Jerryaughtry’s Weblog

August 29, 2008


Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 1:40 pm

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t watched Democratic Covention much, mainly for one reason, politics is, is in a sense, corrupting in my view and I just get too distracted, watching or talking about it. I don’t know what makes it so corrupting: power maybe but someone can get in office and the oddest thing happens. All that becomes important is being re-elected.

The flip side of course, is that it is our system and I for one, think it is the best in the world. We need reform but it is not going to happen in my lifetime.

So where does that leave us? Here is my take and I want to keep this as objective, as possible. As I constantly debate the various issues, I approach it this way Who am I debating? First of all, if it is my cletgy buddies, from mostly conservative backgrounds, I am mostly talking to myself. It really is not an objective discussion. I say, let’s forget political parties, who is running for President: let’s look at the ills of our country and what is the best possibility and I can’t believe it is four more years of the last eight. This already sounds partison and I guess it is.

Since my thing has been the war, let’s stick with that; the enormous drain of resources for Iraq, not to mention the debate which will occupy us for the next decade, “was it worth it?” And, who does’t believe we need political reform. Honestly, it is almost pick a subject. How about the infamous ear marks? How they have survived all these years is amazimg. Pork for the congressional district enables us to say, “well, I will have to say that they have helped the district. But, you could almost pick anything, lobbyist whatever.
We are at a point where our small hope is change. Regardless of how one feels loyalty to a political party, the issue I’d that tfosr in power have to feel the heat for where we are as a country ok their watch. And, to look at amy major thing, it is screwed up, plain and simple. Before the present power brokers, we had a surplus and no war. Now, we have the worst deficit in history and two wars.


August 26, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 5:29 pm

Denial is always an interesting phenomena. Most of the time, I don’t think it is a good idea but who knows. I fully expected this to be the day that the doctor gave the word to Rose. The oncologist talked to me about what they found on her scan before the gamma knief treatment. There were something like 53 lesians and they could only get 14 or so but and since they are blood borne whatever that means. I think it means, they keep I. Coming. And, eventually, she shuts down. The doc says they are going to recomment the end of treatment. It is a very dad time.
I ask the doc how it is allgping to comedown. In his experience he says. Rose will either to to sleep and not wake up or she’ll get some secondary disease,I.e., catch a cold,etc. I am crashed. The


Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 4:58 pm

Unless someone has ADD, it is almost impossible to comprehend of. There are those who say it is the”illness” of the month. And, there’s all kinds of definitions of what it is. Many like to say ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disprder. I don’t think that I am that, as I can be still. In fact, one of my usual lines is that when I was growing up, if you were cutting up, the teacher would slap you up beside the head a tell or two–no love taps, I’m telling you. That will get your attention. Now, of course, they give you drugs.

Probably the worst thing about ADD is the forgetfulness. My usual line is that I never forget anything, the only problem is that I don’t remember it at the right time. I always have these little tricks in place that don’t work most of the time. Much of it working is predicated on the idea that I’ll check my Day Timer which I have using for 30 plus years. You got it, most of the time I forget to look at my Day Timer.

ADD types often appear to be indecisive, can
T make up their minds. The truth is that it is not soich indecisiveness ad opposed to competing
Possibilities. L

August 25, 2008

Frozen River

Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 1:42 pm

Frozen River is one of those movies that I chose on the basis of a review. I don’t usually do this as reiewers like Ebert and Roepert are way too clever for me but whoever this reviewer was described the lead character in such a way that I had to see the movie. And I was not disappointed, either. She was great as were all the actors, none of which I had seen before.

A compelling story in the hard scrabble life of people in upper state NY. I saw the license tag. Weather is cold and miserable, relationships tenuous and troubled. Not a scene in the movie to make one smile; although one
of an ethical dilemma made me sigh in satisfaction.

I can’t tell much about the movie less I give it away but in an off sort of way, a celebration of Motherhood. What I came away very much aware of is the haves and have nots; the chasm is enormous as this movie so aptly displays. An underbelly of survival which should make us “haves” somewhat ashamed or at least reflective.

August 18, 2008


Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 1:24 pm

When the framers of the Constitution made a conscious effort to separate the church from the state, there was a reason. We have a good example with Jesus when He was confronted by the Pharisees with the notion of church and state, His quote was simple and to the point, even providing an illustration, he took a coin and asked, “whose picture is on the coin? Ceasar. “Render unto Ceasar the things that are Caesar’s and the things that are God’s to God”. Makes sense to me.

How we have gotten ourselves to this point is beyond me. The idea that preachers can wield such power is baffling to me.

Having studied the old time preachers, they never seemed to get into politics and yet to be fair, they didn’t have the temptation of the media either. If there’s anything preachers like to do is talk

Billy Graham seems to be the first media religious leader to any degree. I always liked him. He never did get away from his message but then again, he didn’t dispute his influence either. Surely didn’t refuse an invite to the White House To me, it is hard to say what it all means: a potential president appearing before a preacher to be questioned about his religious beliefs. Seems unseemly to me. Well, this is what my Mom would say.

The flip slide of the coin is that those like Rich Warren can only be given influence and power in politics by those like Obama and McCain. I don’t say it is danderous, I surely don’t blame those like Warren. In a sense, be is the pastor of a megachurch with a slant on interpreting what Jesus meant. These gigantic megachurches usually are part church, part entertainment. I don’t care for them very much but they seem to
meet many people’s need and I want to be fair. Mostly in my view, they are church/gospel/Bible lite.

Warren’s book, the Purpose Driven Life, which I’ve read is OK as a guide for living but if people really wanted to get a formula for living, they could read the four gospels which are what Jesus said and did. Unfortunately, in Church culture, most people had rather take the shortcut of listening to a preacher say what Jesus said and did. The few times I’ve been in dialogue with the clergy and they have given me the word, “Jesus said such and such or God says: ” my usual retort is, “where does it say that God says this?” End of discussion usually!

I don’t fault Warren for this actual coup of getting Barach and McCain to acknowledge the perceived importance of the “right wing” mostly. they are politicians, afteralI. HELLO!!

I think probably these mega church pastors are fighting to be the titular head and Warren seems to be the front runner. Others have bit the dust in various ways: Falwell has gone on to his greater reward. Ted whatshis name left Colorado after the gay masueus scene, the Focus on the Family guy has become a one issue type: gays are taking over the world; and the Texas syrupy pastor Ostern’s wife is riding first class and accused of assaulting a flight attendant. So, we have Warren.

To me, his book is the interesting thing. It is a marketing phenomena and mark
me jealous. It started off with everybody in his church buying a copy or several. Then moving across country with promotion and all the evangelical churches buying copies and develoing courses around the book. It has sold millions, reported to the various sources like the NY Times best sellers list and a book reinvents itself over and over. For the “right wing” types buying this book becomes something you do either because of guilt, “Jesus told me to to it.” The numbers from the churches make it a continuing best seller, this increases sales. It is endless.

Barach shops have resisted. I fear he is being handled already. What he diedv’t get is that he can’t win these people over. It can’t
Be done. A kind of “don’t confuse mr with facts, I have my mind made up.” Rifht so g Christians have certain issues: abortion, gay marriage, prayer I. Schools,dpfglsdglhullyylt stem cell research, various other issues on the fringes like child discipline, and who knows whatever. These people are not going to change their minds. They are willing to have a war, worse deficit in history with the very real possibility of sacrificing our children and grandcmhildren’s future.

Barach would have been better to have said, “I respecfully decline. If I attend, it gives the impression that I am choosing one expression

August 15, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 1:57 pm

The article, , was one of the most informative I’ve read about the war. I was incredibly impressed with the absolute flexibility and openess of General PEtreus. The very idea that he would use three Captains to do such a job, to experiment, was very impressive. Secondly, the artical spelled out the futility of our attempts: we have enough of a hard time getting any cooperation in our beauracratic struggles. In Iraq with Shiels, tribal alliances, religious factions, politics, impossible. And lastly, we need to do whatever it takes to keep these three young dedicated officers involved, either directly or indirectly. As far as the good General is concerned, I hope we are readying him for a run at the White House, anyone this innovative and creative, should be President.

August 13, 2008

How the country has changed?

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 7:13 pm

When 9-11 happened, I, along with the rest of the country, wondered what our country would look like once we figured it out. I still don’t know but something a friend said resonated with me at the time and is still with me: “9-11 has forever changed our country and everybody in it and anybody who has anything to do with America.”

This has proven to be true. One of the very subtle ways I think the country has changed is the perpetual suspicion which is a part of our lives: those who are different. Here’s an example, On the bus recently as I was crossing tlhe Golden Gate Bridge, literally while we were crossing the bridge, I glanced up and noticed a Muslim in a burka and beyond us, coming toward the bridge, very close, was a gigantic container ship: my first thought: how ironic that I’m in a bus with a Muslim woman, crossing the GG Bridge and my first thought is terrorism. It is in our psyche, a completely new phenomena, only since 9-11.

Can any of us say that when see someone, different look, someone we perceive to be Muslim, do our minds take us to Suspiciousville. Other things, of course, remind us that life has forever changed. For one thing, two wars going on with the continuing reminders of young Americans dying, not to mention, Iraqi innocents being blown up with regularity. And, my
personal pick, Gitmo where we are still holding low level types acting like they are major terrorists.

On a personal basis, I think that we simply have to protect ourselves the very best we can and then not worry about it. We have got to extract ourselves from Iraq. We can’t deny that it is surely better but is only going to stay better if we stay there indefinitely. We have to leave and what happens happens. On afganistan, we have to hang in but understand the impossible situation of teibles, fanatics, leave a contingent of Special Ops and have a lessor presense, know we’re there, have to train somewhere. Get the drug scene square away by giving the farmers legitimate crops to grow.

August 12, 2008


Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 8:03 pm
Tags: , ,

Sometimes you read something and you reread and a light shines. I recently did that with an artical in the New York Times Magazine. It seems of late that all my stuff comes from there. Why? Well, they do indepth articles for one thing and the editors obviously don’t mind giving a writer a few pages, not the 500 words or less.

The article had to do with a team called Phoenix, not after another Phoenix, I don’t think. It had to do with these 3 young captains that General Payrrpus had recruited to workn twith Sunnis and Shiites to create a greater sense of security, provide some jobs through a neighborhood watch program.

I was very impresses that Patrrus would be this open , creative and on a we protective although these three young soldiers were not career types, although believers.

Article is too long and involved to fully convey the gist off the article but in the final analysis, it didn’t work, mainlu a
because of politics.

Several lessons to learn, the emilitary should not be put in a position to roll out incentives that they cannot deliver. Reminds me so much of Vietnam. We
made all these promises to the people And in the final analysis, couldn’t deliver. But, more than anything, what this article poineted out was the impossible complexity that we are in
the middle of: tribes, shicks, political parties. It is simply impossible. The best we can hope for is a kinder Saddam and surely less crazy.


Filed under: Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 12:53 am
Tags: ,

For one who finds it hard to give the President much slack, I will have to say that he did a good job when he was interviewed by Bob Costas. They didn’t talk only sports but hot all the buttons ok the front burner to include the Russian/Geogian conflict. I often wonder how much it is scripted. It didn’t sound like it. Maybe Bob Costas but the President sounded pretty candid and did a good job. His main theme had to do with keeping engaged with China and the idea that we wouldn’t agree on all things but we would on some. He said something like how far China has come. The Olympics have surely proved that. And, it has been good that the president had been at the Olympics. He is the President. For me, it reiterated that the President blew his great chance at legacy with the mismanagement of the Iraqi war that will be debated as, “Was it worth it?” for years.

August 8, 2008


Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 12:08 am
Tags: , ,

It might seem a little strange for an essay on a tooth. However, there’s a lot of lessons from this tooth. It first came to my notice when I was in the Army at Fort Bliss, Texas. I was a young Captain, an instructor at the Air Defense School but also helped out at the Chapel. I’d never given much thought to my teeth. I knew that I
surely didn’t have such good choppers. As a kid growing up, teeth was not at the top of the list. My Mom was fairly diligent but couldn’t watch me all the time when I caught the bus at the store and more likely than not opted for a Baby Ruth and Coke. So, those fillings and dark spots, not such a pretty sight.

After Church one day, the head dentist said to me, “Chaplain, we can’t have you in front of all those people every Sunday with bad looking teeth.” Thus, the campaign began to shape up my mouth. And to say be did it at government expense too is no small thing.

What I didn’k know at the time was that the good dentist was also in the midst of a protracted and very bitter divorce. And here I sat in the chair for hours with his venting about his wife trying and sucessfully taking him to the cleaners. I never got to make much of a comment as his hands were always in my mouth. Months later, I emerged with teeth looking dress right dress. At least, much better than they did and I guess we must give the good colonel some credit, along with his divorce or would be divorce as they reconciled and he gave me the credit. Years later I ran into him and he said something like, “Chaplain, the advice you gave me was what got me through.” OK!!

What I remember about the tooth in question, however, had symbolicall come to represent the divorce. It was really thought to be beyond saving. It was hid way back at the back and had all the characteristics of mainly neglect, and in general, beyond fixing. The good Colonel dentist determined to repair it. He did and in the process repaired his marriage. WOW. I emerged with a once gone tooth, now restored as a gold tooth.

For years the tooth was fine. Then one day, like life, it broke down. Please Lord, let’s hope the good Colonel’s marriage is still not tied to this tooth. By this time, I’m out of the Army and pastor of a wonderful Church and have a new dentist. A nice guy and there’s been much involvement with his family: Mom and Dad died and I’ve buried them both. Thomas is a good dentist and I like him because I can intimidate him fairly easily. Before dentists go to dental school, they go to economic school. In the old days, you could go to the dentist and he took care of the problem but now the dentist prepares a dental plan. What he is going to do, most of the time meaning thousands of dollars, especially for someone ylike me: old fillings replaced, cleaning, xrays, maintenance: I think the first one was about $10,000.

No way, Thomas, I don’t expect to live all that much longer, a few more years and so I don’t plan to spending lots of bucks ok my teeth. Reluctantly, Thpmsd comes up with another plan which I also rejected. Fondlly, we settle on basic maintenance, cleaning and if something goes wrong, like losing a filling which I did, the tooth was
Leaking says Thomas. This could a problem, infection going into your body, slight worry and so guess we should get rid of tooth, like losing an old friend.

It was about this time that gum came into the picture. I was reading a Men’s Heath study which said that chewing sugerfree peppermwnt gum would speed up your metabolism, this bettyet health, weight control. I didn’t need much of an excuse anyway since I loved to chew. Of was always a no no but of of could improve health, who could be against that. So, I started chewing and I didn’t just chew, I was a vigorous chewer. Why? Well, I thought maybe it kept me from talking to myself.

OK, here something is definitely going on with the tooth. Of isn’t hurting but it is sore. Thomas says, pull, old, nothing left is shellof tooth. I make an appointment, plus am getting teeth cleaned. The hygenisy says, bad news as severalof your teeth have pockets, meaning perodonic work for sure, I’m seeing big bucha: economic school. I leave and am chewing gum ok my way out. I go back for cleaning appointment in a couple of weka. The hygenist checks my teeth, goes and gets Thimss. He comes in, groaning and moaning and he days, “very strange”. The pockets seem to have closed up. What is going on. I advance my gum chewing theory. They are skeptical. Another dentist who is visiting Thomas comes in and looks at the record and teeth and then says, how much are you chewing? I tell him that most people have a bar bill, not me, I have a chewing gum bill. Guess what? The pockets have closed up What is this? The dentist reluctantly decided that it could be the gum. The theory is that the gum kept my teeth and gums bathed in saliva. I don’t know.

Me and the tooth, got to give it a name. Anyway we are charging on. It still gets a little sore but with gum, a little chewing and we are good to go. Time passes, I decide to get it off my plate, get it pulled, has to happen at some time. I make an appointment. Something comes up, I cancel it. Thomas tells me, it will surely costs less than San Francisco. OK. Somewhere during this process, I totally forgot an appointment. The next thing I know, I get a bill in the mail for $50, a couple of days later before I can pay the bill, here comes another one. It ticks me off no end. I probably shouldn’t think this way but here I have buried his Mom and Dad, his Aunt. I’m thinking we have a personal relationship when in fact, it is a business one. It taught me big time lessons and a story that I have told thousands of times. I fired my dentist.

Reminds me of the account in my favorite cowboy movie, Lonesome Dove. The former Texas Ranger, Jake Sppon, shot and killed the dentist in Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was an accident and as Jake was relating the story, Gus, the Renaissance man of the movie says, “It was an accident and besides, nobody likes a dentist anyway.”

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