Friday, May 31, 2013


Stumbled on this website of inspirational speeches from movies.  It is very cool.  You can see them here.  When I first looked at them, I really thought I would like the Braveheart speech the best. me an old softy.  I kept returning to this...

Vacation Anyone?

Not sure how you'd get here. But once you're would be pretty sweet.

Truth In Advertising

At least he's not trying to totally B.S. his customers...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Friday Funnies

Here's another one that will not be appreciated by everyone.  But's pretty funny.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wednesdays With Jimmy

It's that time again.  Since this is my birthday week and I'm shockingly not getting any younger, thought  I'd provide a little perspective.  I've always liked this song a lot.  Sort of introspective, a bit melancholy, and a whole lot nostalgic.  Enjoy.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Motivation Monday

Probably True of Most of Us

Saw this article and it struck me as something we can all relate to.  I mean, who doesn't wish they knew something at the time that they know today?  Kareem did a pretty good job of putting together a list that can resonate with most everyone.  At least that's true for me.  I'm going to list the whole thing rather than just post the link.  It's easier that way.  Hope you see one or two things that makes you think a bit...makes you consider your life and how you conduct yourself...maybe even makes you change for the better...

When I was thirty, I was living my dream. I’d already accomplished most of what I’d set out to achieve professionally: leading scorer in the NBA, leading rebounder, leading blocker, Most Valuable Player, All-Star. But success can be as blinding as Bill Walton’s finger in the eye when battling for a rebound. I made mistakes. Plenty of them. In fact, sometimes I wish I could climb into a time machine and go back to shake some sense into that thirty-year-old me. If I could, here’s the advice I would give him:
1. Be more outgoing. My shyness and introversion from those days still haunt me. Fans felt offended, reporters insulted. That was never my intention. When you’re on the public stage every day of your life, people think that you crave attention. For me, it was the opposite. I loved to play basketball, and was tremendously gratified that so many fans appreciated my game. But when I was off the court, I felt uncomfortable with attention. I rarely partied or attended celebrity bashes. On the flights to games, I read history books. Basically, I was a secret nerd who just happened to also be good at basketball. Interacting with a lot of people was like taking someone deathly afraid of heights and dangling him over the balcony at the top of the Empire State Building. If I could, I’d tell that nerdy Kareem to suck it up, put down that book you’re using as a shield, and, in the immortal words of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (to prove my nerd cred), “Engage!”
2. Ask about family history. I wish I’d sat my parents down and asked them a lot more questions about our family history. I always thought there would be time and I kept putting it off because, at thirty, I was too involved in my own life to care that much about the past. I was so focused on making my parents proud of me that I didn’t ask them some of the basic questions, like how they met, what their first date was like, and so forth. I wish that I had.
3. Become financially literate. “Dude, where’s my money?” is the rallying cry of many ex-athletes who wonder what happened to all the big bucks they earned. Some suffer from unwise investments or crazy spending, and others from not paying close attention. I was part of the didn’t-pay-attention group. I chose my financial manager, who I later discovered had no financial training, because a number of other athletes I knew were using him. That’s typical athlete mentality in that we’re used to trusting each other as a team, so we extend that trust to those associated with teammates. Consequently, I neglected to investigate his background or what qualified him to be a financial manager. He placed us in some real estate investments that went belly up and I came close to losing some serious coin. Hey, Kareem at 30: learn about finances and stay on top of where your money is at all times. As the saying goes, “Trust, but verify.”
4. Play the piano. I took lessons as a kid but, like a lot of kids, didn’t stick with them. Maybe I felt too much pressure. After all, my father had gone to the Julliard School of Music and regularly jammed with some great jazz musicians. Looking back, I think playing piano would have given me a closer connection with my dad as well as given me another artistic outlet to better express myself. In 2002, I finally started to play and got pretty good at it. Not good enough that at parties people would chant for me to play “Piano Man,” but good enough that I could read music and feel closer to my dad.
5. Learn French. My grandparents were from Trinidad where, though it was an English-speaking country, the school system was started by the French. Whenever my grandparents wanted to say something they didn’t want me to know, they’d speak French. The language seemed so sophisticated and mysterious. Plus, you earn extra James Bond points when you can order in French in a French restaurant.
6. Get handy. I always wanted to be one of those guys who, whenever something doesn’t work, straps on a tool belt and says, “I’ll fix it.” I like the Walden-esque idea of complete self-reliance. Build my own house, clean out the carburetors, find out what carburetors are. Recently my washing machine broke and flooded my entire downstairs. I was forced to stand idly by waiting for a plumber to arrive while water rose around my ankles because I didn’t know how to shut off the water. That’s the kind of experience that makes you have your testosterone levels checked.
