Rambling Hither and Yon

Tonight’s entry is in the spirit of the great Dallas writer Blackie Sherrod, who for decades authored the scattershooting sports column, “Some Hither, Others Yon.” What follows are some unsolicited musings on recent events, assorted topics both whimsical and serious, trivial and powerful, pretty and ugly, humorous and horrifying.

A camera crew and reporter for The Weather Channel were arrested in Tennessee on charges of trespassing on the land of a family who lost loved ones to a tornado there. I don’t know the details beyond the fact they got busted, and of course what’s been provided in news reports. This crew, whom I met at OU as part of a cooperative venture between the meteorology community here and TWC, is travelling the central U.S. this spring in search not only of tornadoes and severe storms, but human impact stories of victims, storm researchers and forecasters. Whether or not they actually were trespassing, however, it goes to show that media doesn’t always get a free pass to do as it pleases, anywhere, anytime. Nor should it. I’m a forceful advocate of constitutional freedoms. That said, like free speech, free press has due limits, and private property is one of them.

Last night at 12:21 p.m. EDT (531Z), driving uphill and eastward on the way home from work, I saw a dazzling, teal-colored meteor flash across my view. This was among the top two or three brightest I’ve witnessed. Almost brilliant enough to light up the landscape, it streaked from just east of the zenith northeastward for at least three seconds, finally blinking out at about 25-30 degrees above the northeast horizon. I have watched quite a few green meteors, many more white ones, and some yellow to reddish yellow, but never one with such a strong blue palette in with green. Outstanding.

My first can of Berry Cream Diet Dr Pepper was so delicious, I got another to take to work, to drink at a union meeting with management. Unfortunately, right before the meeting, I accidentally dropped it on the floor, whereupon it did what Dr Pepper tends to do under extreme duress: explode. The can wobbled this way and that in some formation akin to a drunken hula dance, spewing its dark colored contents in an impressive, cone-shaped blast radius. Berry Cream Diet Dr Pepper ended up sprayed all over one member of management, as well as parts of three walls, the side and top of a copier, one of Rich Thompson’s kids, Rich himself, a door, the floor, and of course, me. Fortunately I was able to clean up the mess before the full contingent arrived for the meeting. Rich (who was there for reasons unrelated to the meeting or the Dr Pepper) isn’t going to let me live this down, so I might as well confess publicly.

Another nugget of baseball buffoonery has found its way into the annals of Texas Rangers “OH NO!” moments.

    For most pitchers, allowing a homer every 5-1/3 innings would be quite undesirable. A homer every 5-1/3 at bats would be a terrible night, surely causing an early stroll to the showers. Rangers pitching has different standards of ineptitude however: a homer every 5-1/3 swings! Early in the 2006 season, in a 10-6 loss to the Tigers, righthander R.A. Dickey got smacked for six homers in 32 swings, tying a record in the modern era of baseball (1900 onward). He promptly headed back to the minors with an ERA that was high even for the Rangers: 18.9.

Check out my Rangers fan site if you haven’t already. It’s not quite like any other. If nothing else, you’ll leave the site with an appreciation for the amazing variety of misfortunes that can befall one single sports franchise.

Now to address the truly ugly. From twenty miles down the road in Purcell has come news that a sweet, innocent, ten year old girl named Jamie was bludgeoned and smothered to death in an apartment, nearly decapitated, and grotesquely violated after her death, with the ultimate intent to be cannibalized. The killer confessed. I might write more on this later. For now, not quite yet. My rage at the worthless piece of human sewage who did this rises too stong, too fast, to venture down that avenue of elaboration. If you’re a loving dad of a little girl, like I am, you’ll understand.

In the meantime, these thoughts: Evil isn’t just in Afghanistan or Iraq, or hijacked planes on 9/11, but all around, over bog and burg, from Purcell to Peshawar and back along every route. Why not stay ignorant, ignore the evil, turn away from it? Why not close the page, turn the head, look the other way and live in blissful ignorance of all that is sinister and wretchedly wrong? The answer is simple…

Evil exists. It’s real as anything can be. My faith tells me it ultimately will be destroyed. In the meantime, for the sake of us all, it must be battled at every opportunity. Turning the other way or denying it does nothing to accomplish this; instead, it allows the worst of the bad guys, humanity’s most venomous vipers, to slither unencumbered into the dens of their deeds. Be aware. Be alert. One person’s life, or hundreds, or thousands, may be at stake. What happened to Jamie, or those day care kids in the Murrah building in 1995, or to dads, moms and kids too numerous to name at the World Trade Center, cannot and must not be tolerated. We must find, confront and conquer evil everywhere it exists.

Speaking of which, Ronald Reagan was not wrong when he declared the Soviet Union as the “Evil Empire.” Anyone who doubts this should browse my current reading, a historical account of Soviet atrocities entitled Loyal Comrades, Ruthless Killers: The Secret Services of the USSR 1917-1991, by Slava Katamidze. It’s best that the reader not have a weak stomach. It’s hard to comprehend the level of sustained, incessant, systemic, state-sanctioned horror to which mankind is capable, decade after decade after decade, unless one delves into the treachery of the Soviet empire, particularly the KGB and its predecessors.

Why do I read such things? It’s not fun, that’s for sure. But it’s necessary, in order not only to recognize the terrible for exactly what it is, but even more importantly, to more fully appreciate those who are good and that which is beautiful and right, both here and Above.

And for the earthly epitome of beautiful and right, I need to look no farther than my wife’s blue eyes.


2 Responses to “Rambling Hither and Yon”

  1. Tony Laubach on April 17th, 2006 6:55 pm

    Excellent entry, Roger! I laughed myself into a tizzy over the Dr. Pepper incident.. reminds me of a Blake Naftel moment (no worries, you’re not the only one to do it with a Dr. Pepper, and I have the video proof). Take care!

  2. Karen on April 19th, 2006 10:14 am

    Roger –

    I haven’t commented as often as I should have on your Blog. I believe the last time was about what we should do with NOLA after Katrina. Doesn’t time fly.

    Well – I just wanted to say how thoroughly I enjoy coming to your Blog every few days for an update, a story, or just to gape in shear disbelief at the incompetence of some of the commercial air carriers these days.

    Your Dr. Pepper incident was no different. I must’ve looked like I was in severe pain as I stifled my laugh at my desk in the office yesterday as I read the tale of your ill-fated can of soda. I guess that’s what happens when someone with such a gift for language as you have applies themselves to the apparently-mundane. It becomes fixating. And hilarious.

    Please keep it coming.


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