Josh and Katie

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This picture makes me happy. 

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Thirty-three years of wedlock, headlocks*, missing socks,good times, hard knocks, or, Elvis really did leave the building

On a steamy-hot day in August 1977, Elvis falls from his throne and checks out of the building. It was the 16th and I remember it well. We were at the end of a short honeymoon, having been wed on the 14th.

We were married in a Brooklyn brownstone owned by a dear friend. We celebrated with a few good friends and family members. We served poppy-seed cake. Keith Jarrett’s Koln sessions were on the stereo. We agreed to do a few things and rings were exchanged, and soon afterwards we drove across the Brooklyn Bridge into our Manhattan destination.

Two years before, I was sitting in an orientation with a bunch of other like-minded folk. We were all going to save the world starting in Brooklyn. Our group was split in two..one group moved to Brownsville (literally on the block where a young Mike Tyson was living). Our half moved a number of blocks to the east to a neighborhood called East New York (ENY abutted Queens, hence the confusing name). In our group was a bossy woman, a meekish woman who did at least speak, and an ultra-meekish woman who seemed to be mute, along with another young woman who would believe anything (we really did try hard to make up preposterous lies, but she seemed to fall for all of them).

I attempted to get to know the mute. I took her to the CITY, where we museum’d, ate Greek and walked and walked. She said little and I muttered to myself…lost cause. Our work overtook us. Our group ate together, planned lessons together, ate more together, cooked together, and were forced to go out together en masse every Saturday night for forced fellowship.

A girlfriend came into the scene for me. She was fun and smart and pretty and it was a good adventure for me. But, my heart was slowly being taken over by the curious mute who happened to be quite artistic and occasionally funny, who wore these corduroy shorts safety-pinned together way on up there…Those shorts became quite intriguing.

We fell in love, spent a week apart, and were both miserable without each other. We rendevoused upon my return to NY at a restaurant called ‘Z’ on Union Square. We ate mousaka and discussed marriage. There was no proposal..no need for that. We both knew and began to plan logistics. I forgot to tell my parents that my other girlfriend and I had broken up, so when I called to tell them the good news, they became rather confused considering they really had not heard much at all about my new love.

That spring became summer. We were making plans. Elvis was still eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches and we were getting MARRIED. August 13th arrived along with family and friends. After stashing everyone away at friends houses and hotels, we fell down exhausted on the floor of the living room in which we were to be married, realizing that we had arranged for beds for everyone besides us. We fell asleep on that floor. Several hours later we awoke, the coffee was made, the friends and the family arrived and we were wed.

We head to Manhattan and then two days later, Elvis up and dies. We head back to Brooklyn, to our project apartment and our jobs. We both end up working in Manhattan. We had little money but we had low rent and a yen to know the city. I may not have been unfettered, but I was alive, and in love.

Years pass, children are born, anger arises, fights occur, feelings are hurt, and we don’t know if we can really do this. Marriage..the full-tilt-12-rounds-for-life is hard work, and don’t let anyone fool ya. We reared some kids, and we did well and we did poorly. I loved, and I loved to be angry.

I’m the tilt-a-whirl the hyperbolic yak machine, impatient and yearning. I’m married to the steady the even and the deep. Her perseverance, her love, and her even threatening seriously to leave have saved my life. Love doesn’t progress in a steady line. The euphoria of young love is glimpsed occasionally, but the depth of all that shared experience and the underlying belief that we could make it work served us well.

Today is the 33rd anniversary of a grand experiment, a long-lasting love, and a life together. We are battle-scarred and we do know the buttons to push, but sometimes we have the grace to restrain. Those glimpses of that youthful euphoria do gift us with the memory of why we pulled together, and why despite some quite difficult times, we stopped and caught our breath, and we remembered.

Our kids become adults and they have rich lives if not monetarily rich.

