Aw, now isn’t this cool? I could see me doing this…

…and my parents giving me the whooping of my young life afterwards! Over in the motherland, a Toddler makes a solo bus trip from Montgomery to Shrewsbury. 

Kudos to the young stud, him being all of two and a half years old, for a trip that I hope he thoroughly enjoyed! Oh yeah, I can see me doing this, standing in the seat the whole way (okay, perhaps kneeling so as not to piss off the driver), looking out the window at all the lovely sites, chatting it up with the adults, and having a grand old time.

As one might expect there’s a grand investigation being conducted well after the horse has left the barn, all for to point fingers and punish the wicked. Geez. This wasn’t downtown Chicago, y’all. So give it a rest. Junior’s fine, and he had a good time!

So glad somebody gets that the Afghan withdrawal ain’t cause it’s over

Anyone over thirty forty remembers Vietnam, and, hopefully, how peace with honor didn’t exactly turn out the way we hoped for the South Vietnamese. Quick rundown for the under forty crowd, sans philosophies/strategics/speculation: The U.S. ended a roughly ten year war in Southeast Asia in support of the South Vietnamese people, having beaten the Communist North Vietnamese government to a place where they were willing to cease hostilities against the South. Good for the South, good for the North, and good for Dick Nixon. Or so we thought.

The post-game wrap up came in the early part of 1973, and for a time all seemed well with the world. In Spring 1975, the North, having licked its wounds and fully rearmed, decided it was time to achieve Uncle Ho’s long term mission and resumed the fight. Without so much as a  “Fight’s On!” call, the North simply took it to the South. If you’re interested in reading the play by play with final score, dear reader, please Google “Operation Frequent Wind” and “Fall of Saigon”. The U.S. joined in for a brief bit, but in a way that most of us found shameful and an utter disgrace.

Fast forward to present day…and Afghanistan. There’s this cheeky fellow over on the Brit part of the planet, whose recent commentary might lead one to believe that we’re about to witness a replay of the final innings of the game in Southeast Asia.

Air Chief Marshal Lord Stirrup (Amazing, these really long titles of theirs. Whatever happened to Mister?), the former Chief of the Defence Staff, said he worried that the withdrawal was based on “political and electoral timescales”.

There’s much ado about what has been achieved, how much further there is to go, whether a force level of 200 thousand Police/Army is sufficient, and whether President Karzai (or his successor) is serious about maintaining the fight against the Taliban. In the midst of all the conversation, there is nothing pointing to a clear path forward with freedom from tyranny as the stated end goal. Or perhaps I missed that paragraph. So called Pundits claim a need for 400 thousand pair of Afghan Police/Army boots to maintain an adequate level of internal protection, but, clearly, half that number will have to do. Missing from the conversation is the subject of everyone’s BFF, Pockistahn, which clearly has impeded attempts to defeat the Taliban.

Pockistahn…befriending China, cozying up to Iran, and forming alliances throughout the Caucasus. And here’s me thinking back to Southeast Asia, and, once again, there’s China. Damn, if they aren’t that recurring open sore we keep having to deal with. Iran, building nukes, with their neighbor down the street who already have some. Tell me where your warm fuzzy index goes on that one. Russia, quiet as ever, but never truly silent in the background. Oh, and I mentioned the Caucasus. They who have oil, and industry, and like views of the world…contrary, for the most part, to those of western civilization. I might segue off on to how the Crusaders of old really screwed the pooch not getting the job done right the first couple of ventures out, but no need for tangents here. Right? Connecting dots yet, anyone?

So, now I’m back to this guy with the not unusually long title (for the Brits) of Air Chief Marshall Lord, and his opinion that the chosen way forward is all about upcoming elections. Barack Obama and Dick Nixon sharing a literary moment together as I am reminded of Robert Frost’s verse:

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Both having been elected with promises to keep and miles to go before they sleep, but neither particularly mindful of history or the result generated by their decisions. Which brings to mind George Santayana’s memorable quote:

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Forty years down the road, some now say Vietnam has evolved into a respectable place to live. If you ask me, the price paid for relative quiet and peace was ginormous.The genocide was horrific, and personal freedom was irretrievably lost. Thirty years down the road from Rhodesia, we still have Robert Mugabe’s vision of Zimbabwe in play. No secrets there.

I’m wondering what the world will think in just forty months about Afghanistan. My opinion? We (the U.S.) are done in twenty months, and the country’s done in forty. Be ready to witness the celebration of the emergence of Talibanistan. With the American President receiving the nation’s leadership with open arms. Bet me.

‘Stubby’ Weiner is now jobless

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist the ‘Stubby’ thing. Having spent so much of life in an environment where callsigns are born of creative thought, it only seemed right to go there. I know, it ranks really low on the creative scale, but my give-a-damn’s busted with guys like him.

Was now former Congressman Weiner, who resigned today after being sexually compromised two weeks ago in a stupid moment, reckless in thinking he could e-mail a lewd photo of himself without it coming to the public’s attention? Or, was he sub-consciously engineering a situation where resignation would be unavoidable? In today’s society, public figures can’t scratch their backside without it becoming a topic of public conversation. So, what gives?

Since the Republicans took control of the House in January, Stubby and the Demoncrats have pretty much lost their ability to grandstand their Socialist policies before America and become famous. Well, now Stubby is famous…and out of work. Maybe there’s a movie or book in there somewhere, “How to d!ck up a Congressional career in one foolish moment”, but I’m guessing he’ll never clear publishing costs with it.

That’s about as much thought as I want to expend on the guy. The dufus is done, and we’re the better for it.

One last thought there, Stubby.

Here’s your sign.

Where we complete a 55th orbit about the sun…

…and are amused.

We are also somewhat surprised.

We are grateful to arrive somewhat intact.

And we wonder.

Like, where are the keys?

Like, will that food unduly recompense us for having partaken?

Like, where did the time go?

Yes, we wonder…

…and are amused.

Or, did we say that already? 😉

Obama’s West Wing Civil War

A rather catchy read about a little brouhaha taking place in The West Wing, and all of it shared in such a way as to leave the reader thinking that this would be a helluva lot better show than Martin Sheen and crew ever portrayed. And I do mean.Ever. Given that any part of the story is true, one has to wonder how this ship of state hasn’t broken its back already in shoal waters.

The main part of the story focuses on the ongoing power struggle between Bill Daley, White House Chief of Staff, and one Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and, so far, Jarrett ain’t doing so well. Both are out of Chicago (Is anyone surprised? No? Didn’t think so.), both have learned to play in power circles, but Daley has learned the art of blowing you off. Huge advantage! Jarrett doesn’t like to be ignored or blown off, and can become very vocal about it. Daley just smiles and makes jokes in front of you. (Even though he’s from Chicago, I’m starting to like this guy.)

Throughout the article I’m amazed by the lack of command and control emanating from the Oval Office, although I probably should not be, and just a little astonished(?) at the amount of influence coming out of Chicago to settle scores, to get people to do certain ‘things’, and direct national policy. The article makes it clear that Bill Daley knows the secret knock to the Star Chamber in Chicago, and even the President knows enough to mind his manners around his Chief of Staff.

Who in Chicago could be that damned powerful? Chalk it up to my ignorance, but who is this person or enclave?

At any rate, a delightful read, if not disconcerting, and I’m sure the reader will come away scratching their head in a WTF moment.

Me? I mostly laughed at the absurdity and childishness of it all. Mostly.

We’re in the best of hands a helluva shape.

The one where I was gonna babble about the week’s events…

…but then I saw this headline declaring the tragic loss of a wonderful piece of history. Liberty Belle, a B-17G built in 1944, crashed in a corn field shortly after takeoff. Thankfully, all the human units aboard escaped unharmed. Sadly, Liberty Belle was not so fortunate, the photo and video in the article making plain that fact.

I won’t ramble on about how sad such a loss is, or about the irreplaceable nature of a B-17, or how so many would love to see her fly again, but every bit of it is true. Damn our luck anyway. They don’t make ’em like that anymore, although I wish someone did…there’s a business plan in there somewhere. yah?

Feeding the puppy

I knew going in that feeding the puppy would require some actual, you know, responsibility. I mean, after all, who is going to let a puppy starve? So, with that in mind, what shall I feed the puppy today? (If you’re wondering the puppy’s name, you’ll have to ask Quartermaster. He coined it.)  😉

To start off with, Steeljaw Scribe posted a really fine article about the commemoration of the Battle of Midway, which, after reading it, left me to ask, as many have before, where do we get men such as these? In church today we discussed for a bit “What manner of men ought ye to be?”. The discussion naturally centered on Christ and how we ought to become more like him, which is as it should be. I couldn’t help, however, thinking about the men who fought at the Battle of Midway, and how, as a child, I grew up admiring such men. As a child these were men who I saw as exemplars of Christ. Learning from them I wanted to emulate their courage and determination, and from their integrity and character there was instilled in me a sense of being. These were men whom I could trust, and could count on to give it to me straight. They didn’t walk on water, and would laugh if you even intimated as much, but they were good and decent men made wise through their experiences. I loved being around them, and now I feel their absence keenly. We have history books, pictures, and memories of conversations, but they’re still…gone.

That was a large part of my morning, and it was a good one.

As the day progressed I took advantage of the day of rest admonition and took a nap, from which I awoke refreshed and my mind working on some ideas. This past week has been one of some disappointment, having concluded that to pursue a particular business interest is perhaps not the best way to go. Several months of research and effort into what I consider a worthy project will now become a page in Mongo’s BTDT journal. So it was, with some air having been let out of the creative/mental/emotional balloon, that other things started popping into place as possibilities. (Note: I’m purposely being vague here, as there are non-disclosure issues in play.) I guess where I’m going is that sometimes we have to let go of one thing, before the mind’s creative power will turn to other, more worthwhile pursuits. I feel good about letting go, and more so about the new pursuit. You already know this, but it’s always more about the journey than the arrival.

So, having now fed the puppy and put water in his bowl, I’ll say “See ya!”

Til next time. Which ought to be soon, given puppy’s voracious appetite. 🙂