Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Friday, 2017.12.15
To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient
solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.

		H. Poincare

2006.09.09

Tribute To Mary Melendez

[From September 10th through September 12th, 2006, the JZ:TOL weblog homepage will be dedicated to remembering Mary Melendez and her family.]

Many diamonds passed from this earth on the morning of September 11, 2001. When I signed up with “2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11” to be one of the bloggers assigned the task of honoring one of those precious gems chosen at random, I looked forward to the opportunity. It would be an opportunity, I thought, to come to know just a little bit more about the life behind one of those diamonds. What I didn’t know was how difficult, emotionally, this responsibility would be. You see, my diamond was Mary Melendez.

Mary Melendez
Mary Melendez
August 22, 1957 – September11, 2001

Upon first seeing her picture, I smiled. How could you not? What a grand effect her smile must of had in person. I’d wager as effortless as a Spring breeze across a wheat field is how a smile came to Mary. A smile like that isn’t put on from the outside, it shines tirelessly from within. That’s what I thought when I first saw her picture.

As I began to cast about to learn more of Mary’s story, I was fortunate and heartened to find a wealth of remembrances. Having read all I could find, there were other things I came to know as true about Mary. She gave and received love unconditionally. And she is deeply missed.

Mary’s kindness and generosity clearly touched many, many lives. For play or for parties, for kids and adults, the Melendez’ house was the place to be. Every neighborhood, it seems, has a house like that. A trusted second home. For Mary and her husband, Ramon, to have created and shared such a space is a testament to the quality of love they held within their own family.

The center of Mary’s life was her family. While a successful professional in her own right, she made accommodations to her work schedule in the interest of spending more time with her family. A loving wife and proud mother to four boys, her life reflects the depth of her love, strength and undoubted ingenuity for keeping each of her sons on track.

The caliber of support for her sons is to be admired. When her son, Ricky, was leaving for Marine Corps boot camp in Parris Island, S.C., Mary saw to it a proper party was thrown to send him off to his next success. While he was away, Mary wrote to him every day, keeping him up to date about all the little things that together mean “home.” She and Ramon had made plans to attend Ricky’s graduation on September 15th.

As I researched and wrote this post, I kept wanting to write as if I were speaking directly to Mary. It seemed to be the only way I could adequately express some of my thoughts and feelings about what I had come to know about her and her family.

I can tell by your smile, joy and happiness simply shined from within you just by being who you were, an expression undaunted by events around you.

I know you did not belong on the front line of an unknown war and am saddened to know you were there.

America, the country, is forever indebted to you. America, the idea, will always remember you, for the very soul of Freedom and Liberty is composed of those such as yourself. To harm you was to harm all of us. To loose you as we did was to threaten the very soul of America and what it means to live in freedom.

I pray that you are at peace. I pray for your family that they may find peace.

I think all of America knows in the abstract the loss of life on September 11, 2001, was horrific. But there is a lot of room in the abstract in which all manner of horror can be packed away out of sight, much as you might isolate a monster on a deserted island. A much smaller percentage knows the loss first hand. The loss of a family member, a friend, a coworker or even an acquaintance. A direct connection, however brief or slight the touch, has tapped them into the full electricity of the loss.

I will not presume that my humble tribute to one of those lost on that fateful day has allowed me to experience the loss borne by so many others. But I can say the experience of researching and writing this post has allowed me to set foot on that abstract Monster Island, and even this slight and humble gesture has had a profound and lasting effect on how I frame news reports of all my fellow humans who have died similarly.

It has been my honor and privilege to write this post in tribute to Mary Melendez. For the rest of my days on this earth, memories of September 11, 2001, will forever be touched by thoughts of Mary Melendez, her family and a sadness knowing she perished on that day. But even this will thaw and melt away as I remember the image of Mary’s smile, leaving the comfort of knowing that the world was made a better place for having been graced by such a being. It is by remembering the life she lived and the family she created that we can all find renewed hope for ourselves and our children.

