Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Just stop it.

My mother and I were talking today about the public reaction to the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001.

And we're appalled.

"Commemoration" isn't such a distant cousin of a word from "Celebration." It would seem that many have forgotten that there actually is a difference, and that those that know it seem to be blurring the lines pretty heavily.

I get that no documentarian worth his salt would fail to comment on the tenth year passing since our nation suffered an attack that had such ramifications. But the goal of those watching, and the goal of those showing the documentaries seems to be a type of entertainment.

Like a horror movie. "Ooh, it gives me shivers to remember where I was when I heard..."

I'm disgusted, and I'm not participating.

You want to wave our flag? Push to bring back most of our troops from the errands we've sent them on. Push to sunset the Patriot Act for good. Push to fire the TSA. Push to strengthen our borders (still as porous as they were 10 years ago, from what I see.).

But don't use some arbitrary tenth anniversary of the death of our countrymen as a day to be entertained. Do something GOOD for your country for a change, would you, please? We've spent the last 3,652 days dismantling it.

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

What's important to you?

Last night, either by some mechanical problem with their vehicle, or through mischief, someone set a chain of fires along a stretch of highway near town. I was on duty, and was called to assist. When I arrived, the flames were 12 to 15 feet high, and running south with the 26 mph wind (and 25% humidity) at about the speed of a child running, or a man jogging. By this point, my sergeant was already driving a brush truck across the prairie while its lone fireman fought the fire from the rear deck. I looked at traffic, decided that directing traffic (on the north side of the fire) was pointless, and hurried west of the fire to flank it and get south of it. There were houses a mile south of there.

As I moved west on the highway, I observed several smaller fires that were smoldering in the south ditch, luckily stopped by the recently plowed fields just across the ditch. I grew angry.

I got to the south side of the fire, and started notifying homeowners. My spiel went like this:

"Howdy, I'm Matt G with the Podunk Police Department. There's a fast-moving, growing wildfire north of here, and it's coming this way fast. Pack up what's important to you, right now. No furniture. Get ready to go. I recommend that you leave immediately, but if you stay, please leave when you see the flames. Please know that our fire departments are doing everything that they can to protect your house, and more fire personnel are en route to do just that."

Then I would move to the next house.

What mildly impressed me was that no one argued. They got right to it. At one point, I parked my car in the driveway of one family, and after I spoke with the ~50 year old man there, I moved to the three houses next door on foot. After having warned those people, I walked back to my car, and saw that first man fast-walking with two apparently heavy suitcases to his pickup. He gave me a quick nod before tossing them into the bed and quickly going back to the house. I could hear a woman and a child speaking to each other through the screen door. "Good man," I said. I went on to other houses.

We got a few dozen rural houses notified before the sixth or seventh alarm seemed to turn the tide. They got the fire line slowed, and started mop-up a few hours later. To the best of my knowledge, no habitations were burned, and only minor sheds and such went up, along with fences and a lot of dry vegetation. (You recall that we're in something of drought, right? Worst one in more than half a century?)

So last night, I was touched when I saw that my friend Don Gwinn had written:
[I] realized something today that's kind of trite, but it hit me hard: I don't have any problems I can't solve. I'm rich. I may acquire new problems I can't solve tomorrow--an aneurysm could burst in my head tonight--but I have no debts I don't have a plan to pay off early, no work I can't do, no loved ones I can't connect with.

Which is not to say I have no debts, or that there's nothing I'd like to have and don't, or would like to do and can't right now, or that all my relationships with my loved ones are perfect, or that my work is easy or even always makes sense. But today I have the sense that I have way to handle all of it, even the stuff that's going to be hard, painful or boring while I'm doing it.
What's important to you? What would you take if you had 15 minutes?
Are your problems really so insurmountable?

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Regimental gentlemen.

We don't like talking about it. We don't want to think about it.

But here's the thing:
One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. If I've got 360 male readers of this post, 60 of you will get prostate cancer.

What's worse, about 1 man in 36 will die of prostate cancer. It's the second leading cause of cancer death among men, following only lung cancer.

I say again: 1 in 36 men die of this detectable form of cancer.

But then look at testicular cancer:
1 in 270 men get testicular cancer. But great news: the fatality rate for that form of cancer is falling. Why? Because of early detection and treatment. We can beat it. (Currently only one in 5,000 die of it.) And if we can beat that form of cancer, then we can beat prostate cancer.

The answer to the question "then why don't they...?" is invariably MONEY.

Kick in a bit. I'm not just interested in "raising awareness"-- I want to raise cash for this.

My good friend Ambulance Driver is all in on this one. For the month of September, he's going to dress every day in a fashion that makes it easier for a medical professional to check him for signs of prostate cancer (or testicular cancer, for that matter).
He's wearing a kilt.

Now, I didn't get my own kilt put together quick enough to join in on AD in the Kilted To Kick Cancer campaign, but I wish that I had; he's got some dandies put together. He's wearing them to work. He's wearing them to the store. He's wearing them to the airport where they will likely be probulating him.

That's dedication to the cause.

I want you, gentle reader, to weigh your discomfort at the thought of getting checked, against your discomfort at the thought of someone dear to you suffering from prostate cancer. Statistically, it's going to happen to someone you care about.

Click on my link here, and put in a few bucks. It's quick and easy. The money goes straight to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, without stuff getting siphoned off for "lobbying," or overhead.

You can do this without even having to leave your doctor's office without making eye contact.

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