Thursday, January 31, 2008
The War and Its Toll
After the Surge * Suicides
Dana Priest's report in The Washington Post today details the high number of suicides among returning veterans.
- Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside, a psychiatric outpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who was waiting for the Army to decide whether to court-martial her for endangering another soldier and turning a gun on herself last year in Iraq, attempted to kill herself Monday evening. In so doing, the 25-year-old Army reservist joined a record number of soldiers who have committed or tried to commit suicide after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Joshua R. Anderson, 24, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 02, 2008
Ryan D. Maseth, 24, Army Staff Sergeant, Jan 02, 2008
Thomas J. Casey, 32, Army Captain, Jan 03, 2008
Andrew J. Olmsted, 37, Army Major, Jan 03, 2008
Menelek M. Brown, 24, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class, Jan 04, 2008
Jason F. Lemke, 30, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 05, 2008
James D. Gudridge, 20, Army Specialist, Jan 06, 2008
Timothy R. Hanson, 23, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 07, 2008
Todd E. Davis, 22, Army Specialist, Jan 09, 2008
Jonathan Kilian Dozier, 30, Army Staff Sergeant, Jan 09, 2008
Sean M. Gaul, 29, Army Staff Sergeant, Jan 09, 2008
David J. Hart, 22, Army Sergeant, Jan 09, 2008
Zachary W. McBride, 20, Army Sergeant, Jan 09, 2008
Ivan E. Merlo, 19, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 09, 2008
Phillip J. Pannier, 20, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 09, 2008
Matthew I. Pionk, 30, Army Sergeant 1st Class, Jan 09, 2008
Christopher A. Sanders, 22, Army Sergeant, Jan 09, 2008
Curtis A. Christensen Jr., 29, Marine Lance Corporal, Jan 11, 2008
Keith E. Lloyd, 26, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 12, 2008
Danny L. Kimme, 27, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 16, 2008
David H. Sharrett II, 27, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 16, 2008
John P. Sigsbee, 21, Army Specialist, Jan 16, 2008
Richard B. Burress, 25, Army Specialist, Jan 19, 2008
Jon M. Schoolcraft III, 26, Army Specialist, Jan 19, 2008
Justin R. Whiting, 27, Army Staff Sergeant, Jan 19, 2008
James M. Gluff, 20, Marine Lance Corporal, Jan 19, 2008
Michael R. Sturdivant, 20, Army Sergeant, Jan 22, 2008
Tracy Renee Birkman, 41, Army Sergeant, Jan 25, 2008
Duncan Charles Crookston, 19, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 25, 2008
Robert J. Wilson, 28, Army Staff Sergeant, Jan 26, 2008
Mikeal W. Miller, 22, Army Sergeant, Jan 27, 2008
Alan G. Rogers, 40, Army Major, Jan 27, 2008
James E. Craig, 26, Army Sergeant, Jan 28, 2008
Gary W. Jeffries, 37, Army Staff Sergeant, Jan 28, 2008
Evan A. Marshall, 21, Army Specialist, Jan 28, 2008
Brandon A. Meyer, 20, Army Private 1st Class, Jan 28, 2008
Joshua A. R. Young, 21, Army Private, Jan 28, 2008
As of today, total number of soldiers who lost their lives in Bush's war: 3942
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Heaven, Nirvana and a Run up Parrott Drive
The friendly man stopped and gave me detailed instructions about making a loop which would require getting off the street and running on a half-mile long uphill trail ending at CSM (College of San Mateo) parking lot. From there it would be easy to get back to Clearview bypassing W. Hillsdale Blvd. I told him that I would try it another day.
Yesterday there was a break in the weather. So I ran up Parrott, made a right turn on Bel Aire Road, and a hard right on Tournament Drive which dead ends at the bottom of a slope. It was there that I found the gate to the service road and the trail that went uphill. It was muddy and slippery but I had no difficulty getting to the parking lot and paved roads. Not a long run -- approx. a 3-mile loop from my starting point -- but challenging.
The distance runners of every age strewn on chairs and stairs and floor gave a sigh of assent. They conjured up the figure of the stork-like Burfoot as he won the Boston marathon in 1968.
"I run," the non-running Jesuit read , "because I enjoy it--not always, but most of the time. I run because I've always run--not trained but run."
"What do I get ?" The words of Burfoot, a Connecticut Yankee, came in the Boston accent of the priest. "Joy and pain. Good health and injuries. Exhilaration and despair. A feeling of accomplishment and a feeling of waste. The sunrise and the sunset."
--George Sheehan (Dr. Sheehan on Running)
Friday, January 25, 2008
Art Tatum on a Rainy Friday Night
Art Tatum, Solo Piano - Playlist, "In Private"
"These rare and historic recordings were originally made on a private tape at Art Tatum's home, during his time in California at the end of the forties.
- Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (Barris-Koehler-Moll)
- Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin' (Strayhorn-Ellington-Gaines)
- You're Drivin' Me Crazy (Walter Donaldson)
- Tenderly (Walter Gross-Jack Lawrence)
- Over the Rainbow (Arlen-Harburg)
- In a Sentimental Mood (Ellington-Mills)
- You Took Advantage of Me (Rodgers-Hart)
- She's the Talk of the Town (Livingston-Symes-Neiburg)
- She's Funny That Way (Moret-Whiting)
- I'll Never Be The Same (Malneck-Signorelly-Kahn)
- Night and Day (Cole Porter)"
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Walk in the Woods with a Young Forager
Chanterelles and an Ultramarathoner
This is what I wrote about distance running on December 4, 2005:
- For me, it is not a "lonely" experience. Far from it. Of course, there are the occasional hazards and physical problems--aches and pains, pulled hamstrings, and such. Yet, loneliness is not part of my world when I am out on a long run. It is mostly a good feeling, especially when I run on trails in fall, muddy patches notwisthstanding. The changing landscape as the foothills turn into a lush green, the smell of bay laurel leaves, the look of the oak, madrone and buckeye trees never fail to give me pleasure. I don't need an electronic device to listen to music or news when I run. I feel close to nature; I feel at peace with the world.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
A New Beginning
- A city in western California southeast of San Francisco. Named by a Spanish expedition in 1776, it was the center of a Mexican colony from 1822 to 1846. Population: 96000 (apprx).
Like the quietness and the scenery but there are certain things about my old neighborhood that I miss. For one, I cannot step out of the door and chat with a neighbor. And I have more friends in that part of the valley who are important in my life. Then there are my daughters and their families. In this part of the world a distance of 15 or 20 miles means nothing and, yet, there is no denying the fact that I am further away from them.
Decisions to relocate are hard to make. In my case it was not absolutely necessary but, rightly or wrongly, I decided that it was time to move. The process itself can be very stressful. Good friends came to my aid.
It was a clear, crisp morning, temperature around 60 deg. F (16 deg. C) when I went for the first run from my new quarters. Had run on Crystal Springs Road in the past but not as a resident of San Mateo.
Researching San Mateo on the web I came across an interesting item.
St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in San Mateo, California is one of the oldest stone churches west of the Mississippi. Its history begins in 1864 when the village of San Mateo had a population of 150 people, 25 houses, a railway depot, Roman Catholic Church, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, and a grocery store. To the north was San Francisco and Grace Church, now Grace Cathedral. There were several Episcopalian families in the area, and the Reverend Giles Alexander Easton arrived from San Francisco to conduct the first Episcopal services on April 24, 1864, in the local schoolhouse.
-- Dictionary of Philosophy, edited by Dagobert D. Runes
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Call for Impeachment by a Former B-24 Pilot
Excerpts from Washington Post
But what are the facts?
Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.
From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's assumption of power was the product of questionable elections that probably should have been officially challenged -- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.
In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.
- He volunteered for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II and served as a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot in the Fifteenth Air Force, flying 35 missions over enemy territory from bases in North Africa and later Italy, often against heavy anti-aircraft artillery. McGovern was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for saving his crew by crash landing his damaged bomber on a small Mediterranean island.
Not a citizen 1972, I could not vote for George McGovern, but I contributed to his campaign. The fact that he received more votes than Nixon in San Francisco County made me feel good.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
American Politics - The Taboo against Tears
Sunday, January 06, 2008
A Sunday Morning in January
San Francisco Chronicle
"This was the worst," National Weather Service forecaster Will Pi said of Friday's deluge, which dropped nearly 8 inches of rain on the wettest locations, dumped at least 2 inches on many Bay Area cities and brought 100-mph winds to the most exposed peaks.
"It had better be the worst."
There will be showers Saturday and Sunday, Pi said, and another storm is expected to roll through the Bay Area on Tuesday. None of it will compare to Friday's storm, Pi said, which knocked out power to 1.3 million Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers in Northern California.
Presidential Election Campaign
Bach and Brubeck
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
A New Year Begins
The celebrations are over. Those who are not sleeping off last nights excesses -- the almost enforced gaieties -- it is time to take stock. For most of us it would be just another year. Nothing wrong with finding pleasure in things that we routinely do. For some there will be momentous events -- falling in or out of love, births, weddings, career changes, and....yes, losses. All very normal as we go through life.
Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.
---Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Translated by Edward Fitzgerald)
This film by Jason Reitman was an unexpected pleasure. Ellen Page as Juno MacGuff put in a stellar performance. She might not succeed in bagging the Oscar but she will be remembered. Don't miss it.
Three Days of the Condor (1975)
Sydney Pollack's film was prescient. That was what I thought while I was watching it on video. Released in 1975, the film brings to life rogue elements in the CIA and their nefarious activities about oil,Middle East and Venezuela.
Think of Bush's war and news stories that have appeared over the last five years. Does not take much of an imagination to picture the neocons dreaming about oil and domination of the Middle East, and the opportunity that fell into their laps when fanatic Islamic jihadis struck us on 9/11. While the country was in shock the neocons ran with it and turned war games into reality. And the CIA helped them do it.
The film was based on James Grady's "Six Days of the Condor". I read the book after watching the film in the 70's. The film script was a vast improvement over the original novel. Robert Redford perfectly fitted the role of Joseph Turner, a low-level CIA analyst who accidentally became the prey of killers let loose by his employers. Faye Dunaway looked toothy and sexy, and the great Max von Sydow very believable as a hired assassin.