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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Joseph

Today is my son's fifth birthday.  The time has sure flown and it only seems like a blink of the eye five years ago that he was born.  In January 2006,  I had just finished a successful return to the rigors of school to pursue a Master's degree and I had decided to take a semester off following the birth of my son or daughter.

My wife, Aimee, and I didn't elect to find out what sex our baby was going to be.  Aimee had worked up until the Friday before her maternity leave was scheduled to begin the following Monday, January 30.

That weekend we went grocery shopping and visited Bad, Bath and Beyond, where Aimee enjoyed trying a chair which had a massage pad on the chair.  On Sunday night, I went to bed and Aimee stayed up late, since she didn't have to go to work in the morning. 

Sure enough, after midnight she began having contractions and she tried, unsucessfully at several points during the evening, to wake me up with no success.  I remember turning over and hearing her and saying something to the effect that we would go to the hospital in the morning.  My lack of urgency was due to being tired and convinced I was to have to work in the morning as well as being sure that our baby would be born closer to or after the due date of February 1. 

When 6:30 am arrived, I realized the seriousness of the situation.  We made or way safely to the hospital and by the time Aimee was taken upstairs and I joined her it was close to 9:00 am.  When her Obgyn came in, she was informed that Aimee was 7cm dilated, it would be no time before the baby would be with us, right?  Wrong, it seems that once Aimee received  an epidural, the contractions slowed down a great deal. 

So after some rest and other attempts our son Joseph Aiden arrived at 4:21 pm weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20" long.  In the first few minutes following his birth, I was playing around with some numbers and made some observations:

He was, at the time, my mother's 10th grandson, I was her 10th child.
If you add the numbers of his time of birth  (24 hour clock)  1 + 6 + 2 + 1 = 10
If you add his birth date 1/30/06: 1 + 3 + 0 + 6 = 10

Joseph was and will always be a perfect 10 in my book, along with his twin sisters who were born almost 18 months later, and I have enjoyed watching all of them grow over the last few years. 

Happy Birthday Joseph, my superhero.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Day 2011

Today, after a peaceful three day weekend, I have decided to reflect a little bit about the man today's holiday is named for: Dr. Martin Luther King.  Dr. King led a peaceful civil rights movement whose ultimate aim was the equal treatment of all African-Americans under the law. 

Dr. King's pursuit of this goal came with a cost.  On April 4, 1968, while in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers, he was assassinated outside his motel room.  An article I read today noted a hateful  letter sent from an anonymous FBI agent to Dr. King some time in 1964.  Dr. King's courage in the face of such fierce opposition is amazing. The article also, in my opinion, guesses as to what Dr. King would be most vocal about today.  They are:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are unjust.
The disparity of wealth between the rich and the poor in America is unjust.
The influence of corporate money in American politics is unjust.

A leader like Dr. King doesn't come around often, but his example and message are relevant today as they were 42 years ago. 

To close here are a few quotes from Dr. King:

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one's whole being into the being of another.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Farewell Soldier

I saw an item today which noted the death, last week, of 92 year old Dick Winters of Hershey, Pennsyvania.  Winters, was noted for his leadership during WW II, as noted in Stephen Ambrose's book and later HBO mini-series, Band of Brothers.

During the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, Winters took decisive leadership of Easy Company after the company commander was killed during the invasion.  He decisively led an outnumberd Easy Company as they battled the Germans in Bastongne, Belguim during the Battle of the Bulge.

Winters, by all accounts, was a very modest man and he inspired devotion and confidence among the troops of Easy Company.  After WW II he returned home, married and started a business. 

Several years ago, Tom Brokaw wrote a book called The Greatest Generation.  Winters was a member of this group who battled Nazi facism and Japanese Imperialism and then returned to build America of the late 20th century.  With his passing and with the continued twilight of this group, they leave behind a legacy of selfless duty as a shining inspiration for all citizens.

Thank you Major Winters.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 9, 2011 - Tragedy in Tucson

The quiet calm of the usual weekend news was shattered with reports yesterday that Representative Gabrielle Giffords, AZ - 8th District was shot at a public meeting with constituents.  Representative Giffords is in critical condition following emergency surgery.

Six people were killed, including a young girl.  Also, thirteen people sustained injuries.  A suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, was apprehended on the scene and it appears, at first blush, that he has had a troubled past that includes an arrest for a drug related charge. 

Certainly, this event is a tragedy but it is also wrong, in my opinion for the pundits and news talking heads to harp on the heated rhetoric coming from both sides of the politcal spectrum as some sort of influence in this tragedy.

While there is no question the tone from both sides could be less partisan, I believe that most informed and reasonable people can watch either Fox News and MSNBC and realize that these stations are both BUSINESSES.  Each station has a  job and that  is to make money.  Fox News has staked out a center-right side of the spectrum while MSNBC has claimed the center-left.  Both are arms of their corporate masters: Fox Corp and GE. 

Let's remember this the next time we watch the commentators on both channels and then turn them off and seek other avenues to become informed on the important issues facing our republic.

That's my comment,  what do you think?