Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Now THAT'S hot....

I love this old song.
A great story, impeccably told by Jerry Reed.
And sometimes, you just need a laugh.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Supporting the Troops, Then and Now


The news media called it a ‘Bonus Army’–the assemblage of some 43,000 marchers including 17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups, who protested in Washington, D.C., in spring and summer of 1932. They demanded their bonus cash-payment redemption of their service certificates granted to them eight years earlier via the Adjusted Service Certificate Law of 1924. These bonds had the maturity of twenty years, and could not be redeemed until 1945. However, the coming of the Great Depression destroyed the economy, leaving many veterans jobless.

The march, which set the precedent for the political demonstrations and activism that took place in the U.S. since, was nonetheless brutally suppressed by U.S. Army troops under Douglas MacArthur and George S. Patton. Though probably all were legitimate veterans, MacArthur was convinced that at least 90% of them were fakes. And he refused even to read the President’s direct orders that he not use force. This brutality disgraced Herbert Hoover and contributed to him losing the presidency. However, his successor Franklin D. Roosevelt still refused to redeem their certificates and offered them work in building highways. In 1936 Congress overrode Roosevelt’s veto to allow the veterans to redeem their certificates early. The Bonus Army’s greatest legacy was the G. I. Bill of July, 1944, which helped veterans from the Second World War secure needed assistance from the federal government to help them fit back into civilian life, something the World War I veterans of the Bonus Army had not received.


An army sergeant who had received 22 honors including a Combat Action Badge prior to being wounded in Iraq by a mortar shell was told he was faking his medical symptoms and subjected to abusive treatment until he agreed to a "personality disorder"(PD) discharge.

After a doctor with the First Cavalry division wrote he was out for "secondary gain," Chuck Luther was imprisoned in a six- by eight-foot isolation chamber, ridiculed by the guards, denied regular meals and showers and kept awake by perpetual lights and blasting heavy metal music---abuses similar to the punishments inflicted on terrorist suspects by the CIA.

"They told me I wasn't a real soldier, that I was a piece of crap. All I wanted was to be treated for my injuries," 12-year veteran Luther told reporter Joshua Kors of "The Nation" magazine (April 26th). "Now suddenly I'm not a soldier. I'm a prisoner, by my own people. I felt like a caged animal in that room. That's when I started to lose it." The article is called "Disposable Soldiers: How the Pentagon is Cheating Wounded Vets."

Some things never change.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From Ludlow to Waco to......

“April 20, 1914 will forever be a day of infamy for American workers. On that day, 18 innocent men, women and children were killed in the Ludlow Massacre. The coal miners in Colorado and other western states had been trying to join the UMWA for many years. They were bitterly opposed by the coal operators, led by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.

“Upon striking, the miners and their families had been evicted from their company-owned houses and had set up a tent colony on public property. The massacre occurred in a carefully planned attack on the tent colony by Colorado militiamen, coal company guards, and thugs hired as private detectives and strike breakers. They shot and burned to death 20 people, including a dozen women and small children. Later investigations revealed that kerosene had intentionally been poured on the tents to set them ablaze. The miners had dug foxholes in the tents so the women and children could avoid the bullets that randomly were shot through the tent colony by company thugs. The women and children were found huddled together at the bottoms of their tents.

“The Baldwin Felts Detective Agency had been brought in to suppress the Colorado miners. They brought with them an armored car mounted with a machine gun—the Death Special— that roamed the area spraying bullets. The day of the massacre, the miners were celebrating Greek Easter. At 10:00 AM the militia ringed the camp and began firing into the tents upon a signal from the commander, Lt. Karl E. Lindenfelter. Not one of the perpetrators of the slaughter were ever punished, but scores of miners and their leaders were arrested and black-balled from the coal industry.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Doctor Green

Coming off winter, my old pal lost a few pounds.
This is a common thing with older horses for a variety of reasons.
Checked for parasites: clean.
Had my vet come out and explore the old boy's cecum and all seemed well, although he have us that look that clearly said, "Just what in hell do you think you're doing?"
Teeth were good, too. Floated not too long ago.
Considered whether the stress of recent changes in herd dynamics might be putting him off his feed.
Then, as an after-thought, checked teeth again.
The length of the incisors was preventing the molars from making sufficient grinding surface.
Looks like the thing to do is to bring those front teeth down some.

Plus add some probiotics and cocosoya to his senior feed and see if we can put some muscle back on him.
And meanwhile, get him on some nice, green grass, too. Not too much, not too fast, but good nutrition goes a long way to solve a host of problems.

There are few things he enjoys more, and the sound of him munching away contentedly is a good relaxation mantra for me. You know you're really friends when you can spend time doing nothing in particular, not even feeling like you have to talk.
Just being together.

That's pretty good medicine, too.


Friday, April 16, 2010

My Kind of Herd

I've often said I've never met a horse I didn't like.

But I must say too, that all the Arabians I've met kind of stand out. Maybe my partner has spoiled me, being such a good will ambassador for the breed.

But there's something about them that I find has a particular appeal --- it can be there in any kind of horse, of course, but arabs seem to have a predisposition for it.
I'm not sure if it's intelligence, heart, or a sense of humor or some combination of these -- or something else entirely.

Maybe it's because somebody once described Arabs as having a chip on each shoulder, or because some complain they are too headstrong or assertive or "hot."
To me that sounds like a positive attribute.

I guess I'm a little bit nuts.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Do You See THAT???

My partner takes a lady out for a riding lesson.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

No New Dawn for Liberty in America

Dawn Johnson won't be getting the job.
Is it any wonder why not?
She's the antithesis of everything George Bush ---oh, I mean Barack Obama (it's so easy to get the two confused) stands for.
Read it and weep:

“The question how we restore our nation's honor takes on new urgency and promise as we approach the end of this administration. We must resist Bush administration efforts to hide evidence of its wrongdoing through demands for retroactive immunity, assertions of state privilege, and implausible claims that openness will empower terrorists. . . .

“Here is a partial answer to my own question of how should we behave, directed especially to the next president and members of his or her administration but also to all of use who will be relieved by the change: We must avoid any temptation simply to move on. We must instead be honest with ourselves and the world as we condemn our nation's past transgressions and reject Bush's corruption of our American ideals. Our constitutional democracy cannot survive with a government shrouded in secrecy, nor can our nation's honor be restored without full disclosure.”

Dawn Johnson

“Restoring Our Nation’s Honor”

Slate, March 2008

Are you mad about it yet?

If you're not, shame on you.


Sleep later, Man.....

Horses don't sleep much compared to human beings.
Not sure they fully appreciate the occasional lure of a nap in the sun.
My partner might be saying, Hey, get up! Let's play!
Or he might just think I look kind of like a salt block.

Dug this pic out just to remind myself that, despite that nasty dusting of snow we got last night, Spring must surely be on the way.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dartmoor Ponies

A friend brought these shots back from Merry Olde England.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Return of Beau Geste

It was hard to say good-bye to Beau.

He'd been eight weeks old when we brought him home and decided to name him after a character in my husband's favorite movie. Fourteen years later, that little bag of wrinkles and paws had grown into a golden Great Dane prince and become my constant companion and familiar, sleeping under the covers at the foot of our bed, scarcely ever more than an arm's length away. He helped carry in firewood, accompanied me on my morning run, allowed himself to be a pillow and yoga mat for our two tabby cats.

His longevity defied statistics and his passing was peaceful. His presence had been a wonderful gift and he left a one-hundred-and-sixty-pound hole in our lives when he died.

We were dogless for a year. Even though we agreed that a house is just an empty box without a dog -- or two or three -- we just couldn't bring ourselves to invite someone into our home. Somehow it felt disloyal to Beau's memory, and it would unfair to any new-comer to expect him or her to fill Beau's pawprints.

In July, my husband was away overnight at a workshop. It was the first time I'd slept all alone in several decades. I'd left ajar the French doors that open out onto the deck of our second-story bedroom, hoping for a breeze to relieve the oppressive heat and ease a restless night. I must have just dozed off when I felt the cold edge of the knife at the side of my neck and heard the hoarse voice whisper, "If you fight, I'll kill you."

I fought anyway.

It's a blur in my memory now. I have just an impression of the young man's face, his lifeless blue eyes, the glint of the knife reflecting the soft light from the bedroom hallway, hearing the crunch of my jaw slamming shut as he smashed his fist into my face.

In spite of my best efforts, the world spun wildly out of control, and I couldn't make it stop, couldn't claw my way back to consciousness. My husband had been a boxer. Now I knew what it felt like to get knocked out. Darkness closed in on me like the iris in a silent movie. As it did I could hear my assailant growling and slavering like an animal...

I awoke to silence.

I had no idea how much time had passed or what had happened to me in the interim. I wobbled to my feet, my jaws throbbing, found the phone and dialed "911." When the police arrived, I told one officer what had happened while another went off to have a look around our house. A moment later, from the back yard, he yelled up to his colleague to call for an ambulance.

The intruder was lying on the ground where he'd fallen from our deck, suffering a broken leg, a broken back and a concussion. I understand he's now permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Apparently, this young man had broken into homes and raped at least seven women. He was perfectly willing to confess in order to receive a lighter sentence.

What was most interesting though, was what he'd said about selecting his victims. He insisted that he'd never have come to our house if he'd known we had "that big fuckin' dog." He described Beau in detail and recounted that "that monster" had leaped at him, lips curled back in that rare-but-unforgettable Beau Geste snarl, and had sent him back-peddling with sufficient energy to catapult himself over the deck railing.

You and I both know that this is impossible, of course.

But why would the man make up such a story? And how could he describe Beau so perfectly, down to his uncropped ears, and the white hair on his muzzle?

I discussed this at length with my husband, whose Lakota Indian heritage often gives him quite a different view of things.

"What do you think happened?" I asked him.

"What do you think happened?"

" I think it was Beau," I admitted hesitantly.

He replied with a nod and one of his maddeningly indecipherable smiles, and kissed me on the top of my head.

A short time after that, we brought home a knew puppy, a German Shepherd whom my husband immediately named "Jack." Jack's his own dog, not a replacement for Beau. Because I think Beau's never really going to be gone, not from our home, not from our hearts, not from this mysterious and beautiful world.


Friday, April 2, 2010

When Sunny Doesn't Get Blue...

Oh, man.
We're in for 3 solid days of warm, clear weather.
Good weather to be a horse.
Or a man.
It might even dry up some of that Spring swamp the ponies are wading in.

Lots of work to do, but I'll be tempted to take some time and just stretch out in the sun like an indolent old dog.
And. like the man said, I can resist anything but temptation.


Thursday, April 1, 2010