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:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/george-harrison-memorial-tree-killed-by-beetles-142327597.html

: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

A Loss and a Gain in Rock ‘n’ Roll

Or, in my case, too many gains in rock…..

As many of you have heard, Casey Kasem died over the weekend. I won’t bother to eulogise him, as others have done far better jobs than I could ever do. I will say this – I remember many a weekend morning, busily involved with my father on the project du jour (car repairs, work on the house, tending the gardens – yes, multiple – and many others), with Casey as the soundtrack in the background. While it took a while for me to fully appreciate the long-distance dedications, I always knew that they were something special. His sign-off was the best I’ve heard to this day, and should be everyone’s personal motto – “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars”. To be a bit sappy, I guess I could say that Casey has finally touched those stars he reached for every week. He really was a key part of my youth, and his passing hurts, even though it frees him from the ill health and personality conflicts he was subjected to in recent years. Godspeed, Casey – you’ll be remembered far beyond many of those one-hit-wonders you featured.

In a bit of personal news, the wife ended up going off to the hospital, leaving me a nervous wreck here at home. She’s been fighting what we thought was a bad stomach/intestinal virus. Nope – gallstones. So guess who gets promoted to head of household indoors AND out? So – he says again (sigh) – don’t be surprised at periods of silence. As long as her work co-operates, most (if not all) monetary outlays should be covered (thank GOD and Medicare!), but if they get twitchy, they might can her for “too much time off”. So the next few weeks are gonna be VERY interesting, to say the least!

That’s it for this update. Have a great week, and until next time, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars. And keep your computers tuned right here! :D

Posted in Obituary, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments

“That Time Again”, or, “Will Three Lions Roar?”

You may think you’ve stumbled by mistake, onto this website page.
“Is this not the home of that crazy guy who thinks Sci-Fi’s all the rage?”
“Where is all the military trivia and anniversaries galore?”
Well, bear with me now, kind reader, for what I have in store.

Though I’m no great fan of any sport, I felt a clarion call
To publicise a video poem for the English men of football.
An epic poem about the rocky road suffered by that very few,
Whose winning since the ’66 Cup have always fallen through.

The BBC filmed many folk from all around the land,
To wonder if their team would fail again, or finally take a stand.
The video link I provide below will show you many a soul,
Who dare to hope against the odds that England will make the goal.

So enjoy the treat that we’ve been given, and hope that maybe once more,
England can hold her head up high, as their famous Three Lions roar.
And I promise to be back very soon and commenting on blogs as well
As I’ve finally got Email working again, after blowing it straight to …. pieces.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-27762684

(By the by, two things. First, the Three Lions refers to England’s symbol worn on their team jerseys, of 3 recumbent lions, one above the other. Second, there is one old gent who appears wearing only … well, what the Aussies refer to as a “budgie smuggler” and nothing else. Think Santa in a Speedo. You’ve been warned! :D )

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

A Norman Sunset.

As the crosses, row upon row of white
Glitter in the French twilight,
I struggle to think of words to say,
To help commemorate this day.

I gladly accepted the challenge gave,
To carefully tend each and every grave,
And tell their stories when they cannot
So their sacrifice never would be forgot.

But how to pass on such a tale,
As the Greatest Generation passes the veil?
What humble words could I ever write,
To give proper due to their tremendous fight?

Then the words of one old, grizzled vet
Gave me the best answer I’ve heard of yet.
So remember, when the twilights fall,
And whenever you hear the bugles call
“We all gave some, but some gave all.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments