Saturday, April 28, 2007

Human Life Is Precious

It's amazing what humans do in order to preserve a human life. Unless, of course, we want to kill you instead of save your life. I am not going to argue capital punishment. Or war. This is not an argument blog. No ax. No edge to grind. I've said it before in the blog domain and I'll say it again: If I thought someone was going to hurt me, (or you) and I had to make the choice, I would do whatever I could to prevent a bad thing from happening. I would never make it in the Society of Friends.

In moral theology, the question: "When is it right to do an evil thing?" raises its beautiful head. There is a time when a person will have to choose between doing a physical evil and a moral evil. Yeah. Here's a good example: If the physician amputates a leg, that is a physical evil. Legs are supposed to remain joined to the rest of the body. But let's say the leg is infected and if it isn't removed, the rest of the healthy body will get dead. No problem. Except for one thing: If a person's body gets dead, then the person gets dead along with it. "We are our bodies," the Abbott used to remind us. His illustration was: "If someone steps on your foot, you say, 'Hey, you stepped on me. You stepped on ME.'" So sometimes you have to remove a portion of a person's body (which, while it is still is attached, is still them) in order to save the whole person. Yes, it would be a physical evil to remove the infected leg. But it would be a moral evil not to remove the infected leg.

Does anyone out there remember that SNL skit when Tony Danza was co-hosting and he and Joan Cusak are lying in bed as though they were a married couple and she starts asking him if he would still love her if she didn't have any legs, and then arms, and then she goes down the list of hypothetical amputations until she is just a brain? Yeah, that one? Anybody?

Here's a story example of what humans do each and every day in order to save a life.

Yesterday I was scanning the freqs (listening to the police/fire/medical channels) and I heard everyone screaming to a really bad crash. One patient was transported to the hospital and Life Flight was called. Very serious stuff. Lots of police, fire and medical responded to the scene, medical took calculated chances by driving really fast to the hospital, and the helicopter crew took calculated chances flying over to get the patient to be taken to a trauma center in Portland. But the helicopter pilot couldn't get into the landing pad at the hospital. Fade in/fade out. Part Deux....

So I'm sitting at the light and I see a helicopter flying low over the bay. At first I think it's the Coast Guard helo, but this one is red, not orange. Putting two and two together, it occurs to me that Life Flight has been dispatched for the patient associated with the really bad crash and that this is the Life Flight crew looking for a way around the marine layer that just showed up in the previous 20 minutes or so. I watch as the pilot flies west, then reappears in a steep bank and heads east along the bay and river, still flying low.

I was on my way to my own airport (a bit inland) to put the plane away from my earlier flight. When I get to my airport, here sits out on the ramp that big, red medical helicopter. I chat up the crew and get the pilot to help me put my airplane to bed. The pilot explained that the fog kept him from landing at the hospital and that the ambulance will bring the patient to the airport. Then it dawns on me that I am the only person who has a key to the airport gate, located about 80 yards from the aircraft. I go open the gate so that the ambulance can drive right up to the aircraft. Wow. I get to help! AND I get to witness what all these players train for.


1) Later, after I show up late for dinner at my friends', I explain where I had been all this time. One of my other dinner guest friends explains that he had actually come upon the dust of the crash just as it was happening, but didn't witness the actual crash.

2) I had been flying earlier in the day with another friend (the one who has the green airplane---see pics, earlier posts). His wife is an intensive care nurse at our hospital. Her brother is an E.R. nurse in the same building and treated the patient from the crash at the hospital.

3) I had a flight lesson planned that did not materialize. Otherwise I would have pushed my plane into the hangar hours previous to all of the action instead of leaving it out. But because I left it out, I had to go put it away.

4) And because I had to put the plane away, I drove to the airport where I got to meet the helicopter pilot, check out all the cool flight instrumentation and witness the transfer from ambulance to the big red bird. AND someone there happened to show up with a key to the gate. HELLLLOOO!

No matter the circumstance, human life is precious. We can shine when we want to.

So, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Here are some pictures.....

If you want something to happen when you're filming, all you have to do is turn the camera off. And that is just what happened while I was waiting for the chopper to lift off. The instant I hit the "off" button, the RPMs roared to full throttle. By the time I could turn the thing back on, the bird was about 30 feet in the air. The prop wash was so incredible! I will never stand this close on a gravel surface again. But if you want a really inexpensive skin peel, this is all you'd have to do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Four Minutes Of Healing And Hope

Take four minutes to listen to this song. Watch the guitar players in the background do something on their guitars that will hopefully do what it did for me, namely, restore perspective and bring meaning to the human experiment.

