Custom Search

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Winding Down 2006

The FDA approved cloned meats, claiming they are as safe as their original counterpart. Some have sprung forward and are eager to debate that duplicating our pork, beef and milk producers is an accident waiting to happen. The scientists behind DeKalb and Pioneer having been dabbling with the genetics of our corn and soy beans for generations, and do we really know if these hybrid specimens are working their way into our food chain? Not without the addition of ‘cloning warning’ labels can we really be sure but I haven’t heard anyone screaming and protesting the corn they throw on the grill each summer, or the new fab milk they pour over their cereal. Nope, no one lining up outside the Food and Drug Administration asking for a pedigree on vegetables. So why does the idea of cloning a juicy t-bone to perfection freak people out? Is it the fear that the tender pork roast they devoured on Sunday gave them indigestion and perhaps its twin will do the same? I believe it would, and warning labels would be useful in the prevention of side effects caused by such gluttony and much easier than simply cutting our portions in half.
As one president is laid to rest we find ourselves contemplating the achievements of another or the lack thereof. Although President Ford’s wife most likely did more for our society than he it is apparent his dissatisfaction with our current government will be the words he is remembered for most.
President George W. Bush just can’t escape the constant mocking of his total inability to complete a sentence, form a logical thought or make an actual point. It seems the leader of our great country will be ending this year much in the same way he began it. I find it amazing how someone who insists the extension of the patriot act will some how enable him to fight terrorism is the same person that interpreted the recent elections as a sign the American people want him to send more troops into war zones. Well, if you can’t understand what it is you’re listening to, what’s the point of listening?
However, we must give credit where credit is due. George W. may have been stretching the truth a tad when he made claims of weapons of mass destruction, or been slightly self-absorbed when he sent millions of jobs overseas, but by this years end one Saddam Hussein will be hung to death and thus the world will be one dictator shorter than when the year began.
Of course the realization that it took an entire two term presidency to accomplish this makes one wonder was it all worth it? Was the millions of lives lost searching for weapons that did not exist, the hundreds of children dying in a stadium from flooded waters while our President vacationed, the thousands of families that will go to bed tonite with no food, no warm bed, no job, the millions of Americans who work hard every day and still can’t heat their homes, were all these sacrifices worth it? Were they all worth one man proving he is right when it is so obvious he is wrong and he is lost? Lost within himself and refuses the hands that reach to help him out?
And let’s not forget the surge in renewable fuels and the ever prominent Ethanol Plants sprouting up faster than the notorious hog confinements. The promise of tomorrow, the future of the farmer or a groce display of cutting our own throats? It’s true the corn based ethanol fuel promises great things for the environment, the economy and the ever struggling farmers of America, but corn is not the only fermenting choice for producing ethanol fuels and may not be the most efficient either. Cellulosic ethanols are thought to be more efficient and less expensive to produce. While switch grasses may not be overly picky about where they grow one must ask what will the competition do to ensure cashing in on this gold mine? What will happen to the many fields of corn we have long idolized as a symbol of whom we are in here the Midwest? Although I am positive any over stocks of corn produced ethanol will be graciously consumed by avid whiskey lovers and who knows Iowa could be holding the recipe for the new Jim Beam or a flavor all our own. Northern Comfort. Mmmmm I can taste it now.
As you end your journey down the winding road of 2006 perhaps you can find happiness and warmth while toasting your memories, and as we begin yet another year may we all find freedom still at our front doors.
t.r. mugler

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Child's Pride

My oldest child, Harli, has Angelman Syndrome which not only renders her physically challenged but also unable to speak. I have watched her from infancy struggle and wage war with each little milestone. I quickly became aware of how, what I thought were the simplest things in life are taken for granted.
The pride that I see in her face each time she overcomes a challenge is brighter and more beautiful than the midsummer sun, and by far the most heart warming experiences of my life. She is a very outgoing and social child. Her thick dark curls and sparkling gray eyes are a contrast to her milky, china-like skin, which is a complete opposite of her sister.
Destini, my youngest, is what one might call ‘typical’ or ‘average’. She is a very quiet and shy child. She strays from social situations and prefers to sit back and be the observer, even with her classmates and peers. Her thin and frazzled dark blonde hair is measurably subdued by her tranquil amber eyes and softly tanned complexion. She reached each of her developmental milestones in the time one would expect. I was comfortable with the fact that I have two very wonderful and very different children in more ways than just their appearance.
One brilliant, breezy day in late July 2001, Destini was eager to remove her training wheels from her bicycle. She anxiously asked me if she could take her bike over to our neighbor Dale’s and have him do the honors. I shook my head and reminded her of the summer before.
She had valiantly strolled over to Dale’s garage and timidly tapped on the door. As the door swiftly swung open, she lowered her soft doe-like eyes and mumbled “My mom says you gotta take these off”. She motioned toward her training wheels on the bicycle that accompanied her. Carefully disguising his amusement Dale paused from his work to complete her request, wishing her luck and sending her on her way.
Beaming with excitement, not unlike that of a general returning from a successful mission, she ran home to tell me she was going to ride her bike without the training wheels. She wanted her sister and I to accompany her outside and witness this magical moment of transformation.
Once Harli and I were outside, I put my little girl on her shiny metallic pink bicycle. Fastening her coordinating bright pink and purple helmet to her head I instructed her to hang on to the soft padded handle bar grips. I pushed and guided her down the sidewalk. Every two feet or so she would jump off. Reassuring her that she would be fine, after all I had a hold of her, I kept putting her back on the bicycle. However, the rising fear of those two wheels moving under her, like an invisible enemy in the jungles of war, was more than she could handle. It wasn’t long before she threw up the notorious white flag and was insisting I put those training wheels back on.
Now here we were, a year later, and she was contending once again that they come back off. As she was appealing her case over and over, I gave in to my miniature Perry Mason and reluctantly removed them for her.
Like deja vous I was once again guiding and pushing. My hand vibrated on the back of the seat from every little bump and jerk caused by the old clay brick path. To my amazement she didn’t jump off. She kept pedaling and pedaling while wavering and wobbling along. After brief moments I would let go and sure enough she would topple over. We both smiled and laughed as she yo-yoed up and down the sidewalk like a basketball searching for the victory point. Before we knew it, we were in to late afternoon and it didn’t seem we were making any progress. I changed tactics and told her to keep telling herself that the training wheels were still on the bike. I encouraged her to say it out loud as she pedaled along.
There she was, pedaling with all her might, not unlike the little engine from the story book she loudly recited over and over “I have training wheels. I have training wheels.”
I watched the pink Mongoose bicycle with its purple and iridescent streamers flowing from the bright white handgrips. I listened to the clink and clank of the fluorescent beads sliding up and down the many spokes of each tire. It was a beautiful symphony of courage and passage. Destini was riding her bike!
With a true parents joy I watched as she pedaled and rode her bike. The loud crunch of cedar bark broke into my personal celebration signaling she had ridden straight into the tree! Running to get to her, I saw upon her face something I didn’t expect at that moment. Along with the apple red cheeks beaten by the wind, were scratches from the evergreen needles as they marked their territory upon her arms and legs, and radiating above all else was joy on my child’s face.
It didn’t matter she had crashed into a tree, it didn’t matter that she skinned her knees or cut her chin. All that she cared about was that she had ridden her bike all by herself!
The pride projecting from her looked as though she had won the lottery. Perhaps she had. She won her first game of chance and her eyes celebrated with sparks of fireworks and ballets of twinkling stars.
So as we spent the rest of the evening learning about steering and braking I came to appreciate the greater lesson I learned that day.
I still view my children as two very different people, but regardless of ‘ability’ I now know that their sense of accomplishment is the same.
No matter who we are we all celebrate in life’s simple pleasures, another common thread binding us all down this ever winding road......
t.r mugler

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Voice

One Voice
Before Columbus, before the pilgrims and the first thanksgiving the New World was a country of many languages. With every tribe of natives was another language spoken. Those languages have long since drifted to silence and we no longer hear them echoing on the winds of the world.
Yet today, America is still a nation of many languages. Immigration is not a new concept, a sudden happening on the shores or the borders of our lands. Immigration is as ancient as travel itself.
Just as the tribes and families of natives; fought for position and ownership of their lands from each other, and then from the new comers, we find ourselves taking a stand. And just like them we are conflicted by the barriers of language.
Everyone wants a common language, a constant. As we teach our ways and our views to the world we must also be willing to listen and to learn theirs. This cannot be done without common ground. As we all struggle to hear and to be heard let us not forget that with understanding comes acceptance and only through acceptance can we find that place of compassion and tolerance.
If my Irish family members wish to speak the ancient language of our heritage I say “tha” , if those of Hispanic descent wish to speak the language of their heritage I say ‘claro’, if the children of the Sioux tribes wish to express themselves in their native tongue to them I also say ‘ai’. However if the world wants to continue to deny ourselves a common ground, a place of understanding then in my German heritage I say ‘nine’!
I have a group of friends and we don’t agree on many things. One says she’s not a racist yet she thinks of every Hispanic in the grocery store as an ‘illegal immigrant’. I have a friend, he’s a veteran of long ago, he too says he is not a racist yet he views every Asian as an enemy. I have a friend who is a veteran of another kind of war and he too claims not to be a racist, yet he sees every easterner as a potential terrorist.
Why do I call these people my friend? Because we share one common thread, the common thread of language that allows us to share our varied view points and express our position. This common thread of language allows me to understand them. I do not have to agree with them, which I often do not, but because of language I can understand them and accept their right to a varied opinion.
Claiming one language as a universal language is not an attempt to discriminate or allow for prejudice. One language allows for each of us a voice. A voice that can be heard. A voice that can bring with it understanding, compassion and acceptance of our differences.
What can we do? When we find ourselves angered by the voices we do not understand, when we find ourselves frustrated by the barriers of speech we must take responsibility and we must teach the universal language to those who cannot speak it. We must offer patience and encouragement to those that struggle to become one of us
Like our ancestors, they come to us today for the promise of a better way of life. They come for the promise of greater things. Yet, Immigrants of today are not like those of long ago. They do not come to take our way of life from us. They do not come to destroy our belief systems. They do not come to force us into their way of life. They come instead to be one of us. They come to embrace the freedoms we take for granted. They come to be an AMERICAN.
So this Thanksgiving let us not only be thankful for all that we have, but let us be thankful for all that our country allows us and make a promise to keep the promise alive!
We must come together as a country. We must come together upon common ground.
It is only with ONE voice can we as a country embrace its diversity. It is only with ONE voice will we as a country Lead the world, and it is only with ONE voice that we as a country can move forward.

t.r mugler 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Triangle or the Square

Iowa's Asphalt
Labels, categories, slots, boxes, corners, identities, sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, political beliefs, blah blah blah!
Our society is so hell bent on labels and categorizations that anything unable to fit perfectly in one place or the other cannot be dealt with.
Some people are feminine but not female, some masculine but not male. Some have disabilities, but all have abilities. Some people believe in a god, some in many. Some stand for something, others fall for anything.
For these people society can not find a place for them, a place they can neatly put them. A box they can hide them in, a corner to stuff them. Instead society takes their turn degrading them, oppressing them, raping them emotionally and mentally. They try to force them into place, like a child with a sorting toy, trying to cram the triangular piece into the square compartment. It’s similar to the square, but different.
Our society has become so adamant and obsessed with sorting and segregating our society. From oranges to apples and people to genders they act as though without the power and ability to sort no one can function.
Are we so ingrained with the expectations of what is thought normal that none of us can see past the package and hold what is inside? I dare dream NOT.
Yet everyday reverberates with the headlines of the world. “Hate crime takes two lives”, “Boy left to die on fence post”, “Employees file sexual harassment suit”, “President seeks an amendment to ok discrimination”, “Stem cell research banned; no cures allowed”, and the list goes on. Whether it is the actual headline or a story between the lines, prejudice, racism, sexism, all of it, are alive and well here in the United States.
We must take the insults, the hate, the non-understanding and reclaim it, make it our own and in doing so we remove the negativity, the hurt, the shame, the tears and the loneliness.
We as a society have to stand up and reclaim ourselves, our world and our way of life. We need to resist the norm, and refuse to subscribe to the blatant separations and categorizations of our friends, lovers, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. We need to stop the insanity of sorting human beings like they are no more than inanimate objects to be used and thrown away. We don’t need words to explain ourselves into someone else’s understanding. We need only be, be who we are, express ourselves and just be.
With living comes understanding, with love and compassion comes acceptance. The dictionary cannot tell you who I am. The almighty Webster cannot even begin to recite where I have been, where I am going, and all the reasons why. Words alone cannot describe a persons self.
When asked if you are heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, transsexual, trisexual, or republican, democrat, independent, white, black, Hispanic, Indian, Jewish, Christian, pagan, Muslim, or disabled, handicapped, handi-capable, able, limited, challenged, male or female how about just loudly proclaim “I am me”!
I am a member of the human race. I owe no one anything. I do not have to explain myself to anyone. I am here, you are there, we both breath, we both dream, we both aspire to do and be great things. We are the same, but different. We are the triangle and the square.
t.r mugler2002

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Organ donation = stem cell research??

Ok, so those of you that know me, know that I am very adamant about stem cell research, embryonic stem cells to be specific.
I am sick of hearing and seeing the constant mudslinging ads on the television during 'political season' which isn't much unlike duck or pheasant season except you don't need a license or special tag to attack the unsuspecting pelt of the hunted.

One ad in particular keeps stinging my eyes here in Iowa.
It seems we have an idiot that wants to ban ALL STEM CELL RESEARCH in this country. He thinks 'killing embryo's is an act against god'...who's god?
First I do believe that politics is NOT suppose to allow for the mixing of church and state? hmmmm
but more importantly this is NOT a religous issue.

To NOT allow stem cell research on embryonic stem cells is like NOT allowing organ donations!!
How? well it certainly doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out...its apparent that this particular politician is NOT only not a scientist he is an uneducated rich boy trying to dig deeper into our pockets and less into his own.

