Death and the new year

December 31st, 2004

With the death toll from the Indonesian earthquake rising to 124,000 people, it is impossible for many in this cruel world to see hope for a happy new year. We mourn those lost… innocent people, innocent children; crushed, drowned, or swept out to sea in a matter of minutes by the kind of earthly forces only attributed to God. Yet we thank God it wasn’t worse. We pray for the people now left to suffer, and give something to help them if we can.

When death touches me, I give pause for reasons which I’m not quite sure of.
I am not learned in the intellectual philosophy of death. But like many things in the human world I don’t fully understand, I turn to nature for guidance. In my old age, I’ve seen lives end in many ways, some with grace and some in tragedy. Watching animals deal with death makes me wonder if our own power of reasoning is actually a curse. Do we put more into death than it deserves?

No doubt this sounds heartless to people who lose loved ones, and I realize that I tend not to mourn as long as others over death. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I care less for the deceased. I’ve come to accept the unfairness in death and life as something to reflect on, learn from and react to. It’s that reaction of those touched by death and left behind that now moves me. I honor the dead by encouraging the living.

Perhaps I don’t give death the respect it deserves. We hear a lot about “closure”. No one can tell people how long to mourn. If some people want to cancel the celebration of human hope for a new year because of the tragedy in South Asia, I understand, but I don’t agree. It is hope that will carry us through a world without mercy. For some it is faith. In any case, death is something that can either strengthen hope and faith, or weaken it. It is up to us.

Here’s wishing a new year brings us all peace, understanding, and the hope and faith necessary to bring it about.

Saving Oklahoma whales

December 31st, 2004

I’ve read this before and always wondered if it was true:

Whale hunting is strictly forbidden throughout Oklahoma.

As far as I can tell, this is correct. Now you may think this is just crazy, but I would be surprised if most states didn’t ban whale hunting. Don’t all states, just as Oklahoma, have game laws preventing hunting of threatened species?


ยง29-2-135. Threatened.
“Threatened” refers to any wildlife species or subspecies in the wild or in captivity that, although not presently threatened with extinction, are in such small numbers throughout their range that they may become an endangered species within the foreseeable future or that they may be endangered if their environment deteriorates.

The only whale occasionally spotted in Oklahoma is the blue whale near the Port of Catoosa. While Oklahoma’s great blue whale was previously threatened with extinction, with the help of Oklahoma whale hunting law, it is back today as healthy as ever.

Okie love

December 30th, 2004

Yeah, it sounds kinda nasty, but now that Okie hate is an established category here at Okiedoke, it’s only fair that there be an Okie love too. The initial entry:

i should’ve stayed in oklahoma.

i don’t feel like i belong here.
but there’s no way out right now.

posted by MsPissed @ 3:48 PM

Enrique said…

I always did like Oklahoma. Dated a lovely gal from Pauls Valley for nearly 10 years. Got to spend major holidays with her family and travel the far corners of the Plains. I coulda shoulda married her and settled down in Wynnewood or Pawhuska. But it was kinda like that old Lyle Lovette song – “couldn’t bring myself to marrying ole Dale…” No matter where you go regret comes along for the ride.

Help me help others

December 30th, 2004

The wife and I just finished choosing a few organizations to help victims in the aftermath of the Indonesian earthquake. We want to make our little bit go as far as possible, so we break up our donations among a few groups we believe are worthy. I do the best I can in evaluating charities, but feel I may be missing smaller, more effective organizations.

We still have some money left to give if anyone knows another organization or two worthy of support. This is where our money’s gone so far.

World Neighbors

World Neighbors currently supports 64 programs that directly affect 300,000 people in 15 countries including seven of the 12 countries identified by the World Bank as accounting for 80 percent of the world’s poor (1998 World Development Indicators, The World Bank.) Those countries are India, Indonesia, Kenya, Peru, and Nepal.

World Neighbors has a headquarters staff of 25 full- and part- time employees in Oklahoma City.

Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is committed to long-term community-based efforts that help people help themselves. Our programs are based on:

Humanitarian need – We put the needs of children and families first, providing assistance to those most impacted by crises or endemic poverty. We plant the seeds for long-term recovery at the earliest stages of our emergency response programs.

More than 91% of the agency’s resources are allocated to programs that directly assist those in need.

Red Cross

When international disasters strike, the American Red Cross has personnel trained in three key competency areas: water sanitation services, family linking and reunification and relief supply distribution. Today, an American Red Cross water sanitation engineer was deployed to the Maldives and two relief workers are on route to Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Additionally, an American Red Cross team of workers trained in relief supply distribution will likely be deployed to the affected areas in the next 24-48 hours. The American Red Cross is also coordinating with other societies on how to evenly distribute a stockpile of $350,000 worth of relief supplies pre-positioned in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. These supplies include tents, blankets, tarps, plastic sheeting and hygiene kits.

Please leave a link in the Comments of any other groups you believe to be worthy of support. I’ll select two for making a donation. Thanks.

It’s only Mrs. Oswalt cooking again

December 29th, 2004

You can tell it’s a slow news day in the Ardmore area when this is a story.

Responders from three departments canceled an emergency run to Mosey Lane on Oswalt Road shortly before noon Tuesday after learning there was no trailer fire.

OSHA on target

December 29th, 2004

I’m all for recycling, but it sounds like there may have been a good reason this Oklahoma scrap iron company was targeted by OSHA.

Emergency workers found the bodies of two men Wednesday in the wreckage of a scrap metal plant that exploded in a fiery blast, shooting debris in the air, shattering windows in nearby homes and causing a shock felt up to 55 miles away.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. Andrew Yaffe, president of the company, said the fire seemed to have started near the furnace.

“We think the it is furnace-related, but we’re not positive of that. That’s just a total guess,” Yaffe said.

There have been minor explosions from a gas tank or other aluminum tank in the furnace before, but that’s usually a small noise and some smoke, he said.

Furnace related, ya think? How about gas tank related?

Oh yeah, that can’t be it; gas tanks usually just pop like fireworks in that furnace.

Women belong in the House

December 28th, 2004

Due to the last election, more women will be serving in the state Legislature than ever in state history.

Oklahoma will gain five more female legislators when the season starts in 2005.

With the additional women, Oklahoma will have a total of 22 women in the state Legislature.

That figure represents 14.8 percent of the 149-member Legislature.

However, compared to neighboring states, Oklahoma’s fairer sex still have a long way to go.

Colorado has 34 out of 100 seats held by women, and Kansas women hold 32.1 percent — or 53 of that state’s 165 seats. Nearly 32 percent of New Mexico’s 112 legislative seats are held by women.

And finally:

Republicans have named Rep. Susan Winchester, R-Chickasha, as speaker pro tempore for the upcoming session — another first in the history of the Oklahoma House.

More women can only improve the debate process by adding another perspective to many legislative issues.

Okie hate

December 28th, 2004

Every once in a while I come across a diatribe about Oklahoma. Now I’ll be the first to admit Oklahoma has plenty of problems, so perhaps it’s time to collect and consider these observations from people so obviously superior to us pathetic Okies. We certainly don’t want this wit to go to waste. Therefore, another category is hereby established at Okiedoke to archive these pithy offerings.

Without further ado, I bring you the first entry in the newly created category, Okie hate.

From: cerulgalactus
Date: December 29th, 2004 – 07:58 am

Oklahoma can kiss my ass.

Feeding the Grinch

December 28th, 2004

America’s loudest voice for workers has announced this year’s top corporate Grinch, and it’s one Oklahomans are familiar with.

“Wal-Mart has created such high barriers to qualify for its health care benefits, many workers must depend upon publicly financed medical services. According to a research study in California, Wal-Mart workers seek $86 million a year in state aid because of inadequate wages and benefits.”

“Earlier this year, Wal-Mart admitted it routinely locked workers in its stores during their overnight shifts. Saying they have been denied promotions and pay raises because of their gender, a group of women sued Wal-Mart this year in the largest sex-discrimination case in history.

Wal-mart – the place we love to hate. See ya there.

Personally I prefer Target, but if word gets out that’ll change too.

Just when you think you know Inhofe

December 28th, 2004

Checking the headlines… Talk about a catchy blurb.

Voices in the News: A 2004 Compendium
NPR (audio) – Washington,D.C.,USA
… Sen. Ted Kennedy, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, participants in a gay wedding ceremony in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney …