Monday, August 31, 2015

A Pahty-boat ride with a couple of old Mainahs!

Yesterday was about as perfect as a day can be, made especially so by some very nice neighbors. We were asked if we wanted to go for a ride in a pahty boat by a couple of retired Mainahs! Although this is our fourth visit to this lake, previously we have only explored it via kayak. But, thanks to our kind new friends, we got to see the entire lake...all five miles of its length. We had no idea how massive and grand this place is. Meguntecook meanders for miles in all directions and features hidden inlets, and several large, oddly shaped islands, some inhabited, some not. We saw a half a dozen loons on our boat ride and heard their magnificent song up close. The couple that was so nice to include us were the quintessential Maine couple. The man looked to be in his mid 70's, a lifelong Mainer who grew up in Belfast, right up the road. He had a twinkle in his eyes when he laughed that reminded me of someone I know but just couldn't place. The wife was a cantankerous busybody type who seemed to know everything about every homeowner on the entire lake. When we asked her to tell us the best restaurant in Maine, without hesitation she blurted out, "There arhh no good restaurants in Camden!" She was delightful!

Where our cabin sits, the lake is at its most narrow spot, probably only a thousand feet across from a public boat landing. I was up at 5:30 this morning and the lake was slick and silent. I made my coffee, then settled down to read the news on my iPad. At exactly 6:00, I heard voices from across the way, the calm water amplifying the spoken word so clearly I could hear every word. It was several people and they were all joking and laughing and terribly excited about something. Then I heard someone say, "OK, here we go!" Eight fully grown men and women then jumped in the water and began swimming in a slow, flowing line north, along the edge of the lake. It made me want to put on a parka just looking at them! A full forty five minutes later they returned, one by one, until all eight of them were standing on the dock laughing and talking like they had just gotten back from grocery shopping or something. 

Mainers are tough!

The happiest that my wife ever gets in life is probably when she is in a kayak on this lake. I can't even describe what it does to her. She is transformed in some bizarre almost mystical way. It energizes her, animates her conversation, brightens her. I enjoy kayaking, I really do, but not in the way that Pam does. It's her happy place. Both of us are going out in a minute for a morning jaunt in our bright red rented kayaks. Pam will be the one beaming...

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mornings in Maine

This is my throne chair for the week. I come down the rickety steps from the upstairs bedroom each morning, brew myself a cup of coffee, sit down in this chair and watch the lake wake up. At 6:15 it's as smooth as glass with a few whispy curls of fog dancing across the surface. A fair question might  be, why am I up at 6:15 on the first day of my vacation? The answer is, I don't want to miss anything.

Yesterday's journey was uneventful. We landed in Portland 3 and a half hours after leaving Richmond, on schedule. The rental car is a Chevy Cruze whose engine sounds like it is being powered by two monkeys chasing each other on a treadmill. Nevertheless, it got us safely to Camplaba at precisely 4 in the afternoon. The only surprise so far has been the low water level of the lake. Apparently, mid coast Maine has experienced a mini-drought since the water depth at our dock is three feet lower than it was last year. Other than that, the place hasn't lost any of the magic that has so beguiled us over the last ten years. It was ten years ago when we first discovered this lake and this cabin. Hard to believe.

Last night, after the obligatory grocery run to Hannaford, we stopped by Cappy's for dinner. I so love the place. The first meal I had there was in 2005. It was chilly out and the waitress suggested the clam chowder. They served it in a tin cup. It was the kind of delicious that lives a permanent rent-free existence in your mind...forever. It was so awesome, I bought a hat...

Ten years later, the chowder is still incredible and the hat is still one of my favorites. Of course, afterwards, we just had to get the blueberry-peach cobbler. It was so ridiculously rich that we will be forced to go for some sort of punishment walk/run today, and with a high temperature of 77 and sunny skies, I'm sure that will be exhausting!!

For now, here's one more picture. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Going to Maine

I've got this handy widget thing on my cell phone where I can follow the weather conditions in several places. Every morning I check the weather in Nashville and Columbia because knowing whether it's sunny or cloudy there makes me feel somehow closer to my kids. Then I check in on Key West and Georgetown in the Cayman Islands because it's always nice to see the bright little suns and the number 88!

But this morning, I'm checking out the other permanent fixture on my weather widget...Camden, Maine. In the winter, I check out Camden and thank God Almighty that I don't live there. Whenever I'm feeling grumpy about the forecast in Richmond, I pull up Camden and instantly feel like a wimpy, crybaby. The residents of that beautiful harbor town are made of much sterner stuff than I. They would have to be to endure the month of February when the temperature never got out of the single digits and it snowed practically every day.

But, February is a distant memory this morning. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, what you are looking at here is summer as it was meant to be when God invented it, not the sizzling, steamy mess it has become. (THANKS, OBAMA!!) High temperatures in the 70's with sunny skies, and crisp, almost chilly evenings are part of what make this place so enchanting. You haven't lived until you've eaten a two pound, $9 lobster fifteen minutes after it was unloaded from the boat at a wharf-side restaurant, in a long sleeve August!

Pam and I will be spending the week at a lovely cabin on Lake Meguntecook, a five minute drive from Camden's harbor. There's a dock and a float and a couple of kayaks. The cabin has a long screened porch at the water's edge with big, comfortable chairs. You can try to read a book out there in the late afternoon, if you can manage to stop staring at the sunshine bouncing off the rippling water's surface. At night you can grill some steaks on the charcoal grill out in the yard or you can decide that it's just too much trouble and drive into town for some clam chowder at Cappy's. I will be posting photographs on Facebook, not intending to make anyone jealous, just to give you some idea of why Pam and I are so in love with the place.  

The cabin does have wifi, but it's not great. At least, that's the excuse I will give for not returning anyone's calls. When I'm there, I'm not any place else...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Missing the Point of Yesterday's Murders

The young, smiling blonde reporter and the young, burly, sweatshirted cameraman stood there interviewing some lady from Smith Mountain Lake. In an instant they were dead, murdered by a man with a gun, all the while filming his crime for dissemination on social media. Before the end of the day he too would be dead by his own hand. As the day dragged on, news began to trickle out about the murderer. We first learned that he was a disgruntled former employee of the station where the victims worked. We discovered that he had accused his former employers of sexism and racism. Finally a picture emerged. The killer was black and apparently gay, with a psychotic fondness for mass murderers. By last night, social media was doing what it does best, providing a platform for demagoguery. Politicians were doing what they do best, trying to score political points by hijacking a human tragedy to advance agendas. This is what we do in America. It goes something like this...

