[Disclaimer: please note that these are "LaRue's Views;" I am, it would not surprise me to learn, speaking for no one else.]
At the end of my last column, I talked about hearing, in London, from our Kurdish taxi driver about Saddam Hussein's devastatingly anti-Kurd regime. Our driver was frankly grateful for the United States' invasion of Iraq. However, he had no intention of returning, other than as a visitor, to his birthplace. He described it as backward and dangerous -- no place to rear your children.
I started keeping my first journal in 5th or 6th grade. My mother got it for me one Christmas.
It had a soft, burgundy-colored leather cover, and paper that was slightly yellow. There was only one page per day. At the top of the page, I was encouraged to record the weather, and my general health. Then I got a blank page.
So I kept a daily log of my life -- and my thoughts about it -- for about two years. I kept one again my senior year of high school, my last couple of years of college, and on and off ever since.
When I was five or six years old, my dad took me to see "Gone with the Wind," a revival at the big downtown movie theater. Years later, I realized it was packed with all kinds of steamy stuff.
But here's what I remembered from my early exposure: there was a big fire.
I believe that regarding many complex issues, children see and understand only what they are ready for. That includes movies. It even includes R-rated movies.
Back in my wanderin' days, I was hiking a federal trail outside Los Angeles. As I was walking along an arroyo -- a high ridge beside a dry stream bed -- I got a sudden urge.
I resisted. It was a hot, dry day. The stream bed was a good 8 feet down. The ground was rocky and uneven.
I felt distinctly uneasy.
And as I dropped, I heard a high whizzing sound, a WHING!