Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Don't Mess with the Flag!

This is copied from an email that was sent to me today. I am not the original writer of this, but felt it was damn well worth adding to the blog. I hope I'm as steadfast in my own beliefs when I'm 90 years old.
"You might remember a news story several months ago about a crochety old man who defied his homeowners association and refused to take down the flagpole on his property and the large flag that flew on it. Now you can find out who, esactly, the old man was and what happened.
"Van T. Barfoot was born in Edinburg (doesn't say whether Indiana or some other Edinburg) - probably didn't make much news back then, which was 15 June 1919. Twenty five years later, 23 May, 1944, near Carano, Italy, the same Van T Barfoot set out to flank German machine gun positions from which fire was constantly reigning down on his fellow soldiers. Barfoot had enlisted in the army in 1940. He advanced through a minefield, took out three enemy machine gun positions and returned with 17 prisoners of war. Later on, he took on and destroyed three German tanks sent to retake the machine gun POWs.
"That probably didn't make the news, either, except perhaps in his home town newspaper. It did earn Van T. Barfoot a Congressional Medal of Honor award. He later retired at the rank of Colonel after serving in Korea and Vietnam. Again, his award and retirement didn't make national headlines. It might have run in his hometown newspaper.
"Fast forward to eight months ago, when Mr. Barfoot got into a dispute with his neighborhood association about the way he chose to fly the American flag on his own property. He chose not to obey the associations rule to only fly the flag from a house - mounted bracket. Something like a 21 foot pole and a large size American flag were not considered proper decorum for the neighborhood.
"In true John Wayne fashion, the 90 year old retired military man figuratively flipped the bird at the homeowners association after being denied a permit for the pole. He erected the pole and flew the flag despite facing court action if he didn't dismantle it.
"Because of the days of non stop news and social networking, Mr. Barfoot's plight became national headline news, and the neighborhood association became widely reviled. They changed their minds and are allowing Mr. Barfoot to fly his flag.
"'In the time I have left I plan to continue to fly the American flag without interference'," Barfoot told the Associated Press. As well he should. If the neighborhood association takes another notion to contest him, they might want to read the words on his Medal of Honor citiation. It indicates he's not real good at backing down."
When you consider what we remembered this past Sunday, patriotism of all kinds should be respected, not litigated. There are times to adhere to the rules, but as Aunt Eller said in 'Oklahoma', "Let's not break the rules, let's just bend 'em a little." By bendin' a little, the neighborhood association might've saved face in the long run.
Makes me wanna look into the cost of erecting my own pole. Problem is, my husband might be crotchety at times, and he is a retired Captain in the US Army Reserves and a lifetime member/past president of the Reserve Officer's Association, but he's not 90 years old. I don't think we'd get the pass Mr. Barfoot got.
I respect and admire him for standing up for what he believed to right.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Floating on Cloud 9 - Still

Yesterday was quite an incredible day for me. If you missed the blog about my thoughts and feelin's about the 10th anniversary of 9/11, check it out I'll be postin' pics to my Facebook and Twitter accounts later today.

If nothin' else, I hope you'll check out two things close to my heart for that anniversary, the Indy Project 9/11 memorial donations, and the donations for the PA United 93 memorial link (I'll add that link later, folks).

Somethin' else incredible happened to me yesterday, and I'm still flyin' on the proverbial cloud 9 as a result. If you know me at all, you know that I am a fan of the FX show Sons of Anarchy. No television program since Classic Star Trek has captured my attention and love as much as this show. (Hey, you say, what about Phantom of the Opera in all it's forms? Note that I said TELEVISION program!).

While SOA is not the be - all, end - all of my existence (and I'm waiting for the SOA to strike me with lightin' for such blasphemy!), it takes up a lot of my time. I write an ongoin' fanfic series, admin several Facebook pages devoted to the show, and post on several message boards (SOA.NET and Tignation most often, though there are others where I hang out). My motorcycle, a 1981 Yamaha Seca 750 is named Tig. So, yeah, I enjoy the show.

Thanks to this age of social networking, one is able to be more in contact with celebrities. Twitter is one of these, as is Facebook. So, I post often to the series creator, Kurt Sutter, as well to several of the actors and production staff. I've blogged about that before.

When the fourth season of SOA was ready to debut, Mr. Sutter issued a challenge/promise that if viewership increased over season three, he'd pick two twitter/blog followers to bring to sunny Californy to meet with him, his talented wife Katey Sagal (actress and singer of immense talent). Like anyone else, I thought, 'way cool, but no way will I ever win'.


I won.

Take THAT Charlie Sheen! And I didn't need Tiger Blood, either!

Considering that the man has thousands of followers, which means his timeline runs constantly, it never occurred to me that he was payin' attention to lil' ole me, except for the occasional retweet or response, which always made me 'squee' like a fangirl. Every time he'd respond to me on twitter, retweet my twit, or respond on his old FB page, I saved it in a document for posterity.

Something else I've spent time doin' when it came to my attention, was to go after the whankers sellin' bootleg SOA season 3 bootlegs on Ebay. Other things, like the rings from Season 3, an embroidery kit of the patches (includin' a full rocker patch which is a definite no - no!), and the like, I'd send to SAMCRO_BLOGGER or to him on twitter with links, so FX could deal with 'em. Every day that I reported the counterfeit DVDs, Mr. Sutter got a tweet tellin' him the number I'd reported. Usually within a couple of hours of bein' reported, the sites were taken down.

I did it because it just made sense. It angers me when people climb on someone else's coattails to make money off their blood, sweat, and tears. Plus, I learned a lot about that kind of thing during the Classic Star Trek fandom. Lincoln Enterprises, which was the late Majel Barrett Roddenberry's official Trek merchandise approval outfit, was just as fierce about protecting Gene's baby as FX is about Kurt's. Course, LE didn't have the internet to contend with.

Bootleg DVDs do not put money back in the pockets of the writers, actors, and other hard working people who make the show what it is. It's a crime to the fans who want to display their love of the show by purchasin' items that maybe they can't get due to sizin' or shippin' issues from FX.Net's website. To me, it's just wrong, and it seemed the best way I could show my appreciation for the hard work and creative effort put forth by Kurt and crew was to fight the bootleggers - David and Goliath style.

Mr. Sutter noticed. I'll let you go to his blog to read what he said. It made me cry tears of joy. Considerin' that I was cryin' yesterday because of the day, and I got drenched from an Indiana downpour, I was one wet kitty! But a happy kitty.

Before I share the link so you can read what he said about me and the other winners, I wanna say this: Thanks to SOA, I have made on line relationships with people all over the world who share a love for the show. Two of the other winners, Tina Lou and Mark Mitteer, are friends on twitter and FB. We post on each other boards often and I feel a friendship for these two, even though we've never met in person.

That's the other legacy of Sons and Sutter. Back in the days of Classic Star Trek fandom, it was a lot harder to make Trek friends - fan clubs, fanzines, and the conventions were often the only ways one could make friends- (Maybe that's the reason the US Postal service is havin' problems these days. The internet has made it easier to find people of like minds and one doesn't have to send a flurry of letters around). The joy of SOA connects us, then we find other things to bring us together.

I honestly believe that were it not for SOA, I wouldn't be blessed to have Tina Lou from across the pond as a cyber/real life friend. She has trusted me with much, and I am honored with that trust. Mark is a delightful man, he crusades for an issue close to his heart on a daily basis, and I look forward to meeting him in person. Because of SOA, we have been able to say hi, get to know each other, and become friends.

That, I think, is the true magic of SOA. It's not just the writing, or the bikes, or the actors - that's the icing on the cake. It's the coming together of individuals with like minds and interests, who first bond over their love of a television program, and continue to bond because they can.

So I'm floatin' on cloud 9, and am lookin' forward to that day when the DH and myself go to Californy to meet with this talented man, his lovely wife, and see the inner workings. I'll be hard pressed not to imitate Wayne and Garth when they met Alice Cooper and not genuflect while crying, "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!"

So here's the link to his blog that made the announcement, and if you're not already reading his blog, you should. It's enlightening.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Some Anniversaries Shouldn't Exist.

Back in my formative years, the older generations would remakr upon 'where were you when such and such monumental event happened.' For my generation of baby boomers, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was our pivotal point, followed by Robert Kennedy's and Martin Luther King's assassinations.

In those historical instances, one can vividly remember where they were and/or what they were doing.

Ten years ago, the DH and myself were sound asleep when the first airplane hit the World Trade Center. We were both on vacation, and had planned a trip to Southern Indiana to a store in Nashville that at the time specialized in selling all things related to felines (as if you thought something else!). The telephone woke us up, my birth mother was upset because the first plane had just hit and we should turn on the tee vee. So we did. Just in time to see the second airplane fly into the second tower.

Like most of America, we watched in horror at the billowing plumes of smoke, the fire, the pieces of paper floating in the air currents, and then objects that later turned out to be bodies falling to the concrete below.

Then came the collapse of the twin towers, the third airplane hitting the Pentagon, and the announcement of the fourth airplane crashing in Pennsylvania.

I called my father, a retired United Methodist minister. The first words out of my mouth were, "Daddy, does this mean war?" He said, "I'm afraid so."

Though we decided not to go to the cat store (we went later in the week), we did decide to go out of town. The lines at the gas stations were horrendous, and we were even surprised to see a fracas burst out at a one pump gas station in Southern Indiana!

We had the radio on, listening to the news as we traveled. I called in reports from the towns we passed to the local news station to fill them on the increasing price of gas, and even the fracas in tiny little Hymera, IN.

The most eerie thing about the day was the complete silence at the airport. No planes were in the air. I couldn't remember a time that one didn't hear airplanes since I was born.

After the horror of 9/11, it seemed that our nation was a little more proud of who we are, what we are as a world power, and wanted to make the people responsible for the deaths of over 3000 men and women of all races, creeds, and colors pay for their crime.

I'm not gonna get into a politcal discourse here about the good and bad of the last 10 years. Maybe another day. Today was an anniversary that we should never have to mark, but the fact remains that it happened to us, and made us realize that we cannot remain complacent.

For myself, I came away with a greater respect for the first responders, the fire and police departments. Certainly there are some in uniform who abuse their power, but most of them are decent, honest, hardworking citizens who think nothing about rushing in to help while the rest of us are saving our necks.

Interestingly enough, I can remember seeing a NYC skyline that didn't have the twin towers to it. It's a vague memory from 1964, but thanks to Daddy's habit of taking lots of pics on vacation, I have the black and white photo taken from a ferry to prove it. The children born after 9/11/2001 will know the same skyline. To them, 9/11 will be something to learn in history like the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the World Wars, and the Moon Landing.

Indianapolis had a connection to NYC after the terrorist attacks. Task Force One, a search and rescue team, traveled there to help in the effort to rescue the possibly still alive. Eventually, the effort turned from rescue to recovery. That has to be hard on anyone, even if you're trained for that eventuallity.

One of the members of the task force was so greatly moved by what happened that he made plans for a permanent memorial to be built downtown, using two actual I beams from the towers. These towers were on display at the 'Loop for Life' ride I did last month. To stand next to those beams, reach out and touch them, is like being on hallowed ground. You feel so insignificant next to the beams, and sad as well.

Everybody had different ways to observe today. I rode Tig, my motorcycle, to participate in the dedication ride for that memorial. We got rained on. I got drenched (wasn't the first, won't be the last time it happens!). I was moved at the people in Anderson lining the street we traveled on, waving flags and cheering us on.

Even more moving was passing under Old Glory that hung suspended by twin tall ladder fire trucks. It's only the second time on a ride I've passed under such a tribute, and it's very moving.

As we rode the distance between Anderson and Indy on I - 69, the first responders were parked on the overpasses with signs and flags, wishing us well. We saluted them back with waves and our horns.

Yes, we got caught in one of those sudden Indiana rain showers. As if the Heavens were weeping for what the day meant. Hey, it happens on a ride sometimes. If you don't have rain gear, you get wet, and you eventually dry out! We started up again, and still people would sit on the side of the road waving and cheering us.

One veteran of an earlier world war, stood at the very starting point of the ride, silent and proud in his VFW hat and uniform, saluting us as we rode past. He was one of those who had given much in service to his country, and he was saluting us!

I didn't get to stay for the dedication ceremony due to needing to clean up and dry off to go to work. I'm sure the ceremony was fitting to the occasion. I even found out that the usual Indiana connection to a disaster was evident, as one of the passengers from Flight 93 - the plane that didn't hit its' intended target - was a former Hoosier.

The Indy memorial is paid for by private funds. No goverment assistance of any kind went into it. The effort is still thousands of dollars short. If you want to do something for 9/11, click on the link, and donate somthing.

May we never forget in the years to come. May we never grow that complacent again. And may we continue to appreciate the men and women in the fire and police departments, in the military, and in the health care industry for all they do for us.