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I took the above photo at Arlington National Cemetery on July 3, 2005. I was trying to take some photographs that would convey how the headstones went on seemingly without end. I've visited Arlington three times and even aerial photographs can't fully portray its enormity.
Memorial Day is a sacred holiday with a very narrowly defined purpose: to honor those that have died serving our country in the military. Second perhaps only to the 4th of July or to certain religious holidays, Memorial Day honors those that made the ultimate sacrifice to make everything else possible. If there were only farmers, teachers, lawyers and doctors there would be no Independence Day and, just as certain, we wouldn't be celebrating the religious holidays of our choosing. Last year, I gave an example of how many people, even smart well educated persons, don't have the slightest clue what Memorial Day is about. I suppose ignorance is included in the freedoms that so many have died for.
This year, I found something else that annoyed me. The homepage on my computer is Google.com and I clicked on it today expecting to see one of Google's famous holiday logos. After all, Google has already had specialty logos this year for, in order: New Years, Louis Braille's Birthday, Martin Luther King Day, Mozart's Birthday, the Lunar New Year, the Winter Games, Percival Lowell's Birthday, St. Patrick's Day, the Persian New Year, Mother's Day and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Birthday.
In the past, Google has also seen fit to honor with special logos such deserving subjects as: National Library Week, World Water Day, SpaceShipOne winning the the X Prize, Bloomsday (I had to look this one up), Venus Transit, Gaston Julia's Birthday, and Piet Mondrian's Birthday. (No, I didn't make any of those up.) And rest assured, Google has no problem honoring holidays which are only pertinent to one nation as they do each year for America's 4th of July and have also done for such other holidays as Canada Day, France's Bastille Day and Swiss National Day.
I surfed around to other internet search engines. Most don't recognize special holidays thus avoiding Google's error of omission. However, two search engines deserve special recognition: Ask.com and Dogpile. Ask.com had a very respective American flag ribbon which linked to their search results for Memorial Day. Dogpile, however, wins the day with their normally playful mascot sitting in reverence by the Vietnam War Memorial with a bouquet of flowers at his feet and the American flag flying in the background. Dogpile also had a link to its search results for Memorial Day. Well done Dogpile, shame on you Google.
Every time I learn something new about Google's political slant, I'm bothered more and more. In the last presidential election, 98% of Google's employees donated to Democrats. Lately, Google has been purging conservative news sites from its hand-picked Google News service under the guise that such sources contain hate speech while refusing to eliminate Muslim sites that preach Islamic supremacism, jihad ideology and anti-semitism which are much more virulent and hateful than most any of the purged conservative websites. I think I'll change my homepage for a week and see if I can get used to using another search engine.
I love 70's music...classic rock that is, not disco. Unfortunately, while the music is incredible, all too often the actual words make me want to wretch like a bulimic after a visit to the all you can eat pizza buffet. Take John Lennon's Imagine for example, an incredibly beautiful song to listen to but don't stop to think about the lyrics:
Imagine there's no Heaven
Nothing like starting off with a full dose of ipecac.
Imagine there's no countries
Nice, if your country is a cesspool, but I'm kind of fond of my country.
Nothing to kill or die for
I'd kill and die for my family...poor Julian.
And no religion too
I sense a theme.
Imagine no possessions
What a freaking commie.
Or, any song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young or nearly every other artist in my CD collection are all awesome to listen to but are some combination of ridiculous and insulting if you read the lyrics. And don't get me started on today's music...with only a few exceptions, I can't even tell what the lyrics are...if they still call them lyrics. I've wondered aloud so many times...why can't there be a decent rock band that plays true quality music?
My wait is over, I have found The Right Brothers. Somewhere, I came across their single Bush Was Right and thought, one hit wonder, until I surfed over to their website and listened to some clips from their two albums and within fifteen minutes, I had ordered their Capitalist Edition, a collection of their two self-titled albums and the Bush Was Right single.
For the last few weeks, I've listened to no other music in my car. The band rocks, their music is awesome and if you think you might enjoy song like "Wake Up, America," "Tolerate This," "I Want My Country Back" and "Freedom Is Not Free," then you will likely love The Right Brothers.
It's t-ball time! We picked up a tee, bat and ball this week and now, everyday, Drew wants to: "Go outside, play t-ball?" Sure, he hits the tee once in a while but, just as often, he whacks one farther than you'd ever think a two-year-old could. You can just see in the last frame of the animation that he starts to take off running. On good hits he drops the bat, runs to a tree (first base), runs to the garden wall (second base), runs to something else (or skips third all together), then heads back to the tee where he flops down (slides) before declaring: "Home run!" Sometimes we run the bases together. Either way it's a great way to use up some two-year-old energy.
Almost a funniest home videos moment, as this one was coming right for the cameraman. We're already starting to hear, "Drew needs glove, this hand," as he holds up his left hand to emphasize the fact that it's missing a most needed accessory.
Our garden bunny is back...with a friend. As I approached to take photos, one rabbit immediately took flight while this one opted for the defense of freeze and maybe I won't be seen. Somehow I get the feeling we might have more rabbits later this summer.
After church today we had a picnic at the church's park and playground. As you can tell, Drew loved playing on all the different equipment. The weather was perfect, in the shade, and Drew really enjoyed trying out new things and pushing the boundaries of his abilities. Mom got nervous a couple of times and dad had to come to the rescue once when the climbing abilities exceed the descending abilities. All and all, a perfect day.
Our flag holder broke this week during some high winds despite it being a fairly sturdy all metal bracket. We always try to take our flag down before a storm but, in Oklahoma, you don't always have much notice before some high winds come along. A broken flag pole holder is simply the cost of doing business...if your business is flying a flag 24-7.
I hadn't had time to replace the holder yet. So, this morning Drew and I went out and we planted two small flags in the ground near our front door and two on either side of our mailbox. After putting the last one in the ground, I looked up and down both sides of our street...nothing...not a flag in sight. How sad. Hopefully, things will be be different on the 29th.
To everyone serving in our Armed Forces, from everyone in the Danz family...Thank You.
Friday night Uncle David came by to pitch some balls to Drew. With his Cubs hat turned backwards, this one was a swing and a miss. He clearly took his eye off the ball. But, click "continue reading" to see four hits caught on digital film.
Drew shows off his consistent swing and belts two home runs out of the park.
He definately kept his eye on the ball this time resulting in a blazing line drive down the middle.
The last contact of the day was only a base hit since Drew was batting for average and not power in his race for the backyard batting title.
There were 57 candles on the cake as we celebrated the birthdays of mom and "eh" (Aunt Catherine). Someone was feeling a little left out, so at the last moment we added Drew's 2 1/2 birthday to the celebration. Grandma, ever ready with a solution, whipped out Mickey and Minnie Mouse and some trains and a triple celebration it became!
The birthday girls. Drew posing with mom and helping Aunt Catherine unwrap.
Drew modeling some silicone over mitts that were given to mom. Finally, it was time to dig into the cake.
Drew's friend Hope came over today. She is just four months older than Drew. Although they had met before, they had never played together. They instantly hit it off, playing with Drew's toys which he did a great job of sharing. Later, they went to the park by our house and had such a great time playing on the slide and other equipment that Drew talked about it for a week afterwards.
The Oklahoma Minutemen held a counter-protest rally today during lunch at 21st & Garnett in the midst of an Hispanic neighborhood and business district. The protesters, numbering about 200, lined the roadside holding signs while drivers passed and honked approvingly. I was able to stop by and took a bunch of photos of the event.
All of the counter-protesters we're as wholesome and reasonable as they come. (Which stands in stark contrast to the left-wing sickos in the San Francisco Bay Area documented by zombie.) The entire half-hour I was there walking up and down the line taking photos and talking to everyone, I didn't hear one racist comment or hateful rant. If there was a general theme of the protest, it was that the protesters simply want our laws to be obeyed...is that too much to ask for?
