Saturday, July 31, 2010

Where Did That Come From?

So there I am, out in the pasture hitting golf balls with the Young'un like every other red-blooded American grandpa, when we heard the sound of a jet flying low and slow. Luckily I was carrying my iPhone, so I pulled it out and fired up the camera, just in time to see this monster clear the trees to the south east.

I snagged a couple of shots, which gives you some idea of how slow it was going.

I remember when these first went into the air in the early 70's. GE in Cincinnati made the engines, so the Air Force flew one into Lunken Airport so the guys who made the engines could see the final product. They were allowing folks to walk through the plane, so it was a BIG deal.

Dad took us over to see the largest thing to ever take to the air, and we couldn't get near it. Not just the plane; we couldn't even get near the airport.

But I do remember the sight of it from the road; surrounded by people who looked to be about as tall as the wheels. EVERYTHING around it was dwarfed, including the hangers, meant for small aircraft. Aircraft that could danm near fly through the cargo bay of a C-5.

While I was in the Air Force I spent the first couple of years on a SAC base, and didn't think I would see anything larger than a B-52 that could actually take to the air.

The I went to a MAC base, and ran into the C-5 again, up close.

WOW; what a massive mountain of magnesium! To think there is enough power in the universe to get this thing in the air empty, much less loaded with 135 tons of men and material.

If you don't think this is a great country, seek out a C-5 and watch it take off. That is technological might my friend.

Friday, July 30, 2010

And Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them

I may have mentioned that I have an interest in History, and that I work in a historical building; a building whose history I am intimately involved in discovering, documenting and preserving.

Part of that history started 400 years ago. In 1610, in a village in England a son was born. His parents named him James. When he was 22 he emigrated to the North American colonies and settled in Virginia. His son James, his grandson James and his great-grandson James all lived in that same area of Virginia. His great-grandson fought alongside George Washington in two wars, including the one that made Virginia a part of a new nation in the 1780’s. His great-great-grandson James moved to the new state of Kentucky and began a new dynasty.

James number 5 became a military man as well, and had a son James, and a grandson James, number 7 in the line. James the seventh died young, leaving young James the eighth and his sister fatherless. James’ widow moved her young family to Tennessee, to be with her people. James number 8 immigrated to Texas, leaving his Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee roots behind. His son, ninth in a line extending back 300 years left Texas for Colorado, where James the tenth grew up.

This James led quite a life. An Eagle Scout and graduate of West Point, he retired from the Army a full Colonel- after serving 4 years in the South Pacific during WWII, and every other corner of the globe the Army could send him- and 30 plus years of service (including his first parachute jump at the age of forty). Then on to a second career in business and a second retirement in South Carolina. But no James number eleven.

Last month those 400 years of history ended. I never met the man that carried 400 years of history lightly on his shoulders, but we did correspond some and shared a phone call or two. He was personally responsible for almost a quarter of those 400 years himself. At the age of 95 he was mentally alert , wrote with a clear hand and quick with his data. And rightfully proud of his ancestry, which extended another 600 years beyond 1610, through French and English royalty to that great Norman, William the Conqueror.

Folks began to collect autographs as mementos of people the met, folks whom the rest of the world would know, as proof of their brushes with greatness. I have a different measure of greatness. Famous and infamous are two sides of the same coin for me. Greatness to me doesn’t always equate with famous. It’s kind of like the old camel through the eye of a needle concept; it’s easier to be famous than it is to be great and famous, and usually being famous is a more a bar to greatness than a prerequisite.

When it comes to my brushes with greatness, the last James has become my new benchmark.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What a Sunday, Part Duex

After I managed to get a post up I realized that KET has Masterpiece Theater on.

Hercule Poirot and Murder on the Orient Express.

Double Score.

And just for the record, yes, I am still humming Buffet.

What A Sunday!

Okay; this week sucked.

Our computers were down at work; the weather was too hot, my father-in-law had surgery on Wednesday and we had a death in the family on Thursday.

This week was bad.

I was looking forward to Friday night. Friday night is my unwind night. Slip into the comfys and drink beer; that is my Friday.

Pop-in-law is still in the hospital and The Wife needs a ride Friday night. Plus, we have the Young'un and she needs to be home at 8:30.

We didn't get back to the house from our errands until 9:30. So much for my comfys and beer.

Well, there is always Saturday.

Yeah, well; about Saturday.

Saturday morning I moved 200 bales of hay for my sister, did a few things around the house and just when it was BEER:30 I found out I need to take The Wife to the hospital again.

While we were there I realized my right elbow was swollen and on the way home we stopped by the Urgent Care for a little medical exam. They really didn't help; it's Saturday night and I can't bend my beer drinkin' arm for crap's sake! A couple of prescriptions and they sent e home.

At 9:30.

One beer and off to bed.

Sunday is not normally one of my beer drinkin' days.

But at 7:00, just by happenstance, I turned on the TV and started surfing.

And ran into a Jimmy Buffet concert- live from the Gulf Coast of Alabama.

I have spent the last hour and a half in my recliner; drinkin' beer and watching Jimmy Buffet perform some of his biggest hits.

If somebody would have bonked me in the head with an inflatable shark I would have thought was there. I had the surround sound cranked and the beer was flowing.


Now I'm ready for Monday.

Come Monday, it'll be alright, come Monday I'll be holding you tight...

Sorry; for a minute there I was gone to the Bahamas...

Oh what the Hell...

Wastin' away again in Margaritaville...
Lookin' for my lost shaaaker of salt...

(Don't mind me; I'll be here all night)

Some people claim...

Spies in the State Department is Not News

I found this, as usual, thorugh Instapundit.

I haven't been following this episode very closely. Aren't Russian spies, like, so Eighties?

Even finding them in the State Department is as old as McCarthy fer cryin' out loud.

But what caught my eye in this article is that under his assumed name one of these spies earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2000. And Harvard is debating whether or not to revoke the degree.

My question:

Was it difficult for an avowed Communist to earn this degree?

If there is any accademic rigor in this place at all, then this degree requird hours of classwork, tests, papers and most likely classroom discussion.

I have no idea if he did well; Hell, we can't even get Obama's grades out of Harvard. State secrets? No problem; delivered in the morning mail. But unlike our latest technology and war plans, Harvard Grades are important. But; I digress.

This Spy did well enough to graduate.

When an avowed Communist can graduate from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, what does THAT say about Harvard?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And Proclaim Liberty Through Out The Land

Everybody knows the Liberty Bell has a crack.

Have you ever thought about the crack as an analogy for liberty itself?

Perfect Liberty is flawed; just as the Bell is.

If we are allowed the ability to act freely, then we must take responsibility, and face the consequences of our acts. And some acts have severe repercussions.

And acts can’t be withdrawn. You can’t unring a bell; can you? (Come on; you knew I’d go there.)

Liberty is not perfect. We trade some liberty for security daily. The freedom to drive as we please is traded for the security of licensing and traffic laws. The absolute freedom of speech is traded for the security of false cries of ‘Fire’. Some liberties are curtailed; others lost completely, sacrificed on the altar of security.

Should we have perfect liberty? Could we handle it? Laws are passed that curtail one individual’s liberty, while granting extra liberty to others. Every smoking ban takes away the liberty of a property owner to do as he wishes with his property, while granting an extra liberty to those who abhor tobacco smoke.

Some merely restrict liberty and only grant a false sense of security; like gun control statutes.

So back to the Liberty Bell and its famous crack. The Bell swung free until 1846, when the crack rendered the bell useless as a free swinging bell. Since then it has only been tolled, or struck with out swinging. Prior to then it was rung on many occasions. But as the years roll on it has even been tolled less; usually on very special days.

Kind of like the way we treat liberty itself today. We drag it out and display the fact that we are free to do this or that, but fail to remember we once were able to this, that and the other thing, and that other thing besides. We don’t lament the liberty we have lost; only celebrate the small one we have left.

And we forget the wars that have kept that liberty safe for us. Maybe that is why we have lost the drive to protect our freedom; we look around and see so little of it left.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ya Gotta Go With The Facts, Part II

I had a comment on my previous post from my Fellow John Wayne fan and blogger Trooper York that required a better answer than I wanted to give as a comment.

So I made a whole post out of it.

This too will pass.

You are old enough to remember Jimmy Carter. The problem is too many hipster doofus types are not. Add that to 100% of the black vote, Republicans staying home because they hated John McCain and the type of liberal like the evil blogger lady who just wanted to give the nice clean cut black guy a chance and you have the accidental Obama Presidency.

Sometimes it has to hit bottom before you can turn it around.

Yes Trooper, I remember Carter.

I also remember who brought us out of that malaise.

Where is our 2012 Reagan? The person who can appeal not only to the right but the middle?

Hell, most Republicans don’t even appeal to the whole GOP.

And we are dependent on the GOP picking that viable candidate in 2012. Not another Bob Dole; not another John McCain; not another Gerald Ford.

Do you see why I’m worried?

The polls I saw today show the top three as Palin, Huckabee and Romney.

Personally, I like Palin. But she is very divisive; some folks I’ve talked to have an unreasonable, visceral hatred of her; people who I would have thought would have been a fan of hers. In that way Palin is like Reagan; nobody I’ve ever talked to was neutral on either of them. Absolute love or visceral hatred.

Palin also does not have 100% support from the GOP. But then neither did Reagan.

Huckabee may have some Republican support, but a lot of folks are lukewarm. Personally; I can take him or leave him. Can he beat Obama? Today? Jimmy Carter could probably beat Obama in the Democratic primaries; that’s how low Obama has sunk.

But we’re not talking today; were talking 2 years from now; when we may have two more years of Obama with a Republican controlled Legislature. That may make a difference; especially if Obama wises up and starts moving toward the center.

Yeah, I know; fat chance of that.

Romney; what can I say about Romney? There is the ‘cold fish ‘perception of him that may or may not be true, an d he is from Massachusetts, so you have to wonder if he is conservative enough to for some folks, or just not as liberal as the rest of the state.

Besides, he hasn’t ignited the base in the last 10 years, why would he in the next two?

And then, in 2006, who would have thought Obama would be squatting in the White House?

Suggesting that the newly elected junior Senator from Illinois would be President probably would have been sufficient evidence to have you committed to the loony bin in 2006. 2008 was Hillary!’s year, remember?

So maybe we do have a Republican Moses, out there ready to lead the GOP out if the wilderness; someone not yet in the public eye.

I sure hope so. We can’t afford even 2 mores of the Democrats being in charge, much less 6 more.

And about the 'Evil Blogger Lady'; her opinions are important because she is a swing voter, not a party ideologue. What caused her (and her ilk) to vote for Bush? What caused her to vote Obama? finding out the answers will probably be more important to the 2010 and 2012 elections than whatever you or I think Trooper.