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Monthly Archives: July 2012


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There are no words. None. There is no way to adequately capture the horror and anguish of the Aurora theater shooting in words.

How does one describe the feeling of knowing 12 innocent people died and 58 more were wounded because one man decided to become an executioner? How can we convey the sense of loss, the potential that will never be realized, the families that will forever be missing a precious part?

Oh, there will BE words. Millions and millions of them, attempting to explain the madness. There will be calls for gun control. There will be calls for more armed citizens. There will be calls for better mental health screening, tighter security in public places, the elimination of violent images. And there will be words upon words upon words written and spoken by those who would try to make sense of a brutal, senseless act.

But none of the words will matter more than the names of the souls we lost on that bitter night in Aurora, Colorado, They are:

Jonathan Blunk

A.J. Boik

Jesse Childress

Gordon Cowden

Jessica Ghawi

John Larimer

Matthew McQuinn

Micayla Medek

Veronica Moser-Sullivan

Alex Sullivan

Alexander Teves

Rebecca Wingo

May they be remembered for the people they were, the love they brought to others, the light they brought to the world.

As for the alleged gunman, although he won’t be forgotten, he deserves no further fame. His name will not be mentioned here. If there can be justice for what he has done – and I’m not sure it’s possible – may he find it swift. Remember the 12. Remember the 58. Forget the one.


Thought for the Day

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Did Sonny and Cher’s lawyers work pro Bono?

Wildlife in Walrusland

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At the moment, Chateau Walrus has two new residents. There’s a little brown rabbit in the back yard, and a little green snake somewhere in the garage. I would be considerably happier if they swapped places.

Yes, I know, most snakes are good, and bunnies can attack unsuspecting canoeists (ask Jimmy Carter). But all things considered, if I’m going to be reaching for something on a garage shelf and encounter a live animal, I’d prefer it to be something small and furry, not something cold-blooded and wriggly. But we can’t always choose our wildlife encounters.

The most remarkable thing about the rabbit is that our two dogs aren’t bothered by it in the least. They’re both chihuahua mixes, and one’s a little high-strung. But when they go out into the yard, they can be within just a few feet of the bunny (who is smart enough to freeze, at least at first) and not pay any attention to him or her. It almost seems like they don’t see — or smell — the rabbit.

Our yard isn’t fenced, so the pups go out on leashes, meaning Mr./Ms. Cottontail is quite safe in any event. But it’s still an odd sight to see a rabbit within 5 feet or so of the dogs and no reaction from any of the three.

Not sure how the dogs would react to snakes, and I’m in no hurry to find out. But if any snakes are reading this, be warned: The dogs are vicious, snake-eating machines! Stay out of the garage if you don’t want to be their dinner!

Celebrating a Great Actor

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Happy 75th Birthday to Ned Beatty!

Here’s what might be his best performance, as Arthur Jensen in 1976’s “Network”:

Thoughts on the Fourth of July

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In “The End of The Innocence,” Don Henley sings of “the same small town in each of us.”

For me, the holiday that brings out that small-town essence is the Fourth of July. Little burgs like the one I grew up in are the heart  of Independence Day. Most folks are proudly patriotic, and you see flags flying from just about every corner.  There’s a respect for America and a love of country that comes through in the people as they celebrate our nation’s independence.

In most places, the Fourth of July is THE big parade day. Everybody from little kids to aging veterans lines the streets waiting for the procession to start. Fire trucks and police cars start the parade, sirens wailing. Beauty queens, marching bands and dignitaries riding in open cars draw cheers.

Then there are the Shriners. In many places, my hometown included, it’s just not a parade without Shriners. They bring fun and festivity to the party. They celebrate silliness with calliopes, clowns and cars so small the driver can barely sit on them. Everybody loves the Shriners.

But nobody ever forgets the real meaning of the day. The biggest cheers and applause are reserved for the veterans and active duty military personnel who march or ride through Main Street, visible reminders that freedom is won at a cost, and bears a continuing price to keep it. The men and women who sacrifice so much — sometimes everything —  to defend our freedom are hailed as the heroes they are.

Later come the fireworks. This is the big payoff of the day for children of all ages. Some of my favorite memories of childhood are Fourth of July evenings spent on a favorite aunt’s front porch, watching fireworks over my little town.

For the ultimate fireworks display, however, there’s really only one place to be — the National Mall in Washington, D.C. There’s no way to adequately describe the beauty of watching fireworks burst into stunning colors over the Washington Monument. It’s simply breathtaking, guaranteed to stir patriotic feelings in the heart of even the most jaded cynic. It’s something every American needs to experience at least once in his or her life.

Here’s an example from this year’s celebration (give the video a few seconds to load):

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