Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Developing Scandal

In Arkansas, a retired Army National Guard colonel is accused of keeping his dogs in horribly cramped conditions. The horror.

Evidence of blatant mistreatment: the poor dog is forced to share the recliner with Colonel Cooley.

The largest dog is forced to stand on the ground. How on earth has this gone on for so long?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dream Replay

Sometimes I'll have joyful little dreams about something in the past, usually involving family. I woke up smiling this morning.

The three of us were at Kids' Kingdom Park on a warm April day. Dylan was a couple of months shy of his second birthday, and he'd made friends with a couple of four year-old kids.

The two kids introduced themselves to Dylan.

"I'm Brian," one said.

"I'm David," the other said.

"I'm Baby," Dylan said.

Rhonda and I looked at each other. Rhonda smiled. "I guess we should start calling him 'Dylan' more often."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Profound Post About Serial Commas

Are you old enough to remember when the last comma in a series was omitted, mainly by newspapers? Geez, I'm glad that writing convention has mostly gone by the wayside. Even in elementary school, it just didn't seem right.

Consider this sentence: "I owe my love of music to my parents, Yo Yo Ma and Joan Jett."

I'm glad serial commas have held sway.

I feel much better now. It's been hard keeping my feelings on this issue under wraps.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

It's Veterans Day today. I salute veterans everywhere, and I especially want to acknowledge my coworkers who've served in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

It's an especially somber Veterans Day today for me today.

My uncle Darrell is a veteran who served during the Vietnam War. When he learned that he would be drafted into the Army, he enlisted rather than wait for his time to report.

Darrell is the second youngest of my dad's seven siblings. He was always freakishly strong and athletic, so it didn't surprise the family much when Darrell was awarded recognition as the Battalion Outstanding Trainee in Basic Training--he broke the record for the obstacle course--and was singled out again in Advanced Infantry Training, when he was designated the Company Outstanding Trainee.

Darrell was one heck of a marksman before he went into the Army. In Basic Training, he maxed all of the firing ranges. Perfect score.

Darrell was a natural born fighting machine, and in 1966, things were heating up in Vietnam. So the Army, naturally, sent him to Germany, and made him a clerk.

Darrell did serve in Vietnam though. He was there on temporary duty for three weeks, behind a desk.

He served his time, got out of the Army, got a job, got married, and had two daughters.

I learned two days ago that my uncle Darrell has brain cancer. Without treatment, the doctors give him three to six months. With treatment, they give him a year. I don't know if he's made a decision yet.

So, I give a special salute to my uncle Darrell, the guy who never forgot that my dad, from the age of twelve, helped raise his younger siblings with whatever job he could find after school. He was the first family member to show up at my parents' house on the day my dad died. He stood at the door with tears in his eyes, and hugged me so hard that my feet left the floor.

I can remember thinking as a kid that Darrell was an incognito superhero. I haven't changed my mind.

I have to go now.