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April 2018

SUBURBAN COWBOY: Chapter Three, A Ride in Winter

In Virginia, winter is only occasionally a matter of snow.  Most of the time it is a matter of wet – rain and mud (lots of mud).  There are different kinds of rain, of course:  hard rain, drizzle, light rain, soft rain, freezing rain, sleet and rain, and cold, wind-whipped   rain, but frequent and copious rain.  Because of the wet conditions, we go horseback   riding less frequently   in the winter.  The temperatures    are typically   moderate, in the 40’s   and up.  But we don’t   ride in the   rain for enjoyment — although   horse trainers and others whose livelihood depend on their riding don’t let a little rain stop them.  It takes a lot of rain.

Thus, it was with more than usual enthusiasm that I set out that winter Sunday afternoon for what turned out to be an almost idyllic experience.  The weather had cleared, and a drying breeze was blowing.  I had promised Anya, a young woman from Germany who was visiting us that we could go on a trail ride if the weather permitted.  She was very excited and very determined, since they do not have trails in Germany like we have in Virginia.  Keep Reading

SUBURBAN COWBOY, Chapter Two: The Summer of ’95

The summer of 1995 started at Christmas, 1993. That was when my grown  daughter, Kirsten, announced she was going to learn to ride a horse, and that I was going to teach her. I learned a long time ago to do what women tell me, so I agreed to the project, thinking that it probably would never happen. But she persisted and changed my life.

I had not taught anyone how to ride since I was Riding Master at a boy’s camp during the summers I was in college. My brothers and I had been taught how to ride and how to train young horses by Jim Rooker, at that time a veterinary student at Michigan State College (East Lansing, Michigan). Jim went on to become one of the best-known Arabian breeders and trainers in the country. My Dad had, on the advice of Professor Byron Goode of Michigan State’s School of Veterinary Medicine, bought two Arabian yearlings and an older gelding named Don, who had been used to teach college students how to ride. He also set us up with Jim Rooker.

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Donald J Trump’s Big Gamble

 

Will his actions speak louder than his words?

 

by Lawrence J Fedewa, April 15, 2018

In language, style and actions, Donald J. Trump is commonly described as “a different kind of President”.  His advocates tend to believe that he is “still learning how to be a politician”. He detractors believe that he is now and ever will be an incompetent President. As the great ethicist, H. Richard Niebuhr, used to say, “People are generally correct in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny.” In the case of Mr. Trump, it is true that he is learning, but not how to be a politician. It is true that he is not going to change, but wrong that he is incompetent.

The basic truth about Mr. Trump is that he is deal-maker. What he is learning is not how to become a politician, but how to make deals with politicians. He has publicly scorned the deal-making capabilities of politicians, but he is now in their world, so he has to learn how to make deals with them. A more conventional description of this process is “building a coalition “around each major initiative.

He has learned that the sweet spot of most politicians is their electability at the time of an election. He has already indicated that he intends to have a very active campaign schedule for the 2018 mid-term elections. To the extent that his campaigning is successful, of course, he will build political capital. The opposite is also true. Unlike most of the politicians he interacts with, his core competence is making deals rather than attracting voters. The fact that he has done as well as he has with attracting votes is a tribute to his natural charisma and his experience as a media personality rather than his political know-how.

So, what is different about a deal-maker? The script for Mr. Trump’s approach to dialog is contained in his book, The Art of the Deal.

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The God of Science

The universe pulses the greatness of God.
Utter vastness of worlds and galaxies,
space, light, time in trillions,
suns and millennia and light years
grow and pass and pray their grandeur
and the greater grandeur of their timeless time
there to God alone, playing and praying
for untold eons watched by Him alone
before man’s telescopes and missiles and rockets.
God, more baffling and astounding and vast
than they and their offspring added and multiplied.
O God of space! O Presence!

God in every ion and molecule,
surrounding its infinitesimal, streaking explosions,
planning its patterns, placing its presence
for man to find and gape in awe,
hypnotized by the science of God
unfolding the mixture of things, the folly of senses
– for a paralyzing instant – a numbing flash
of the fantastic Mastermind of the universe!

Suburban Cowboy (Chapter One)

I’m fighting rush-hour traffic in suburban Washington, D.C. on a summer Friday. It’s after 5 o’clock, and I’ve been trying since three to leave the office and go horseback riding. Now I’m working the car phone, waiting for lights, crawling along the parkway, wondering what in the world I think I’m doing. Between calls, the fatigue and frustration of a long day and a long week start to set in. I can’t say I need the exercise — compared to my push-ups, aerobics, racquetball, and occasional jogging, horseback riding seems pretty mild. So much work: grooming, saddling, longeing, schooling. So hot and sweaty. And dangerous, too. Aren’t I old enough to know better? How old do I have to get? When I finally get home, why don’t I just relax with a tall, cold drink and watch the horses from the air-conditioned house? All the
reasons.

I decide to take it one step at a time. After all, I don’t HAVE to go riding, HAVE to groom, HAVE to saddle up. I can stop at any point, right?

Thus do I cajole my tired old bones into changing my clothes and walking out to the stable, I start by looking around at everything, seeing if the workers have left any problems. This activity, of course, is a lot like the office, but the sun feels good on my back, and I notice the breeze on my face. After “fixing” a couple of little things, I decide to go the next step.

I go out to the pasture with a few treats in my pocket. All the horses notice me as soon as I get within range. It’s kind of funny to see how they arrange themselves to approach me. Maia, my beautiful grey Arabian mare, is the Queen of the little herd. She dispatches a friendly old gelding named Speedy (he isn’t) to find out if I have any treats. But before old, slow Speedy gets to me, Sir Prize, a friendly, supremely self- confident four-year-old gelding reaches me and starts begging for a treat, which, of course, he gets. By this time, Speedy has arrived, quite upset that Sir Prize got there first, but he quickly forgets his pique when he too gets a little reward. In fact, instead of reporting back to Maia, he’s hanging around.

I keep walking.

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