Simple, Yet Extraordinary

So, my nephew was out shooting a video for his band the other day, and posted a pic online. I asked him where it was, and he said Cape Romano. I’ve been wanting to explore out of Goodland for awhile, and this looked like something more interesting than miles of mangroves, so I started looking for the easiest way to get there from a kayak. From the maps, I could see that Caxambas Pass was the closest possible put-in, but I didn’t know of any public access, so I just drove down to Marco Island to see what I could see. I was surprised when I found Caxambas Park, right where I wanted to put in, but this place looked too busy for me to just sneak the kayak in unnoticed like I do in other places that charge a ramp fee. It was pretty windy out of the Southwest, and I’d checked radar/satellite, and knew it was too late in the day to put in, anyway. I parked the truck, and walked to the dock, thinking, it’s probably too windy any way.

When I got to the dock, I noticed a guy climbing off the bow of his canoe into the water. I couldn’t imagine a reason for it, but noticed he was flying a U.S. Marines flag off the stern. As I watched, he started swimming into the stiff headwind, towing his canoe behind him. I had to get a picture of this, I could only think, “who else but a Marine?”

I saw a guy with a parks & rec shirt on, so asked him about putting in a kayak, free of charge. “I’m just testing the water, you can ask inside.” I talked to him for a bit about the water testing he was doing. BP is paying for daily water tests. “Gets me out of the office.” He motioned towards the guy towing his canoe, “I’d love to have that guy’s lungs.”

I wandered into the marina store, and was looking at the charts, ($28, or so), and the guy behind the counter pointed me to some free charts. “Free? You’ve got me pegged right.” I inquired about putting in, and he informed me, the ramp fee applied anywhere on the property.

Somehow conversation got around to mentioning the guy towing his canoe out to sea. “That guy? He’s 80 years old. He’s been doing that every day for as long as I’ve been here, about 15 years.” “Probably something to do with that Marines flag, he’s flying, huh?” He nodded, “He’s been doing it longer than that, he’s been doing it for 20 years. He starts out up by that bridge, what is it, Winterberry bridge. His wife used to ride in the canoe, reading a book, until…” he drifted off. He didn’t need to finish, this is Florida, we all know that part of the story.

Anyway, these pictures all suck. I simply can’t predict the amount of time between when I press the button, and the “shutter” actually snaps, so the picture I get is rarely the picture I’m trying to capture.

http://photobucket.com/OooRah

As I thought about what I’d seen, I had to wonder, just what that guy had seen, what motivated him. As unusual as it seemed, it doesn’t seem in the least out of character for other Marines I’ve met. There’s a discipline, a certain *something* that motivates them that is incredibly inspiring.

So, thanks. I’m simply in awe.

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Blogger Outrage And Trusted News Sources?

A former black athlete said something derogatory about a former female politician during an interview.

That’s the news story, in a nutshell. It’s when you flesh out the details of who they are, and people’s visceral reactions to them that the “non-story” starts to show itself.

What really took me by surprise, was why other news commentators piled on a site that reported it. And it’s there that the “story within the story” starts to show up. I’ve been increasingly fed up with the daily blogger versus blogger arguments online. It seems news commentators are a critical bunch, and are outspoken about it.

Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist. He was interviewed on a show, and he made a bunch of stupid comments like you might hear every day if you were in a junior high school locker room. Immature boys talking immature stereotypes. His commentary on race and sex might sound offensive to you, but that doesn’t make them any more or less true. I’ve had a girl tell me she dated a Hawaiian guy, “because he was so exotic”. Whether or not you like Mike Tyson, (I don’t), I’m not going to argue about people’s mating preferences. The convicted rapist went on to use some pretty graphic language to describe the act, and well, whatever. Free speech, and all that.

So a website posts a video of the interview online, pretty much without commentary, and a bunch of bloggers get offended, saying the site should fire whoever put the video up. The site added some editorial comments at the top, but left the site unchanged otherwise. Other people pointed to another site that covered the same story but with paragraph after paragraph of editorial comment before the video. Apparently, it’s only news if you editorialize it first, is the best interpretation of why this article was inoffensive while the other one was.

After hearing comments for a while, it turns out that some people feel that Daily Caller has often been critical, and made inappropriate commentary on Sarah Palin in the past. This may be true, I don’t read the blog enough to have noticed. I did a quick search of the site, but other than referring to “bitch-slap”, I didn’t see anything too glaringly inappropriate, (or, perhaps sadly, out of the ordinary), directed at Sarah Palin.

Now, I’m a little sensitive to the subject of rape, and what I couldn’t understand is why are they condemning a website, when all’s it did was provide the man’s words, in his own words? Isn’t that the offensive bit? In reading comments from Greta Van Susteren, I learned that she actually had Mike Tyson on her show, for Gawd’s-sake. I’m just as offended that she feels a convicted rapist felon is newsworthy, and I’m supposed to listen to her criticise someone for just posting a video? So spare me the preaching, sister. Was it just her gut reaction to violence against women, which may be a major sensitive area for her, or was this a knee-jerk reaction to protect anything Palin? I’ve always held Greta as the best interviewer on Fox News, but this incident humanized her a little. It peeled back my respect for her as a professional, and made me wonder about her political bias.

I’ve always liked Fox News, but in many respects, it is no different than the other media sources like MSNBC or CNN, and I’m starting to feel, it isn’t all that much different than any of the countless biased blogs out there.

Addendum:
I’m going to add these, because whether it fits here or not, I thought of them while I was reading all of this.

In violent crime reporting, it seems like it’s often a sensitive area to report the race of the attacker. The news is editorial in nature, they are not bound to report all facts, whether you might feel they’re relevant or interesting.

Crimes involving athletes seem to be reported on in a different light. Many seem to get off lightly, (O.J. Simpson, Kobe Bryant, Rakheem Bolton), while others (Duke Lacrosse players, Michael Vick, Rakheem Bolton’s victim), seem to get the full treatment.

Any news involving most politicians is reported in a different light. The media enema of Sarah Palin is in stark contrast to the free pass Barack O’bama gets.

Attractive conservative women appear to be fair game in the media reporting of exactly this kind of outrageous tone. I’m not going to bother linking to the examples. If you’d asked me before reading all of the blogger commentary, I would’ve said that that was the point of the Daily Caller article, to highlight it. But apparently because they 1) used his own words, 2) did not editorialize the story, the overall story was deemed “unnewsworthy”, (at first, anyway), by the blogo-mediasphere.

Everyone brings their own context into these stories, from mine, it seemed that everyone who condemned the site for reporting the news was protecting a rapist, by misdirection. It appalls me.

UPDATE:

Apparently, Greta feels like some kind of Anti-Violence Against Woman Crusader. I don’t know. I guess I feel like an Anti-Rapist Crusader at times. I have no objectivity on the matter. The guy’s a rapist, and Greta repeatedly has him on her show, and somehow she gets mad at someone else for reporting what he said on someone else’s show, (apparently an ESPN affiliate).

Here’s the interview of Tucker and Greta. As I’ve admitted I’m not objective about rape, she should just admit she can’t be objective about whatever bug is up her ass.

UPDATE2: SistaToldja wrote it much better than I did.

Balancing Act

“just put it all in storage, you don’t use it that much.”

Last night the kid had a DVD his mom left him with to play before bedtime. The DVD player wasn’t working. I had organised, yet again, the huge box of random cables that are sometimes essential to modern life a few months ago. Yes, it’s a big pile of unsightly junk 364 days of the year. But that one day, when you need that one cable, so the kid can watch his movie and go to bed… …sigh…