My favorite part of every day
Would be the time I sleep at night
For in the night I sometimes dream.
Though when I dream I oft do roam
At other times I dream I’m home.
Ron Buedefeldt 2013
I am at Fort Bragg for a while, visiting my son and my three grandchildren and helping out. It has been so long since we were together (more than a year and a half) that it is a real treat to be here, but after a week I am realizing how much I miss Oregon and the ease with which I could find solitude and a quiet place to write. Here on base there is nothing like that and I am pretty much a captive on base as I cannot leave by myself without a lengthy and iffy process to get back onto base. Without a DOD issued identification I cannot buy anything on base and yet to get off base is just not worth the bother.
While my son and his fellow soldiers and their families are less restricted, they live with impediments and rules that many of us are only beginning to imagine as we learn of the secret surveillance and data mining that has been implemented on the citizens at large.
A soldier and his family live with house inspections to ensure that their housekeeping is up to Army standards, under penalties as severe as to cause loss of rank, and even of their careers.
They live in houses that expose their children to flaking lead paint and steep, narrow staircases.
They live in housing that looks the same as their neighbors and the same as the housing for miles and miles around them.
They and their families are subject to moving at a moment’s notice.
Their families are routinely split asunder as mother or father is sent to some far side of the world to a situation from which they may not return.
They are told what to wear and how to wear it.
They make less money than equivalent positions in the civilian world.
There is less opportunity without a long commute for the spouses of soldiers who choose to help with a second income.
Being involved in a traffic accident or incident can negatively impact their treatment at their jobs, and a little financial difficulty can result in demotion and loss of security clearance.
Every aspect of their lives can be and is intruded upon.
And they volunteer for this!!
They re-up and make this their career.
Unless they are a high-ranking officer, when they retire from the army, they can live comfortably only by working to supplement a barely adequate retirement as they re-assimilate into a society that is increasingly separated from the world that they have grown accustomed to.
They live with a growing segment of our population who do not appreciate, understand, or support them in their sacrifice.
I mention all of this because as I stay here and see the sacrifices that each and every soldier and each of their family members make in order to be available for a job that most would not be willing to do.
I see more and more calls to cut the defense budget.
In today’s political environment, the party in charge uses our soldiers and our schoolchildren as pawns, making cuts where it will do the most damage or be the most painful in order to extort more money from the hard-hit taxpayer.
With our schools they cut the programs while wringing more money for administrators and the unions.
With our soldiers the politicians protect their bloated budgets on the backs of those least able to absorb the impact but with the least amount of voice to protest.
It is high time that we forced those in office to respect the commitment of their protectors and make the same sort commitment to them.
We give subsidies to huge farming conglomerates who routinely poison our food supply due to shoddy practices and non-existent oversight.
We subsidize huge drug companies as they pour out medications that drain our budgets and end up killing people.
We subsidize foreign countries that hate us and kill our citizens and our soldiers.
We subsidize social programs that grow out of control and support people who don’t want to support themselves while those in real need go hungry or without shelter.
We subsidize huge insurance companies through the Affordable (what a joke) healthcare act, allowing them a captive market and ever increasing revenue through wink/nod oversight.
The people who give up their privacy, give up their right to move about freely, give up their right to be heard, give up their right to a minimum wage (my son is paid for an eight hour day from 8 to 5 but he starts with PT (physical training) at 6 and sometimes works till 6 and later.
On his last three day weekend he had staff duty (24 hour shift) on his Friday off and then spent the next day recovering and resting. We enjoyed Father’s Day together, but it was in essence a one day weekend.
It is high time we put those who devalue or denigrate the contribution of our military personnel in their places.
Appreciate our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen. Make sure that your representatives in congress and the white house do as well. Let’s make the career politicians do right by those that protect them or give them all the boot. It starts at the top, Mr. President!!!
The news of the death of Junior Seau, former all-pro linebacker of the San Diego Chargers NFL team, was a shock to the system even in light of the recent disclosures on the effects of concussions and brain injuries on athletes, especially football players.
In a sport of gladiators and modern-day warriors, Junior stood tall. Thirteen times all-pro, he earned the respect of teammate and foe alike and influenced countless young players with his fierce competitiveness balanced by sportsmanship and compassion for the community that he played in.
The sad and premature nature of his passing will spark calls to ban or radically change the game, and hopefully will also spark some common-sense steps to deal more sensibly with the risk involved. The important thing in the short run is that the owners and management recognize the scope of the problem and implement steps that can address the immediate problem; symptoms; and address those who are already suffering the effects of their years of uninformed risk, while also addressing the urgent problem of reducing that risk and increasing the education about the risk in order to solve the core health risks before they begin.
Something that may or may not get the attention that it needs is the overall state of our society that has elevated suicide to the fifth highest cause of death in our state. And that takes into account only those that succeed. Some of the problems illuminated when in the spotlight of celebrity, sports or otherwise, are just symptoms of a greater trend in our society.
I do not want to turn this into something political or into a religious treatise, but I think that in marginalizing faith and forcing each generation to live in a world that is more and more bereft of the values and compassion that all of the mainstream faiths teach we have more and more created a mind-set that we are on our own, that we have to fight for everything we get and someone is always there ready to take it away. Is it any wonder that, when things come crashing down and you have no one to blame but your own choices or the choices of those around you, you are left feeling as though you have no control, no way of correcting things. You don’t have the strength to do it on your own, and you have been too tied up in your pursuit of your own happiness that you failed to build the kind of support system that used to build through the church and the clubs and the bowling nights or the Bible studies. Now we come home and chat with faceless usernames on the internet and complain about our neighbors whom we have never met, or met once and didn’t like them; they had noisy kids or their dog barked or their house is an ugly color.
I am just saying that if we are to stem the tide of hopelessness that seems to plague our country, and especially our youth, our athletes, and our soldiers, They need to know that it is not all their fault, they are not at the mercy of those around them, and there is a power higher than themselves that does already have things figured out.
I will paraphrase a great quote from a movie clip that I saw the other day. I did not catch the name of the movie, but the words resonated with me.
“Everything will be fine in the end, so if things are not looking good, it must not yet be the end.”
God has everything planned and all the battles have already been won, save for the individual battles which we continue to fight against ourselves. We need our faith to help us realize who the enemy really is.
We need to find ways to help those who are struggling to keep looking up. We need to bring faith back into vogue, because, when times are looking their worst, faith is the only thing that can sustain us.
Just a reminder that, while just getting out and walking is an improvement over inactivity and gives you a multitude of benefits, physical, mental, and spiritual, the physical benefits of walking can be greatly magnified by just picking up the pace. I have seen countless TV doctors (Dr.Oz, etc.) give the advice to walk for ten minutes each day as though you were late for an appointment.
Exercise works your muscles, converting fat cells to muscle in direct relation to the amount of work that you put in, but when you exercise you are also improving your cardio-vascular health as well, increasing the amount of oxygen available to fuel your body. In order to increase your body’s access to the fuel that it needs you must bring elevate your heart rate for an extended period of five minutes or longer. The longer you elevate your heart rate the more the benefit.
This does not mean that you should go out and run a marathon tomorrow. Any exercise or training program needs to be taken in steps as you acclimate your body and mind to the added rigors of increased work out.
The next time that you are out for a stroll, pick up the pace a bit. Ten Minutes, it’s a great start. Your heart will thank you.
Till next time, keep walking.
It has been awhile since my last posting and I apologize for that. Life keeps getting in the way. In reviewing my past postings I could see that I was leaning more and more toward making this a political opinion outlet. It began as a way to preserve some of the things which occurred to me as I took my daily walk with my three (now two) dogs on various trails in our area. I always found that I did my best thinking on the trail.
Since my last time here I have been devoting more and more time to my hobby of carving faces on walking sticks as I have found a strong market for hand-crafted art that you can use. My other blog, Work at Playing (www.rbued.com/blog/) is focused on writing, woodcarving, and photography and I will be focusing this blog more upon walking and all aspects of healthy and happy living. I may discuss some political matters, mostly as they pertain to our health and well-being, but I will leave the contentiousness out and try only to give the facts as they pertain directly to our health and contentment.
I will add in an article that I first posted on Work at Playing that should be a good lead-in for our new direction here, in case you missed it. I should be posting a new article this week, so watch for it. I have felt half-empty during my inattention to my writing and do not like the feeling, so expect to hear a lot from me in the future. Thanks, and here is that article.
Today I re-dedicate myself to the pursuit of good health and to start it off I took the dogs for a five mile hike along our local trail. The sights and sounds that offer themselves this time of year are diverse and beautiful. The birds are full of song; the plaintive cry of a hawk breaks the crisp morning air like a hammer, sending illusory shards of sound sparkling in your ears. The sun feels already warm when it touches your shoulders in shimmering rays between the towering canopies of new leaves.
The varied colors range from the subtle to the spectacular. Dozens of varieties of grasses and grains are courting, displaying delicate, life-giving stamens that stretch and reach for the pollens that float through the air as you brush by in inadvertent complicity. The white flowers of the blackberry vines hold the promise of pies and cobblers and strudel to come. The border of the path is awash in blues and yellows and reds.
The sound of the creek lends timelessness to the mood with its lazy but perpetual journey to the sea. The morning sun glints off the surface, causing you squint as you watch the dogs happily plunge into water still chilled by their plunge from the mountain snow. Across the creek two cows stand watching their young calves play and eat in a meadow.
An early morning walk is the perfect opportunity to pray, meditate and to reflect. Surrounded by beauty it is easy to find that place where you can surrender your thoughts to a higher consciousness, a communion with God. It can be a time of introspection and cleansing, when you can step back and look at things from a different perspective. Somehow, surrounded by the beauty of His natural world, it is easier to see your actions and motivations for what they really are.
A solitary walk lends its own set of benefits and sensory satisfaction, but I have found that a dog, or in my case three dogs, can add another layer entirely to the experience. What better example of unconditional love than that of a canine friend? One who doesn’t judge you, always forgives you, and still expects the best from you. Our three dogs add a level of companionship and comfort that can only enhance the natural high that comes from losing yourself on a nice forest trail or a long ragged stretch of Oregon coast.
You can find links to my blogs and explore my website at www.rbued.com Look on the contact page. As always, your comment and contributions in the way of content are always welcome. Come walk with me.
Enough for now. I need to stretch my legs. I think I’ll go for a walk.
We have become such a fearful nation. I’m not talking about being fearful of terrorists or of a nuclear Iran. We have become a nation who is fearful of his neighbor. No, not Mexico. That guy next door. The lady across the street. The new family in the house that Marge and John lost to foreclosure.
We’re fearful of each other. We are afraid of ourselves.
We think that everyone else wants what we have and are constantly scheming to take it from us. So we begin scheming to keep it. We ally ourselves with organizations and entities with values that we abhor in order to gain an advantage over our neighbor or our aunt and uncle or our parents as we clutch desperately to that which we have deemed to be rightfully ours and watch as the vultures that we have empowered circle around the expected plunder.
Democrats swear that Republicans are trying to line the pockets of the rich at the expense of poor old grandma and little Timmy, and the Democrats will ruin democracy as we know it and usher in the second coming of Sweden, according to the Republicans.
Billions of dollars pour out year after year in an effort to stifle the other half of the ideas out there while we lament the hunger and suffering and lack of education that plagues our cities.
Our politicians campaign without end as our roads and our schools fall deeper and deeper into disrepair. Immigration and health reform are not addressed because every year is an election year and no one has the courage to take bold action for fear of angering a small but vocal special interest group or a union or a corporation.
We keep sending them back to office regardless of their failures because we are fearful of giving that position to the opposition. We allow them to make ridiculous proposals and accomplish nothing and then reward them with job security. They may be lousy at what they do, but at least they are OUR guy.
Are we destined to remain a “Throw the baby out with the bathwater” society, a “This is the best we can do simply because that is what we’ve become accustomed to” society? Are we destined to run our business in such a paranoid manner?
I hope not.
Is it just me or do the various news shows sometimes step out-of-bounds in their zeal to report every bit of information that they uncover? There was a time when journalists and law enforcement were on the same side, but it seems that news outlets currently are doing everything that they can to make law enforcement a losing proposition.
What brought this once more to prominence in my mind was a story that I watched on the local fox station news broadcast about a default setting on smart phones that allows GPS information to be uploaded with the photos sent to the internet from the phones. After telling us how bad guys are using this to target people’s homes and possessions, they told us how to find the menu path to turn the GPS tracking off. If they had stopped there, it was a good story and a good heads up to us all about the dangers of blindly posting to the internet.
They didn’t stop there. They continued the story, explaining how the flip side to the danger is the hidden benefit that the authorities can use the same privacy glitch to track down bad guys, and in fact have been very successful doing just that.
This is where I have a problem with the reporting. We have learned how to combat those tech-savvy thieves that are prowling for our identity information and that is very helpful, but we know that once we close that avenue they are going to find another. They are extremely intelligent, if twisted, individuals. This is an ongoing struggle that I suspect we have seen just the tip of the iceberg.
Now, though, we must also worry about all those bad guys who might have been caught except that channel 12 just told them how to avoid capture and let them in on the fact that there was indeed an imminent threat of that very thing.
Thanks a lot, Ms. Reporter-On-The Spot.
