Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Compendium of Catching Up

I got back into Grand Junction yesterday afternoon, picked up the cats and the mail, and settled in to getting the house in order. The trip was generally a good one; Leslie and her family are doing well in the face of Michaela's cancer and other odds, and Michael is continuing to heal under the care of a wonderful family that have welcomed him into what appears to be a very stable and loving home environment.

Aside from having to endure the Pens losing their battle for the Cup, there were positive messages to be had all around.
I hope that I can learn from Leslie, Michaela, and Michael as we continue on through the adventure that God has scripted for all of us.

In the middle of catching up yesterday, I took a break and went through my usual pattern of e-mail and other online reading. Some of it is definitely worth sharing and expanding upon.


My flight from Boston to GJT on Delta was uneventful. This is the second time that I've flown non-stop from Boston to Salt Lake, which other than the 5 1/2 hour flight time is pretty comfortable. I slept most of the trip, then had an hour layover before a regional jet connection to here. Delta also had a regional jet nonstop from Salt Lake to Pittsburgh which was very nice.

My sympathies to Ralph D'Andrea for his unfortunate experience with US Airways. Being from Pittsburgh, I am all too familiar with the history and behavior of this loss leader of the "legacy" air carriers (or so they like to call themselves), all the way back to their original identity as Allegheny Airlines, or "Agony" as they came to be known in the 70's.

The company then re-named themselves USAir, or "Useless Air" to those of us who worked around the Pittsburgh Airport in the late 70's and early 80's. I was working in hotels at the time, which was back in the good old days when airlines would put you up for the night if you missed your connecting flight, or it was canceled due to weather or something. I can remember many a quiet holiday made very interesting by 100 or more "displaced passengers" needing accommodations and transportation.

I must give them credit where it's due, however. US Airways runs decent service from GJT to Phoenix, and from there to Hawaii. These are components of the old America West Airlines. They also have a nice regional jet nonstop from Pittsburgh to Boston that I have used several times over the last year without any problems.

Better luck next time, Ralph.


I was going to lead off yesterday with a personal retrospective of the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, but Gene Kinsey and an op-ed in yesterday's Free Press
sent me in a different direction.

While I was in Pittsburgh, my mother brought out a bunch of old photos in a box that she had found. One of the first ones at the top was of my uncle Mario Pierotti, who according to family saw action in the Pacific in the early part of World War II before participating in the landing at Normandy, 64 years ago yesterday.

"Uncle Mutz" was an impressive young man in that picture, and an impressive man in his life afterward, working to retirement in the Aliquippa Works and raising a son and daughter with his wife Eleanor. He died several years ago.

The struggles he endured and the things he saw (which he would not talk about) are incredible in comparison to any struggles that his descendants have or probably will see in their lifetimes.

He fought to maintain the freedoms that so many of us take for granted today, or fail to engage in the proper stewardship to assure that reactionary responses to individual problems or issues do not undermine the fundamental bedrock into which the constructs of our government are anchored.

Here's to you, Uncle Mutz, and to so many of your brothers in arms who sacrificed so much.

Thanks, Gene, for reminding us of those who have made much greater sacrifices so that we would not have to.


Mark Newton set an impressive example for his students, and the entire student body at Grand Junction High School, through his expert Journalism instruction, enlightened sponsorship of the Orange and Black, and impassioned defense of the First Amendment. His departure is still kind of churning within me because my son, who has found a talent and a love of writing, signed up for Journalism I and II next year.

I hope that GJHS finds someone with the talent and enthusiasm to continue the Journalism program in the same direction it's been going. I'll probably be offering my time to help in whatever way I can. This will include being a First Amendment advocate when necessary.


On the morning of June 5, 1968 I was a third grader at Mount Gallitzin Academy in Baden, PA, a Catholic school that maintains an impressive campus and educational program to this day. My mother woke my brother Dave and myself up with the news that Bobby Kennedy had been shot.

In the eyes of an 8 year old boy, my memory of much of this period is shaped by the television images of the day; I remember the stark, black and white SPECIAL REPORT announcements that had interrupted TV programs earlier that same year to announce the assassination of Martin Luther King, and the year before to report on the Apollo 1 tragedy, which touched me especially hard because I was a space program junkie.

We went to school that morning, but instead of finding classes in regular session I found about 50 other students and teachers in a darkened classroom, watching television coverage. Of the time I spent in there I can only remember how quiet it was. No one spoke; it was as if the events as they were unfolding had done all of the speaking, asked all of the questions, and drained the emotions out of all of us.

In researching information for this, I found that the 5th and 6th of June also marks the anniversary of another event that, like D-Day and the assassination of RFK, has made a profound impact upon world history.

The Six-Day War was fought June 5-11, 1967 between Israel and several neighboring Arab countries. The end result, according to Wikipedia, was:
Israel had gained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.

The results of the war affect the geopolitics of the region to this day.
(emphasis mine)
Indeed, the essential questions about US support of Israel, the integrity of the West Bank and of Jerusalem, and the continued state of conflict that consumes much of the region will be a source of much vexation to whomever occupies that White House come January.


On a concluding note, many thanks to Marjorie Asturias for highlighting the various and sundry capabilities and features of VistaPrint. I didn't know about their website services, but have used them on multiple occasions to design note cards and Christmas Cards. Their website is very easy to navigate, and allows for design capabilities that can create truly beautiful stationery items.

I'll be looking the site over this week. If the web design and hosting capabilities are as robust as the flexibility of their printing, it looks as if it might be of use to me in the short term future.

Until then, have a great weekend, and remember those who have made a difference for all of us.

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