Veterans’ Day 2014

On the porch of a house in Fresno,
a small town in Ohio,
Three flags in the wind blow for veterans I know,
And those I don’t know,
But admire and appreciate so.

World War 1, 100 years ago. World War 2, 75 years ago. The 2nd Gulf War yet to go.
Will we ever learn?
I hope so …. but I don’t know.

Thanks to all who serve, and have served, all around this world.

Posted in Military, Poetry | Tagged , | 4 Comments

A Picture Worth More Than Words


This is an editorial “cartoon” from  cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon , done for Halifax’s The Chronicle Herald earlier today. I felt this needed to be seen as widely as possible. For those unfamiliar with the war memorial in Ottawa, the soldiers depicted on the memorial are reaching down to Corporal Nathan Cirillo, with one of the statue’s soldiers kneeling by him as he died. Corporal Cirillo was the young soldier from Hamilton’s Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who was so coldly and cowardly murdered on Wednesday.

Posted in Military | Tagged , | 3 Comments

A Horrible Day for Hamilton.

This was supposed to be a quick and light note, letting you all know I’m working my way back online following numerous technical problems (including not one, but two crashed laptops) and a number of home projects that kept me away from the blogosphere. Unfortunately, this post must take a sadder tone.

You’ve probably heard of the shooting of a Canadian soldier at their war memorial in Ottawa, just outside their Parliament building. The soldier, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, was a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Why does that matter? The Argylls are the sister unit of my beloved adoptive Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, both serving out of the John Foote Armoury in downtown Hamilton. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve shed more than a tear or two since I heard that – I still think VERY fondly of the Rileys, remembering a herd of WW2 vets who took me out to lunch, their treat, simply because I had bothered to drive up from Chicago to see their little museum. The feeling of honoured veterans thinking I was worthy of such an honour is impossible to describe.

I don’t have the spirit to say much more, other than to wish the Canadian soldier wounded in Monday’s incident a full and speedy recovery, to give my condolences to the friends and families of both the soldier killed Monday and to Corporal Cirillo’s, and to let all my Canadian friends know that they are in my thoughts more than usual tonight.

As to my status, I still need to get Email working so I can actually reply to particular folks. I do want to give a HUGE shoutout to Archon, of Archon’s Den, for detouring from a Cleveland knife show to come hunt me down and give me a swift kick in the pants to get back online. Archon, message well received and understood – and if you ever drop in like that again, ya better know CPR, ’cause the shock of your visit dang near did me in! ;)

So hang in there, everybody. It may take a while for me to respond, but I’ll do my best. And thanks to all those who have missed me – Frank, ‘Rants, and Benzeknees in particular. It’s always nice to know that somebody out there misses me. Take care, all, see you soon!

Posted in Military | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Quick Humour – The Ultimate Rimshot.

Here’s proof that God has a really messed-up sense of humour – which I just LOVE! And this is a true story. George Harrison had a memorial tree, planted by fans, in Los Angeles. Now they need to replant it because it died. From beetles. Yes. BEETLES! Here’s the story:

:D :D :D

Posted in Humor | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Twin Recoveries, Twin Anniversaries.

I am happy to report that my wife’s recovery continues apace, with no complications. I can also now reply to all my outstanding comments, following my laptop’s power-starvation-induced stroke – the power cord has a bad spot, occasionally causing a break in the current flow. I missed the teeny-tiny little warning LED, and the computer’s battery drained overnight, consuming a number of items, including all my open browser tabs (about 23 or 24) and a number of logged-in sessions, including WordPress. Nothing life-shattering was lost. just a huge pain in the butt.

As to twin anniversaries – turns out July 20 is a pretty happening day. First Special Olympics, held in my hometown at Soldier Field in 1968, Viking 1 lands on Mars in 1976, and (sadly) the Aurora Colorado theatre shootings 2 years ago. (Holy smoke, it’s been two years already? Yeesh!) But I think a lot of you can guess which two are foremost in my mind. As pretty much anybody over the age of  40 remembers (and the younger folk out there learned), July 20 1969 was the famous Apollo moon landing. For the first time in human history, a resident of the planet Earth set foot on another soundstage .. sorry, on another space body (as they say in Star Trek). To think we made it to the Moon 45 years ago, and today we bum rides on ex-Soviet ICBMs with the Russians. Here’s hoping it won’t be ANOTHER 45 years before we get to our next step, be it Mars or its’ moons, an asteroid, or our own Moon (and there’s pretty strong cases for each of the non-Lunar alternatives, so we’ll see which one wins out).

The other anniversary was, until Tom Cruise’s film in 2008, the little-known attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler, known as Operation Valkyrie. Since Valkyrie came out, there has been a fair amount of press and video on the story, including some science shows experimenting as to whether the blast would have been fatal in a closed-in underground room (you betcha!), rather than the open-windowed, airy meeting room that the meeting was moved to. Though the best known of the attempts to kill Hitler, there were at least 41 other attempts, seriously made and unsuccessful only by blind luck, to rid the world of the Führer between his taking first powers in 1933 and his eventual suicide in 1945. (Sorry, folks, Hitler is NOT working with Elvis at a Battle Creek Burger King. You’re thinking of Jimmy Hoffa. ;) ) It bears remembering that, in the midst of the horror and cruelty that was the Third Reich, there were a few brave souls attempting to decapitate the Nazi scourge. Imagine Hitler having been killed before the war started, or shortly after Poland – two of the next-closest-to-succcess attempts made. How different our world might be, without a triumphant Soviet military to face post-war, and with all those lost lives instead living up to their gifts.

And never fear, I am already gathering notes for a post in 8 days, when one of the most momentous of all anniversaries will be noted – the beginning of the First World War. Here’s a teaser fact for you – the great Caesars had an impact on history, all the way to the 20th Century. The end of the Great War saw the downfall of the last two Caesars, the Russian Czar and the German Kaiser (both titles derive from Caesar). Cool factoid, eh?

See y’all soon.

Posted in Military History | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Yeah, Still Here – and Some MH-17 Info.

Hey, folks. Sorry for the absence here, I’ve been playing nursemaid for my wife following her surgery. All went well, she’s recovering great, and got the last of her stitches removed a couple days ago. She’s gone shopping and driving solo, so she should be back to work in about a week. Then I can start dropping wonderful posts on y’all about the upcoming World War One Centenary, coming up on the 28th!

In far sadder news, you may have heard about the loss of another – yes, ANOTHER – Malaysian Airlines plane, flight MH-17. The plane fell out of the sky over Ukraine, and all sorts os supposition is flying about it being shot down (granted, the most likely possibility). I thought I’d share a few quick points for the less militarily inclined folks out there.

First, this is HIGHLY unlikely to be a simple “oops” of pushing a wrong button. The anti-air missiles being used require multiple radars (spread across multiple tank-like vehicles) to track, lock on, and intercept. Whoever launched the missile (if that IS the case) did it very much on purpose. It COULD be a mis-identification, as the radars would simply class the target in general terms – large twin-engine jet – rather than knowing that it was specifically a Boeing 777 or Ilyushin IL-76 cargo plane. There is NO way the plane could have been knocked down by a man-portable missile like a Stinger shoulder-launched unit. To get up to 32,000 feet, you need a BIG missile – vehicle carried, as the suspected system is. Unfortunately, both Russian and Ukrainian armed forces have this system, as most of Ukraine’s military hardware is Russian- or Soviet-produced. There are unconfirmed reports that the Ukrainian separatists also have at least one of the “units”, a unit being three or four vehicles for carrying missiles, radar, and control functions. Perhaps the best news – if you can call anything related to this tragedy good – is that the size of the warhead on the missile would have killed most of the passengers and crew either on detonation or seconds afterward, so at least the victims didn’t suffer TOO much.

I hope this helps some of you out, with the mass of raw information just pouring out of the talking heads on TV. We should know more with the evening news programs in about 2 hours. I might write more then. Otherwise, I’ll see y’all here more in the next couple weeks.

Posted in Aviation, Military | Tagged , | 8 Comments

An Open Letter Of Apology.

To the members of England’s World Cup team, the fans of said team, lovers of football around the world (soccer to us heathens here in the States), and to lovers of sports everywhere:

I’m sorry. It’s all my fault. I am a jonah, a jinx, an albatross around the neck of England’s poor team. (And yes, I have no bloody flavour, I’m a bloomin’ sea bird.) I caused your squad to lose not one, but both of it’s first two games. I did it, and I’m sorry.

I should’ve known better. While not a truly avid fan of sports (except those involving cars), I have dabbled in rooting for various NFL Franchises (including my hometown Bears), and have followed those Doormats of the National League (the Cubs, to those unfamiliar with Steve Goodman’s anthem) on a hit-and-miss basis. (Mostly “miss” for the Cubbies, at least since 1945.) Whenever I would start following a team more closely, they would inevitably start to lose – badly. Whenever I would let my attention drift, they would just as inevitably start to win. Had I born in mind my abilities to destroy a team’s possibilities, I would never have written my post “That Time Again, or Will Three Lions Roar?”. I would, instead, simply pointed my readers to the outstanding BBC-sponsored poem ad accompanying video. But no, I had to pay attention to the poor English squad. And now they’re out of the World Cup for 2014.

So once again, to all those of you who had hopes, money, or both backing England’s chances, it’s all my fault they lost. Don’t blame them, save your slings and arrows for me. (But no financial suits – my fortune is NOT outrageous, it is non-existent!) I did it, and I am sorry.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to see if there are any OSU sports upcoming. ;)

Posted in Humor | Tagged , | 5 Comments