Monday, April 24, 2006


Two weeks ago I got a phone call from my Uncle Dave and my first thought was "who died?" He's never called me. In fact I've only seen him twice and those were the only times I've ever spoken to him. Other than that it was just a card on my Birthday and one at Christmas.

I've never understood the distance. I just accepted it.

The first time I ever saw him, he had just flown up to visit us in his 310. He took me for a ride that was much to short and then he was gone.

The second time was at his daughter's wedding. Ever see a doting dad marry his daughter off? It's hard not to share in their joy. I think she had just finished her pediatric residency shortly before. I don't think I spoke to him much there, but I do remember seeing him with a grin plastered across his face.

He was also driving his son's Camaro since the family cars were all allocated to wedding activities. He loved anything that went fast and or had enought horsepower that you could feel it in your chest.

Two years ago, our family Christmas card was a family portrait. He was telling me that every time he walked past his fridge he'd look at it and think "I should call Andy" and that this time he just did what he was thinking. I was relieved that no one had died.

It didn't take us long to cover the weather and general family questions and hit the seven minute lull. The conversation appeared to be over and he was politely excusing himself when I asked him a question about planes.

If you want to get a man to talk, and he's a pilot, ask him something about his plane. A few times he got going and then paused to explain what he had just said since he thought he was talking over my head. I let him know I had always wanted to fly and knew what he was talking about.

We talked pilot talk and planes for almost an hour. It was getting late and more calls were promised by both sides. Over the next few days e-mails were shot back and forth with more aircraft questions and pilot talk.

I suspect that there is an intrinsic love for family. I had just tapped into a huge pocket. I was looking forward to getting to know my uncle.

He had some sinus surgery scheduled for last week. The presurgical checkup brought to light some critical heart conditions and he ended up having open heart surgery last Thursday.

He hasn't woken up from it. In fact his body is shutting down and as of yesterday they give him upto 72 hours till he's completely gone.

If he hadn't of called, my response would have been "Hmmm, better go console my mom" Now it's personal. I was looking forward to getting to know him better and I never will. I feel a deep sense of loss that cannot be explained by one phone call.

I think love is timeless.

I thank God he called me.

Have I loved him my whole life and never known it? Could be that intrinsic family love thing I mentioned earlier. Can you love someone based on a three interractions?

When the age comes and all time has passed, do those two questions become the same one?

Am I waxing sermonic?

I surely am, and I know that I want to spend eternity with the One who loves.

I've got a few friends and family that I've lost touch with. Guys I miss. I need to call them.

My uncle has stabilized. He's off of dialisis as his kidneys have started functioning again, the seizures have stopped and he's off the seizure meds, and while not real responsive, he is grasping fingers and able to squeeze out responses.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Dozen Gammas?

Right now I don't have a lot of time for this. You can see that by my light posting here and light comment volume in my regular feeding grounds.

If I find a large volume of comments at someone's site, I'll read the first dozen, or so, than scan the rest. One of the comments I read/scanned at Vox's the other day stated that "Jesus's disciples were a bunch of gammas". I don't know if others commented in response to that statement. I didn't at the time, but I'll now correct that mistake here:

The most famous and influentual disciple was Paul. Hardly a gamma. Probably the most Alpha disciple of them all.

For those of you who want to ague that he doesn't count because he wasn't one of the original 12, I give you James. Wasn't it James who cut off the ear of one of the soldiers that arrested Jesus? Does that sound like gamma behavior?

How about Thomas who's most famous trait was his doubting? I'm sure he recognized his Lord and leader after the resurrection and yet he challenged and called him to clarify the issue he didn't accept at first. I think a gamma would have just followed suit and not demanded proof.

I think the fact that the miracles and things Thomas saw up to that point enabled him to accept Jesus teachings is a whole sermon in itself.

I know Luke was a physician. Have you ever known a physician to be a gamma?

I want to say that at least one disciple was a tax collector. Knowing the role of tax collector in those times I know he wasn't a gamma.

I'm running out of time, but I'm sure my list is not complete.

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Chilling Testimony"

Chilling Testimony, that's the headline I looked at on whatever morning MSM "news"show I watched while I ate my breakfast. It seems that they are in the sentencing phase of Zacharias Moussaui's trial. What did they expect?

I expected none of the "inflammatory" footage of Septermber 11th to ever be shown on tv again. They showed the impact of the second plane and other footage of one of the towers collapsing.

I have a friend who says we must pursue the War on Terrorism because of 3000 people, dead, in New York. While I agree that agressive Fundamentalist Islam must be fought, since it is bent on our destruction. There are also 1000 dead, still, in the Arizona, laying on the bottom of Pearl Harbor. How's that any different if we are simply out for vengeance?

That's just it. We, as a nation, are not out for vengeance. The Japanese are no longer a threat. The Fundamentalist Muslims, they are a threat. They still wish our destruction and have (or are developing) the means to deliver it and we are responding to it.

It's not often that I feel my emotions swamp my thought processes, but Sept 11, 2001 still gets me. Stalin said "that a 1000 dead children are a statistic, one dead child is a tragedy" or something very similar. I want to say that watching the towers fall was witness to a disaster, but seeing the pictures of individual people jumping to their deaths, rather than be burnt alive, made it personal, but I'd be dishonest. Why do I want to parrot Stalin? At first I though he was correct with this one statement, but now I think he was wrong.

I remember watching the first Tower fall. The universe stopped. Only the image on the tv moved. I watched myself watch the collapse, not believing that it was happening, knowing that once started, the collapse wouldn't stop. It still gets me, not at much at the people jumping, but it still gets me.

Why does anyone expect the retelling to be any less chilling than watching it for the first time, live? Is anyone suprised that Zacharias Moussaui was prosecuted any less agressively than a Jihadi in Tikrit and that the full extents of his crime were covered in all phases of the trial? Is there any mass murder that doesn't have "Chilling Testimony"?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Chronological Bifurcation Point

Articles like this predict the coming of an age of peace.

I don't get it. He says that countries with a per-capita GDPs greater than $10,000/year don't go to war with each other but isn't Saudi Arabia a primary funding agent of Wahabi Islam? I'm sure their GDP is greater than ours, even if a large percentage of their population does't see their share (other than free medical and education) but this is probably a moot point since their rulers are well above the $10K/year threshold

That might be a good Rule of Thumb for Western nations, but I don't think it applies to Islamic nations.

It might apply to Mexico though. Nevermind that they speak the foreign language of the agressive Western European nation that colonized them about the same time that North America was colonized by other Western European nations, Mexico does seem bent on annexing the Southwest US.

There was a Japanese General that was terrified of the thought of invading the US. He knew what a population of marksmen would do to a foreign army. I strongly suspect that is a lesson that the Mexicans or Azatlans would soon learn. It may just be a part of our history that will shame us in the eyes of the UNified world but be a source of pride for those who defended their nation.

But I wonder if the indigent indigenous peoples of the Southwest would be any happier if they were poor and living in a larger Mexico? To bad that Spain wasn't either stronger or weaker during the colonial period. If Spain had been stronger would Mexico be comparable to Canada and be a stable strong nation on our border, or would a weak Spain had all it's colonial territory been annexed or bough by the US. If this was the case, there'd be 5 or 6 states south of Texas with a developed infrastructure, economy, and 90% of the wealth wouldn't be held by one family (which I think is the true cause of povery in Mexico, but since blaming Mexican's for Mexico's problems isn't politically correct, you probably won't hear it anywhere but in obscure corners).

So here we are, coming into an age that appears to be one of peace and while I hope for peace, I see the building tensions in the Southwest and know the stated intentions of the Muslim world. Like a ball rolling along the top of a ridge, I see the world condition. The ball could as easily roll left as it could right. All it needs is a little nudge one way or the other. Could the world as easily roll into peace as war? There seems to be to many who want to nudge it to war for peace to be likely.

Besides, wouldn't global conflict make the promise of 7 years of peace all the more appealing?

Monday, April 03, 2006

No Terrorist Threat Here, Either

It can't be terrorism, it's for the ecology.

It's mindsets like this that scare me. In an ignorant cretin, a view like this is not a real threat, but guys with Ph.D.'s generally know how to make things happen. I've seen guys build optical spectometers in their garage over one weekend with stuff thy bough at a pawn shop (well, everything but the birefringent lens).

Maybe engineering and physics Ph.D.'s are different than theatre major's. Lets just hope his Ph.D. is in French Literature or something equally useless since I suspect the officials will apply a similar effort to restraining his activities as they do to ensure the integrity of the US/Mexican Border.