African Americans can generally kill other African Americans without attracting any media attention.

Whites can generally kill other whites without attracting any media attention long as they don't do so in affluent neighborhoods.

If a white man kills a black man the chances are quite good that we will all hear about it, and depending on the circumstances, riots and Al Sharpton will soon follow.

If a black man kills a white man, there won't be riots or any Al Sharpton sightings, but if the local newspaper doesn't highlight the killer's race in 8 inch type across the front pages of every newspaper in America, white racists will scream "censorship!!" on Facebook for three days.

If any of the above scenarios include a police officer as the trigger man, all hell will break loose.

If young black males go on a killing spree, they will be described as being part of a lawless thug culture and generally speaking, beyond redemption.

If the killing spree is committed by a young white male, the news will soon be filled with psychological profiles seeking to discover what childhood trauma might have caused him to snap. In less than a year, Hollywood will make a movie about it.

In all of the scenarios above, if a handgun was used, we will be inundated with pleas from our politicians that "something must be done about gun violence." Then nothing will be done, because short of confiscating 250 million firearms off the streets, nothing can be done. Nothing, that is, that will actually do anything to stop gun violence. Lots can be done to make politicians feel important, though, so the struggle will continue.

When I heard the news yesterday and saw the pictures, all I thought was, "What the hell is wrong with people" But it's a question to which I already know the answer...human beings are inherently violent and sinful creatures. We are all hip-deep in the seven deadly sins of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. The most vain conceit of the past 250 years or so is the notion that the perfectibility of man can be a government project. If we can just pass enough laws, regulate enough behavior, eliminate enough injustice, then utopia will be attainable. But man will never perfect himself. Human redemption cannot be legislated. It is a personal, spiritual, internal endeavor. Government has a role, but it can never be the primary shaper of human behavior. That's a house built on sand. We hate each other because we have the gene for hatred. We kill each other because we are predisposed towards greed, envy and wrath. No statute can wash the stain away. 

So, for me, the fact that yesterday's killer was a gay black man and his victims were white, is as far away from the point as it is possible to get. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Poor, Poor Hillary

 Hillary Clinton just can't catch a break these days. Things aren't going according to plan for Team Hillary, but they never seem to for the smartest woman in the world. Something always comes along to muck up the works and it's always because of!

She agreed to marry the loathsome William Jefferson Clinton back in the day even though it meant having to relocate to Little-freaking-Rock, Arkansas. But she saw it as her best ticket to the big time and for awhile it paid off. Bill became governor then President of the United States! But along with the dizzying access to power came having to endure a series of bimbo eruptions. Time after time she had to submit to the public humiliation of being married to a serial philanderer. Monica was the worse. A twenty year old intern? How could he have been so foolish? But, endure it she did. A small price to pay for the big prize that lay at the end of the 2008 rainbow...first female President!!

Then, she gets denied by a uncredentialed hack first term Senator from Illinois. Once again passed over by a lesser qualified man, and a black man at that! The humiliation was complete, and devastating. How could the party have done this to her? It was her turn! This glass ceiling business was insidious and soooo unfair. But Barack was gracious. She became Secretary of State and immediately began dreaming of 2016 and the coronation to come.

Only, everything is going wrong. She's got all the money in the world, her only challenger is an 80 year old Socialist, and the Republicans are getting ready to nominate Donald Trump! And yet...Bernie is out there drawing twenty thousand people to hear him talk about wealth redistribution in a monotone, all anyone in the press wants to talk about is her e-mail server, and even when her joke writers gave her that awesome ad-lib about wiping her server clean with a rag, all anyone wanted to talk about was her hideous orange pants suit! And now, even Barack has betrayed her by giving crazy Joe Biden his blessing to run against her!! Betrayed yet again by another MAN!! 

If one didn't know better, one might suspect that the Democratic Party has a problem with strong females. Talk about your war on women? Poor, poor Hillary.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What's in a Picture?

The best part about a wedding is the unique opportunity it provides to take pictures. How many other times do the people you love and care about the most all gather in one place dressed in their best clothes? Well, outside of the occasional's always at a wedding. Besides, ever notice how nobody ever takes pictures at a funeral? 

So, this one is especially wonderful for me. From left to right there's Jon, my wonderful son-in-law who so far through year one of his marriage hasn't done anything stupid. Then there's Kaitlin, my beautiful and enormously talented daughter who gave the most touching, beautifully delivered toast imaginable. Then comes Rick and Linda Stroup, father and mother of the bride and dear friends for over 20 years. They are those rare friends who over time transcend the friend designation and somehow become family. The bride, Jessica, like a daughter to me since she was three years old, beautiful, sweet and possessed of a devotion and loyalty to my son and daughter stronger than most natural siblings. Andy, the groom,...the new guy. He seems fine, of course, all new brooms sweep clean so... But, seriously, he clearly adores Jess and I couldn't be happier for both of them. My wife was simply radiant at this affair. I look at her sometimes and wonder how it possible that I could have gotten so lucky. During the salsa dancing lessons after the ceremony, she lit up the dance floor...when I wasn't stepping on her feet. Then Patrick, who these days seems the happiest I have ever seen him, thanks in no small part to the girl to his left, Sarah. The two of them drove 8 hours from Nashville, made it to Durham just in time for the wedding, then had to leave the hotel at 5 am the next morning to make it back to Nashville in time for a 1 o'clock Nashville Symphony Chorus rehearsal. That's some of that devotion and loyalty I was talking about earlier between these three.

So, everything was beautiful, and went off without a hitch. I got to spend a weekend with family and the dearest of friends. Worth every penny.

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Most Excellent Middle Ages Remedy Adventure

I'm starting to dig this Chiroprator business. Yesterday I went in for my third session and was introduced to a lovely new experience...traction! I was instructed to lay on my back and place my head into this contraption that brought to mind something from your worst Marquis de Sadeian nightmares. Two imposing rubber projectiles fit snuggly on either side of my neck and my head was secured by a leather strap across the brow. The nurse then pushed a button that caused the two rubber things to lurch inward, bringing "snuggly" to new levels. She then smiled and cooed, "Comfortable?" I waited a second for my heart to slow down before replying, "....I make a living."

At this point, she offered the barest of explanations, "Ok Mr. Dunnevant, today we are applying 14 pounds of pressure for ten minutes to expand the neck and relieve some of the pressure on your upper spine. You just close your eyes and relax." I barely hear the part about relaxing because I was trying to come to terms with this expanding my neck business. Then she pressed another button. The rubber cones of death began to move north and before I knew what was happening, I was suddenly 6'2".

Then the cheerful nurse disappeared and I was left laying defenseless at my new height. At first, it wasn't entirely awful, quite soothing actually. But then Nurse Ratchet returned, I thought, to assure me that everything was just fine. But no, she was there to expand me further! The rubber cones slid further northward, I began to feel uncomfortable, and thought, if this doesn't stop soon, I'll be able to post up Lebron James! When she left the room, I reached into my pocket, pulled out my cell phone and took my very first selfie, thinking I might need evidence of my mistreatment in the coming lawsuit.

As you can see, this procedure had the effect of jamming all the skin on my neck into my face, turning me into a Charlie Brown lookalike. But, Nurse Ratchet wasn't done. A third adjustment brought the device to its full 14 pounds of pressure, and I literally began to sweat despite the fact that the examining room felt like an icebox ten minutes earlier. "How are you feeling?", she asked cheerfully. "Long," I answered.

But then, something marvelous happened. She unhooked me from this rack-o-pain, and when I stood up, my neck felt...great! Im telling you, these people are evil geniuses. Of course the relief was temporary, but at this point I'll take anything. I'll be back next week for another episode of my Most Excellent Middle Ages Remedy Adventure. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out

Ashley, the answer to the question, " Can this world possibly get any worse?"

News broke yesterday that the cheaters website had been hacked and the identities of it's 37 million customers had been leaked online. The suits at Ashley Madison were indignant:

" It is an illegal action against the individual members of, as well as any freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities. The criminal or criminals involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society."

Ashley Madison is the biggest player in the online adultery industry, describing itself as a company that provides innovative dating services. Of course, there isn't anything innovative about committing adultery since people have been doing it for thousands of years, however, I suppose the chance to find   a liaison without even having to get your lazy backside off of the sofa is a breakthrough of sorts. But, 37 million users?? If divorce lawyers were a stock, I would be buying this morning.

Their statement of indignation kills me. So, it's the free thinkers of the world who choose to establish secret accounts with which to seek out clandestine meetings with strangers for sex. First of all, nothing about destroying one's marriage is free, and I doubt seriously how much thinking is going on when someone enters their credit card information into an adultery website. And yes executives, use of your site is a perfectly lawful online activity. But if your service is so great, why all the cloak and dagger secrecy? I guess that's the fault of all of us moral judges who view betraying a wedding vow as a bad thing because of our outdated personal notions 
of virtue.

So, this morning, all throughout the western world, cheaters are sweating bullets. Wall Street scumbags are on edge. Politicians are popping valium, and televangelist are hiring PR firms as we speak. So far the only famous name that's been leaked came last night when the website Gawker identified Josh Duggar as having had not one but two accounts. Yes, that Josh Duggar. Apparently, when Mr. Duggar wasn't busy blaming gays for undermining the institution of marriage, he was trying his best to undermine his own. And, let me save my fellow Christians from embarrassing themselves by complaining that Gawker rushing to expose Josh Duggar amounts to some sort of Christian persecution. No, it doesn't. Hypocracy, it has been said, is the compliment that vice pays to virtue, something that the big shots at know full well. So, when an atheist, free love enthusiast shows up on a cheaters website, it isn't exactly news. But when an outspoken, family values Christian shows up on the same website, that is news and frankly, it should be. If you loudly talk the talk, you better walk the walk, or you become a laughing stock. Sorry, that's the way the world works.

The fact that websites like Ashley Madison exist is bad enough. That they have 37 million users is worse, and profoundly disheartening. One wonders how many families are about to be torn apart in the coming days, how many lives are about to be shattered. And for what? A night of sex with a stranger?

Free thinking? Please...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Beautiful Truth

The other day my son posted a quote on Facebook. He had been at a Nashville Symphony Chorus rehearsal, I believe, and the conductor had said something profound:

"If you know of any way to get results other than discipline and hard work, please let me know. Is there something on Facebook or Instagram that I'm missing?"

You can go days on social media and not see anything of lasting value, then...this. I don't know the person who made this statement, but the instant I read it I wanted to meet him/her and give them a hug. It probably sounded familiar to Patrick, since I've been preaching this same gospel all of his life. The fact that he thought it worthy of sharing on Facebook made my day. The fact is, there is no better advice for a young person to hear than the notion that there are no shortcuts to success in life. 

I spent ten years teaching teenagers Sunday School at my church. I loved it, I loved them, basically because they were all so brand new to the world, so full of talent and potential. I would look at them and wonder what they would do with their lives, who would they become? Some of them had natural advantages like strong families, and well connected support groups. Some came from well off parents. Others didn't have much in the way of money or family support. So, each path would be different, more difficult for some, more headwinds, less resources. My message to them all was the same, if you want to make something of yourself in this world, there is no substitute for hard work.

Years have passed since the days when my house was overrun by wild, starving teenagers every weekend. But I have never lost track of those kids, hundreds of them, thanks in no small part to social media sites like Facebook. Some of the most advantaged kids have struggled finding their way as adults. Some of the kids with the most barriers in their way have flourished. Many of the kids who I thought would do well have. But there have also been surprises. That strange boy who never said a lot, or that shy girl who always seemed sad about something have astonished me with what they have been able to build with their lives. Everyone of them who have done well have one thing in common...they all have worked their tails off. None of them have won the lottery, not a single one has inherited a fortune or stumbled onto some get rich quick scheme. None of them have been overnight successes. It's been a slow hard grind, full of setbacks and disappointments, but despite the difficulties, or perhaps because of them, they have overcome and built wonderful lives for themselves.

So, to the conductor who imparted this beautiful truth to a group of singers in Nashville, whoever you are...thank you.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Creepiest. Photo. Ever.

Ok...this picture creeps me out. I stumbled upon it this morning and immediately lost my appetite. Believe me, the creepiness of this picture has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. It's just disturbing in and of itself. The expression on Bill Clinton's face is zombie-like. That hair, those eyes! This photograph, it demands a caption. Here are a few for your consideration:

1. "Then I said, Hillary, you either put down that cell phone or I swear I'm gonna smack it out of your hand!"

2.  Obama: Bill, here, have a Snickers. You're not yourself when you're hungry.

3. "Barack, the woman is starving me to death! Look at my arms!!"

4. "Barack, I don't care what the constitution says, I'm begging you! PLEASE run for a third term. If Hillary becomes President, I'll kill myself!"

5. Obama: No, but seriously Bill, how do you get your hair that white?

6. "No!! You can't borrow my tee."

7. "You were born where? You have got to be kidding me!!"

8. "Getting old is hell Barack, look here, how do your forearms suddenly get bigger than your biceps?"

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The REAL Two Americas

Now that the Presidential election campaign is under way, it's time for that time-honored and throughly hackneyed debate topic to rear its ugly head...are their TWO AMERICAS??

Actually, there are probably 18-20 Americas, if you want to get technical about it, but I will concentrate on the Two America shtick here for purposes of clarity. Usually, this trope is most often raised by liberal democrats, although increasingly, republicans have fallen victim to its usage. The basic idea is that America is a horrible place because not everyone is doing equally well. The very existence of wealth means that somewhere, somehow, someone must be poor. The inference is that the wealthy dude came upon his wealth by some fraudulent means, either through inheritance, malfeasance, or chicanery. Insane levels of wealth should shame us. Let me here admit that part of this line of reasoning rings true to me. For example...

How can it be possible that Kanye West is a multi-millionaire ten times over, when a classically trained oboist has to take a second job to pay the rent on his one bedroom apartment in New York City? How is it that Kim Kardashian is worth more money than all the music teachers in American high schools combined? The answer is, of course, that there is absolutely no accounting for taste. Besides, both Mr. West and Ms. Kardashian have obtained their wealth by a series of free exchanges by the individual Americans who watch their shows and buy their records.

Capitalism never promised that it would make the right people rich, only that it would make more people rich than any other economic system ever created. Yes, capitalism has flaws, chief among them  the unavoidably unequal distribution of wealth that always and forever will result so long as talent, ambition, and education are unequally distributed throughout society. But, to hear the Two America's crowd tell it, everyone in America is either rich or poor, so inefficiently has American capitalism allocated resources. Their solution is an invigorated roll for centralized planners in Washington, a much steeper progressive taxation regime, in other words...wealth redistribution, not much different from the old Marxist line about from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.

But, where do I fit in this grim dichotomy? I am certainly not poor, by any measure that a reasonable person might use to determine such things. However, to declare me rich would also be quite a stretch. Most rich people I'm thinking aren't paying off two mortgages and a college loan. Actually, if I were rich, I wouldn't require a loan to educate my kids, but that's another story. Unfortunately, the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clintons of this world all agree that my income places me firmly in the "people from whom wealth must be extracted" list. Well, ok then.

But, enough with this class warfare hogwash. Let's talk about the real dichotomy that exists in America, the one that no politician wants to talk about:

There ARE Two Americas...

1. Southerners...and everybody else.
2. People who love soccer and people who don't.
3. Gamers...and everybody else.
4. People who drink lite beer...and everybody else.
5. People who talk loudly on their cell phones while standing in line in a small enclosed area with twenty other people who don't care to hear the specifics of what this idiot wants for dinner...and everyone else.
6. People who prefer ice in their sweet tea, and those who don't.
7. Hunters...and everybody else.
8. New York Yankee fans...and knowledgable, sportsmanship-loving fans everywhere.
9. People who have all the answers...and people who are just trying to figure stuff out.
10. People who prefer paper...and plastic people.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chiropractors and Squirrels

My chiropractor turned out to be nothing like the caricature of my imagination. He was young, blond and hip with the build of a pole vaulter. He greeted me with a firm handshake and in the fifteen minutes of our time together never once stopped talking. Even when his hands were engaged in inflicted pain on my neck, he kept attempting to educate me on the finer points of soft tissue disruption. Every so often he would ask for a response from me as in, "how does this feel?", to which I would try to answer in as manly a way as possible that it "wasn't too bad." Truth be known, it was quite excruciating.

You never want to hear any doctor say, "oh dear." But, two minutes in, he's oh dear-ing the condition of the soft tissue around my neck. Then he goes on and on about how after he gets done, I will probably be a little sore for a couple of days but that he is so excited because he is sure that he can help me...then it happened. Suddenly, he gripped both sides of my head securely and gave a violent yank to the right filling the room with a loud SNAP!!! Up until this point, I had been determined not to let out any whining whimpers of pain, no matter what he did, but this time I heard myself let out something that sounded like..."ummm...GAAAAAAAAAKKKKKK, What the heck was that!!??" 

He assured me that what he had just done was crucial to my recovery and that I would thank him later. Actually, my neck did feel better after this scary yank, so I said nothing. Then he handed me off to his assistant whose job it would be to teach me five excercizes to do every day. Think...a 25 year old nurse Ratchet...Then, it was off to a small room where I was instructed to lie face down on a padded table, where my nurse affixed four electrodes at various places on my neck, then covered my entire back and neck area with heavy and hot blankets. She then says, "Now, I'm going to turn these on and you need to tell me when you can feel the tingling and when it's not too uncomfortable let me know."

"When it's not too uncomfortable," isn't exactly a phrase that puts the mind at ease. However, this ten minute procedure was the most enjoyable part of my visit. I was told that the purpose of it was to help break up the damaged soft tissue thing. All I know is that when it was over, my neck felt better than it has in weeks, at least it did for about thirty minutes. Before I knew what was happening I heard myself agree to another visit next Tuesday when they would let me know exactly how much these visits were actually going to cost, since I still hadn't satisfied the gargantuan deductible on my health insurance,(Thanks, OBAMA!).

So, there you have it. I survived my first trip to the Chiroprator, and it may have helped...a little, I think...maybe.

One more thing that has nothing to do with my neck...the squirrels have returned. This year's batch are more brazen and cunning than any from years past, actually eating my tomatoes before they even get ripe! Last night I was firing at will at one particularly pesky one when right at the worst possible time I ran out of ammo!! He looked straight at me and I swear I saw him smile, actually more like a smirk. This will never happen again, my friends. I finally found my ammo stash this morning and I am loaded and locked, baby. This is war!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Let's Eliminate a Bunch of Zeros

Back in 2012 President Obama, to the exquisite delight of Statists everywhere, rangled a tax increase from Republicans in Congress. The top income tax rate increased from 35 to 39.6%. In addition, the top tax rate on dividends and capital gains also went up from 15 to 20%. An additional 3.8% levy on dividends, interests, capital gains and royalties also kicked in courtesy of Obamacare. Consequently, through July of 2015, the federal government just set a record by collecting a whopping 2.6 trillion dollars through the first ten months of the fiscal year. For those of you who would like to see what that actually looks like written out....$2,672,414,000,000.00. There are currently only 148 million of us actually working either full or part time. That means that the government took an average of $18,000 from every worker in the United States.

For most enterprises, record revenue announcements are cause for jubilant celebrations and perhaps a champagne toast. But, fun fact, over this same record breaking ten months, the government spent $3,147,953,000,000.00. So despite record revenue, our government managed to add another 466 billion dollars to the debt, or more accurately, $465,539,000,000.00. So, tell me again why the government has a revenue problem and not a spending problem?

It has always frustrated me that neither political party seems to give a flying fig about this. Republicans occasionally conjure up some faux outrage, but whenever they actually have a chance to do something about it, they don't. Democrats don't even try to fake it. Deficits? Who cares about deficits when there are voters to buy? The problem is that the numbers are just so large and terrifying, most people can't wrap their heads around it, so we would just rather not think about it at all. Well, I'm here to help. Let's cut this thing down to size by eliminating a bunch of zeros!

Suppose your take home pay every month was $2,642.00. Let's also suppose that you routinely spent $3,148.00 every month. Very soon, you would be in some serious trouble, right? I mean in 12 short months, you would have piled up over $6000 in debt! At this point, you would have dwindling options. You could get a second job, rob a bank, or maybe buckle down and do something about your spending habits. But surely we can all agree that the last thing you would do is purchase a new car! 

So, the next time any candidate for President announces some new fabulous program promising some free something or other, remind yourself about the car thing. Why would we spend more money we don't have before we fix the going in the hole every month thing? And when they assure us that over some ten or twenty year period ( fortunately long after they are out of office), the new program will have paid for itself, ask them, "how about coming up with a program that will pay for the 18 TRILLION DOLLARS of other programs that we still haven't paid for before we add any new ones onto the pile?"

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tomorrow is a Big Day!

Alright Sports fans, tomorrow is the big day. It's the day that my neck begins the road to recovery. Yes, tomorrow I have my first chiropractic experience. 

Now, I know that the last time I wrote on this subject, I made some less than flattering remarks about the chiropractic sciences. But that was before my Orthopaedic doctor requested that I go see one. It is his view that at the current stage of my decrepitude, it might offer some level of relief. He was quick to point out that it wasn't a long term solution, assuring me that long term I am well and fairly screwed. However, I enter this new phase of my treatment with unbridled enthusiasm.

Several friends have told me of the many benefits to be had by regular visits. Although, none of them have been willing to go into any details as to what exactly goes on during the sessions, leaving my fertile imagination running wild with possibilities. When someone described it as, realigning the spine, it did trouble me since realigning someone's spine sounds quite painful. Are any tools involved? Does this spinal manipulation,(another frightening formulation), require clinched teeth biting down hard on a stick? The mind reels at the possibilities.

Judging by the website of the place I'm going, my guy's doing alright. The site makes my Broker Dealer's website look like it was designed by a dyslectic middle schooler. There are big beautiful pictures of smiling doctors, nurses and positively ecstatic patients. There are lots of moving parts and colorful drop down boxes, and bunches of links to all manner of holistic remedies for everything from bunions to beriberi. There's even an entire section of the site devoted to dispelling MYTHS ABOUT CHIROPRACTIC CARE. In it I learn that back in the 1950's chiropractors picked up an unfortunate reputation as the equivalent of medical used car salesmen, who would come into some unsuspecting small town, set up shop, rip off a bunch of rubes, then move on to the next town. Not so any longer. Today, modern Chrioprators are highly educated, extensively trained professionals, who have earned a respected place at the table that is modern health care. 

I'm counting on it.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Donald Trump. The Teflon Candidate.

News came today that after Donald Trump's boorish performance in the first Republican Presidential debate, his poll numbers increased. At this point I believe that if pictures of Trump having sex with Bill Clinton were to surface, the headline on Drudge would be, "Trump Gains Support Among Homosexuals, latest poll finds..." The man can apparently do no wrong with a rather sizable section of the electorate.

This is very much unchartered territory. American has never seen a candidate like Donald Trump. A man that doesn't even know when he actually became a Republican, and won't promise not to run as an independent, killing any Republican chances for currently the front runner for the Republican nomination. His supporters seem to believe that his one qualification to become President is the fact that he speaks his mind and isn't politically correct. It is true that he seems to speak his mind. But, what if his mind is a place wherein no coherent thought resides? Suppose his only policy ideas turn out to be being rude to people, and calling women bimbos on Twitter all night? Well, the answer to the question right now seems to what?

This all brings me to this disturbing thought. Suppose that what is going on right now is the cumulative result of fifteen years of an American culture that has been so relentlessly celebrity-obsessed, we can no longer distinguish celebrity from politics? After Hollywood has beaten us over the head with one reality show after another where fortunes have been made by people who have become famous simply for being...famous, do we now expect our politics to work like realty TV where the loudest, most insipid, most over the top jerks become the biggest, richest stars? Has Donald Trump become the Kim Kardashian of Presidential politics? Everybody knows she's a narcissistic, empty headed drip, but everything she touches turns to gold so, she's still a star. Money makes right. 

If anyone else who has run for the presidency in my lifetime ever said the things that Donald Trump has said over the last couple of months, he or she would be the laughing stock of the country and drummed out of polite society. But, it's August 10, 2015, 15 months before Election Day, and nobody is laughing. At this point I would rather believe the conspiracy theories about his candidacy than face what might be the truth. I would rather believe that Trump is actually a Manchurian candidate cooked up by the Clintons to destroy Republican chances. That way I don't have to face the possible truth that we have lost the adult ability to be a serious people when faced with the most serious of our civic decisions. Have we really decided to throw our support behind the loudest, meanest, most juvenile candidate of all time on the recommendation that he isn't afraid to say what he thinks? Rudeness is not a policy. Bad manners isn't a plan. Bombast isn't the same as leadership. But don't tell Donald Trump. So far, it's worked like a charm.

A Healthy Exercise

Usually people wait until moments of personal crisis before counting their blessings. Mostly it's because, we hate to consider how fortunate we are. Yes, I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but the fact is that it's much more satisfying to wallow in self pity than it is to acknowledge how good we actually have it in life. The entire exercise of being thankful tends to remind us of how inconsequential our so-called problems are. So, most of us would rather dwell on the negative. Don't believe me? Read a newspaper.

Right now in my life, there are no pressing issues, no existential crisis afoot that is causing me to question everything. In fact, aside from a couple of degenerative disks, I've got it pretty good. Of course, everything could change in a flash. On my way to work this morning I might be the only eye witness to a traffic accident involving  a van full of #BLACKLIVESMATTER protesters and a pick up truck carrying a huge confederate flag in the back driven by a Donald Trump supporter. Just like that, my life could be thrown into chaos! So, I feel inclined to strike while the iron is hot and list out every blessing of life that has come my I get rear-ended by a Bernie Sanders supporter who decides to sue me for driving a car that enraged her because of my naked white privilege.

1. For 57, I'm pretty darned healthy.
2. I am married to a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman.
3. I have two incredible children who combined haven't given me a minutes worth of trouble their entire lives.
4. I have a large and boisterous family that love me and have my back.
5. I have the best, most supportive in-laws in the world.
6. Pam and I have accumulated some of the most amazing friends over the years.
7. I live in an incredible time in world history, where technological advances have made my life so much easier than any generation in history.
8. I am an American and as such am heir to a legacy of freedom and liberty unmatched in human history.
9. In over 31 years of marriage, Pam and I have only lived in two houses.
10. My chosen profession has rewarded me handsomely.
11. I was taught the difference between right and wrong so thoroughly by my parents, that bad behavior on my part is completely without excuse.
12. For all but a handful of my years on this earth I have enjoyed the company of a dog.
13. I have benefitted from a Christian faith that within the deepest level of my heart provides me with answers to the most vexing questions of life. 
14. Cajun food.
15. Hot rolls with butter.
16. Hot peach cobbler that has crunchy edges, with vanilla ice cream melting on top.
17. Christmas morning.
18. Baseball.
19. Maine
20. Hatteras Island.
21. Coffee.
22. The Beatles
23. Ludwig Von Beethoven.
24. The opportunity I had, through borrowed money, to get an education. It was the best investment I ever made.
25. The great influences on my kids' lives, Jeremy Welborn, Sherri Matthews, Deen Entsminger.
26. Great books.
27. Netflix.

I could list out many more, of course, but #10 is calling.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Inside Out.....a movie review

Pixar is a movie studio that specializes in crafting animated films that are advertised to lure in the kiddies but whose primary objective is to make their parents cry in public. Their latest offering, Inside Out continues this tradition and throws in guilt for no charge!

The film's opening line summarizes the plot nicely, "Have you ever wondered what's going on inside the head of an eleven year old girl?"  An unanimous "YES" rises up from every parent in the auditorium. For the next hour and a half Pixar shows us. Basically, our little Riley's brain headquarters is a factory of sorts filled with memories, short and long term memories that are stored in a giant colorful warehouse. These memories are divided into five personality islands, family, friendship, goofiness, honesty and hockey.  At the control panel of her consciousness are five competing emotions, brought to life as fuzzy, color coded little people with huge eyes and four fingers. There's Joy, whose sole mission in life is to keep all of the other emotions away from the controls and see to it that Riley is happy all day long. Then there's Fear, Anger and Disgust, all doing their bit at the appropriate time. Finally, there's the insufferably adorable and bespectacled Sadness, who is always ruining everything and generally making Joy's life difficult. It's all quite funny and very clever and for the most part great fun. When our little Riley is learning to skate on the pond out back in her Minnesota home, or rough housing with her parents as a toddler, it is a satisfying, escapist night out at the movies. But when Dad takes his start-up venture, along with his family out to San Francisco, everything changes. Eleven year old Riley must deal with everything from brochilli pizza, to having no furniture for a week because the moving van went to the wrong state, to being the new girl at school, all at once. Suddenly, Joy must make way to lots of Fear, Disgust, Anger, and especially Sadness. 

Let me here add a quibble or two I had with the premise of this fine film. First, if I didn't know better, this film would have me believe that our entire existence on this planet is governed exclusively by our emotions, patently untrue. Secondly, only five emotions? No Guilt,or Envy? How come Pride makes no appearance? But, whenever I catch myself taking issue with the finer points of psychology, I must remind's a movie and an animated one at that. It wasn't very long ago when these things were called cartoons, so chill out.

Riley has a rough go of it in San Francisco, and seriously, who wouldn't? Soon she becomes sullen, withdrawn, and for reasons that escape me, Joy and Sadness leave headquarters on some wild plot goose-chase that leaves Fear, Anger and Disgust in charge. Predictably, Riley is soon a hot mess. In a scene that I still cannot get out of my head, Riley is sitting at the dinner table being peppered with questions about her day by her well meaning parents. Meanwhile, back at head quarters, Anger grabs the controls. Dad presses the unresponsive Riley for an answer, telling her he doesn't much care for her tone and attitude. Inside of Dads brain, the emotions at his control panel are determined to get tough. "Put the foot down....THE FOOT IS DOWN! Repeat, THE FOOT IS DOWN!" Riley gives in to Anger, explodes in a rage and runs up the stairs to her furniture-less room.

It was at this point that I found myself reliving every failure I had as a Father, every moment when I lost my temper. The time I warned Kaitlin that if she didn't stop throwing a fit ( or merely crying, as her Mother would describe it later), I wouldn't let her go trick-or-treating. She didn't do either that night. I won the battle and lost the war. Or the time I flew into a rage at my crying child who had hurt my feelings by not wanting to leave the sitter. This scene allowed me to relive those failures through the eyes of a child who wasn't capable of articulating her feelings. It brought tears to my eyes.

By the time Joy and Sadness finally make it back to headquarters, Riley has bought a bus ticket back to Minnesota. This is where a beautiful truth of this film comes to life. We learn that life isn't always about joy and happiness, that in fact, sadness is also part of life, not something to be avoided at all cost. Through times of great sadness, others get the chance to come along side of us, to comfort us, to commiserate. We come out on the other side of sadness a better, more complete, more understanding person. We discover just how valuable our family and friends are to us, something we would never understand without those difficult moments.

So, Pixar did it again. You would have thought I would have learned my lesson with Toy Story. As the credits rolled, I was choked up, Pam was crying. 

Wonderful movie!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Winners and Losers

Random observations about last night's debate:

Donald Trump did absolutely nothing to persuade me that he is anything other than the bombastic blowhard that I thought he was. He is an intellectual lightweight, politically incoherent, and by his answer to the night's first question, willing to see Hillary Clinton elected by refusing to forego a run as an independent. Oh, and what exactly do you call that hair color?

I felt sorry for Ben Carson, probably the finest man on that stage. He is clearly a very smart man, but seemed totally out of his depth, overmatched by the event. 

Ted Cruz might be the best debater in the field, but he sounded strident to me.

Jeb Bush started poorly but did get better as the night wore on. It seemed like every answer to every question began with the same phrase, "As Governor of the state of Florida...," which got annoying. I know he's raised a ton of money, but the thought of electing a third Bush is too horrible to contemplate. Family dynasties are fine on PBS, not in American politics.

How the heck did Mike Huckleberry get on the stage and Carly Fiorina didn't?

Chris Christie showed flashes of the thing that attracted me to him two years ago when his town hall performances in New Jersey got everyone's attention. Nobody is quicker on their feet, nobody is better in unscripted moments. His exchange with Rand Paul about data gathering and fighting terrorism was the highlight of the night, terse, intense and riveting stuff. Both men made good solid points, but Christie seemed to win the moment.

Speaking of Rand Paul, he disappointed. I like him. His views are the closest to mine from top to bottom. But there are times when he comes across as a bit of a petulant whiner. When the camera caught him rolling his eyes at something...well, it wasn't a good look.

Scott Walker did fine, I guess. But he looked small to me for some reason, as if the moment was too big for him.

John Kasich benefitted from the exposure. Even though he's been in politics forever, not very many people outside of DC and Ohio know who he is. He did well, I think.

Which leaves me with the night's winner...Marco Rubio. He looked great, sharp with his answers, directly responding to the actual questions instead of launching into speeches. He kept talking about how things have changed radically just over the past five years, that in order to keep up you're going to have to adapt to the future, not dwell in the past. He projected youth and energy, bringing to mind the John Kennedy of 1960. He was the only one who impressed Pam, for what that's worth. 

So, there you have it. I wrote this quickly this morning before reading any punditry on the debate. I didn't want their opinions to influence mine, Now I'll go read what all the wise men had to say and realize how wrong I am about everything!

One more thing. All I hear from my leftist friends is what a pitiful lapdog Fox News is for the Republican Party, a mouthpiece for conservatism masquerading as a news network. Well, last night I saw three tough as nails reporters eviscerating every candidate on the stage, asking tough, uncomfortable questions, forcing the candidates to account for their past statements. In other words, I saw three moderators holding political feet to the fire. Now, whenever the Democrats ever get around to having a candidate debate, let's see how CNN or CBS or NBC handle their candidates! And yes, I did say their. I'm not naive enough to actually believe that anyone in the mainstream media would ever vote for a Republican candidate...come on!! Let's see if the folks at the New York Times can be as in your face with Hillary and Bernie as Megyn Kelly was with Donald Trump. Something tells me I'll be disappointed.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Tonight's Debate

Tonight there's a debate on television. Ten Republicans will stand on a stage and make one minute responses to questions from a moderator. Then they will be allowed thirty second responses to each other. Not exactly Plato vs. Socrates but it will be a far cry better than the debate among the Democratic Presidential candidates.  (Crickets)

Actually there will be two debates tonight. The first will take place much like an undercard for a prize fight. There are seven candidates that haven't polled high enough or paid off the right people at Fox to appear on the main stage. Amoung this group is a former governor of the State of Virginia who has so far raised exactly $193,000 for his campaign, Jim Gilmore. But there he will be, along side people like Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry. There isn't enough money in the world.....

Much of the focus tonight (along with 90% of the oxygen) will be taken up by Donald Trump, the current front runner and the bane of the political establishment. He and his hair will be at the center of the stage. Regular readers of this blog are aware that I have been highly critical of his Donaldness, sometimes viciously so. There's a reason for that...I've always despised his shtick, so I'm not exactly objective. But watching his candidacy giving the vapors to every member of the establishment punditry class has, I must confess, been delicious fun. I'm starting to understand his appeal, and oddly enough it's very similar to the boomlet of support being experienced by Democrat Bernie Sanders. I will attempt an explanation.

Americans of all political persuasions are tired of timidity. We are fed up with weasels. The carefully crafted, poll-tested sentences that spill forth from our politicians has reached a critical mass which has made them like fingernails on a blackboard. Largely we have brought this on ourselves. Politicians fear telling us the truth in part because they know we can't handle it. Instead we have spent the better part of thirty years sending conflicting messages to them, asking them to at once lower our taxes AND provide us with more stuff. The biggest long term problem we face as a nation is the unsustainability of Social Security, but that topic is called the third rail of American politics for good reason. So, nothing ever gets done, making the problem ultimately harder to fix. But here comes Trump and Sanders. Neither of them feels that they are owed the presidency, and neither of them, in their heart of hearts, believe they will become President. So, they are free to tell us what they think, not what some Madison Avenue polling firm tells them we want to hear. Sanders, in particular, has the courage of his convictions, and as such, is the perfect foil for Hillary Clinton who is desperately trying to figure out what her convictions are. Trump, on the other hand, has the conviction that on his worse day he could do a better job of running the country than the professional butt-kissers who will be standing on the stage around him tonight. He has the added advantage of being able to tell all the big donor types to take a hike. As he is always reminding us, he's got plenty of his own money, and therefore will enter the  White House in debt to no one, especially the Koch brothers.

So what will happen tonight? I have no idea except for the end of the thing, every analyst on MSNBC will be proclaiming Hillary Clinton the big winner, and most of them on FOX will be pointing out all the mistakes made by Trump. And on Friday morning, the Donald's poll numbers will have...improved!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wish Me Luck!

This afternoon at 4:30, I have my long awaited appointment with the neck specialist over at Tuckahoe Orthopaedic. He has examined the results of my recent MRI and will let me know how he plans to treat me. It could go several different ways...

Best case scenario.

Doctor: For the life of me I don't understand why we didn't catch this before, but your MRI revealed that there's a McDivot in your thermalator between the corpus and the christi right here, see it?

Me: Well, yeah, I guess so. But what does that mean?

Doctor: Well, it certainly explains the pain you've been experiencing. If there was a McDivot that big in my thermalator, my neck would be hurting too! The good news is that, now that we know what the problem is, it's an easy fix. Take these pills twice a day for a week, the thing will dissolve, and you'll be as good as new.

Worst case scenario.

Doctor: Well Mr. Dunnevant, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but both of your troubled bulging disks have ruptured, so I'm afraid we're going to have to operate to repair the damage. The earliest I can squeeze you in looks like the 20th of December.

Me: Are you kidding me? That's five days before Christmas!! And what am I suppose to do about the pain between now and then?

Doctor: Develope a taste for Scotch.

Most likely scenario.

Doctor: Yeah, looks like your neck is gradually wearing out. Right now, it's not bad enough to operate, so I'm going to give you a cortisone shot and we'll see how much relief that supplies. But after a while, a year or two, maybe three, the shots will stop working, then we will have to move on to more invasive treatment, which at some point will include surgery. 

