Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Al Green: "Tired of Being Alone"

"Hey baby
You didn't go for that
It's a natural fact
That I wanna come back
Woncha show me where it's at?"


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cactus Cuties: "Battle Hymn of the Republic"

Dear Liberals,
Go ahead and worship Obama in your schools. I know how to drive you crazy: God is in Texas schools, as celebrated in this video by the Lubbock ISD. And hair bows. God and hair bows.

Texas: sometimes we know we're rubbing liberals' noses in it, and sometimes we don't know. But, either way, we're rubbing liberals' noses in it!

h/t @FlyingPatriot

Bonus: Cactus Cuties, aka "the YouTube and internet phenomenon from Lubbock", perform the National Anthem at the Dallas Cowboys new stadium. Note the crowd gets into it, and cheers their hitting of the proper notes on "rockets red glare" and "land of the free":

It takes guts to interject the word "subtle" into this blogpost. Yet, here's the subtle thing to notice: two Romo jerseys, a Barber jersey, and a Jason Witten #82 jersey. We conclude: the Witten girl could have chosen a Romo jersey, yet selected a Witten jersey. What hairbanded, curling ironed girl of this age would willingly celebrate a Tight End? A Texas girl, that's who! If one of those girls had worn a DeMarcus Ware jersey, I'd be joining the official Cuties Fan Club.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cousin Tate at the P.A. Watson Cabin

From Saturday: Cousin Tate sits on the steps at my Great-Great-Grandfather's cabin in Arlington, TX. Click the photo and study Tate's expression. Is it serene? Impassive? Pensive? He's a Tate Mona Lisa, clinging to a truck bulldozer!

In background, my Mom - in a green top - speaks to one of the pioneer ladies from the Arlington Historic Society. Members of my family occupied this cabin from 1857 until 1961. On the north Texas prairie, in the 19th Century, the breezeway between the connected structures, and the porch, marked this as a comfortably appointed cabin. Texas Historical Marker Number 3901:
After his wife Margaret Ann (Armstrong) died, Patrick Alfred Watson (1810-1894) built this dwelling in 1855 near present Arlington for their six children. In 1858 he married Margaret's niece Mary Jane Donaldson and they had six children. A surveyor, educator, and religious leader, Watson gave land for the P.A. Watson Community Cemetery and for the original site of a church and school building. The congregation is now West Fork United Presbyterian Church in Grand Prairie. The house was enlarged and Watson family descendants occupied it until 1961. It was moved here in 1976.
We are descended from P.A. Watson's union with Mary Jane Donaldson. I can remember, as a child, in the late 1960s, going to Thanksgiving celebrations at the family farm. It was located just north and across I-30 from Six Flags Over Texas. U.S. Hwy 360, running north/south along the Arlington/Grand Prairie border to DFW Airport, was originally Watson Road. The access road is still Watson Road.

A Watson daughter married a Copeland: the two became my Great-Grandparents. Copeland Road runs east/west, and is wedged between I-30 and Six Flags.

*Three of Emjay's children; four of her grandchildren; two of her great-grandchildren: photo
*My brothers and I are listed near the bottom right of this family tree at the cabin. Emjay is above us and to the left: "June Goodson." "Special K", a sometime commenter here (apparently, my family are big on anonymity - at least as it relates to being associated with this blog!) = June's daughter Kathy.
*Thanks to Cousin Jenny for the photos
*Photo of Cabin
*Info and more photos

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Things To Know: Origins of Conservative Philosophy and Liberal Philosophy

It all began in the Age of Reason. Basically, the things to know are everything Bill Whittle has ever written or videotaped. Whittle video upon which the following text is based.

Conservative Philosophy

Paraphrasing Whittle: Conservatives believe man is inherently flawed; is "constrained by the essential unchangeable weakness of his nature."

Thomas Hobbs: "Mankind lives a life doomed to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

"That political vision became coupled with the equally constrained economic views of Adam Smith, who saw common good coming from what are essentially selfish, individual pursuits.
If you are conservative, you view all of history as a laboratory, as experiments that test an unchanging human nature against various forms of government. You want to 'conserve' this wisdom."
America's founders recognized and incorporated freedoms which call to man's spirit; created protections which protect man from fellow men who are inherently flawed.

Liberal Philosophy

My paraphrase of Whittle:

Liberals believe man, in a state of nature, is not a brute. Man, rather, is virtuous, compassionate, sharing, noble, and kind.

#Noble Savage;
#Jean Jacque Rousseau said all wars and conflicts are the result of people staking claims to property and ownership: primitive man never envisioned such claims. Rosseau: "You are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody".

"[For liberals] Mankind's past would not be a source of wisdom to be conserved, but rather philosophical and political shackles that one must be liberated from through a process of reasoned debate and introspection that is the outgrowth of what many have called 'the cultivated mind'. Nothing would be beyond the power of a few such reasonable, virtuous men".

French Revolution = Unconstrained Revolution, i.e. man had no inherently flawed nature which needed constraining by law or ethic; man was naturally virtuous, compassionate, sharing, noble, and kind. Result: French Revolution reeled hither and tither; became hugely bloody and unjust.

Whittle's summation:
"The unconstrained view of a perfectible, naturally virtuous man, and his Utopia on Earth, has given us 11 million gassed to death in National Socialist death camps; no less than 30 million killed, and purged in various starvations, in the Soviet Union; 50 million killed in the Communist Chinese Utopia of Cultural Revolution and the great leap forward; millions more executed for lack of revolutionary virtue in Cambodia under the Khymer Rouge, and in Vietnam....

And yet, there in the [conservative] gloom and pessimism about what and who we are lies the unlovely, narrow, stony path: a vision, not of what might be, but rather of what is and always was. It's a road - not of ideals and unity - but of messy and imperfect compromise: where scandal and corruption are never defeated, but are merely contained; where hundreds of thousands of people, going about their own lives, making their own decisions, function not without mistakes or tragedy, but only do so far less than they would if only the best and brightest had been thinking for them. The so-called 'cultivated mind' is not a match - none, history records, none - for the collective wisdom and the common self interest of imperfect, and flawed, but fundamentally moral and decent people.* It's far from perfect. It's merely good. That's all it is. You see, the shiny golden road of the unconstrained vision leads to the death camp. The gloomy, narrow path of the constrained vision leads to Disney World. Disney World isn't perfect. It's just the happiest place on Earth."

*B/c I believe our morality and decency is supernaturally inspired, I would have tweaked "flawed, but fundamentally moral and decent people" to become flawed people who are inspired to morality and decency.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Anticipating Oktoberfest

Happy girls drinking beer. There are better things, but I can't recall them right now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How handsome?

are my cousin, Chelsea, and her husband, Brandon? Very.

I got to hang out with them Friday night over BBQ.

We raise handsome women in my family. And a lot of them. And those women get married and breed. Happily, for the future of America, my numerous beautiful cousins do not raise wimpy children. America will be okay.

Anyway, talk of handsomeness and children is merely an excuse to show this father-son bonding photo of Brandon and of their youngest son, Hunter.

Look at Hunter: he's soaking in how it's done, and he's doing some soaking of his own. Paging Norman Rockwell. The only problem w/this lesson: next time Hunter has to go in the woods: lack of a tire = bewilderment.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Barack Poster

I did this!

At this website, via appropriating this protester's handmade poster:

Thank you, lady. I'm guessing you don't mind.

Genius Idea for 2010 Texas Rangers: 4 man Bullpen Rotation

The Rangers must manage the innings of their valuable young pitchers: must take all precautions to protect their health. A 22 year old arm is far more vulnerable than a 25 year old arm.

Innings must be built up gradually. As a loose rule, you don't want a young pitcher to increase his season's workload by more than 50 innings above his previous year's output.