May God bless Mary Melendez, her family and all her friends.

Additional Links

Tribute and Comments on Legacy.com.
Comments on September 11, 2001 Victims.
Mary’s cousin, Josie Cleary

Tributes to the other victims can be found on the “2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11” web site.

Politicians Demand ABC Censor Kill Cancel Broadcast Of TV Program

Any time a government entity or politician starts calling for censorship, it makes me sharpen my quill and nudges me closer to gun ownership just on principle. In this case, it’s the Democratic National Committee and all manner of associated Democrats who are hollering for ABC to pull its docu-drama miniseries, “The Path to 9/11”.

Why are they miffed? Seems they take exception to the Clinton’s being portrayed as anything other than god-like. Particularly in regards to the Clinton administration’s kitten glove approach to terrorism.

For the non-reality based party to get their undies in a knot over a faux reality “docu-drama” is not surprising. Neither was it surprising that the Right was upset at what they perceived as an inaccurate docu-drama portrayal of Ronald Reagan. But the right didn’t resort to thuggery and dictatorial tactics. That the Democrats would demand censorship and threaten to pull the broadcast license of a major TV network is more than a little disturbing. I took a similar stand when elected politicians in Washington, DC, (Democrats, surprise, surprise) sought to sensor Ann Coulter because they didn’t like what she said (see Government Demands Censorship Apology).

With their usual deftness and whisper grasp of ideas with solid ground under them, the Democrats have succeeded in escalated the issue from bad TV to stifling free speech. They crossed the line with Coulter and they are doing so now. The raggedy edge of the Left’s mask peals away and what do we see? Big Brother? Totalitarianism “for the good of the people” seeking to rub out any government “by the people”? What ever is behind that mask, I don’t like it.

Note to Moonbat Bitten Democrats suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Clinton Euphoria: Your TV has a power switch (No, really, it does!) and a channel changer (Yes, yes, it really, really does!). Use them to turn away as you seem to be able to do so well with news of beheadings, forced conversions to Islam at gun point, murdered American soldiers, road side bombings, Medal of Honor recipients and those awkward times when freedom fighters valiantly attempt to land airline passenger jets but miss and slam into major buildings instead.

[Edit History]

2006.09.10

Ann Althouse shoots and scores:

” It’s too late to decide to attack Bin Laden, so let’s attack this TV show.”

How insanely repressive. You know, mainstream politicians really should worry about bloggers. Ironically, the bad judgment shown by bloggers here is about wishing for hardcore repression of speech, but free speech is our lifeblood!

Clearly Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, Madeleine Albright and American Airlines have good cause to sue Disney/ABC, the BBC, Australian and New Zealand television, and any local affiliate that broadcasts the show. How can we further help their lawsuit? I think a first step is paying close attention in each country to how the show is being marketed. Get us copies of ads, promotions, etc. that show local broadcasters and others promoting the show as true and non-fiction. How else can we help their suit?

Oh, yeah, bloggers really ought to want to encourage lawsuits by public figures who think something inaccurate has been said about them. This is the worst case of myopia I’ve seen in my years of blogging. You guys are complete idiots.

2006.09.02

Steal This Lunch

Go ahead. I dare you. From the New York Times:

For those with autonomy in their jobs – generally, well-paid professionals – breast-feeding, and the pumping it requires, is a matter of choice. It is usually an inconvenience, and it may be an embarrassing comedy of manners, involving leaky bottles tucked into briefcases and brown paper bags in the office refrigerator.

I think what creeps people out, and by people I mean “guys”, about this is that it’s stuff which was once inside someone’s body and now is on the outside. Most generally, when this happens, it’s not a good thing, ranging on a scale from unpleasant (“Earl, there’s something on your nose.”) to disgusting (“Earl, that looks infected.”) to flat out horrifying (“Somebody get a tourniquet around Earl’s torso fast!”).

To most, there’s nothing cute about a baby burp, especially as the count rises over time. Although Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes might go gaga over baby’s goo goo given their propensity for collecting trophy excretions. What’s worse, from a guys perspective, is the stuff is being saved. And for non-clinical reasons at that. Imagine a bag labeled “Earl’s sputum. DO NOT TAKE!” or “Earl’s sperm. DO NOT TAKE!” parked in the office refrigerator right next to your egg salad sandwich.

That’s how guys think about it. Of course, babies think otherwise. They have yet to be bent by our convoluted, contradictory and puritanical social conventions. They have yet to be pressured by peers and crushed by the protuberant herd in their journey from self expression to self repression.

Personally, this doesn’t bug me. My perspective is rather pragmatic on these things, the result of having grown up with five sisters, three of whom followed my mother into nursing careers, and supporting my late wife, Janet, through 10 years of battling breast cancer. These experiences left scant room for mystery in regard to what women have to deal with while growing up and trying to forge a career.

Pump away girls, it bugs me not.

A discussion thread is happening about this article over on Althouse (H/T, by the way).

[Edit History]

2006.09.03

Fixed klutzy sentence.

2006.09.23

Edited for clarity.

2006.10.02

Updated dead link to Tom and Katie’s trophy.

2006.08.29

Variation On A Theme No. 4,577,308,253 By God

The Spring and Fall are the best seasons to walk along my life long favorite trails. This evening it was the Highline Canal Trail. I’ve walked this trail since, well, since I could walk. It’s evening walks like these, alone with my thoughts, that I feel I could never live anywhere but Colorado.

But the walks are changing. Deep gashes are being hacked out of the land on either side of the trail to build colossal, five story buildings some people seem to need. Stranger still, they call them “homes.” Thankfully, they haven’t rubbed out nature yet.

As I walk, I can close my eyes and listen to the cicada and crickets, smell the woody fragrance of the aging cottonwoods and maturing sage and yarrow. Fall is imminent. When the breeze is just right, and the failing sunlight just so, I can even imagine Janet is walking along with me. At this moment, it would take a powerful force to pull me away from here. I feel the roots fading, however, as places exist in both space and time. The relaxing satisfaction of watching a sunset has been displaced by a deep sadness I cannot define just now. It’s a silence that has me listening for something. My sense is there will be a time when I must go and search for a new home.

All the more reason to enjoy this sunset. And so I did…

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

[Edit History]

2006.08.30

Grammar changes and expanded a few ideas.

Sweet And Friendly Room In Kilauea

Passing this along…

I can vouch for the peace and tranquility of this space offered by Eana Rose. The quality of her massage is also top notch and an excellent way to set the stage for your visit to Kaua’i. Eana was one of the Hula dancers for Janet’s Celebration of Life on Kaua’i.

Sweet and friendly room In Kilauea

Do you have friends or family visiting? Anyone you know need a place while on Kauai for a retreat, workshop or school?

I am offering temporary shelter in my home, in a sweet room set up for retreat, healing and inspiration. Available for a day or two a week or two or by the month. As well as a supportive environment for your own agenda on Kauai, you have access to a sacred temple setting for meditation, yoga or making conscious music. Sacred Hawaii Bodywork and Ayurvedic Massages available, access to Hula lessons and sacred dance, great space for art and writing, silent Vipassana meditation on Monday evenings. Visit my web site for a description of “Pu’uwai Ka Lani Retreat”. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who wants a safe, sweet space to stay while visiting Kauai. Or anyone needing a “Space In-Between” longer term living arrangements. Mahalo, eana

For information, rates and availability contact:

Eana Rose

(208) 721-1677
(808) 828-0138

eana@nalinilomi.com

eana.rose@hawaiiantel.net
www.nalinilomi.com

2006.08.28

Fake But Accurate News: Alternative Science Community Protests Loss Of Planet Pluto

On August 24, 2006, the International Astronomical Union ratified a resolution that resulted in Pluto being reclassified as a dwarf planet. The decision was immediately contested by the alternative science community.

