Love me some Facebook

Lots of great material to share. Lots of opportunity to comment. Even had a back and forth with someone that I’d rather not have had, but c’est la vie. Did it…and done.

When I started with social media a few years back, I really had no idea where it would lead. Sure, it was great reconnecting with people I hadn’t seen or spoken to since grade school. It was, and still is, a hoot to see where all of us have gone and what we’ve become. I absolutely love the number of people who love their country, are patriots in their own way, and that so many can have civil discourse about issues on which they don’t see eye to eye. No, it’s not a perfect environment, but we all acknowledge that.

The downside, if you want to call it that, was that I thought of myself as a private person. Someone asked me once “Mongo, how come you never tell us anything about yourself?” My first thought, left unspoken, was “Because I don’t trust you.” This spoke more to the fact that I really didn’t know well the people I worked with, being yet in the first year or so of a new career. The point here is my life has always been my business and none of their business. I’m still that way, somewhat, but have learned to open up a bit. It’s scary entrusting people with your history, with your dreams, and, most especially, with your fears.

Having become accustomed to Facebook, I moved on to Twitter and this blog. Actually, my second move was a pleasant coincidental discovery of a blog. Wow. Have to take a moment here because the blog’s host died earlier this year in a tragic mishap. Damn. Wasn’t expecting this. Still tear up thinking about how much I miss him. Neptunus Lex – As fine an individual as you could ever meet, although we never met in person. Lex made blogging a real experience for so many people, and what he did for us, provided for us, we started doing also. We opened up. We started a blog.

Talk about unlocking the door to your life. What do you do with a blog, if not share your thoughts? Certainly, there’s kind of anonymity in blogging, or can be if you never release any particulars about your life. The challenge for anyone, not just private individuals who have never shared much, is that something is bound to escape about…you! Oh, dear God. No Way! I’m not sharing me! What are you, nuts?

Remember about the mama Eagle kicking her young out of the nest, so they can learn to fly? Whether it was Lex or some inner creature screaming for release, I either kicked myself or got kicked out of the nest. David Wood over at Empower Network (You’ll have to look it up on your own…WordPress has a hard on for EN) likened some of what we do to a rope swing he experiences in Costa Rica. It’s kind of like a zip line ride, only you’re tied to a rope attached between a pair of 200 foot trees. The cool part? Scary actually…you drop 40 feet before the rope ‘catches’ you and swings you back and forth between the trees. Guys, can you imagine your boys crawling up into their sockets? Yup. Me too. Ladies, we’ll spare you the indignity and not ask…

Social media…rope swing with a 40′ drop. A lot alike. I’m going to put up a blogroll in the next day or so, giving you some of the folks I know who blog…it’s that whole back links thing you may have heard about. Now that I know about them, they’re a great share point.

So here I am. Digging it and looking forward to the future. There’s so much to say, so much to share, so much to observe and learn. Sometimes a chance to let slip by a comment looking for a place to blow up into an argument. A lot like life. Huh?

See you ‘out there’ and here. (Which is simply “there without a ‘T’. Ask Bill Clinton to explain it to you. He’d love the opportunity. 😛 )

 

 

Advertisements

A Sunday’s drive through the park

FA-18 style. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.

The description says “No audio”, but the wind blowing past the canopy is audio enough. It’s interesting to hear and see the buffet increase on the canopy with even the least amount of a turn.

Some days training flights are just unbearable…

…to watch. The envy is killing me!

Go Navy!

HAFND

Mongo

On the matter of which side of the fence do you choose to stand

So much of what takes place in America’s conversation today is our political alignment. Historically, we have been a two party nation, with Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other. More recently we have seen Libertarians and the Tea Party enter the scene, but, for the most part, we are still a two party nation. If one is running for elected office, it behooves them to belong to one or the other of the two parties.

I’m of the belief that, as a nation, we are approaching a paradigm shift from Republican/Democrat to Constitutionalist/Communist alignments. Here’s why:

Which side of the fence are you on?

If you ever wondered which side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!

If a Republican doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a Democrat doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Democrat wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a Republican doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Democrats demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a Republican reads this, they’ll forward it so their friends can have a good laugh.
A Democrat will delete it because he’s “offended”.

Interesting read. Yes? Interesting to me because had this been written even 20 years ago, it very likely would have made reference to Constitutionalists and Communists rather than Republicans and Democrats. Sadly, in my opinion, the transposition of Constitutionalist or Communist over Republican or Democrat is becoming a better fit all the time. While neither party is truly aligned any longer with the Constitution as the bedrock of our governing process, yet our Democrats are the ones who have truly gone off the rails.

I could leave it there and wander off to the rest of my day, but that would be like leaving behind a half completed statement. Many Democrats today, chiefly he who pretends to be President, believe in government controlled services or in government fixing America’s problems. Republicans believe in Americans fixing America’s problems. Take Healthcare, for instance. Republicans have fought long and hard to establish provide affordable healthcare options, with the choices being left Americans as to who or how much. Democrats? Not even close. Hence, the Healthcare Bill that, please God, is not standing up under Constitutional scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court. Does that bother them? Only to the extent that the Bill might be struck down.

Then there’s the automotive industry, where 2 out of 3 major manufacturers were going belly up. Never mind that Unions were choking the life out of the business models, and never mind that retirement benefits were designed to provide for beneficiaries in an altogether unrealistic fashion. You: “Unrealistic? Really?” Me: “Well, ummm, yeah. Even Unions representing U.S. air carriers had to negotiate down the benefit plans, or risk losing the whole game to bankruptcy.”

Even so, those carriers that went through bankruptcy, did so without the benefit of government bailouts. Imagine that! United Air Lines knocked hell out of the Union benefits, but…wait for it…they’re still around! No federal gooberment to jump in with tax dollars, just sound fiscal rearranging of the business model. Other air carriers merged, some went away, but, through all of it, no tax dollars to stave off failure of the business.

I guess where I’m going with all this is, private business ownership ALWAYS goes where it should. Not all parties involved get a gold star. Not everybody wins. Only the strong survive. Quite the novel notion, isn’t it? Imagine both teams winning the World Series, or both teams winning the Super Bowl? You: “Why, that’s absurd! Both teams can’t possibly win!” Me: “Exactly my point.”

What I find most disturbing about government is propagation of the falsehood that all parties or businesses involved MUST WIN! What a load of crap! How many times did Thomas Edison win? Remember the statement about the 999 ways not to make a light bulb? Yep. That was him. Edison didn’t win every time, but he learned most when he did not win. Implied in the government notion that we all have to win all of the time is “Don’t worry about loss and its associate pain, because we’ll take care of that for you. We’ll take care of you!” Uh huh. Hence our increasing debt, arriving nearly to the breaking point where our GDP will be overcome by our debt service requirements.

So, where’s this going? Back to the beginning of the post. Read through it again and ask yourself on which side of the fence you stand. Constitutionalist, where the people empowered to choose and do for themselves, or Communist, where government chooses and does for you? Empowered or impotent?

Tell me about how Communism has worked out in Cuba, or Zimbabwe, or Venezuela, or in the former Soviet Union. Which do you choose? Ask any Russian which one they choose. I choose ‘Empowered’.

It’s time to wise up, America. Sadly, the words of the song hold true:
“You won’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. They took paradise, and built up a parking lot.”

To your living empowered…

Whereupon, having completed the 56th orbit of Mother Earth…

we celebrate the event. We are grateful for having survived the journey. We know not what comes next, but we anticipate there being more challenges. {sigh} Ohhhh dear. When the half century mark came upon us, we were glad and we celebrated. “Oh, that this might be the half way point!” we declared. Now, six years down the road, we question the wisdom and exuberance of such a proclamation. While there have been good days aplenty, there seems to have been an increasing number of “Dude. Really?” days. Maybe it’s a sign of the times. Who knows. These days I’m just glad to lay down at the end of it all and get some rest. There are increasing signs of existential living in places where previously we enjoyed peaceful coexistence, all of which resulting from a superannuated mortal vessel.

To say I’m grateful for family and friends near and far on such an occasion is to understate things a tad. To have friends, in my case, is to be entertained, mostly by the amusing things they (we) have to say to one another. We celebrate life’s victories together, we mourn together, we pray for one another, and we do our level best to keep one other honest; that last virtue being invaluable in my tiny little world.

So, no spectacular party, no journey to a far-away exotic place, or anything of the like. Just a simple observance that today begins the golden year, where the age matches the year born. We’ll see what it has to bring.

One will note the hour of publishing, it having significance. This would be the hour and minute where Mongo came aboard with an OK3 underlined, following much proclamation and encouragement of Paddles. Upon rolling to a stop, Mother uttered a sigh of relief and secured from flight delivery quarters.

Ah, now see? Darkness has fallen, and like many creatures, the urge to enter a state of nocturnal slumber suits us. We shall indulge. Blessed be those who indulge. Blessed be all they who stop by.

A strange dichotomy this is…

…that for the last several nights I have watched the last three “Harry Potter” films, along with, on two occasions, the movie “Act of Valor”. Movies of conflict and war, one presented as fiction and the other based on real events. Terrifyingly real events.

I’m a die hard fan of Harry and his friends, having now seen all the movies and read all but the last book. Jo Rowling did herself proud in my opinion, as did the crews and actors who participated in the movie productions. There is no small embodiment of dreams and hope in Ms. Rowling’s work, and I’m grateful she held true to her convictions throughout. Some had hoped for a more fanciful ending, where good triumphed over evil somewhat bloodlessly, but such was not the case. People died, some  with nary a struggle. Dobby the Elf died. That sucked and I about lost it. We see it all the time in real life, and for Jo Rowling it could be no different as both the book and movie series went on.