7. Be patient. Impatience is the official language of youth. When you’re young, you want to rush to the next thing before you even know where you are. I always think of the joke in Colors that the wiser and older cop (Robert Duvall) tells his impatient rookie partner (Sean Penn). I’m paraphrasing, but it goes something like: “There's two bulls standing on top of a mountain. The younger one says to the older one: ‘Hey pop, let's say we run down there and screw one of them cows.’ The older one says: ‘No son. Let’s walk down and screw 'em all.’” Now, to counter the profane with the profound, one of my favorite quotes is from the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: “Talent hits the target no one else can hit; genius hits the target no one else can see.” I think the key to seeing the target no one else can see is in being patient, waiting for it to appear so you can do the right thing, not just the expedient thing. Learning to wait is one of my greatest accomplishments as I’ve gotten older.
8. Listen more than talk. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
9. Career is never as important as family. The better you are at your job, the more you’re rewarded, financially and spiritually, by doing it. You know how to solve problems for which you receive praise and money. Home life is more chaotic. Solving problems is less prescriptive and no one’s applauding or throwing money if you do it right. That’s why so many young professionals spend more time at work with the excuse, “I’m sacrificing for my family.” Bullshit. Learn to embrace the chaos of family life and enjoy the small victories. This hit me one night after we’d won an especially emotional game against the Celtics. I’d left the stadium listening to thousands of strangers chanting “Kareem! Kareem!” I felt flush with the sense of accomplishment, for me, for the Lakers, and for the fans. But when I stepped into my home and my son said, “Daddy!” the victory, the chanting, the league standings, all faded into a distant memory.
10. Being right is not always the right thing to be. Kareem, my man, learn to step away. You think being honest immunizes you from the consequences of what you say. Remember Paul Simon’s lyrics, “There’s no tenderness beneath your honesty.” So maybe it’s not that important to win an argument, even if you “know” you’re right. Sometimes it’s more important to try a little tenderness.
11. Cook more. After I got divorced I missed home cooked meals and the only person I had to rely on was the guy in the mirror. Plus, I found it impressed women if you could cook a good meal. Once, very shortly after I started cooking for myself, I had a first date with a woman I really wanted to make a good impression on. Of course, I could have done the usual celebrity thing: fancy restaurant, signing autographs, wait-staff fawning. But I wanted this to be special, so I decided to cook for her, everything from soup to dessert. Some women get a little freaked seeing a 7’2” black man with a carving knife and butcher’s apron, but she appreciated the effort. Which was good because the soup was a little salty, the steak a little overcooked, and the flan a little watery…
12. When choosing someone to date, compassion is better than passion. I’m not saying she shouldn’t be passionate. That’s a given. But look for signs that she shows genuine compassion toward others. That will keep you interested in her a lot longer.
13. Do one thing every day that helps someone else. This isn’t about charity, this is about helping one individual you know by name. Maybe it means calling your parents, helping a buddy move, or lending a favorite jazz album to Chocolate Fingers McGee.
14. Do more for the community. This is about charity, extended to people close by whose names you don’t know. You can always do more.
15. Do one thing every day that you look forward to doing. It’s easy to get caught up in the enormous responsibilities of daily life. The To Do List can swallow your day. So, I’d insist to my younger self to make sure he has one thing on that list that he looks forward to doing.
16. Don’t be so quick to judge. It’s human nature to instantly judge others. It goes back to our ancient life-or-death need to decide whether to fight or flee. But in their haste to size others up, people are often wrong—especially a thirty-year-old sports star with hordes of folks coming at him every day. We miss out on knowing some exceptional people by doing that, as I’m sure I did. I think the biggest irony of this advice is that it’s coming from someone who’s black, stratospherically tall, and an athlete: the trifecta of being pre-judged. And I have a lifetime of hurtful comments to prove it. Yet, that didn’t stop me from doing the same thing to others. You have to weigh the glee of satisfaction you get from arrogantly rejecting people with the inevitable sadness of regret you’ll eventually feel for having been such a dick. A friend of mine told me he routinely attends all of his high school reunions so he can apologize to every person he mistreated back then. He’s now on his fortieth reunion and still apologizing.
17. When breaking up with a woman, you can’t always remain friends. I have managed to stay friends with many of the women I have dated because I truly liked and respected them. But sometimes emotions run too deep and efforts to remain friends, while that might help you feel better, actually might make the other person feel worse. Take the hit and let it go.
18. Watch more TV. Yeah, you heard right, Little Kareem. It’s great that you always have your nose in history books. That’s made you more knowledgeable about your past and it has put the present in context. But pop culture is history in the making and watching some of the popular shows of each era reveals a lot about the average person, while history books often dwell on the powerful people.
19. Do more yoga. Yes, K, I know you do yoga already. That’s why you’ve been able to play so long without major injuries. But doing more isn’t just for the physical benefits, it’s for the mental benefits that will come in handy in the years ahead, when your house burns down, your jazz collection perishes, and you lose to the Pistons in a four-game sweep in your final season.
20. Everything doesn’t have to be fixed. Relax, K-Man. Some stuff can be fixed, some stuff can’t be. Deciding which is which is part of maturing.

Memorial Day

I came across this video and posted it over on Facebook.  It's very good.  Certainly worth 6 minutes of your day!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Check out this cool video from the cockpit of the first A-380 landing at San Francisco International Airport.  The A-380 is the monster airliner built by Airbus that carries around 800 people.  Not like any flying I've ever seen.  Lots of knob turning and gazing at the view.  No one thinks that UAVs could carry people, but not sure there's much difference.  The computer is flying the plane.  These guys in the cockpit just turn a few knobs and they don't need to be there to do that...

Military Funnies

Got this from a friend.  Seen it before but it's pretty funny.  This is a pretty somber weekend as we remember the heroes who have given the last full measure of devotion for our freedom.  So we need to remember the lighter side.  If you've ever been in the military, you'll take this as the joke that it is.  If you haven't...IT'S A JOKE!

Marine Corps Rules: 
1. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one. 
2. Decide to be aggressive enough, quickly enough. 
3. Have a plan. 
4. Have a back-up plan, because the first one probably won't work. 
5. Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet. 
6. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun whose caliber does not start with a '4.' 
7. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive. 
8. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal preferred.) 
9. Use cover or concealment as much as possible. 
10. Flank your adversary. When possible, protect yours. 
11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose. 
12. In ten years, nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived. 
13. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating your intention to shoot.. 

Navy SEAL Rules: 
1. Look very cool in sunglasses. 
2. Kill every living thing in sight. 
3. Adjust Speedo
4. Check hair in mirror. 

US Army Rangers' Rules: 

1. Walk in 50 miles wearing 75 pound rucksack while starving. 
2. Locate individuals requiring killing. 
3. Request permission via radio from 'Higher' to perform killing. 
4. Curse bitterly when mission is aborted. 
5. Walk out 50 miles wearing a 75 pound rucksack while starving. 

US Army Rules: 

1. Curse bitterly when receiving operational order. 
2. Make sure there is extra ammo and extra coffee. 
3. Curse bitterly. 
4. Curse bitterly. 
5. Do not listen to 2nd LTs; it can get you killed. 
6. Curse bitterly. 

US Air Force Rules: 
1. Have a cocktail. 
2. Adjust temperature on air-conditioner. 
3. See what's on HBO. 
4. Ask 'What is a gunfight?' 
5. Request more funding from Congress with a 'killer' Power Point presentation. 
6. Wine and dine ''key' Congressmen, invite DOD and defense industry executives. 
7. Receive funding, set up new command and assemble assets. 
8. Declare the assets 'strategic' and never deploy them operationally. 
9. Hurry to make 13:45 tee-time.
10. Make sure the base is as far as possible from the conflict, but close enough to have tax exemption. 

US Navy Rules: 

1. Go to Sea. 
2. Drink Coffee. 
3. Deploy Marines 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Friday Funnies

I just can't seem to get away from the cat jokes...

Cool But...Also Creepy

Check out the web site here.  I get claustrophobic so not in a million years would I dive down this hole.  But it looks like a fun swimming hole.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I could do this!

10 Places That Are Almost Too Beautiful To Be Real

Stumbled on this web site.  As we go about our every day lives it's easy to take our surroundings for granted.  You can see the these beautiful sights here.  I like them all but I think I like this one the best...

Beyond Shame

So here's what we've come to...these two guys were shamed out of office.  Unless you've been living on Mars you know the story.  Now one is back in Congress and the other just announced he's running for Mayor of New York.  Unbelievable...or maybe not.  As I think Alexis de Tocqueville said, "In a Democracy, the people get the government they deserve".

