Stupid vs. four Marines

Probably an old story, but still really funny.

You have to wonder what bonehead was thinking. 🙂

The obligatory Memorial Day post…

…which isn’t feeling like that at all. When you poke around the blogs and sites first thing in the morning, as I did today, you can’t help come away with an undying love for those whose lives were sacrificed.

Articles were written, names were mentioned, and stories told, but none of it makes much difference to me, really, when taken in the larger context of the nation. These United States of America. Memorial Day is, for me, the day we give thanks for what is our real national pasttime…sacrificing for and serving the greater good. Sounds kinda weird in that light, doesn’t it?

Sure, we celebrate Independence Day on July Fourth, but Memorial Day is the one set aside for remembering sacrifice and service. Not just the sacrifice and service of one or a few individuals, which are not nothing or inconsequential, but of a nation of people who have sacrificed and given service from our humble beginnings. We remember that we might not forget, and in forgetting lose something precious to us. Sacrifice and service refine us, they knock the rough edges off of our character, and, in the end, yield a better product.

Let us remember, and, in our remembrance, renew a covenant within to continue sacrifice and service. When you thank a Veteran or Service member, thank yourself also. You’re a part of this great nation, and, however you serve, you deserve some credit too.

My thanks to all who have served, and who continue to serve. This Memorial Day is for you!

As Toby Keith would say “Once in a while, I wanna talk about ME!”

Well, so do I…sort of. ME being the Middle East, of course. When it comes to ME, I’m your typical know-nothing Western hick. Really. What I think I know about the Middle East couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, we all see the pundits, the politicians, and the posers, and we form our opinions, but who really knows ME? Me? Nuh uh.

Having a couple of days down time due to a problem with one of the hind paws, I came across a wonderful opportunity this morning whilst meandering through Facebook. “Wave of Freedom” is a conference sponsored by President George W. Bush in Dallas, where speakers were invited to address the events taking place in ME. Ever heard of “You don’t know what you don’t know”? That was me this morning as I listened attentively to Dr. Condoleezza Rice speak in declarative terms why the Middle East is the way it is today, and why Democracy is the only real answer to the regional crises taking place.

Of the several points taken away from her speech, the one standing out the most was “Democracy takes time to develop and mature.” To paraphrase one of Dr. Rice’s comments “Had I said to anyone in the 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s that the Berlin Wall would come down, I would have been locked up in an Institution!” Her point is well taken. None of us outside government circles could have reliably predicted the downfall of the Soviet Union. None could have predicted the peaceful reunification of Germany under West German terms. None could have predicted the realignment of national borders throughout Europe. Most of all, none could have predicted the rise of democratic forms of government in Eastern Block States. Sure, the egotist might say “I could have told you so for X, Y, and Z reasons”, but I’d be inclined to wave a bullsh!t flag in their face.

In like manner, none can predict how things will look in Iraq just a few short years ahead. The pessimists among us (and I generally count myself as one) tend to hold the belief that nations like Iraq cannot sustain Democracy due to warring amongst the tribes. In the absence of those supporting Democracy, we might be right. But who’s to say? Well, the Iraqi people. That’s who. And, over across the way a piece, the Afghans.

Closer to home, as Dr. Rice pointed out, the Columbians are having a say in the matter of Democracy, as are the Chileans and Brazilians. Having spent a couple of years in Chile during the opening of the 80’s decade, I know what that cycle looks like. People today fault Pinochet, but Pinochet was a vast improvement over Allende. Yes, Chile today is a vast improvement over Pinochet. However, I’m reminded by today’s event to look at the whole of it.

The bottom line for me, coming away from observing today’s speeches, is to have more faith and patience in the maturation process of Democracy. Ours took well over a hundred and fifty years of maturing before it became much of what it is today. To paraphrase again one of Dr. Rice’s statements: “As a child in Birmingham, ‘We The People’ didn’t refer to me. Today, ‘We The People’ includes me”.

In Iraq, or anywhere else in the world, Democracy will take time, patience, and perseverance, before ‘We The People’ grows to include everyone. Generations will pass, but let Democracy persevere. Mankind owes it to itself.

Oopsdate: You could probably make use of a link to today’s conference: Wave of freedom

A bad day at the aerodrome

It seems a charter Boeing 707 tanker didn’t quite go flying this afternoon. Three crew aboard safely exited once the beast came to a stop, which is decidedly a miracle. A big old bird full of gas isn’t something one disassembles on takeoff and walks away from. Not most days. From this seasoned inexpert observer it would appear that power was lost in one of the left wing’s engines, causing (say it with me) a drift to the left, resulting in a splashy and abrupt stop in one of Pt. Mugu’s many ponds.

Thinking out loud here, that landing in the water must have doused the engines to cool them sufficiently to suppress a total conflagration. Remember the fire triangle: Heat, Fuel, Oxygen. Remove one and the fire is out. Yes, there was fire, but not like there could have been.

Another observation: Point Mugu’s runway 03/21 is a little over eleven thousand feet long. At about the point where one has three thousand feet remaining, and off to the left side about three hundred feet, is the weapons revetments area. Seven lanes for parking aircraft, eight foot high concrete walls separating the lanes, a concrete block house at the mid-point, and an eight foot high jet blast deflector. Oh and a basketball hoop. Got the picture? Good.

Now, the tanker came to rest approximately two thousand feet beyond the revetments, on a line roughly parallel to the block house. Still with me? Cool. Now, here’s the deal. Fully loaded tankers don’t skid to a stop in two thousand feet in marshy terrain, which means the crew did a ret fine job of avoiding the revetments. Had they not, we’d be reading a story with a less satisfactory ending.

I, for one, am thankful the story ended as it did. As they say, any landing you can walk away from ain’t so bad.

Oh, and that marshy pond? Stinky with duck poop. That had to be fun wading through at a mad dash.

So, Mongo talk blog. Mongo talk blog good? Hmm…

I dunno. When it comes to thoughts about writing, the word dilettante usually comes to mind in quick succession. Somewhere in the back of my mind, however, I must believe I am/could be/should be a writer. I keep coming back here, after months of negligent neglectful hiatus, and feel the need. A twisted need, maybe, but a need. We all got needs. Maybe this is one of mine.

Steven Pressfield recently alluded as to how Artists and Addicts are not very far apart, and perhaps that’s what worries me about giving this a go. I have an addictive personality. Once I switch on, I’m hell bent for leather. Sometimes good. Sometimes…uh, yeah. You get the picture. Part of my challenge is…I edit…I edit to the point where a prospective 10 ten minute write up gets published in two or three hours. Two edits, so far, and I‘d better quit now. Oops, there was number three.

So, what’ll it be? A subject? A focus? A book report assignment?

Um, belay that last one.

Let me think on it and I’ll get back to you.