Thursday, December 26, 2002

Our 2002 Christmas Letter

Alice and I both turned 60 this year and the maturity we now exhibit is in consonance with our years. More than at any other time in our lives, we are aware of the uniqueness of life and of the lives about us. We both lost our beloved stepmothers this year, Edna Dickinson in April and Ruth Combs in July, and several other good friends. And yet, life goes on, and our zest for and appreciation of it and of each other increases remarkably with our increasing age. Maybe life does begin at 60! 


We enjoyed more travels this past year. We spent last New Year's with great friends in Playa del Carmen and were entertained and educated by visits to Mayan pyramids and temples, Mexican villages, and snorkeling in the warm, clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In June we went to Denver for the 90th birthday celebration of Alice’s Aunt Ruth, and visits with relatives, many living in the Denver area, and many who came from afar to celebrate. 


In further reflection on year 2002, like Yogi said, it's deja vu all over again. Alice has been remodeling a house we bought that is just behind our present home. Remodeling a home was the way we started life together in 1989, except then we lived in the house as work went on all about us. About this remodel, suffice it to say that it is taking twice as long, and costing twice as much, as we thought it would. Alice is loving every minute of it! Then in August we began an encore of the four-month bicycle trip we took to Europe four years ago, only this time we went for two months and spent almost the entire time in Scotland, with just a little time in Ireland and England. Early in the second week of our journey we had our hardest day on bikes ever. With our packs that averaged 65 pounds, we began a 32-mile ride from Ballater past Balmoral Castle (the Queen was there, I wonder if she saw us peddle by?) to the Spittal of Glenshee (you have to love Scottish place names). Halfway through the ride, we began a 10-mile steady climb to the 2,000 feet summit at Cairnwell Pass, riding into a headwind that got stronger as we climbed - the gusts at the summit exceeded 50 miles an hour, and at one point blew Alice right off her bike. We rode past the base of ski lifts at the summit, and then flew downhill for six miles to our bed and breakfast lodge. There we arrived just in time for dinner provided by “Angels” as Alice named the six young ladies who invited us to share the BBQ they prepared for a Bachelorette party. 


At the end of our bike trip, we joined Alice's high school reunion group for a 60th birthday party and cruise from San Pedro with stops at San Diego, Ensenada, and Catalina island. Unfortunately, during the first night Alice thought she was having a heart attack, and when we arrived at San Diego she was rushed to the UCSD Medical Center. Tony Bennett may have “left his heart in San Francisco,” but Alice left her gallbladder and about 100 gallstones in San Diego. 


During the year we exchanged visits with friends and relatives, celebrating birthdays, etc. In October, we arrived in Las Vegas too late to celebrate my eldest son Bruce’s 39th birthday, but in time to celebrate his wedding to Tobe the next day. We wish Bruce and Tobe, Bruce's teenage daughter Leaha, and Tobe’s three sons Brian, Kyle and Shane, all the best, especially if (when) Bruce’s Nevada National Guard Military Police unit is called up for active duty. 

Monday, November 11, 2002

Hypocisy Is A Tradition Of The Left

Editor, Independent Coast Observer

I was tempted to accept Peter Lippman's offer of a "Mendonoma" truce, but have chosen not to, since there is still the matter of Mr. Lippman calling me a "hatemonger," and the fact that I still consider him a hypocrite, and a sincere one at that. Actually, based on the tortuous, Clintonesque attempts Mr. Lippman made to define his subjectivity as objectivity, and his odd statement that he and like-minded individuals "think touching and feeling are life and death issues," I thought he had already given up the fight.

The left certainly has, and in fact is in full retreat. Four out of five Americans, including over half the Democrats, are glad that George W. Bush, not Bill Clinton, is leading us in these perilous times. As Bill Clinton "dallianced" through the 90's, the bodies of American soldiers were dragged through streets in Somalia, the World Trade center was bombed in 1993, U. S. military personnel were bombed in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and 1996, two U. S. embassies were bombed in Africa in 1998, and the USS Cole was bombed in 2000. After each bombing, Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and punished. However, the only thing he did was have $66,000,000 worth of Tomahawk missiles raise some dust in Afghanistan and destroy a pharmaceutical factory and kill some night watchmen and cleaning ladies in Sudan. No follow-up on this missile strike was made, and much later we tacitly admitted that the Sudan strike was a mistake. If Bill Clinton had not felt the need to distract the public from embarrassing Monica revelations, he would not have made any response at all.

In his response to Alice and my letters, Mr. Lippman exhorted us to also help improve the lives of innocent children (and adults) in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. Alice and I concur totally with this wish, since their own oppressive governments inflict their misery on them, and we support and encourage the overthrow of their governments and their replacement by democracies. In fact, if all of the failed socialist governments in the world were replaced by democracies and capitalism, terrorism would die out as prosperity bloomed. The left would not like this. Soon the Peoples' Republic of Berkeley would be the only venue left where proud and unrepentant socialists could be studied.

The left continues to trumpet free speech and diversity, while championing the oppression of same at the University of California at Berkeley. There, the left demanded retractions, apologies, and "sensitivity" training when the student newspaper ran an advertisement against reparations for Blacks, and when a conservative student newspaper ran an editorial cartoon depicting the September 11 highjackers in Hell, instead of being serviced by 72 virgins at the right hand of Allah.

I conclude from the above that hypocrisy is a respected leftist tradition, and that Mr. Lippman is steadfastly following this tradition.

Alice and I thank him for commending us for our "ascendancy to the School Board." However, we are disappointed that a previous writer, Ms. Bullamore, did not provide the ICO a summary of the actions she and like-minded individuals took at the October 4 School Board meeting, where it was reported that volunteers were sought but not found. We trust that other service opportunities will arise, and that concerned citizens will then come forward.