Thursday, December 10, 2009


It was only one hour ago
It was all so different then
Nothing yet has really sunk in
Looks like it always did
This flesh and bone
is just the way that we are tied in
But there's no one home
I grieve...... for you
You leave....... me
So hard to move on
Still loving what's gone
They say life carries on
Carries on and on and on and on

The news that truly shocks
is the empty, empty page
While the final rattle rocks
it's empty, empty cage
and I can't handle this
I grieve....... for you
You leave....... me
Let it out and move on
Missing what's gone
They say life carries on
They say life carries on and on and on

Life carries on in the people I meet
In everyone that's out on the street
In all the dogs and cats
In the flies and rats
In the rot and the rust
In the ashes and the dust
Life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on
Just the car that we ride in
The home we reside in
The face that we hide in
The way we are tied in
As life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on

Did I dream this belief
or did I believe this dream?
Now I will find relief
I grieve

Peter Gabriel–“I Grieve”

There comes a point where one can think about the loved one and not break down crying. The wound is not as raw anymore. One can talk about the person and share memories without completely losing it. Food starts to taste again. Not taste good, just taste. One becomes a bit more focused in the here and now, instead of wallowing in the regrets of the past, as well as the happy times that will never be again. Colors seem a little more bright. One starts to take some pleasure in the simple joys of life again.

Much like any other injury, there are scars. They aren’t well healed. Something on televison might trigger a memory of a conversation that was once had. A family picture cuts to the heart of one’s memory, triggering a flood of mental images that crash down like tidal waves. Smells are the worst for me, having a somewhat sensitive nose. A smell can trigger memories like almost nothing else can. And when they do, the scabs are ripped right off the wound, and the pain is as fresh as the day it was inflicted.

It’s a little less agonizing, though. It recedes a bit more quickly; each time fading more quickly than the last.

The emptiness is still there, though one doesn’t seem to think about it nearly as much as what one did before. One can somewhat imagine that a an amputee feels something similar; a phantom pain from something should be there, but isn’t.

Time heals all wounds, I suppose. It's slow, though, moving at the Lord's pace, and not our own. Somebody told me recently that God is seldom on time, but he's never late....

Monday, December 07, 2009


More fun with lyrics. I started to look closely at the band Iron Maiden when I saw a show on the Military Channel that chronicled the top ten fighter planes of all time. Somewhere on the list was the British Spitfire. They had some guy on there who was singing the praises of the thing. He talked very knowledgably about its rate of climb, its manueverability, its speed, durability, armament, etc. At the end of the segment, it showed the guy's name: Bruce Dickinson. Odd, I thought. There's a metal singer named that. I never listened to the band, but knew from reading guitar stuff a little about the band. Not my cup of tea at the time, but somethig that got filed away amongst all the other useless trivia that occupies my brain.

It turned out that it was indeed the same Bruce Dickinson, leather-lunged singer for Iron Maiden. He's a pilot, and he owns a Spitfire. How cool is that? I give you the lyrics to ACES HIGH, a snapshot in metal of the Battle of Britain:

There goes the siren that warns of the air raid
Then comes the sound of the guns sending flak
Out for the scramble we've got to get airborne
Got to get up for the coming attack.

Jump in the cockpit and start up the engines
Remove all the wheelblocks there's no time to waste
Gathering speed as we head down the runway
Gotta get airborne before it's too late.

Running, scrambling, flying
Rolling, turning, diving, going in again
Run, live to fly, fly to live, do or die
Run, live to fly, fly to live. Aces high.

Move in to fire at the mainstream of bombers
Let off a sharp burst and then turn away
Roll over, spin round and come in behind them
Move to their blindsides and firing again.

Bandits at 8 O'clock move in behind us
Ten ME-109's out of the sun
Ascending and turning our Spitfires to face them
Heading straight for them I press down my guns

Rolling, turning, diving
Rolling, turning, diving, going in again
Run, live to fly, fly to live, do or die
Run, live to fly, fly to live, Aces high.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wasted Years--The Song

This is great song that I just discovered. It's only been out about 25 years or so. Better late than never, I suppose. The chorus is especially poignant to me, since I've certainly spent more years than I care to count searching for the lost ones. It's a particular fallacy of mine.

This is from the band Iron Maiden, which I admit I'd not given much thought to until recently when I saw a concert of theirs on late one night. Trying to find good music these days is kind of like trying to find a unicorn. As a result, I'm digging back into the 70's and 80's for artistic inspiration and something to listen to. Modern heavy metal sounds awful to me, with dropped tuning on the guitars and singers who sound much like Cookie Monster. I hate it. I'm finding more and more people turning to the older stuff, and I find myself turning with them. And not just to heavey metal. I spent a happy hour a few nights ago playing along to the Bryan Adams album RECKLESS. I shamelessly learned the guitar parts to Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive" recently as well. I remember fondly the 1980's....

At any rate, this band is worth listening to, especially if you're a fan of bands like Rush, which incorporate cerebral lyrics and virtuostic instrumentals. Not everybody's cup of tea, mind you, but I dig it.

Here's the lyrics to the song, written by Adrian Smith. This is off the album SOMEWHERE IN TIME. Smith is one of the bands' three guitarists (how cool is it to have 3 guitars?). The song kicks off with a classical-sounding riff in E minor, then goes into a nicely overdriven guitar part. Worth a listen to, should you have the chance. The lead singer has been described as a human air-raid siren, and I don't know that I disagree. The guy has tremendous range, and somewhat of an oepratic quailty to his voice with a lot of vibrato. I digress, however.

[(Smith) 5:06]

From the coast of gold, across the seven seas
I'm travellin' on, far and wide
But now it seems, I'm just a stranger to myself
And all the things I sometimes do, it isn't me but
someone else

I close my eyes, and think of home
Another city goes by in the night
Ain't it funny how it is, you never miss it 'til it's
gone away
And my heart is lying there and will be 'til my
dying day

So understand
Don't waste your time always searching for
those wasted years
Face up... make your stand
And realise you're living in the golden years

Too much time on my hands, I got you on my mind
Can't ease this pain, so easily
When you can't find the words to say it's hard to
make it through another day
And it makes me wanna cry and throw my
hands up to the sky


Yeah. It's like that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Unbridled Science

Here's an article from Michelle Malkin's site about Obama's new science czar.

In a vaccum, perhaps this outlook on humanity as a ecological problem that needs control might make sense. The problem is that no aspect of our existence on this Earth can be taken in a vaccum. Whether it is our politics, our marital relationships, our business dealings, or anything else that we do on Earth, everything we do leaves us accountable. To our fellow human beings, and most importantly, to God.

A government without accountability to a higher power is tyranny, pure and simple. Science unchecked by morality, or goverened by a warped morality, is evil. Ask the victims of the Holocaust on that one.

A government that would institute a man with these sorts of beliefs as the overseer of scientific progress in this country is immoral. Pure and simple. This focus on global warming and other "green" bunk is simply a front to advance the agenda of a totalitarian, socialist, morally corrupt facet of society.

This health care plan that Obama is pushing? The state will decide who gets care and who doesn't. And with a science czar like this to help determine who is fit to live and reproduce, have you any doubts about where a political conservative is going to end up on an organ transplant list? Probably pretty low as a recipient.

But as a forced donor?

I'm just saying.....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Journey and the War

As a preface to this post, let me say that my bible study group just kicked off a study on spiritual warfare, which is a really interesting topic, in an EXORCIST sort of way. The basic premise is that if you believe in God, then the converse also has to be true. There is a Devil, and it’s a malevolent being that is pretty powerful here on Earth. This entity’s job is to take down as many souls as he can by making their lives miserable, breaking their faith in God. There's an active war between the two entities, with mankind right on the front lines.

OK, that sets the stage nicely for the next four days.


Last Thursday, I was in court in a different jurisdiction as a special prosecutor. On the way back to town, I received a telephone call from my sister. My dad was in the hospital. They weren’t sure what was wrong, but he was too weak to move. Somewhere in the middle of a canyon, the call drops. I hate cell phones as a general principle, but they are handy when they work. I went overboard and ended up with an Iphone. Very nice, very convenient. The GPS is handy for navigationally challenged people such as myself.

Anyway, the situation sounded bad. The flight schedule was such that I wasn’t going to be able to get out until fairly late the next day. That seemed unacceptable.

I was scared, worried, etc. Things didn’t sound good, and his condition has deteriorated from a back injury, as well as Parkinson’s, diabetes, and a heart condition. Smoking doesn’t help any of it, either. Also, he’s still grieving for my Mom, whom we lost less than a year ago.

It seemed like the best solution was to take off driving. I cleared stuff up as best as I could at work, and hit the road around 5:00.

I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in about a month. I can run ok on no sleep for awhile, but everything has its limits. I have no idea why I can’t sleep, other than insomnia kicks on big-time with me if I’m under stress, and there’s been a lot of that. A couple of hours into the trip, I realized that driving straight through simply wasn’t going to be an option. I was too darn tired. I had driven about 31/2 hours that day already traveling for work. I decided to strike out for the Metroplex, since I have friends in the area. It’s about ½ of the trip home, so that seemed like a good option. I could get a bit of sleep and get rolling early the next morning.


My body apparently decided that sleep could no longer be avoided, and I crashed hard. So hard that I slept through the alarm, and woke up around 10:00 the next day, which is about the time that I planned on being at my destination.

