My grandfather, Albert Owens, died back in December at the age of 86. We had the memorial service on Friday at Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery in Cheltenham, Md.
This was my first time witnessing a military salute at a funeral and I hadn’t any idea what to expect. After some words and prayers, Taps played, and the Marines folded the flag, presented it to my uncle and waited until he left so they could salute the flag on the way out.
Though I’m sure this is routine, these men didn’t know my grandfather, but they knew him to be an honored Marine, and they showed him a level of respect with these gestures that I can only admire.
The Screaming Squirrels won their fourth ice championship last week. It was the first since 2010, and our seventh overall including the roller team. Read more about it on the Screaming Squirrels site.
Here’s a video mashup I made of my nephew, Ryan, for his second birthday. One day he’ll try to kill me for doing this:
When a newspaper or television news outlet decides to spend excess amount of time reporting on a case – usually a criminal case – it’s not uncommon for competitors to follow suit and report on the same case as not to be outdone. It’s a classic snowball effect, and someone like Casey Anthony becomes a household name as a result.
But what happens when something equally, if not far more chilling happens, but the cameras aren’t focused in that direction? Take the cases of Linda Ann Weston and also Kermit Gosnell out of Philadelphia, for example. Weston is accused of kidnapping and holding mentally disabled people in dungeons – for years – to collect their Social Security checks (amongst other crimes). Gosnell operated an unregulated abortion clinic out of Philadelphia for decades, drugging and sometimes killing patients, while delivering babies and shoving scissors into their necks (amongst other crimes). This is Jeffrey Dahmer-level sickness, served on a platter for media outlets to cover and certain to become objects of readers’ attention. But it’s hard to find anything about these cases without setting up a Google News Alert.
Why wouldn’t there be more coverage of these cases, when other things get over-covered? Surely, editors know about them, but make a decision not to send reporters. While they may use budgets and staff shortages as an excuse, this rule gets broken all too often, especially when everyone else is covering the same thing.
I can’t help but view this as incompetence, and even bias, in the news industry.
I wrote this post on Jan. 29, 2013. On April 12, my employer finally decided to cover the Kermit Gosnell trial.
Martin Baron, executive editor of the Post, tells the Erik Wemple Blog:
We believe the story is deserving of coverage by our own staff, and we intend to send a reporter for the resumption of the trial next week. In retrospect, we should have sent a reporter sooner.
For many decades, my grandfather, Harry Sumner, worked as a printer. Back then, the printing presses required individual block letters to place down. Those letters were organized in special drawers, such as the one above. At some point, my grandfather bought one of these drawers to hang on the wall. The wording on the handle says
48 Kaufmann Bold - Foster (ATF)
Some of the slots are bigger than the others to hold the more frequently-used letters.
Turns out, a lot of people use these old drawers to decorate and for other purposes. Check out some images on Google.
Here is where each letter goes:
It’s been a while since I did this so here are some of my favorite articles on Gunaxin that I’ve written in 2012, plus some in 2011 from the last time I did a post like this.
“He got a gun. He got a gun… Everybody got guns!”
Master of Suspense portrayed as creepy sex predator.
Hobbit Fever is in full swing, and musicians are letting us know.
Upon his passing, we reflect on his brilliant career.
Camille and Kennerly Kitt are making the harp ‘rock.’
Celebrating 25 years of songs about Sugar, Rockets and Animals.
Mario Lemiuex, Martin St. Louis and Jaromir Jagr immortalized.
Aging rockers still killing it in concert.
Watching the masters perform the bits you’ve tried to mimic.
Let’s reminisce about the Aryan Brotherhood leader of Emerald City.
Freedom of speech was too much for these folks.
As Eastbound & Down concludes, we bid farewell to the People’s Champion.
Presidential assassin gets immortalized with a wobblin’ noggin.
We finally get to see Warwick Davis play a character outside of a funny suit.
Looking back at 30-plus years of music in movies.
Honoring the best film score composer ever.
Once the leading site on the Internet, it’s now in… 4th.
The only thing this album suffers from is being promoted as a compilation.
Time to celebrate a quarter-century of Girls and Brass Monkeys.
Let’s hear it for a real American hero.
Here’s the dude who inspired the greatest fictional villain ever.
Jerk or not, the NHL benefited from Sean Avery’s antics.
Let’s hear it our favorite cheesburger-headed mayor.
The master of the Muppets would’ve been Statler’s age.
Worst to best Hollywood endings.
Ranking the top Muppets voiced by the Wizard of puppetry.
Death may be the best thing for Winehouse’s legacy.
An ode to the second funniest character on Entourage.
Some are great. Others, not so much.
My grandfather, Albert Owens, died on Dec. 3, 2012, a month before his 87th birthday, at Calvert Memorial Hospital.
As a Marine, he served in the Pacific during World War II. He survived a snake bite to the eye while in Okinawa. He had six kids, and spent much of his life working in construction. The eldest of six children, he outlived two siblings, and his son, Michael Owens. He was married twice, and a ‘ladies’ man’ up until the day he died. He enjoyed singing, usually Hank Williams, and cracking jokes that you’d expect out of an ole’ Tennessee boy. He will be missed.
Albert Owens, January 3, 1926 – December 3, 2012
My mother’s side of the family met up in Savannah, Georgia over the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving and my grandmother’s 90th birthday. The gathering took my grandmother by surprise. As more people arrived, she started crying, happily.
I had a roommate (the most disgusting and inconsiderate person I ever lived with, but that’s a different story), who got into the habit of watching religious programming. One night, the preacher was discussing homosexuality, loudly offering theories as to why folks are homosexual, citing things like the prenatal hormones theory while condemning it.
I can neither confirm nor deny the science behind these studies, but I’d venture to say that the preacher was using any info he had to further his cause against homosexuality, without citing evidence to the contrary or other theories that could be true.
And why would he? Likely influenced by selective biblical passages, he took the logical next step of embracing theories as to ‘what went wrong.’ Telling him otherwise would virtually be pointless because it doesn’t fit the ending that he’s believes, so he’d simply dismiss you as the opposition, who carries no credibility.
Put a controversial stance on the table, one that you are either for or against in its extreme. Now ask yourself: Is there even a single point against your view that is valid? If the answer is no, then congrats, you’re really no different than the preacher.
(Perhaps there are some exceptions. Despite thousands of years of slavery, I can’t think of a single ‘pro’ that its supporters can make that is worthy of consideration. But slavery is no longer a divisive issue so let’s just say times have changed for the better.)
I can think of four reasons why someone would be against gay marriage or even the general acceptance of homosexual people. One is that they’re motivated by religion, and selective religious passages, as per the example above. Another is blatant hatred, the same way someone would hate an entire race of people or a religion. The third is misinformation, which I believe is most likely to happen to younger folks who draw conclusions based on what they hear from their peers (people tend to grow out of this). The last reason is that some folks seem to be staunchly motivated by the dictionary (perhaps in conjunction with religious reasons), which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Hate to break it to folks, but dictionary definitions change over time. Somehow faggot went from being a twig to a gay slur.
Never mind that many Americans are smart enough to weigh the pros and cons of issues, understanding drawbacks of certain plans while still embracing them. This is about believing in something in its extreme. The legality of gay marriage can’t possibly be intrusive in their lives, and I have yet to hear a single logical argument against it. Yet there they are, fighting it, the same way people fought against the civil rights movement.
Like with slavery supporters or ‘separate but equal’ enthusiasts, the opponents of gay marriage will shrink over time, and future generations will look back in disbelief that so many people opposed it to begin with. But there will always be opposition, and those people will continue to fight their losing battle, or at least believe they’re right… and no argument can be made that will convince them otherwise.
During an election year, people more frequently voice their opinions, particularly using social networks like Facebook. While freedom of speech is a good thing, those who take advantage also expose themselves to the drawbacks. If politicians used the same wording as random folks on the Internet, or even professional writers who get paid to create controversy, it would be career suicide.
I’m not sure if these people understand or care that the arguments they make are often obnoxious and riddled with logical fallacies. They thrive in setting up straw men and burning them down. They act as though they’re irrefutably right. Meanwhile, those who are exposed to these opinions and happen to disagree (or simply find flaws in the logic) have their own choice to make… ignore them, argue with them, end the friendship, etc. One thing is for certain – someone who suddenly starts voicing controversial opinions will change how people perceive them, whether they care or not, for better or worse.
The opinions typically come from either the extreme left or the extreme right. Moderates and sensible people who understand that even their own opinions have valid counter arguments don’t make as much noise. This isn’t to say that those on either side aren’t making valid points, but it’s often the case that they’re being obnoxious and withholding facts that deserve a mention. None of this is new in the world of debates and arguing, it’s just more apparent since the Internet has given more people a virtual megaphone.
One of the most infuriating things to me is listening to people who have a complete misunderstanding, or unwillingness to understand, the opposition’s position. This isn’t to say that the opposition can’t be completely illogical too, but those who refuse to even try to understand how others can think differently – and then judge them for it – have no credibility themselves. If you’re going to disagree with someone, disagree for the right reasons, a direct rebuttal of their argument, not a misrepresentation of what they believe.
My advice: If you insist on loudly voicing your opinions on controversial issues, but refuse to try to understand the opposition’s reasoning and instead fill in the gaps with your own unfounded claims, at least be self aware enough to realize that others will notice and in return, judge you for that.
Sometimes, simple quotes or proverbs make for the best foundations for political positions. I’ll leave you with two of my favorites. If you agree with them, see if they really do sync up with your opinions on the election or life in general.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
- Chinese Proverb
“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
- John F. Kennedy