Friday, October 9, 2009

So Where's My Award?

... For good intentions. Not sure what those intentions are, but I should be rewarded for them. After all, if Obama can be given to Nobel Peace Prize for his good intentions after only two weeks in office, then I deserve one.

The point of course is that an award should only be given after you actually accomplish something. A director intending to produce a great movie isn't given an Academy Award until the movie is made. A baseball player intending to have a great season doesn't win the Most Valuable Player award until the season is over and he's actually had a great season.

Perhaps before his term is over, Obama will negotiate a lasting peace treaty in the Mideast or something else that actually is deserving of this award. But for the Nobel committee to give him this award is not only way premature, but it makes what has already become an award tainted by some of the recent recipients an absolute joke. I am very disappointed the President accepted it. If he had any integrity he would have said, "I'm flattered, but am not worthy."

Personally I would be offended if offered the Nobel Peace Prize. And for two reasons, first it was given to Yasser Arafat, a terrorist who when he was giving the face of turning into a respectable political leader used the opportunity to rob his own people blind.

Second was when Al Gore was the recipient, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC). IPCC is a shameful political organization baying at the moon on "climate change." They have been discredited as shills with no credibility, but they are well funded with their eyes on stealing even more money from governments and businesses sadly caving in to their shenanigans.

Al Gore of course is in the hip pocket of IPCC. But what galls me the most, is another nominee the year he won was Irena Sendler, who nearly died from her tireless efforts to save Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto in World War Two. She rescued 2500 children, getting them false documents to hide their identities. Here's her story, courtesy of

Irena Sendler, born in 1910, was raised by her Catholic parents to respect and love people regardless of their ethnicity or social status. Her father, a physician, died from typhus that he contracted during an epidemic in 1917. He was the only doctor in his town near Warsaw who would treat the poor, mostly Jewish victims of this tragic disease. As he was dying, he told 7-year-old Irena, "If you see someone drowning you must try to rescue them, even if you cannot swim."

In 1939 the Nazis swept through Poland and imprisoned the Jews in ghettos where they were first starved to death and then systematically murdered in killing camps. Irena, by than a social worker in Warsaw, saw the Jewish people drowning and resolved to do what she could to rescue as many as possible, especially the children. Working with a network of other social workers and brave Poles, mostly women, she smuggled 2,500 children out of the Warsaw ghetto and hid them safely until the end of the war. Sendler took great risks - obtaining forged papers for the children, disguising herself as an infection control nurse, diverting German occupation funds for the support of children in hiding. She entered the Warsaw ghetto, sometimes two and three times a day, and talked Jewish parents into giving up their children.

Sendler drugged the babies with sedatives and smuggled them past Nazi guards in gunny sacks, boxes and coffins. She helped the older ones escape through the sewers, through secret openings in the wall, through the courthouse, through churches, any clever way she and her network could evade the Nazis. Once outside the ghetto walls, Sendler gave the children false names and documents and placed them in convents, orphanages and with Polish families. In 1942 the Polish underground organization ZEGOTA recruited her to lead their Children's Division, providing her with money and support. Her hope was that after the war she could reunite the children with surviving relatives, or at least return their Jewish identities.

To that end she kept thin tissue paper lists of each child's Jewish name, their Polish name and address. She hid the precious lists in glass jars buried under an apple tree in the back yard of one of her co-conspirators. In 1943 Irena Sendler was arrested, tortured and sentenced to death by firing squad. She never divulged the location of the lists or her Polish underground contacts. At the last moment she was saved by ZEGOTA which bribed a guard to secure her freedom. She still bears the scars and disability of her torture.

What isn't added is that after her rescue, she went back to her rescue work. So how many lives did Al Gore save?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Life Is Now Complete

But first a techie rant. Can anyone explain why iTunes makes burning a CD of your playlist as difficult as possible? One would think there would be a drop down menu item with "Burn CD" but that would be too easy. Instead you click on an obscure icon at the bottom of the screen, select a playlist, then remember to right click to bring up the burn CD option. Really intuitive... not! It all works after a fashion but for a company that prides itself on easy to use software they really fell asleep at the switch on this one.

Ok, now about the title of this post. When I was growing up, my dad always mowed the lawn. In Livermore, we only had a front lawn, as the backyard was taken up by various shrubs, patios, tetherball courts, swingsets and raised planters, so no grass to mow. Being a do it yourselfer, and being particular about how the yard looked, Dad never asked any of us to help. That was ok with me, as it meant one less household chore.

After moving away from home, I was in several apartments, which meant no lawn, though the ghastly green shag carpet in one tried vainly to achieve at least the visual of one though failing miserably at it. I then bought the townhouse in Fremont, which had a small lawn in front that the homeowners association took care of. The landscapers usually did this very early in the morning and with lawnmowers so raucous they would make a jet engine at full power in the living room seem peaceful.

Then last year it was the move to Texas, and to a house with a nice big lawn. However, my wife, who has the green thumb, (I've been known to kill silk plants), insisted on doing the mowing. Fortunately, she had a self propelled lawnmower, but still the size of the yard combined with the heat of Texas summers made yard care something that required careful planning. As for me... well, her insistence on mowing the lawn kept up my tradition of getting out of a household chore.

Then last night she had a lot time sensitive work to get done for her web based job. However, the back lawn was in desperate need of mowing, and as usual there wasn't a herd of goats handy for the job. Being the gallant gentleman I am, I volunteered. Uhmmm... volunteered to mow the lawn, not make like a goat and eat it.

So with visions of either chasing a runaway mower down the street, or worse mulching my wife's tenderly cared for flowers and shrubs, I got to work. It took a few minutes to get the hang of controlling the mower, but once I got going I felt very... domestic. And fulfilled, uplifted even. I could feel Dad looking down from heaven, and saying, "You missed a spot, those rows are uneven... oh never mind, I'll be down to do it myself."

But when I was done, my wife was pleased. Partially because it got her out of a household chore. I didn't have enough daylight to do the edging, but something tells me there is a weedwhacker in my future.