In the scramble to get out of town, my cell phone went swimming in a glass of water. Since Iphones aren’t naturally aquatic, this was a disaster. No cell phone, which is somewhat essential to keeping up with what’s going on the world. “Angry,” is not an adequate description of the emotions that I was feeling at the time. Were gamma radiation present, I would have gained 500 pounds and 3 feet in height, turned green, and smashed the hell out of everything around me. So those of you in the Metroplex got off light.

I make it into town finally in late afternoon. Dad is diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, and they’ve done some fixing on it during the test. He’s able to get some food down, which was a big part of the problem, and was getting stronger. He was still having problems from the back injury, which included atrophy in the leg muscles on that side. His weight was down slightly below 130 pounds, which is pretty light for my dad. He needed to lose a bit, but not that much, and not in that manner. We have a good visit in the hospital. He decided that he needed to get some intensive rehabilitation to get stronger, and thought he probably needed to go to a rehab/nursing home for awhile.

That was heartbreaking news. He didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want him there. I felt guilty as hell for not being able to take him in or be there to help him myself. I made the offer to have him move in with me, which I’d do without hesitation. But he didn’t want that, to say the least.

His mood was improving, though. He was looking at it in the right way. He was planning on using the time to build himself back up to where he could go back to work and home again. That’s a healthy step and a healthy attitude.

Late that night I head to the old house. It had been vacant a day or two, and it was dark and foreboding when I arrived well after midnight. Once I got in the house, I felt like I had stepped into a horror movie. I killed no less that five scorpions within the first few minutes. They were active and feisty, which is not the way I prefer my scorpions. However, they were no match for the old trusty 3-wood, which is as fine a scorpion killing device as I’ve ever seen.

I then had to clean the nasty little buggers up. While trying to vacuum their smashed, chitinous little bodies up, the vacuum cleaner decided it would be great fun to bog up on one, and spit it in the air directly at my face.

This is not funny. At all. I am deathly afraid of those things, having had a pair of them in my sleeping bag on a camping trip. I’m all about sharing sleeping bags under the proper circumstances, but definitely not with arachnids. After stomping the corpse into its component atoms and using words I didn’t think I actually knew, I re-holstered my little Model 60 .357, and set about trying to find a defib kit. I think the revolver was called for when zombie scorpions take to the skies to attack. That crap is terrifying.

Once the adrenaline had finally dumped, the major organs were functioning again, and all the corpses disposed of, I finally got to bed around 2am. The only scorpion free room appears to be my mom’s room, which is unchanged since she died. I camp down there for the night, with an odd sense of peace.


Nobody in town sells replacement Iphones. They’ll only do it with a 2 year contract extension, which I already signed a few months ago. No amount of cajoling or legal threats gets me anything else. They’ll sell me a Blackberry, but the data plan is different from what I had (read: more expensive).

Dad’s decided that he’s feeling well enough to smoke again. The suggestion that he’s feeling better because he isn’t smoking isn’t met with enthusiasm. The cigarette, as expected, makes him a bit sicker.

After much waffling, I get a Gophone from the local Wal Mart. I also found affordable pistol ammo, which is a good thing as well. The SIM card from the Iphone seems to work, especially after I finished drying it off. Sometime around 8 that night, I have cell phone service once again.

No scorpions are found in the house that night. Prayer and pesticide have done their work, apparently. Prayer from me, and Dad says they sprayed the house earlier that week, which must have stirred all the critters up.


I helped to move Dad into the rehab home around lunchtime. I can’t bear to call it a nursing home. I ran him over there from the hospital, having gotten there around 8:00 that morning. He’s looking better, gained a little weight back, and seems to have a positive attitude about the whole thing, which is good. Based on that, I decided that I needed to get back north for work the next day. I’m looking at 9 hours of solid driving. I figured that if I stock up on protein bars, diet Dr. Pepper and water, I can make it quite a ways before having to stop. This is not counting bathroom breaks, of course. I plan to get to the house no later than 11:00pm, which is quite acceptable. I hit the road around 1:00pm.

All is going according to plan, when the tire blows. I am on the middle of the new loop around Austin, basically in the middle of nowhere. Traffic is moving at a minimum of 80 on that thing, and there’s not much room on the side of the road to change the tire. To top it off, these tires are less than a month old.

Several years ago, I had a cousin killed while changing a tire on the side of I-35. So I’m again a bit nervous. I wait for breaks in the traffic to loosen lug nuts, put the jack under the car, etc. It’s a slow process, because I stop when there’s traffic whizzing by three feet from my head. If I’m going to get run over, I want to see it coming.

After awhile, it’s absolutely ridiculous. Traffic is heavy. There’s a point where my faith in humanity is shaken. A few people wave as they sail by at 80mph. Again, I offer up a small prayer to get me out of this and back to my son alive.

I’m in the middle of popping a lug nut off as a prelude to jacking up the car, when a voice asks me if I need any help. It scares the thunder out of me. I never heard the car pull up. Apparently, the guy went past, pulled over, and backed up. He’s a tall, older guy in a Ford pickup. I tell him much appreciated, and ask if he has a hydraulic jack. I hate the little weenie jacks that most cars come equipped with these days. When I had a truck, I made sure to have a good solid floor jack in it.

He says no, and asks if I was nervous about the traffic. I admitted that I was. He asks where I’m heading, and offers to stand guard while I change the tire. This is exactly what I need. I get the tire off, get the little doughnut on, and get everything back on. The guy asks if I’m intending to drive on through. He says there’s a tire place fairly close, and offers to pilot me in. He does. I’m now off the main road, and at least into town. Before he leaves, I give him my business card, and tell him to look me up if I can return the favor if he or his family are in the Panhandle. He asks if I have a church home where I’m from. This is a neat moment. I remember my prayer on the side of the road.

However, they don’t have my size tires at this Wal Mart. Discount Tires, where my set came from, is not open on Sunday. There’s an NTB on I-35 that I limp to. Almost three hours after the blowout, I’m on the road again, $127 dollars poorer, but happy to be rolling.

I make it home around 1:00am. I am worn out, sick of protein bars, tires, the highway, and swearing never to touch another Diet Dr. Pepper, but feeling pretty good, all things considered. A lot of obstacles were thrown in my path, but the trip seemed to have the desired effect of helping my dad a bit, physically and emotionally. Therein lies the glory.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An Open Prayer For Mom

I didn’t write this on Mother’s Day. I should have. Truth be told, I just couldn’t make myself.

This is the first Mother’s Day without Mom. It’s not the same, and the day has a bittersweet tang to it that doesn’t make it something that seems worth celebrating, despite the fact there are other mothers around who deserve the holiday. Holidays are personal, and with her gone, my personal connection to it seems somewhat muted.

I miss you, Mom. I miss my number one fan. I regret the times that I shut you out, knowing that you just wanted to touch a part of my life, and to have that connection with me. I regret holding a grudge against you for so many years due to the drinking. Nobody is perfect. I was holding you to a standard that is impossible for anyone to meet. I regret moving away in the midst of your illness, in the mistaken, arrogant belief that it would help my marriage. I regret not being there for Dad, when I know that your main focus as you were dying was to make sure that he’s taken care of. I regret being such a selfish jerk, and not making more time with you in your final years.

I can’t tell you all this now, but I hope that somehow, God lets you see in my heart, and lets you see how much I love you, and how much I miss you. Now, more than ever. I can’t tell you how much I want to know that you’re ok, that you’re free of all the misery and pain this sorry world of ours has to offer us. I feel just like a little boy who has lost his mother, instead of an adult who ought to be handling this better.

Lord, take care of her up there. She had her faults, but loving her children certainly wasn’t one of them. I just pray that we’re all reunited one day again, and that she doesn’t hold my faults and failures against me.

Happy belated Mother’s Day, we all miss you.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

All That We Can Do

Sometimes, you do all that you can do. And it isn't enough to stop the evil from happening.

A suspect beat his baby’s momma within an inch of her life. He was stopped by a witness who came to her rescue with a shovel. The police were unable to arrest the suspect when they found him, much later. They didn’t get there when the assault was happening, and the Defendant didn’t appear to be an immediate threat of continuing domestic violence when they made contact. That’s one of the deals about arresting people. It has to be done within the scope of the law, and the law said it couldn’t be done. Any conviction obtained if that arrest had gone down would be thrown out, and the suspect free to do it again.

A warrant for his arrest was filed. That’s all that could be done. The rest depends on the suspect getting arrested. Hopefully, an officer will see him on the street and make the arrest. Maybe a traffic stop ends up with the suspect getting flagged because the warrant shows up in the computer. Maybe he’s caught in the act of another crime. Maybe he dies of a drug overdose, or is killed by one of his buddies in a drug crazed fit of rage. Maybe a detective gets lucky and finds him after a diligent search.

Maybe the Defendant slips under the radar altogether.

The same suspect this weekend broke into a house where his baby momma had taken refuge with a nice couple. She made it out the window and lived.

Her rescuers didn’t. They were murdered. Horribly. They were in their 20's. Their life extinguished because they chose to love their neighbor, and shelter a domestic violence victim.

It’s sad, and senseless. But the fault does not lie with law enforcement. They did all they could, all the law allowed them to do. It wasn’t enough.