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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Totally at Random

This is one of those nights where I sit at the screen thinking, "Where do I start? What do I start with?"

Ever have those nights? Those of you who write know what I'm talking about. It's a sort of writer's block, but not really, because you have a MILLION and one ideas running through your mind but can't think of which one you want to lead out with.

The trick is to pick ONE thing, then let the others just sort of flow until you finish, depending of course on what your subject matter is. Fortunately, this particular piece has no singular subject matter OTHER THAN the randomness of ones own mind, and I gotta tell ya, sometimes, THIS mind can be fairly random.

Some say it's a symptom of genius, others that it's a sure sign of insanity.

Perhaps it's some sort of strange conglomeration of both.

History will be the judge.

Raoul, Dracula, whatever you're calling yourself tonight, my offer still stands, btw. Bring it on, amigo. I'm waiting. :)


I don't often "toot my own horn," soneone recently pointed out on this site my qualifications and experience, commenting that I was being FAR too modest about myself. What follows is, I suppose, something that goes along those lines, and I say what I'm about to say not to take any credit for myself, but rather to, hopefully, inspire thought and action from others. I met a man this week through my work, he was one of my customers, who is a Vietnam veteran (for those of you who don't KNOW exactly what it is that I do, right now I'm a communications contractor, at this customer's home I was installing a digital satellite television system). I arrived at his home to meet him as he and his brother were heading to the hospital some 60 miles away for his weekly radiation therapy. He has cancer. Cancer caused by Agent Orange. His mother was staying at the house as I did my work. During the course of my doing my thing, doing what I do, I learned this from her, about the Agent Orange and his fight the past few years with cancer that had been caused by it. There are many days when he is too ill to do much other than to lay in bed and watch television. His one satellite receiver was located in the living room. Typically, running a second line, called a mirror line, from one location to another so that both television sets are showing the same thing gets an extra charge. I pondered this as I was working, pondering the fact that this man served our nation in an unpopular war, that he has, according to his mother, difficult nights many times because of the things that he experienced, and the fact that while I served at a time when we weren't actively engaged in hostilities (officially, anyway) that I have my own difficult nights from let's just leave it at that I have difficult nights as well. I don't want to dwell and tonight be one of them. Anyway, I decided that I would run the second line for this man, this brother veteran, at no charge. It was the least I could do as a gesture of thanks for his service, and hopefully a little something to ease him a bit in what he and his family know are his last days.

Little things.

I share this illustration not to praise myself, not by any means. I share this illustration to hopefully show how SIMPLE it is to do little things to say "thank you" to our veterans.

Random acts of kindness.

It's an amazing thing how twisted things SUCH as kindness can be twisted around, as well. A few of us from time to time refer to Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. What an incredible visionary this woman was. A child of Russia, she had seen first hand the trappings of socialism and the way that it can take the ordinary and the most basic of human nature and virtue and TWIST it into something surreal, something vulgar, something...else. Another magnificent work by Rand is The Fountainhead, which I am reading now for, unfortunately, the first time. One of the main characters IS a Socialist, and she shows, through her writing, how skillfully and artfully, how INNOCENTLY, people can be manipulated into absolute ruin and self doubt, allowing themselves to be controlled by others. This work was written almost a CENTURY ago, and yet both works are so highly relevant to our society today.

Prophetically so.

A few lines from The Fountainhead, because I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this book to be read, as well as Atlas Shrugged:

"One Small Voice" never seemed to say anything dangerously revolutionary, and seldom anything political. It merely preached sentiments with which most people felt in agreement: unselfishness, brotherhood, equality. "I'd rather be kind than right." "Mercy is superior to justice, the shallow-hearted to the contrary notwithstanding." "Speaking anatomically - and perhaps otherwise - the heart is the most valuable organ. The brain is a superstition." "In spiritual matters there is a simple, infallible test: everything that proceeds from the ego is evil; everything that proceeds from love for others good." "Service is the only badge of nobility. I see nothing offensive in the conception of fertilizer as the highest symbol of man's destiny: it is fertilizer that produces wheat and roses." "the worst folk song is superior to the best symphony." "A man braver than his brothers insults them by implication. Let us aspire to no virtue which cannot be shared." "I have yet to see a genius or a hero who, if stuck with a burning match, would feel less pain than his undistinguished average brother." "Genius is an exaggeration of dimension. So is elephantiasis. Both may be only a disease." "We are all broghers under the skin - and I, for one, would be willing to skin humanity to prove it."

How much of that sounds familiar, if one steps back and takes a look at the world around them? How MUCH of that diseased mindset has settled itself into our society today? How much of it do we see so subtly delivered to us from the pulpit of the modern Democratic party? Worse, how much of it is seeping over to the Republicans?

Something to think about, methinks.

I'm amazed at the work ethic of so many of our younger generation, as well. I can tell a major difference in the quality of work done by some of the young twenty-somethings that do the same sorts of work that I do. I'm amazed at the quality of work in other places, as well. My mother was commenting today about my brother's car having to go back into the shop this week after being serviced just last week, because he has a problem that was caused, likely, BY the routine service work.

I suppose it's always been that way, though, but I'm not sure.

I do remain hopeful, or at least I try to. I know others who have magnificent work ethics and excel at what they do.

We have let our guard down as a nation. We have allowed Nikita Khrushchev's prophecy of "taking us from the inside" almost to come true. Almost. But not quite.

We can take the words that make the title for this blogsite and make them a mantra. We can take them into our hearts, and into our MINDS, and live them, breath them, use them.

Wake Up America can be our rally cry, and this, from Atlas Shrugged, our oath of our character and a testiment of our determination: "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

Random thoughts, from

An American Fighting Man