Archive for April, 2009

The First 100 Days

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Too soon to tell, I would have to say. I think the bank bailout was necessary, although badly mishandled by Bush’s guys, Bernanke and Paulson, and then, in the spirit of bipartisan continuity, by Tim Geithner. I don’t like any of Obama’s breathtakingly expensive proposals for energy, health care, or education. I think the stimulus is a huge, corrupt waste of money we don’t have. I think not letting GM go into bankruptcy is a malfeasant handout to the union at the expense of the bond holders.

I like his policy in Afghanistan so far. I really have no idea whether his sucking up and apologizing to everyone in the world will help, hurt, or have no effect one way or the other. I like that he let the Seals shoot the pirates. Closing Guantanamo makes no sense. Releasing the “torture” memos is stupid, and possibly endangers national security. Opening the door for harassment of Bush administration officials and advisors is despicable and dangerous.

All in all it’s not any worse than I expected, maybe even slightly better.

Death came a-knockin’

Monday, April 20th, 2009

We just returned from Orlando, where Candace was singing at the wedding of the daughter of an old friend. Nice people, old friends, good party, etc. On the way home we stopped at a beach by the highway, about 30 miles south of St. Augustine. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to go for a swim. The surf was pretty rough and the undertow was very strong. I did some body surfing and wanted to go out a little farther where the waves were bigger. Before I knew it the current pulled me out to where I could no longer touch bottom.

I tried swimming back towards shore, but it was no go. I just kept being pulled out farther, and the waves were crashing on top of me, pulling me under. Panic set in. I thought of yelling for help, but realized there was no help. There were no lifeguards. There was nothing anyone could do. I was swimming with all my might, swallowing a lot of seawater, being smashed under, over and over, getting nowhere. Very quickly I became exhausted. I was gasping for breath, and realized that I wouldn’t last much longer. My life was completely at the mercy of the merciless, all-powerful ocean. It looked like this was it for sure. It was the most scared I have ever been.

In the midst of the panic, a calm voice instructed me to lay on my back and relax. Too exhausted to keep fighting any longer in any case, I laid on my back, did my best to relax, and stroked with my arms in the direction I hoped was the shore. The waves continued to smash and force me under, but I wasn’t fighting it anymore. I just kept stroking with my arms and legs, on my back. After awhile I stepped down and could barely touch sand, but as soon as I did, the undertow began to sweep me back out again. Back on my back, moving my arms and my legs, eventually I was brought to a place where I could stand. I could barely walk. I walked very slowly to shore, against the undertow. I was still gasping desperately as I staggered up out of the surf and collapsed on the wet sand, my chest heaving with huge, loud gulps.

All around me was a beautiful, sunny day, a few people laying on the beach, some girls playing in the surf. Candace came up with some shells she had collected. It was quite awhile before my breathing returned to anything like normal. Life does not like to die. I was very lucky.

As I was sitting, gasping, on a bench, halfway up the stairs back to the parking lot, a middle-aged couple came up the steps. The woman asked me if I was OK. I said yes, but I thought I was a goner out there. “Yes,” she said. “I saw that. I also thought that other guy was a goner, the one who went out chasing his fishing pole. Are you sure you’re all right?” “Yes, I’m OK,” I said.

After the Storm in Murfreesboro, TN

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009