The singer is Jackson Browne, showcased on David Letterman's Late Night. The lyrics are good. The singing, excellent. But what touches me is the "totality of the circumstances." That is usually a cop's phrase to articulate what was going down and why certain decisions were made. The performance of this song is a totality of circumstances, a collage. This is human beauty.

We will never know why someone would want to spray bullets into the bodies of fellow human beings, in the manner that took place in Virginia, in any manner whatsoever. If we did know why, then that would explain it. And I don't want that. No one wants that. I'm working on just trying to explain the resurrection. That's more than enough. Making sense of what is good in life is enough. The other stuff,'s maybe just to be endured.

Here's a song to help bring it all back just a little bit:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Happy Easter: Liturgy, The Work and The Vernal Equinox

Okay, here's how it happens: I have a blog. I find out about another guy who has a blog and his name is Sean. I go to Sean's blog and there is a gal named Cora who goes by Mayden's Voyage or just Mayden. If you want to read some thought provoking stuff, go to Mayden's Voyage; if you want to see the cutest adult in braces, go to Mayden's Voyage. So I'm reading Mayden's Voyage and I see Corn Dog whose blog is titled: "Rubber Corn Dog." And on Corn Dog's blog, I see the following You Tube video. But of course, it can't just be a short post about a bunny doing something funny. This is an Annal Of Gawpo, folks. So you can peel off after the video that shows the cutest bunny trick I've ever seen (the bunny attacking the snake wasn't a trick---that was pure bunny balls!), or you can read some stuff about Easter after the show.




I didn't post anything in honor of Easter on Easter Sunday. I worked on Easter. But I celebrated Easter. Wait. Let me clarify: I am continuing to celebrate Easter. And let me clarify something else: I didn't work on Easter in order to make Easter better; I worked at my job. To make money. Instead of going to church. Get it?

Easter falls on a Sunday. Which Sunday becomes Easter, Gawpo? How do they pick which Sunday to have each year's Easter fall upon, Gawpo? Well, I always assume that if I know something, then everyone knows it too. So those of you who were aware of the celestial formula, please pardon the appearance of the pejorative. It goes like this (but only in the Western Christian Church, not the Eastern, and I presume, not in the Northern or the Southern, either): Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. "Equinox," you might have figured rather easily out, means "equal night." Just look at the word. Simple. It's like "what's HUD spelled backwards" it's so simple. Now I don't know what the word "Vernal" comes from, but I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with "green" or "verdant" (which has something to do with green, doesn't it?). I'll cheat Google'y later.

Now for the liturgical implications of Easter. If you are an espouser of Christian belief, you buy into the rumor that a man got dead at the hands of other men and then, after three days of still having gotten dead, got alive. But no one ever talks about those three "tweener" days. I'm sure there are books and articles, but I haven't read them. This is not the place or the blog for further speculation.

The resurrection narratives have always fascinated me. Especially the one where Jesus joins two of the disciples as they are walking along the road and the two guys don't recognize Jesus until after. I love that. Makes me try harder to recognize people when I am talking to them.

But this isn't a religious blog or a spiritual post. This is just a didactic pursing of the lips about how, in the Western Church, Easter Sunday is chosen and the Easter Season begins.

With Easter Sunday begins the Easter Octave. That's right, Easter is celebrated for a full eight weeks. That is why I am not late. It's still Easter, folks. Today is only Sunday in the second week of Easter. I'm really almost still early if you look at it in a procrastinator sort of way.

And no matter what you believe, believe this: Earth IS the best planet in the whole world and you are alive on it and you are joyful on it and sad on it and hopeful on it and struggling for hope on it and you are loved on it. If you are reading this, you are probably known to me in some small fashion, and are therefore loved by me in some large fashion. This is what liturgy means literally: The Work Of The People. And the work is love. That's what St. Benedict puts forth in his
Holy Rule for monks; that's what work is for G.I. Gurdjeiff; that's what work IS. Read his Fourth Way some time. You will love it. You may even work it.

