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Please Note: This journal contains a wide variety of stuff -- complete stories, bits and pieces, commentary, and who-knows-what else. As is always the case these days, the material is protected by copyright. On the other hand, I publish it here to be shared. Feel free to pass it on. Just give me credit. Fair enough?



January 26, 2013

Pack Creek Ranch, San Juan County, Utah
End of January, 2013

Heavy fog, but warming, with a sudden onset of oozy mush and mud.
A signal to hibernating life that it’s time to get up, get out, and get on with it.

I’m off on a trip to Tucson, Arizona, and Palm Desert, California to deliver paintings for my wife’s upcoming solo gallery exhibitions. I don’t mind saying that I’m very proud of her. Take a look at her most recent work at http://www.willowbader.com – and when you are on the site read her new bio and artist’s statement.
Meanwhile – here’s some of my stuff . . .

SHORT TAKES AND FOLLOW-UPS

(See previous posting for the backstory.)
The lard-soaked kitchen rug was finally accepted for export to the dry cleaners in Grand Junction. No problem. The proprietor of the store understood the situation – lard is the only way to cook Navajo Fry Bread. She’s a lard-eater, herself.

Meanwhile, though I didn’t mention it, I missed a big bullet.
Spilling two pounds worth of boiling lard into the kitchen could have easily led to a grease fire and serious burns for me and my guests.
I could have burned the house down and spent a long time in the hospital.
However, there was no fire, no burns – just mess.

It’s interesting how incredibly bad you feel when disaster happens.
Yet missing a big bullet leaves you with simple relief, not ecstasy.
Bad news always weighs more than good news.

* * * *

A friend wanted to know if my account of Moab laundry methodology was true.
Absolutely – I didn’t tell the whole story.
I forgot to add information about the pleasure of Hot Pants.
If it’s really cold, and you are going to dress in the laundry and then go outside, it’s an added perk to put your underclothing back in the dryer for a warm up before you put them on.
Nothing quite like warm shorts and happy buns.

* * * *

I watched the Presidential Inaugural.
And was deeply moved by all it meant.
A proud moment in our history – not the result of a military coup – just the 44th peaceful installation of an elected leader.
We . . . the people . . . did that.

Later, I had these three afterthoughts.

One - Most nations celebrate such occasions with a display of active military might. Tanks and guns and missile-launchers – combat troops and fighter squadrons - as the centerpiece.
But none of that was on parade in Washington.
The military was in dress uniforms – men and women of all flavors.
And a lot of civilian marching bands playing upbeat music.
A whole lot more music than military muscle.

Two - The President ended his speech, as all major American politicians do, by saying “God bless you. God bless America.”
Given our deeply held value of separation of church and state, I wish he would not do that. A theological tag line is not required.
“Thanks,” would be enough.
But if he is compelled by political correctness to add a religious grace note, then just once I would like him and the rest of the politicians to say,
“God bless you. God bless the United States of America. And God bless all the people of this world.”

Three – In addition to the infinite display of our team’s colors of red, white, and blue in a sea of bunting and flags, I would like to see, on this occasion when we are celebrating the our national identity – two more flags displayed:
The flag of the United Nations.
And the flag showing planet Earth floating way out in infinite space – the one taken from the moon.
Affirming that “We, the People” is an inclusive idea – larger than one nation.

Several years ago, at a dinner party in Argentina, a woman said to me:
“It’s annoying for people from your country to call yourselves Americans as if you had a copyright on the term. America is a continent – with three large regions – North America, Central America, and South America. The name of my country is Argentina. But I am also an American – by geography, and in commitment to democratic principles. And if you think this is small-minded quibbling, then you make my point. Think bigger.”

* * * *

I leave you with something to feel good about.
Wikipedia.
You use it – but have you thought about it? You should.
Have you contributed or edited an article? You could.
Have you made a financial contribution to keep it going? You must.

Go to YouTube and bring up the Wikipedia videos.
There are many, but I suggest Inside Wikipedia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9-CovbP-7U and Wikipedia – Nice People. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoszRJpvAP0
Browse around.
See a powerful positive statement about what’s possible with cooperation.
We . . . the People . . .
Yes!