“Act of Valor” Wow. Back in the day, I saw “First Blood” with Sly Stallone a dozen times in its first week in theater. That’s how much I enjoyed it, and how deeply the plight of Vietnam Veterans sank in. Some saw “First Blood” as self-aggrandizing, self-serving bullsh!t. You know something? Let them. For what it’s worth, the movie is a fitting tribute, of sorts, to those who served bravely and came home afterward largely disowned by their country. A shame we may never live down.

No movie since “First Blood” has had the same effect on me. Until now. “Act of Valor” rekindles that which was ignited so many years ago, thoughtful and grateful consideration toward those who sign blank checks for the value of their service. Pretty good action, laced with an underlying theme of Jihadi’s seeking to spread their hatred throughout the world. More importantly there is the message in “Act of Valor” that good men stand prepared to go in harm’s way to fend off such hatred. Men who sometimes die, men who are utterly committed to giving their all. We find such beings in all walks of life, whether they be Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley, LT Engel, LT Murphy, Petty Officer Michael Mansoor, Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, or some bloke who simply gets up and goes to work each day. The question was once asked “Where do we get such men?” Answer? Here at home in America. Men and women born here, coming from every corner of the nation. The priceless jewels in our crown.

I thought the “something wicked this way comes” theme of the movie a relevant one, most especially because I currently find myself in the highly traveled southern Arizona drug and human trafficking zone. Lots of unknowns make their way through this area, most of them unchallenged. The idea scares me at times, as much because the majority have become so comfortable with the traffic as because we do not know who or what this way comes. “If it doesn’t touch me, it’s not mine to worry about.” {sigh} Not true, but who am I to intrude?

I thought I might be going somewhere with this post earlier, but now find myself wanting to simply publish it. That I continue is born of the angst coming out of knowledge that we find ourselves in perilous times.

Having awakened early, I found myself reading a post regarding a pending Small Arms Treaty to be signed at the United Nations in July.

By our President.

Without Congressional approval.

Without the occasion being made general public knowledge.

We the People are not invited to this party.

Notwithstanding the Second Amendment guarantee that the right to keep and arm bears shall not be infringed. Not rescinded, mind you. Infringed.

First reference came from an article written by Reuters in October of 2009, and I thought “dated and probably meaningless now”. That is until further poking around on ye olde inter-webs produced this: UNODA – United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. I read through the points, and I was not pleased by what I saw. While there is a valid concern about arms and munitions being illegally transported and sold to a number of global cesspools, with considerable international effort going into necessary restrictions against such activity, yet there is a larger scope of constraint and restriction being planned. Historically, any nation or governing body seeking to “make it safer for all” through arms control, has invariably resorted to rescission of private ownership and confiscation of small arms.

Required markings (redundant in the case of most manufacturers worldwide) and tracking (which implies exactly what?). Tracking implying one is being tracked…the eyes of the {fill in the blank} are upon us. Yes? Color me paranoid, if you like, but doesn’t such a practice fall into the category of ‘unwarranted search’? Search then leading to seizure? Probable cause becomes nothing more than suspicion given voice? Perhaps the Bill of Rights was transformed into the Bill of Privileges, and some of us missed that newsworthy event. I don’t know. Throw me a bone here. Someone. Anyone.

President George W. Bush had it right when he declared that such power and authority remain the purview of national government, not that of a global body operating under consensus. Thomas Jefferson, as some will recall, warned against governance by consensus (we call it democracy), declaring it dangerous because of the fickle nature of the people involved (the voting public, who are all too often driven by emotion over reason). Hence, we are a Republic. We are to be governed by elected officials who shall not be fickle. Yes, I know, we’re not a perfect implementation. Nevertheless, our government stands on the basis of governance through reason.

Perhaps any nation may become a signatory to the Small Arms Treaty as they choose, with the exception that ours may not. We may not, we shall not, surrender either power or authority authorized our government to any foreign body or potentate. Yes, dear reader, that includes the United Nations. We shall remain sovereign. Them’s the roolz of the United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

This post could go on and become a volume’s worth of conjecture on my part,  but I think you get (I hope you do) that events are transpiring/conspiring to quit us of one of our most basic Constitutional freedoms. We have a national election coming up, so there is a lot of focus and mud slinging in that arena. We have the House of Representatives pursuing Attorney General Eric Holder over Operation Fast and Furious. We are buried up to our noses in economic woes, with the sum of the legislative body flailing about. Yet, we hear nothing from the government about an international treaty that will have a tremendous effect on the Second Amendment. Zip. Zero. Crickets. An event as important as this, and President Obama has nothing to say. The Senate has nothing to say. The House has, say it with me, nothing…to…say.

I’ll be damned if I don’t find that odd. Don’t you?

Again, the angst of these perilous times. Something wicked, indeed, this way comes .