Therefore, in 2010, the Rangers ought open the season with Hunter, Holland, Feliz, and Harrison in a 4 man bullpen rotation. When Hunter, Holland, Feliz, or Harrison came into a game, they would typically pitch 2 or 3 innings. If they were pitching well, and thus keeping their pitch count under 50 or so, then Hunter, Holland, Feliz, or Harrison would go ahead and close out the game. Such would be invaluable training. If Hunter, Holland, Feliz, or Harrison had pitched effectively in the 7th and/or 8th innings, there would be every chance that they could close out the 9th inning as effectively as Wilson or Francisco could. Hunter, Holland, Feliz, and Harrison have a full complement of pitches at their disposal. They are trained to go through line-ups more than once.

Francisco, Wilson, and O'Day could fill in when the 4 man Relief Rotation was unable to close out a game with excellence. Each of the 4 man Relief Rotation would typically pitch 2 or 3 innings, then not pitch again for 4 or 5 days (depending on off days). This would protect health while providing valuable pitching experience. Here's how it would look on Opening Day 2010:

5 Man Starting Rotation (pitches 5-8 innings per game):


4 Man Bullpen Rotation (pitches 1-4 innings per game):


As a bonus: Hunter, Holland, Feliz, Harrison would be competing with each other to earn mid season slots in the 5 man Starting Rotation. Competition sharpens.

Down the stretch and into the playoffs, the Rangers would have hard throwing young pitchers both rested and firing away in a 5 man Starting Rotation which might look like this:


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ledeen: Iranian regime are dead men walking

Michael Ledeen:
These little stories illustrate a great event, indeed a world-changing event: the death of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, and the rest of the evil empire in Tehran, are all dead men walking. We don’t know the schedule for the funeral yet, but Iranians know it’s on the agenda. One will get you ten at my betting window that, aside from a very thin veneer of top officials (for whom there is no hope, for they will fulfill the demand of the nightly rooftop chants), anyone who is anyone in Iran today is trying to make a deal with Mousavi and Karroubi. They are all whispering that their hearts are green, and always were green.
Look at what didn’t happen in the streets last Friday. Not a shot was fired at the millions of demonstrators in Tehran. There are YouTubes of police fraternizing with the Greens. There are stories of Revolutionary Guardsmen helping the demonstrators, and even the Basij didn’t dare to attack or arrest, with a handful of exceptions (one of which is notable: in Tabriz, if I remember correctly, they started to round up some people, and the crowd turned on them, freed the would-be victims, and beat the Basijis to death).
So we have a regime of zombies in Tehran, but they can still do a lot of damage, to Iranians and to us. Early last week Khamenei summoned Afghan terrorist chieftain Gulbadin Hekhmatiar to Tehran, and told him to step up attacks against American and other Allied forces. Other Iranian-supported terrorist groups have received similar instructions.

Under the circumstances, you’d think that your [United States] government would be talking to the Greens. But you’d be wrong.
One should not expect the [coming] new government to look kindly upon a President Obama who publicly sweet-talked the Tehran butchers, and all but begged Khamenei for a few minutes of his precious time. The same applies to the Europeans, all of whom scrambled for oil and other commercial contracts, and none of whom talked to the Green leaders.

As so often, Martin Luther King Jr. summed it up perfectly: “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

As the Obama Administration ignores the Iranian revolutionaries and hopes for negotiation with Ahmadinejad, the Obama Administration also possibly prepares to abandon Afghanistan, to imperil Iraq, and to put all eggs in the left's favorite basket: a hoped-for resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (b/c, of course, the only problem has been that leftist geniuses have not been at the bargaining table to surrender Israel to it's own destruction) which will solve all problems between Western Civilization and Islamic Fundamentalism. Dream on, idiot leftists.

Richard Fernandez:
Here’s a thought for historians writing about the recent past. What if George Bush was right and the center of gravity of Islamic fundamentalism lies in the regimes of the Middle East? In the Damascus-Baghdad-Teheran axis? Then what is the consequence of what the Obama administration is doing now?

