This I'll Defend...

“There’s something happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear…”
            --Buffalo Springfield

It’s been longer than I’d like since I last posted, but I’ve had a very difficult time trying to decide what to say.  I don’t like talking politics in this blog, but I haven’t found much of anything lately that I feel like laughing about. 

So, today I will talk about some things that are bothering me.  I suspect they’re bothering you too.

Thirty-nine years ago this month, I loaded an old, beat-up Dodge Colt without air conditioning, and headed south to Fort Benning, GA.  That car held everything in the world that was important to me, especially my beautiful and very pregnant wife. 

Upon our arrival I deposited her into a decrepit old trailer house outside of the post, and reported for duty.

Just two months previously I had raised my right hand in front of the Flag of the United States of America, and swore an Oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.  I was at Fort Benning to begin training on how to do that. 

Since that day, I have never been told, formally or otherwise, that I have been relieved of that Oath. 

Yet, today I find myself being assaulted from all corners it seems, demanding to know if I side with the Nazis, or if I side with the Communists.  What in Heaven's name is going on here!  Are you serious?  How can that even be a question?

Let me be completely clear:  I will never side with either one of those groups of thieving, lying, murderous bastards!  Both of these extremist fundamentalist “isms” have murdered and enslaved millions of people around the world.  I will never associate with any of them, other than to resist their evil, and defend our Constitution as my Oath demands.

I am on the side of Logic, Reason, Enlightenment, Law, and Love.  I don’t do hate, and I have personally never met a fellow Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine who does. 

My uncle and his brothers-at-arms fought the Germans and the Japanese, not because they hated them, but because they loved their country, their families, their friends, and their way of life. 

If you don’t believe that, then look at what happened after the War was over.  My uncle and his brothers rebuilt Germany and Japan.  They stood up to Soviet and Chinese aggression and defended the German and the Japanese people.  Not once did they say, “Oh well.  They’re just Germans, or they’re just Japanese.  Who cares what happens to them?”   Today, Germany and Japan, once our bitter enemies, are among the closest of our allies.  That was not accomplished with hate. 

We don’t live in a perfect world.  I find it a rather hostile environment actually.  There are a few good things going on, but unless we walk a narrow path, Nature herself will destroy us without a thought.  For example, we can adapt to the heat and the cold.  But if we don’t, either one will kill us.  We can adapt to Gravity and fly six miles high in the sky.  But one small deviation from the correct path, and we are destroyed.  Gravity shows no mercy.

It seems to me that the Ancients understood this better than we do today.  Their writings from long ago are clear in their warning to us: “They have planted the Wind, and will harvest the Whirlwind!”

Nature is not forgiving.  Cause and effect are immutable.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics has not been repealed.  We can’t afford to be out planting the Wind. 

My Dad used to tell me: “Don’t listen to people who haven’t got their heads screwed on right”. 

I think that’s a good idea.  

The Fabric of our Lives...

I’m getting interested in fiber in my old age.  No.  Not that kind of fiber.  The other kind of fiber.  You know the one the commercial talks about.  “The Fabric of our Lives” kind of fiber. 

It all started when the Sergeant Major informed me that she was going to go to a meeting of the nearby “Fiber Guild”.  I volunteered to take her and drop her off while I went to do something more enjoyable.  My “joy” lasted about an hour at Sam’s Club, and I spent another hour sitting in the parking lot waiting for her.  Who knew that talking about fiber could last that long?

The upshot of this is that she decided we should harvest our alpaca fleeces.  They had to be sheared for the summer anyway, to ensure their survival in the Oklahoma heat.  Why not save and process the fleece into alpaca yarn?  So we began. 

After assisting in the shearing process I decided that I really needed to know more about this fiber stuff.  After all, we now had several bags of “raw” fleece and it didn’t appear that it was going to process itself any time soon. 

So I started reading and researching this whole fiber thing, and even attended a meeting of the Guild.  I found myself being drawn in by the variety and mystery of fiber. 

I remembered from reading history that the early colonists made a lot of their clothing from “linsey woolsey”.  I knew that wool and flax were involved, but I didn’t really know how.  I decided to begin there. 

First, I learned it combines two kinds of fibers—plant and animal.  The linen fibers are made from flax, and in this combination they are the “warp”.  They form the vertical fibers, while the wool—animal fibers—are the “weft”, or horizontal fibers, on the loom.  Force enough of these fibers together under the tension created by a loom, and voila, you have fabric.  Now it can be cut into shapes and sewn together to make clothes. It is durable, warm, and inexpensive, even if coarse, and not very chic. 

It was starting to click for me.  Now, everywhere I went I was discovering that our world is awash in fabric.  All of my clothes of course.  But also the carpet, the seats in my car, the tarps in the barn, the sheets on the bed, the towels in the bath, the curtains on the window.  Dang!  Fabric is everywhere, and for 64 years I hadn’t bothered to notice. 

My first thought when the reality of fabric hit me was, “How did people figure this out?”  Is there something in nature that would give them a clue, or was it just luck?  Maybe somebody was fiddling around out of boredom and suddenly happened on to the idea of weaving.  Maybe aliens from another world taught us the task.  Maybe God taught Adam and Eve after He kicked them out of the Garden.  I don’t know.

But I do know that the art goes a long way back.  Not just weaving, but the art of dying the yarns into a variety of colors prior to the weaving appears to be very old as well.  Recently, bits of fabric were found in Israel which date back to around 1000 B.C.  They had been dyed blue and red and had been woven in an alternating color band pattern. 

What caught my eye in the picture of this find is the people at the dig site.  They are wearing cotton T-shirts, and cargo pants.  Different yarns, but still fabric.  Machines do it now, of course, but the fundamental approach has not changed in over 3000 years—find some fibers, spin them into yarn, weave them together to form a fabric, then cut to shape and sew. 

Some things don’t change no matter how modern we think we are.  I’m looking forward to a fun, fiber-filled journey.  Pun intended.  

CrossFit again...

It’s a little hard to believe but this week marks the one-month anniversary of my first visit to a Cross Fit box.  For four weeks I have repeatedly returned.  Not every day mind you, but I’ve pretty much made it for four days out of every seven.   

The obvious question of course is, “Why?”  The answer lies in one of those experiences we’ve all had, where we’re asked to describe what happened and words failed us.  We just look at the other person and say, “I don’t know.  You had to be there.”  That’s how Cross Fit is for me.   

There is just so much going for it.  Right off, there's the worry.  My coach is very good about posting the next day’s WOD—Workout of the Day—on Facebook each evening.  Now I have about 21 or 22 hours to worry about what tomorrow evening will bring.  And this is completely silly.  He wouldn’t have to post anything and I’d still know what was coming.  Pain.  Then after the warm-up is over, Real Pain.   

Now, when I say, “Pain”, I don’t mean it in terms of injury or anything like that.  I don’t do this to injure myself.  Nor would I presume to claim that it gives me an idea of what child birth must be like.   However, at the risk of sounding sexist, it does make me glad I don’t have to give birth to any children.   

So maybe I exaggerate.  Maybe it’s not pain so much as it is an incredibly annoying focus on the eternity of the present moment.  A moment in which I am struggling to breathe.  And stand.  And lift my arms.  While praying for stout blood vessels in my heart.  A moment that seemingly has no end.      

Sometimes it gets so intense, I feel as though I’m outside my body watching myself.  I display all the grace of a bag of feed falling off the tailgate of my pick-up.  Cross Fit calls these moments “burpees”.  It is a moment where you fall to the floor while simultaneously kicking your feet behind you.  You flail your arms about pretending to do a push-up.  Then you pull your feet up even with your stomach and slowly drag your ass back to a standing position.  Then you put your arms over your head and give a little jump for joy as if to say, “Whoopee I’m vertical again!”.  Then you repeat these movements until you hear Bob Dylan singing, Knock, knock, knockin’ on Heaven’s door…    

Well, at least that’s what I hear.  But being surrounded as I am with people much younger than me, I am actually listening, no that’s too passive, I am being beaten with a much different kind of noise.  It is loud, and there is rhythm, but that’s about it.  Hip Hop meets Heavy Metal in a cage match to the death.  Something like that.  And sometimes I hear words that I didn’t use even when I was in the Army.  

All of this to say, that this is the best part of my day.  The endorphins start flowing and the adrenaline starts pumping, and in spite of the discomfort of the moment, everything seems right with the Universe.  Once I walk out of the box the pressures of life will assault me once again.  Work, family, the economy, the culture warNorth Korea, Syria, the Russians, the concern about the future.  But in the box I can’t worry about that stuff.  It’s like a vacation, albeit one where the tour guides torment you through the seven levels of Hell, but for one eternal momentI’m outside the “real world”.  It’s a nice break.  I think I’ll stick with it a while longer yet, and see what happens.  I’ll keep your posted.   

Cultural Appropriation. Huh?

As you know I try to avoid overt politics, but sociology—how human societies are ordered and disordered—fascinates me.  Today I bring another example. 

It seems there is a group that is asking the United Nations to make what they call “cultural appropriation” illegal.  A Dean of the University of Colorado Law School said that the UN should negotiate a legally binding document that would “obligate states to create effective criminal and civil enforcement procedures to recognize and prevent the non-consensual taking and illegitimate possession, sale, and export of traditional cultural expressions”. 

Say what?

The utter nonsense of this idea just overwhelms me.  My first reaction was one of dismay.  I’m British, Irish, and German according to my DNA, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up Spaghetti Bolognese for Steak and Kidney Pie!

As I looked into it though, it got worse.  Noodles were invented by the Chinese.  Even if I had some Italian DNA I’d have to get permission from China to have my spaghetti.  Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill would have to close their doors. 

And speaking of China, if the owners of the Oriental House restaurant—the best Chinese buffet in the Fourstates—couldn’t serve Ozark hillbillies and Oklahoma cowboys, they would soon be broke.

So who gets the corn?  Americans?  Or Native Americans?  At a minimum it would all have to stay here, but what would we do with it?  How would Hispanics and other Latinos make tortillas?  I guess we could negotiate an agreement and make it “consensual”.  But it would have to be reciprocal or Taco Bell would be in trouble. 

I suppose if it were determined that corn belongs to all Americans we could make moonshine.  It goes down very smooth; it just doesn’t have quite the nutritional value of a tortilla. 

Some of you will say I’m just being silly.  This is not about food or commodities, it’s about cultural and intellectual property.  Really?  Again I ask:  Who makes that decision? 

I make my living working for an Indian Tribe.  They are great people to work for, and I like being here.  Because of my appreciation and respect for all of those in “Indian Country” as it is called, I have two watercolors hanging on my wall.  Yes, they were painted by a Native American artist.  I enjoy them immensely.  One of them depicts a young Indian on a horse.  He is wearing feathers, and holding his lance and shield.  Very iconic. 

But wait.  The indigenous peoples of this continent did not have horses.  Horses arrived with the Europeans.  They were quickly appropriated by the native peoples, but they didn’t originate here.  Did the artist ask permission to use that image?  Maybe he tried, but who would he ask?

Who gets to lay claim to horses?  Probably not even the Europeans.  They got them from the Central Asian steppes, and the North African coast.  My ancestors took those animals, and through the process of selective breeding created the breed we know today as the Thoroughbred. 

Thoroughbreds came with the early settlers to America and mixed with other breeds to create more new breeds.  The Morgan Horse is a totally American breed, and was used along with other breeds and cross-breeds to create the even more famous American breed, the Quarter Horse.

My point, of course, is that all of our various cultures have something that was “appropriated” from another culture.  It how our species, homo sapiens, behaves.  Businesses today even memorialize this appropriation.  They call it “Best Practices”.  Selecting the best of a culture and incorporating it into your own is how mankind has made it this far.  After all, we Europeans turned Americans, wouldn’t be here today if our ancestors had not appropriated many of the ways of the native Americans who were here before us.  There was a time when schools actually taught that fact.  If not for a man from the Patuxet tribe named Squanto, we were told, the Pilgrims would have all died.  We were taught to admire and respect him.  I still do. 

In the end, cultural appropriation is the best way to disseminate ideas and practices.  I’d love to see more people appropriate the American concept of “Equal Justice Under the Law”.  It’s a much better way than sending soldiers to foreign cultures to “Nation build”.  If I can appropriate what I like, I can make it mine.  If you come using force to make me make it mine, you’ll have a fight on your hands. 

