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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer


Weekly Muse
My humble opinion on current events

December 3, 2001

True Heroes

If you haven't done so, check out Newsweek's awesome account of the heroic men and women on board Flight 93, the jet that crashed into the Pennsylvania countryside on September 11. Those brave people overcame their fear and gave their lives to save others, the ultimate sacrifice. They knew about the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and were determined to prevent the hijackers from crashing into a fourth building. 

As the Newsweek authors note, the war against terrorism didn't start when we began bombing the smithereens out of the Taliban tyrants. It began on Flight 93, when American patriots, the so-called average American, fought against terror and won. Their names must be remembered for all time.

But so should the name of Randy Burris. 

Heather Carlson, in Athens, GA, with her husband, was visiting her in-laws. Tuesday afternoon, she decided to take a walk with her infant daughter.

Rolling the stroller up the street, with her in-law's dog in tow, Carlson struck up a conversation with Burris, a neighbor. As they spoke, an Oldsmobile came speeding around the corner toward them.

Carlson tried to push the stroller off the sidewalk and onto the grass, but the wheels were stuck. Burris pushed her out of the way, grabbed the stroller, and ran toward the lawn. But it was too late. The out of control car, driven by a drunk driver, struck Burris and the stroller. The child flew into the air but was not hurt. Burris was killed.

The Bible says there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. Randy Burris and the heroes aboard Flight 93 gave up their lives for strangers. Their ultimate sacrifice, freely given, should serve as an inspiration to all of us, and a sterling example.

Hitler Housewives

Joy Yauslin lives in St. Petersburg, FL. In an effort to conserve water, she installed an artificial lawn in her front yard. It cost her $5,000, but it's always green, perfectly groomed, and has no weeds.

But the Wexford West Homeowners Association says it violates their rules. She has 30 days to rip it out and put in real grass.

A letter from the HOA accused Yauslin of failing to maintain a sodded yard. But that's the idea. The artificial lawn is always green without the water. Now she doesn't have to choose between a water-hogging green lawn and an ugly brown dead lawn. 

The HOA says that rules are rules and they must be enforced. They even conceded that they prefer a dead lawn with real grass rather than green artificial turf.

I'm no fan of HOAs. In fact, I pretty much hate them. A former colleague referred to them as "Hitler Housewives," and the name fits for too many of them. They seem to thrive on poking their noses into everyone else's business and homes. My attitude is this: As long as I'm not disturbing or harming anyone else, I can do what I wish with my house. Don't tell me what shrubs I can or can't plant in my yard. Mind your own business.

This specific HOA could end this in a second by modifying the rules to allow unsodded lawns. But that requires a little humility and a live and let live attitude. Don't hold your breath.

Does Laura Bush Nurture you?

A recent article in USA Today reveals some of the silliness still rampant in American life. Some people had hoped that September 11 would have toughened us up a bit, yanked us out of some our juvenile and meaningless ways, and forced more folks to act like adults.

It hasn't happened yet. The USA Today story reports that the first lady, Laura Bush, is emerging from September 11 as the nurturer-in-chief. "People are starting to know her," said Gary Rose, chairman of the History and Political Science blah-blah-blah. "I think she's assumed the role of healer in many ways." 

"Laura Bush is evolving," chimed in Betty Winfield, a professor of journalism at the University of Missouri. "What's separating Laura Bush from her predecessors is this national need for nurturing, a national need to say it's OK, we're going to get through this. The times call for it, and she's fulfilling that role, which is super."

A national need for nurturing? The role of healer? What utter pap! This is pure hyper-sensitive, emotional drivel. It's like the American people are poor little lost sheep, wandering in dark scary woods and bleating for Mama. How insulting!

Look, I have nothing against Laura Bush. I'm sure she's a wonderful lady. But if I need nurturing, I'm not going to turn to some person who's never met me. I'll rely on family and friends for that, not government. 

I want a SmarTruck

Have you heard about the U.S. Army's latest weapon? It's called the SmarTruck. A souped-up Ford F-350, this true urban assault vehicle has high-voltage door handles, blinding lights to blind an enemy, device that sprays pepper spray and smoke as far as 12 feet, armor plating, bullet-proof glass, on-board bomb detector, electronic fingerprint ID locks, turret with a high-powered laser gun, laser-sighted machine gun, touch-screen Internet access, Global Positioning System, voice activated radios, windows and cell phones, night-vision technology, and in case you're being chased by bad guys, it spews out oil slicks and tire-puncturing tacks. 

One question: Where can I get one of these?

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