Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘sunday musings’

Memorial Day Musings…

It’s the stories. The stories matter. Whether they died in the heat of battle or in the cold of infirmity, the warriors all have stories. The stories are all important.

It’s remarkable how difficult it is to get at those stories, though. The ones that were the most formative, the ones that turned that one soldier or that one sailor into who s/he became, they tend to be slow in coming, if they come at all. Yet those are the ones that matter most.

The warriors among us tend toward silence. It’s not so much a secret thing (although there is a small group who simply mustn’t tell their stories) I don’t think, as it is a continuation of the protector role our airmen, sailors, soldiers and marines assume. They don’t so much keep the stories secret as they shield us from the effects of the stories, so powerful were those effects on them when they happened. Yet again, to understand those who remain, and to try to know those who have departed, the stories matter.

I drive by a cemetery filled with the graves of those who fought, some who died while fighting, and I try to conjure their stories. It’s pure folly. Dead men tell no tales, eh? Humanity learns of conflict and war from the stories told about both, and humans learn about each other the same way. Asking to hear the stories is an act of respect. Listening to the stories can be an act of love. Telling the stories is a little of both.

The stories of the men and women who have fought our wars are important.

A friend from my youth, a coach not too very much older than I once broke down and cried over his story. A very junior officer, his story of leadership and loss comes to me every year on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. I know him so much better, understand who his is so much better because I heard his story. So, too, is my knowledge of the men and women younger than I who have served and fought and graced me with their stories.

Life is long unless you are unlucky, but even the lucky run out of time. We have no Civil War survivors, no one from WWI to tell their stories. Those few from WWII still here are reticent, and time grows short. Even Korea fades ever quickly to time’s passage. My Dad is marooned by his illness somewhere between 1947 and 1974; much of his “time” seems to be spent in Korea at the moment. The smallest of consolations for us, his progeny, is that we may learn his story.

This Memorial Day let us all remember not only those who served and those who died in that service, but let us all remember their stories as well. Let us ponder the lessons those stories teach about not only humanity but also about the warrior, the person we remember. Let us encourage those who still walk among us, especially those whose journeys have been long and must be soon ending, to tell us their stories while they still can. Let us listen to those who know the stories behind each headstone as we gather in their honor. We have much to learn from the stories, about war and conflict, about the people who fight, about ourselves.

The stories matter.



Sunday musings 9/2/12 (From Savannah)

Sunday musings…

1) Savannah. Cool town ya got here.

2) Volume. Heard on the street last night:”Ya, but how many is that in ‘dog beers’?”

3) Bogart. “The problem with the world is that everyone is always a couple drinks behind.” Humphrey Bogart.

Bogart, an accomplished drinker, is also making a statement about a general atmosphere of tension and angst in his world. While I don’t necessarily condone his solution, now or then, his observation is spot on, now AND then.

Things are generally better than we are admitting out loud to others, generally better than we are admitting to ourselves. Really. To see this shouldn’t necessarily require beer goggles.

4) Ghosts. Savannah is populated by hundreds, maybe thousands, of ghosts. In truth if we met any last night I either didn’t notice or don’t remember. They, the ghosts that is, are all said to be sad or angry. If Savannah does indeed have ghosts it stands to reason that they ALL aren’t angry or sad, and that got me to thinking about ancestors.

Have you ever examined your heritage? You know, looked at what’s swimming in your gene pool, and where it’s been through history? There’s probably a ton in there, probably a ton of information that is worth knowing. History is awfully cool, a rich and vibrant panorama that can be viewed from any spot and examined in either direction. Your OWN history is like this. You should know your own story.

Some of your heritage may still be around, their panorama moving ever slower as they spool toward the end of their part of the story. Are they happy? Are they fulfilled? Have they imparted all they, and you, need? If they were to leave this life, if there be ghosts, would they be those quiet, happy types, or the sad angry ones that provide fodder for tour guides “crawling” the haunts of Bogart and his ilk? Time grows short for your living heritage, for them and for you.

If there be ghosts, might you be wise to learn their stories before they cross over?

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at September 2, 2012 6:50 AM


A Crossfit Wedding

Back in the day, say 2007 or so, the “comments” section of Crossfit.com was a very different place than what it has become today. This is neither good nor bad, mind you, it’s simply how the flagship web site of the Crossfit phenomenon has evolved as the company and the movement have grown. While today the majority of  people who  Crossfit do so at a Crossfit Affiliate gym, or Box, it wasn’t always so. Back in the day there just weren’t that many gyms at all, so those of us who craved the camaraderie brought on by shared suffering congregated on the “comments” section of what Crossfitters call the “Main Page” and what I dubbed the “Cyber-gym.” Indeed, it became very much like a family, thus the metaphor the “Crossfit Dinner Table”.

It’s also where my alter-ego, “bingo” was born.

As Crossfit grew the number of posts on the “comments” grew in tandem. Many’s the day when there would be 7, 8, 9 hundred posts, and any time “Fran” came up the count would crest 1000. In general there were three types of posts. People posted their times and results, using the “comments” as a running log of their Crossfit experience, and other folks offered commentary (usually compliments). As there were few “bricks and mortar” teaching resources the “comments” section was also where questions about the Workout Of the Day (WOD) were asked and answered. This, however, was not always so friendly, especially in the earliest days of Crossfit.com as Crossfit OG’s chafed at reading (let alone answering) the same newcomer questions again and again. Kinda like your kitchen table with the extended family: most responses were kind and understanding, with an occasional flaming.

And then there were those third type of comments, those essentially worthless expositions on stuff that might not even have had anything to do with Crossfit at all, for which that bingo guy is probably to blame. Oh sure, they started innocently enough with a little tip here and a little request for kindness on behalf of a fellow Crossfitter there. But then they morphed into something altogether different with the arrival of “Sunday musings”, a sorta weekly offering of observations and commentary graciously tolerated by the founders and owners of Crossfit. These, in turn, begat other equally long and often equally unrelated to Crossfit posts which the mighty Jakers dubbed FRAT: F__K Reading All That. As if that wasn’t enough, tiny groups of Crossfit friends started to commune right there in the middle of the cyber-gym, using the “comments” as a tiny corner-of-the-gym chat room.

It was really kinda fun.

Which brings us to the story of a Crossfit Wedding. There’ve been lots of Crossfit weddings in the time I’ve been hanging around, some of which involved some very famous and very special Crossfit “personalities”. Tony and Jamie Budding. The Amundsons’s. Big time names from the earliest days of the original Crossfit HQ, the mystical Crossfit Santa Cruz. They were kinda normal, though, at least as normal as anything that involves Crossfit and Crossfitters can be. People met at a Crossfit Box, fell in love, and got married. A funny thing happened in the cyber-gym with all that FRAT stuff going on…people met, fell in love, and got married! Like my FRAT friends “Herm” and “Cookie”.


“Once upon a time there was a woman looking for fun ways to pass the time and get in shape while her children were away. Crossfit?? But I’m no athlete! Looks fun though so why not. With her head firmly in the koolaid punch bowl she began reading the message boards and posts on the mainsite. Standing out from the crowd was one contributor – Herm. Now that sounded like a kind person, someone who would answer her many questions and not hit on her or bother her with the nonsense she had been tired of. For months they had emails- rarely anything personal, always about CF. She enjoyed the emails and wondered what his life was like. Ask they said. Oh no! That’s just not what our friendship is about! Send a picture they said. Oh no! I can’t risk him being uncomfortable. But with the coaxing of her Cf mentor Stef the picture was SENT  and within 5 minutes a response from Herm came back something like this “are you single? Are you dating anyone”? But alas he lived 8 hours away. A month later on Dec 7 they met in Santa Monica, talked for hours and he taught her the sp, pp, pj progression at Golds in Venice Beach. Their next date came a few weeks later and lasted 5 days including a trip to San Felipe. But alas….. He * still* lived 8 hours away. But after a month of debating they decided to try this thing out and traveled from the ends of California to see each other for a year until he decided home was where she is in San Diego and moved here in Dec 2009. They worked very hard to build their family with little means, a tiny rented house and 3 energetic young ladies to tend to. They came to a point where they all found their place in the family…. And but for the ring, they were a family. So today comes the next chapter in the story – where we officially become a family and get to live happily ever after. I love this man beyond words and I am the luckiest girl alive!”