You’d think an organization like the “United Nations” would understand that.

Boxes, Amraps, and WODs...

It was a good Memorial Day holiday.  Thank you to my son for sharing his story.  Thank you to those who sent heart felt messages.  It is good that we remember.  As the historian, David McCullough said, “How can we profess to love our country and take no interest in its history?” 

My oldest son and I did watch the Indy 500.  It was a pretty exciting race this year and ended on a satisfying note.  I had no problem with Takuma Sato winning the race.  He is a good driver, been around a while now, and seems to be a decent sort of fellow.  All in all, a very good holiday weekend. 

All of which left me totally unprepared for what awaited me this week.  Apparently, my daughter and oldest son, in collusion with the Russians from what I surmise, conspired in a nefarious plot to thoroughly disrupt my life.  As a result of this conspiracy, on Tuesday evening at 6pm I found myself in what I now know is called a “Crossfit Box”.   

I was confronted with incredibly fit, but friendly, people talking to me about “Clean”, “Jerk”, “Burpees”, “Cross-bar burpees”, “Amraps”, “Squat Protocols”, and a host of other words I didn’t know.  Then they told me how much I’d like getting to know “Randy”, “Cindy”, and especially, the one they call “Murph”.   

They were lying.   Please forgive my language here, but honestly “Cindy” is no fun.  “Randy” is a bear.  And “Murph” is…well, just way way beyond my comprehension. 

As some of you have no doubt by now guessed, I, without real warning and no time to prepare, suddenly found myself down the rabbit hole, and into “Crossfit Land”.  Whoa!  This is another universe whose inhabitants spend a portion of their day torturing their bodies to the point of collapse, and then spend the rest of the day telling each other what great fun it was!   

I don’t use the word “torture” lightly.  If the CIA finds out about this thing, we won’t ever have to worry about them “waterboarding” anyone again: 

CIA agent:  “Hey Chief, we’ve got a suspected terrorist here.  Should we waterboard him to get the information”?  

CIA Chief:  “No, just give him “Cindy”.  If that doesn’t work, try “Randy”.  Let’s stay away from “Murph” for now.  We want to stress him, we don’t want to kill him.” 

I’m telling you.  Problem solved.  

Naturally, I’m looking at the humorous side, but this really is serious.  What I learned is that they give certain WOD’s (Workout of the Day), the name of a person.  Certain “benchmark” workouts are named for girls, and certain other specific workouts are named for military and law enforcement heroes.  “Randy”, is named for Randy Simmons, an LAPD Captain who was shot and killed by a gang member in 2008.  “Murph” is named for Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.   

Anyway, the truth is I can’t even begin to touch “Cindy”, or “Mary”, or “Fran”, or anyone else for that matter.  I am a long way from having the ability to do that.  What little they’ve had me do has been tough enough.  To say that I am “sore” is an understatement.  All I know is that I am extremely grateful that my workplace has handicapped accessible bathrooms.  Those grab bars on the wall made the difference between success and total disaster.   

After one set of difficult movements, I expressed my dismay to my daughter.  She just laughed and said, “Just think.  The harder you work now, the longer it will be before I put you in the nursing home”.  Such love. 

She takes care of me though.  Yesterday we had a drill where we divided into teams.  Not surprisingly none of the other Captains picked me, so she ended up with me by default.  I told her that I didn’t want to hold her team back, but she assured me, “That’s not how this works.  You will contribute even if you can’t do very much”.  It turns out that she was correct in that regard, and it did feel good that my little effort really did count.  It counted mostly for me because I was doing the exercise.  And that was the point.  At the end, no team claimed to “win”.  It wasn’t even discussed.  All that mattered is that you and your companions encouraged each other to do your best, whatever level that was.   

I’ll admit it.  I like that attitude.  I like the idea of competing against no one except myself.   And I like the idea that someday I’ll get to do “Mary” or “Cindy” or “Fran”, and the Sergeant Major won’t be at all upset.  In fact, she’ll be cheering me on.    

Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day is upon us.  The “unofficial” beginning of summer.  Party time at the lake, the park, or the back yard.  Time to drink a few “barley pops” and watch the Indianapolis 500.  I love the Indy 500.  I’ve watched or listened to it regularly since I was a boy.  There’s something mystical about really fast cars.  Nothing against the NASCAR people, but I’m pretty sure that when Thomas Jefferson talked about “the pursuit of happiness”, he meant open wheel racing at great speed. 

Anyway, on Memorial Day weekend in 1989 I was fortunate enough to be able to take my young sons to “The Race”.  It was a long, hot, tiring, and ultimately bittersweet day as we watched the great Emerson Fittipaldi beat our favorite, Al Unser, Jr. (Little Al) in the last two laps of the race.  Still, it was a good day.  An All-American Day. 

Fourteen years later in 2003, those boys were not on Turn 2.  One was sitting just south of the DMZ in South Korea, and the other was sitting somewhere south of Baghdad, Iraq while Gil de Ferran was winning that year’s race. 

Today, the son who was in Iraq is my guest blogger.  He left the Marine Corps, got a Master’s Degree, and now serves as a Special Investigator with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).  While a student at OU he had a story published in the Spring 2012 edition of The Collegiate Scholar.  This Memorial Day weekend we want to share that story with you. 

Field of Stones
A Slice of Life

By Brendan Horner
University of Oklahoma

There’s a neighborhood of white stone.  It is a place of peace, of mercy, of faith.  Only those who transcend sacrifice reside there.  I have been there to walk on the green grass, feel the warm sun and gentle breeze.  I have heard the echoes of eternity there.  It is a place of serenity because I am welcomed with an open spirit by those who inhabit the grounds.  One day I may be here too.  My place reserved beside those immortal souls.  This is not about me though.  It is about a friend.  He lives in the neighborhood of stones, gleaming marble edifices that serve as pillars that mark all that is great about humanity. 

The military builds a special bond that goes beyond a casual life connection.  It is a mutual understanding that defies race, creed, color, gender or religion.  Alan and I didn’t know each other until we served together.  He was my engineer, I was his communications tech.  I called him a “grease monkey”, and he called me “commie”.  There was the time that we shared a butt chewing from the First Sergeant for ordering a pizza to be delivered to us in the woods on a field exercise.  We shared the same dirty water from a North Carolina creek on maneuvers, suffered through cold nights of arctic frost on watch, and drank the sweet water of life we called beer.  We were brothers, we are brothers. 

In January of 2003 we were called to go forth into the great unknown…to war.  I don’t want to dwell on our time there or what we did.  The days were filled with boredom interspersed with brief moments of sheer terror.  I do remember that we both laughed the first time we felt and saw incoming rounds.  Was anyone really dumb enough to shoot at us?  At the US Marines?

“During this period, I Marine Expeditionary Forced conducted the longest sequence of coordinated combined arms overland attacks in the history of the Marine Corps…Utilizing the devastating combat power…and maintaining momentum through the herculean efforts..I MEF destroyed nine Iraqi Divisions.  During the 33 days of combat…I MEF sustained a tempo of operations never before seen on the modern battlefield…By their outstanding courage, aggressive fighting spirit, and untiring devotion to duty, the officers and enlisted personnel of I MEF reflected great credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”
                                                            --Presidential Unit Citation, issued 3 Nov 2003

That pretty much sums it up.  It was hot, dirty, dangerous work.  After achieving our objectives at Baghdad we set up just south of the city at Al Kut, an old Iraqi air base long since forgotten by time itself.  We were tired and letting other have their turn up front while we rested.  The term “rested” being a relative term.  There was gear to clean, patrols to mount, equipment to inventory, and always something needed to be repaired. 

It was a cool evening with the temperature hovering in the low nineties.  I had just finished up my shift on guard duty and was stretching sore muscles when Doc Ace came up.  I thought he wanted to start a late night poker poker game, or check on me after a bout of heat stroke I’d suffered earlier.  No such luck that night.

“Hey, I wanted to let you know.  It’s a bad thing man.  Alan got hit tonight.  An RPG.  He didn’t make it.”

Doc spoke softly because he knew we’d been friends.  I nodded and mumbled thanks for letting me know.  I remember turning and watching the very last rays of pink disappear over the horizon with the setting sun.  In a moment of pure poetic anguish when the last rays of the sun disappeared the tears of anguish welled and spilled down my dirty face.  They mingled with the dust and sand to create slender streaks of mud, etching into my soul the pain of loss. 

Lance Corporal Alan Lam died on April 22, 2003 in Al Kut, Iraq.  He gave his life for many things:  America, his fellow Marines, you, me, his fiancĂ©e, and his family.  I lost a piece of innocence that day, perhaps the last remaining bit I had left.  Perhaps I thought that we would all make it through unscathed, perhaps I was a fool.  I think about Alan a lot, I miss him.  He lives at Arlington now, and will forever. 

It’s a good place to visit if you’re ever in the neighborhood.  Alan resides just south of York Avenue and a little north of Bradley Drive.  Stop by and say hello to him or anyone else there.  I’m sure they’d like that.  Tell them an old friend sent you and that I’ll come home one day. 

Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful.

Hysterical choices...

I feel a need to apologize for missing my self-imposed deadlines for posting on this blog.  I just didn’t get it done.  I’m sorry.  I shall endeavor to do better in the future. 

Following the death of Zeus, I was depressed, and on top of that had a very nasty cold which insisted on moving into my lungs.  For several days I couldn’t drive and had to be chauffeured by the Sergeant Major.  She was barely recovered from the awful stuff herself, but was very stoic and never once complained.  Sergeant’s Major are tough like that.  Noble too.  They are not to be messed with.

Fortunately, the various of parts of my body are beginning to return to work and I’ve begun to have this sort of hazy idea that maybe I’ll go on living for a while longer yet. 

But as I make my way back, I keep noticing this hysteria which seems to have taken over in some parts of our great country.  I feel a little like Rip Van Winkle must have felt after he woke up under the tree.  What is going on here?  Did I miss some catastrophic event while I was under the weather?

I’ve seen the usual bumblers, braggarts, and con men who set themselves up as players, but nothing catastrophic seems to have occurred.  Still, I keep running across these mad dog, foaming at the mouth crazies who act like the world is really coming to an end this time.

In the old days, we’d call them “harebrained”, or “befuddled”.  My kids just call them “bat shit crazy”.  I like that better.

Hysteria on the farm is always bad news so we don’t go there.  I can remember my Grandfather cautioning me as a child to “quit running around like a chicken with its head cut off!”  He just didn’t see it as acceptable behavior. 

Hysteria in herds can be deadly.  I’ve seen thunderstorms spook horses into hysterical, headlong flight.  If they hit a barbed wire fence though, it ends badly.  Picking up the pieces of that kind of disaster is not fun. 

So why do people go hysterical?  Psychiatrists apparently aren’t really certain, but stress and anxiety seem to play a part.  I think choice plays a part too.  We know from a variety of studies, including Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, that the one thing we have in life is the ability to choose our response to an event.   We may not be able to control Nature or Other People’s behavior, but we can choose our response to it.  We can choose to be responsible, and behave accordingly. 

When I was a kid we thought it was great fun to wait for the teenagers to come down the street on their motorcycles.  We’d wait until they came even with us then jump up and yell, “Shot!” as they went by.  They’d usually turn and chase after us. 

Having been completely irresponsible the moment before, we’d suddenly become somewhat responsible and run like hell to avoid getting our butts beat.  When we did get caught and whupped up on, we’d be fully responsible and tell our Moms, “I fell off my bike”.  There was absolutely no point in letting her know that your irresponsibility was the proximate cause.  It was enough that you understood that yourself.

But fueled by the media’s 24/7 need for “breaking news”, many opt for the hysteria.  Apparently it can be a lot of fun.  In all fairness, there wasn’t a 24/7 media presence back in the 15th and 16th centuries when the hysteria of the time consisted of finding and prosecuting all the “witches”.  Witch trials remained quite popular for at least a couple of hundred years.  It seems there is just something irresistible about losing your mind.      

The common charges against the witches were that they spread diseases, participated in orgies, cannibalized children, and worshiped Satan—pretty much the same charges that Liberals and Conservatives accuse each other of now.

As early as 1841 Charles Mackay wrote a book on hysteria called Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.  He noted that, “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they recover their senses slowly, and one by one”. 

So far I have resisted the temptation to join them, but in moments of weakness I have caught myself singing that old song:

"When in trouble, when in doubt,
Run in circles, scream and shout!”