I see this all the time anymore, both nationally and locally. If they have the information they have to write it report it. To heck with discretion and common sense. From how to make explosives to where the best places are for a sexual predater to be successful.
What ever became of responsible reporting?
Here we are in the campaign season again. Actually it feels like we are in the campaign season still. Did it ever
stop? Have the decisions that our elected leaders become based upon the merit of the issue, or have we remained
in the protect our candidacy mode? I think the latter.
Am I the only one who thinks that we should hold our elected officials to do their job and quit worrying about their
next job? Our president has been on the campaign trail for the past six years. When will he realize that he
represents the entire country, not just the half that voted for him. Every citizen of this great country contributed to
the conditions that allowed him to be swept into office and he owes it to all of us to focus on the job of leading the free world and stop playing partisan politics. It does not stop with the President. It seems that every decision that an official makes must first be filtered through an electability filter. Elected officials should be able to point to their records in office and convince enough people to re-elect them without spending most of their effort maintaining position in a stagnant system which manages bipartisanship most often in creating failure and gridlock. Why would I elect someone who says they would do a good job if I had the choice of keeping someone who was doing a good job?
I guess that the real question is in what choices that we have as voters . Are we really represented by the parties that we affiliate with, or are we as voters forced into accepting trade-offs that offer us a bad or worse choice? As a democrat I can support the environment and push for programs and reforms that aid those who most need help, but I must also advocate the slaughter of millions of nearly born babies thinly disguised as a privacy issue and support organizations who would undermine and underfund our military while I have a son serving proudly in the Army now. I must support those who would
open our borders and provide amnesty to those who pushed ahead of the thousands waiting to or going through the process
to become citizens of our country.
My other choice would allow me to support those unborn victims and my hero son, but then I allow assault rifles in the neighborhood and lower taxes on those who can afford to help out more as the wealthy have done without complaint during all of our country’s previous wars and national crises. I can support smaller and more efficient government, but am forced to support cuts to our most vulnerable citizens.
And with both choices come corporate welfare and rampant special interests hijacking the process with fear-mongering and vilification of opponents. Why have we allowed our world respected method of governance become handcuffed by this blatant attack on the fabric of our republic, governed by “We the people”?
We hear a lot of talk about the unfriendly and unkind discourse that is rampant in ourpublic lives. People seem no longer able to discuss things from two different perspectives and remain respectful while disagreeing. Once again, some of ourworst offenders seem to be those people that we see as leaders and innovators and movers in society. Why did it take so many years for the President to produce a document that so many of us must produce in the course of our daily lives, while vilifying those who asked and implying racism at the root of any challenge from policy to associations to background? Shouldn’t we be able to expect more from a man whom we saw fit to lead us during a time of financial and social upheavalat home and abroad? He needs to quit leading for the good of his party and his re-election and start leading for the good of his country. I have never subscribed to the thought that he was born somewhere other than the U.S., but I do not appreciate the arrogance that caused him to wait so long to satisfy the doubts of such a large part of the society that he has pledged to lead.
I think that a large part of the unfriendly discourse in the country, while perpetuated by our leaders and our blind adherence to party platforms rather than following our hearts on the individual issues, originates in our educational system and the way that we devalue the essential and elevate the potential. The farther we advance in the system the more we buy into the idea that education makes us more worthy. That our hard studying and the stress of borrowing all that money trumps the wisdom gained through experience and hard labor. We gain sympathy for those that we consider less fortunate than ourselves, but we lose our empathy, trading it for an “I know better than you what you need” attitude that serves to drive a deeper wedge between the two sections of society; those that serve and those that are served.
The way to
change attitudes, including our own is to begin thinking for ourselves. No matter what political side that you align yourself with, no matter what social strata you orbit in, start thinking for yourself.
Question your leaders when something doesn’t seem quite right. Ask them to work harder to get it right. Question your own motives; are you compromising on a moral point for convenience? Is that really what your heart is telling you? Sometimes that rings more true than what’s been put in your head. Disagree, but catch yourself when you begin to get angry or abusive. Why are you being so defensive if you truly are right. At worst, your friend may continue to have a wrong idea, but you keep a friend who with another chance to convince them. If you get angry, neither of you will have a friend to convince. I for one would rather lose an argument than lose a friend. Especially over something as convoluted as party politics.
Brandon Roy is not the problem with the Portland Trailblazers this season. His balky knees have not reduced the three-time all-star to being a detriment to his team. He is still worth every penny of that huge contract that he signed over the summer, if any of the athletes who entertain us are worth the millions that they make for playing a children’s game altered and tweaked extensively to afford players, especially those deemed as “superstars”, every opportunity to succeed. Brandon Roy is the face of this team, he is the heart of this team and he is the soul of this team. His value to the team and to the city and the state cannot be measured in points and assists and shooting percentage.
When Brandon Roy came to town the Portland team was in shambles. Fluctuating between being the most tantalizing collection of talent to being the most ridiculous and dysfunctional collection of social misfits in the league, the Trailblazers had gone from being beloved statewide and respected league wide to being the laughingstock of the NBA. The Portland Jail-blazers, as they became known nationwide, under-achieved and disrespected their fans and each other’s until their fan base said enough is enough. The arena emptied and the team languished in a self-imposed perdition punctuated by ugly front office posturing and threats and even talk of the team leaving town. The team chemistry had deteriorated to the point of players throwing towels in team-mates faces during games, accosting referees on a regular basis, player tirades against coaches, players getting coaches fired, and records set in technical fouls in a season. This is the culture that Brandon Roy was asked to change.
He came in and did everything that we asked him to do. He came in and brought with him an attitude and a skill set that set the example and the standard for the players and staff around him. He adapted and perfected his game as he brought his teammates to fulfill more of their potential to keep up. He was a leader and a teammate, but more importantly he brought a feeling of camaraderie. He is a smart player who has played with limitations since high school but who knows his body and what he can and cannot do, and how to compensate for the things that he can’t. His game, by necessity, is a constantly evolving skill-set. His is not a game cavalierly changed up to suit the whims of the front office, but one that must be built around and enhanced by the people brought in around him. The Trailblazers knew this about Brandon when they drafted him.
Early on with this team Brandon had the people around him on the court that could spread the defenses out and give him room to operate. We had people who could stick the three with regularity. Travis Outlaw, Steve Blake, Jared Bayless, Rudy Fernandez (where the heck has he gone?), Nic Batum (same question, although he did show up against Dallas tonight.), Martell Webster. We had point guards who adapted to Brandon’s style of play, instead of coming in and expecting our star to cater to his style. Sorry, Andre, I think that you are a very good player, just not the right one to pair with a guy like B-Roy. If you could have accepted a sixth man role we might have had something going, but your demand to start sent the point guard that could have supplied that good counterpoint to your slow, methodical set up and lack of an outside shot.
B-Roy’s knees have been bad for a long time and he has managed it well. This last flair-up does not signal the end of his value to the team. He is an all-star, and once this team gets right and he is able to play his game again and not fight triple teams on every other shot he will be an all-star again. It is the play of the team that is robbing Roy of his ability to play at an all-star level. When the bench starts carrying a share of the load and we get a couple of long-range shooters to play alongside Roy the team will be fine. It’s still a 50 win team if we can get the whole team to step up their game to match the effort that Roy brings every night.
all-starI’m disgusted with the talk show chatter and the unfortunate vocal minority that is calling to trade Roy, claiming that his candid comments about what is wrong with the team was some kind of diatribe against the team and coaches. His observations were mostly spot-on. He is not the quickest player on the court, and when you put another slow deliberate guy next to him you are not going to have a very explosive offense, especially when that point guard can only be relied upon to shoot consistently from 15 feet or less. And it is on the front office and the coaching staff that they have put the mantel of the team on Roy’s shoulders and then refused to consider his skill-set when choosing the players to surround him with. You can’t fix a Ferrari with parts from a Porsche.
I have to believe that Brandon would not be struggling nearly as much right now if he heard words of support rather than the bitter vitriol that fills local sports talk shows lately. The hosts of these shows are awful, but it is their job to stir up a topic when there isn’t much else on the local scene to discuss, but it is unfortunate that the same people who have fawned all aver Roy when he did them the favor of an interview and did it with grace and honesty now are ripping him for that same honesty. These are the same radio hosts who will tell you that you can’t judge T.O. or Kobe or Tiger like normal people, you don’t know the pressures that they are living under. I’ll take B-Roy over any of those losers.
Unfortunately, these talk shows seem to attract that bombastic group of miscreants who value performance over character and in fact seem to revel in the support of the more selfish and self-centered characters in the sporting world and seem to resent those who can excel and thrive while maintaining their dignity and humanity. I don’t believe that these people are representative of the broader fan base but it seems that they will continue to monopolize the air time until Brandon can adjust and get back to his usual level of play.
I guess that panicking after a stretch of five or six bad games is typical of the Portland mentality. Look what happens when it snows.