Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Skating into Canada by the skin o' my teeth.

"So you had a bit of fun in Customs on your way into Canada, aye?"

Oui, the bottomless champagne in seat 4F disabled my frontal lobe enough to allow me the slight pleasure of messing with a self-important federal agent. Yes, I filled out the French side of my form and then "accidentally" approached the agent assigned to process diplomats and crew members. For the record, the airport was completely empty and our flight was the only one coming through Customs. He asked me, "Are you a diplomat?" I responded, "Should I be?" I think I saw him roll his eyes before motioning me to the female agent in the booth next to him.

Female federal agents are notoriously more difficult to joke around with; I shall not venture to guess why. I dutifully handed her my form. She glanced at it for a microsecond before asking me in a slightly annoyed tone, "Parlez vous anglais?" I smiled wide and pronounced slowly and confidently, "Yes!"

Not amused, she proceeded to grill me about various personal matters like where my family lives, do I have friends in Canada, what is the nature of my stay, do I have any (more) alcohol to declare, where am I going after Calgary, have I been to Banff before... (This was my favorite thing to answer, "Why yes! I have been to Banff before, but at that time I was way too short to drive.") Unmoved, she asked me what was in the Neiman Marcus box. "Christmas ornaments" was my reply. She countered, "I thought you said you had no friends or family in Canada." Suddenly, I found myself handcuffed to a chair.

What will it take to get a little diplomatic immunity around here?

O, Canada:
Land of a thousand comedians,
A hundred hot mineral springs,
And one photogenic squirrel,
May your funnymen moonlight in Customs,
Your natural pools forever reject municipal water,
And your small fuzzy rodents toast to thee.

O Canada...

...why does everything have to be so expensive? And so beautiful? Maybe I should try to see a free doctor while I'm up here, just to feel like the sales tax I've spent is going somewhere.

Or not. The hospitals I've seen look like morgues. Maybe they should save a few steps and just have cemeteries on hospital grounds. That goes for most modern Western medicine, in my opinion, not just socialized Canada.

I'm just grateful for my own personal Health Ranger (he can be yours, too!) at

Take a few vitamins, reduce your environmental toxins, eat unprocessed nutrient-rich food, drink pure water balanced with minerals and free of chemicals and poisons, smile, stretch, get your heart rate up doing something you love, and breathe deeply. That's what I am going to do today in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Lake Louise is calling my name.

So is a nap, as I woke up at 4:47 a.m. wired for the day...

Pics to come!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Breaking the Silence: Veterans Day 2010

Bless me, readers, for I have sinned. It's been 407 days since my last post. I break my silence now to honor the tens of thousands of American servicemen who've made unquantifiable personal sacrifices.

For the past year, this writer's been quiet. 407 days of reflection, observation, listening, and learning have resulted in a new perspective devoid of slant, propaganda, party mantra, jingoism, ethnocentrism, selfishness. I renounce concepts, theories, speeches, monologues, and arguments I offered so passionately in years past while afflicted by (mis)understanding of the big picture. Clarity is sweet.

Want proof that there are no accidents? This morning as I wept for our veterans, I stumbled upon a traveling exhibit by the Veterans Memorial Fund. It was in the Bass Pro Shop parking lot in Grapevine, TX. Naturally. There are only five other traveling walls like it nationally, so I feel very fortunate to have discovered it.

The images speak for themselves. Our war veterans' words stand alone. Let them haunt you.

Until recently, I didn't truly understand what we fight for--what we all toil over and chase after. The complexities of our modern engagements fell beyond my scope of comprehension and, as a result, my interest level.

My newfound understanding is refreshing, liberating, and even joyous. To put it simply, I no longer believe that the issues worth fighting for concern liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, Aggies or Longhorns, Muslim or Christian, USA and (insert country of choice), Baptist or get the idea. These are constructs, distractions that carry manipulative spin.

At the center of EVERY issue worth fighting for is the struggle between FREE or NOT FREE. (I credit Benito Segovia III for that concise theory, revealed in a German press interview, August 2008.) To understand our world, we must ask who is trying to profit financially, gain control, and/or subjugate the other person/country/group. Then we must ask if they (the "who") are operating for or against us. Free? Or Not Free? That is the question.

Today I pondered the significance of Veterans Day in light of our current endless war(s). Not only are we repeating historic military failures, we have forgotten our own war history from just three decades ago. I wept for the boys drafted to Vietnam that never returned home to meet their families for the first time as men.

I wept for the boys we are sending to foreign deserts to serve as moving targets, mission obscured. Of course, more of them are physically returning home than did from Vietnam. However, so often their minds and spirits are shattered, traumatized, numbed. Are you concerned about the longterm ramifications of endless foreign war on our society? Our finest, strongest, bravest warriors are reintroduced to us at home scarred, conflicted, confused.

We are sending our country's strongest masculine potential overseas, only to bring it back broken, damaged. Do you wonder why? Do you wonder who is profiting? Where the control is shifting? Who the subjects/slaves really are?

What if the only men who can stop the insidious blight of endless war are the very ones being broken by it?

May God Heal our Land.