Friday, April 28, 2006

More Evidence


Please tell me there is a decent politician in this country.




House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a news conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006 to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to their official cars to drive the few blocks back to the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Let's Just Start a Series of Resolutions


Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya responded to talk about action against Iran by saying:

''There are a lot of problems in the region and we should not do anything that would cause the situation to become even more complicated,'' said Wang when asked about sanctions.''Whenever Chapter 7 is invoked this will not be the end of the resolutions. This will usually be the beginning of a series of resolutions.''
WTF? So exactly how many resolutions does one need to be convinced that giving a psychotic delusional killer (ahem, Saddam) the ability to develop weapons to wipe countries off the face of the earth is a bad idea??

We gave resolutions to Iraq. We've given "warnings" all over the globe and, if they're bad enough, they don't give a shit. It's worthless overpaid babies politicians like this that let things go so far that we end up having to do what we're doing in Iraq--after thousands of innocent deaths.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Heartwarming Story


Saw this story on ESPN last night. It's about a 13 year old girl named Dakoda Dowd who's mother has been diagnosed with cancer twice in the past few years, and this time it's terminal. The girl is an avid golfer with dreams of someday playing professionally, and it has been her mother's dream to see her daughter play on the LPGA tour. The club sponsoring the Ginn Clubs and Resorts Open gave her an exemption to play in the tournament this weekend so her Mom could see her play.

On Tuesday she played a practice round with two the LPGA's best, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer, to get her ready for the event.

Amazing story.

Incidentally, she's holding her own with the big dogs--shooting one over par on her first round. Follow her score here.


Standards


Ahhh...

Woke up today with my belly feeling like Natalie Gublis on a dewey summer morning. Bad news is that SW woke up with it attacking her--so I guess it was a virus rather than food poisoning. Either way, I'm back.

Monkies had their first real Tae Kwon Do test yesterday. With kids being this age, I guess there really isn't a way to fail these tests. The bonus was that Princess was in the top two of the group of about 25 kids, getting invited to go on to a more advanced level of training. Unfortunately there's a down side--Cowboy wasn't invited, probably due to his age/size. So the dilemma now appears: do we allow Princess to get this "extra" training while not allowing Cowboy to do the same? He didn't seem to notice anything special about his big sister being called up to the front for her special recognition after the test--although the first thing she said was that she was disappointed that Cowboy wasn't brought along.

Another issue I have here is her interest level. Right now it's super-high. Ironic--because the only reason we got her into this was because we had gotten her brother into it. Moving her on in the advanced training is another coupla hundred bills for the equipment, plus a surcharge every month. But if she were to actually stick with this, she (and her brother, should he stick with it) could be a Black Belt before she was a teenager. Very cool.

Next subject--during the test there was this kid that got me thinking. Whereas most of the other kids were demonstrating to the crowd of parents behind them the newfound discipline and exceptional behavior they had developed, this kid was out of control. I mean seriously out of control. Even the instructor, during the kid's test, had issues trying to calm this kid down from laughing and generally being a good advertisement for Ritalin. Of course, he passed the test and moved on--either due to the instructors not wanting to fail one kid out of 20 (there was one kid who spazzed and was too scared to take the test, so he failed) or because everyone had to pay $35 per kid to take the test and they didn't want to lose their money. What was getting me the most was that while this kid was yucking it up during a formal test, his parents in the crowd were laughing at him, which just encouraged it. Every other parent there was probably thinking what we were--that we'd be absolutely mortified to have our monkies act like that.

It genuinely perplexes me--how what is perfectly acceptable to some parents is so far out in left field to others. I'm not talking how some kids say "yes, ma'am" to their mothers while others say "yeah"--I'm talking seriously whacked behavior that some people just think is natural. It carries on into adulthood. I see people at the mall acting like complete jackasses--in groups--and it seems perfectly OK to them. I guess it's just part of life, that the standards of behavior among people are so diverse. It's too bad that voicing your opinions about it aren't as acceptable.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Looking to What's Within


Apparently the kick-ass spaghetti sauce that I made on Sunday has a short shelf life.

I am dealing with some pretty brutal, but undecisive, food-poisoning right now and will retreat from the Blogosphere for the day. Swing by 7 Deadly Sins for a good read today.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Michelle's Vent


Up next at Hot Air--Mary McCarthy, Kerry, and Hillary's "Smart Fence."

If you can't tell, I love this website.

Monday, April 24, 2006

"Hot Air"


One of my favorite websites out there, Michelle Malkin, has started a video-blogging website called "Hot Air." It's awesome, and a telling view of the future of blogging.

If it does end up being the future, I'm screwed--because there's no way I could put together a daily blog like this one.

Check it out.

,

Egypt Blasts


Who in their right mind still thinks that this is purely a war on Islam from the West?



CAIRO (Reuters) - Three explosions shook the Egyptian Sinai resort of Dahab on Monday and smoke could be seen rising from the town's tourist bazaar,
witnesses said. At least 12 people were killed and more than 90 were wounded, Al Jazeera television reported.

"The victims and the wounded are being taken to hospitals," Jazeera's correspondent in Cairo told the Doha based television. Residents said they saw body parts and debris on the street after an explosion at a restaurant.

A local emergency services official said he knew of five dead and 60 wounded. "We have five killed and 60 wounded so far ... The number is likely to rise," said the official, who did not want to be named.

"There is smoke coming from the area and there are people running everywhere," said the witness, who did not want to be named. The explosions were heard about 7:15 p.m. local time (1315 EDT) on Monday, part of a five-day spring holiday in Egypt, the witness said.
Read the full story here.

UPDATE: Vital Perspective is live blogging the crisis here.

Gangster Hotdogs


If you ever want to feel better about yourself, take a trip to your local county fair when it comes to town.

I don't recall going to any of these growing up, so my assumption is that it's primarily a southern activity. Since it had been touted on TV and in school for so long, we rounded up the monkies and headed to the home of fried twinkies and gangsta hotdogs this weekend.

I'm fairly sure I was one of the few high school graduates that spent their weekend at the Pima County Fair. The thing that kills me is how much of a ripoff the place actually is. We spent over $100 for pretty much nothing beyond some reall great laughs at the populace and some fun on rides for the kiddos.

Step Right Up...

They did have a blast, though. This was the first year that Princess was tall enough to go on pretty much every ride, though we held her back because it would mean that Cowboy had to sit and watch. So we limited oursleves to the rides that they both could go on. We met a couple of milestones--the slide in the picture is the first time they've gone on an amusement park event by themselves, and they managed to slip under the wire to get on their first real ride (some spider-looking thing--my only concern was Cowboy's potential to hurl, which would have resulted in a steady spray for 360 degrees due to the centrifugal force; funny, but undesireable). I also had the distinct opportunity to eat fried cookie-dough on a stick, which will go down in history as one of the top five nastiest things I have ever passed between my lips.

All in all, we had fun. Not something I would want to do more than once a year, but fun nonetheless.

Things to look for in the event that you go to a County Fair:

1) The guy emptying a lemonade dispenser into a paint bucket--and then pouring it back into the dispenser.
2) The 300 pound, four-tooth woman wearing the skin-tight shirt that says "fiesty."
3) The two-year old with a full mullet.
4) Fried Snickers Bars, Twinkies, Banannas, Peppers, and Cheese
5) The cute, unrestrained elephant with the flowers around her head (as you read that the most dangerous animal in the circus is the elephant)


Friday, April 21, 2006

A Hero Passes


One of my heroes died yesterday.

Scott Crossfield was among my childhood heroes...one who pushed the limits of aviation simply because he could. He was to be one of the true "cowboys" of aviation--eventually becoming the first person to break Mach 2 (a record which Chuck Yeager promptly surpassed).

He was portrayed by Scott Wilson in the movie The Right Stuff, one of my all-time favorite films.

Although I am sad to see his passing, he went in a manner that I think most pilots, when their time comes, would like to go--in a fireball rather than a hospital bed. He was a legend among the few I consider to be legendary in my profession.

Partly due to his specific loss, what I fear this marks is the beginning of the passing of those heroes from the 40's, 50's, and 60's. What is truly sad is that when you ask kids today who these guys are, noone knows anymore. Noone from this generation, and few from my own, knows who Neil Armstrong, Chuck Yeager, John Glenn, or any of those people are. The view WWII vets as "not a big deal."

Hopefully in schools they're showing these movies, such as The Right Stuff and Saving Private Ryan, and hopefully some teachers are out there trying to get these kids to appreciate people such as Scott Crossfield.

Rest in Peace, cowboy. You've earned it.

,

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thursday 13





1) The confused look on Odie's face every morning that says "What the hell? I'm still here?"

2) Golfing.

3) That half-hour ride into work on my Harley in 72 degree clear weather. Nothing like it in the world.

4) Building something in my garage that actually turns out to resemble what it's supposed to.

5) Watching the monkies in their Tae Kwon Do class.

6) Plasma screen TV's.

7) Playstation Portables.

8) The new "Battlestar Galactica" TV Series--if you haven't seen it, you have to.

9) Leftover Easter candy.

10) Blogging.

11) The "thump thump thump" I hear from the upstairs at around 0645 every morning when I'm in front of my computer, signalling that Cowboy has migrated from his room to ours.

12) Tucson weather.

13) Getting a good song going on my mp3 player when I'm running (even as slow as I currently am).




No Tears in Heaven


It's a little late, but I just found this story on Sgt. Hook's blog. Awesome read--but bring your tissues. Another good response to those trying so hard to discredit the military.
Brian Velleux felt his face flush with anger but held it in check after a reassuring look from Sergeant Williams. Taking a deep breath before answering, the young Soldier said, “With all due respect sir, my life was not wasted. My life was spent defending your right to publish articles in your newspaper criticizing my life. My life made a difference in providing the very freedoms you take for granted to a group of people who still don’t understand what freedom means. My life ended while saving a school full of young Afghan girls from an IED that was meant to kill them all. My life was not wasted sir.”
Read the whole thing here.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Last Night's Dream


I dream pretty much every night. Generally I don't remember it at all the next morning, unless it is one of my recurring dreams.

I have two that drop in at least once a month, sometimes once a week. I don't understand either, what they mean, or why I have them so often. It has been going on for years.

The first is related to school: I somehow have to go back to my alma mater as a student. After having been in the military for many years, I'm considered an old fart there, but I'm still a student with no responsibility. I always seem to have a feeling that I left something there unfinished (often the reason I'm back is due to my needing one more class to keep my degree). Strange.

The second is the more common one. I witness a plane crash, usually from behind some kind of a fence or a window. Last night the Lucky clan was in a small airport in a foreign country for some reason, and I watched a two-engine commuter try to land and blow past the runway. Off the departure end was a highway overpass. The plane flipped 360 degrees, and looked like it was going to make it (I remember thinking "wow, good move"). Then it's nose pitched up, and the tail struck the overpass. The tail sheared off, and the plane nosed down out of sight and exploded. I woke up as the emergency vehicles (two helicopters and three trucks) were racing to the scene.

Unlike most of my other dreams, my memory of these is extremly vivid. I've always wondered what they meant, or if they were some kind of foreboding.

Weird.

Pure Unrefined Evil


Anyone who thinks we should pull out of Iraq should read this.

Those murderous, sadistic, bastards. Anyone who has seen Hotel Rwanda should have a basic idea of what the consequences of ignoring this type of evil are. It is our responsibility to be there becuase we are human beings and we are the only capable force in the world that has a chance against these horrible creatures.

,

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Defining Moments


A movie that I love that didn't do very well at the theaters is "Tin Cup" with Kevin Costner. In the movie there is a favorite quote of mine that I used to tell my students--that when faced with a "defining moment, and when a defining moment comes along, you define the moment... or the moment defines you."

Quite often, in the military, the ones who do well are the ones that have been presented with defining moments and recognized them--seized them, and took advantage of them to shape their lives. These moments are seared into your mind and live with you forever. They're not always dramatic or momentous occasions--sometimes they are just simple acts that have dramatic impact. Most of the time, for me, anyway, you don't even really recognize them until they have already passed--hopefully when you do see them, you have made the right decisions.

In the summer of my junior year in college ROTC students go to a five week "basic training" course called "field training." This course is designed to shove students that have a basic idea of military life into a high-pressure environment to see who emerges as a leader, and to teach everyone the basic tents of leadership. It is possible to just coast through, as pretty much everyone graduates. But to get what you wanted out of school (in my case, a slot for pilot training) you have to do well.

Before I left my commander, a crusty old Colonel at the end of his career, pulled me aside. He had seen me excelling in The Citadel's military environment but knew that my grades (at the time, a 2.3 GPA) were nowhere close to what would get me a pilot slot. He made me a promise that changed my life forever--"if you get Distinguished Graduate (top 5%) out of field training, I'll cash in whatever chips I have and get you your pilot slot."

Read On...


I never worked harder to prepare for anything more in my life. After school got out I sprinted two miles in the morning, and two at night, every day for two months. I studied everything I could on the rules, history, and conduct of what it meant to be an Air Force officer. Unlike many of my Citadel brethren, who saw field training as a waste of their summer since they had already done this for their entire freshman year, I sucked any pride I had down to prepare to be yelled at by older cadets who had never seen the inside of a military school. And on July 9th, 1992, I stepped off the bus at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas into 105 degree heat and faced the drill instructors and cadet training officers with my head held high.

Chaos reigned in those first few moments. Military Training Instructors normally only get to yell at young high school kids who were lower ranking than they were. We were older, and officer condidates. The MTI's loved this time of year. Cadets passed out left and right due to the heat. Eventually, they coralled us into groups of 20 and formed us into "flights," the quivalent of a platoon in the Air Force. In FT, since it is a leadership training environment, the cadets filled practically all of the leadership positions for 4 days at a time. After the first group, the training officers picked the leaders. Towards the end, the cadets picked them from the ranks. On this first day, though, noone was picked. We stood at attention in our group, with noone in charge. 20 other groups did the same, with everyone just kind of in limbo.

Our first task was to go to the chow hall to get water since so many people were fainting from the heat. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the MTI's ripping into the flight next to us. I could literally feel the fear of the majority of my flightmates who had never been in this type of an environment before. The flight next to us started to unilaterally move in the direction of the chow hall, still with noone in charge. The result was a mass gaggle of individuals, which immediately brought the fury of the MTI's down on them. Suddenly an MTI was on us, screaming at the topof his lungs.

"Why are you still here??? Go to the chow hall!! Now!!!" Noone moved. Only one thought went through my mind at that point. We had to get away from this asshole. Right now.

Thus was presented my defining moment. The moment that set in motion the events that led me to where I am now.

I broke ranks and rushed to the front of the group. Since I had been drilling for two years at this point, plus the years prior in the Civil Air Patrol in high school, moving formations was a no-brainer for me. With the MTI screaming in my ear as to who the hell I thought I was jumping in front of the group, "what, do you think you're better? Who put you in charge freak? Get the hell back in formation!!" I shouted as loudly as I could over the mayhem.

"Right face!" The formation turned right. I honestly didn't even know where the chow hall was. I just knew we had to move. It was a 50/50 shot--and I got it right. "Forward march!"

Among 19 other flights moving aimlessly through the parade ground, we marched, somewhat in unison, out of the fray. As we moved past the other flights, they caught a clue and followed suit, eventually falling in behind us. When it was safe, one of my flightmates, who had been here before, quietly nodded in the direction we were going at a building in the distance. "That's the chow hall. Take us over there."

From that point on I was in charge for the first four days. The screaming never stopped, but the flight at least had a direction to move in. Over the next five weeks, several other defining moments arrived that I seized upon, not knowing until after they happened how important they were.

In my closet at home I have a stack of plaques that mean the world to me--the awards that I have won over my not-so-illustrious 11 year career. In that pile is the smallest of the lot--a 6x8 plaque with an eagle on it and my name. At the bottom are inscribed one of my most meaningful achievements in my life:

"Distinguished Gradute."


Monday, April 17, 2006

Springtime


I absolutely love this time of year.

I'm not a huge sports fan, but there are several sports things that I am damn-near psychotic about. The first is my Sox. I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Boston Red Sox have been a backdrop to almost every event of my life. I played little league baseball all through my childhood (more on that later) and have been a die-hard baseball fan as far back as I can remember. I love playing fantasy baseball, wear my Sox baseball hat pretty much everywhere I go, and literally broke into tears when I watched them beat the Yankees in the ALCS two years ago. I took a picture of Cowboy, who was three at the time, smiling in front of the TV mid-way through Game 7 when it became clear that they were going to win--so he can show his kids 25 years from now.

The other sports love I have is golf. Funny thing is is that I suck at it. Usually it's a hobby, an excuse to drink beer at 10 am, a way to get out of work. However, one time a year it becomes an obsession for me--something I go practice every day, work out to get in shape for, watch on TV almost constantly and read every magazine and book I can get my hands on. That time is right about now.

When Princess was born my parents came to town to spend some time with their first grandchild. My Dad and I went out to play golf, something we are always very comeptitive at. We agreed to play five rounds of golf and keep score--kind of a miniature tournament between the two of us. Since Princess was born in mid-June, I jokingly called it the "1st Annual Father's Day Golf Tourney." We did it again the following year. After the third year the tradition stuck, and it has become the event of the year for me. Every year around Father's Day we somehow have managed to get together and play five rounds of golf. We're usually very close in score, but he has always beaten me--even when I led by quite a bit going into the 5th round last year. My hope is that eventually this will include not just us, but my sons and nephews and brother-in-law at some point. I'm telling you--this event is bigger than Christmas for me. Some of the best memories I have had in the last eight years were created on the golf courses at 0600.

So today I'm going to the driving range at lunch. I'll probably go every day that I can for the next two months with the sole thought in my head that this is the year that I finally get the trophy that we say we'll build every year but haven't yet.

It's my favorite time of year.


The Day After Christmas


Back to work.

I am having the same feeling you get on January 2nd...holidays are over, life is destined to slowly return to normal. It's a depressing feeling--so much has happened to me in the last nine months that its weird to think that everything's done now.

I've got a lot of work to do, though. I was one of those guys that uses his wife's pregnancy as an excuse to let himself go and eat all he wants--so I gained back pretty much every pound I've lost in the last year and then some. Well, that excuse is gone now so it's back to the gym I go. BAck to the one-gallon-a-day water intake and salads for lunch. I'm motivated, which is a rarity. SW is too--so maybe once she gets back to 100% we can start running together again. Our marriage is always better when we do that--it guarantees that we spend at least a hlaf-hour a day alone together.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

I Got Smacked


Believe it or not, I have not, in fact, dropped off the face of the earth. I also have not become a full-time Daddy-blogger. Having an 8-pound screaming mass of flesh come crashing into your world, coupled with parents and visitors of all kinds, tends to hold you busy for a while.


