Monday, April 21, 2008

Me no Alamo! Me no Goliad!

Coffee: 100% Columbian Supremo beans roasted in San Antonio to a Full City roast and ground fresh this morning.

Mug: The last in the series of four Texas History Movies Sesquicentennial mugs. Chinese promo-mug of a non-offensive design. Two-finger handle design.

Note: The Battle of San Jacinto was one of history's (and especially American history's) most decisive battles. The entire political shape of the North American continent was changed in less than an hour by this conflict between roughly 2,000 armed men.
The battle started one hundred and seventy two years ago this hour, as a small ensemble better suited for a tavern than a battlefield began to play the Irish melody, "Will Ye Come To The Bower". The opening volley of the Texian army's "Twin Sisters" cannons were fired soon after, and the fight was on. It was a battle with mythic elements that are true nonetheless:

Extreme bravery and courage (Texian general Sam Houston was shot off his horse while leading the attack, one of only 30 Texians hit by enemy fire),

Brutality (as Mexican soldier's begged for their lives by pleading "Me no Alamo! Me no Goliad", they were ruthlessly slaughtered by men who were drunk with vengeance... over 600 Mexican soldiers died in the battle, many of who were executed as they tried to surrender while standing in the waters of Buffalo Bayou),

Cowardice (General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna put on a private's tunic and hid in the weeds until captured), and...

Chivalry (Houston received the captured the General and spared his life from those who would have shown Santa Anna the same mercy he showed to Col. Fannin and his men at La Bahia... execution).

These are the things of myth, but being mythical does not always mean it is untrue.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Yes and no.

Mug: Another anonymously-made "gift" mug, this one from KERA 90.1 FM. A really pleasant drinking device: good handle, decent heft, nice tactile experience, with an attractive decoration.

Coffee: 100% Columbian Supremo beans roasted in San Antonio, ground this morning in Dallas at Ft. Tipperary.

Comments: The mug promotes the "exclusiveness" of KERA/NPR radio listeners/subscribers. I take exception to that sense of exclusivity, superiority, and elitism that such claims imply. To be somehow "better" than our fellow man is a stain that runs deep in the human soul. From that breeds lawlessness ("the laws don't apply to me"), greed and avarice ("you're not worthy of that possession, so I'm taking it"), immorality of all sorts ("I'm not hurting anyone by my actions"), and eventually, self worship ("I am my own God").

In this life, we are common. Common is good: Common law, Common Prayer, Communion. Weighed against any other human life, mine has no extra (or less) weight in God's scales. I am not special. I do not have any special privileges, whether or not I expect them. I am no better and no worse than anyone else, regardless of how "good" or "bad" they may be. I am not "one of a kind". I am "of a kind".

Except, except... in God's eyes. He made me to be the same as everyone else, but unique. He did not make me "special" in any way. However, He uniquely made me. I am the same as everyone, but I am individual. He knew He made ME. He knew He made YOU. Uniquely, we are formed in His image.

So I am the same as you. Uniquely the same.

Postscript: That's my wife in the photo, enjoying a Spaten at Scholz Garten in Austin following the birth of our first grandchild (Hosea Downing). She truly is "one of a kind".