Jerryaughtry’s Weblog

March 8, 2010

MORE PARKING METERS

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 8:16 pm
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You have got to be kidding me. More parking meters! In a great town like Sam Francisco, gouging tourists for a few more bucks is absolutely assinine. It is biting the hand that feeds you. I watch the tourists struugging with the automated meters on Embaradero and around Pier 39. it is embarrassing to us locals. Most end up ticketed anyway as the ubiquitous parking enforcers pounch on the tourists like a swarm of locusts. They are merciless.

Less not more parking meters is a better idea.

February 28, 2010

PRECIOUS

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 12:17 am
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When I was a teenager, my older brother operated a giant grocery store in a little community, out from
my hometown. I must have been about sixteen. It was the time of a very racist South. 1950s might be a time to relish as peaceful but us “whites” ought to be ashamed.

We had a steady stream of African Americans coming into my brother’s store. And, we didn’t call blacks, AA or even blacks. I am ashamed and I’m not letting myself off the hook by saying it was the times. Mostly, we had many black customers because my brother would give them credit. And, I can honestly say that my brother was fair–one price for all. One African American family of regular customers had mostly girls. One of the girls was named Sis, at least that is the only name I knew. I was a teenager with raging hormones and pretty much had a one track mind. Sis and I were instantly attracted. It was one of those things. Who can explain two sixteen year olds of any color. I would look into those dark eyes and swoon and she knew it. We never had any physical contact but passed many a smile between us.

I was a high school football player and Friday nights were king. I had girlfriends. Sis quit coming around and I missed her but with the attention span of a gnat, I was on to something or somebody else. I was not at the store all that often anyway during high school football. The season ended and it was about Christmas and I tooled down to my brother’s store. As I was going in, Sis was coming out. She was obviously pregnant. When she saw me, the look of horror on her face is something I’ll never forget. She literally ran to their old beat up truck. I was stunned. My brother must have seen me turn white. He was no dummy and probably was well aware of our attraction. He wasn’t worried about it going further as those things never did, not in the south of my youth.

Who was the the father? According to my brother’s right hand man and the epitome of racism, her father most probably. Incest is a way of life with “these people”, he went on to say. True? No, I don’t think so, not any more than in white families. Abuse can and does occur. I don’t know. We were introduced to such a tragedy in The Color of Purple. I don’t have a clue with Sis. At sixteen, I was not emotionally sophiticated enough to do anything but bury it. To be honest, over the years, much to my discredit, I have thought very little or none about it. However, one’s past has a habit of surfacing. Here’s how. My grand daughter and I recently went to see Precious. I had been avoiding it as I was a little unsure of whether my teenage granddaughter who is my regular moviephile should see it. Her Mom assured me it was OK. Actually, it was not nearly as bad as I had been led to believe, other than the language which I’m sure Lupe has heard worse.

By this time, most of us know the raw story of Precious, a culture of which most know little or nothing. Although a “heavy” movie with the very worst of sexual abuse. However, there are some redemptive powers that emerge, giving us a kind of sense of hope in the midst of hopelessness. See Precious. You will be better for it. I remembered Sis because of it. I’m going to think about it but might try to find out what happened to her. I’d like to know.

January 14, 2010

POLITICOS

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 1:45 am
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Not long ago, I accompanied my teenage grand daughter to a political event. Like her Mom, she is an activist. It is in her genes. Her Mom has always been involved in one cause after another. And, I might add, good ones. This one had to do with getting a poluting power plant closed down. She had read where the city attorney was doubling his efforts to make it happen. She wrote a letter to the editor supporting his efforts and volunteered to get her friends to help. Her letter was so moving, we hope, to the city attorney that he invited her to his swearing in. It was a nice ceremony and a good experience for Lupe (Davis Guatalupe Jacobson).Her Grandpa, however, ever the skeptic had a few observations to make.

Politics by it’s very nature lends itself to promote corruption. The concept is that politics equals public service. Nobody I know in the real world believes that. Ask someone to say something positive about an elected official and more likely than not, it is the “nobody is home” look.

At the ceremony with Lupe, listening and watching the politicians, they were constantly running for something. Much of it is our fault. We elect them to serve us and before we know it, they don’t know us and the media makes them into celebrities.

December 22, 2009

Prosperity Gospel

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 11:09 am

CNN is doing a series on religion and it’s influence on American life. In typical CNN fashion or what I have observed, their series is built around sound bites, making sure all positions are covered; and, consequently, from my perspective, it is very inadequate-no Bill Moyers or Charlie Rose, I assure you.

The segment I watched focused on faith, finances, and mega churches. I wouldn’t have been watching it but flipped to CNN reporter Christine Romans interviewing Joel Osteen.

This guy is so amazing to me that I have to smile and shake my head. I will admit upfront that I could be jealous, but I don’t think so. I’m not organized enough to do what he does, even if he has lots of help.

Osteen is an industry. He runs a mega church and his books are bestsellers before they are written. His gospel is called “gospel lite” by those who take him on and he preaches that wealth and power are rewards for good Christians(prosperity gospel) .

The reporter, Romans, threw him a few softballs and he glibly handled them with the answers he obviously has used before. His general line and comments are, “God says.”  He does? According to who?

Pelting his comments in with Biblical text that he says proves his point amazes me and those throngs of disciples listening don’t even question him.

In my opinion, this is stupidity. Why? Because if Osteen’s people would question him they might realize his preaching a prosperity gospel is about as opposite as to what Jesus intended as could possibly be.

Born In a stable, throughout life, not a place to lay his head, Jesus spent his life lifting up the poor and downtrodden with no thought that he deserved to prosper.

The bullshit that guys like Osteen put out offends my sense of right and wrong.  In fairness, do these guys like Osteen or any of the mega  churches do any good?  I’m sure they do and I guess people are better off there than not going. Maybe?

Related Link:
Can Joel  Osteen Pay his Bills?

December 2, 2009

POLITICS AND LANGUAGE

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 8:51 pm
Tags: ,

I get so tired of politicians think we are stupid. Change the language and you “hoodwink” Americans: well, at least those who care. 30% are simply unthinking, 25% are out to lunch, they could care less, regardless. That leaves less than fifty percent who are paying attention. If you heard the President’s speech last night, what you heard him say is how he is tying everything

November 30, 2009

DANCING WITH THOSE WHO BRUNG YOU

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 10:18 pm
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DANCING WITH THOSE WHO BRUNG YOU is a NC staple. I don’t know who the president is dancing with in sending 30,000 more troops but it ain’t those who “brung” him. Those who brung him want us out of two unwinnable and untennable wars. What we cannot accept is that there are no answers and there aren’t short of total peace on earth. And, yet the president is almost taking a page or pages out of the George W. play book. Sending more troops is a bad move. And, what is fascinating to me is that the president and others don’t see what those of us out here in the hinderlands see. Generals always want more troops, they always think in military terms. They are using counter insurgency as an argument. We all believe that it will work in twenty years. Everybody who believes we will stay in Afghanistan twenty years, raise your hands?

Out here in the real world, we understand that Afghanistan is ripe with corruption. Ruled by War Lords, a tribal people, and living in the Middle Ages as relates to women. The list is endless and this doesn’t even include the drug culture. And, we can solve this with more troops? Scare tactics like fight theTaliban at the source and we don’t have to fight them at home. This is an argument from Don Rumfelt and George W. Not our president.

His speech and all the rhetoric since then has not turned us around. And, choosing to make the speech in friendly territory like the military academy definitely began to seem like another verse of the song we’ve heard for eight years. I’m beginning to feel like something attributed to Abe Lincoln: “I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true. I will stand with any man when he is right stand with him while he is right but will depart from him when he goes wrong.” More troops in Afghanistan is a “wrongheaded” move.

November 23, 2009

HOW WE DIE?

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 3:31 pm
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A great article in the NY Times: Hard Choice for a Comfortable Death: Drug-Induced Sleep. If you have hung out much in nursing homes with relatives or friends waiting to die, you want to read this long and informitive piece. It talks about something we use to do all the time when I was a hospital chaplain at Letterman Army Medical Center on the Presidio when it was a full scale teaching hospital. Hospice does relatively the same, which I think is great. They simply increase the morphine and the terminally ill, who at this stage are not with us, other than still breathing, slip into the terminal sleep. According to the article, it is called terminal sedation, a treatment that is already widely used and as the article says, “vexes family and a profession whose paramount rule is to do no harm.”

What is different about this article is that for the first time, at least as I’ve seen, the medical community admits that they do this and even talk about cases and drugs they use. The two most popular drugs are ativan and roxanol.

As I read on, I almost fell over as this is the sort of thing that we need to think about, especially those of us who can see the end. We all die and so to figure out how to do it as easy as possible is no small thing.

We simply don’t do a good job of helping people die. There comes a time when someone is not going to get better, they are not going to recover so why not make the end the very best we possibly can. This is the basis of the article.

What is fascinating to me is how reticent people, even professionals, are to talk about the end of life. Why? is always an issue as we all die.

Seeing folks at the end is so sad, most in 90s and beyond. You would think that these “front burner types” who’ve lived long and rich lives would simply be “ready” to hit the trail so to speak. Not so as the denial of the process is a big factor. A doctor friend of mine told me about his mother, 92, well educated, had lived a beautiful life according to him. He was convinced that when it came “time” she would opt for the, “no extraordinary means.” Shaking his head still in disbelief, he allowed exactly the opposite, “do everything you can,” she said. “I want nothing spared to keep me alive.”

Presently, my wife and I are doing all we can to prepare a loved one to die because it is what she wants. Her once vibrant life has been reduced to being almost helpless with wearing diapers which, for her, is the height of indignities. If anything happens, “no extraordinary means to keep her alive,” are her wishes. God bless her and more power to her. I’m going to sign off with a HooAhhhh for her Mom who use to love this when I did it for her at the chapel. HooAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

November 5, 2009

AFGHANISTAN/VIETNAM

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 2:43 pm

I am plowing through Ted Kennedy’s True Compass. It has proven to be quite the “fine.” I’ve never been much of a fan of any of the Kennedys and I really don’t know why. I think that some of it has  just been personal prejudice with no basis. In the book, one of the things that I zeroed in on immediately: Money is never any option. Want to go overseas, take off. How about a new house in Palm Beach? Sure. See what I mean. Few of us have those privileges but beyond that, True Compass, is fascinating. And, especially now that we are in the throes of dealing with Afghanistan and with the President mulling a decision of whether to send more troops. You could take an overlay of Vietnam and put it on Afghanistan and it is a perfect fit. The difference is that HO’s  overriding desire was nationalism for Vietnam while the Taliban and AlQueta are fanatics. But, Vietnam’s Diem was corrupt as is Karzai, Diem had appointed himself president, lined his own pockets with nepotism as his middle name. He had lost touch with the people. It is an absolute replay of the same song, different verse. Diem’s big thing was fighting communism. We were willing to dole out billions then whereas now it is terrorism.

Here’s something I see. True Compass lays out the path of the late Senator Kennedy’s disillusionment of Vietnam while at the same time starting out as a supporter. It is simply amazing and scary and another example of how history repeats itself. The sad thing is that it doesn’t seem to make any difference. We have two major wars going on with no real end in sight. Although we still hear that Iraq is more peaceful, we’re headed toward withdrawal, I remain skeptical. And, a strategy in Afghanistan which at best will mean years more of our involvement and at worst finding ourselves where we did after Vietnam, 58,000 plus American lives and billions of dollars; was it worth it. NO WAY. Maybe a legacy of the late Senator Kennedy’s final word to us in True Compass is that for once we understand the concept of quagmire. Vietnam was a quagmire. Afghanistan is a quagmire.

May 28, 2009

A PASSING

Filed under: Essay,Uncategorized — jerryaughtry @ 4:52 pm
Over my long career as a military chaplain, I have run across many “line” officers. In military parlance, this means front line leaders who are expected to be there in the battle, in the line, if you will. The absolute best leader that I’ve ever known is retired Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Rush. This may sound a little disingenuous when you think of generals and colonels that I could have known. No, not really. I think that real leadership, ends or is maxed out at the Lieutenant Colonel level if not before. However, this isn’t really what I’m talking about either. Wayne is simply the best military leader that I’ve known at any level. I served with him with we were both instructors at the Army Air Defense School in Fort Bliss, Texas and we were students together at the Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth Kansas. Although I have not observed him in combat, where he served as a “line” officer and also in what I consider probably the most difficult job in Vietnam, that of adviser to Vietnamese troops or officially the ARVN. In fact, I went to a wonderful memorial service on Saturday and couldn’t help but compare. My good friend from Alaska, his sister just died from pancreatic cancer. She was incredibly brave and literally made a decision not to undergo treatment as it would take away from her what time she had left for enjoying family and friends. Earlier, like, not even a year, my friend’s Mom died. She was like 92 and this amazingly remarkable teacher whose life had been filled with raising three children by herself after her husband died unexpectedly and at an early age. The service was just amazing, in terms of the testimony to the Mom and Daughter.
Both had been teachers and their impact upon people, who were at the service was remarkable. I was moved. Melva, the daughter, Wayne’s sister had transitioned from teaching to being a principal. Not as part of the Memorial service, but was mentioned, a Middle School Library had been named as the Melva Rush Literacy Center.
In light of Rose’s anticipated service, I have thought lots about this. I am so hoping that Rose’s service will be one of celebration. My friend’s was but in a kind of different way. I can’t quite get my thoughts together on what I mean or how. I do know this, every single person at Rose’s service will have a Rose story. I’ve yet to meet any of them who didn’t.

April 17, 2009

DISNEY INSULTS

Filed under: Essay — jerryaughtry @ 1:53 pm

One of my biggest goals in growing older is to avoid the curmudgeon, grumpy old man scene. The very idea that I would grow older and be a complainer, not like anything, spend time talking about the good old days is absolutely an anathama to me. In fact, I have a hard time watching Andy Rooney simply because he comes across as a grump. And, I still hate it that two really great actors ended their careers being seen as grumps: Jack Lemon and Walter Mautau. My opinion.

But, I do have a complaint. And, it is one I’ve been thinking about for days. The way that older people are shown on kids shows on TV. My grand daughter and I were watching this program. I can’t even remember the name. No, this is not a joke. Can’t remember would be exactly what I am complaining about. I didn’t pay any attention to the name of the show is why I can’t remember. What happens when we get old is yes, the memory occasionally hides but usually comes back but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking image here.

On this program, the story line had to do with these rich kids or one of them being a cruise activity director for a group of old folks. Every stereotype known to man was portrayed. They made jokes about hearing, seeing, using walkers, canes, bumpling around: every single stereotype. A laugh track that was overly active. The old folks couldn’t see, they were cripple, they were unweildy on their walkers. The laugh tract continued to go full blast. The old folks came across as mostly dumb but nothing more than super grumpy. And, the lead old guy was Darin, the Love Boat actor who looked his age? Meaning that he has aged like us all despite our obsession with age and trying to starve it off.

But, for a show to really made fun of the sterotypes is not cool nor helpful to all the kids watching the show. I’m writing this article on my iPhone, what about that. Think shows like this will give us episodes on how active and with it we are? I don’t think so.

Examples that we are anything but these stereotypes are everywhere. So, what am I saying? For one thing, the Disney crowd better wake up and smell the roses. I don’t think Walt would go for this sort of programing.

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