Friday, August 25, 2006

What an evening.

I am probably a contradiction--I hunt, I fish, I love being in the woods, I was once a real live Green Beret...but I have also played musical instruments and marched with them most of my life. I was six when my overachieving father demanded I start taking music lessons. I didn't even really know what I wanted to play, but I told him I'd play the "long black thing" (I'd seen someone play it on TV the night before). That was the kickoff of a life-long love affair with the clarinet.

I played clarinet every opportunity I had--community band, school band, seven straight years of all-county band, western Maryland regional band, Baltimore Colts (remember them?) marching band. I also picked up the tenor saxophone (dirty secret--it's easy for clarinet players to pick up the sax and the flute) for jazz band and musical plays. I even played wth the school orchestra. I also picked up the bass baritone bugle and played with four different drum and bugle corps over the years. I still play baritone bugle in parades and so forth to this day.

Don't get me wrong--I was never particularly good, but I was and am passionate about it.

This evening was the final day of band camp at my son's high school and they presented an exhibition for the parents. Given the history I've presented, you can imagine the emotions I felt as he stepped off the line and took the field with the band.

Fortunately, the field faces west, into the setting sun, and it was quite hot, so I was able to ummm, wipe my brow periodically. Just sweat on my brow...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I've not been very good at keeping my links updated. It's a task I really need to undertake--many of the links no longer function, and there are so many I really should include. It's a huge task, but I'll start of with a link to a blog I find interesting:

The url is new, but the blogger has a solid history of interesting posts.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

"Band of Brothers" has been shown numerous times on cable television over the last few years. It's also been a book even longer than that.

Even though I read the book some years ago, I find the series incredibly compelling (probably because of the high degree of accuracy), so I find myself watching it every time it appears on the History Channel. Tonight's episode was entitled "Why We Fight", and it explored different reasons--news from home about the evil Nazis, a subtle implication about guys fighting for each other (friends defending friends), and finally it concludes with the guys discovering a concentration camp. The evil that they discover is indescribable.

However. Once again for the ten-millionth time: Anyone who compares Bush to Hitler is a cretin. I've been to Auschwitz-Birkenau, I've been to Dachau. I've seen the results of a regime headed by a truly evil man and his twisted henchmen. There's no comparison.

The bad boys at Gitmo, who are demonstrably threats, get Islamic meals, exercise, religious items, et al--all incredible tolerance given that they are known enemies of the western world.
In Nazi Germany; Jews, Gypsies, etc. were rounded up and put to death without regard to their loyalties--they were simply judged to be "enemies of the state" and killed; most often by incredibly inhumane means. The death toll will never be sorted out. We know it includes some six million (six million!!) Jews, probably a like number of "undesirables" such as Gypsies and other eastern Europeans and untold numbers of Soviet soldiers taken prisoner. The Soviets probably got the best deal of all--they were machine-gunned in trenches which were then closed over their bodies (although they did test out the gas chambers at Auschwitz using Soviets--what a privilege! Everyone else either worked until they starved to death or were herded into "showers" in which they were gassed. Technically, there were "work camps" and "death camps", but the difference is academic. Who did what? Well, big, strapping guys got culled out and were given the "priviledge" of work/starvation until one or the other did them in. Older men, women and children were stripped of clothing, shoes, hair, tooth fillings, you name it...and then sent to the gas chambers lest they become burdensome. Oh, and I'm sure that some of the women were kept for, umm, "recreational purposes".

The displays at Auschwitz-Birkenau are beyond heartbreaking. Literally mountains of baby shoes. Not just childrens' shoes--baby shoes. Mountains of them. Mountains of personal effects--mostly toys. Mountains and mountains of effects stripped from women and children before they stuffed them into a gas chamber and ended their lives.

I could keep going. Truth is, the "Band of Brothers" epsisode set me off again, but to good reason. If you think that there is ANY comparison between Bush and Hitler, you really, really need a good flossing of the brain.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I emailed the writer of the story I referenced below and asked her if she was proud of revealing a potential vulerability in our defense during a time of conflict.

Her reply was full of the usual arrogant platitudes about "keeping the taxpayers informed", etc. She went on to state that the agency was aware that she was writing the article and raised no objections. Of course they didn't. They knew she'd write it anyway and making an issue of it would only further publicize the article and make things worse.

Never one to leave well enough alone, I emailed her again, quoting her line about the agency raising no objections and asked her if she'd give a damn if they had. Shockingly--no reply.

Fortunately the paper is a lightweight rag with a seriously dwindling circulation. For one thing, the city that it "serves" is collapsing in on itself a la Detroit.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Newspeople are whores. Plain and simple.

I'd like to find a more acceptable, less abrasive monicker, but time and time again they show themselves to be nothing more than gutter whores.

Just the other day a local paper (which is read by a lot more people than who read this blog) "broke" the story that a government agency might be hitting the wall on energy requirements. For the life of me, I can't imagine why anyone could be so self-important that he/she felt the need to call a reporter and build him/herself up ego-wise in this way. And yes, it's all ego. Why on earth would someone need to call the local paper to report that a government agency might see an electrical shortage if not to build up his/her own ego? Unless it's a plain and simple attempt to hurt our own defense community. And that's as likely as not since many Muslims have lately shown their loyalties to be to Islam, and not the country that has protected and nurtured them.

So it's either ego or an undercover sabateur. There's just no other explanation: "Hello, I'd like to report that an important defense agency is running low on electrical power".

And self-important gutter whore reporter actually makes a story of it.

Her name is Siobhan Gorman, and I've emailed her twice, but I don't expect a reply. She's from the Big City and ergo much more erudite than I (at least in her mind).

Monday, August 07, 2006

I feel like I often play off on the fact that I was in the Army for about ten years. I've been out for some 16 years now, so sometimes I feel like I'm trying to make currency on something I no longer am. But I can't deny that I still feel a tremendous pull toward the military in general and the Army in particular. Military service is an incredibly profound, soul-deep experience that people who have never been there can't begin to understand. And I never intended to get out when I did. A series of injuries left me no other choice, but I had every intention of making the Army a career.

Recently a video has been circulating the internet, in which a Lieutenant Colonel named Randolph White delivers a graduation address to a class at the US Army Infantry School. I think it sums everything up and makes it clear why I was once proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with men such as LTC White and the graduating class, and why I'll always be proud of the time I spent in the Army, even if I am a has-been.

You can see it at one of these two links, among others: