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You Asked: My Answers

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Why I Write

I struggled with how to title this article.  I’m not interested in celebrity or fame, and I prefer to communicate with ideas, but I have a growing folder of email questions in my inbox that are essentially inquiries about me, personally.  People wish to know about me, and all sorts of details about my life, and I  hope you’ll understand if I demur from answering all of these questions.  Most  people want to know about my writing, and things related to that broad topic, but many have asked me where I find the time to write as much as I do.  I have a confession or two to make on that score, but I’ll cover that in due course as I explain my answers on some of the other things you’ve asked as you’ve gotten to know a little about me over the last two months. You’ve asked.  Now, I’ll answer.

I am a network engineer and a systems analyst. I work with computers in a challenging and difficult field, and my primary duties involve firewalls, switches, routers, VPN concentrators, and a few  other types of devices.  My  other duties involve the maintenance of a large database and the front-end application through which my user base enters and updates that data.  That job has consistently taken 12-15 hours of my day, each day, for a long, long while.  I enjoy the work and find the results very satisfying.  My first work with computers was in 1981 in a high-school computer lab, a novel idea at the time, and the computers were all Tandy TRS-80s. We used cassette recorders as our storage device, since they had no floppy drives, and RAM was a whopping 16KB.  We’ve come a long way.  I’ve been working professionally in Information Technology since the mid-1990s, but I still rely on some fundamental knowledge that was gained all the way back at the beginning of my association with computers in 1981.

We have a small thoroughbred farm. It isn’t much, and given the state of the economy, and the widening Obama disaster, I doubt we’ll hold out much longer.  We began this enterprise eleven years ago when the market looked much more promising, but five of the last eleven years have been in some stage of drought, and legislative and executive intransigence in Texas has left the thoroughbred industry in a state of total collapse, by failing to permit the racing industry in our state compete on par with our neighboring states.  Thoroughbred breeder who could have fled the state, and in Texas, horse-racing is once again becoming the “sport of kings.”  At present, the average horse at sale in Texas isn’t bringing one-thousand dollars.  One can scarcely bring a new foal from breeding to sale age for five times that amount.

I tinker with various things, and I am a fairly skilled mechanic, do rudimentary machine work, and welding as needed.  These are all skills used on the farm in the maintenance of equipment, that I learned in the Army, but also what I once did for a living before completing my college studies.  Speaking of college, I didn’t attend until well after my Army career, beginning classes at age thirty.  I’ve done a variety of jobs over my life, always intent upon paying the bills.  Like I said, I’m an ordinary guy with a keyboard.

As for the writing, I choose to write about what interests me.  As you can imagine given what I’ve already told you about my life, you can probably guess I’m generally always pressed for time.  That’s definitely true.  There really aren’t many spare moments in my days, and that’s more or less how I like it.  I write during most of these “spare moments” nowadays.  I’ve always written, but I’ve never been determined to have some sort of outlet.  Much as our current national situation has brought about the Tea Party, and also their support for Sarah Palin, so has my expression followed a similar genesis.  I’ve been writing all along, not as frequently, but until lately, it was almost entirely private.

Now, remembering how I started, I promised you a confession. The simple truth is that my writing would be much more infrequent without the support of my wife, Evelyn.  Without her to pick up my slack, I would be constrained to a small fraction of what I’ve been writing.  There wouldn’t be a without her efforts too.  She thought my writing should have a public outlet, so when you thank me, know that it’s she who deserves the thanks.  As you know from reading this blog, I formulate my take on events in the news based on my own life experiences.  Since I haven’t led any sort of particularly extraordinary life, this leads me to a second confession:  I don’t think I’m doing anything that most of you could not do.  If you watched the coverage of the Tea Party event in Indianola, IA, on C-span earlier this month, you may have seen a rain-drenched young woman in a blue t-shirt in the front row of the crowd.  She had that shirt made just for the occasion. She’s why I write, and put my thoughts out in public.  My daughter has a right to a future full of promise as I have had, and the ability to succeed or fail on her own merits. So do your children.  That’s what the “America” in my name here actually represents.

That’s it.  I have had a few other questions that I’ve chosen not to answer at this time, but don’t be surprised if you find the answer in some future posting in this blog.  I’ll eventually get around to telling you everything about me in one way or another, if only in through how I view the world.  Some of your questions about me have already planted the seeds of future postings.  Thanks for reading! In the two months this blog has been up, I haven’t ceased to be astonished at your kindness and your responses.  Even when you’ve disagreed, the vast majority of you have been civil about it.  That’s part of what makes this audience different from most I’ve seen.  I also know it is a measure of the character of Tea Party patriots and Palinistas who tend on most days to dominate the readership of this site.  Thank you!

Mark [America]


Safe Arrival in Iowa

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

After a nifty 12.5 hour drive from Central Texas, my daughter and I arrived here in Des Moines, and I hope to see some of you here!

Thank you for your continuing support!


Reminder: Texans Heading To Iowa

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Texas is Palin Country!

With less than a week to go, it’s time to firm up those plans if you want to attend the Tea Party of America event in Indianola, Iowa on September 3rd, at which Governor Sarah Palin will be the keynote speaker. I’ve talked with Del Parker again, and his Dallas-Ft.Worth based group still has a few remaining seats. If you’re interested, don’t miss out:

DFW Group Bus Trip to Iowa
Houston Group Trip to Iowa

Have fun!

Looking for America

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Mark Wills’ excellent new video: “Looking for America”

This looks like it might be a good theme song for a campaign.

Thoughts? You can buy it here .

Dear Governor Palin: (The Real Front-Runner)

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Secretariat winning the Belmont

Sarah, you’ve kept us all guessing. Various rumors and speculations abound with respect to your plans. Maybe you’re still thinking it over. If you are, and if your plans are not yet finalized, I’d like to give you a few more things to think about. I realize I’m nobody special, and it’s overwhelmingly unlikely you’ll ever see this, but if you do, I hope you’ll understand why I am compelled to try.

My adult daughter and I went to your Going Rogue signing at Fort Hood. The line through the Post Exchange was curled around the entire facility. You signed books for hours, engaging everybody who stepped before you and your husband, and your parents were on hand as well, talking proudly of their daughter with folks who were gleefully exiting the signing area. Young women gasped coming out, “Oh my God, she touched me. She touched ME…” Hilariously, it wasn’t only the young ladies who were so-affected. As we came around the partition, my daughter before me, I watched you talking to all the people as you shook their hands and signed books. Being a tall fellow, I was able to watch your interaction with the whole group, and with each individual or family, and I was astonished. I know that makes of me some sort of rube or bumpkin to some people, but honestly, I’ve met people of some fame before, and none had this odd affect on me. I know there were pictures taken – I saw them – and I looked every bit as foolish as I felt. My daughter showed off her t-shirt, one insulting to communism, which you said that you liked. I’m a middle-aged guy, you’re a day younger than my own bride, and I was transfixed like some pathetic schoolboy who had just bumped fortuitously into Miss America.

It wasn’t motivated by the things most leftists will instantly assume. What had me transfixed wasn’t the fact that you’re a beautiful woman, although that’s undeniably true. It was something else, entirely, and I’ve had to think about how to express this in an analog people can understand. I’m a horseman, among other things. I know what makes a beautiful animal, and makes an animal beautiful. In horses, form must follow function, or it’s superfluous. You know a beautiful horse because its beauty is translated into its every motion. There is a purposeful, perfect union of all the pieces, every bone and muscle and motion all flowing through time in pursuit of a single goal, and an optimal balance that results in something akin to perfection. Now in truth, there are no perfect horses, but there have been some phenomenal creatures. One such horse, a horse that may have been both the greatest racehorse of all times, and one of the most spectacularly beautiful animals ever to grace a paddock or pasture was Secretariat. There really aren’t sufficient words to describe his beauty, or his on-track achievements. Secretariat was a force of nature. Sure, he had a few bad days, and a few defeats, but when Secretariat was on his game, there wasn’t a horse on Earth that could touch him. 38 years ago, he proved that on the track by galloping into the history and record books, apparently for all times, since none have yet bested his feats.

Now, I don’t wish you to think that I’m comparing you to a horse directly. That isn’t my intention. My purpose is to explain to you what had me transfixed on that day, and why I stammered and could barely utter my own name when you asked for it. You see, it’s seldom you see something or someone so purpose-built for a particular task. People who looked upon Secretariat, or even now watch the grainy old videos of his Belmont win, knowing even a little about horses, will know what I mean. Sometimes, a thing, be it an animal, a human or even a machine is just perfect for the function they are performing. If you watched the rhythm of Secretariat’s powerful, but effortless-looking gait, you could see every muscle, every sinew flowing upon his frame as if this was the design for which no suitable copy could ever be produced. Since that day in 1973, many have tried, somehow, to recreate him. I’ve tried myself. Some have come close, but none have managed to create such a horse again. When you see that sort of rare perfection-to-purpose, it’s awe-inspiring. It’s captivating. It’s mesmerizing. It is the stunned recognition of that which is a force of nature, a pure thing, pure to purpose and dedicated to an idea. It’s wonderful to behold.

So there I stood, watching the interaction between you and my daughter. Your cheerful and kind banter, and your engaging tendency simply floored me. I watched my daughter smile the smile of angels. You have a daughter that age. How often was Bristol so thrilled by any adult at that age? Maybe over that extra-cute boy? What teenage girl isn’t captivated by some young man? Never over an adult, yet there I stood watching you turn my super-confident daughter into putty. Then your eyes turned to me. I suddenly felt self-conscious, like a fish out of water, like that dream where you find yourself suddenly naked. You looked at me and I was suddenly embarrassed. What was I doing here? Was I about to swoon? Beam me up, Scotty! I think I managed to croak my name when you asked for it.

You see, I’d been watching you engage all the people before me. I analyze things. It’s what I do. I examine complex systems, whether electronic or mechanical, or even biological, and I figure out how they work. I spot the flaws in their operation, and I make improvements, or I repair them, but in general, I make things work. It’s just what I do. Most of the time, I start by spotting flaws in things. It’s just my nature. I have a severe eye for details, relationship, and functions, so few things escape my discovery. Nothing is flawless. Even Secretariat had what many considered to be questionable knees, though they never gave him trouble when it mattered. Like anything in our world that functions perfectly for its purpose despite insignificant flaws, no re-engineering or re-design necessary, I saw the same in you that day. You were in your natural environment, doing what you do, engaging a crowd one at a time, making each feel important and special and worthwhile, it dawned on me that you really do understand that our country is not a collectivized hive-mind, but a collection of individuals each with their own goals and ambitions and aspirations. That’s America. That’s what we’re supposed to be. That’s how we expect our leaders to treat us: As individuals. You see that. You see its critical importance. You see it in the identities and persons of all the people you meet. You look out, and do not see a massive crowd as a single entity, but as a number of people, each there giving of their precious time, all to see you. You have the good sense to know the difference, and the sincere determination to remember it when you greet people.

How astonishingly rare are your talents? I don’t have them, though I know them when I see them. I could spend a lifetime, in vain, trying to recreate them. No, just as there is only one of each of us, there is also only one Sarah Palin. Some mistakenly believe that if the GOP could just substitute in some woman, any woman, they could somehow recreate you, but try as they might, it’s simply not possible. You’re you, unashamedly, and that’s just how we like it.

I’m relating all of this for a purpose, and it is most easily stated thusly: Run Sarah, RUN! I will not attempt to guilt you into running, and tell you my sad stories and tales of woe, while begging you to fit your purposes to my needs. I don’t believe in that kind of claptrap, and honestly, I don’t think you do, either. Instead, I will ask you to consider the things you value. You have a large family, your eldest children now grown, more yet in the nest, your grandchild and all the ones yet to be who you must consider. You have your husband, a man with a firm handshake, and parents in whose eyes you’re still the apple. You live in the greatest country the world has ever known, with a history as yet unrivaled. You hold certain principles, near and dear without compromise or capitulation. You have the drive, the talent, the dedication and the solemn devotion to take you to the top.

It would not be without cost to you and all those you love, but I now ask you to reflect: What will happen to all the people and things you love and value if the current maladministration of our country continues? Worse, what will happen if one of these less-conservative sorts managed to win and due to lack of principled and consistent philosophy, made the mess we’re confronting even worse? All those things you love and cherish, your own life, your own talents and aspirations – what becomes of them then?

Nevermind me, Governor Palin. I’m in all ways inconsequential to the outcome. I’m just some bumpkin-computer-nerd and horseman in Texas. Ignore that. What I want isn’t important, to you, and shouldn’t be. What’s important to you, I trust, is that all the things you know and love are under real, lethal threat by runaway statism. All the freedoms you’ve known, and all the freedoms your children should have known, are disappearing. They’re vanishing. One after another.

Once upon a time, I was a young soldier in a distant land, doing the things my country bade me do, not because I had been drafted, but because I volunteered – not out of some pretense about duty, but because I saw an opportunity to trade value for value: I would devote my life, and put it at risk as need be, in exchange for certain things that I believed would redound to my eventual benefit. Chief among those things was a country in which I would be free to pursue my loves and my passions and my values. Next were things like a paycheck and an education fund. I don’t pretend that mine was a sacrifice. I gained inestimably from the exchange, and I have never ceased to hold my head high, in pride at all the things I accomplished while wearing our nation’s uniform.

In much the same way, I’m asking you to volunteer, not out of some sense of duty to me or any of your millions and millions of supporters, or even to a country now gasping and on its knees. I ask you to serve the purposes of your own life, and your own values by rising to take on the fight, a grim and terrible fight, in which you will be the tip of the spear. You already have the heart of a warrior. You’re already battle-tested and hardened. You look no less happy for the engagement, and in truth, look at home in your element when embattled.

I believe that the oath I first took in 1983 has no expiration. There is no statute of limitation upon my oath to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The enemies are here. There’s no sense pretending otherwise, and while this remains a political war, we must win it lest it become something even more terrible. That is a cost none should wish to pay. Ronald Reagan reminded us that history’s lesson is ‘peace through strength.’ This applies as much within a nation as without.

There is no disguising the fact that our country is on the brink. If we don’t turn the ship of state hard about, the iceberg looming before us will surely doom us. Unlike that fated ship, we look-outs have screamed ‘Iceberg, dead ahead’ well in advance of the collision. The only fog confronting us is the mist of indecision and obfuscation. The danger is no longer concealed.

I ask you then, Governor Palin, not for my sake, or my daughter’s sake, but for your own sake and the sake of all you love: Take up this fight. Battle relentlessly, not merely through a campaign season, but until your terms expire. It’s a mighty chore. It’s a terrible burden. It’s as awful in contemplation as any political endeavor I can imagine, except for surrender.

I can promise you only that which I can be certain to deliver. I do not speak for a group. I do not speak on behalf of some special interest, save my own, and I do not make idle promises: Run, Sarah Palin! Run! I will stand with you in all ways that I am able. I will deliver yard-signs. I will recruit. I will send such money as I can muster. I will paint my own quarter-mile stretch of rural highway frontage with the name “Palin.” I will be your shield, though you’ll not know it. I will get the vote out to the polls. I will take your part in every fight. I will absorb as many of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as circumstance will permit. My support won’t stop on election day, or upon your inauguration. It will in all ways I can make it be seamless and fluid, like a perpetual beast of burden, happily carrying his share, without break or pause or idle. I pledge this, because it’s my life, and my love, and my values now under the gun and whip of the merciless state. It is my future, the future of my daughter, and any children she might one day bear. It is our country, our freedom, and our way of life which is now under severe and gathering threat. It’s me. It’s you. I’m with you. I’d ask my fellow conservatives and also libertarians to do the same.

There will be those who will say that I should not place all my hopes in a single candidate. There are those who dared not place their hopes in a single racehorse in 1973. They tell me that it’s foolish. They ask me “what’s your back-up plan?” As always, we the American people will make do, I hope, but why would you start out that way? Why would you turn a back-up plan into your primary if your first choice, your best bet, is still there and available and fit to the race? Who entrusts their future and their country and their sacred honor to a back-up when their best bet is right there, before them?

That’s why I decided to write this note. I had to try to ask you, myself. I apologize for the length of this note. I wanted to leave it all bare, in the open. You know me, Sarah, though not by name. You know most everybody here, though few by name. We’re you. You’re us. They prick you and we bleed. They prick us and you bleed. There’s no reason for pretense about it. We want you to run, yes, for our own selfish purposes, because we selfishly dare to love our country and our lives. That’s why they hate us. It’s why they hate you. Make your choice, make it in full knowledge of the costs to you and yours. Make it for your own purposes. If you choose not to run, we will understand, though we will be sad, and we will go in search of our back-up plan. We will go in search of the ‘next-best.’ You’ve already borne more upon your back than any thousand candidates have had to bear.

Nobody will blame you. The part of me that loves justice almost hopes you will walk away. The direction of the country isn’t your fault. It’s ours. We let this happen. We let them cheat and lie and steal our values. We watched them do it. We don’t have any right to ask you to do it for our sake. Where were we? Where was our engagement? Most of us went about our way, trying to pretend what was happening hadn’t been real, or worse, participating in the debasement. There’s no reason you should go it alone on our behalf. In truth, I have nothing to offer by way of compensation except to promise I will not abandon you on the field – that you will not lead the charge into battle only to find your legion has deserted you. The rest may retire from the fight. I will be there, until the end or until victory. I ask only that you choose for the sake of all you love. This may be our last chance. Good luck in all things, Governor Palin.