough. He developed Thrush, which is an infection in the mouth and throat. Honestly, I can't recall all of the events of those 3 months in the hospital, because we were operating on little sleep, and I really think I probably have blocked a lot of it.

But, after 3 long months and a lot of battles, we brought him home. Still no diagnosis yet because it was really too early to miss any milestones at this point. But we knew down deep that things were not normal. Skyler couldn't tolerate any stimulus. Everything made him cry. Doctors, family, friends all had ideas, ranging from Colic to Allergic to our dogs, to just being a preemie. Gradually he became more used to life, but was always more temperamental than most kids. Along the way we also missed a lot of milestones. So eventually we found out there was brain damage located in the motor control area of Skylers brain. There was also some damage to the processing center, and we now had a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and Sensory Integration Disorder.

Some where along the way either in Kathy or just after birth there was a hemorrhage that caused some damage. Nothing you can do about it, but the brain is an amazing thing and as he grows, he might reroute some of those broken pathways.

Skyler never did get much better though, although he became somewhat better at handling stimulus, his body just won't do what his brain tells it to do. The sensory integration issues are still there and we have to be constantly aware of our surroundings. Loud noises or visuals can cause him to fall apart, or worse, have a seizure.

So for those folks who need a proper label, it is Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy.

The end result is that Skyler is in a body that just doesn't work the right way, he can't control the arms and legs, can't talk, has trouble focusing his eyes, pretty much anything that involves muscle control is all buggered up.


Fast forward to today... Because the reason I started writing this was to talk about a typical day in his life.
So tune in tomorrow for part 2...

Hey Big Orange!

How is your book coming along? :^)

Jul 9, 2007

When the puns hit your eye...

Ouch, ouch, ouch!!!

When the moon hits your eye
Like a big pizza pie
That's amore.

When an eel bites your hand
And that's not what you planned
That's a moray.

When your horse munches straw
And the bales total four
That's some more hay.

When a Japanese knight
Waves his sword in a fight
That's Samurai.

When your sheep go to graze
In a damp marshy place,
That's a moor, eh?

When you ace your last tests
Like you did all the rest
That's some more "A"s!

When on Mt. Cook you see
An aborigine,
That's a Maori.

When your boat comes home fine
And you tied up her line
That's a moor, eh?

A comedian-ham
With the name Amsterdam
That's a Morey.

When your chocolate graham
Is so full and so crammed
That's a s'more, eh?

When you've had quite enough
Of this dumb rhyming stuff
That's "No more!", eh?

Jul 6, 2007

Great commercial

Men Vs. Women, isn't this always how it turns out?

I love the guy who got it in the eye...


Men Vs Women - Watch a funny movie here

Good for Walgreens!!

Walgreens program puts the 'able' in disabled At a new, first-of-its-kind distribution center where a third of its workforce is disabled, Walgreens is laying the ground to transform opportunities for the handicapped. NBC's Mika Brzezinski reports from Anderson, S.C.

Sorry, no option to embed, so view it here:

This is the URL if the link doesn't work:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19417759/from/ET/

Jul 3, 2007

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Cleaning out the archives looking for appropriate post fodder for the 4th of July.

Enjoy your day today, and stay safe,

Skylers Dad


The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.
Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.
George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781

The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority.
Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 22, December 14, 1787

They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.
James Madison, Federalist No. 14, November 30, 1787

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776



Just Ask Permission
By Tom Adkins

Does the First Amendment give us the right to desecrate the American flag? Or
is the flag a sacred symbol of our nation, deserving protection by law? Tough
call? I've got the solution.

For those who want to light Old Glory on fire, stomp all over it or spit on it
to make some sort of "statement," I say let them do it. But under one condition: They must get permission.

First, you need permission of a war veteran. Perhaps a marine who fought at Iwo Jima?

The American flag was raised over Mount Surabachi upon the bodies of thousands
of dead buddies. Each night on Iwo meant half of everyone you knew would be dead tomorrow, a coin flip away from a bloody end upon a patch of sand your mother couldn't find on a map.

Or maybe ask a Vietnam vet who spent tortured years in a small, filthy cell unfit for a dog. Or a Korean War soldier who rescued half a nation from communism, or a Desert Storm warrior who repulsed a bloody dictator from raping and pillaging an innocent country.

That flag represented your mother and father, your sister and brother, your friends, neighbors and everyone at home. I wonder what they would say if someone asked their permission to burn the American flag?

Next, ask an immigrant. Their brothers and sisters may still languish in their native land, often under tyranny, poverty and misery. Maybe they died on the way here, never to touch our shores. Some have seen friends and family get tortured and murdered by their own government for daring to do things we take for granted.

For those who risked everything simply for the chance to become an American, what feelings do they have for the flag when they pledge allegiance the first time? Go to a naturalization ceremony and see for yourself the tears of pride, the thanks, the love and respect of this nation as they finally embrace the American flag as their own.

Ask one of them if it would be okay to tear up the flag.

Last, you should ask a mother. Not just any mother, but a mother who gave a son or daughter for America. It doesn't even have to be in war. It could be a cop. A fireman. Maybe a Secret Service agent. Then again, it could be a common foot soldier. When that son or daughter is laid to rest, their family is given one gift by the American people: an American flag.

Go on. I dare you. Ask that mother to spit on her flag.

I wonder what the founding fathers thought of the American flag as they drafted the Declaration of Independence? They knew this act would drag young America into war with England, the greatest power on Earth. They also knew failure meant more than disappointment. It meant a noose snugly stretched around their necks. But they needed a symbol, something to inspire the new nation.

Something to represent the serious purpose and conviction we held for our new idea of individual freedom. Something worth living for. Something worth dying for. I wonder how they'd feel if someone asked them permission to toss their flag in a mud puddle?

Away from family, away from the precious shores of home, in the face of overwhelming odds and often in the face of death, the American flag inspires those who believe in the American dream, the American promise, the American vision. . . .

Americans who don't appreciate the flag don't appreciate this nation. And those who appreciate this nation appreciate the American flag. Those who fought, fought for that flag. Those who died, died for that flag. And those who love America, love that flag. And defend it.

So if you want to desecrate the American flag, before you spit on it or before you burn it . . . I have a simple request. Just ask permission. Not from the Constitution. Not from some obscure law. Not from the politicians or the pundits. Instead, ask those who defended our nation so that we may be free today. Ask those who struggled to reach our shores so that they may join us in the American dream.

And ask those who clutch a flag in place of their sacrificed sons and daughters, given to this nation so that others may be free.

For we cannot ask permission from those who died wishing they could, just once... or once again...see, touch or kiss the flag that stands for our nation, the United States of America...the greatest nation on Earth.


Reprinted with permission of Thomas D. Adkins (c) 1999 from
Chicken Soup for Soul of America by Jack Canfield, Mark
Victor Hansen and Matthew E. Adams.

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A pox on the buttheads of the world!

This has been festering inside of me for over a week now and I have to get it out.

Just prior to my flying out of town last week, my wife was walking our dogs at a park that has a lake for them to swim in. It's a little place off the beaten path that is nice, they can run and it's great for them to cool off.

She drives over and parks on the street near the entrance of the park since there isn't a parking lot. Last Monday afternoon, she came back to our van after walking the dogs and noticed that the drivers side front quarter panel looked crunched.

Upon further review, we had definitely been hit, probably backed into by something substantial. The fender was crushed in, bumper cracked, interior material of the fender warped downward into the wheel, and most critical was the fact that the front wheel had been hit with such force that it was bent over about 20 degrees.

Do you think there was a note, or anybody who was outside mowing and whatever who was willing to talk? Oh hell no!

No one saw anything, nobody left a note, nada nothing.

So my wife had to tote Skyler around last week in our station wagon, heaving him into the front seat and putting that heavy damn wheelchair into the back.

We just got a rental accessable van yesterday. They are a bit hard to find, and the few were already rented out for last week when I was out of town.

So our insurance will fix the van, and they offer 20 bucks a day towards a rental car.

An assessable van for wheelchairs rents at 95 bucks a day.

So we hope they fix our van soon, and I hope the bastard that hit us and ran rots in hell, just after a lengthy, painful illness of some sort.

Jul 1, 2007

My new mission is to help Flannery out while she is guest blogging for Big Orange.

So, this can be filed under the topic of God Talk, since it makes more sense than most things I have heard.