Three Thing Friday

1. Gun Rights Defended – I am not actually for or against the right to bear arms. What I mean is that while I believe the it is each American’s right to bear arms, I also think that it is not too much to ask for background checks. That being said, the other day I was told a story that was supposed to support the right to arms, as well as reasons to not limit ammunition clips.

The story goes that during a home invasion a woman empties her clip, and the invader was able to run away. So, the argument goes that the fact that she ran out of bullets shows that limiting the size of the clips is dangerous. I actually think it makes the alternate point. This woman emptied a clip in the direction of the invader, and she didn’t hit him. A friend said that if you need more than two shots to drop a person, you are doing something wrong. I would say that it might take three shots, depending on the stress of the situation. But my point still stands, if you need more than three shots to drop a guy, you should go back and take some lessons on how to handle a gun.

2. M*A*S*H – I have been watching the classic TV show M*A*S*H for the last couple of weeks, and I was just thinking about how much darker it would be if it was produced today by HBO. There would definitely be fewer happy endings. For example, I just finished an episode where the doctors pinch off the blood flow from this one soldier’s heart. It was a good episode, with a clock in the corner, showing how long the doctors had to restore blood flow before the soldier died or was paralyzed from the lack of blood flow. Of course, the doctors were successful and there was a happy ending.

If that episode aired on HBO, I highly doubt that there would have been that happy ending. At best, they may have ended the episode leaving that audience hanging, but more likely, the soldier would have ended up paralyzed.

I know I would watch that show if it aired on HBO. A more realistic, less funny M*A*S*H would probably make for a good show, not that I am complaining about the classic. Hell, the classic show lasted longer than the war that it is based off of.

3. 50% – By definition, half of America is actually dumber than the average American. And a few recent items that I have read more than proves that fact.

First, the great state of California had to issue a warning to paddle boarders to stop harassing Great White Sharks. I will admit, that I am completely fascinated by these amazing beasts, and I will be diving with them this coming October. However, I do it from the safety of a cage (although I do want to give one a hug). The paddle boarders are just stressing these animals, and when the shark strikes back, the news is going to eat up the fact that there was another shark attack.

There was also a post on Facebook that continues to prove my point. Someone jokingly posting a picture of Steven Spielberg sitting in front of a triceratops from the set of Jurassic Park. He added a statement about how it is embarrassing that these beautiful creatures are hunted. And someone took it seriously. Actually, quite a few people took it seriously. There is something seriously wrong with some people.

I don’t want to life on this planet anymore.

Summer Memories

As another storm blows through the neighborhood down here in Maryland, I find myself reflecting on my childhood. I can remember when I was growing up going into my parent front porch. But it wouldn’t just be me in the front porch; it would be the whole family. Mom, dad, sis, and me relaxing and enjoying the views created by the storms.

We would almost alway go up there to watch the storm. The rain and the lightning would actually be very entertaining, especially when the power went out and there would be no television. We would watch the lightning jump from cloud to cloud.

I really miss those days, and thanks to Sandy, there is no more front porch.

Sorry for the short post, just reminiscing about the past.

Running Low

I have said time and again, if you like a wine, buy it. Do not listen to what the “professionals” recommend, listen to what your taste buds recommend. If you truly like wine, go with what you like, the price shouldn’t matter. Today, for example, I passed up one of my favorite wines, Jersey White from Heritage for some Mahogany from a small vineyard in Pennsylvania.

Jersey White is one of many wines I like from Heritage. It is a cool crisp white that is perfect for drinking on a hot summers day. It has a slight peach taste, and costs about ten dollars a bottle. I usually end up buying this wine by the case for the discount and knowing that it won’t go to waste. I usually use Jersey White as a gift to friends or as an example to friends as to what a good cheap white wine might taste like. Of course, there are many more wines at Heritage I can recommend. The Syrah, the Jersey Red, the Chardonnay, the Chambourcin and their Merlot are all wines I would highly recommend. But it is usually the Jersey white and the Chambourcin that I usually end up drinking.

Having dropped praise on Heritage, they are actually not my favorite winery, but they are in the top two. VaLa is my absolute favorite winery. They have a couple of white wines, on occasion, but they specialize in red wines. Silk, Mahogany, Cedar, and La Prima Donna (one of white wines) are just a few of the wines I like from VaLa. In fact, on my first visit, my friend and I challenged the wine wench to find us a wine that we didn’t like. She failed. The down side to this vineyard is that their wines are expensive. Their cheapest wine is about the same price as one of Heritage’s most expensive. And I know that some of my friends disagree with me on the wine. They don’t like the wine for it’s cost. I should clarify; they do not think the taste of the wine is worth the cost.

But that is my point. Go with what you like and what your taste buds tell you to drink. A few friends of mine enjoy Heritage more, a few enjoy VaLa more, and that is their choice.

My other point is that I went through my wine fridge today and found that while I have plenty of Jersey White here, I am starting to run low on my VaLa wines. I am down two four bottles. I sense a trip to VaLa very soon. I cannot let myself run out.

Barrier Islands

Today at work I overheard a woman complaining about tax dollars being used to rebuild the homes of people who chose to live on barrier islands. I may be biased since I grew up in Seaside Park; a barrier island that took a beating during Hurricane Sandy, so much so that the home I grew up in is no longer there. But she was complaining that these people should not be helped. Her argument was that the people on the barrier islands should have known better, and there for do not deserve any government aid. The fact that people live on “Barrier Islands” should be a flag that they are going to take flood and storm damage.

Surprisingly, I didn’t say anything to this woman, but I really wanted to. I wanted to scream and yell and point out how stupid she was. If you look at where emergency relief funds go to, very rarely do they go to New York and New Jersey. The entire state of Florida has received emergency funds on multiple occasions thanks to the devastation of multiple hurricanes. There are about 15 states that have been ravished by tornados, and all of them received emergency funding from the government. And these people live in an area nicknamed “Tornado Ally,” which is an even bigger flag than “Barrier Island.”

Then this woman had the bright idea to state that Louisiana, especially New Orleans, deserves government funding because the entire reason that area floods is because we stopped the Mississippi River from moving like it is naturally supposed to do. Let’s ignore the fact that the U.S. has the worst levees, so bad that when engineers came from Amsterdam to inspect them, they laughed. She also ignored the fact that we built the city below sea level. Wouldn’t that fact alone be a flag the size of… well, of New Orleans?

So, we have eliminated the east coast from being livable. We have eliminated the mid-west and the southeast as well. Let us all most to California! Oh wait; earthquakes and massive forest fires frequently rock California. So, I guess that eliminates California. So, we could all move north to Maine, New England, Wisconsin and the rest of the northern states. Except, most people do not want to live where it snows frequently, plus that is a lot of people to cram into the north.

Arizona, Vegas, and Texas are still livable, I guess. Sure, it may get excessively hot, easily breaking 100 degrees throughout the summer, but it’s a dry heat. You know, like an oven.

Maybe this woman should think before she speaks, and the fact that I didn’t open my mouth is truly impressive. I am not saying that we should stop providing emergency funds to people who are devastated by Mother Nature; on the contrary, I believe that these funds should be available. Government should provide for the people when it can. In theory, the government can get money and supplies to those who need it quickly and efficiently. Well, in theory it can.


Fantastic Myth

It has been said that King George’s diary for July 4, 1776 states, “Nothing important happened today.” If this were true, it doesn’t actually say anything about the king’s view of a few people from the colonies declaring their independence from the kingdom. We, as Americans, want this myth to be true. It would be a blow to the English while inflating our own egos. Sadly though, it is just a myth. King George never kept a diary.

That being sad, let’s pretend that it is true; let’s pretend that the king kept a diary. Would his quote really say anything about how he felt about the colonies declaring their independence? With today’s technology, an age of instant communication, writing, “nothing happened” would be an important statement. But in the year 1776, we didn’t have the ability to communicate instantly. In order for the King to be told about the declaration, the message would have to be carried by hand, on a boat, across the Atlantic Ocean. And that is something that wouldn’t happen in a day. So, if we wanted to know what the king thought about the colony’s independence, we would have to look a few weeks later into the King’s “diary.”

What this myth really states is how far we have come in two hundred plus years. Today we have the ability to pick up a phone, even one that we have on our body, and make a call anywhere in the world. Today we have the ability to type a letter and send it to anyone and know that they will have it in a few moments (unless you work for CECOM). Today we have the ability to actually see whomever we are talking to, wherever they are in the world.

So, even though the King’s diary is a myth, maybe we should continue to look at what it says. Not so much for what it says about the Kings thoughts, but for what it says about today’s ability to communicate.

Three Thing Friday

1. 4th of July – It is nice to have today off, and today’s plans are just to game with some friends, eat some food, and laugh at the cats as they hide from the loud bangs of the fireworks that my neighbors set off.

I remember when I was younger; I would be able to watch the Seaside Heights fireworks from my bedroom window. Each and every year, every Wednesday night I believe, I would be able to watch fireworks. Maybe that is why fireworks don’t excite me anymore; to me they are no big deal.  A few oohs and aahs and then it is time to move on.

I also never really got into the whole BBQ scene. I really do enjoy hanging out with my friends and eating good food, but it wasn’t something I would host. Let someone else do the cooking and cleaning, I am going to enjoy my 4th. Plus, being a vegetarian, I don’t really get to enjoy burgers and hotdogs, and I know, that’s my choice.

2. Infested – This past week, every morning when I walked into work, I have to avoid a ton of insects. I have no idea where they are coming from, but the Army’s plan is to put sticky bug-trap boxes and hope for the best. It’s actually pretty disgusting to see these sticky trap full of bug bodies, and still see bugs crawling all over the place.

I would be all for hiring a squad of bearded dragons to take care of these bugs. Bearded dragons, snakes, and even a co-workers turtle would be sufficient. Too bad iguanas are vegetarians, or I would get myself another one of those.

I have a mild case of Entomophobia, or as I prefer to call if, insectophobia. In fact, anything with more then 4 legs (excluding Octopi, Squid, and most other sea creatures) weirds me out. Because of this, I almost had a panic attack at work because of these bugs. And while I may be exaggerating a little bit, they were freaking everywhere! I would even be all for burning the place down, at least that would solve my problem.

3.  Arthur – Apparently a lot of people are amazed that a hurricane formed in the Atlantic during hurricane season. I admit, I was surprised at where it formed (off he coast of Florida), but not that one formed. I mean, it is in the name, Hurricane Season. It is almost as bad as people who live in “Tornado Alley” being surprised when a tornado strikes their area. Or people who live in the Bible belt, which happens to coincide with the exact location of tornado alley.

So, hurricane Arthur is slowly moving up the east coast, bringing rain, wind, and some wicked currents. And the next hurricane will be named Bertha.

You know that’s going to be a big hurricane.

So to everyone, enjoy your 4th.

Crossing the Border

While the World Cup has been getting the top news stories the last few weeks, a major news story has been only getting minor coverage. Over the last few weeks, our southern border has been overrun with immigrants from Central America. It has actually become a national emergency (maybe even an international emergency), but it didn’t even make breaking news. No matter which side of the political line you are on, this situation should be a concern. The problem I have is that I don’t know exactly how I feel about these immigrants.

I understand that the infrastructure in the southern states cannot handle the influx of people. These people are going to flood the hospitals, the schools, and the food banks.  And I understand, these people should have entered the country legally. We have procedures for letting people move into this country. Immigrants from Central America are processed, and released with the expectation that they will return to immigration, which of course they never do. These individuals from Central America become members of the undocumented millions already in this country. If they were Mexicans, we would deport them immediately.

However, what I don’t understand, and what most people in this country probably do not understand, is what these people go through just to get to this country. Large portions of these immigrants are underage children with no parental supervision. Not being a parent, I cannot understand what it would take to send my child away hoping that they will survive, hoping that they will get a better life. I cannot even imagine sending my cats to a different state, and these parents are sending their children away. These parents feel that their children have a better chance of survival if they are sent away, which should show you how bad it is in central America. And the problems in Central America are probably partially the fault of the “successful” war on drugs that we are determined to wage.

Again, I realize that these people should enter the country legally, but what ever happened to that saying, “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Maybe we should climb the Statue of Liberty and scratch it off. And would the bible thumping die-hard republicans please stop using Jesus as a crutch when you won’t even do the Christian thing and help the poor?

I also ask that the news companies get their priorities straight and report actual news. Though, that may be asking too much, since the news is going to report what gets the viewers, and apparently, we want World Cup news, even if it is a loss by the states.

Big Mac

I realize that very few people will get the reference in the title of this blog, but it is the title of an episode of M*A*S*H. In the episode, General MacArthur honors the 4077th by paying them a visit. The episode consists of the entire camp preparing for Big Mac’s visit, cleaning the camp, painting the rocks, and ending with Klinger dressed as the Statue of Liberty (not planned by the colonel).

Now, why would I blog about this? Well, in a few days the office will have the new Commanding General of CECOM paying us a visit. Now, the new CG will be paying everyone directorate a visit, so it’s not all that much of a special occasion, but it is a big deal. This will probably be the only time that the General walks through the office, and excluding random town halls, it will probably be the only time I see the general. But the office is all a flutter. People are cleaning their desks, tables, and everything else that they can get their hands on. Maybe, just maybe the office will hire someone to kill all of the bugs that have infested out locale.

Apparently the new General is very big on clean desks. (I wonder how he would react to the bugs). And since I work for the Army, I am sure that clean desks are actually a top priority. It probably shouldn’t be, but I can see commanders being worried about how clean a workers desk is. And my desk is not all that clean. It is cleaner than it has been in a long while, but it is still pretty messy. It is covered in paperwork that I am currently working on. And no, I don’t plan on spending any extra time cleaning it. I am going to continue to work as I always do. I am going to do my job to the best of my ability, and if the General does not like my somewhat messy desk, he won’t have to look at it again. Like I said, based on past experience, he will not pay another visit to my office.

I also think it would be very entertaining to show up to work on visit day, or V-day, in a Statue of Liberty costume. And as most of my friends know, I would wear it as well, I am that crazy. The problem is, very few people would get the joke. I know one or two who might, to include the director. However, I also know that unlike most of my friends, he wouldn’t laugh. The director would be pissed! Which almost makes it worthwhile.