Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I am so meant to be married. Or at least a dad.

I'm not referring to romantic bliss, though. I'm referring to the fact that no matter what I do, each and every day there is someone there, whether she be in her thirties or seven. So degenerating into a slovenly mound of flesh isn't normally an option.

It was this weekend.

Started off the weekend by running to Best Buy and loading up on computer upgrades, and a new version of a video game that I used to play years ago. It's a beautiful weekend, why not spend it clicking on armies and laying waste to pixellated battlefields? Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Next was off to the Class Six to get a bottle of a favorite beverage. I try to not go any bigger than lite beer when the fam's around since we generally go out for errands no less than 75 times a weekend. With plans of working on the Harley, the yard, and the computer dancing through my head, I let the week of singularity commence.

Saturday was a wash. The computer upgrades took about a half an hour. Unfortunately, and I should know better, I popped the strategy game in at around 1300 just to make sure it worked.


Intermingled with glasses of spirits my ass never got up out of that chair. I even ordered my pizza from my cell phone since I was too lazy (or engrossed) to get up and use the real phone. This lasted until the wee wee hours of the morning.

Sunday wasn't much better. I did manage to clean the house a little bit, but the image in the mirror was a little worse for wear.

By Monday I had degraded into an easy stand-in for a homeless guy on the street. When it took 30 seconds for me to feel the water in the shower this morning due to the built-up skin cells I knew I had overdone it a tad. I did come close to conquering the entire mediterranean theater though.

I wasn't like this before I got married. I would have taken a weekend like this and not seen the inside of the house. I wonder what/when all that changed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Superwife is being recruited.

Last week she told me that she had been approached by a friend of hers from Cowboy's preschool regarding a business opportunity in a company called "Arbonne." Arbonne is a Swiss skin-care company that sells their items through individual distributors in the US. You get hired, and you sell. One thought went through my head when SW told me this.

Oh my God. Mary Kay has invaded my home.

She went to a meeting with her "recruiter" over lunch, which led to another meeting with her and her husband, requiring that I come along. Begrudgingly, I went last night to a local restaurant to hear her pitch.

We had a blast. I got along great with both of them, and she explained a lot about the company, and why it's not like Mary Kay. Honestly, she just makes a butt-ton (that's a lot) of money doing this, and it was pretty hard for us to not be convinced.

So that's one of my tasks over my week of bachelority--to research this company for dirt. There's got to be some serious pain-in-the-ass catch that we're not seeing. SW is NOT a makeup sales type person. In fact, you don;t really do a whole lot of selling--you convince other people to do the selling for you.

I'm VERY skeptical of this because it takes some serious $$$ to get started. Has anyone heard anything about this?

Thursday 13

Mind you this list doesn't take into account how good the movie actually was--just that there were aspects of each that you can find in my leadership style.

1. Star Wars (first three).

2. Gettysburg.

3. Iron Eagle.

4. Top Gun.

5. Glory.

6. An Officer and a Gentleman.

7. Full Metal Jacket.

8. Platoon.

9. Best of the Best.

10. Crimson Tide.

11. Pearl Harbor.

12. Braveheart.

13. Saving Private Ryan.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Anti-War Video Fraud

Oh the sweet taste of vindication.

Yesterday a commenter left this on here in response to my Soccer Hazing post:

Hi Lucky, I wonder if you have been pointed to this: http://www.peacefilms.org/ , and if/when you have watched it, what your comments might be? Is this what hazing makes possible? Not angry, just curious.
Well, I watched it, and my first thought was that this guy was not only full of shit, but couldn't possibly be a real Army Ranger. Unfortunately, I couldn't prove that--so I left it alone.

As it turns out--this moron was investigated by the US Army (after being tipped off by milbloggers and Michelle Malkin) and they said they had never heard of the guy. This was supposedly the 2nd highest hit website in the blogosphere yesterday.

This guy supposedly is supported by another favorite group of mine--Iraq Veterans Against the War. Smash suggests that we need to take a closer look at IVAW--I'm sure there's more Jesse's from where this one came from.

Good job, peacefilms.org. You not only (like every other anti-war protester out there) damaged the credibility of the US troops in harm's way, but you made yourselves look like complete jackasses.

The Bike

We all have things that have happened to us in our lives that stick with us for whatever reason. I'm not talking about the big life-changing ones, like being abused or mistreated as a kid, I'm talking about things that broke your heart--things that you wish, as an adult, that you could go back in time and handle.

For me it was a bike...

When I was a kid we lived in Worcester, Massachusetts--a relative big city that didn't have a whole hell of a lot in it. I didn't live in the inner-city, it was more like the neighborhood you see on "King of Queens." Busy streets, close houses, but otherwise just generally safe for kids to be in. My gang of buds were the neighborhood kids--and we were inseperable for many years. Our summers consisted of swimming pools, baseball at the Little League (more on that another time), and riding our bikes. Those bikes were our status symbol--much like having a car today.

The first "real" bike I had was a Huffy Bonanza. It was a cowboy-style bike with a bannana seat. I was (and still am) a little irresponsible back then, and I left my precious bike in the front yard of my house overnight one night. When I came out the next day it was gone.

I was completely heartbroken. It was the middle of the summer and I no longer had wheels. I got over it, of course, since the bike wasn't really that nice anyway, but the fact remained that as a kid I felt violated.

I had the best grandparents to ever live. My grandmother is still alive, in Florida, but my grandfather died shortly after I graduated from pilot training (another story for another time). One weekend they took me to Child World, the Toys 'R Us equivalent in Massachusetts. We went shopping for the son of a friend of my grandparents, and they were getting him a bike. Of course, I hadn't a clue. They told me to pick out any bike in the store for this kid. I went and picked out a Huffy BMX bike--gold and silver, with all the gizmos that bikes had at the time. It was probably the most expensive bike in the store for a kid. My parents didn't make that much money back then and I doubt that there was any way they could have ever afforded it. My grandparents bought it and we went to their house to put it together for their friends son. I remember thinking how lucky this kid was to have such a great bike. They even let me take it for a spin up and down their driveway. This thing just rocked, and it was better than any bike in our neighborhood.

Of course, eventually they told me that the bike was for me. I loved that bike with all my heart. I shined it, took impeccable care of it, and made sure it was locked up every single night. For weeks that summer that was all I did was ride that shining marvel around my neighborhood.

One day my buddy and I parked our bikes on the side of the house and I ran inside to get a drink of kool-aid. Moments later he came running in after me screaming that someone was taking my bike.

By the time I got back outside it was gone.

My parents called the police and we searched for it but of course we never found it. My Dad even called the cops one day because he thought he had seen it somewhere, but it turned out to belong to someone else and it wasn't mine. My heart breaks when my kids lose a toy thats important to them--I can't imagine what this must have done to my Mom and Dad. I eventually got a new bike but it never came close to the attachment that I had for that Huffy.

More than once I have wished to have the sons of a bitches that stole my bike in front of me today. I wonder how they turned out. I wonder how many other people's lives they hurt while they got their cheap thrills. I've often wondered how I would handle it--usually the answer I come up with is some form of viloence that would land me in jail, so I guess it's a good thing that my time machine doesn't work.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Closing In

In theory, I should go over 10,000 hits this weekend. Or at least early next week.

10,000 hits. I'm moving the counter up so that whoever hits it can rejoice in their historic position in my life.

I remember when Richmond emailed me in the desert to tell me that my site had gone over the 1000 mark back in November. That seems so far away now...

As I mentioned, I'll be solo starting this Friday for a week. Normally it's a party for me for a day or two, and then I just get bored. I'll probably go get a bottle of something and celebrate while sitting around in my boxers and watching all the movies I can't watch with the kids around. Maybe get brave enough for HNT :).

Ok...maybe not.


I need a word to fit a definition here.

I am getting "blogged out." I actually have a job now, a third kid, and life has turned the heat up a little in regards to my personal time (that having been said, I'm "Bach'ing" it next week as the fam goes to Austin to see family--I should have copious time then). Couple that with my wonderful idea to review websites (not thinking it would catch on as it has) and the "joy" I was getting out of putting my thoughts to paper (well, ok, to screen) is starting to diminish.

I'm not thinking of quitting, mind you--I'm just getting a tad burnt out. Thus the definition--now I just need a word. Blogriated? Overblogged? Blogoated? Blogated? I'm open to suggestion...


Friday, May 19, 2006

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

I finally got tagged...twice.

This does make you think...

I AM: A very passionate person. To a fault. It gets me in trouble a lot.
I WANT: A kick-ass entertainment system. Even if we just watch Spongebob.
I HATE: Incompetence.
I MISS: Texas.
I FEAR: A lot. The loss of my family. Failure. The dentist.
I HEAR: The monkies getting into something they shouldn't. From blocks away.
I WONDER: What type of children I'm raising.
I REGRET: Hurting a lot of people that felt a great deal for me when I was younger.
I AM NOT: Proactive.
I DANCE: When I'm alone and in a great mood.
I SING: On my way to work. I sing more as the week gets older.
I CRY: Cried my eyes out at the end of Titanic. Felt like a complete ass.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: Motivated.
I WRITE: Well, here, obviously. I email a lot.
I CONFUSE: My wife's expectations of me as a husband.
I NEED: To sit in front of a computer less and on the running track more.
I SHOULD: Spend less money meaninglessly (is that a word?)
I START: A lot of hobbies.
I FINISH: Not many hobbies.

Whew! Managed to get through that painlessly...

I tag: Melanie, Kath, and Cami.


Sometimes it pays to be fast...

Long in the Tooth

The class of 2006 is graduating this month.

If you were born on the day I graduated High School in Massachusetts, you would be legal to drive as of this month.

Good God, I'm actually getting old.

A very dear friend of mine asked me the other day if I was on the verge of a mid-life crisis. Jesus, I hope not.

Getting Older...

The problem with me is that I don't feel like I am. I definitely don't act like I am. I still play video games and read comic books. I'm spastic because Cowboy is old enough to play with the Star Wars toys I had when I was a kid and I can play with him and teach him all about them.

I don't know where Trouble got her data, but I still have the sex drive I had when I was in my 20's. I still love to go to the sports bar and throw darts whilst getting hammered. I still have issues with lust over toys (the latest being a portable XM radio). I like to drive fast and think I look like a stud on my Harley. I don't pay bills on time that aren't already paid from my electronic account and I barely keep track of how much money we spend.

I think people look at people our age and make a lot of assumptions--assumptions that, for me, are categorically false. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. There are defintely times I wish I would act more my age.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Thursday 13

1. Airplanes usually kill you quickly, a woman takes her time.

2. Airplanes can be turned on by a flick of the switch.

3. Airplanes don't get mad if you do a "touch and go."

4. Airplanes don't object to a preflight inspection.

5. Airplanes come with a manual to explain their operation.

6. Airplanes don't come with in-laws.

7. Airplanes don't care about how many airplanes you've flown before.

8. Airplanes and pilots both arrive at the same time.

9. Airplanes don't mind if you look at other airplanes.

10. Airplanes don't mind if you buy airplane magazines.

11. Airplanes expect to be tied down.

12. Airplanes don't comment on your piloting skills.

13. However, they both have one thing in common ... when either one of them gets quiet, it's definitely not good.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Soccer Hazing

I just don't get this.

As I've posted before, I went to a school where hazing was pretty rampant. Probably not as much anymore, but it was out of control when I was there. But the hazing that we had done to us was all physical--made to do pushups until we threw up, sweat parties, stuff like that. Taking our clothes off and getting heads jammed into toilets just didn't happen. There was a case where some dumbasses threatened to set the first couple of girls in the school on fire and those guys were summarily expelled.

My philosophy (at least how I make sense of it in my head) was that, at a military school, we were being prepared to handle the stresses of military life. To be honest--it worked. I felt such a sense of accomplishment that I was better equipped to deal with a lot of hardships that were due to come my way in those four years. And the years afterward.

But this I just don't understand.

I dated a girl in college that was a rush (and later a member) of Tri-Delta at Longwood. Longwood was the birthplace of tri-delta. As such, she had the living shit hazed out of her, much like what you see the soccer team doing in the news right now. How in the hell does hazing help someone rushing a sorority? Or even moreso--how does it help a soccer team? I always thought that sports teams were "exempt" from this crap since they trained their hearts out.

This continues (as it did at my alma mater) because when the stink blows over, the faulty parties will end up with a slap on the wrist. I would personally bring charges against anyone that did this shit to my daughter--if they managed to survive long enough.

If anyone out there experienced this stuff and can explain it to me, please let me know.

You're on a friggin' soccer team for crying out loud!

Oh the Humanity...

I saw a picture recently of a starving child that was taken several years ago. The photo won the Pulitzer Prize, but the photographer killed himself three months after the photo was taken--presumably as a result of what he experienced during the trips he took. I've had the photo for a few days--but have thus far held back showing it because it's such a powerful picture.

I see that, and then I see this:

LOS ANGELES - Paris Hilton's mother can only imagine what her celebrity daughter got her for Mother's Day. That's because thieves stole the gifts before Kathy Hilton received them.

A gift bag containing nearly $10,000 worth of Christian Dior shoes, sunglasses, handbags and perfume was taken from outside the Hilton home, spokesman Elliot Mintz said Monday.

The younger Hilton "spent three or four hours shopping to put together this wonderful collection of things for her mom," Mintz said.

There are certain aspects of my country that make my skin crawl. This (and she) is one of them.

Monday, May 15, 2006

My Perfect Major

H/T to MNFlygirl. A dream job of mine would be able to do what Mike Yon does, or Kevin Sites. Just to take a camera and laptop and blog/write from places around the world. Maybe I picked the wrong career...or maybe I've just been out of the cockpit for too long...

You scored as Journalism. You are an aspiring journalist, and you should major in journalism! Like me, you are passionate about writing and expressing yourself, and you want the world to understand your beliefs through writing.





























What is your Perfect Major?)
created with QuizFarm.com


The double-whammy of SW's birthday and Mother's Day being in the same weekend went really well.

SW started the tradition of making a big deal out of birthdays a few years ago by buying baloons and streamers and the works for one of the monkey's birthdays a few years ago. As is often the case, when you do it once they are bound to expect it every time. So--birthdays are a big deal in the Lucky household.

For this year I tossed in a little twist. In honor of the immigration speech tonight I threw a "Fiesta" party this year. What a blast. We had chili-pepper garland all over the room, a blow-up cactus on the table, made chili-con-queso dip adn strawberry margaritas. SW taught the kids how to do the Mexican hat dance and we danced until midnight (on a school night...ugh). When I came down this morning you would have sworn that we had thrown a massive party and not been surprised to find someone passed out under the table.

Good times...good times...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Today is SW's birthday. Talk about a double-whammy. I don't normally post on the weekends but I wanted to wish all my mom-friends out in the blogosphere a wonderful Mother's Day. Everyone else--go take a look at Mommy Bloggers this weekend. And give your Mom a call.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Smuggling Operation

As weird as it may seem, pre-schools generally discourage kids from bringing toys to school. Cowboy has gotten away with it a few times, but we support the teachers if for no other reason than to keep him from losing his toys at school.

For the past few years we were a little worried about him and his social skills. The boys there didn't really get along real well, and he had issues with a bully in school that the teachers refused to do anything about. We even considered pulling him out a few times. But for whatever reason, in the past few months there has been a change of heart there and the kids have been getting along great--even the bully. We're actually not looking forward to the end of the school year because he is having so much fun there.

We usually put Cowboy's lunch box in his backpack (it's really the only thing it's used for at this point). For some reason last night he emphasized to SW and I that he wanted to keep his lunch box in his "cubby" (small storage shelf each student has) instead of in his bag. OK, no problem. We'll take it out when we get there. He seemed pretty adamant to hand-carry his lunch box. So SW overrode him and went to put his box in his bag this morning, with him shouting protests the whole time.

When she went to pick up his bag, it must have weighed 50 pounds. Over the course of the last 24 hours he has apparently been slowly depositing all the toys that he and his friends have agreed to take to school today to play with at lunch. I think SW was laughing so hard that she just let him take them in.

Personal Investment

I've always loved Asian culture. I've always loved the written symbols, the eastern philosphy, movies, books, anything (which is weird because the worst two years of my career were those spent in Japan). I've always had a thing for the martial arts, although either through choice or circumstance, I have not given it a solid effort since I was in high school.

SW started her training last week since the school is letting her for free for one month. The monkies have been having the time of their lives for three months now. The highlight of my week is watching them in their gi's kicking and punching. They had their pictures the other day and the photographer caught one of Princess doing a front kick that reached over her head. I am probably going to join them soon--to the tune of a lot more money than we actually have to spend.

The thought crossed my mind the other day that I have invested quite a bit of my own hopes and fears in these kids doing this. Princess was selected to move up to a semi-private advanced instruction designed to get her to Black Belt, and Cowboy is sure to follow soon. As we were discussing dropping the additional funds to get the extra equipment for her, we decided to wait a short while to make sure that they're going to stick with it for the long haul.

The thought that they would stop doing this was crushing to me. They are having so much fun, and have shown such a huge talent for it. SW and I are jumping in too just to keep their motivation up should it falter. But honestly, if my history is any indication I can see them just wanting to drop it and go play. I was wondering how far we'd push them and not allow them to quit. The thought of having two kids becoming Black Belts before they were teenagers bings tears to my eyes.

If that happens it's going to break my heart.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

An Old Post Revisited

For those that haven't been reading my blog for a while, I want to share something here.

Candy Minx (bless her heart) actually went back and read posts of mine from way back when, and brought my attention to "the post that started it all." Until I made this post, I had maybe ten hits a day, and I believe the only reader I had outside of my family was Richmond. After this post somehow gained popularity, I was featured on news websites and some of the bigger Military websites. The rest is just kind of history.

The big news at the time was that Congress had locked themselves into the Capitol and were debating setting an exact withdrawal date from Iraq, or whether we should pull out immediately. All we saw in the CAOC for a week were numb-brained pundits sharing their opinions on TV--while Marines were dying in Fallujah.

Anyway--the desert is far in my rear-view mirror at this point, and I thought it would be interesting to re-visit this dissertation of what my views were on the War when I had a front-row seat to it every day. My feelings haven't changed at all--though my readers certainly have. I am very interested in what people have to say about it now.

So Here's My First Rant...

My Views on the War (Rant)

Ok...before I begin I need to reiterate that this is strictly my opinion (like everything else on here) and my opinion only. I’ll surely hear from someone higher ranking than me about this one.

I’ve been watching what news I can about what is going on back home. In particular the political battles that have been waged over the past few months over how long we’ll be here, how many troops have died, what the original reasons were for us getting into the fight, etc. I’ve mentioned a few times on here what my overall feeling is about the American politics and how it seems to have been working for a long time, but I won’t go into depth on that here. What I do want to offer is my view as to why we’re here, when we need to go home, and how much the political wrangling has helped us over here.

I have honestly no idea what happened with the Intel issues or whatever it is that the media and politicians seem so hell-bent on focusing on before we got over here. I don’t know, or care, if Iraq had WMD in theater before we showed up. What I do know is that Saddam Hussein was a very bad man. He did very bad, unimaginable things to people. To women and children. To celebrate he would go out on his porch and fire his rifle in the air in a display of his power. To this day, he is still an arrogant, delusional, psychotic killer. That was enough for me to go to war over here. What a lot of people seem to forget is that after the first Gulf War, we never left. My buddies and I have been deploying over here, flying over here, and getting missiles shot at us over here for 15 years. With really no end in sight. So to hear that we had finally had enough and were going to go finish what we should have 15 years ago was a relief to me. WMD? Added bonus in my eyes.

The media hasn’t really gotten on board with the whole Global War on Terrorism issue. What they seem to not understand is that this isn’t an “Iraq War.” It is a front in a global war. People think that if we just up and go that we’ll be happy and safe at home and the reality is that that’s probably not true. These psycho’s are everywhere in the world. And we are going to have to find them and get them everywhere in the world. If the bullets stopped flying in Iraq today my guess is that we’d be off to somewhere else real soon, to fight the same war, against the same enemy, on a different front. During World War II there were many fronts, but you didn’t see politicians protesting the war in Japan, or women chaining themselves to the White House’s fence because they’re son died on Iwo Jima. They understood that we were fighting a battle that needed to be fought, and because we were the only ones that could do it. It wasn’t about American pride or arrogance or money, it was much simpler than that. Bad people in charge equals a bad world. I am not bragging about the US Military (as I will occasionally do)—I am merely stating a fact that we have the largest, most hi-tech, sophisticated fighting force on the planet. And as such, it is our moral obligation to fight the bad guys in this war. That’s, in my opinion, why we came here in the first place and why we’ll go on to the next front when it pops up.

Timeline for us to leave? That’s an easy one. I’ll start by disclaiming that again, I’m sitting in a cold CAOC hundreds of miles away from the marines (man they are so badass) fighting up range. I am, however, thousands of miles from a family that I love very much and miss with all of my heart. Every soldier up there has his opinion, and I would imagine that a few of them would really like to go home today. But I really think the vast majority of them, including the ones that have fought and died in this war (global war—not just Iraq) so far, would say the same thing I would to the president if I had the chance:

“Mr. Bush, I miss my home and my family. Bring us home when the job is done, and not one second sooner.”

Ok. The political wrangling. I saw somewhere that people believe in Washington that slamming the doors of congress for a closed session, or holding an emergency “should we come home today?” vote portrays to the American soldiers over here the undying support and loyalty of congress. What it actually makes me want to say is “grow up.” You want to support us? C’mon out here and say hi on Christmas Day when it will be just like every other day for us instead of staying with your family. Donate as much money as you can to the thousands of young guys up there that volunteered to be here even though they barely make enough money to feed their wife and baby waiting back home. I am so tired of seeing CNN, Fox, MSNBC, broadcasting whines and complaints about how much they know what is right for us. Think about it guys. How much do you think a guy wearing combat fatigues, a 60-pound rucksack, covered with mud and carrying a rifle gives a sh*t (sorry) about a bunch of people bickering and complaining in suits and ties? What cracks me up is that, like always, their opinions are conveniently split exactly down party lines. What a coincidence. You want to support us? Stop fighting. Unify like we claimed to have done after 9/11. I was never prouder of my government than when I saw all of them unite behind the president after the terrorist attacks. Where is that unity now? Drop the whole party line issue and vote/speak your conscience. Watching this on TV from over here is heartbreaking because it doesn’t portray support, it portrays a divided group back home that can’t decide if what we’re fighting for is worth it.

Sorry for the ramble—didn’t mean it to go on this far. I’ll cheer it up a bit for tomorrow.

, ,

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


The last time I was motivated to work out was when I was getting ready for the desert.

SW and I were running almost every day--we had double-motivation then, with my deployment and her impending pregnancy. I definitely got into better shape, passing my PT test more than I have done since I started gaining weight in 1995. Unfortunately that tapered off in the desert, and then with Odie showing up it has been hard to get back into it, especially with SW starting off slowly. She just started taking Tae Kwon Do with the monkies (free for Moms this month--another great deal from this school), and is expecting me to do the same next month.

Either way, when I try to lose weight/get in shape I do it much differently than SW does. She just works out and pays a little attention to her already somewhat-healthy lifestyle. I tend to analyze things a lot more, keep a log, and kind of go balls out until I get tired of it.

On the blog I reviewed today he mentioned a "Body For Life" tracking website where people publicly track their progress through the program. I've tried this program before--and it works--with very little success. The failures were all mine, mainly because it takes a lot of discipline on your part to measure and track everything. Well, after looking through some of the profiles, I am motivated again.

I've been working out for a couple of weeks now and I'm going to give this a try. Once I get the profile established and pictures taken I'll post the link. Maybe it can count as an HNT :).

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Summerall Tales I

Time for another goosebumps moment.

I wrote in earlier posts about a group called the Junior Sword Drill at The Citadel, and my run-ins with them as a freshman. My decision not to attempt to be a member of that organization was one of the smartest things I've ever done. The semester that I would have had a roughly 1.0 GPA due to tryouts I made Dean's List--and got my pilot slot. So, when the spring came around I went out for the 1994 Summerall Guards.

I'll go into more depth on these guys later, but equate the Summerall Guards to a 61-man presidential honor guard. We would represent the school at all sorts of occasions--from Presidential Inaugurations to Mardia Gras parades. Members were selected from the rising senior class after roughly a month of brutal physical tests and training. Unlike the JSD, there was no rank requirement--so we attracted a lot of seniors who had done pretty much nothing in their cadet careers and wanted to make a mark for themselves. In addition to these guys we had everyone from platoon sergeants to the regimental sergeant major--so the mix was pretty interesting. For two weeks the roughly 110 trainees, known as "Bond Volunteers," were "called out" at precisely 1600 and collected by the senior Summerall Guards. We were taken out onto the parade field (another big difference--everything (almost) was out in the open) and drilled for about 45 minutes. After that we were formed up and run into the ground, culminating in a 2-4 mile run carrying our 15 pound rifles.

Charge On...

Behind our formation in the run a group of Summerall Guards formed what was called the "line of death." Trainees that began to fall behind eventually would fall behind this line, about 20 feet behind the formation. Those that fell behind that line were pulled out for the day. If this happened three times, you were eliminated from the process altogether. So the physical part was nervewracking, to say the least.

The process of being "called out" at 1600 gave me an adrenaline rush that I still get every time I hear certain music. We would all be hiding in rooms around our perspective companies in the barracks. At around 1555 upperclassmen would start to gather around the galleries to watch the spectacle, especially the juniors whose classmates were the ones trying out. At 1600 a horn would sound over the PA system and we would all sprint out from the rooms in our perfect uniforms for inspection, and fall into a super-tight formation in front of the letter that identified each company. Most groups had around eight Bond Volunteers.

As we quickly fell into postion the butterflies would start as we waited for the Guards to come and get us. Upperclassmen from all corners of the barracks came out and starting cheering and screaming at the top of their lungs to motivate us. The junior with the best stereo system would bring his speakers out onto the top balcony and startcranking out rock music--usually something to get us pumped up. My favorite was "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC. I will never forget that feeling--the booming sound of the bells reverberating off of the barracks walls around the quadrangle...the cheers from my buds around the building...the guards in their black t-shirts and specially-decorated Castro hats running into the middle of the quad in formation...

The Guards ran in perfect unison into the middle of the red-and-white checkered expanse in front of us and stopped. After a few seconds the senior Guard would shout a command and the Guards would split and sprint towards their respective companies to inspect us. After a few minutes of inspection, which we would all undoubtedly fail, we were forcibly shuttled back into the middle as a battalion. Once we were together, the Guards would start us running again...out onto the parade ground and off to training.

I still get goosebumps every time I hear that song.


Family Crisis

Gonna be a big blogging day...lots to talk about.

This morning as I was making the monkies lunches Superwife came across a little note in Princess's lunchbox. On one side it said "you are so hot," and on the other it said "I wish we coob (with a b) kiss."


After a minor inquistition we figured out that it was from a boy in her class. She claims to be ignoring the notes. Unfortunately, she's exactly like her Dad--so I know she's getting a huge ego boost out of it and is most definitely NOT ignoring it. We managed to get the name of said punk out of her. My intial choice as to course of action varies quite differently from SW's.

There was an incident a few months ago in which her teacher told us that she was getting "too friendly" with a boy in her class. When we questioned her as to why, her answer was simple--that he was "soft." Once I caught a glimpse of the fatass punk I had to agree that he was definitely soft. While my initial choice was to hang spaz from his ankles from the roof of the building, SW's tactic of diplomacy ended up working much better.

So my choice was to write a note back from my daughter, with the words "Just so you know--my 220 pound father can bench press four times your weight. Oh, and he wants to kill you." SW's choice prevailed yet again and she went to talk to the teacher again today.

This is the last public school my kids will go to.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Nanny Culture

Trouble posted the other day regarding the ridiculous rules that get imposed and the way things have changed over the past 30 years. Part of it comes from an article about the Nanny Culture that seems prevalent these days--and I think it makes us a weaker culture. A lot of it is necessary--protecting ourselves from ourselves--but what it ends up doing is not allowing people to deal with adversity through innovation. It gets old.

What has caused this? I think, in a large part, the lawsuits that are just tossed out willy-nilly have caused everyone to walk around with their hands around their faces, waiting for a punch to come from anywhere. Corporations drive it because they have been sued so many times--so parents end up taking the advice that things are better for them or safer for them, and in the end more protected from legal action. Until the next lawsuit. Take Phillip-Morris, for example. Every day now I see them advertising against teen smoking. While I think that this is a good thing in the end, the only motivation is to make themselves look like a caring, loving, company (while advertising themselves, of course). After all is said and done, they still make cancer sticks.

The Nanny Culture crossed my mind when I took the monkies to McDonald's the other day. They always order the standard "chickn n' freh fries," so I've not often looked at the menu for what other options there are. And then I saw the apples. And the milk. For crying out loud--people don't go to McDonald's to get health food. They go there to get junk food. In an effort to make themselves look better while "taking care of you," I think they just end up looking like a bunch of idiots. I just wonder what other countries and cultures must think when they look at us--unable to control our impulsive urges towards vast obesity we have to be "tricked" into eating health food at fast-food joints.


Friday, May 5, 2006

E. D. Hill

I started watching Fox News after 9/11. I don't watch it because of their "fair and balanced" B.S., or because I even remotely agree with everything they say. I absolutely cannot STAND Sean Hannity. O' Reilly isn't much better. The main reason that the ol' FNC is usually on is because they tend to cover stories that I'm interested in. FNC? CIA Director quitting. CNN? That chick in Aruba that makes my ears bleed every time I hear about her. FNC wins every time.

For years I've watched "Fox and Friends" as background music to the morning routine, but now they have finally provided me with a solid target that I just can't pass up.

Miss E. D. Hill.

Mistress of the Obvious, Confounder of the Wise, and general Idiot of the Month. (Hey...maybe THAT's something I should start doing). I am absolutely dumbfounded that they allow her to remain on the airwaves. Pretty much every day she drops some airheaded ridiculous observation on us, and I feel it is my God-given responsibility to point out this Stupid Hypocritical Idiotic Talk (S.H.I.T.) on here. Today's gem:

"I don't like speed limits, either. But there are laws in this country and you can't break them."
I sincerely hope that someone with more time on their hands than I follows her around to point out how many times she breaks that law each day.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Another Great Argument...

...against our wonderful political establishment:
9 News has learned U.S. Capitol police officers are concerned about the handling of an accident involving Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island) about 3 a.m. this morning.

Rep. Kennedy was reportedly behind the wheel of a green Ford Mustang when it crashed into a security barrier at 1st and "C" streets Southeast.

No one was hurt, but there are reports that the car nearly struck a Capitol police cruiser and that it had been swerving, as if trying to make a U-turn.

So far, Kennedy HAS NOT been charged.


The congressman released a statement Thursday night saying alcohol was NOT involved.

"I was involved in a traffic accident last night at ... the U.S. Capitol. I consumed no alcohol prior to the incident and I will fully cooperate with Capitol Police in whatever investigation they choose to undertake," he said.

The Capitol Hill Fraternal Order of Police is calling for higher-ups in the department to allow patrol officers to complete their investigation.

The head of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1, Lou Cannon, told 9 News that he’s concerned that Kennedy may have received special treatment and this could be a case where “rank has its privilege.”

Capitol police Officer Greg Baird wrote a letter to acting Chief Christopher McGaffin saying how the investigation was handled calls the department's integrity into question.

According to Rollcall.com, Baird -- acting chairman of the Capitol Police Fraternal Order of Police –- said Kennedy’s Mustang had its lights off when it narrowly missed crashing into a police cruiser and smashed into a security barrier at 1st and C streets Southeast about 2:45 a.m.

According to sources, Kennedy told police that he was late for a Congressional vote. But the House had adjourned more than three hours earlier, sources said.

According to Roll Call, Baird wrote in his letter that the driver got out and “was observed to be staggering.” He told officers he was a congressman late for a vote. Baird wrote that patrol officers at the scene were prohibited from performing field sobriety tests. Then two sergeants arrived, conferred with a watch commander and “ordered all of the patrol division units to leave the scene … that they were taking over.”

Congressman Patrick Kennedy is Ted Kennedy's son. He is currently serving his sixth term as the Democratic Congressman from Rhode Island. He sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Boo's Eulogy

The following is the eulogy that author Pat Conroy wrote/delivered for Lt Col Courvoisie at Summerall Chapel on the grounds of The Citadel yesterday:

Today we gather together, in great joy and sorrow, to bid farewell to one of the most famous Citadel graduates who ever lived, Col. Thomas Nugent Courvoisie whose last name was a French cognac, but who claimed his whole life he was pure Irish. Because Citadel cadets cannot pronounce any French products, they nicknamed him 'The Boo.' Because The Boo could not remember any cadet's name, he referred to us as bubba, lambs and bums. It was a wonderful, distinguishing moment in a cadet's life to be called a bum by The Boo. It was a moment of arrival, a rite of passage, and the stamping of a visa attesting to the fact you were an official member of that strange, bright country we call The Citadel.

Here is what The Boo loved more than The Citadel - nothing, nothing on this Earth. The sun rose on Lesesne Gate and it set on the marshes of the Ashley River and its main job was to keep the parade grounds green. He once told me that a cadet was nothing but a bum, like you, Conroy. But a Corps of Cadets was the most beautiful thing in the world. In World War II, he led an artillery unit during the Battle of
the Bulge and he once told me, 'The Germans hated to see me and my boys catch em in the open.'

It is my own personal belief that The Boo's own voice was more frightening to the Germans than the artillery fire he was directing toward them.

The voice. There has never been a louder, gruffer, more stentorian or commanding voice ever to stir the airwaves of this campus. I speak now of The Boo in his prime, striding this campus like a colossus, all-powerful and omnipresent with his flashing, hawk-like glance that took in everything his purposeful and menacing stalk and that intimidating voice that seemed five times as loud as God's. I once saw him shout out the words, 'Halt, Bubba' on the steps of the Summerall Chapel. Coming out of the library, I halted on the third step and prayed he wasn't yelling at me. But the amazing thing was that the entire campus had halted, every cadet stood frozen in place like wildebeests on the Serengeti plains after a lion's roar. Cadets stood at perfect attention, in perfect stillness some walking into Mark Clark Hall, toward First Battalion, toward the field house, into Bond Hall and all the way to the toolshed. The Boo then charged across the parade ground, stopped a kid entering into Second Battalion and burnt him for his personal appearance. The cadet's shoeshine particularly offended The Boo, although as I approached the chapel I could not even tell the kid had feet. I heard every word of the cadet's bawling out and I was a hundred yards away. You have never been blessed out or bawled out or chewed out unless you got it from The Boo in his prime. Did I say he was five times louder than God? I'm sorry if that sounds sacrilegious and it certainly is not true. The Boo was at least ten times louder than God and I was scared of him my entire cadet career.

But he prowled this campus like a dark angel of discipline, and this guy was everywhere. He would be there before reveille in any of the four barracks catching seniors late to formation. He was all over the mess hall, wandered the stands during football games, roamed the barracks during parades. During evening study period, he patrolled the barracks breaking up card games, confiscating televisions and writing
up cadets out of uniform.

Four times, he recommended my expulsion from The Citadel. Once I found my name on the DL list for 'Insulting Assistant Commandant's Wife.' My Tac officer recommended I be kicked out of school. I ran to The Boo's office and demanded an explanation. 'You stopped to talk to my wife about books on the parade ground.'

'She stopped me, Colonel,' I said.

'I noticed your brass was smudged, your shoes unshined and your shirt tuck a disgrace. I considered it an insult to my wife.'

'I am a senior private, Colonel. That's how I'm supposed to look,' I said. The Boo roared with laughter.

Earlier, The Boo had pulled me for 'bringing disgrace, shame and dishonor to The Citadel.' The same Tac wanted me expelled from The Citadel. When I confronted The Boo again, he explained that I had played such a lousy basketball game against Furman that he thought I had brought disgrace and shame to The Citadel. Then again, the laughter.

The reason The Boo became the most beloved and honored figured on The Citadel campus and why his legend has continued is because of his sense of honor, his sense of justice and his sense of humor. And here is what a Citadel Corps of Cadets can do better than any other group alive: it can tell you who loves them, it can tell you who hates them and it can spot anyone else around who simply doesn't care about them. The Boo could not hide his love of the Corps of Cadets. He could scream at us, write us up for demerits, hand out tours like business cards, call us bums far into the night, threaten to send us to Clemson a hundred times, catch us heading to Big John's for a beer, deny us leave, bemoan the fact all day that bums were ruining the Corps he could do all of this but he could never stop loving us and we could never stop loving him back and it showed, and it became his final undoing. He was fired as assistant commandant and finished out his Citadel career at the warehouse. He was told not to talk to Citadel cadets. As always, The Boo carried out his duty.

In 1968, I began writing The Boo's biography and it was here I learned all the stories. I did not know he'd written out checks to help poor cadets pay their tuition. I did not know how many corsages he'd bought for dates at the hop or the money he paid to bail cadets out of jail. He bought two seniors their Citadel rings, but he wouldn't let me put that in the book. The Boo asked Citadel grad J.C. Hare to give free legal advice to cadets in trouble and J.C. never let him down. Every time he asked a senior for his ring as he was kicking him out of school, The Boo could not sleep that whole night. He wouldn't let me put that in the book, either. There was no act of generosity too large for The Boo to proffer to a Citadel cadet. It seemed like too large a job to love an entire Corps of Cadets, but The Boo said it was the easiest job he ever had.

'There was only one cadet I ever really hated. Just one name I can think of,' The Boo said.

'That'll make an interesting story for the book, Colonel. Who is the jerk?' I asked.

'It was you, Conroy. Just you. There was something about you that I hated when you first walked into fourth battalion, you worthless bum.' By the time I finished writing 'The Boo,' I was head over heels, punch drunk in love with the man. By writing the book I got to know The Boo as well as anyone who ever lived. I came to know his demons, his insecurities, his failures. I think he was a better father to the Corps of Cadets than he was to his own children, Helen and Al, and I told him that many times and he always agreed with me. But our love for each other was irreproachable as it would be tested many times.

Before the book came out he asked me if there was anything he could do for me, and I said yes. 'Colonel, you always call me a bum. You've never called me one of your lambs. I'd like to be a lamb now that I've written this book.' The Boo approached me and nearly put out my left eye with one of his nauseating cigars.

'Conroy, you were born a bum, lived like a bum, and proved to be a bum every day of your sorry life as a cadet. You'll always be a bum to me. Never a lamb.'

When I was writing this eulogy last night, I pulled the copy of 'The Boo' that the Colonel had presented me on publication day 36 years ago. I was looking for a story that summed up The Boo's character and personality and charm. I did not know he had signed it for me that day and I did not know what he signed until last night. He signed my copy of 'The Boo' this way: 'To the lamb who made me. The Boo'

I come now to the last words I will ever write about The Boo in my career. I was lucky to have met him as a young man when I needed a father figure as much as I needed a college education. It is to my great sorrow that The Citadel grads present at The Boo's funeral today are some of the biggest lowlifes, scoundrels, alcoholics, philanderers, nose pickers and bums that ever made it through the long gray line, but I know that The Boo would have it no other way.

When I was writing 'The Lords of Discipline,' I went to The Boo for help. What makes The Citadel different from all other schools? What makes it different, special and unique? Why do I think it is the best college in the world when I hated it when I was here, Boo? Help me with this.' The Boo held up his hand and said, 'It's the ring, Bubba. Always remember that. The ring, the ring, the ring.'

I thought about it for a moment then wrote the words, 'I wear the ring.'

'How about this for a first line?'

