Thank you, Mr. Hanks
For the record, let me plainly state that I believe Tom Hanks to be one of, if not the finest actor of his and many other generations. He has been honored by a myriad of institutions for his work as an actor (two Academy Awards) as well as a producer – most recently of the exceptional docudrama chronicling the life of America's second President, John Adams.
For the record, I think Saving Private Ryan was robbed of its true status as Best Picture. But I digress.
So, when I heard that Mr. Hanks had called me, and all the other member of the religion I follow "un-American" for having supported California's Proposition 8, I was taken aback.
Today, I am heartened by Mr. Hanks' apology. It takes a big man to admit having crossed a line in acceptable public discourse. Its good to know there are still some people who can do that.
Tom Hanks and I don't see eye to eye on the issue of same sex "marriage". Somehow we can both be civil about this difference of opinion. I just wish the rest of the anti-Prop 8 crowd would get that memo.
Here endeth the lesson.
Proof that the Almighty works miracles on the gridiron
November 19, 1863 - Lincoln at Gettysburg
Today’s media world is one defined by six-second sound bytes. Political orators great, and not so great, give speeches by the dozen on any number of subjects to cheering crowds of the assembled masses. What they say is boiled down to what fits in the news segment between the train wreck and the office shootout as reported by the 24-hour cable channel.
The world notes little and remembers less of what is said by national leaders.
On this day, 145 years ago, two speeches were given at the dedicatory ceremony of Gettysburg National Cemetery. One was given by a man widely renowned as the greatest orator of the time. He was none other than Edward Everett, a former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor of Massachusetts, president of Harvard University, and Vice Presidential candidate. Almost as an afterthought, the President of the United States was also invited to give “dedicatory remarks.”
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Godspeed, Dean Barnett
It is with a deep sadness that I link to the news of Dean Barnett’s passing this afternoon after a long and valiant struggle with Cystic Fibrosis. He was 41 years old.
Dean was one of the early rising stars amongst the conservative side of the blogosphere. His writing was crisp, intelligent, irreverent, and most of all insightful. If there was an important topic about which he found himself uninformed, he went to great lengths to educate himself from the best sources available and pass that knowledge on to his readers in a way which made us all a bit smarter than we would have otherwise been.
I will miss his wit, his wisdom, and yes even his self-described “haddock cutting” Boston accent. The world in general, and the blogosphere specifically, will be a smaller place without him in it.
Breathe easy now, Dean. Godspeed.
Yet another reason why guy's shouldn't be at baby showers
Nothing good can come of guys being where guys shouldn't be.
Here endeth the lesson.
I’ve spent the past few days trying to put together a fitting tribute on this anniversary of September 11th. After much thought I came to the conclusion that I could only write something from my perspective on that day as mine is the only perspective of which I have first hand knowledge. You’ll find this post below the fold.
In the mean time, if you do nothing else today, take a look at this video…and remember.
It was a normal Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001. For me the day began much like most days did – finding me waging the battle of the bulge on a Nordic Track in the garage of my Los Angeles home. At 0530, I began my workout on that dreaded torture device with Blogfather Hugh’s morning radio show murmurings in the background.
Shortly after 0546 I heard Blogfather Hugh deviate from his normal morning routine as he began to make mention of a “tragedy in New York City”. He mentioned something about the World Trade Center having been evidently struck by a plane. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t pay much attention – it was after all well before sunrise and I wasn’t really awake yet. I finished my workout and wandered into the living room and turned on MSNBC a few minutes before 0600.
My verbal reaction to the image on the screen (something having to do with sanctified natural fertilizer) woke the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro who then came in to find out what the ruckus was about.
She rounded the hallway corner into the living room just seconds after 0603 – the moment in which United Flight 175, piloted by Marwan al-Shehhi, tilted its wings and impacted between floors 77 and 85 of the World Trade Center’s South Tower.
We sat there and watched in stunned silence for what seemed like an eternity. 34 minutes later, as NBC’s Jim Miklashevski reported live at the Pentagon, his entire desk shook as the building absorbed American Airlines Flight 77 as it the westernmost wall.
In the midst of all this I managed to ready myself to head for my office near LAX. As I was heading for the door at just before 0700, the unthinkable happened. There was a loud rumble, audible even to the cameras in the distance, and the South Tower collapsed upon itself like a folding telescope. Lower Manhattan disappeared in a huge cloud of smoke, dust, and pulverized debris.
America was in a state of shock. New York City was in a state of panic. Unbeknownst to all but a few, two minutes earlier the passengers aboard United Flight 93 had decided to take action. Their own plane had been hijacked by the same band of Islamofacist Murdering Thugs responsible for the other hijacked airplanes.
Thirty-seven passengers and five crew members were herded into the aft section of the Boeing 757-200. The intentions of their hijackers soon became clear. Some passengers had made phone calls to friends and loved ones who informed them about the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. They looked at each other. They took a vote. They decided to rush the cockpit and attempt to reclaim the aircraft.
It is said that America’s strength is neither in her military nor in her treasure. America’s strength is in her citizens. Forty-two Americans, most of whom had not known each other prior to that morning, banded together and started to push the drink cart down the aisle to do battle with their captors. The final words anyone heard from these brave souls were those of Todd Beamer:
Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll!Six minutes later, United Flight 93 crashed nose first at 563 miles per hour into a reclaimed coal mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Thus began America’s counterattack in the War on Terror.
Having stopped for breakfast on my way to the office, I saw the North WTC Tower collapse upon itself at 0728. Though nobody knew it, at that moment the attack was over. When all the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, some 2,996 men, women, and children perished on that Tuesday morning in September.
From the time the American Airlines Flight 11 impacted the North Tower to the time that same tower collapsed down upon itself, a total of 102 minutes elapsed. Those 102 minutes would forever change America. For weeks after that day, Los Angeles radio station KFI ran a haunting one sentence reminder at various intervals during the day. On either side of the voiceover was about five seconds of dead air – just enough to get your attention. Then a voice stated:
It could have just as easily happened here.Los Angeles is a geographical continent and cultural world away from New York and DC. Distance and culture notwithstanding, LA ground to a halt just like most metro areas. Businesses and schools shut down and parents like me were left wondering just exactly how to explain the events of that morning to our children.
My son Corderinho, then a three-year-old bundle of curiosity, was very concerned. You see at that time I traveled often for business and he would accompany the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro when she either dropped me off or picked me up at LAX. When I told Corderinho that some “bad men” had crashed the planes into those big building, he looked at me with the quivering lip unique to three-year-olds and asked:
Daddy, are there bad men on your planes?No three-year-old should have to ask that question.
A few years ago while visiting New York City, I made a pilgrimage to Ground Zero. As I stood looking out over the 20 acre hole in the ground, I was approached by a Boston PBS station reporter who put a microphone in my face and asked me how I “felt”. My answer surprised the reporter:
I am still angry.There were no follow up questions and I’m sure the interview got tossed in the corner of the cutting room floor.
I leave you today with a performance by Billy Joel at the Concert for New York City – an event held a few weeks after September 11. He wrote this song some thirty years ago as a science fiction song, but the lyrics are very prescient. The video is interspersed with footage from 9/11 – some of which is difficult to watch.
Count me among the handful.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
I’ve spent four of the past six weeks traveling around the country for business and vacation purposes. During that time I made a point of throwing Obama’s domestic consumption decree to the proverbial wind.
In short, I ate as much as I wanted. I drove a range of vehicles (SUVs, sports cars, and yes the family minivan) as much – actually more – than I wanted. I kept my hotel room – whether it was in the Mile High City, the arid plains of Oklahoma City, or the humid confines of Orlando – at 72 degrees or cooler for the duration of my stay. I figure its only a matter of time before Algore comes to my door and accuses me of being the driving cause behind Hurricane Gustav.