Axelrod confirmed Barack Obama's narcissistic weakness in Nov 2006

Axelrod also warned that Obama's confessions of youthful drug use, described in his memoir, "Dreams From My Father," would be used against him. "This is more than an unpleasant inconvenience," he wrote. "It goes to your willingness and ability to put up with something you have never experienced on a sustained basis: criticism. At the risk of triggering the very reaction that concerns me, I don't know if you are Muhammad Ali or Floyd Patterson when it comes to taking a punch. You care far too much what is written and said about you. You don't relish combat when it becomes personal and nasty. When the largely irrelevant Alan Keyes attacked you, you flinched," he said of Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate opponent.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What the United States is doing to the Honduran people is a damnable and barely believable miscarriage of justice

Why is the United States insisting that Honduras violate it's own constitution via reinstating Manuel Zelaya as President? The most likely reason:

Barack is trying to make a statement that the United States will support political liberals/leftists/progressives; will not allow a political liberal/leftist/progressive to be unceremoniously dumped on his derriere in Costa Rica. It matters not that Zelaya could only hold office for another 7 weeks or so 13 weeks, nor that Honduran Presidents are barred from running for re-election. Barack is making a statement to the world: the United States supports leftist politics.

To Barack, it's not a big deal that the Honduran Constitution must be defied in order for Barack's statement to be made. To Barack, laws are made to be broken, bent, twisted. He could cite thousands of examples. To Barack, Hondurans must be sophisticated enough to recognize when it is proper to break/bend/twist their constitution.

To Barack, the mediated coming together is more important than the law. The law is not even really the law. Rather, the law is merely opinion. Worse, the law only divides us into law followers vs law breakers. We must come together. The figment of imagination which is objective law is in the way; is an obstacle to the important mediated coming together; is an obstacle to the important support for leftist politics. The time for discussion is over. The time for coming together in support of leftist politics is here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Andrew Breitbart's Points

As I write this intro, I've 25 minutes to shower and get out the door to Crawford, TX, of all places, Updated: MacGregor, TX for a family wedding, with the reception at the Crawford, TX Community Center (located in a beautiful grove of trees, near a lovely park which has a creek with bluffs and a waterfall).

The following transcript is rushed. I did not include all ellipses. I cleaned up some language. Yet, the transcript is an absolutely accurate recount of Andrew Breitbart's points (which points were consistently interrupted by the super irritating, UNCOMPREHENDING, narcissist interrupter Michael Savage).

Andrew Breitbart:
"Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe were far braver than I ever would be. I never would have endeavored with their creativity, and their conviction, and now that I know them: their purity of heart and their love for this country is represented in this video extravaganza that is not over yet. We are juking [ACORN]. We are playing them every step of the way. [ACORN CEO] Wade Rathke was an Alinskyite [a devotee of Saul Alinsky], and we are using the tactics of Alinsky against the left here.
Both Hannah, age 20, and James, age 25, are voracious readers on Saul Alinsky; have read far more than just 'Rules For Radicals'. They have realized that Barack Obama, and the far left - including Hillary Clinton, who did her 93 page these at Wellesley - are all students of Saul Alinsky.
Alinsky's tactics have been to isolate your political enemy [away from his natural supporters and support structure], and attack them, and keep them on their heels. And conservatives in this country have not figured it out until 2009. It's a CRIME that we haven't figured out until now that this is what they've been doing to us. It's amazing that the established conservative movement has allowed the left to isolate conservative voices, and has not fought back. Conservatives have been playing by traditional beltway rules. They're all dressed in their blue blazers, with their red ties and their American flags, and they're letting people go out there and have to take risks - like Hannah and James do, or like other people who take risks and end up being isolated and called every name in the book - they have lies thrown at them.
The Maryland DA is trying to thwart Hannah' and James' growing investigation into how ACORN works, and how it would not merely aid and abet an El Salvadorian underage prostitution ring, but how, underneath that [ACORN] salaciousness and ridiculousness, [ACORN] were very competent individuals at: aiding and abetting criminal activity as a means to allow the lower class to rig the system for their benefit. And that is the underlying story that nobody is talking about."

"When James and Hannah came to me, and showed me these videos, I realized that - if we handed this story to the MSM - the MSM would bury it. And if James and Hannah were to put it on YouTube, YouTube would have immediately taken it down, and the lawyers would have overwhelmed these penniless artists/journalists. And so, when they found me - and I'm not that religious of a person - I must say I felt there was Divine Intervention, because my greatest strength is understanding the MSM, and how it works. And we devised a strategy to force the MSM - and, quite frankly, to SHAME THEM - into covering this story. It was obvious that we needed to put the media in check here, and to not feed them any information that could then go back to the ACORN people and to political operatives that would then wage a campaign to destroy the messenger.

At the end of this, we're going to put up James and Hannah's receipts - including Subway Sandwich receipts. This entire thing cost about $1300.

ACORN is throwing out a lot of accusations [against James and Hannah] that the MSM is willing to trumpet; willing to threaten them with lawsuits and to come down hard on them. Every time an accusation comes out, the next day [James and Hannah's work] is proved to be true, when we issue a new video.

We are going to be relentless in showing you what these people [ACORN] are about. We are going to report to you what their own manual says. People are coming out of the woodwork - because they are fearful. The left's tactics of causing the whistleblowers to know that they're going to be attacked by ABC, CBS, and NBC and the CNNs of the world: we created a means by which we can isolate those [television] networks, and put THEM under scrutiny. They're the ones. The American people are seeing that it took till Tuesday night - four days into the scandal - before we saw Katie Couric weigh in. Ultimately, the nail in ACORN's coffin was when Jon Stewart - the ultimate liberal apologist - put his head into his hands, and just could not make a joke that made Hannah and James out to be the bad guys. Last night, Jay Leno did the same thing. They [the left? ACORN?] continue and try to demonize these two people. But the American people - probably at about an 80% clip - look at them [Hannah and James] as American heroes. And if you knew these people: if you knew how decent they were, and how fresh faced they were (interrupted by the narcissist interrupter Savage)."

"Community organizing is the infrastructure of the left.

Van Jones was a community organizer. He took advantage of the underclass via getting them to think the white man was after them; he used Mumia Abu Jamal conspiracy theories to manipulate black people into staying on the dole. And that's what these people do.

Community organizers prey on the inner city. We're starting to see, in the Hannah and James videos, how it's done. You start to analyze ACORN, and you see they're not only being fed by major left wing foundations like the Tides Foundation, they're being funded by unions. We're also finding them doing Jesse Jackson type shakedowns on corporations such as Bank of America and Citigroup.

Nobody in MSM has been willing to connect the dots to show that this is how these people are kept subverted by the system: they're told that they're victims, and they're taught how the system can be rigged to their benefit. It's an Al Capone criminal racket.

SEIU is a bully. ACORN is a bully. They go to big companies and they thug them into giving them money. And right now, when the bully is running around the playground poking people in the eyes: ultimately, it takes one person, like Hannah and James, to knock them in the nose. And look at how quickly they crumbled. I believe the American people are going to start to derive confidence from the fact that the emperor has no clothes. The MSM can no longer protect [ACORN and SEIU], and we're [] going to continue to go after them relentlessly."

"I can promise you that there are more videos to come. And I also promise a blockbuster next week, that will come from left field."

"What's fantastic about this story, in the most perverse way, is that we now start to understand [the strategy of certain powerful leftists]. I'm so sick of being called a racist. I'm not a racist. The majority of Americans aren't racists. We are now seeing that the Barney Franks of the world have been preying on these people forever. People are starting to see that they rigged the system in order to figure out: how can we get people who can't afford homes to get homes? Obviously, they were going to go into foreclosures - that's exactly what happens. And you see, at this [ACORN] office, how these [ACORN] people facilitated those loans: don't worry, don't report this, you can do this, you can do that, you can break the law, it doesn't matter, because at the end of the day, the people at ACORN - at the highest levels ~ Wade Rathke, and Saul Alinsky ~ were radicals that figured out the best way to revolutionize the system was to go right through the front door and start the revolution by destroying the country from within. They've been exposed."

The full Andrew Breibart audio interview, on YouTube:

Part One
Part Two

h/t Patrick Ruffini

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Adventures with dogs

My sister in law: Lisa, died unexpectedly; and Southern Brother is off to parts unknown (aka unknown Arizona, for now); and two of his four dogs are here in Fort Worth. These two: Chaffee and Hoss

Chaffee is so named b/c she is the color of the muddy Atchafalaya River.

These are working dogs. I try to take them out each day to get some exercise. They like to sniff new territory.

These are herding dogs. They are genius at noticing and interpreting body language; they retain, at all times, instinctive sense of geometry and of terrain. When I walk with them, they stay 50-100 yards out ahead of me, chasing birds and sniffing out prairie dogs or whatever. If I shift direction, they immediately shift themselves to remain directly in the line of whatever direction I am walking. These are smart dogs: they will follow voice commands and hand signals. They will stay out of traffic. If I give them a shout and an arm wave, they will be dissuaded from even nearing a road. One of Chaffee's and Hoss' puppies won a herding championship for the Southeastern United States.

They love water. And this caused the problem. Chaffee, especially, will plop into any puddle or creek she comes across. I imagine this is instinctive. When you are herding, you take water wherever and whenever you can find it. Every time.

These are now old dogs. The photo is maybe 5 years old. Both Chaffee and Hoss are now approx 13 years of age. This, also, contributed to the problem.

The problem, partially, was the Trinity River. We began walking where the shore was gentle. Upon encountering the river, the dogs beelined for it and plopped in. I didn't love it, b/c we've been DRENCHED with rain for over a week, and the river is high. However, the dogs had lots of gentle shore to get in and out, and I wasn't too concerned, and I didn't wave them off. They played. They came out. We walked on.

1/2 mile down the way, we had walked for 200 yards atop a river's edge of inclined cliffs which rose about 15+ feet above the water line. These are rain soaked super muddy inclined cliffs, with trees and brush everywhere, with some thin footing and ledges and rocky outcrops in some places. The dogs, 75 yards ahead of me, had land and trees to explore on the left, but they liked the cliffs on the right. They had looked over the cliffs a couple of times, had assessed the danger, and were fine. Until, 200 yards down the walk, they went over the cliff/steep hill and onto some ledges and outcroppings they could navigate. I didn't like this, first, b/c this is Texas in Sept, and those cliffs are snake havens. It's a 100% guarantee there are snakes on those cliffs. Second, I knew the dogs might willingly go into the river, and might have trouble coming back up the muddy and severely inclined bank. Which is what happened.

It's a bad feeling to rush towards a cliff edge, and, before you get there, to notice spreading ripples, in the river, from where your dogs have jumped in. Worse, they are not even my dogs: they are my brother's dogs. Losing my own dogs would be sad. Losing my brother's beloved dogs would be worse. That would be disaster.

Over the cliff edge, it was not the best situation. The dogs were in a shallow cove which was surrounded by cliff. They had no extended vision either upstream or downstream, and thus could not see a place to exit the river. The swollen river was too fast and too wide to comfortably attempt to traverse to the other side.

The dogs were facing, immediately above the waterline, a 5 foot horizontal egress onto 4 vertical feet of steep and super treacherous and slippery mud, followed by 3 vertical feet of merely treacherous and slippery mud, and only above that - about 7 feet above the water line, would they gain a ledge which was merely muddy and slippery, but appeared navigable. They kept trying to come out, and they kept slipping backwards into the river. I yelled encouragement from above. They kept failing, and tiring. Finally, Hoss, the most nimble, made it out by the barest margin. Chaffee is less nimble. She would have made it out 5 years ago. But I had watched Hoss, and he BARELY made it. I knew Chaffee could not make it out. This was a bad moment to be me.

I hate snakes. I will be fine when I die. Truly, I do not fear it. I do prefer to die in some fashion other than snakebite.

I studied the cliff/steep hill problem. A quarter century ago, it wouldn't have been such a big deal for me to shinny aside a cliff and possibly drop into a river. Now, it is. I determined a path of young tree trunks which I could use as gripping places to move myself close to the water. I saw I could get about 10 feet down the cliff, but could not reach all the way to Chaffee. Without a tree trunk, I was 100% certain to slide/fall into the river. Of this there was no question. Chaffee was tired, and was quiet in the river. She was no longer trying to make it out, and, really, there was no use. She could not make it. I can't overemphasize the slipperiness and the steep angle she faced.

So, I had to go down:

Plan A: I could see a bit of a bush. Maybe I could hook a foot/knee into the bush, hang my arms down towards the waterline, and grab either her collar or the skin above her neck, and haul her out.

Plan B: Figure something else out once I got down there.

Plan C: Crash splash into the river - basically on my buttocks while keeping my legs soft and my feet out of the mud (danger there) under the waterline, grab the dog's collar, swim out of the cove, then float 100-250 yards down the shoreline until we could find a gentler slope and get out.

Plan D: Crash splash into the river, grab the dog, wait for a cyclist or a hiker on the opposite shore, attract their attention and signal for them to call the fire dept. There weren't going to be many bikers or hikers on the opposite shore. But, eventually, someone would have come along and wondered what the hades I was doing in the river. Plan D seems overdramatic, but Plan E was swim across the rain swollen river, and that was a bad plan.

Plan E: Swim the river: bad plan.

I now seriously considered whether I should let the dog risk death rather than send myself down the cliff which was undoubtedly home for many snakes. The things in my favor: 1. the dogs had recently trampled down the path I was to take, which ought have scared off any snakes. 2. I had been yelling from atop the cliff, which ought(?) have scared off snakes. 3. do snakes even come out on rainy days? I hoped not, as I was now firming up a decision to go down the cliff. And, begin...

I made it 5 feet when I noticed the greenbriar thorn vines which were hanging suspended in midair at various heights: from 1 foot off the cliff to about 4 feet off the cliff. There were at least 12 to 15 of these monsters, tangled and yet spaced out in a curtain wall of thorn vines, and they looked like this:

only the thorns were more mature and monstrous. I think the military ought incorporate these into their warfare capabilities.

I moved, with effort, and hanging onto my young tree trunks, and getting scratched and punctured, through about 7-8 thorn vines. I was about 9-10 feet above the water line. Chaffee watched me, and she tried again to make it, and she slid back, but her hind foot caught on a slim almost-sapling, which bent precipitously under her weight, yet held her on the bank with her head and collar about 3 feet above the water line, and her hind legs inches from the river. She was stressed in this position, and would not hold it forever. I decided to emergency-crash some greenbriar vines (ouch), and that moved me 4 feet lower. Chaffee was 4 feet to my left, and she was just BARELY too far below for me to get to her. I was at the bottom tree, and began looking for something else to support my weight, and then she decided to struggle closer to me. She made tremendous effort, and it was as if she were Bambi on ice, and she moved about 18 inches upward (not kidding: big effort = 18 inches), and she froze: splayed out in a terribly tenuous position. I looked, and I figured she could hold that for about 10 seconds or so. It was enough.

I gripped my tree trunk at its very base and shoved and leaned left across the cliff. I did not, at this point, even feel the thorns. I grabbed her collar with my left hand. I had a foothold and a handhold, and I pulled and slung her diagonally above my head and left to right - sort of midair skidding her across the cliff face, and I released her collar at the end of this movement, free-flinging her the final few inches of her journey to the ledge which could be navigated. I had her hind legs mostly angled to the river, and her head mostly pointed to the cliff top. She dog scrambled a couple of times - to gain equilibrium, and she found her footing. Yes! She zig zagged and made the cliff top, disappeared from view, and then her ears and head and chest reappeared. She was looking down over the cliff. She was looking at me - the man with a foothold, a handhold, and 5 thorn vines arrayed across him, and 8 more thorn vines between him and the cliff top.

You'd think I would be most concerned with not falling down the cliff and into the river. Truly, I was most concerned with the pain from the thorns, secondarily concerned with snakes, and only third concerned with the danger of the cliff. I gingerly disentangled, and disentangled some more, and came back up the cliff. Near the top, I began losing footing. Seriously losing footing. I grabbed and then hugged a young tree trunk like you would hug a young child who had been lost and now was found, and I swung my body sideways, and a leg up over the cliff edge, and UNDAINTILY, for certain, pushed myself up and rolled onto solid ground. This was more primal, less ballet.

I lay there, breathing heavily, being ministered to by Chaffee. Then I sat up, still recovering my wind. Which is when I heard something behind me, and turned to see the back end of Hoss, 25 yards away, disappear down another spot on the cliff edge. @#$%^&!

I called for him, and he did not reappear. This meant: 1) he was pursuing a varmint, or 2) he was in mud or worse, and could not make it back up the ledge. Me and Chaffee went to look. Hoss was 8 feet down, vigorously digging into the mud in pursuit of a varmint in a hole. Thank goodness. I called him up, and he came, and we headed back, and I verbally kept him away from the cliff edge until we had moved beyond the cliff. Chaffee wasn't going back down the cliff. Hoss had more bravado, or blood lust, or stupidity, or all three.

And that's our adventure story. Except, I think, when Chaffee was tired, and in the water: when a member of her pack (me) came closer to her, it gave her heart to try again, and it activated her instinct to give rescue a chance. I liked that moment.

Soon after, I called Southern Brother to share the story. This was a bad move, as I was thinking only of myself. I was not thinking about him, aka a man who had just lost his wife, and was now to receive news that his beloved dogs had been needlessly imperiled. He chastised me for not properly controlling his dogs. Which I deserved. For I had made a bad judgment call - twice, it turned out - that his dogs would not go down the cliff. Lesson learned. But, Southern Brother, this is official notice to you that I did face the snakes. So, that is something. I may be stupid, but it's a loyal stupid!

And the rest of yesterday, and even into today, I admit I've been a bit hyped up about the entire sequence of events. I'm trained to be manly, and to go: "Shucks, it was nuthin." But, it was kinda somethin, and I'm grateful it turned out okay.

The dogs, on the other hand, care only about the present. The past - even what happened an hour ago - is way in the past, and they do not worry with it whatsoever. "When do we eat?" is what they want to know. Also: "When do we get to go somewhere?" They are travelling dogs, and have traversed all of Louisiana thirty times over: riding in the bed of Southern Brother's truck. They like to go.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lisa Cotharn's Memorial Service: Program and Audio

From Sept 3, 2009, at Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, LA.

Updated, at bottom, with Dr. T. C. French, Jr.'s audio message.

Click to enlarge:

Some speakers in the first audio download:
  • Courtney Cotharn speaks at 16:00. Courtney is Lisa and Bruce's daughter.
  • Shelly Malone's remembrance is read by Robin Cotten at 20:40. Shelly is Lisa's sister.
  • Lisa and Bruce's friend, Pastor Tom Allen, of Crosspoint Church in Pearland, TX, remembers Lisa at 35:20.

First audio download, comprising the beginning and middle of the Memorial Service, at this link:, download "O1 Entire Album.m4a" (via the indicator at the bottom of the page).


Second audio download (of the final part of the Memorial Service), which includes Dr. T.C. French Jr.'s Message:

Dr. French's message begins at the 4:25 mark. Excerpts:

Romans 8:18
"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us."
1 Corinthians 15:37-39
"You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own."
For those like me, who were wondering if we correctly understood the message, Dr. French explained: we on Earth are the seed; we do not fully come to life until we die and receive our heavenly form.

Related End Zone post: My Sister in Law, Lisa Cotharn, died tonight