'Perfect, Bubba, just perfect.'

It is time to end this, Boo.

Farewell to the artillery man.

You'll always be our commandant.

Always our leader.

Always our role model.

Always the father our fathers could not be.

When you reach the pearly gates, Citadel man, remember your voice, Boo, and try not to scare the angels. When they ask you what you loved most in life, tell them what you told me. Tell them about The Citadel. Tell them, Colonel, tell them about the bums who loved you but last of all tell them about the ring, the ring, the ring.

A few years ago I accidentally left my Ring at my parent's house during a vacation. When my Mom mailed it to me it was lost by UPS. I still haven't replaced it--primarily because it wouldn't be the same Ring, the one that I opened in the 12th row of Summerall Chapel with tears in my eyes in 1993.


Stole this type of post from Asterisk at Blog About Nowt. This is the list of the 100 best movies ever made by the AFI. The idea is that you bold out the ones you've seen, and not the ones you haven't. Should tell you something about my taste in movies. Sidenote: There's quite a few of my all-time fav's that aren't on this list--guess that's why I'm not part of the AFI.

1.Godfather, The (1972)
2.Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)
3.Godfather: Part II, The (1974)
4.Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)
5.Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002)

6.Schindler's List (1993)
7.Seven Samurai (1954)
8.Casablanca (1942)
9.Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)
10.Star Wars (1977)


11.Citizen Kane (1941)
12.One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
13.Dr. Strangelove (1964)
14.Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
15.Rear Window (1954)
16.Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
17.Pulp Fiction (1994)
18.Usual Suspects, The (1995)

19.Memento (2000)
20.North by Northwest (1959)
21.12 Angry Men (1957)
22.The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
23.Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
24.Psycho (1960)
25.Amélie (2001)
26.Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
27.It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
28.Goodfellas (1990)

29.American Beauty (1999)
30.Sunset Blvd. (1950)
31.Vertigo (1958)
32.Matrix, The (1999)
33.City of God (2002)
34.To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
35.Once upon a Time in the West (1968)
36.Apocalypse Now (1979)
37.Pianist, The (2002)
38.Third Man, The (1949)
39.Paths of Glory (1957)
40.Taxi Driver (1976)
41.Fight Club (1999)
42.Spirited Away (2001)
43.Some Like It Hot (1959)
44.Double Indemnity (1944)
45.Boot, Das (1981)
46.Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
47.Singin' in the Rain (1952)
48.Chinatown (1974)
49.L.A. Confidential (1997)
50.Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
51.Requiem for a Dream (2000)
52.All About Eve (1950)
53.M (1931)
54.Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
55.Se7en (1995)
56.Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
57.Saving Private Ryan (1998)

58.Rashomon (1950)
59.Raging Bull (1980)
60.Wizard of Oz, The (1939)
61.Alien (1979)
62.American History X (1998)

63.Sting, The (1973)
64.Léon (1994)
65.Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
66.Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
67.Vita e' bella, La (1997)
68.Touch of Evil (1958)
69.Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
70.Finding Nemo (2003)
71.2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
72.Reservoir Dogs (1992)
73.Great Escape, The (1963)

74.Modern Times (1936)
75.Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
76.Amadeus (1984)
77.On the Waterfront (1954)
78.Ran (1985)
79.Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
80.Annie Hall (1977)
81.Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
82.Jaws (1975)
83.Apartment, The (1960)

84.Braveheart (1995)
85.High Noon (1952)
86.Aliens (1986)
87.Fargo (1996)
88.Strangers on a Train (1951)

89.Shining, The (1980)90.Metropolis (1927)
91.Blade Runner (1982)
92.Sixth Sense, The (1999)

93.City Lights (1931)
94.Donnie Brasco (2001)
95.Duck Soup (1933)
96.Great Dictator, The (1940)
97.General, The (1927)
98.The Seventh Seal (1957)
99.Princess Bride, The (1987)
100.Dogville (2003

Wednesday, May 3, 2006


For those that missed it the other day, Monday's Red Sox/Yankees game was a perfect example of why I love my boys with all my heart.

I sat on my couch with my son, while he held his nose every time a Yankee would step up to the plate. I'm pretty sure he knows little to nothing about baseball as a whole, but he knows what the Yankees look like and he hates them--just because I do. Every game they play is like a playoff game. There's just magic watching them go at it--watching Doug Mirabelli get an emergency police escort at 100 MPH from the airport to get to the game on time, watching Derek Jeter get faked out and thrown out on a double play, seeing Johnny Damon get booed (no, I wouldn't have booed him).

With the score tied I had to leave to go pick up dinner, so I flipped on the XM station carrying the game (via WEEI in Boston...ah the memories). Bottom of the eighth Mark Loretta tags one up the middle to break the 3-3 tie, and then David "Papi" Ortiz steps up.

I really like listening to baseball games on the radio--for some reason with me it makes it more exciting (and against the Yankees, less nerve-wracking). My arms covered with goosebumps as I could hear the crowd in the background chanting "PA-PI! PA-PI! PA-PI!" He loads the count...crowd's on their feet...you hear a crack of a bat and the announcers (clearly Boston fans) go wild as he sails one over the right field wall. And I'm sitting there cheering like an idiot in front of a BBQ restaurant in my car by myself.

I like football. I love watching the Pats in their recent dynasty. But that is nothing compared to the passion I have for those Red Sox. They put tears in my eyes.

I love baseball.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Goodbye, Boo

My alma mater suffered a great loss the other day. Lt Col. T.N. Courvoisie, also known as "The Boo," passed away at the age of 89. He wasn't at the school anymore when I was a cadet--he had left the year before I got there. But through Pat Conroy's characterization of him in his book "The Lords of Discipline," I felt as if I knew him--and he was a key factor in what began a love affair with my beloved school.

You can read more about him here and here.

Rest in peace, Boo. From the thousands of lambs you affected, thank you.