Me: Wait, what about this therapy thing I heard about where they put you in traction and stretch your spine out to releave the pressure?

Doctor: Yes. In the Middle Ages that was called...torture. Be my guest.

Me: What about a Chiropractor?

Doctor: (crickets)

Me: Doctor? I said, what about a Chiropractor?

Doctor: Excuse me, but did I just hear a reasonably well educated man ask me if he should consider going to a glorified massage parlor for treatment of a serious neck condition? By all means, and while you're there maybe you can try applying a few leeches!

Me: I'll take that as a "no."

I'm counting on these cortisone shots working. If they don't I might try the rack thing and a Chiropractor. If none of these things work I might even go the leeches route. I am very tired of living with a neck that hurts all the time. I want to play golf again. I want to be able to back out of a parking space without extreme discomfort, and I've grown weary of my heating pad.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Stupid Zebras

A couple of days ago someone posted a meme on Facebook that was a picture of three Zebras with the tag line, "Thank God Cecil's Dead" at the top and the hashtag, #zebralivesmatter at the bottom. At first glance I thought it was mildly funny. But now I'm reading that it is grossly inappropriate and covertly racist. 

See, this is the problem with zebras. They're always trying to make everything black and white. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Throwing the Baby Out With the Bath Water

Are Republican efforts to strip funding for Planned Parenthood over selling baby parts despite the many other services they provide to women the equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bath water? Wait...probably a bad metaphor.

This is just one of the many problems facing the public relations people at Planned Parenthood. How do you respond to videos that show your people...doing their jobs? This assignment has fallen to the "Crisis communications" firm of SKDKnickerbocker, whose first move was to scrub their own website of any tie to Planned Parenthood. Their second move was to send a memo to members of the media, urging them to blackball any future videos. 

Everybody loves sausage, but nobody wants to see how the sausage is made. Therein lies Planned Parenthood's problem. Millions of Americans support abortion, the right of a woman and only a woman to choose, but not very many people want to take the time to hack their way through the moral and ethical implications of the procedure. Even fewer care to consider the thorny issue of when life begins, the ethical high wire act of partial birth abortion, or the semantic gyrations required to call a full term baby in the womb mere tissue, when six inches later it becomes a living soul.

So whenever something happens that forces us to confront this issue, something like these videos, abortion defenders find themselves on treacherous ground and wind up saying the most ridiculous things. For example, Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, upon release of the first video apologized for the "tone" of the staff member caught talking casually about the skillful crunching of skulls in between mouthfuls of salad and sips of wine. Ms. Richards claimed that the staffer's remarks "do not reflect the compassionate care which is our top priority." But, compassionate care to whom? Certainly not the baby. Abortionists have gone to great pains since Roe v. Wade to scrub away any emotional language when discussing the object of abortion. They have steadfastly refused to grant even an ounce of humanity to the thing growing inside the womb...mere tissue. So, what was there to apologize for? The staffer was merely speaking of dismembering a tissue mass with no more moral authority than a gall bladder. What on earth was wrong with her "tone"?

If I was SKDKnickerbocker, I would advise PP to attack the messenger and knock off the apologizing. The best defense is always a good offense. Then maybe come up with a catchy marketing slogan...Planned Parenthood...To make an omelette, you've got to break a few eggs!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cecil the Lion

 The biggest news story of this past week was the killing of Cecil the Lion by a middle-aged American dentist. The pictures of him standing over the dead body of such a majestic beast sent the internet into a white-hot frenzy. By the end of the week, the sidewalk outside of his dental office was festooned with stuffed lions and posters suggesting that he better not show up anytime soon if he knows what's good for him. As of this hour, he is still in hiding.

Since this horrific story occurred simultaneously with the Planned Parenthood video controversy, my Facebook feed has been plastered with anger over the lack of comparative outrage. "One lion gets murdered and people go crazy, while Planned Parenthood butchers babies for their body parts and nobody even raises an eyebrow!!!" Not to be outdone, several civil rights activists complained that white people care more about lions in Africa than they do about the  people of Africa.

Of course, then the hunting enthusiasts descended into the fray with their robust defense of the dentist. "Do any of you people know how an aging lion dies? Usually he gets eaten alive by insects or other lions. The dentist did Cecil a favor!"

So, what's my take? First of all, getting hot and bothered on the subject of comparative outrage is a losing proposition. No one who disagrees with you is going to show enough outrage over your cause to ever satisfy you, so give it up. Secondly, I know plenty of people who were equally pissed off about the Planned Parenthood videos AND Cecil the Lion...ME for one. But I certainly understand why the killing of a majestic lion caused such a visceral reaction while the PP videos haven't so much. It's because...he's a LION!!! Anyone with even a basic understanding of history knows the symbolic nature of the King of the jungle and his place in literary and cultural history. The lion is uniquely revered amoung all of God's creatures. It's majestic, powerful and mysterious. C.S. Lewis,
in his classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, didnt give the role of messianic figure to an aardvark, or a wildebeest. Only a lion would do. To see such an animal killed by a guy with apparently  more money than he knows what to do with for mere sport strikes a nerve. The details of the kill made matters worse. Luring the beast out into the open by dragging a dead animal behind a truck, then shooting him with a bow and arrow, tracking him for over 24 hours then fininshing him off with a gun shot seemed cowardly, and made a mockery of the term, sporting kill. So, people flipped out!

I'm not a hunter, with the exception of backyard squirrels trying to eat my tomatoes. I don't think I have it within me to be able to pull the trigger to kill an animal, unless said animal was about to eat me(or my tomatoes). I don't begrudge people who are hunters, it's just not my thing. But when God commanded us to have dominion over the earth, I'm pretty sure he didn't mean it was OK for some rich guy with a mid-life crisis to stalk the king of the beast, so he can hang its head on his wall back at the office like a trophy. I am repulsed by this sort of thing when I see it in much the same way as I am repulsed by the PP videos...because I value life.

And please, don't send me messages informing me of how many ants I kill every day walking down the street, or how many Mosquitos I murder while cutting the grass. If you can't tell the difference between a lion or a fully formed baby in the womb, and a mosquito, then I can't help you. Has the reaction been a little over the top hysterical, especially amoung several Hollywood loons? Sure. Does it bother me that many of the same people who are most agitated over a dead lion, aren't the least bit troubled by 50 million babies since Roe vs. Wade? Yeah, a little. But frankly, in this day and age, I'm encouraged when people get moved by the death of anything, so callous have we become to death and slaughter. So, I mourne Cecil's death, and make no apologies for doing so.