Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Something To Hold Me Over

While I have been recouperating, I have been mostly just hitting the various blogs I usually visit and spewing Vicodin enhanced comments all over the place. Then I saw a good suggestion by Geoff, which was to post something upon which people can converse. He thought my thoughts on Israel would be a good topic. So here goes:

When I was a wee lad, I used to wonder about the troubles between Israel and the Palestinians. As a product of a Roman Catholic elementary school, as well as a product who enjoyed religion classes with all the OT stories, I would naturally feel inclined to side with Israel and I'd think, "Why would anyone want to mess with the Chosen People?" As I entered my teen years, and I see the stories of Vanessa Redgrave (or was it Lynn?) marching with the Palestinians against the Zionist oppressors, I'd wonder, "Don't the Jews remember what it's like to be oppressed?"

Of course being much older now, I have very little sympathy for the Palestinian cause and could quite probably be considered a Christian Zionist. Of course I pity the average Palestinian citizen who is trying to live life under the crappola of Palestinian leadership. I mean, jeez, the money Arafat syphoned into his own pockets from international largesse should have provoked his own death by the hands of Palestinians.

But they have been led by one jerk after another, and then, as if things weren't bad enough, they go and vote in Hamas the first chance they get. Hard to get worked up over such a stupid people.

Now Israel has pulled out of various areas thanks to Ariel Sharon, and what happened? The Palies trashed the place. As I understand it, there was a whole area that would have provided food and such just by walking in and taking it over and instead, they destroyed everything because it belonged to the Jews. What a bunch of idiots. And of course, they use the new territories as a place to launch more mortar and rocket attacks into Israel.

So what of Israel. I now believe that, conceding the liklihood that they have engaged in certain over the top practices over the years, they generally have acted like normal civilized people toward all those scumbag nations trying to exterminate them. Palestinians living in Israel have a much higher standard of living than do those outside of Israel. Israel IS civilization in a part of the world where there are really only pockets of it and much of it pretense at that. Israel is a tight ally of ours and deserves as much support as we can lend them and we shouldn't be too quick to jump up and demand restraint when Hezbollah, Hamas or Iran decides to start up with them.

The United Church of Christ, the denomination of which my congregation is a part, supports divesting in Israel, and they speak against "Christian Zionism" as if it is only about end times considerations. Just another reason why I'd like my church to bail on the UCC. The fact is, abandoning Israel is akin to supporting all the fanatical and fascist elements of the WOT. This is a bad idea and in a time when there are so few in the world willing to call Evil by it's name, I see supporting Israel as a no-brainer.

By the way, the thread that just dropped off with the posting of this one is, as they all are, still open for comments.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Times That Try Mens' Souls

Tomorrow, at 08:30, I'll be making my way to a local hospital to undergo a 3rd arthroscopic reconstruction of my left knee. The last one I had was about 18 years ago, which repaired the ligament originally torn in 1986.

I was entered into a martial arts tournament and after spending hours staying loose and ready, they called my ring and I was paired with an opponent. This dude had a great burst off the line and from the "Hajime!", he was laying a side kick into me which I caught on my block. A hard charger, the momentum of his kick sent me sprawling. Though it caught me somewhat unaware, I had dealt with such an attack many times. When we squared off again, I had a few different things rushing through my mind. As he burst again, I let fly a roundhouse kick to his head which caught him perfectly. Unfortunately for me, his momentum again kept coming and my foot got hung up on his shoulder just enough to jam my supporting leg down into the carpet. My knee couldn't handle the torque and it popped to the nausea of everyone within earshot. I flopped around a bit trying to overcome the admonitions of the judges who were frantically trying to make me lie still. Good idea except that my leg was bent underneath me. Once I pushed them out of the way, I was able to straighten the leg and breathe easy. It didn't hurt then. I tried to stand on it, but it wasn't to be. I had to forfeit and sit with a bag of ice on the balloon my knee had become.

Naturally, I had to sit and watch. I wanted to see if my opponent, to whom I bore no malice whatsoever, would prevail. To lose the first round to a guy who will just go on to lose the next round just doesn't do. He went two more rounds before elimination and just missed placing. I could have beaten him, though. (What else can I say?)

For the uninitiated, in this type of tournament, you have usually two minutes to outscore you opponent or reach whatever the rules say is the limit. In this one I believe it was three points with any score only counting as one point. There is a judge in at least three, if not all four corners with a center referee who can break ties. You spar with your opponent until one lands a legit technique, and the fight is stopped. If you have at least two judges who see the same technique score, a point is awarded and the fight resumes. It's a light contact event, and control is important, though some fine shots can be administered to the body without penalty. I wasn't a black belt so there was a no contact rule for the face area, and only light contact to the head, and moderate to the body. This is subjective depending on the judges and the apparent skill level of the participants. Excessive contact results in the victim getting the point, and continued excessive contact results in disqualification. The winner advances to the next round. The first Karate Kid movie represented this basic tourney system fairly well, but by the time of that movie, hand and foot pads were required, and now headgear is also mandatory.

Anyhow, I tore the ACL in my left kneed and some cartilage as well. The arthroscope was still fairly new and they didn't do a whole lot with it. They removed the torn cartilage, but that was the extent of it. To do more would have required opening the knee as in days of old and six months in a cast. A few years later, I tore the ligament the rest of the way and by then they were able to deal.

Now, I'm not sure what is going on. The pain in my knee came about rather gradually and I couldn't point to any one incident to explain it. The MRI was inhibited by the assorted screws and staples still in my knee from the last surgery (which they should be able to remove tomorrow), so they couldn't get a good look. Overall, it doesn't seem anywhere near as dibilitating as before, but crank it the right way and I'm forced to spew expletives.

My main concern is recovery time. Bowling season begins around Labor Day and there are a lot of people who have my money. I intend to get it all back as well as a great deal of theirs. Now, my time to practice and get in game shape is limited. Fotunately, the knee won't affect my beer consumption. And of course, I need to get back into healthy shape as well, and resume my ju jutsu training. All in all, the next month and a half will be intense. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Real Cuba

Visiting Carol Platt Liebau's blog today, I saw her post about Cuban health care. This was in response to the movie "Sicko", which apparently only shows the level of care afforded to non-Cubans. I went to the link provided there and spent some time checking out all the different offerings and thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to include the site in my Places of Interest section. So I did. The site has a section for useful idiots. I can't see how Michael Moorechipsandcandynow won't be given a place of honor on that section. Check it out. Check out Carol's blog, too.

A Moment Of Silence...

...in remembrance of Lady Bird Johnson, who passed away today at the age of 94 of natural causes. May she Rest in God's Peace.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Glitch in Blogger. Whooda thunk it?

I finally found something that helps with the problem I had entering a title. Blogger needs a better support system for reporting problems.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Now, What Was I Gonna Title This Thread?

One of the main problems I've observed with blogging, is the unwillingness for anyone involved with a given debate to let themselves admit the other guy has a point. That perhaps the other guy is right. One side makes an argument, and the opponent disputes it. The first guy offers some kind of support, maybe a link to an article, a book, whatever, and the second guy accuses the first of using biases materials. So the second guy offers his evidence for his argument, and the first guy questions the second guy's stuff. It never ends. What's the point?

Now, I've seen some pretty lame stuff offered as evidence, and I've seen some that, frankly, I just don't have the time to study at length. But it's hard to debate without it, with only one's own perspective based on life experience and such, because that's the least respected source of all.

It leaves me wondering, "What's the point?"

Originally, it was just fun matching wits and debating, arguing, being snarky. Now, it's just spinning one's wheels. Oh well. Gotta keep them bearings oiled.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

FREEDOM!!!!

I haven't visited all the blogs I like, but of those few that I have, I didn't see anything about Scooter. Though I felt a full pardon was in order, I'm happy George commuted his sentence. In a "much ado about nothing" case, it would have sucked out loud if Libby had to do time. Without backing out to double check, I think it was the article that Yahoo.com offered that spoke of Libby as an example of the administration's stifling of dissent. This is laughable. Wilson's article was proven to be garbage and distortions and that's considered dissent? A break is required for me here. In all I've read about regarding this case, I don't even see where there was an attempt to "out" anyone, though there was a leak. Too bad the leaker didn't take any heat at all.

In any case, I think one has to credit Bush with consistency. He said he didn't want to mess with the decision in the case, but you know he didn't want to see Libby crucified. He satisfied both with his commutation. Libby was convicted (despite how wrong it was), and Bush showed respect for the process by NOT pardoning, though a pardon isn't necessarily a show of disrespect for the process. After all, he was tried, convicted and sentenced, and, he still has to pay big bucks and has a criminal record...for not remembering. At least he's free.