And, of course, I'm drawn to American flags like flies to honey.
After stopping by the noontime counter-protest rally, I ran over to the courthouse plaza where the main illegal immigration rally was going to take place later in the afternoon. Who holds a rally at 3:00 on a workday...unless you don't want anyone with a real job to attend? Everything was set up, but the place was deserted except for five people who had the same organizers t-shirts on...
...and one was showing her true colors. That ain't red, white and blue. If you come here legally and want to be an American...I will welcome you with open arms. If you break our laws and waive the flag of the country of your origin...you will never gain my support.
I just wanted to unload on the subject to clear my head, so here goes:
Semantics. The rallies today were not "immigration rallies." Judged solely by their content, they were "illegal immigration rallies" or "amnesty rallies" or even "protesting our right to break your laws rallies," far more accurate terms given the subject matter. The name games continue with the attempt to change "illegal aliens" to "undocumented workers." Not all the people coming over are workers, some are children and some are adults who don't work. However, all are aliens which makes such a term more accurate. Further, they are not "undocumented." They have plenty of documents...illegal, forged, fraudulent, fake, phony documents...but documents nonetheless. Accordingly, undocumented is not accurate. There simply is not a more accurate term than illegal aliens. If people don't like it, they should change their status...not the words to describe their status.
Immigrants are awesome...legal immigrants that is. I'll even go so far as to say that legal immigrants are often harder working and more patriotic Americans than those who have been here for generations and take the freedoms and liberties we have here for granted.
Hypocrisy. The government of Mexico demands that we maintain an open boarder while Mexico's boarder with Guatemala is closed and heavily guarded. Anyone caught crossing the Mexico-Guatemala boarder illegally is treated incredibly harsh and, if they survive, is deported back to Guatemala. Mexico, illegal immigrants and their advocates and milquetoast politicians, all want the boarder with Mexico to be unlike any boarder between two nations in the world.
Hypocrisy continued. Imagine if Americans went to another country...pick one...France, Germany, Japan, China even Mexico. And we went there without a passport, visa, or any other documents except maybe some falsified documents bought on the black market. Once there we waive the American flag, refuse to learn the language, demand that everything be printed in English, don't pay taxes, don't insure our vehicles, burden and bankrupt their schools and hospitals and disproportionately fill their jails. Isn't there a term for similar such behavior...the "Ugly American." I couldn't agree more.
Who the heck moves to another country and doesn't bust their butt to learn the language? What kind of mentality is this? I can't imagine moving to Germany, Japan, China, Mexico or anywhere, regardless of the reason, and not putting every effort into learning the language. The only exception that I can think of is if I had utter and total disdain for the country and either didn't plan to stay or was actively working towards its downfall. In either case...I should never be made a citizen of that country.
Today is also supposed to be a strike or boycott of sorts...a day without illegal immigrants, purposely designed to cause economic harm to America. Yeah, that will make me sympathetic to your cause. I know there were a few businesses here in Tulsa, mostly restaurants, that were closed down as a result. But any effect the strike/boycott had was completely biased. To give Americans a true look at the economic impact of illegal immigrants, they would not only have to boycott buying anything but also boycott our schools, our hospitals, our jails, our social services and, for a day, not send any of the billions of dollars illegal immigrants send back to families in Mexico each year, not to mention they'd have to buy one-day auto insurance policies. Now's there's a boycott I'd like to see!
Finally, we don't have to wonder what the effect of an amnesty program might be. We did it before in 1986 with the U.S. Immigration and Reform Act. The only effect of that Act was that 3 million illegal aliens became 12 million illegal aliens. If you want 20 million illegal aliens, which some people want, then give amnesty another try. Even the French have figured all this out. Dominique de Villepin, France's interior minister, was asked recently whether his country would stage another amnesty, as it did in 1981 and 1997. "It's out of the question," he said. "Each time, it creates a chain reaction and wave of new arrivals." What a sad day when our politicians aren't even as bright as the French.