Friday, November 16, 2007

Ok. I'm officially inspired to create my Christmas list and it's all because of this:

Who in his right mind could not want a jet-propelled sh*thouse?

Next it's the catamaran. I love sailing. Now, nothing comes close to the b*lls-to-the walls feeling of a serious broad reach, but the wife definitely doesn't like it when I have a monohull boat heeled over, lee railing touching the waves. Despite the peaks and valleys we experience, it seems likely that I'll remain married, so here's the compromise--a catamaran that won't heel, has lots of space below and enough deck space for some friends and a few adult drinks.

But a cat is only good for part of the year. The Nimble Kodiak isn't the prettiest sailboat in the world, but it's specifically made to keep you on the water after the leaves fall. You gotta love that.

Now this I just gotta have. I can run it up and down our road (we live off of the main road and own the road that accesses our house), or I can use it to run from the sailboat(s) to the chandler's or the local watering hole. I mean, who wouldn't want a motorized barstool?

And if a motorized barstool is a good thing, then a jet powered barstool can only be better, right?

Then there's the Bullit Mustang. I like exotic cars, and I also like good old American muscle. These days there's no longer so much of a dichotomy--American cars are pretty much as refined as European cars, so I can take a trip down memory lane (Remember Steve McQueen in "Bullit" driving his Mustang in one of the greatest chase scenes ever filmed ?) and also drive a world class car.

Not that any of the above are ever going to happen, but a guy can hope, right?

So, in the same vein, I'll have to admit that if I were ever to find Laura Prepon or Angie Everhart under the tree, I wouldn't mind unwrapping them.

A great web site for all of the other old pharts out there:

When Life was in Black and White

Have you ever heard that a dog 'knows' when an earthquake is about to hit?

Have you ever heard that a dog can 'sense' when a tornado is stirring up, even twenty miles away?

Do you remember hearing that, before the December tsunami struck Southeast Asia, dogs
started running frantically away from the seashore at breakneck speed?

Do you know that dogs can detect cancer and other serious illnesses and danger of fire?

Somehow they always know when they can 'go for a ride' before you even ask.

Do you know that companion dogs can detect a seizure coming on in time to have their
companion sit or lay down in preparation?

How do those dogs and cats get home from hundreds of miles away?

I'm a firm believer that animals - and especially dogs - have keen insights into The Truth.
can't tell me that dogs can't sense a potentially terrible disaster well in advance.

said, a good ol' hound dog just KNOWS when something isn't right, when impending
doom is upon us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm doing some deep thinking right now. My friend Murf asked me a question that I had a knee jerk answer for, but I decided to dedicate some thought to it instead (I guess that's why I'm not a Democrat).

Anyway, here's a little (somewhat belated) Veterans' Day fact. When you hear of our disappearing veterans, mull this one over. There are exactly three US WWI veterans left on this planet. Three. One Navy and two Army, if I recall. And there is exactly one British veteran.

WWI was a bigger war than most realize. Outside of the horror of the trenches, the death and devastation of no-man's-land, the introduction of mass casualties through the machine gun and poison gases, it had incredibly far reaching effects. The entire middle east was redrawn as a result of the war. Kuwait didn't exist. Ever seen "The Sound of Music" and wondered how an Austrian could be a naval officer? Until the end of the war, Austria was part of an empire that stretched to the Mediterranean Sea. The geopolitical consequences of that war persist (and often haunt us) to this day.

And the day is upon us when very shortly there will be no one left to tell us about it in the first person.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Time was, not so long ago, when some people got over calling troops bad names.

People objected to the Vietnam war, so in their infinite intelligence, they took their hostile feelings out on the troops. "The troops" were mostly draftees who didn't have much say in things, so the hostility against them defies logic. The professional soldiers were (and are) just that, so calling them names defies logic as well--they're simply doing what their country calls upon them to do.

After the first Gulf War there was a resurgence--people suddenly realized that the military was doing things that were in the best interest of us as a country. But now it seems that the left opposes our policy of killing people who want to kill us first and now want to take out their hatred of the government on the troops. Kind of odd that a party that claims to love everyone and accuses the opposition of hate should harbor such hate--but this is nothing new. Hate the war--if you're that ignorant--but hating the troops is moronic.

Thomas Atkins was a legendary soldier in the British army, hence British soldiers are often referred to as "Tommys".

So here, for Teddy "I drowned a girl in a drunken accident and got away with it" Kennedy and his ilk (Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the entire bunch of Democrats running for president, especially Hillary "I just deserve it" Clinton)


I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

Rudyard Kipling
In memory of all who have risen to their country's call and served, particularly the late John Wallace (United States Navy, WWII) and my friend William Meyers; a gentle, soft spoken man who once participated in the greatest campaign as a crew member in a B-24 bomber:


Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC


Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.

You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She - or he - is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".

Remember November 11th is Veterans Day

"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier,
Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag."

Father Denis Edward O'Brien