Monthly Archives: August 2013

Reaping What We Sow…

Syria is in our face.

We can’t run and we can’t hide. President Obama recklessly painted us into this corner when he declared there was a “red line” with regard to Syrian use of chemical weapons.  But his ill-advised rhetoric is not to blame.

Truman began this descent into Constitutional madness, and our lack of Congressional accountability has fomented it.

Without rehashing an endlessly fascinating (I’m being a serious wonk here) debate on the merits and legality of nation states taking violent, war-like action against other states, I submit that our constitution would be served best by at least trying to maintain an appearance of balance with regard to the Executive and Legislative branches when it comes to “declaring war”.  Or in this case, utilizing American military resources to strike another country.

Here’s where it’s gone all wrong. Truman  unilaterally launched our now famous “police action” in Korea, and ever since, the Executive branch has used that as a green light to launch all manner of military excursions.

There is a real honest and important policy consideration to be undertaken (as yet hopelessly mired in politics) regarding the use of American military forces in the interests of protecting the citizens of rogue states and merciless strongmen.  Think Rwanda where our inaction facilitated the genocide there. Or the “Killing Fields” of Cambodia.

When is it appropriate for us to become the worlds policemen?  Is it in the interest of our national security or simply a moral imperative?

Sadly, we are unlikely to have this debate. As surely as we are unlikely to systematically parse the actual legality of the action the Executive branch appears to be headed towards.

Why?  Because our system of government is broken.  The powers of the Executive branch have exceeded their intended boundaries as critically as our failed attempts at election reform have filled our Congress with short-sighted, career politicians with no understanding or the word compromise.

A poll released today states that a majority of Americans want Congressional approval before any military action is taken. In a perfect, “Constitutional” world, I support that sentiment.

But let me repeat: our system is broken and the only result of attempting to get Congressional approval would be another vote along party lines. No actual compromise or representative government would be seen within miles of the beltway. It would be another facade.

Do I think military action in Syria is the right move? Yes…but I simply despise the way we got here.

We are paying the price for decades of political instant gratification that began with Truman and masterfully exploited during the era of the “Great Communicator” himself.

We have only ourselves to blame…


No…she’s not gone forever.

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(My daughter and I at dinner last night before she left for college)

It started here.  365 days ago I started this blog.

I had just had hip surgery, was out of work for 6 weeks, and wanted to start writing.  My first post lamented the fact that my daughter was going across the country to college.  As I write this post, she is on a plane headed back to college after spending the summer home (and I saw her maybe a total of 5 times in the two months she was here). So to answer my first post…no, she’s (thankfully) not gone forever. In fact, at our going away embrace last night, the feelings of melancholy were replaced by pride and admiration.

A lot has changed in the last 365. She’s grown from my high school senior into a young woman in college. She’s made some choices I don’t agree with, but has been ruthlessly honest with me and for that I am eternally grateful. And when I review my choices at her age, my pride in her increases exponentially. She’s a good kid. She will kick ass in life and I’m beyond proud of her.

In the last year, this blog was “Freshly Pressed”, I discussed my aspirations with regard to becoming a writer, I posted a lot about politics, culture and sports.

Personally, I went back to college, and changed careers.  I’m riding 60-70 miles/wk. on my bike and hope to continue to fight the inevitability of aging with every fiber of my being.  Life is good…

I gained more followers than I could have imagined and made some nice friendships here.

I thank each of you that has followed my blog and look forward to producing content here that may be thought provoking and dare I say inspiring in the next 365…


Change is Good. And by that I mean scary as hell…

First week at the new job in the books.

I’m working in a completely new field and have flopped around like a fish out of water my first week.

At my old job, after 5 years, I’d pretty much gotten the routine down and the actual “job” part came second nature.  In this new job, there is no manual (to speak of) and it’s entirely on-the-job training.  Did I mention the actual workflow is a hot mess and admittedly completely unorganized?  So yeah, there’s that…

I’m a Rehabilitation Technician at an addiction treatment facility.  I’m studying this in school and hope to one day reach the treatment side of the fence, but for now, I’m very grateful that I was able to get my foot in the door of a nationally known facility at literally ground level. I’m learning this business from the bottom up.  From emptying trash and washing dishes, to driving clients & emptying ashtrays, I’m actually very happy to be here…

But I’m tremendously uncomfortable. Enter my ego. That little part of me that screams for control and normalcy…order…organization.  Right now, it’s all a blur and I do feel like I’m flopping on the ground at times, like the proverbial fish.

I know it will get better…I know this feeling of terror I have every day will go away. My gut tells me the fast-paced nature of this job is right up my alley, and once I get a handle on it, I’m going to love it…but for now…

Let’s just say I’m saying a lot of prayers…


Hip Check…

BirminghamHip

Happy Birthday hip…you’re one year old today.

In fact, exactly 365 days ago, you were inserted into my left hip.  On August 5, 2012, I had a procedure called a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing performed by Dr. Iqbal Anwar at Kaiser West Los Angeles.

I mention him by name because I will be the first to complain about substandard health care and as a result, feel compelled to give praise where praise is due.

Let’s back up a moment…okay, maybe a little more than a moment…I’m 3 or 4 years old and I remember I suddenly can’t walk.  I remember my mom carrying me everywhere, I remember a hospital, I remember talcum powder, I remember a cool red Tonka truck I got when I was released from the hospital.

What happened then? I didn’t know…

Fast forward…

I’m in a job in 2010 where I’m sitting at a desk and I notice if I sit for too long, my left hip keeps hurting and literally locking up.  This goes on for awhile and I decide to see my doctor, who refers me to an orthopedic doc…

This clown summarily dismisses me and my x-ray by telling me I’ll need my hip replaced sometime in the next ten years…end of story.

So this doesn’t sound real high on my list of priorities, so I ignore the hip…

But my hip chooses not to ignore me.  The pain continues and I realize I can’t stall. I ask my primary care physician for another orthopod referral at a larger hospital.  This new doc takes one look and me and says “shazam” I’ve got just the guy for you…

He tells me that there is a new procedure for folks under 55 called a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing that is less invasive and destructive to the joint…and the killer news is that very few have to be redone, compared to the 10 year warranty on the traditional hip replacement.

So sign me up…I see Dr. Anwar, one of an elite number of surgeons performing this surgery and I’m scheduled to go under the knife. And what’s more, he finally tells me what the hell happened to me as a child (based on my description).  It was an acute synovitis:  an inflammation of my hip socket caused by a virus.  Apparently the fluid was withdrawn as a child and I was good to go until that episode ultimately led to end stage osteoarthritis in my hip.

Why am I boring you with this? Because today, one year later, I’m riding over 100 miles a week on my bike and played tennis yesterday for the first time in well over a year. And because Dr. Anwar and this procedure deserve the kudos. Having been a paramedic and seen the nightmare scenario played out in lots of people after hip surgery, it’s safe to say I was apprehensive.

But today, I feel like a youngster and have no intention of slowing down. In fact, I think I’ll kick it up a notch…

Thank you Dr. Anwar…


Lost in Translation

'Lost in Translation' Movie Stills

I’ve never NEEDED to write as much as I do at this moment.

You are my muse, my inspiration for all things beautiful and good.

You are my love, my life and my eternal soul mate.

And yet, that love will never be realized.  At least in the traditional sense.

Can you see God? Can you touch Him?  Does the fact that you can’t diminish your faith?  Your certainty that there is some higher power watching over you and providing a path to serenity in your life?

I can’t see God and yet I believe.

I can’t be with you and yet from the depth of my soul, I will love you forever and be monumentally grateful for your presence in my life.

Can you see love? Can you touch the love for your child? A love so basic that it defies rational explanation…

I love you like that.  I want you to experience happiness and serenity like my life depends on it.  Against all sense of personal need, I want so badly for you to get married and raise a family and be the incredible mother I know someday you will be.

And it will not be with me.  And as badly as I wish it was I know in my heart that the purity of my love for you is real…and righteous. Because my love transcends my most basic need for you…it’s the kind of love that is satisfied when you are. When your most basic needs and wants and desires are met…then I am complete.

I stumbled over the words, but I had to write this.  You resuscitated in me the most basic of human instincts. One person’s love for another…and for life itself.

Mine was gone and I had accepted that.

You resurrected it in me and I will be eternally in your debt.

I love you…I will never be able to tell you how much…just know…I love you…


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Every year, starting in their teens, I started writing a letter to my kids on their birthday. I decided to stop after their 18th birthday. Since my daughter turns 19 today, I’m going to cheat and blog to her.

19 years ago your heart stopped.  Twice. You hadn’t even experienced life outside the womb, but 19 years ago, in about 2.5 hours, your heart stopped. The nurse barked at me to put a CPR board under your mom and I scrambled to get an oxygen mask on her face.  Your umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck…twice…and every time you tried to enter this world…it choked you.  How’s that for a metaphor?

You survived…you fought through it.  Your life has been far from normal, yet you have consistently found a way to overcome, survive…and prosper.

You have been my best friend for many years but as you’ve grown, you have predictably and properly developed your own life and your own priorities.  We haven’t grown apart, we have just adjusted to our new roles. Father and young adult. I like her. I’d be lying through my teeth if I didn’t say my heart aches for that precious little girl inside you…

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…but you know what…my heart still aches for the vibrant, important young woman you have become. You are at the cusp of life and beginning your journey to change the world.

I believe in you. I believe all things are possible in your world. You can make a real change sweetheart…don’t ever stop.

You are a survivor.

Happy Birthday

I love you…

Dad


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