Wednesday, September 21, 2011

THE WORLD DID CHANGE ON SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001

Typically I end this column with a quote pertaining to the subject matter of the article. Today, I am going to start my column with a quote from David Letterman. On September 17th, 2001, the “Late Night With David Letterman” show returned to the airwaves barely a week after September 11th, 2001, when 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets and flew two of them into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to take control of the airplane before it reached its Washington D. C. target.
Of the many quotes that I have heard or read regarding the events of September 11th, 2001, the following quote from David Letterman has stuck with me for the past decade. He said, “As I understand it-and my understanding of this is vague, at best- another small group of people stole some airplanes and crashed them into buildings. And we’re told that they were zealots fueled by religious fervor-RELIGIOUS FERVOR. And if you live to be a thousand years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any goddamned sense?”
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing that day? I do. Every generation has their seminal moments when they can recall exactly what they were doing and where they were when huge moments in history were taking place. For my Mom and Dad and their peers it could be V Day ending World War II, or the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or when John F. Kennedy was shot. For my older brothers and sisters it might be when Elvis or the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan. For me and many of my peers it was when Paul Henderson got the winning goal in the 1972 Summit Series. Whatever the event, there are moments that will linger in our consciousness forever. 9/11 was certainly one of those moments for me.
It is not an understatement to say that the world was forever changed on that day. Some pundits would question whether 9/11 was as world-altering an event as the mainstream media make it out to be but how could it not be?
Whether you’re a conspiracy theorist that thinks that the George W. Bush administration orchestrated the whole thing in an effort to secure oil reserves in the Middle East, or you’re a world business traveler dealing with the newer intense security measures in the world’s airports or you’re a Muslim wanting to just lead a quiet good life without being looked at like you were personally responsible for the heinous actions of a relatively small radical group associated with your religion, the world has most definitely changed.
“102 Minutes That Changed the World” is a two-hour documentary that provides a rare and intensely personal look at the world-changing events that took place on September 11th, 2001. 102 minutes is how much time passed between the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center and the collapse of the second tower. The documentary is an evocative memorial to the 2,603 lives lost and a reminder of just how much our world has changed since that tragic day. It’s not easy to watch, but if you get a chance to view this documentary please do. 9/11 is one more monumental life-changing event that we should never, ever forget.
“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls and the funerals of the children. “
- President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001.

Monday, September 5, 2011

SERIOUSLY?! HALLOWEEN TREATS ALREADY?

I know that I state the obvious too much, but I still can’t believe how fast time goes by. It just seems like yesterday that Kipling and the world were celebrating “Saskatchewan’s Biggest Housewarming Party” here, but that was five years ago already! I know! Where’d the time go?
As if time doesn’t go by fast enough we are continuously reminded of distant events being just around the corner. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Sears’ “Wish Book” Christmas catalogue is already out. And there are displays of Halloween candy in the stores, too. Halloween candy? Seriously? Can’t we get through Summer first? And don’t even get me started on that whole “Back to School” sales thing going on in the last week of July. C’mon.
The leaves haven’t even started turning on the trees, yet, and we’re planning an event two, three or four months away? Not only that, but what’s the expiration date on the stuff you’re going to be handing out to the trick or treating children in a couple of months? That’s all we need to do is hand out stale stuff and have the lil bugg…darlings come back for revenge.
It’s not like Halloween’s going to sneak up on anybody is it? It’s still on the 31st of October, right? Nobody’s moved it to September or something without me knowing about it, have they? But it is good marketing too though, isn’t it? I know that if we were to buy some Halloween products right now the stuff wouldn’t last two months in my cupboard so I’d be replenishing the whole lot a few times over between now and October 31st.
What about “seizing the day” or “live every day to the fullest” without worrying about Christmas gifts in September or backpacks and school supplies in July like every “life coach” or Oprah psychologist is telling us to do to have a happy and stress-less life. That’s pretty hard to do when you’re walking through a mall in July looking for some flip-flops or something and all you can find are parkas and backpacks. It’s hard not to get the nerves going and the pressure building when you’re thinking “Should I be doing something else? What event am I not preparing for?” I even feel the “Back to School” pressure and we haven’t had any kids in school for nearly five years! Panic can set in easily enough, can’t it?
Oh yes, of course, I can’t forget about you keeners out there who are all excited when the Wish Book arrives so you can get a jump on the Christmas shopping and you’ve got your “Back to School” supplies before the kids get home from Summer Camp and everything but you must know that you are in the minority, don’t you? Why else would the rest of us have to put up with three-month marketing blitzes to remind us of what’s coming up? Good for you keeners, though! I’m so happy for the five of you.
Maybe, just maybe, if we can live long enough, the events will correct themselves over time and the marketers will be so far ahead of next year that it’ll be this year, if you know what I mean? One can always dream, can’t one?
“I never think of the future - it comes soon enough.”-Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

Thursday, September 1, 2011

WOULD YOU KILL ME IF I ASKED YOU TO?

The other night I was watching the movie “Sanctum” and there was a moral dilemma near the end of the movie. I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it but suffice it to say that someone had to make the extremely hard decision to terminate the life of another person that they were very, very close to in order to save that person from a lot of suffering. Make sense? Anyway, I am a proponent and supporter of euthanasia, under certain circumstances, and when I was presented with the ultimate question I thought I would put pen to paper or fingers to keys, as it were, and put my thoughts into verse. Morbid subject, I know, but we all have to face the Grim Reaper sometime and I don’t want to go out rotting away on a hospital bed, if I can help it. The following poem is the result. Enjoy, or not.

WOULD YOU KILL ME IF I ASKED YOU TO?

If I was suffering and the end was in sight
And there’s no other option when I’ve lost the fight.
Would you help me out and end my pain
Could you look past our love and just be humane?

If I’m crippled and broken and whizzing the bed
And I’m drooling and wheezing and I’ve lost my head
If I’m wearing “Depends” and shitin’ my pants
And I’ve more things in common with our garden plants?

If there’s no way at all I’ll be escaping this doom
And the possibility is lost on leaving this room.
Could you bend over gently and bid me adieu
When my life here on Earth is most definitely through?

Could you assist me at all like I would to you?
Would you end my life if you really had to?
If I couldn’t go on living the way that I was
Would you pull the plug despite the dumb laws?

A bedridden woman whom I knew all too well
Was just laying in wait for her death knell.
“Honey, this isn’t living” she once said to me,
“I’m a prisoner of pain and I yearn to be free.”

Morbid thoughts you are saying? Is that what this is?
And nobody should play God; all these decisions are His.
You can think what you will but we can’t all agree
About who, when or what should stop the agony.


My feelings lay bare now you know how I think
So you’ll all know what to do when I’m on the brink.
Put your feelings aside kiss my forehead good-bye
It may be terribly hard, but we all have to die.

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