Walking down Lick Log Branch yesterday, I saw every pool rippling with "minners" as the man walking with me called them jokingly. This time of year usually finds the pools small if not vanished, and I am glad to see the fish darting around looking for someplace to hide from us. In seconds they are invisible, but I can see that there are more here than just young of the year. Grownups have found refuge well upstream of their normal summer habitat. In the largest pool I can see the tell tale Tennessee volunteer orange slash of a Warpaint Shiner. The rest of the little beasts will remain known as minners though I know there are probably Creek Chub and other species that would still be a mystery to me even if I had my fishing binoculars handy. The mating color of the peacockish males is fading now as fall comes on, but you can still see it on some of the darters.
There has been a Lick Log Branch everywhere I've lived. Not as many of them as Piney creeks, of which there are several fairly close to my house: Big Piney, Little Piney, and, cutest of all, the Tiny Piney. To me, the best creek name is the one from my childhood in Laurens County Georgia, Hunger and Hardship Creek. I wonder how it got the name? Some of you are high school friends of mine. Let me know if you ever find out. When I was about eleven, my great Uncle brought me two baby alligators he picked up while fishing the creek. I named the two gators Hunger and Hardship, of course, and built a fenced in pool in the back yard to keep them in. They were killed by the neighborhood children.
As I looked into the clear pools of Lick Log, I wondered why the most environmental President we have had during my lifetime could be Richard Nixon, an otherwise evil and distasteful man. Nixon signed The Clean Water Act which is probably the only reason these fish survive in the waters of what is no longer "The Greenest State in the Land of the Free"...Any body else remember the Ballad of Davey Crockett? Nixon originally ran on a ticket to win the Viet Nam War, and then he ran again on a ticket to end the war. Then he announced a policy called something like "Withdrawal With Dignity", which sounds more like a Catholic birth control plan than a war policy. I remember watching on TV as people were screaming and throwing their children at the open door of US Army Helicopters as they abandoned the roof of the American Embassy. Very dignified!
It may be time to resurrect old Tricky Dicky. I can't remember how many American Soldiers he got killed (30,000?) after he started ending the war, but I believe more died after he took office than before, when we were just fighting for who the hell knows what reason... pretty much the same boat we find ourselves in now. Or should I say helicopter, which begs the question: Why is it, that after thirty years, the most technological society on earth can't make a helicopter that can't be shot down with a squirrel rifle?
Of course it would be simpler if we just stopped sending them into places where there are people who actually have squirrel rifles, or a reasonable facsimile, and want to shoot down American helicopters...We're hunting terrorists where the light is better I guess, and getting the crap shot out of our kids! Is it too much to ask that somebody stand up and say, "Whoops! Bad Idea! Sorry!" and let's leave? We could bring all our kids home and work on an energy conservation plan that would stop those creeps over there from having enough money to buy their danged rifles in the first place. See! No rifles, no helicopters, and presto, they are back to trying to raise goats in the desert again. Maybe one day someone will even tell them that it's the stupid goats that are the reason they have all that desert in the first place, and that brings us full circle back to "Hunger and Hardship"! One day I plan to write about how safe sex could stop most wars, but for now, you can just sit there and try to figure out how in the heck Steve decided goats forced humans into an oil economy, and that resulted in the Iraq war. At any rate lots of people are deciding that this war is down right stupid and we should never have started it.
Did I mention how much I love barbecued goat?
Miss Molly Ivans names names, opening the closet door on the list of conservatives who think we shouldn't have strated the Iraq war. Molly calls for all conservatives to repent their lust for war in Iraq, and points out that quite a few of them already have. Big time conservative names like Wlliam F. Buckley have turned on the war. Molly says it best so I'll let her:
Rich Baker voted for George W. Bush in 2000. He is going to vote for John Kerry this November. He was known as Navy Lieutenant Baker during the Viet Nam War...He commanded a Swift Boat.
"Every Swift boat officer gave his all in Vietnam, but Kerry stood above the rest of us," said Baker, 61, of Scott, a former Navy lieutenant and Swift boat commander. "He was number one as far as courageousness and aggressiveness. He set the tone."
"George Bush has two silver dental fillings in his teeth to show what he did during the Vietnam War," Baker said. "John Kerry has a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts."
"John Kerry should not be alive today," Baker said. "He was aggressive -- more aggressive than the rest of us. That was his nature, and everybody who was there knows it."
But, Baker said, these men never criticized Kerry until he became the Democratic presidential nominee. Baker specifically recalled a 1995 reunion of Swift boat crews in Washington at which praise for Kerry's service in Vietnam was unanimous. Kerry then was the pride of the group as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts.
Here is my choice for quote of the day:
Ordinary Americans have been manipulated into imagining they are a people under siege whose sole refuge and protector is their government. If it isn't the Communists, it's al-Qaeda. If it isn't Cuba. it's Nicaragua. As a result, this, the most powerful nation in the world - with its unmatchable arsenal of weapons, its history of having waged and sponsored endless wars, and the only nation in history to have actually used nuclear bombs - is peopled by a terrified citizenry, jumping at shadows. A people bonded to the state not by social services, or public health care, or employment guarantees, but by fear."
...The mandarins of the corporate world, the CEOs, the bankers, the politicians, the judges and generals look down on us from on high and shake their heads sternly. "There's no Alternative," they say. And let slip the dogs of war ... Terrorism is vicious, ugly, and dehumanizing for its perpetrators, as well as its victims. But so is war. You could say that terrorism is the privatization of war. Terrorists are the free marketers of war. They are people who don't believe that the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence ... Human society is journeying to a terrible place ... Of course, there is an alternative to terrorism. It's called justice."
It is from Arundhati Roy. Here's where I found out about her: