Xark began as a group blog in June 2005 but continues today as founder Dan Conover's primary blog-home. Posts by longtime Xark authors Janet Edens and John Sloop may also appear alongside Dan's here from time to time, depending on whatever.
Twenty-five years ago today I stepped out of the $190-a-month apartment I shared with my first wife and set off on foot across Boone, N.C., toward the Cardinal Motel on Highway 321. The Cardinal also served as our bus station, and I had a ticket for Charlotte, paid for by the U.S. government.
I'd said goodbye to my wife when she left for her morning class, and packing was easy: a change of clothes, a paperback (Ernest Hemingway's Nick Adams stories), some official paperwork in a folder and a few packs of cigarettes. I wore a denim jacket and sported the world's worst haircut, given to me the night before by my bride so as to offer the Army barber less of me to claim.
I don't remember much about the trip to Charlotte. I don't even remember how I got from Charlotte to Kentucky, although I'm pretty sure we flew.
I remember arriving at the reception station at Fort Knox on a bus in the dark, followed by mysterious, unexplained waits, followed by more driving, heads bobbing back and forth in unison as the driver ground through the gears, the bus heady with the anxious sweat and adrenaline-soaked pheromones of 50 nervous, excited adolescents. Then a drill sergeant bound up the steps and hustled us off the bus and onto the set of the movie Stripes.
Seriously. The Reception Station at the Fort Knox Armor School is the place where Bill Murray and John Candy and Harold Ramis enter the Army in the movie. That room full of big unit insignia where they meet their drill sergeant? Same room.
Anyway, Oct. 15, 1984, was the watershed between my youth and my adult life. Our transitions don't have to be as abrupt as joining the Army, giving up all your possessions and shaving your head, but young people need rites of passage. What marks the ending point of one phase of life and begins the next? For too many of our kids, it's a party after graduation, followed by a trip to the beach and then on into some nowhere job. Where's the adventure in that? .
Our lives are punctuated by transitions, and I'm in the midst of another one now. I hope I can make it across this divide with the same feeling I had that morning in Boone 25 years ago, determined and awake and ready to meet whatever awaited me. I'm pretty sure I will, too.
May your life be blessed with memorable milestones as well..
That's pretty meaningless to everyone else, but it means the world to me at the moment. After years of unhappy inactivity brought on by an even longer period of chronic pain and multiple injuries, I'm moving around again and feeling progressively better.
My secret? Underachievement.
Coaches and drill sergeants taught me that the only way to live legitimately was to push things, starting with my own limits. My instructors at Wolfcreek Wilderness Institute taught me at 14 that no matter how bad things got, I could always take a little more. And then a little more. And so on.
So while I've never been much of an athlete, I was usually game to push on a bit more. And over the years, that attitude got me into a lot of trouble. Because the answer to every question isn't "More." Sometimes it needs to be "Enough."
I've lost 50 pounds since December, and since I limped into my doctor's office in January to complain about my feet, I've gone from hobbled to happy. I didn't do this by starving myself or pushing my exercise limits. I've done it slowly. And when I've felt like "being all that I could be" (as my drill sergeant used to put it), I've waited until that feeling passed.
On yesterday's run I thought I might double the length of my route, but when I got to the turn I thought the better of it. My body is getting healthier, but it's still a mess of torn ligaments and missing cartilage, ghost sprains and old hurts. It's like an old dog that enjoys the feeling of running in the park, not some young greyhound that's training for the track.
The need to achieve isn't a bad thing, but it's ego talking. My knees don't have an ego. By underachieving, day by day, mile by mile, I get a little better every week. And the healthier I get, the easier it seems for me to forgive myself for not being perfect.
...And then comes the main point, people. When are you going to start listening to me and others like me (Glen Beck, for example).
This is a left wing reporter working for a left wing publication.
This means that everything said and the motive for same is suspect. In
this case, it's the common left wing error of not doing one's homework
and just jumping on (or trying to create) an emotional bandwagon that
ignores FACTS. This is the same mental error EXACTLY that we are seeing
in the debate about Gitmo, where the retarded left wingers are finding
out that their kindergarten fantasy about magically closing Gitmo has
MAJOR LEAGUE problems, to say the least.<
Most of us graduated from Kindergarten a long time ago. Isn't it
time to DISMISS all the left wingers who haven't in disgrace from
public life and the news media? Isn't it time to IGNORE them and make
it such that they simply can not compel our attention and concern?
This post is an example: If you already recognized the concepts I used to build my argument, you're almost done reading. If you didn't, you can follow the links and read my explanations. And if you follow each back to its beginning, you'll find some definitive statements. Referencing one definitive statement for any concept or fact is an idea software engineers call "The DRY Principle," and I believe it's important to the future of both journalism and civilization.
This must have been taken last year at the first Charleston International Film Festival, but I just ran across it this morning whilst doing something else. If Farrah and Mitchell don't look like absolute rock stars in this shot, I don't know what a rock star looks like.
Of course, they're both actively trying to be creative people WITHOUT being rock-star celebrities. To me that just makes them rock stars that you don't secretly hate.
There's a media game called "The Perp Walk," also known as "The
Frog-March," in which a person who has been arrested is paraded in
front of the media in shackles. Not everybody has to frog-march: The
press doesn't bother with the run-of-the-mill criminals, and the
royalty can always pull strings and avoid the humiliation. It's the
B-Listers and the Superstars who've had the protection of power removed
from them who frog-march.
Which brings me to the sadness of standing in the checkout line today,
staring at Valerie Bertinelli's painfully buff 48-year-old celebrity
body, displayed in awkward anatomical completeness, like a butterfly
pinned to the board of People magazine.
Bertinelli is just two years my senior and played a girl my age on a
popular 1970s sitcom. She was almost universally loved by junior-high boys, then went on to marry the quintessential
stadium-speed-guitar-god and become the queen of Lifetime movies.
Eventually she wound up divorced and overweight and, one supposes,
Here's why I think you should care: CREATE South is one of the few remaining FREE conferences dedicated to the cooperative, inclusive, community-minded sharing of knowledge and insight. It's run by volunteers, it values self-motivated creators above rock-star tech-biz celebrities, and it promotes an egalitarian ethic of personal responsibility and empowerment that's so very needed in the world today. It pays for this by raising money from sponsors and individual donors.