Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesdays with Paulie 6/24/08

Welcome Home Arlene
Wife, mother and friend returns from Iraq

Last week I came to work and to my delight and surprise, she was back. I could hear her contagious laugh a block away and relished in her smile that can light up a city block. Arlene Walsh was back from Iraq and I speak for countless people when I say thank you to her and her family for her service to our country and thank you to God for returning her safely.

This past Saturday I finally got the opportunity to talk with Arlene as our families attended a picnic with dozens of friends and their families, who gathered to enjoy life and welcome Arlene home.

We talked about Iraq and her mission over the past eighteen months. She talked about the people and their lives as well as the vehicle blown up by insurgents right in front of her car that was traveling together in a military convoy. As a supporter of our efforts in Iraq I still needed to ask the question that only the people on the ground can honestly answer. "Should we be there?" It is the ultimate question for the United States. Regardless of your feelings, every ones goal must be truth not a political agenda, especially when lives have been lost and are still in harms way.

"Yes, without a doubt," she replied. I didn't ask her to elaborate because I don't want her to relive her war-experience after just returning to her family and friends. In due time I'm sure we will discuss her experience further. She did go into certain details about life in Iraq and also ripped a few politicians without me asking and for now I will simply say that everything I ever wrote about the war in this blog was in the right.

For now I'm just grateful Arlene has returned home. Take a moment today pray for all the troops that are serving this country abroad, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have been lucky to know more than my fair share of people serving as well as family members of those fighting for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. All have returned home safely, but a few remain in harms way and I ask that God watch over them and bring them home quickly and safely. God Bless our Troops!

A genius and legend has left the building
George Carlin dies at age 71

I first saw George Carlin live at McGraw Hall on the Northwestern University campus in 1985. I learned about him from one of his groundbreaking HBO shows just a few months earlier. However I only heard the comedy at the time, not fully understanding the man's historical significance to American culture.

Over the next three decades I would go on to see two more live performances, each time laughing so hard my sides hurt. There were times that I was disappointed and disagreed with him when his comedy became political. Nevertheless his observations about life and people as well as his own personal experiences were presented in a light of pure genius.

Carlin's career spanned six decades beginning in radio and granting him notoriety when he began making several television appearances in the 1960's. In the early 70's he became a household name after being arrested in Milwaukee for using profanity in public during a performance at on outdoor festival. He did his now famous routine of the "seven word you can't say on television," which landed him in jail on a disturbing the peace charge.

Carlin would go on to expand that list using various themes of those "bad words." However as funny as the routine was, his satire about pop culture and his own religious experiences made him the brilliant influential comic that would go on to influence generations of comedians after him.

Many comedians such as Chris Rock, Lewis Black and Jerry Seinfield have successfully and honorably carried Carlin's legacy. Other's such as Bill Maher and Colin Quinn are simply wannabe Carlin's who couldn't carry his sweaty towel.

I'm sure many of my readers are surprised that I am honoring a man who they perceived to have had such great disdain for conservatives and Republicans. The fact is that Carlin's shtick was based as being anti-status quo not a particular political agenda. Nobody was immune from his rants and criticism, especially Hollywood and Religion. That's a broad spectrum and he used the greatest American right of all, freedom of speech, to make us all laugh at ourselves, society and government.

Ironically my wife and I were discussing seeing Carlin in concert this October with another friend and his wife minutes before his death was announced on the radio. That type of irony would make Carlin laugh. I hope for a moment I was able to return the laughter that he provided my life for so many years.

Right now I believe Carlin is with God regaining his long lost faith and his punishment is that George has to take Heaven's main stage in five minutes.-Break a leg George for eternity.



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