So...lesson number one:
Embryonic stem cells are extracted from embryo's that were initially fertilized for couple's who desire to have children via invitro fertilization.

lesson number two: Now...when the 'harvesting' of the eggs occurs, many many dozens of eggs are collected. These are fertilized and then FROZEN for later use.
Lesson number three: When the prospective mother is implanted NOT all the eggs are implanted at once. Approximately 2-3 fertilized eggs are implanted at one time to increase the odds of a 'viable fetus'.
and lesson number four: The remaining eggs REMAIN FROZEN until which time the parents decide to

a)try again as success didn't occur the first time
b) have more children in the future
oH YOU read that right! When the parents decide they do not wish to have more children or try again the embryo's are 'destroyed' and this means they are 'thrown away' soooo on to my comparison...
Now....if a person dies his or her family can give permission to DONATE their ORGANS to save someone elses life..RIGHT??
well if this embryo is meant for DEATH and is going to be thrown away then why can't its parents DONATE its 'potential' organs to save someone's life??
Abortion is legal in this country... and its programs FUNDED BY OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT...but embryonic stem cell research CANNOT BE??
well I would never take a woman's right to choose from her, so how could I deny a patient with Parkinson's the right to a cure? or sentence a child with diabetes to a life of pain and limb amputations? or deny an Alzheimers patient the right to remember his life?
How does embryonic stem cell research differ from Organ Donation? I truly want to know.
When you go to the polls this election season know your facts and your candidates....

You owe it to your family, your neighbor, and the children you have never met.
ahhhhhh life on this winding road....
t.r mugler

Sunday, March 05, 2006

And so the year continues....

Now that the ground hog has predicted our fate and we are winding up 6 more weeks of crappy weather, you may find yourself pondering whether or not a ground hog can actually predict the future. Is this perhaps where Miss Cleo vanished to? Is this perhaps the fate she was given for her fraudulant ways? Did our government somehow transform her into a rodent? Oh...wait.....that really wouldn't have changed her much would it have??
Mother Earth continues to keep us on our toes and in our snow boots as the days of the year unravel. March, the so called month of the Lion, is upon us and roaring loudly in our ears.
The wind howls as the Doppler Radars struggle to keep up, and the weather persons of Iowa dream of retirement from their inability to predict the outcome of each cloud that passes by.
I am sure whomever it was that named Chicago the 'windy city' had never been to Iowa! or maybe they were and a gust of Iowa love threw them into oblivion letting go over Chicago where they landed with a thump scratching there heads and scraping the corn dust from their eyes.
The reporters are blasting through the airwaves that Hurricane, Tornado and Severe Weather season is upon us...My question to you is...WHEN DID IT STOP??
I don't recall a END to the seasons..where was I ?
I am sure I missed it while I was do doubt hangin out in the underground with Miss Cleo drinking corn whiskey that we made while tapping into the local Ethanol Plant supply :)
It was easy enough to do...the police were too busy watching the Anhydrous tanks to pay attention to the corn bins!!
Did you ever think you would live in a world where it would be suspicious to purchase Sudafed with Batteries??? Or windshield washer fluid with Drano? But no one bats an eye when you ask for 3 packs of ZigZags!!
Ahhhh yes the year the continues down this winding highway...
t.r mugler

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Year = New Beginnings???

Iowa's Asphalt
Well a new year is once again upon us and the tragedy's of the past are quickly being gobbled up by newer ones.
From the Tsunami, Katrina, the endless slaying in Iraq, the ungodly hike in fuel prices, right into the fires engulfing Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Just when you thought it was safe to go out the mudslides and flooding envelope California and the hard working men of Virginia become trapped in a mine!
Where are the presidents 'hidden camera's' when you really need them? I am sure the families of those trapped would like a bird eye view of the terror their loved one's are undoubtedly experiencing. Ah,but the 'spying' of our government is reserved for those Mr. Bush himself chooses. We all know they don't really have to have so called 'terrorists ties' they just need to in some way annoy George W.
Of course the fuel prices are all part of a higher plan to protect the 'interest' in foreign oil that our beloved President is so fond of. Even though his only 'interest' is in his own personal pocket book....such is the American way.
When will this all end?
Those on the religious wing insist it is Armageddon while the more spiritually inclined chant that it is Mother Earth merely wreaking havoc on those that blatantly continue to disrespect her.
So whether or not you believe the world is coming to its judgment or the Earth is about to flip over on its axis into a temper tantrum of disaster it is very clear that 2006 very well may mirror that not so distant past of 2005.
Personally while I feel that Mother Earth has every right to be pissed and open her secret can of whoop ass upon the worlds populations I can't help but find that spot in the forefront of my mind that screams perhaps this is the reaction to the actions of our ever present but ever screwing up administration. While governmental decisions certainly cannot predict the weather or natural disasters one cannot help but ponder the possibility of Karma. hmmmmmmm
Just my two cents on this winding highway....
Jack (aka t.r mugler)