My Blog Motto

"Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgement"

~Rita Mae Brown

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Importance of Being Bradley

I'm feeling almost sick waiting on the verdict of the hearing. I don't write about politics or the news
very often on here. There's plenty of that to go around and more than enough opportunity to voice my opinions on such matters. For here, I tend to focus on the personal and that which is personal, yet shared, among my peers. But in my heart this case feels personal and it has since the story first broke, when I first saw that very young man being led in handcuffs to what would become a seemingly endless confinement to a tiny cell. I've spent time in a holding cell, about 48 hours, and it damn near drove me mad. I can't even fathom what two years in such a place would do to a person.
I know there are a lot of people who care and who do take it personally as well. This case and it's outcome will be a turning point in our country, just as the release of the Collateral Murder video was also a turning point. Those of us who know veterans and have heard their stories weren't terribly surprised by what we saw. Most vets will tell you these things, and worse, much worse, happen all the time. There was something that was disturbingly 'safe' about having that knowledge restricted to a select bit of the population. Like incest, you want to keep it hidden away and that first confession, no matter how healing it is, feels like having a layer of skin ripped off.
 I had a friend who was in Vietnam who told me about taking trophies, human ears, and wearing them strung around their necks like jewelry. War does that to people, it makes them do things you would never imagine them doing. This man was one of the kindest most caring people I knew and yet he had at one time sliced ears right off peoples heads. He told me that if someone was in the road when a truck of troops came along that person would be run over and left to die. It didn't matter if that person was a child or an elderly person, which they usually were. There were other things too that he wouldn't talk about but I can imagine.
Most people don't want to know these things. I don't want to know these things and yet I feel it's my duty to know them because I live in a country that perpetrates more war than any other. I want to know these things so that I never forget why I oppose war in any way possible, even if most of them don't feel very effective.
There's another layer to this story and it's even more personal. I have children about Bradley's age. I have always taught them principles of honesty and integrity. You know, do the right thing and you will be rewarded, at least if only with the knowledge and satisfaction that you took the high road. How can I tell them that now? How can I tell them to intervene if they see injustice if they see an innocent young man go to prison for life for doing just that? It's one thing to teach your kids that life isn't always fair but this goes far beyond unfair.
Obviously Bradley's parents taught him the same kinds of values, and now they have lost their son because no matter how this all turns out he will never be the same guy.But in the midst of all the grief and anguish I hope they will always be proud that their son changed this country forever in a way that needed to be changed. The scab has been ripped off, the flesh is still raw and now its up to us as a nation to decide how to heal the wounds of war and injustice.
© 2010-2013 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Noisy Neighbors and Nocturnal Nusance

I am jarred awake, torn from the peaceful fog of slumber, by the sound of the back door slamming. Heavy boots pound up the stairs sounding like a petulant toddler stomping. Over my head boots drop to the floor in a way that sounds as if their owner had held them high over head before letting them succumb to gravity. Scenarios play through my mind. In one neighbor grins sadistically as he does this chuckling like Bond Villain. In another he watches like a simpleton, a strand of drool sliding from his dopey grin, as the shoe falls, marveling at the miracle that is gravity. Does he do that? I wonder, hold them up high and drop them? Why?
Now footsteps, not steps, stomps, hammer overhead back and forth back and forth. Who does that? walks back and forth through their apartment over and over again. We have been plagued with ants again this summer. My more generous self speculates that he might be exterminating the little pests, one sorry ant at a time. But again this is something small children do, not grown adults with tattoos and chest hair and girlfriends who screech like banshees during sex. Thankfully it sounds as though the banshee has not accompanied him home this evening. Maybe this is the cause for the petulance.
I have already complained, both to my neighbors and when that failed, to the landlord. To their credit, the neighbors no longer have late night parties, they no longer play loud music into the wee hours of the morning; music that drowns out, to them, the cries of "Bro open the door" that emanate from somewhere in the back patio. I am grateful for that, I really am and now I wonder am I asking too much of them? Am I being unrealistic to expect that someone simply walk up the stairs, that they close the door rather than slam it? I also remember than in my youth I was not always the quietest most ideal neighbor. A simpler interpretation of Karma might say I have it coming, to lie awake every night at bar time pondering the ethics of neighborliness.
Sometimes I plot revenge. Depending on my mood it can range from whimsical pranks to homicidal conspiracy. I decide against homicide figuring I might want to save that for a situation more worthy. The mind wanders down dark paths in the sleepless middle of the night. As I finally drift off to sleep I send silent prayers to the gods of ants hoping they will venture upstairs and invade his breakfast.

© 2010-2013 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Sunday, July 7, 2013


It was one of those "I don't want to do anything that requires thought" days. Those are the kind of days
as long as they're not divorced!
that cause me to keep a tv in the house. I'm not going to pretend to be one of those people who drapes themselves in the cloak of superiority as they declare "I don't watch television, it's corporate brainwashing" or whatever their reasons are, but as a matter of fact I don't watch a lot of t.v because frankly it is kind of corporate brainwashing. There are days, however, when you just want to tune out and tv is really good for that. When I do watch I tend to choose the classic tv channels, reviewing all the shows I watched as a kid. You know, just in case my brain didn't get sufficiently soaped the first time around.
I prefer watching the same shows that were comforting to me as a kid, which were not necessarily the ones that aired during that era. I realized I mostly watch reruns of reruns, shows that were already in reruns when I was a child. This is especially relevant when it concerns family themed programming. Since my early childhood was spent in the 60's the shows that appeal to me are the ones that aired in the 50's. "Lassie", "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" were among my favorite family themed shows. These kinds of programs have often been criticized for portraying unrealistic images of the modern american family. They sure weren't representative of MY family, but that was part of the appeal. Some shows that aired later in the 60's and into the 70' made an effort to portray a more diverse family structure. The Brady Bunch was a blended family and The Partridge Family was headed by a single mother but those programs featured parents who were widowed, not divorced. In the late 60's having divorced parents singled me out as a minority among my peers and in a nonexistent demographic in T.V. land. One was more likely to have a Witch for a Mother or Martian for an Uncle than to live in a broken home as they were called in those days.  I resented the half assed effort to portray a non traditional family that didn't include the reality of divorce as a cause for the unique structure of that family, it felt like a kind of betrayal and a cowardly one at that.
In the days before "reality tv", an oxymoron if there ever was one, tv was meant to be different that real life. It was there as an escape, a break from reality, a little mental time out. This was before people spent the majority of their day staring at the tube. When kids spent more time playing outside or engaged in other activities like board games or role playing games. I feel like a crabby old lady as I write these words..."back in my day..." but I do believe that peoples relationship with tv was different back then. I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged other activities but also allowed for some indulgence. I learned that tv was a pleasure, like candy, to be consumed in moderation and not as as steady diet. That is why the indulgence of television seemed like it was meant to be sweet, fluff, junk food empty calories, the chocolate cake that June Cleaver presented every afternoon as her golly gee whiz boys burst into the sunny yellow kitchen after a long day of school.
© 2010-2013 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard