October Update

Bought a standard poodle puppy.  Bringing him home October 5, so October will be full of housebreaking, and FUN.




The Opposite of a Spiritual Awakening

I had already gotten it through my head that the Army wants not to believe in PTSD.  But now, according to a very disturbing article, "War Wounds," in last Sunday’s New York Times, they also want not to believe in concussions and the brain damage they do.

         It's as if the Armed Forces had gone to sleep decades ago, and were fighting the last few wars while unconcious.  Even the NFL knows about the new research on concussions.

         Judging by the painful and damaging slowness of the Veterans Administration in taking care of all veterans requests for medical help, the Army doesn’t believe in any injuries.  But the brain stuff really is qualitatively different. 

         Here’s an example from the Times story about Maj. Ben Richards.  He is often unable to think clearly or in a connected way.  His wife Farrah can’t even get the Veterans Administration health personnel to include her in a civil way in her husband’s care:

         Countless spouses, parents and children of returning troops are struggling with similar challenges. Spouses often complain that the military treats them particularly poorly, and rarely communicates adequately. “They’ll be like, ‘your husband was briefed on that.’ ” Farrah said. “And I say, ‘well, my husband can’t remember that briefing.’ ”

         It’s like a conspiracy to ignore the human brain in suffering soldiers.  My own experience is that when people are in such vigorous denial, it’s usually because they’re trying to hide from something frightening.  Denial is the human psyche’s way of acting out “What you don’t know, can’t hurt you.”

         Trouble is, in this case, the saying means, “What the Army doesn’t know can’t hurt the Army.”  But in this case, it sure can hurt our soldiers. 

         We have to do better.


Avoiding the Uh-oh of Global Warming

I wonder if the new "anti-science" stance on the right is just a political form of denial.  If our leaders tell us that scientists are know-nothing, left-wing commies, we can pretend climate change is a myth. 

If politicians say that evolutionary biology is a godless, communist plot, we can pretend they have nothing to teach us about the overuse of antibiotics or the dangers of tens of thousands of pollutants in our air, water, and food.

If someone running for President or for Congress tells us that the rich need more tax breaks so they can create more jobs for us little people, we can pretend that corporations aren't laying waste to our democracy and opportunity for all.  We can pretend we don't have to do a thing to preserve our country: we don't have to be vigilant or hardworking or brave.


Flashmobs, Joy, and the Global Village

How can anyone put down flashmobs after watching the video posted below?  It's worth staging lots of corny stuff, just to get something like this lovely film clip. It's a celebration of good, civilized things humans can do with social media. I not only have a moving, spiritual experience every time I watch it again, but the experience prompted me to research this use of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Schiller's "Ode to Joy" poem. So now I know they inspired a national anthem for the European Union.


Spunk and Gold Medals

I can't help believing the reason Gabby Douglas won gold at the London Olympics is that nothing gets her down much.  She seems to have an inner spring that bounces her spirits right back up after any misstep or performance disaster. 

     I wonder where that comes from. 

     Could it be that by acting as if she could leave her Virginia Beach home at 14, and move in with a white family in Des Moines, she was sending herself an "I can" message? 

     Could it be her supportive sisters who pressured her mother to let Gabby go to Des Moines?  Did having those sisters who believed in her give Gabby the cheery confidence she seems to possess?

     Could it be the Iowa white family who opened their home to her so she could learn gymnastics from Liang Chow, gold-medal coach?  Was it the enthusiastic interrracial welcome that never flagged, that developed Gabby's own enthusiasm?

Or is Gabby Douglas just plain blessed with a God-given inner spirit—a God-given spunk—we could all benefit from? 



Human Spirit, Olympic Spirit

Watching the Olympics last evening, I was struck by the ups and downs of spirit demonstrated by some athletes.

     The CBS announcers made a big deal of the fact that Colorado swimmer Missy Franklin had to swim a 200-meter freestyle semi-final and ten minutes later had to compete in the 100-meter backstroke final.  Also they emphasized that she was facing powerful competition in the 100-meter backstroke race from Seebohm of Australia.

     Missy got permission to spend her 10-minute break in the divers' recovery pool in order to maximize her rest time between swims.  Throughout the actual competition, Missy was not out front, though she was not behind.  Then, at the very end, she suddenly surged ahead and not only won, but set an American record.

     So in spite of all the worries about extra swimming and little rest time, Missy had tremendous spirit, smiled through the whole ordeal, and triumphed.

     Meanwhile, on the same evening, the US men's gymnastic team started out well, had a slip, and then couldn't stop messing up what they had previously excelled at.  It was as if the first few little fumbles snowballed into dire missteps.  As if the entire team felt and then acted cursed; the spirit went out of them.

     What a fascinating, mysterious Olympic evening!