That, my friends, is Patty’s (Cookie) post yesterday, May 28, 2011. The day she married Herm. Attended by “Strong L’il Pony” (Aileen) who is betrothed to “Goat” (Jack), two other Crossfitters who met in the cyber-gym and traded FRAT posts with all the rest of us.

Crossfit is so much more than just a fitness program. It’s hard to put into words just why this is…but it is. Perhaps it’s the shared suffering. Maybe the sense of discovery, a kind of finders’ pride for those of us who’ve been around for a bit. I don’t know. Much of this has shifted to the individual Crossfit gyms, real live bricks and mortar places of which there are now 3000+  world-wide. Some of what existed in the cyber-gym of Crossfit.com is now found, albeit heavily diluted, on Facebook or on the local blogs of the Affiliate gyms. (I should note that the Brand X forums continue to have an international following and a bit of the old Main Page flavor).

Things change, and that’s OK. Heck, if not for the “comments” as they were once upon a time there would never have been a “bingo”, the alter ego in whom resides all (any?) of my best qualities. It was a magical time, man, and it was a magical place that cyber-gym. The Crossfit table was full and rowdy and loud and open and just plain fun. Friendships were made as we passed the kettlebells like so many serving dishes at a family dinner. People met there, fell in love, and got married, all because of a fitness program and a web site called Crossfit that had been given to them for free by a couple of fitness trainers from Santa Cruz. It was a very special time and a very special place.

I send all of my love and the best wishes of Clan bingo. From Mrs. bingo, The Heir, Lovely Daughter, Lil’bingo and me, bingo, big hugs and bad English to Herm and Patty, and for that matter to all of my FRATties and each and every Crossfitter who’s every stopped by the Crossfit table.

Sunday Musings 9/26/10 Remorse vs. Regret

From Crossfit.com.

Sunday musings…

1) “Art without Commerce is a hobby.”

2) Border Collie. The obvious inspiration for the Everready Bunny.

3) Rational Self-Interest. Have you read any Heinlein? If so you know exactly what I mean when I write TANSTAAFL. If we examine much (all?) of what we see or read about and drill down to the bottom, isn’t it fascinating how often we see the underlying self-interest that informed the action?

Much of modern Economics, especially Behavioral Economics of course, is centered on this essential premise, that events and behaviors can be understood or predicted based on the assumption of rational self-interest.

Altruism, behaviors that are truly counter to rational self-interest, if it really exists, is the fly in the ointment. How to explain altruism when so much else, indeed almost ALL else, can be so accurately explained by rational self-interest?

4) Sorry? It’s rather amazing how many apologies to which we’ve been subjected lately, eh? Famous athletes, movie and rock stars, politicians, all proffering “heartfelt” apologies for some indiscretion or another. But are they sorry? Sorry for what they have done? Or is it something more…I dunno…less? Regret, perhaps.

There’s quite a gulf between regret and true remorse. Remorse is a deep emotional response that touches on shame. Regret, not so much. Regret is a more superficial emotion, a sadness or maybe a disappointment, more closely attached to rational self-interest whereas remorse is more akin to altruism. Remorse is more outwardly projected: I’m sorry for the effect on the OTHER. Regret much more inward, more centered on self. Think about the last few very public “apologies” you’ve heard or seen recently. Any true remorse?

How does one apply this difference in every day life, other than as a determinant in how we feel about the news we read? Well, regret lends itself to strategy and tactics, a certain calculus or cost/benefit analysis applied to the road ahead, or applied to the fall-out of the road behind. Rational.

Remorse on the other hand seems to me to be purely reactive. Not amenable to planning because whatever we’ve done to prompt true remorse, to be truly sorry, to feel ashamed, is nothing one would ever make a rational choice to do. We FEEL sorry, we don’t think it. We feel the pain of the other and we feel truly sorry for our part in it.

And there, my Brothers and Sisters, is where the line between regret and remorse lies. That outward extension of ourselves toward the other, so easy (I think) to see it when it’s real and so obvious when it’s not. Just as regret could be seen as a form of rational self-interest (I’m sorry I got caught), we might think of remorse as emotional altruism (I’m sorry I’ve let you down).

To remember our remorse for actions in the past is to remind ourselves of the presence of others as we act now.

I’ll see you next week…