Sascha Boolkarinski, psychic, Ouija board expert and Edgar Cayce scholar complained “They should have given us warning about this change. What do we pay taxes for? How were we supposed to see this coming?”

Madam Bimpka, astrologer, angrily protested the change. “Don’t they understand the impact of removing a planet and how that will upset the astrological houses? Do they realize how many homeless people they’ve created? Thoughtless. That’s all. They’re just thoughtless bastards.” Ms. Bimpka’s empathy for the diminutive planet was also on her mind as she sobbed, “‘Dwarf’ Planet?!? ‘Dwarf’! Have they no heart for the ‘Little Planets’?”

Bart Burt, Ph.D, Ph.D, Ph.D, Ph.D, of the Tesla Institute of Labs remarked, “I don’t understand their problem. They invent most everything else. Tacking a bit of real science on their epistemology is a bit out of place. Sort of like what morticians do to make dead people look more alive. They might as well keep Pluto as a planet in their little world. While they’re at it, add a 10th planet and upgrade to a metric astrology system.”

Psychically transmitted remote messages to both JZ Knight and Shirley MacLaine requesting comments were not returned.

2006.08.27

Cow Town Redux

I remember back in the early 1970’s, as part of the opening ceremonies to the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo every January, promoters would drive a small herd of cattle down 17th Street in downtown Denver. For those who don’t know, 17th Street is the heart of the business district in Denver. At least, that’s where all the banks are. Eventually this was done away with as it was felt this projected the wrong image, at least according to those seeking to “elevate” Colorado to Blue State status. They didn’t want to be living in no gall dang (spit) cow town. No sir. Git along little dowgies. Git.

Well, they’re back. After my morning cups of joe at The Market, I walked amongst the herd of properly sanitized and stylized she bovine. Let’s start here…

Cow 01

Yes, ladies and gentleman. Doesn’t she look stellar? Graced with green leggings and city scraps, this little lady is dressed to carry you off to sleep and into your worst nightmares. But move over missie, for daylight, she’s a comin’.

Cow 02

I hate it when the omen for the kind of day I’m going to have is a pink streaked cow. Looks like is going to be one of those pepto-bismol days.

Cow 03

This one is wearing a much loved sweater I had as a kid. So that’s where it went. Hey, my parents told me it ran away!

Cow 04

In need of a few antibiotics, it seems. Maybe something in a convenient hose on dosage. (I didn’t touch this one.)

Cow 05

Nothing to see here. Moooove along now. (Just a little freaky.)

Cow 06

Well, we know which are the recessive and which are the dominant genes. Time to close the book on that particular experiment.

Cow 07

That’s just not right. There ought to be federal legislation against putting cows in grass skirts.

Cow 08

Ouch. Occasionally known as the Denver Donkeys (during bad seasons), the Denver Cows is about as docile as you can get. Even the Denver Pigs would be better. At least pigs know how to be mean on occasion.

There you have it. Denver. Cow Town Redux.

[Edit History]

2006.08.27

Edited for clarity.

2006.008.31

Added link to The Market.

2006.08.24

The Blogsphere’s Tribute To The Victims of 9/11

If you are a blogger, do this: 2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11. You can sign up by clicking here.

I’ll be giving a great deal of thought for a post honoring Mary Melendez. She died in the World Trade Center.

Mary Melendez
Mary Melendez, Age 44

2006.08.22

Jacqueline Passey

Because being a self-professed genius means never having to soil your self with those messy rules of grammar…

Also, before anyone feels bad that I felt harassed by their attention, I want to clarify that it wasn’t any one person’s behavior that has made me this uncomfortable, rather it’s the cumulative effect of being simultaneously aggressively pursued by several men who I don’t have reciprocal feelings for. — Jacqueline Passey

Eeek. It’s the cumulative effect of that sentence that leaves me uncomfortable. That feeling is set to rights knowing I fail the date criteria, what with believing in a poverty stricken libertarian God and all. Whew! Judging by her criteria, I’d say she’s looking for herself, anyway. Follow your bliss, kid, and good luck.

[Notice of Full Disclosure: This post is an experiment. After all, what is the Internet if it isn’t one giant sociological Petri dish.]

2006.08.18

In-Flight Internet Abandoned

I’m not surprised by this:

Boeing is scrapping its in-flight high speed broadband service because of lack of interest from leading airlines.

The discontinuation of its Connexion service will cost the plane maker $320m (£169m) in one-off charges.

There are probably any number of reasons, vaguely encapsulated by Boeing’s reason of “Regrettably, the market for this service has not materialized as had been expected.” Specifically, I’d venture the following:

  • It’s yet another thing the airline has to support, which adds to their cost.

  • Focusing on a computer screen for the duration of a flight is tiring on the eyes, even for the few times I have attempted to do this. There are enough headache causing things about air travel. No need to add another.

  • Airplanes are just not good places to focus on work. Anything from turbulence to interruptions by flight attendants passing peanuts and beverages to row mates getting up to go to the bathroom make it near impossible to keep a decent train of thought going if you want to write an article or work on software code.
  • Security rules have made the prospect of pulling out a laptop during a flight increasingly inconvenient. I can foresee a day where laptops in the cabin will be forbidden.

  • For a lot of people, there just isn’t enough space to open a laptop. If you are my size (6′ 5″) it is flat out impossible. The few times I’ve been able to open a laptop and do some work for an hour or more it has been because the seat next to me was open allowing me to use that seat’s drop down tray.

These, and I’m sure other things I’m not thinking of at the moment, push “Internet Access” down on the list of desired amenities during an airline flight. Criminy, these days I’m just delighted, as I’m sure are others, to keep the clothes on my body without security confiscating them.

2006.08.07

Gary Musselman – An Original

I had first read about Gary Musselman on Amy Alkon’s blog in an article titled “It’s Like Jazz On Paper.” And indeed it is.

I know this not just by the images displayed by Amy, but from first hand experience of Gary’s art. I commissioned a phrase.

I’d like an original of the following phrase:

Hobo Kore Dojo

The phrase is Japanese and basically translates as follows…

“Hobo Kore” is a little difficult to translate. Roughly, it means “this place where you are at” or “where ever you are.”

“Dojo” is a place of learning, community and personal commitment. While it is often thought of as a physical place, such as a school or a monastery, the deeper meaning is that of a space without walls and alive.

So the entire phrase comes to mean “each moment in life is your school” or “each step you take in life has a lesson.” I first encountered this phrase when I began Aikido (a martial art) training. The school’s founder and chief instructor is a Japanese immigrant and had carved this phrase in Japanese calligraphy on a large piece of wood and hung it over the dojo entrance. The phrase has helped me keep a healthy perspective on life ever since.

As far as colors, I suppose I’d like blues and greens with a slight touch of red.

Take Care,

Gregory Engel

I was told Gary was inspired by the story behind the phrase and that an awesome piece was in the works. And so it is. Truly awesome.

Hobo Kore Dojo
Hobo Kore Dojo

Many thanks to Amy Alkon for shining the light and to Scotty Todd for brokering the deal on Gary’s behalf. I am a proud owner of a Gary Musselman original work of art. But the true original is Gary himself. The inspiration of his story absolutely radiates out of his art.

2006.08.03

The Blogger Hole

Ann Althouse, guest blogging on Instapundit, makes note of the ubiquitous practice of blogging on bloggers. How far down the blogger hole does one care to blog? Well, don’t go too far, because its bloggers all the way down.

2006.08.02

Making The World Safe From Treeists

I am soooooooo relieved the police have pounded another gang of rogue tree climbers into the ground. Whew! It was getting to the point I was a fearin’ to leave my house!

To the 12-year-old friends planning to build themselves a den, the cherry tree seemed an inviting source of material.

But the afternoon adventure turned into a frightening ordeal for Sam Cannon, Amy Higgins and Katy Smith after they climbed into the 20ft tree – then found themselves hauled into a police station and locked in cells for up to two hours.

Their shoes were removed and mugshots, DNA samples and mouth swabs were taken.

Crikey. I’d ask where’s the common sense to this but I already know the answer – THERE ISN’T ANY. There’s a thread about this stringing over at Slashdot.

And let’s not forget Glenn Reynolds’ question: “Will somebody please explain to cops that they can’t arrest people for photographing them?”

2006.08.01

Sheehan Fast Woes – SOLVED!

Like all things done for the first time, its easy to be a little clumsy out of the gate. Such is the case with Cindy Sheehan and her efforts at protest fasting. We can forgive her noble, albeit awkward, first effort. After all, she isn’t a professional at this. Not yet, anyway. Being a compulsive problem solver, I noticed several slight “defects” in her fasting method which can be corrected with a slight modification to Ms. Sheehan’s fasting techniques:

Sheehan Fast

Not so much as a sippy hole for that dreaded flipachino caramel machimoto double sucrose latté (soy, please). There are, however, some unavoidable, perhaps unintended, consequences:

  • If nothing can get in, well, then nothing can get out. We will experience a drought of Sheehan wisdom. But I do feel that together, we can endure this loss. [Group hug everybody!]
  • We can respectfully acknowledge and honor Casey Sheehan’s sacrifice, unencumbered, as it would then become, by Ms. Sheehan’s thought process.

The JZ:TOL legal department has insisted on the following disclaimer: Use this fast-enhancer responsibly and have someone – doesn’t have to be a friend – close at hand to rip this device off at the slightest indication you might be slipping toward The Joy of Oblivion. And if you know Ms. Sheehan, be that safety net for her because I do believe she may be at risk in this regard.

Related Stories

Cindy Sheehan Watch
Peaceniks Make Fasting Easier All The Time – Michael Fumento (HT: Megan McArdle/Instapundit)
Juicers Quit – Tim Blair
Not so “fast” – Michelle Malkin
The Cindy Sheehan diet: sweeping the nation! – Hot Air
Hunger Striker News – Gateway Pundit
Goodness! Cindy and Willy Nelson(?) Team Up for Hunger Strike! – Gateway Pundit

[Edit History]

2006.10.16

Hmmm. Appears the Amazon Poll strongly supports the notion that Ms. Sheehan’s capacity to eclipse her son’s death with her own thirst for the lime light is exceeded only by her vastly uninformed and shallow insights into world events.

The time to recognize the honorable Sheehan is long over due.

2006.07.29

Definition Of Moral Equivalence

If the U.S. or Israel does something violent, you speak only in terms of your horror and righteous anger that we have killed people. If our enemies do something violent, you call attention to their understandable frustration and outrage and our role in making them feel that way.

Thank you Ann.

If we are in a country (including our own) fighting for the Freedoms of Speech and Liberty, we are aggressors, invaders and imperialist pigs. If they are fighting from the cover of a baby’s crib and flying jet aircraft into buildings, they are freedom fighters.

[Edit History]

2006.07.30

Case in point (HT: Instapundit):

THIS is the picture that damns Hezbollah. It is one of several, smuggled from behind Lebanon’s battle lines, showing that Hezbollah is waging war amid suburbia.

Where’s the outrage over the fact Hezbollah is setting up anti-aircraft guns in grandma’s flowerbeds?

2006.08.01

The Weaponization of Children – Gerard Van der Leun (HT: Michelle Malkin)


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