I did finally get smacked, almost a month after submitting my site. Decent review, although it would have been nice had they been here when I was active. I promise to get back to my bitching, griping, political old self soon. For right now I'm catching sleep when I can, golfing with my Dad, and just generally enjoying the down-time I got when Odie was born. Saturday the family moves on out, we'll do the Easter thing and life should return to some semblance of normality.

I picked the wrong time to take a break--the political arena has tossed some real grapefruit my way in the form of McKinney and leaks. But I'll deal with them later. For now I have a kid to feed.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Over-protection


I have a feeling that I'm going to be an unbearably overprotective Dad when the monkies hit their teenage years.

Princess was being teased by some punk in her class about a photo button she was wearing of Odie that says "Official Big Sister" on it when I dropped her off at school the other day. My first thought was that the kid couldn't have weighed more than 50 pounds, meaning I could get at least a ten yard toss out of him.

Then today, as I was getting Princess's clothes together for school, I started to pull out shorts and decided that she should wear pants--even though it's supposed to top 90 degrees today.

She's not even seven yet.

Teenager-dom is going to seriously suck.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

What a Day


Man, talk about your "I can't wait to blog this" moments.

No, that wasn't the first thought through my mind as Odie was born.

Once things calmed down, though, the experience certainly lends itself to
material to write about.

Things have been going well so far. The two hours of caffeine-saturated
sleep were not exactly spectacular but Odie is doing well. He's
surprisingly very calm at this point--he nurses, takes a pacifier, and
sleeps a lot. The only issue so far is that he's spitting up a lot of gunk
from being born. He is a carbon copy of his big sister when she was born.

We are certainly looking forward to getting out of here. We're still
coming to terms with the fact that we have three monkies now.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Meet My Son


Benjamin John...born 3 April 2006 @ 1537....8 pounds 7.5 ounces.

:)

Thanks guys...

Epidural


Epi's in...contractions are just a few minutes apart. Should be pushing
soon...


this is an audio post - click to play

Water's Broke


Doc just showed up out of the blue and broke her water. Not very pleasant
for SW. Doc said Odie should be here this afternoon.

I'm on my way back home to get the monkies and grandmas.

We're In


Thank God for small (big) favors. They got us in right under the wire.

They're drugging SW up now, and I'm getting ready to go get the rest of the
clan.

Not Lookin' Good


It's not looking good...if we're not admitted in the next 10 minutes we get
rolled to tomorrow...

Waiting...


Still waiting. The uninterested girls behind the counter said it could be
quite a while.


Launch


The weirdest thing about this so far is the lack of an adrenaline rush.
It's more like going to Target than a birth.

0500: Wakeup.
0700: Car loaded and on our way.

Currently waiting for an open bed @ 0800. I hope we don't get bumped (due
to this being elective).

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Baby Eve


On August 24th of last year I announced to the 3 people reading my blog at the time that my wife and I were expecting our third child.

Well, it's been an interesting ride. Since then I've deployed to the desert and then come back to what was a stranger country to me. My wife has worked until the very last day, and I've become a daily blogger, with quite a few people checking in on me from time to time.

Tomorrow at 0730 the wonderful doctors of Tucson Medical Center are going to induce Superwife into giving birth to Benjamin John. It's the first time out of three that SW has gone full-term.

I've been asked a couple of times if I plan on "live-blogging" the birth. At first I laughed pretty hard at the thought, but the more I've thought about it, the better the idea has become. Not so much live-blogging it, but at the very least posting to the site, either through email or through audioblogger as she progresses along. I'm sure most of my family is looking at me wierd right now for thinking of doing this--but the people that read here have been extremely supportive of me and my family from the beginning, and it would be unfair to leave them out of the grand finale.

So that's my plan--starting tomorrow morning I'll be posting when I can from the hospital. Don't expect much because, while I'm giving this a shot, it is still a very low priority.

So spread the word. I'll see you tomorrow.

Word spread to Trouble, DaddyZine, Melanie, Genuine, Jo's Cafe, Mommy Bloggers