When one amateur radio operator talks to another amateur radio operator, it is called "working." You "work" each other on 20 meters. You get to know each other. You talk as much as you wish or until the band closes you down. It has its own rubrics; its own liturgy. It's Easter on the radio. It's being connected and saved from being not connected.

I work each and every one of you right here on my blog. And, being worked by you, I work. It's about the work, you know. It's about really livin'; it's about recognizing that God walks along with us as we discuss all the events that have come to pass in recent days.

Happy Easter. Hope that works for you.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ps, then Blue Made Me Do This (I Think): Thinking Blogger Award

I'm not very good at links. Most of you know that. So don't be disappointed when you click on this Thinking Blogger link and it takes you to itself, but on a different page. Oh well.....

So, instead of just speaking of things, I will be speaking of

Thinking of thinking, here are some defining thoughts on that topic:

Idea: the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about; "it was not a good idea"; "the thought never entered my mind"

Thinking: the process of using your mind to consider something carefully; "thinking always made him frown"; "she paused for thought"

The organized beliefs of a period or group or individual; "19th century thought"; "Darwinian thought"

Opinion: a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty; "my opinion differs from yours"; "what are your thoughts on Haiti?"

Speaking of Haiti, I had some thoughts on Haiti when I was there with the MRE on that cruise we took back in November. I remember thinking, "Wow. This is nice. This must be what Florida is like, but with colder water. Wow. Can't wait for that sumptuous spread they'll be putting out for lunch. Wow." Those were my thoughts on Haiti.

I have been MEME'd by Ps and now by Blue. I am honored twice over. I am at once moved, and moved to thought.

In Greek, the word for "Thought" gets arrived at thus: Literally, "Through the mind" (dianoia) or "In the mind" (ennoia). Here we go again, folks---it's that word "nous" again. For Theilard de Chardin, the noosphere was nothing short of "a planetary level to the evolution of the cerebral cortex in humans." The mind---the human mind---is a sphere of its own. We all share in this sphere and we all contribute to its growth through evolution when we venture forth by forming (which in and of itself is PER-forming)our thoughts. The Thinking Blogger Award recognizes this. I recognize this. Literally, "I know it again" as I am re-cognizant of this.

So here I sit, poised before the poison of having to choose. I have to decide. I do not like to decide. Ever. The word "decide" comes from the same word "scissors" comes from----it means to cut away (de-cisio). When you make a decision, you are usually forced to cut away more than you cut for.

I don't like this having to choose thing. I love all those assembled, so thoughtfully chosen, in my blogroll. ALL of those names represent their own uniqueness. So really, I am not excluding anyone. Diesel makes me think. Mr. Fabulous makes me think. Quilly, Kat, Brookie, Murry, Vicci, Lisa and on and on and on till the very last.

This just in: The rules for this Thinking Blogger Award include tagging people. Well, I'm officially not tagging the five blogsters mentioned below. Part of that rationale stems from the fact that two of them have already tagged me. Sean has just gotten tagged himself.

As with Blue, the following five choices are not in any order other than numerical:

1. When I think of who makes me think, I think of
Ps. Ps is a woman who thinks, expresses her thoughts and then makes you think. Ps lives in India. Apart from the fact that gravity in India pulls Ps toward the same center of the earth that gravity in Oregon pulls me toward, I have no idea what it is like to live in India. But I will say this: Ps is filled with the kind of thoughtful gravities that pull me to the center of Truth. She has a way about her that exudes love and that coats all her readers with same. Not only that, but from her body emerged two wonderful beings. The Boy Being calls me Uncle Gawpo. I will be making him think more as he grows. Right now I am sitting on the plans for a killer potato gun that I am just sure will make his Uncle Gawpo proud (if not perhaps also slightly bruised by my Blogger Nephew's mother...).

2. Sean makes me think. I have no idea what Sean really does for a living, but I kinda sorta have this notion that he is out there in the world teaching people military stuff. But Sean thinks. When he sees something, his tendency is to bring meaning, or to ask questions. He is a typical exception to the rule. Now just go and oxymoron your way out of that. I came to know about Sean's blog through another blogger who, sadly, felt that I had become a bit of a threat. I wish she knew me better. That's all I'll say about that. But through her, I got to Sean. And for that I am a very thankful man.

3. Paul is the author of a blog that consists of poignant visual drinks of humor and, at times, mirthful ponder. You go there, you view, you think. Then you come away enriched and replenished. I love going there. Paul sees. And you will enjoy his vision. There is a simple quote, a picture or cartoon, and presto: You're hooked. Going to Paul's blog will make you think.

4. Blue The Spa Girl inspires. That's what she does. Literally, (what did you expect!)--she enspirits any visitor to her thoughtful blog posts. Blue is soul- and life-giver; she is God's gift to Generosity itself. Blue is a eucharistic wafer, a symbol that contains what it actually symbolizes---she is sacrament. Her flaws, I am certain, cannot outrun her capacity for self forgiveness. She is a joiner in the process of what becoming human is all about. There are just some things you know about your friends. And I just know that Blue stirs thoughts like the Little Dutch Boy stirs paint.

5. Somehow Somewhere Joe comes to mind. When I think about how my nose is connected to my right middle toe, I think about connectivity with the tissues that travel seamlessly along the fabric of our family of bloggers who share so much of their selves through the ideas expressed in their blogs. Somewhere Joe calculates beauty and accurately reveals it through his pictures, his music and his unbelievable adeptness with the written word. If I were blind, I could hear him; if I were deaf, I could read him. If I were numb, I could still be touched by him. Somewhere Joe lives in Florida, the geographical equivalent to at least the Christian and Muslim notions of Heaven. What could be better than being in Paradise and playing Hooky in Paradise? In Somewhere Joe I have met my brother; I have met my other self. In terms of the mind-blog continuum, it is as though I have peered out into space and, landing on Joe's page, have gazed upon the back of my own head.

I doubt that I will again accept any tag that involves choosing. Simone Weil cited as her one reason for not converting to Christianity the fact that she would therein be asked to exclude all other expressions of the Truth. I'm kinda like that. Don't get me wrong: I'm a card carrying Roman Catholic. But I pray in everyone's church. And, as a Thinking Blogger, I will just award you all with that. I reverence The One True Truth in each of you.

Thank you, my brothers and sisters. In the name of all that is trying to get put together, I thank you; I think.

I leave you with this Gawpoistic pearl of 21st Century mystical exclaim: "Earth is the best planet in the whole world!" Now go think about that.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hey Man, Now You're Really Livin'

This is about "The Whole Thing." You know----life. Whether it feels good or hurts, it's "The Whole Thing." And when you take it as it comes, you come to take it for what it is---"The Whole Thing." To be really living is to embrace and to let go. Although I'm not going to post "Turn, Turn, Turn," the Old Testament had it right: To everything, there is a season. Seasons of laughter, seasons of tears; seasons of confidences, seasons of fears. It's all about really living. Right?

I love The Eels. Prior to her telling, I had never heard of them, but thanks to Cheen-druh! my life is once again enriched. This first video is actually Mr. E himself in what appears to be his rather humble digs, filming himself and singing along with himself because, as he explains, the group spent all their money producing their album. Can anyone tell if he is the one who posted it to You Tube? I think there are a few postings and I just happened to grab this one. The author is listed as: "Officialeels" and when you click on the link, it takes you right to their other You Tube videos. You are going to love his dogggie. The whole thing is simply heartwarming; the video, the lyrics, the whole thing.

For Cindra, who played this song for me over the cell phone last year.

For Blue

For Joe

For Logo

For me

For all of us here....that we may really live; this is my prayer:

This second one is moi, trying my level best to do another Eels song that I just love. Ladies and gentlepersons, Railroad Man...

******This Just In*******

I just got back from a visit to Blue's Blog. And I just can't believe what she has posted there. Okay, I really CAN believe it, but wow. When you go there you will see what I am talking about. Because of what I just read there, I am coming back to this post and am adding a second song that I just posted to You Tube this evening, but which I really didn't think to add here tonight. The lyrics speak for themselves. And for Blue. And for me. And for all of us. Melancholy, I think, is when you shake up the Etch-O-Sketch of life and start turning the knobs all over again.

Here is "Things The Grandchildren Should Know":

P.S. Mr. Gawpo, Sr is not dead. He is alive and well and cooking eggplant. But the line in the song reminds me of the inevitable. Right now though, man, he's really living.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Anachronisms: Sometimes They Somehow Work

No one could have seen this comin'. Yeah, it does work, but somehow it works like, like......well, like the second one: