Taxing Days

Finally got those taxes filed.  Spring came in, then went away, so we are back to schlepping water to frozen water bowls.  But, trees are blooming and there are hints of better days ahead.

Maybe after this crushing Winter we will get back to sharing the opinions of a couple of aging veterans.  There must be someone out there whose life would  be enriched by more regular infusions of postings here.  (Hey!  Having delusions is fashionable this year!)

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Where to Begin?

There is so much going on these days. Much of it is worthy of comment, after serious thought and contemplation.

It’s winter. It’s cold. Hibernation is very inviting. Time spent with a good book just seems so much more enticing than thinking or writing this week.

Yes. That is what I will do. Read a book. After schlepping some hot water to fill the critters’ bowls. We will think about the state of the world tomorrow. (Can you tell that “Gone With the Wind” was televised earlier this week?)

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Chemical Spill Begs Answers

There is a fiasco of the first order going on in West Virginia.  Today is Day Four of the continuing saga.  A brief summary of things so far:

Day 1:  A chemical sprayed on coal to supposedly make it cleaner mysteriously finds its way into the water supply for the capitol city, Charleston, and surrounding communities.  Apparently a 38,000 gallon tank of this stuff leaks (maybe due to age of the tank, maybe a rupture from the recent sub-zero ambient temps, maybe both, maybe something else) an unknown quantity of itself into a catch basin which does not contain it.  No one seems to know what the stuff is, how hazardous it might be, or how it got into the water supply.

The governor dismisses the legislature and local officials begin hand wringing.  An order goes out for no one to use water except to flush toilets and fight fires.  Meanwhile, many folks with computers have already determined that this is not a particularly hazardous material, one that no one really should drink or bath in, but less hazardous than chlorine, which is routinely added to the public water supplies.

Restaurants are ordered to remain closed.

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Magnum Opus? Nah.

Been watching back-to-back episodes of Magnum P.I.

Why? Well this time of year seeing Hawaii is a plus, for one thing.

Background: We lived in Hawaii while this series was being made, just not on Oahu. Although I did met Jack Lord from Hawaii 50 (the original one) a time or two we’d moved to Kauai before this series aired.

The writing is a bit glib, but mostly fun. They had no cell phones! Imagine that?

BUT! The thing that keeps me looking forward to the next one is the way the scripts treat Nam vets.

These aren’t generally emotionally crippled guys although their experiences certainly shaped them. Even the one episode that had a vet living in a jungle hut was kind. The Wife and I knew/met several guys very much like this character.

Other media had already begun using THAT brush to color us all.

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Memories from 1972

We who remember December 1972 do so with very mixed emotions each year.  A friend forwarded a short essay today by POW Mike Benge discussing the Christmas lights over Hanoi that year.  His words brought up so many thoughts, some screaming to be shared.

But instead, I offer the words of those who were involved in Operation Linebacker II.  Their thoughts on the subject are much more important than mine.  While at that site, may I suggest looking at the links for additional reading?

While enjoying this season, may we also remember those who sacrificed all for us, and for those POW’s in Hanoi 41 years ago.

“Linebacker II… it wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back, it was the sledgehammer that hit the camel in the head where he should’ve been hit back in 1964… every prisoner believes that.”   Jeremiah A. Denton, Jr.

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Happy Holidays!

Has it been nearly a month since anyone posted something here?  It’s difficult to believe that no one has an opinion about anything, but sometimes life just gets in the way of sharing it with others.

We are here once again at a major holiday which has been our national heritage to celebrate without regard to religious views, ancestral origins, or any other identifying factor.  It’s just one of those American holidays we all grew up with and enjoyed.  Church attendance was not necessary, although, a hundred years ago or so, nearly everyone did attend one church or another, usually whatever was handy.  Yes, I know from several Jewish friends that their ancestors did as well because churches were the centers of community back in the day.

Whatever your own traditions, I do wish everyone a healthy and productive season.  As the chill in the air typically keeps us less mobile, it is also a great time to reflect on where we are, who we are, and how we fit into the greater scheme of things.  Or maybe that’s just me.  Or maybe that’s next week, for the New Year.

Happy Holidays, all!

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Time for Thanksgiving!

Whether today means watching parades, reading a good book, following some football or something else entirely, most of us will enjoy a huge meal in the company of people about whom we care a great deal.  Sometime during the day we might even reflect upon some things for which we are thankful.

This uniquely American holiday is steeped in religious overtones.  This year the date even coincides with the beginning of Chanukah, an event none of us has seen before or will again.  But, there are plenty of events around the day which require no religiosity at all.

Being grateful for what we have is healthy for us.  Thanking people for what they do for us is polite.  Seeing the good around us is a choice we can all make.

This year I choose to see what is good.  And there is plenty of good in my neighborhood, my town, even around my country.  I am grateful for all of it, especially when I realize that too often I focus on things which are not.  Today I am looking at what makes me happy and what feeds my soul and plan to do more of it tomorrow and the day after that.

Is it too early to make a New Year’s resolution?

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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Veterans Day 2013

This is the day we honor those who served in our military forces.  It doesn’t matter how we served, where or when, all veterans are honored for the part we played in the defense of this country.

Honor comes in all shapes and sizes, and from many sources.  Whether it is with a parade, a free meal, a quiet day, or being at work, may each and every veteran enjoy this day.

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Really? Everyone Lies?

Something has been bothering me for a few days that has had me scratching my head, pondering the meaning of life, and some other stuff as well.  Some of it may even have some intellectual depth, but if so, it is entirely by accident.  Or maybe not.  Maybe it comes from one of those shared memory things from past lives, previous generations, or something else for which we mere mortals have thoroughly inadequate explanation.

A fellow poster of comments at another milblog recently made the statement “everyone lies.”  Is that really a commonly held belief?  Is it even true, or true in many communities, now?  It was not true in the world in which I was raised and it is not now true in the world in which I live.  Of course, some people do lie with a good degree of regularity.  Some people even lie when it would be easier to tell the truth.  Lies are something we expect from some segments of society, but has lying really become something which is so cavalierly accepted?

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Million Vet March

It was a chilly, damp morning.  By the time I got there about 8:20 am, someone had already removed and stacked the barriers from around the World War Two Memorial.  Lots of people,  500 to 1000 or so(I’m a little out of practice estimating crowd size, and this one was pretty spread out), were already there with more arriving every minute.  Motor cycles everywhere.

After strolling around the WWII Memorial, I headed toward the Wall.  It was quiet along the way, and I discovered what portends to be my symbol of this entire shutdown fiasco – the public restroom near Constitution Gardens had the lights turned on but the doors were locked.  OK – perhaps we could save some money by not allowing folks to flush the toilets or wash their hands, but with the lights on?

After catching a glimpse of the Wall, and seeing that someone had removed the barriers to it also, I headed back to the WWII Memorial.  The crowd size had at least tripled with more folks pouring in.  People were milling around.  Some wore an indication of prior service in the form of a ball cap or a T shirt.  Others wore an old article of uniform.  Some signs, but mostly just ordinary Americans showing a patriotic desire to restore our open air memorials to free passage and exploration.

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