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Starting To Set The Record Straight

Saw a great guest post on USNI blog site titled "Not my Navy, Marine Corps...or Army Either".  You can read it here.

I've been wondering when someone would step forward to say "STOP".  Military leadership, Congress, no-nothings, and the press have delighted in dragging the military through the mud the last few months over the so-called crisis of sexual assault.  This blog post and the two articles it links to starts to set the record straight.  I think it lays out the facts quite clearly and pushes back on the chicken little's decrying the "crisis" that the military is facing.  Bottom's BS.  The figures are BS, the survey methodology is BS, the insulting accusations are BS.  Now don't get me wrong.  Are there problems?  Yes.  Is every instance of sexual assault a tragedy?  Yes.  Should every instance be investigated and each perpetrator receive swift punishment?  Most definitely.  But it seems to me that by obscuring the statistics and by dramatically exaggerating the problem, it appears to be an unfounded crises.  This is no way to solve the problem.  It only makes people hunker down.  It drives the organization to take ridiculous and unproductive measures.  I guarantee that there will be mandatory lectures full of death by PowerPoint.  There will be severe over-reaction on the deck plates.  No doubt about it.  I just hope that at some point truth and logic will prevail.  But it will get worse before it gets better.

And here's the thing that really pisses me off.  I had three different Command tours.  I was in charge of people operationally, in a training environment, and across the span of an entire region.  Additionally, as a Junior Officer "growing up" in the Navy, I was continually in charge of increasingly large numbers of people of both genders.  I also had many, many, many friends and shipmates that I respected and had a close professional relationship with throughout my career who were also in positions of command and great responsibility.  Never, repeat never, would I or anyone I knew in a position of authority or leadership ignore a sexual assault.  Never.  It is unimaginable.  And yet to listen to the latest nonsense coming out of the press and some in leadership positions who should know better, there is an epidemic, in fact almost a conspiracy, of military leadership to sweep this all under the rug.  To ignore or suppress sexual assault in the ranks.  Let me repeat...this is total BS.  Has it ever happened?  I'm sure it has.  But it is not remotely the norm.  And if you've not been part of a military organization and read some of the garbage out there, don't believe it.

Wednesdays With Jimmy

Here we are again.  This one has also become an anthem of sorts.  Seems like it's becoming more and more identified as an iconic Parrothead song...


This whole IRS scandal is worsening.  And I think most people believe there is a lot more to it than has been revealed by a "shocked" President.  As the onion gets peeled there is something new, something more shocking, something...well scary every day.  The latest is the IRS official's intent to take the 5th in testimony before Congress.  You can read about it here.  This will be like blood in the water.  The investigative reporters, the blogosphere, the conspirator theorists will come out of the woodwork. After all, everyone wants to be Bob Woodward.  Now it will be very interesting to watch.   Don't expect it to go away.  And it shouldn't.  Because where there's smoke, there's fire...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Motivation Monday

A two-fer this week.  Because I like them both...

Saturday Night Live: New Xanax

Stayed up late last nite to watch the season finale of SNL.  That show still cracks me up.  It's always hit and miss but some of the skits are hilarious.  The thing I like about that show is that there are very few boundaries and they make fun of literally everyone.  Because sometimes, as the saying goes, you just gotta laugh.  This skit cracked me up...I'm still chuckling.

Saturday Night Live: New Xanax

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Friday Funnies

I know this is Photoshopped...but it's pretty funny.  And I really like it.



If you've been reading for awhile you know I'm a retired Naval Aviator.  It was a great career!  I got to go places and do things that most can only imagine.  Flying off ships at sea.  Defending the country.  Seeing a lot of exotic places.  Making a difference.  And my wife and family were all in.  I think it was good for them and they appreciated the life.  We all had some great times.  Most of the time that is.  Don't get me wrong, there were some tough times.  Dealing with deployments, separations, the demands of the job, dangers, even deaths in the line of duty were difficult.  But we all pulled together and got thru the tough times.  And that made the good times even better.

But the greatest thing were the relationships, the friendships, the shipmates!  We made wonderful, life long friends.  People you can count on.  People who you might not see for years, even decades, and when you see them again it's just like you saw them last week.

I was reminded of this phenomenon this week.  We had the annual Naval Helicopter Association Symposium here in SoCal and were able to see many old shipmates.  We had some people to dinner who we hadn't seen and hadn't seen each other in literally decades.  And we picked right up where we left off.  It was amazing!  Laughter and reminisces prevailed.  It was great.  So I got to thinking about the life we all shared.  I've now had about 13 years in the private sector and I've never seen the kind of relationships develop that I now cherish from my Navy days.  I'm always very proud of my service to my country.  But I'm even prouder of the friendships that we've developed over the years.  It is a special and unique thing.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Peeling The Onion

Or is it garlic. still stinks.  The whole Benghazi mess continues.  Of course, some media are ignoring it or giving it back page play.  You know who they are.  I've had quite a few posts on this issue.  You can get tot the links here if you're interested.  One of the best takes I've seen was Peggy Noonan's piece in the WSJ.  You can read it here.  I think her points are spot on.  Especially this...
"The Obama White House sees every event as a political event. Really, every event, even an attack on a consulate and the killing of an ambassador."
"Because of that, it could not tolerate the idea that the armed assault on the Benghazi consulate was a premeditated act of Islamist terrorism. That would carry a whole world of unhappy political implications, and demand certain actions. And the American presidential election was only eight weeks away. They wanted this problem to go away, or at least to bleed the meaning from it.   Because the White House could not tolerate the idea of Benghazi as a planned and deliberate terrorist assault, it had to be made into something else. So they said it was a spontaneous street demonstration over an anti-Muhammad YouTube video made by a nutty California con man. After all, that had happened earlier in the day, in Cairo. It sounded plausible. And maybe they believed it at first. Maybe they wanted to believe it. But the message was out: Provocative video plus primitive street Arabs equals sparky explosion. Not our fault. Blame the producer! Who was promptly jailed." 
"From the day of the attack until this week, the White House spin was too clever by half. In the weeks and months after the attack White House spokesmen said they were investigating the story, an internal review was under way. When the story blew open again, last week, they said it was too far in the past: "Benghazi happened a long time ago." Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, really said that.  Think of that. They can't give answers when the story's fresh because it just happened, they're looking into it. Eight months later they don't have anything to say because it all happened so long ago.  Think of how low your opinion of the American people has to be to think you can get away, forever, with that." 
This isn't going away.  The worst thing is the contempt that this crowd has for the rest of us.  Hillary knew this was an act of terrorism.  She knew our guys were left out to dry.  She knew we didn't do a thing to save their lives.  And then...and then she went and welcomed the caskets home.  She went out and decried the video that was supposedly to blame.  She strongly pushed back when testifying before Congress on cause and effect..."what does it matter".  And she wants to be President.  

Cool Pic

Uncomfortable Truth

Something to think about as you go into your casual and carefree weekend...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Marine One

As a Naval Aviator I've got about 4000 flight hours, about half of which were logged in the venerable  SH-3 Sea King helicopter.  It's the same helo that the President flies in and is called Marine One when he is aboard.  My version was pretty utilitarian inside...pretty stark.  Lots of bare metal and mesh seating.  Hydraulic lines, oil lines, electric cables...all exposed.  I've always wondered what inside of Marine One looks like and stumbled on this photo.  Pretty nice.

"It Was A Long Time Ago"...

You know what I'm talking about...Benghazi.  I started posting about this despicable affair soon after it happened.  You can read about it here, here, here, here, and here.  Most of the reputable news outlets are covering it.  As you would expect, Fox News heavily, MSNBC not so much.  But in any case you can get facts and opinions from lots of news sources, so I'll not attempt a summary here.

But...I continue to believe that many, many people in our government dropped the ball.  In my view here are the worst things (there are others) about this whole sordid affair:

  1. My personal opinion is that the worst were the State Department bureaucrats who denied requests for support in the lead-up to the attack on Sep 11, 2012.  It is just beyond belief to me that some person sitting in a desk in Washington, DC would turn their backs on our diplomats serving on the other side of the world, especially in a place like Libya.
  2. I don't know what good it would've done (and nobody can know) but our military could've done something.  Fighters on top?  Start moving forces?  Contingency forces somewhere close?  Navy assets to lob a few rounds?  I don't know.  But something, anything could've been tried.  The Combatant Commander dropped the ball.  Who specifically...we'll probably never know.
  3. The cover-up afterward.  Susan Rice proved to be a useful idiot.  And they almost got away with it.  But make no mistake...the coverup was deliberate and specific.  No one will take the fall, but there was a cover-up.  Some are lamenting that this will impact Hillary's 2016 chances.  I don't think so.  Americans are forgiving and pretty ignorant about these things.  Most don't care.  And many, many won't believe it.
  4. This might be the worst electoral deflection I've ever seen.  Obama and his thugs clearly needed to not let the American people know that the Al Qaida was still a threat after he single-handedly killed OBL.  The facade had to remain.  Anything to win.  And he did.  And now only about 6 months after the election he's is proving to be an even worse nightmare than we thought.
So the hearings have brought out a lot of info.  There will likely be more.  There are some pretty good comments about root causes here if you're interested.

There will be more terrible things that come out.  But...I'm just not sure anyone really cares...

Wednesdays With Jimmy

If you're a Parrothead, you knew that sooner or later this song would be featured.  This is the Hawaiian version...  Not for everyone, but I bet it brings a smile to your face...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Above All Else


This is pretty funny...just sayin...

The Husband Store
A brand new store has just opened in New York City that sells Husbands.
When women go to choose a husband, they have to follow the instructions 

at the entrance:

You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are 6 floors and the value of
the products increase as you ascend the flights. You may choose any item
from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you
CANNOT go back down except to exit the building.

So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband.
The 1st floor sign on the door reads:
Floor 1: These men have jobs.
The 2nd floor sign reads:
Floor 2: These men have Jobs and Love Kids.
The 3rd floor sign reads:
Floor 3: These men have Jobs, Love Kids and are extremely good looking.
“Wow,” she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.
She goes to the 4th floor and the sign reads:
Floor 4: These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking

and help with Housework.
“Oh, mercy me!” she exclaims, “I can hardly stand it!”
Still, she goes to the 5th floor and sign reads:
Floor 5: These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, 

help with Housework and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.
She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the 6th floor and the sign reads:
Floor 6: You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor.
There are no men on this floor.
This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please.
Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.

To avoid gender bias charges, the store’s owner opens a New Wives 

store just across the street.
The 1st first floor has wives that love sex.
The 2nd floor has wives that love sex and have money.
The 3rd,4th, 5th and 6th floors have never been visited.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cool Pic

This must have been sort of a wild ride...

Unquestionable Devotion To Duty

A friend sent this to me.  I'm a HUGE fan of telling the stories of extraordinary actions taken by ordinary people.  To me this is the epitome of such a story.  In this day and age we have incredibly brave, well trained, dedicated, loyal, smart, lethal folks ready to go in harms way for us.  But an increasing number are Special Operators who know what they are getting into.

Doolittle's Raiders were, for the most part, ordinary men who found themselves at an extraordinary moment in history.  They stepped up!  Simple as that.  They did what had to be done.  One day they were ordinary citizens.  The next they were in a B-25 on the flight deck of the USS Hornet getting ready to takeoff on a one way trip to Tokyo.  Think about that...and they flew into history!  They changed the course of the war.  And this was 4 months after Pearl Harbor.  Ordinary men...doing extraordinary things...

It's the cup of brandy that no one wants to drink.
On Tuesday, in Fort Walton Beach , Florida , the surviving Doolittle Raiders will gather publicly for the last time.
They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States . There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation's history. The mere mention of their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans.
Now only four survive.
After Japan 's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around.
Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried -- sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier.
The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.
But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety.
And those men went anyway.
They bombed Tokyo , and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed. Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia .
The Doolittle Raid sent a message from the United States to its enemies, and to the rest of the world:
We will fight.
And, no matter what it takes, we will win.
Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was presenting the story "with supreme pride."
Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson , Arizona , as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider.
Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness.
Also in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born.
There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death.
As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96.
What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp.
The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts ... there was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface, had nothing to do with the war, but that emblematizes the depth of his sense of duty and devotion:
"When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death in 2005."
So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue.
The events in Fort Walton Beach this week will mark the end. It has come full circle; Florida 's nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission.
The town is planning to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade.
Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice? They don't talk about that, at least not around other people. But if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach this week, and if you should encounter any of the Raiders, you might want to offer them a word of thanks. I can tell you from firsthand observation that they appreciate hearing that they are remembered.
The men have decided that after this final public reunion they will wait until a later date -- some time this year -- to get together once more, informally and in absolute privacy. That is when they will open the bottle of brandy. The years are flowing by too swiftly now; they are not going to wait until there are only two of them.
They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets.
And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Friday Funnies

I'm thinking I'll probably get in trouble for this one.  But...oh well.

And I'm not really sure what the Q is in LGBTQ is...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesdays With Jimmy

Here we go again.  I'm sure some are wondering why I haven't posted the Anthem.  So here you go...