Today is the 33rd anniversary of being married to a strong, beautiful and hard-working woman. I have often been not worthy. Grace has pulled me through. I am still in love, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I would like to work on that second set of thirty-three years but I don’t take any moment beyond the one I’m in, for granted. I do know that my past and my future would be much the poorer if a mute from Kansas hadn’t opened up her life and her heart. It was clearly my charm and those safety pins..’

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life. I may have the world’s worst luck with electronic devices, printers and such, but my luck and fortune with you has been the best. Elvis hunka hunka’d off this mortal coil was a landmark passing and sad time for many. However, for me, and this is about me, the rumblings of Elvis death observed remind me that an anniversary is a coming and I best be aware. Thanks, Elvis, but the biggest thanks go to Lynn. *all headlocks are merely metaphorical in nature.

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Steve Turner for the 58th…(Turn, Turn, Turn..a time to build up..)

I’ve lived in the 58th State House District for nearly 6th years.  For most of those years, I’ve struggled to see and understand what our current state rep – Mary Pruitt – is doing to represent the north side of town.  Pruitt has served the community for a long time.  Her laundry list of organizations and associations is impressive.  Her lack of presence in our part of the community and her apparent lack of interest in my (and surrounding) neighborhood(s) negates the resume’ for me.  Ms. Pruitt deserves respect for her past, but continuing to vote for someone I’ve seen in our community three times* in six years doesn’t work for me.  Especially when we once again have a good alternative.

Steve Turner exudes energy, and he knows the north end.  I don’t agree with everything he has supported (I am not a big convention center fan in regard to the revenue drain) but the disagreement, even on that issue, is not a litmus test. Going forward, issues such as the digital divide and community development including jobs and education are issues that Turner seems to not only ‘get’ but has the knowledge and know-how to pursue positively.  His background in technology fits with the 21st century needs of our community.  His knowledge of our community and its issues is in stark contrast with his opponent, who in a recent visit to our neighborhood association had not bothered to bone up on any issues affecting our part of town.

My reach and my influence are probably laughable, when it comes to endorsements, but I am happy to vote for Steve Turner, and I urge any of you who are uncertain about the 58th, or uncertain whether to vote, please consider voting for Steve.  We live in an interesting and evolving district.  Our potential is enormous.  Turner gets the future.  Pruitt lives in the past.

*two of those times were when she was running for re-election/campaign appearances.

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Paddle faster boys, I hear banjos, or, September’s song

I’m fifty-seven years old. My birthday is September.

When I was a kid, my dad was a shining star in a small solar system of David Lipscomb and local church of Christ planets. He was thoughtful, witty, handsome, and could make the kids who HAD TO BE IN ART APPRECIATION CLASS TO GRADUATE, suddenly realize they were being educated.

He was well-loved, respected and philosophically quite conservative. His foibles were known to me and a few friends, but they seemed trivial. He was a ‘pleaser’ and he struggled inwardly with not being good enough, but his public composure and speech belied any self-pity or obsession.

Living in that world was both stimulating and daunting. A young woman in chapel who I didn’t know proclaimed ‘WHAT HAPPENED to YOU?’ after seeing my dad walk out on the stage to participate in the chapel service, after I told her ‘that man’ was my dad. I never saw her again, because she realized she had blurted out something that most people would edit, and was most likely quite embarrassed. Her reaction did echo a question that has haunted me over the years.

I quit worrying about the gossipy neighbors who told me that I certainly wasn’t like my dad after I moved back to Nashville. They mixed resentment with their tea, and I understood their drink of choice. But, no, I wasn’t like my dad.

I don’t obsess over this short-coming. I love and respect many of the people in that world, but I can’t live in a place where I’m not my dad. We parted company well, and, other than some really hum-dinger, drawn-out, wall-shaking political arguments, we got along just fine. I just wasn’t him.

This is not intended to be a diatribe of failure..my dad loved me unconditionally, and I knew that every minute of his life that intersected with mine. I live my life ..my struggle is to stay centered..not to be him. I’m not eliciting ‘you are OKs!’..

These thoughts emerged again, because last night I was eating with my mom and we were talking about my dad. He died at what seems like a very young age now. He packed in a lot in his too-brief span.

He was only 58. Until last night my mom did not realize this September I will be the same age as my dad was when he died. It was hard for her to say out loud..she covered her face and began to tremor. She loves me despite the fact of who I am not.

I’m not hearing those banjos back there yet, even if I am about to turn 58.   I certainly don’t make those kind of predictions. Stuff, and my stomach, happens. I plan to live, until I don’t, and I will keep on laughing about ‘what HAPPENED to <me>”…I’m still figuring that out.

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The curious case of the non-missing rights, or, here’s your bill, what’s your hurry

Let me be the first to admit that the nation survived the Bush administration, and we came out of those years with our rights intact, despite the Patriot Act and the shoe n’ belt ecdysiast dance at the airport, despite the fact that a lot of us feared the worst.  But our fears were small-mashed-mini potatoes compared to the doom n’ gloom Obama hating fear baiting going on right now.

Let’s play a game.  Let’s pretend it’s tomorrow morning.  You walk out of your house.  Name ONE right you don’t have as you walk out of the house that you had when Obama took office.  I’m not talking about what you THINK will happen or speculation, I want to know one right you had back in 2008, you don’t have right now.

I keep hearing about how our rights are being trampled and we are going to be lucky to get out of this with a scintilla of freedom, but we’ve made it through a civil war, people being property, women being largely chattel, apartheid in many states, and the alien and sedition act.  We ain’t got nothing to compare to that.  And yes, I’m not thinking that any sane person wants this much debt, but I don’t see how any sane person would bet against this country.  We’ve been in bigger ruts than this (ask anyone who made it through the great depression).

But, let’s review those rights:

1st amendment: Clearly you can call the current President a socialist, a nazi, a communist, a Kenyan and a racist and do that all on the public airwaves, and not be jailed, so I’m going to say that the ‘free speech’ part of the 1st amendment hasn’t been abridged.

We don’t have a government established religion, we can assemble at the church, synagogue or mosque* of our choice, or stay at home and believe in no higher power than the person who invented the TV remote control.

So..1st amendment: INTACT

2nd amendment: This is quite ironic, and I certainly would say that Obama only gets indirect credit for this, but I’d say if you believe that the right to bear arms is more than just having a militia, you have hit the jackpot in many states.  In our fair state, you can now carry your gun (with a carry permit of course) to bars and to state parks.  In Louisiana, you can carry your gun into church now**.

We have a variety of militias, some state-sanctioned, and many not.  Unless the militia members attempt to blow up a federal building or take over a state, I’d have to say that militias are free to flourish.

So..2nd amendment: INTACT

3rd Amendment: Is anyone forcing you to house any soldiers?  Didn’t think so…

4th Amendment: Last I heard, police still have to have a warrant to enter your house for search and seizure. Probable cause appears to be intact***.

5th Amendment:  Anybody forced to incriminate themselves, not have the right to a grand jury??  I will agree that eminent domain has been abused, but that was by the Supreme Court before Obama was elected, so you can’t pin that one on him.

6th Amendment: You still get a trial..you still get a jury if you wish in a criminal case, you still get to question witnesses against you..anybody wanna seriously make a case that the 6th has been derogated?

7th Amendment: If you want a jury in a civil trial, you get a jury in a civil trial ($20 bucks and above).

8th Amendment: Ask any bail bondsman..Reasonable bail is still available where bail is appropriate.  One can argue that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, but I don’t think you can pin that one on Obama.

9th Amendment: Once again, what rights are you missing as you walk outside your door tomorrow?

10th Amendment: One could reasonably argue that states rights have been eroded for the last 80 years.  Personally in some cases (civil rights, voting rights, environmental law), I’m grateful for the federal government.  My argument deals with personal rights and I’ll leave it to great scholars than me to argue this one.

It’s so easy to decry and proclaim, but if you look at it, we still live in a free country, riddled with imperfection.  My personal belief is that as long as mankind is involved, imperfection comes with the territory.  I firmly believe we have a great country, and it will still be a great free country tomorrow, in 2012, and in 2016.

*except in some parts of Rutherford County

** I’m pretty sure if guns had been allowed in churches in Tennessee during my youth that my personal history would have been greatly altered.  Not because people in my church would have intentionally fired their weapons, but because when people keeled over while falling asleep their guns might have fallen out of their holsters and accidentally discharged.  Believe me, I can ensure you that numerous people in my church would have at least been winged.

***Unless, of course, you are Hispanic, and State Rep Mike Turner sees you and decides you are an illegal immigrant.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20100715/NEWS02/100715061/2066/NEWS03

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That stupid Golden Rule

“Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, It will set you free Be more like the man you were made to be.” Mumford & Sons

Here is the law I am proposing for the great state of Tennessee. Perhaps other states will follow along. Based on sheer appearance, we really don’t know how many Canadians are in our midst, working along side us, receiving food stamps, attending our hockey games and promulgating the myth that their bacon is superior. Seriously.

I’m thinking that every time a law enforcement agent sees a suspicious looking white person, every time a white driver is pulled over for a traffic infraction, every time a white person is hanging out on the streets and every time a white person behaves in any manner suspiciously, that a passport or birth certificate be demanded on the spot. If said white person cannot produce either document, he or she will be detained until a member of their family can produce one of the two documents.

Some would argue that a simple pronunciation test would suffice – ‘Sir, would you please say the words ‘house’ and ‘about’ or questioning the suspect about the life of Bobby Orr, but pronunciation tics can be un-learned and facts about Bobby Orr can be faked. It’s time we take back our state from the hockey-obsessed, weird-bacon loving Habs.

If the document cannot be obtained with 48 hours, the said white person will be incarcerated, at a cost to said white person of $200.00. Citizenship isn’t cheap my friends. If not proof of citizenship can be found, said white person will be flown to Detroit, and given fare to cross the Big Bridge. Since we are really not racial profiling but looking for suspicious behavior or odd driving, I’m sure NO ONE will object to this new law.

Note: I really do like Canada and at least one Canadian..

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What it’s gonna get me to watch the ‘LeBron James Vanity Special’ tonight.

Note: some of this is borrowed from The Sports Guy. I have embellished quite a bit..I AM interested in where LeBron goes because it definitely will effect the next few years of the NBA.

To watch the show I’m not asking, I’m DEMANDING the following:
1) All the GM’s in contention in the room with LeBron
2) A rose
3) Seacrest
4) A table with all of the hats of the teams in contention
5) the frozen head of Ted Williams
6) a song from the losing GMs after LeBron makes his choice – preferably a medley of ‘You’re No Good’, ‘I’m a Loser’, ‘Fat-Bottom Girls’ and ‘Halloween Head’ by Ryan Adams

The show opens with Seacrest introducing the GMs and making jokes about the enormous forehead of Jim Gray (the official host of the show). LeBron descends from the ceiling in some kind of chariot (kind of a reverse Elijah). LeBron dribbles around (with a basketball of course), takes a couple of trick shots, and then begins to eliminate the hats from the table. When he gets to the final two hats, he opens the box holding Ted Williams frozen head, and puts the ‘winning’ hat on Williams cryogenic noggin, and hands a rose to the ‘winning’ GM.

Seacrest interviews the crest-fallen ‘losing’ GMs. An army of small children (possibly the offspring of Shawn Kemp) rappel down the forehead of Gray. The show closes with the medley from the losing GMs while LaBron and the winning GM ascend into basketball heaven.

Otherwise, I’m just gonna get the news from my phone and skip the foreplay..

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